Tag Archives: blogging

The Importance of a Supportive Environment

Celebrate

You’re probably wondering why my posts have been a bit more sporadic than usual over the last few weeks.

Okay, in my ego-driven imagination, you’re wondering why my posts have been a bit more sporadic than usual over the last few weeks. In reality, you probably haven’t noticed. And there’s a pretty good chance that, even if you have, you don’t care.

Leave me to my delusions, darn you!

Now, where was I? Oh yes.

You’re probably wondering blah blah blah last few weeks.

There is a reason — a reason I like to think of as A Good Reason, in fact.

My creative brain is locked inside a little room with the novel I’ve been working on for… well, almost as long as I’ve been blogging, (two years in April) and I’m finding it hard to write these little snippets of my life on as regular a basis.

Because…

I’VE NEARLY FINISHED!

Okay, the celebration may be a little premature. But not much. I’ve got about 8000 words left to write, and then I’ll be finished the first draft. And the last bit is, of course, the best bit. The high tension, high excitement, do-or-die, winner-takes-all, good-vs-bad, stand-off between the protagonist and the antagonist. It takes all my willpower to draw my mind out of my story for long enough to remember that my children need to be fed, let alone to remember to blog.

So, I’m sorry.

But not that sorry. Because this has been a long time coming, and I’m looking forward to finishing the first draft and starting on the long, and much-anticipated Road of Revision.

So I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has supported me while I’ve been writing. Thanks to my blogging friends and the great community I’ve found here and elsewhere on the web. Thanks to my family and friends. Thanks to my writing partner, Claire, who has provided inspiration and pep talks when needed (as well as a bottle of wine to open when my draft is complete!). And thanks most of all to my husband, Robbie, who has supported, encouraged, and believed in my writing and this story all along.

When I told Robbie I wanted to celebrate the completion of the first draft by purchasing a book that will give me extra insight into my setting and help me with my revisions, he said, “That’s not a treat, that’s a necessary tool you need for your career. You should get a massage or something.”

Thanks, Rob, for your support. And also for using the word “career” instead of “crazy, impossible dream”.

So if there’s a few days in between my posts, now you know why. I promise I’ll be back full-time when I type ‘The End’.

Who is your biggest fan and supporter?

26 Comments

Filed under Random Stuff, Writing

Thank You, Spambot

One of the best parts about blogging is connecting with people from all over the world. Every time I publish a new post, I eagerly await the influx of emails telling me that someone has Liked or Commented on my post. Sadly, those emails are sometimes few and far between. But I can always rely on a few blogging friends to jump in and share their thoughts. (Thank you, guys!)

Plus, of course, there’s my good friend Lista de Emails.

You may be surprised to learn this, but Lista and I have never met in real life. I don’t even know if Lista is male or female. (But for ease of reference, I will refer to Lista as ‘him’ for the remainder of this post.) But he is clearly an avid follower of my blog because, regardless of my topic, Lista always has something nice to say.

When I wrote about procrastination, he was the first to say:

this blog is very informative. i am really impressed by the comments which people have given over here. i am sure many people will get more and more knowledge from this.

That was especially lovely, because I didn’t have any other comments. I was impressed by his faith in my regular readers. I’m aso positive that many people will get more and more knowledge from them.

When I wrote about visiting a museum, he said:

i visit your website everyday and i read all of your articles.

I know, Lista. I know you do.

But the next day, having clearly thought further about my post, he added:

i think it should have more educational articles like yours, so everyone would be able to learn something new.

I’m not sure exactly what “it” is. The internet? The museum? Either way, there should definitely be more educational articles. Possibly not that particular post, which was supposed to be funny. But anyway. The following day he added:

your statement was highly appreciating i will make a look on.

That one confused me. Perhaps I’m not highly appreciating enough.

Despite the fact that Lista is my most regular (and appreciating) commenter, there are a few others who drop by randomly with encouragement.

Buck says: I simply want to mention I am beginner to blogging and site-building and seriously savored you’re blog. Probably I’m going to bookmark your site . You actually have very good articles. Thanks a bunch for sharing with us your webpage.

 Sexdate says: Hi you have a good website over here! Thanks for sharing this interesting information for us! If you keep up the good work I’ll visit your blog again. Thanks!

Sherril says: I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..

Expertravels says: Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful info specially the last part :-D  I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

Mobilabonnement says: It¡¦s in reality a great and helpful piece of information. I¡¦m glad that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

So to Buck, Sexdate, Sherril, Experttravels and Mobilabonnement, I say: Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed my articles, writing skills, layout, and information.

The blogosphere is such a supportive social environment, don’t you think?

I’m also quite fond of those people who drop by and ask deep, philosophical questions.

Trenchcoatsale asks: Jack shall have Jill.What about having a pizza first?

Answer: If Jack has a pizza first, he’ll go to sleep and poor Jill will miss out.

Dieta asks: You’ve got a little bit more time to prepare for but are Americans better off today than they were four years ago when the president of just?

Answer: Sadly, your preparation time is ended. The President of Just has already been replaced by the President of Desserts. Or was it the President of Cake?

And finally, there are those commentors who seem to make no sense whatsoever. To be honest, and I don’t mean to offend anyone, I’ve occasionally wondered if they’re even people at all. Take this one for instance:

Policy decisions are always a balancing act of build ounces of control case medicinal marijuana of either indoor or outdoor. For indoor you can opt for Marijuana Grow Box the be opportunities, such as the subject also must as appropriate medical marijuana clinics. Just as you have adapted to accept these chemicals over is supportive tighter addictive different be very cautious.

If it is a person, I’m a little concerned he’s smoking a bit too much of his medicinal medicine.

Or this one:

 Old tunes are sweetest and old friends are surest.All for one one for all. It really takes time. I don’t like what you are saying. I’m home. It’s not his work that bothers me it’s his attitude It’s not his work that bothers me it’s his attitude You look as if you didn’t care. Would you like some help? I am so full that I would burst with another bite .

But regardless of the nonsense they spout, I’m always incredibly grateful to people for taking the time to comment. So go on. Do it.

What’s an example of an odd or over-complimentary comments you’ve received on your blog?

73 Comments

Filed under Opinion, Random Stuff

On Being Freshly Pressed

Some days I sit down to write my daily blog post and I think about all the people around the world who are going to read it. I think about them laughing (preferably at the bits that are supposed to be funny) or nodding their head in agreement. I think about the people who will read the post and disagree with me — possibly vehemently — and I wonder whether they will leave an angry comment or simply click away from my blog and never return. I think about people being so moved by my words that they share my post and encourage their friends to read it via Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or good old fashioned email. And then I wonder if this time, today, will be the day when I’m Freshly Pressed.

And on those days, I stare at the computer screen for minutes that seem like hours, and nothing happens. Well, that’s not true. Nothing happens on the screen, but plenty happens behind the scenes. My heart pounds, my stomach swirls, a sense of anxiety wars with a feeling of excitement. My fingers tingle. My legs get heavy. And my brain completely fails to deliver any words at all, wise or otherwise.

That doesn’t happen most days.

Most days, I know exactly what I’m going to write about because I’ve been pondering the topic for hours or days or even weeks. I’ve planned the post in my head so many times, writing it feels almost like an anticlimax. I’m not writing for the millions of people in the world, I’m writing for me and the few people I expect will read it.

When I hit that Publish button, I can confidently state that my husband will read my post. I’m reasonably sure that at least one of my parents will do likewise, and my sister probably will as well. Other than that, perhaps some of my friends on Facebook or the people I’ve connected with online will drop on by and have a read. If I’m lucky, some of them will click the ‘Like’ button. If I’m even luckier, I’ll get a comment or two.

And, you know what? Even one comment on a post makes me feel like a success.

So imagine how I felt when I suddenly had 50 of them.

Last week, my post Authors Behaving Badly: The Seedy Underbelly of Reviewing was Freshly Pressed by WordPress. The nice, smooth waters of The Happy Logophile were churned up into a maelstrom of page views and comments and brand new visitors, most of whom seemed to actually like what I had to say.

I felt honoured and excited and overwhelmed and terrified and exuberant and anxious and about a million other emotions that don’t even have names in the english language. At first, I sat at my computer watching the pretty little traffic counter graph move higher and higher. Then I started reading the comments people were leaving. And they were really, truly amazing. I had all manner of people reading and sharing their thoughts: readers, writers, unpublished authors, indie authors, traditionally published authors, and my Dad.

More than anything, I wanted to reply to each and every one of them. But… how?

Well, I did it. (Although you may have noticed that I skipped writing a post last Thursday.) I wrapped myself in happy feelings as I read comments and engaged readers in conversations and posed questions and shared my thoughts. And every time that little orange speech bubble lit up to tell me there was a new comment… I had a quiet like anxiety attack. But in a good way. Honest.

By this week, things had calmed down again. Everything was smooth sailing.

And then last night, just as I was about to go to bed, I noticed a comment on my blog. I clicked on the happy little icon to read it. It was a pingback. From something calling itself ‘Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for August 2012‘.

Huh. What’s that? I thought. I clicked on the link. And then my good friend Stephanie tweeted me to congratulate me on being one of the Editors’ Picks and the madness began all over again.

I’m not going to lie. It’s been a thrill. An amazing ride. And, judging by the 12 new notifications that have come through while I’ve been writing this post, it’s not over yet. But I don’t want to wait any longer. I want to pause, take a deep breath, and say thank you.

Thank you to the WordPress.com Freshly Pressed Editors for choosing to honour me and my post not just once, but twice.

Thank you to every person who clicked through and read what I had to say.

Thank you to the 160+ people who hit the Like button.

Thank you to the 120+ people who took the time and effort to share their thoughts, opinions, andstories. (If I haven’t replied to your comment yet, please be assured that I will! Apparently children don’t care if you’ve been Freshly Pressed, they still want to eat.)

Thank you to the 100+ people who read my post, poked around a bit, and decided to subscribe to my blog. I hope you like it here.

And a very special thank you to all those people who have read, commented, liked, subscribed, and generally supported me on my blogging journey for all or some of the last 16 months. You guys are the best.

Have  you ever been Freshly Pressed? Would you like to be? What’s the most awesomely overwhelming experience you’ve ever had?

38 Comments

Filed under Opinion, Random Stuff

You Know You’re a Blogger When…

5. …someone asks how your day was and your answer includes the number of page-views, likes and comments on your blog.

4. …your friends and family have been known to look at you nervously and ask, “You’re not going to write about this on your blog, are you?”

3. …your child falls over, breaks something, or does something crazy-silly and the first thing you do is take a photo for your blog. (Then you go help him.) 

2. …you immediately race in to rescue your child when he falls over, breaks something, or does something crazy-silly and then spend the rest of the week cursing yourself for missing the photo op.

1. …you see a friend for the first time in months and when they ask what you’ve been doing you look confused and ask, “Don’t you read my blog?”

12 Comments

Filed under Random Stuff, The Inner Geek

News, Nobel Prizes and Blog Awards

Do you have any idea how long I’ve been secretly dreaming that someone would say to me, “You’re so awesome, you should rule the world!”

A long time, that’s how long.

And it’s finally happened. Yes, someone has officially recognised my value to the world and the people in it. I shall be taking up my mantle as Executive World Emperor as soon as the current world leaders can be gathered in one place and summarily dismissed from their seats of power. Also, as soon as someone gathers all the riches of the world and places them in my secret lair base. From this day forth, you will need to use my full title (or its acronym) if you wish to talk to me. As such, I will expect all comments to begin: Hey EWE.

Hold on a minute.

Oh.

Apparently I’m a little confused. I haven’t actually been granted world domination. I’ve actually been awarded the Dr Horrible Blog Award by the infamous Connor Rickett of Cities of the Mind.

Right. Ha ha ha. I knew that. So, nothing to see here. Let’s just move on to the rules and pretend this embarrassing little episode never happened.

1. Thank the person who nominated you for the Dr. Horrible Blog Award.

Thanks, Connor! Connor’s blog is full of interesting articles on writing, travelling, and freelance writing as well as blog reviews (you can also request a review of your own blog!) and short fiction. It’s well worth your time to give him a visit.

2. Announce the Big News on your blog.

And my Big News is… Well, for one thing it seems that I won’t be the Executive World Emperor any time soon. It’s a good job I’m happy just being me, because it looks like I won’t be EWE any time soon.

But in all some seriousness, this step of accepting the award was a little… let’s say… terrifying. I actually need News of some kind. Preferably Big News. With capitals.

While I was trying to work out what my news could be, I happened across a great blog post by one Patrick O’Duffy. He talks about the importance of leaving actual book reviews on sites like Goodreads and Amazon rather than just star ratings. I’m not going to summarise his entire post because, well, firstly that’s rude. And secondly, I’d rather you go and read it straight from the horse’s mouth… or whatever the internet-equivalent is of that idiom. But I’ll give you a brief snippet:

Without a review, good or bad, to explain the [star] rating it’s all just statistical noise. Reviews, on the other hand, tell you a great deal, whether you agree with them or not – and sometimes the ones you don’t agree with tell you the most. …read more…

Reading this article made me realise something. Firstly, I don’t just leave star ratings on those sites. (Yay for me!) Secondly, I don’t leave reviews anywhere at all. (Boo for me.) BUT, I was writing reviews that I was posting here on my blog, and they could easily be copied over to Goodreads. And since I’ve decided not to keep posting book reviews here, I can write them on Goodreads and provide a link from my blog for those people who are interested.

So, here’s my Big News:

I’ve set up a new page to track the books I read this year, complete with links to my reviews on Goodreads. You can find the page here, or by clicking the cunningly titled ’2012 Reading List’ tab at the top of the page.

And since I was playing with the layout anyway, I’ve also set up a page that links to all the Flash Fiction I’ve posted here on my blog. If you think you may have missed some, or you’d like to go back and re-read my work, you can click here or go to the tab labelled ‘Flash Fiction’. Complicated, no?

Right. Back to the award.

3. Answer these mini-interview questions:

a) If you ran the world, what would you outlaw immediately?

Stupidity.

Oh. I’ve just been informed that the only way to completely wipe out stupidity is to destroy the human race. Apparently it’s endemic. Or something. So, in the spirit of not being a world-destroying evil dictator, I will instead outlaw Reality TV.

b) Men: Boxers or Briefs? Ladies: Do you prefer Boxers or Briefs?

I found this question a little discriminatory, so choose not to answer it. Where’s the option for going commando??

c) If you won the Nobel Prize who would you thank?

(Yes, Connor, I’m totally rewriting this question in 3rd person. Because having it written in 1st person is… disturbing.)

If I won the Nobel Prize, I’d first wonder what I did to deserve it. Then I’d stop wondering and just accept that I clearly won the Nobel Awesome Prize for being Awesome. So I’d thank the academy, and the other competitors, and my husband, and then I’d  make room for Kanye.

4. Nominate three bloggers so they can carry the Dr. Horrible torch on its way.

Right, so I tried to come up with three people who I thought would have interesting or amusing answers to the questions. Which is not to say that no one else will, just that… Oh, you know what I mean. So, my three nominees (in no particular order) are:

speaker7 of Ramblings and Rumblings. She’s quirky, snarky, and just plan funny. And her hilarious breakdown of 50 Shades (complete with photos re-enacting key scenes of the book using toys) is a must-read.

Heather of Prawn and Quartered. She reads, she writes, she works in a library, and she’s a fan of The A-Team. Her posts are a great mix of retro cool, hilarity, and touching solemnity. In other words: awesomesauce.

Emma of Mayfair Mum. She juggles reading, writing, working and motherhood with the same sense of ease I do — which is to say, not a heck of a lot sometimes. She’s funny and sweet and just a little bit geeky. Oh, and she’s from London so she’s got a great accent.

4 Comments

Filed under Random Stuff

…And We’re Back

Hi there. Nice to see you. It’s been a while, huh?

It feels like it’s been months since my last blog post. Oh, wait. It has been. Three months, in fact.

When I wrote about my reasons for taking a short break, I didn’t anticipate being gone for so long. I figured I’d spend a couple of weeks in the warm glow of rediscovered passion, and then seamlessly drop back into the blogosphere. But a really odd thing happened.

I discovered a new world — an entire new world — that exists outside the borders of my computer screen. A “non virtual world”, shall we say. A world full of conversations you can have with your mouth and ears rather than your fingers and eyes; a world full of images that you can smell and touch and (occasionally) taste without having to click to enlarge; a world full of laughter that actually is out loud and people who don’t click a button to tell you they like you.

So instead of taking a break from blogging, I found myself taking a break from the internet. I didn’t check Twitter. I updated Facebook a dozen times in those three months. I checked my email twice a week. I disconnected the wireless cable that used to run between the beeping, flashing, LOLing Overlord in my office and my brain.

And it was good.

Really good.

I thought I’d miss the notifications. “Someone likes your post.” “Someone commented on your post.” “Someone responded to your comment.” “Someone responded to your tweet.” “Someone likes your status update.” “Someone invited you to play a new, improved, and totally-different-we-swear version of Farmville/Superheroes/Words with Friends/whatever.”

But I didn’t.

I thought I’d miss the stats — the obsessive checking and rechecking to see how many page-views my blog has had. “Do they like me today? Was my post good? Am I good? And has anyone found my self-worth lying around?”

But I didn’t.

You know what I missed?

You.

I missed my friends. I missed Kim and Bridget and Ava and Tricia and Stephanie and Katy. I missed Stephen and Emerald and Kay and Brian and Anthony and Ben and Emma and too many other people to list by name. I missed everyone I’ve connected with in the bloggy world, everyone who has read my blog, friended me on Facebook, followed me on Twitter, and invited me to share in their lives by commenting and blogging and connecting with me in a way that wouldn’t be possible in the “non virtual world”, either by dint of distance or time.

I’ve missed you all.

Thank you to those of you who messaged me on Facebook or tweeted me or emailed me to see if I was doing okay. Thank you to those of you who encouraged me to “hurry up and come back, damn you!”. Thank you to those of you who are, after a three month break, still here and reading this.

I’m back now, and I intend to stay around.

So, what have I been doing during my three months away?

I’d like to say that I’ve run a marathon or learned a new skill or even (Gods forbid) finished the first draft of my novel. But I haven’t done any of that. I’ve done something far more fulfilling.

I’ve spent a lot of time with these three wonderful guys.

And you just don’t get better than that, do you?

28 Comments

Filed under Life With Kids, Random Stuff