What Should My Blog Be Doing?

What Should My Blog Be Doing?
Image provided by Cassiopee2010
https://www.flickr.com/photos/cmoi30/

Back Then

When I began this blog, my aim was to practice my writing and get a feel for what readers wanted. Both of these endeavors gave me more than amply room to explore. I figured I could “discover what my voice was”, dig into what genre I would be most comfortable with, try on different styles of writing, receive feedback from visitors, take advantage of constructive criticism, and get a good following going.

 

What Now?

That was a couple of years ago. I’ve become more focused, at least more often. My “needs” have changed. And the blogosphere has done some shifting as well. Most of the bloggers I follow aren’t posting every day as they once did. Other aspects of life have their attention.

 

Aims Forward

I’ve learned that “my voice” will discover itself. I can tell you that I enjoy writing in the more casual frame where verbs are often found hooked to nouns by apostrophes, and word usage filled with slang. Does this mean I’m a lazy or sloppy writer? Some of you may think so and you’re welcomed to include it in your comments. Just so you know though, I don’t think of myself that way.

Finding the genre I think I should write in has been a bewildering ramble. I know what fires me up to write, but finding the name of that genre has left me thwarted. What would you call a story that deals with inner conflict as the main theme? The story may, at some point, have a death in it, or it may not. It may not have a happy ending, or then again… The main character may be worse off than when s/he started, or may have come upon the solution. Would this be called a psychological suspense, maybe? Whatever it’s called, this is the genre I like to write in. I’ve done a few flash fictions, character sketches, and scene sketches in this blog, although it’s been a while. I’ve pondered on doing more, but I think I’d narrow them just to this genre now because then it would be a practice session for my WiP and hopeful others. As a visitor, would this interest you?

The past few months I’ve been mentioning my WiP often in my posts. Most the time, I’ve been questioning how I’m approaching the process of writing it. Although I’ve seriously considered the organized methods of authors with a few books under their belts, I always go back to setting my butt firmly in my swivel chair and letting my muse do most of the guiding through the story. All of it is trials and tribulations. Are readers, in particular, are you interested in that?

The life of a writer can be intriguing. That is, if the writer is doing something other than writing and is willing to share those times with the audience of his or her blog. I’ve been falling way short in this category. Most of it is due to the fact that I don’t have what I’d consider an exciting life anymore. This is an area I need to work on. I doubt that my life will get fascinating anytime soon, but there must be some things I can tell you so you know me at least. I’m hoping you, as my visitors, will give me some critical feedback on whatever I write in this persuasion.

I’m told that as a writer, my blog should be promoting me and my work. The problem is that there isn’t all that much to me or my work right now. I want to write essays for magazines once in a while, but I haven’t a clue as to which magazines I should submit to other than what my essays would be about. Even at that, until I write the essay, I don’t know what the topic is. What magazines are more likely to accept a writer who’s been unpublished for over twenty years? If you know of any, please click on the Contact link at the top of this page. [By writing essays, maybe I’ll find more content for this blog.]

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During these last two months of 2016, I’ll be working on a newsletter for this blog that will be published once per month starting in January. This is in the effort of raising the number of followers I have. In December, I’ll tell you more about this project.

“Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear your own voice and not let it drown in the noise of others.” ― Charlotte Eriksson

 

Learning from Failure

Learning from Failure
Image provided by mikef_man
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikefarah/

It’s been over a week since I, last, published a post to this blog. In my estimation, I’d say I’m hooked on this practice. In truth, I think I’m probably using this corner of cyberspace as a diary. True, there are many things I leave out that I feel are too personal to share, but most of these things I wouldn’t write anywhere. They’re fine where they are in the back vaults of my mind.

I am getting back into writing, the kind where some real progress is made. No, I’m not leaping or bounding as if I’m dancing through a field of words or anything. Still, I’ve got my focus to the grindstone.

Almost a month ago, I wrote a #weekendcoffeeshare post about getting into the groove of writing again. I told about how I was switching from being a pantser to a plotter and writing character sketches and scene summaries before starting, once again, on my WiP. I said something about hiding my yWriter too.

I failed with that approach. It’s embarrassing in a small way. I’m not red-faced or anything though. Victor Salinas explained it adequately in his post at A Writer’s Path. He stated that failure can make you humble, and at the same time, help you learn what works and what doesn’t work.

All this time I’ve been trying so hard to not be one of those who fail, one of those who has to pull themselves up by their boot straps and begin again, and again, and again. It’s pure vanity too, which is also embarrassing. I don’t like people who are blatantly vain, and yet here I sit, in all of my misplaced pride, doing the same thing. It’s shameful. Now I’m one within the masses, drudging over my work, even “bleeding” a little.

Although completing the sketches and the summaries were excellent exercises, and I plan to expand on them along the way, I’ve gone back to my beloved yWriter and I’m making some good progress. It’s a relief to know that the passion for this story is still within me.

The fallacy of these last weeks’ efforts have helped me see my weaknesses and my strengths, mostly my weaknesses though. This experience has shown me what a wuss I’ve been.

I need to push myself harder. Walking away, if only for a short while, before I’ve even tried to “pop a few arteries” in my pea-brain, isn’t a good thing for me to do. I do better when I “bleed” a little. Stopping a writing session because my husband has decided he just must play some computer games is, also, not a good thing for me to do. I need to just turn his presence off, tell my mind he is not there. If need be, I need to tell him to find something, anything to do outside this room.

It’s through the act of toiling over the WiP that I found inspiration and motivation. By getting to the effort of telling the story, I was able to find that unexplainable reason to go on and keep going on. It is true that having a schedule of some sort is invaluable. However, to be a slave to that routine, and not write a word until the designated time will do more harm than good. And by that same token, writing gibberish because it’s the appropriate time, just to keep up the “good” habit is sheer lunacy. If something obtrusive is in the way of creativity, writing prattle during a session isn’t going to help at all. During those times is when I’m either working on summaries, sketches, or research. I’m still productive despite the lack of a word count.

Concededly, when I don’t use that designated time for carving out the story, I feel I’m not getting anything done. As a rational person, I know this is false, but my heart says I’m not putting in what is required. Required by who? By me, of course. Hopefully, once I see enough results, this foolishness in me will stop.

As I stated in my last post, I decided to take a more slackened approach to my blog until some time after the Labor Day weekend. I think in declaring this change in my daily routine is what has helped me get past some of the ugly issues surrounding my strife with motivation. It was a stand without any confines or limits to speak of, except a suggestion of when the lacked time may end.

There’s still a whole full month of summer, plus some. I’m hoping to make some progress that I can be proud of in a way that isn’t misplaced.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou

 

Last Half of Summer

Image provided by Aron M. https://www.flickr.com/photos/aronski/
Image provided by Aron M.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/aronski/

I think it was three years ago when I decided to set aside my blog for the entirety of August to work on my WiP. And yes, it did help me, which was kind of a shocker to me. At the time, I thought my mind would race towards the blog every chance it got… but it didn’t.

I was ruminating about that time earlier this week, considering whether or not I should try doing something similar this year. I have two projects going on simultaneously. And one of them relies on the other one getting done. The reality is I have all the time in the world to finish these jobs. There isn’t anyone or anything standing over me telling me that I have a time limit. I just have to stay alive and be able to write in order to finish them. All the same, I have tentative ventures waiting in the wings that I’d like to work on after these two. I’m not going to live forever, and there will probably be a time in the future when writing won’t be possible for me.

My decision is to put my nose to the grindstone and do as much work as I can on these two projects while I still have the motivation. I’ll be taking some time off from blogging–at least on any kind of regular basis anyway. I don’t know how much time I’m going to need, but I believe I can safely assume there won’t be any regularity to my blog posts again until after the Labor Day weekend. For those of you in countries that don’t have this holiday, it’s the first weekend in September. There isn’t a specific day for this celebration. It’s more of just enjoying a three-day weekend to unofficially close summer for the current year.

I’ll still be around. I’ll be reading blogs and giving comments on the posts when I need a break from my work. Every once in a while, I’m sure I’ll want to sent out a post into the cyber cosmos. Also, I will still be available by email at glynis.jolly@outlook.com.

See you in September. 😛 [Do you remember The Lettermen?]

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” — Charles Dickens

 

#weekendcoffeeshare: Crazy for Color

#weekendcoffeeshare: Quirks
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

Diana at Part Time Monster hosts a weekly link-up, where you can submit a link to your post and browse everything else that’s been submitted, or you can use the #weekendcoffeeshare hashtag on Twitter or Facebook.

We’re back at the coffee shop this week. Sorry Jacqui, want my flavored creamer. Besides, it isn’t the hot spot on Saturday morning like the diner is. I like the quiet here.

You, the reader and I, your friend for a few years now, have coffee almost every Saturday morning at approximately 9:30. If you rise later than this, assume the time has changed to your convenience.

(Your dialogue is in purple. My dialogue is in green.)

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When we get seated at a corner booth along the outer wall, Connie is the waitress who come to take our order. Once she’s headed toward the counter where the coffee maker sits, I look around for Laci. Maybe she took the day off today.

I was kind of looking for her too.

Who?

You squint your eyes at me, probably wondering where my brain is.

Oh, you mean Laci. Yes, but maybe she’s off today.

Or fired.

Nothing more is said about Laci. I figure the next time we’re in we’ll get a better idea of what’s happened to her. Our coffee comes in mugs we haven’t seen before. The pattern is random and the colors are wild. Swirls of hot pink with bright orange and specks of aqua and maroon. The handles go from the top to the bottom of the cylinders, and the bottoms are stemmed a little. Unusual to say the least. As usual, we have a small basket of goodies–donut holes this time.

These mugs are great. What do you think?

They’re okay.

Okay? All right, so I’m a little outlandish when it come to color. What can I say? I took that art class in my senior year of high school and have been fascinated with color ever since.

While I’d been yakking, we both had dolled up our coffee, you with your sugar and me with my cream. I pick out two of the donut holes, one cinnamon-coated and the other chocolate. You pick two of the powdered sugar ones.

I painted my bathroom light spring green after the new shower was put in. You aren’t bored by the color in there, that’s for sure.

Aren’t you afraid of green making someone feel sick?

Oh no. It isn’t hospital green. It’s the color of the first new blades of grass in the early spring. I’d like to change the walls all through the house. For the common areas, I’d like a white sea green, and in the bedrooms a white aqua blue.

What do you mean by white sea green?

In daylight or when the lights are on bright, it’ll look white, maybe a little off-white. In the shadows it’ll look the slightest of sea green. Same for the aqua blue. I did it in the house in Ft. Lupton, Colorado. It was one of the key features that sold the house for the list price we asked for.

#weekendcoffeeshare: Crazy for Color
Image provided by Keshav Bahety
https://www.flickr.com/photos/photograph3r/

You hale Connie to come over to get our mugs for more coffee. I start to reach for another donut hole but stop myself. I’m not hungry. I’d be eating just because the food is there. No a brilliant reason.

Okay, what do you think of white with earthy orange? I want to do something–well, anything with my mud room.

I don’t think orange is going to work.

My eyes get narrow, my lips pucks, and I hunch my shoulders as I shake my head. The refills have arrived and we pour in our add-ons.

How about a soft peach color? Or maybe a light lemon?

Orange won’t work, eh? How about purple like your blog?

You give me a toothy grin when you see the shocked expression on my face.

Lilac would work, but for a mud room? It would look fantastic in a bedroom though.

I was just kidding. Probably the peach would do the job all right. Why did you make your blog purple anyway?

It’s a shade of purple but the color is periwinkle, a purplish blue or a bluish purple–whatever. I even have it subdued so there’s a lot of gray in it.

Okay, but why? I wouldn’t call it a happy color.

I wasn’t thinking happy or sad when I decided on it. I want to pull people in with words rather than all the visual stuff. I almost went with black, gray, and white but I just couldn’t do it with the way I go bonkers over colors. The other day I was thinking about changing it all again. It’s been almost five month since the last time I did it.

I don’t know how many times you’ve changed your blog in the three years I’ve known you. Do you know?

No, but at least twice per year and maybe up the four times between 2014 and 2015. I really don’t know.

You’re fickle.

Okay.

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Rules for #weekendcoffeeshare

  1. Posts should be framed as a chat over coffee or some other beverage.
  2. Posts should be current (written within the week).
  3. Links go on the link-up, not in the comments section.
  4. Comment and share each others’ posts using #weekendcoffeeshare on Facebook and Twitter.

Color possesses me. I don’t have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: Color and I are one. I am a painter. ~Paul Klee

 

Am I afraid?

Image provided by chandrika221 https://www.flickr.com/photos/14554939@N08/
Image provided by chandrika221
https://www.flickr.com/photos/14554939@N08/

I’m not a “fraidicat” by nature. I walk up to strangers and say hello. I’ll scream out about injustice to anyone who will listen. I’m the first one to stand before my opponent. Yet, I look at what I’ve written, knowing certainly that it’s not meant for anyone else’s eyes–not yet–maybe never.

The irony is I write post after post for this blog that is anything but for commercial use, in other words a personal affair. I’m not giving one iota about who reads it.

Is there that much difference between writing a book and writing a blog post? Both reach out to the world at large. Both have a message to give–or at least I hope both do. Sure, one is miles longer and takes more time. True, a post is just my thoughts. It’s nothing more. With a novel, again, it’s my thoughts, but woven in such a provocative way–hopefully–that it keeps the interest going until the end. The post, being so much shorted, doesn’t need the extra elements to entice.

Could it be that I’m intimidated by so many trees I’m seeing in the forest? The saying is “Can’t see the forest for the trees,” but maybe it should be the trees are acting as monsters, distorting the whole scene. Am I lost in that forest? Hmm… If this is true, this could mean that I must change my writing process. My guess–and I think it’s a good one–is I need to become an all-out plotter, that path that leads me out of the forest.

I cringe at the thought. Giving up the free flow of creativity wrecks me to the core. Yet, this urge, this compulsion to write is surging in me and through me day and night, not giving me a moment’s peace.

If I go with this conjecture of turning pure plotter, I’m going to have to start this damn story all over again. Do I hear someone whispering the notion of just stopping where I am for the time being? It would work, except I know I’ll be changing major parts of the story from the very beginning, almost making it brand new. Once I make one change, hoards of them will follow. Yes, I know me that well.

Another possibility for my reluctance with my writing progress could be the thought of the critique of a writing buddy, the notes from a editor, the remarks from a beta reader, the review from a critic. Rationally, I’m well aware of the good the first three will do. Their intentions are not to harm my poor little ego. They want only to assure that my work is received successfully. The fourth… we all know they have their own agenda that never really included the writer’s feelings or success.

The first three…, each one is going to make me feel the way my mother always made me feel when I’d give her my homework for her to scrutinize. She’d find every flaw, no matter how small, and circle them with her red pen. She’d hand me the assignment telling me to start again, and turning away to do some household chore. I always felt as though someone had killed my puppy or kitten when she’d do this. (We had a family dog but never actually had a pet of my own growing up.) She didn’t mean it that way–I don’t think anyway. She was trying to help–or was she gloating? Naw, she couldn’t have been doing that, could she?

This is preposterous. Later this year I embark on being sixty-two, for God’s sake. I need to get a gripe. As April would say, I need to put on my big-girl pants and get myself to the business of writing. I need to take heed of those who have taken on the ways of plotting, as much as I detest the notion right now, organize, and write this tale that won’t give me any peace.

Am I afraid? You better believe it. I have to get through this.

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Confront your fears, list them, get to know them, and only then will you be able to put them aside and move ahead. ~Jerry Gillies