THE BLOG

1000 Pennies for Your Thoughts - NARA - 534149

1000 Pennies for Your Thoughts – NARA – 534149 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s just words on a page. A short online record of thoughts, dreams, feelings or your favorite cupcake recipe. Whether you’re a serious blogger or just a casual online scribbler, it’s an oasis of privacy in the most public of mediums.

To share or not to share is often your question. Is the time I got caught sleep-walking naked in New York okay to lay down on paper? Or is it something more serious? A stigma or a social issue that haunts you and you feel no-one will ever understand? Do you lay it bare or keep it in? So many questions each time your digits hit the “qwerty”.

Should you show yourself à la open or honest or should you be represented via an electronic icon or meme… Say a pink typewriter? Can you have a public blog and a private persona so that you’re not sacked when you slag off your colleagues when they get on your nerves?

Then there’s the validation, when it goes well. People have read me and even better they have something to say about it. Oh Goody! And when it doesn’t “why does nobody like me?” , “What did I do?”, “Where did you all GO!” and “Why aren’t you all sat by your laptops waiting for my ramblings?”.

Whether you’re a journaller, a shutter-bug, a frustrated writer waiting for their big book deal (HELLO, HELLO, HELLO), a sometime chef or an enthusiastic amateur. It’s all here for you. An oasis for those thoughts, pictures, recipes, poems and life. What’s more, we’ll all be here, reading, nodding, loving, hating, ignoring, following, liking and commenting.

Welcome to the BLOG. Come on in, the waters lovely.

Finding a Niche – Writing to read not writing for readers.

Niche Syndrome

Niche Syndrome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I started writing again because no one was writing what I wanted to read. There are some amazing books that I really enjoyed but there were no books that really hit what I wanted and that’s why I picked up my creativity and got cracking again.

I was away for the holiday this weekend and I took my net-book and whilst thinking out some plotlines, I realised I was falling into a bit of a trap. The snare of thinking about the reader too much. I was trying to craft situations that I thought the readers would want to read and not remaining true to my original vision of the story.

It’s quite easy when you’re a newbie writer to do this because you are often second guessing what you think. Whilst it’s okay to think about plausibility and originality and to make sure your story is authentic, the minute you begin thinking about the end-user just take a moment.

Writing for other readers doesn’t work if it did then there would be a magic formula that all writers would follow that would result in endless bestsellers and residuals. Don’t believe the hype and all the books that promise just that.. Are savvy (if immoral) authors getting rich off your naïvety rather than any original novels they’ve written.

By thinking too long and hard about the reader and not the story, you’re sure to end up with a confused and stilted mess. The minute, I reset my expectations and began again, with what I wanted to read, the niche that no one else inhabits and the story that makes me light up in dark moments, my flow and my creativity raced back in.

Trust yourself and your story and your future readers will too.

So what do you think?

Comments, as always, welcome.

 

205 – FOLLOW ME EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT….

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

This is a “thought bubble”. It is an illustration depicting thought. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought about doing a blog post last week about this and then seven people decided to ditch me, so it became redundant and then I picked up another seven followers yesterday. Which is I think a record for me in a single day…

I hit 205 Followers yesterday. I know how many followers it says in the sidebar but that includes my twitter and Facebook friends too. So it’s baloney. But, my official stats are 205 as of five minutes ago. For all I know another seven people will decide that this isn’t hitting the spot for them,  hightail it away in the next twenty-four hours and I’ll be back under the 200 mark.

It’s not a mind-boggling number for most of you  – two hundred.. But for me it’s many, many more than I ever thought I’d get.  When I hit 100 I did a little dance and I’m just as thrilled now it’s the big 200, in fact I’m doing a samba now, which is making it hard to type.  I feel a little humbled by that number. We live in such an instant gratification world that to have connected and shared my thoughts with 200 people feels like a victory.

Yes , I know most of them probably followed me looking for a “Follow Back” and sometimes I do, after I’ve checked out their blog, read some of their posts and seen the heart of them beating. Sometimes, I don’t.

There’s some hardcore followers though, one’s who I still genuinely get thrilled about seeing their little faces or object or randomness in a square of happiness accompanying my posts as a like, then a heartfelt and genuinely thought-provoking comment on whatever I’ve chosen to ramble on about.

This all started as a blog about writing but that’s not how it is now, it’s my form of self-expression and it’s a bit random. Oh, I throw in the odd post about writing because it’s a big part of my life, but it’s not all “How to”.

So this post is my thanks to all those who clicked a follow and whether genuine or not, cheers for stopping by. I guess I’m not as alone as I thought.

There’s a  special mention though for the following (anyone not mentioned please don’t take offense, but I couldn’t stick 200 odd on here):-

http://charronschatter.com/

http://magoffleash.wordpress.com/

http://wideawakebutdreaming.wordpress.com/

http://thereclininggentleman.wordpress.com/

The above, you know who you are and you know what you did. THANK YOU.

Comments as always, welcome.

Badly Messed? or Freshly Pressed?

WordPress

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

When I started this Blog, I remember first reading the Freshly Pressed posts with a sense of awe and wonder. It was like someone had taken the very best writing on any given subject, all fresh, shiny, different, wonderful and so original and FUNNY and smashed it into a smorgasboard of loveliness.

Today, I read Freshly Pressed  (as I usually do when I log into WordPress) and found myself drifting….. Two paragraphs down, in four out of the top six posts, and I’ve  found my attention stuttering and my eyes wandering away like nomads. It’s been the same for the last week or so.

So is it the length?

The average length of a post on FP is a minimum of a 1000 words now. Most are 1500. Were they this long before, I don’t remember there being so many words, all blurring into each other?

Now before the hatemail starts arriving in the comments section below, I am not saying the posts are badly written. They’re not! They are extremely well-written, perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation in every one. They are also just a touch self-conscious. A little too worthy perhaps to fully hold my attention.

I hate to say it…. But they bore me. Whereas I used to read every single post up there and cry, laugh and wonder… Now it’s more MEH? than amazing.

So is it the format that’s not working for me? I notice there is poetry and fiction featured quite heavily now. Part of me, wants to say “Yes, finally some representation for all us creative types!” The other part is running screaming from the laptop. Why? Because “FP” used to represent the best writing from a bunch of plucky amateurs who were giving fresh thought and ideas on ordinary and not so ordinary daily life or writing about issues that they felt affected them. Now it’s all poetry, worthy literaryness or long university style essays on topics. I know literaryness is not a real word (which is probably why I’ll never be freshly pressed)….

And before I would have said that it bothered me, now, getting Freshly Pressed…. Meh!

So is it just me? What do you think about FP?

HOW TO MAKE GOODREADS FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE

I have in the space of one week been befriended by a “hot” author and rejected by another!

Author 1

The first Author who approached me unsolicited for my friendship is famous. I was so convinced that she was an imposter, I demanded proof that I wasn’t being conned by a thirteen year old teenage boy. When this was duly provided, it left me feeling simultaneously star-struck and guilty. I may have written an unkind comment about this person resembling a chirpy librarian in another post somewhere on this blog…
Having a famous GOODREAD friend can be hazardous to your blogging health. Especially as I commented angry (which they will never know or care about) in the feedback section of a very popular blog. I read an article that was swimming with jealousy, literary snobbery and hypocrisy.

The article itself was a great idea and could have been brilliant. The mistake (in my opinion) was commenting based on other people’s opinion of my new GOODREADS BFF work, and not sticking to the facts or even giving a “personal” assessment.

I think my argument went something like “if you haven’t read the books then don’t write about their validity, language or quality content”.  I think the phrase that made me angriest from the original article went as follows:-

“But I do hope you’ll join me, fellow self-publishers, in being glad that this isn’t one of ours.
“I rolled my eyes at myself?” Don’t our books get enough stick as it is?

I was shocked and surprised to receive a response that picked me up on the grammar of my feedback.  It went a bit downhill from there.  I have to admit in all honesty that I am ashamed of my original comment and angry when I replied to the Grammar rebuff.  I should have waited until I had calmed down after reading the article and then given constructive points and not ranting – It appears however, that I am a very flawed and deeply opinionated human being.

Author 2

The second Author sent me a personal note saying that she would actually rather not, when I sent out a GOODREADS request from the look for your friends app. At first I felt slightly miffed, in a  “Who does she think she is?” Kind of way – I then totally got it.  How would having another wannabe author as a mate, help her get her work out there to readers? Especially as GOODREADS restricts the number of friends you can have to a maximum of five thousand. I ended up feeling happy and supportive of the author, after all she took the time to write me a note and her reasoning was sound. Who knows maybe that will be me one day…

Unable to accept a friend request because there are four thousand and nine hundred and ninety-nine other readers I want to reach out too.

A girl can dream….

Comments, as always, welcome.

RULE OF LIFE – THE UNIVERSE WILL LAUGH AT YOUR PLAN!

English: Graphic depiction of number of posts ...

English: Graphic depiction of number of posts per year at the Best Page In the Universe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wrote last week that I was going to post a blog on Mon, Wed and Fri.  I failed miserably to live up to that statement. I managed the Monday and Wednesday and then posted a sneaky award post this morning (SAT). So why the abysmal lack of stamina in sticking to the self-imposed rules? After all in the last two months I’ve achieved at least three posts each week, even in a hectic schedule.

When it becomes forced, my drive to write and my authenticity goes off somewhere else. I arrive at completely blank and stay there. My mind is drier than a desert dwellers sandal. I could feel the pressure building as each blog date approached. I would get distracted at work as each evening fell. Oh, now I have to go home and blog! I had originally planned to have a couple of blog posts scheduled in advance, ergo, then I would have to just set the date for release. This would have avoided the stress of thinking, now I have to write something, anything, just to get the content out.

It wasn’t fun or enjoyable, it felt like work and not the good kind. I also felt guilty that I was breaking a promise I had made to post on certain days. I may not get a massive amount of likes on each post and the number of views are always a bit weird. I swear someone at WP HQ is just playing with me. I do get a lot of comments though and that’s where I get my kicks. Read anyone’s blog on any subject and then read the comments section. Often, it’s the best bit! That is where the action is, that’s where you get your engagement and interaction. I love you opinionated people, you rock.

I did a post recently, where two commentators had a debate in my comments section, with each other, I just watched (that sounds a bit creepy, sorry). I was so thrilled and kept checking to see who was going to say something next. It is part of what makes this exciting and enjoyable.

In closing, the universe (not for the first time) laughed at my plan, as did my creativity and authenticity. So posts will return to an as and when basis. I think we’ll both enjoy them more.

Comments as always welcome!

THE WORST AWARD, EVER

 

Opinion is divided on the “Awards” issue. I remember as a start-up blogger seeing these beautiful little graphics proudly displayed on people’s blogs and thinking wow, I hope someone sees enough merit in my little corner of blog land to nominate me one day.

Some say the awards are chain letters and don’t as a rule accept them and that’s absolutely fine. However, I think the awards are lovely and have always thanked those that felt that I am worthy of them (whether they only nominated me as they’d run out of other bloggers to nominate is not the point. It’s a nice thought.)

Yesterday, I came across a post about a New Award that someone had invented called the “Delusional” blogger award. Now don’t get me wrong, I totally agreed that the blog they awarded (by posting it in the comments section) was frankly abhorrent. There is however, a bigger question here – Where does it stop?

Taken from the comments in the post without permission.

My Comment:-

I’m sorta pleased you did this and sorta worried. Yes, I think the Blog in question totally deserves this award. But where does it stop? Does it end up with the cool bloggers and the not cool bloggers? Anyone put in the not cool group gets this award? Just saying… For example the lady above doesn’t HAVE to read the poop blog, that’s the great thing about blogging.

The response:-

“It stops wherever it needs to. I heap praise upon those who deserve it and I reserve the right to express my disdain for others.”

Is it just me or does anyone else think. ASSHOLE (or ARSEHOLE if you’re British). You see I believe powerfully in the freedom of speech and the right to believe in whatever the hell you want to. So this Blogger heaps praise on those who deserve it and reserves the right to express disdain for others? Who made him lord and master of the blogosphere?

Do we start awarding the “Bad Grammar Award” for blogs with dangling participles (whatever the hell that means)? Does it end up like school again?

Hey, I am so cool that I reserve the right to talk down to you like a patronising idiot, because you don’t believe in the same things as me and your blog doesn’t meet my lofty criteria?

Do you know what, if you don’t like a blog then don’t follow it, read it or interact with it. You could even try blogging about why the views espoused by that blog are wrong (in your opinion); you know get all intellectual and intelligent on them. That is the right you have, awarding the blog you don’t like with a nasty award – that just makes you a troll my friend.

Green Devils

THERE ARE TROLLS – Be careful out there!