Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts

Friday, July 8, 2011

Let's Get Creative

Hello! I'd like to take a moment to invite you to join me today at Tribal Blogs, where I will be guest posting on the topic of creative writing.  I will take you through my process for creating fictional stories.  Let's take a walk on the creative side together.

Tribal Blogs is a place where writers of all types come together to share tips, discuss writing, technical issues, and generally support and entertain each other.  Come see what we're all about!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Day at the Zoo

Who needs breakfast?  That would be me.  Sure that we would find breakfast somewhere along the way, we headed out to zoo and our meeting with Jen, who writes the humor blog, Redhead Ranting.  Unlike where we live, there was not a McDonalds or BoJangles on every corner.  What to do?  We drive and drive...growl.  I can't go to the zoo on an empty stomach.

Just when we were about to give up and just eat whatever we could find at the zoo, we stumbled onto a nice little bagel shop in a shopping center.  A cinnamon raisin bagel toasted with butter, please!  Wonderful...it just hit the spot.

Now we backtrack to the fairgrounds where we could pick up a shuttle to the zoo.  There is on-site parking, but we had read that is highly recommended to take the shuttle.  They run some wildly decorated buses that leave no doubt as to their destination.  This one is giraffe spotted; the other is a zebra.

They had a posted schedule, and it appeared it would be another half hour, and we barely had time to make our meeting with Jen.  I called to let her know we'd be late, and she offered to pick us up.  About that time another bus pulled in - so much for their schedule.  


It was a short ride to the zoo, even though the bus felt like it had a square tire.

We hung out for a few minutes while Jen and her daughter caught up with us.  Like I said, parking is available, but getting a space isn't always easy.

 
 
I gave her a call to tell here where we were waiting, saying I would be the gal wearing a blue top with penguins on it, next to a guy in a blue Hawaiian shirt - what a pair!

Yay, the long-awaited meeting.  Jen is a warm, down to earth lady, who was in "mama mode" that day.  She had her lovely daughter with her, who added an interesting perspective on our activities.  We had a great time looking at the animals and reptiles and watching Sparky the sea lion perform for a packed arena.  It was a picture perfect day, but it began to get hot in the bright sunshine.  
 
It's lunch time.  There was a decent snack bar with a good selection of the typical zoo foods, burgers, hot dogs, pop corn, nachos and of course, ice cream.  We enjoyed lunch where we talked blogging, compared notes about the differences in our weather, and shared pet stories - hubby and I are never lacking for weird pet stories.

You can only ask so much of an 8-year old, so they left after our visit to the Como Town amusement park.

Afterward, hubby and I walked through the many rooms of the conservatory, a building filled with all sorts of unusual plant life.  This room was filled with ferns of all kinds, including the largest fiddlehead I've ever seen.


It was a lot of fun to meet fellow blogger, Jen, face to face, and enjoy some beautiful Minnesota weather.  There was so much more to see but, alas, not enough time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blogging Categories: Where do you fall?

Photo credit: Michel Wal
We've come a long way from the ancient tablets where there ideas were carved into stone, and only those  present could view it.  Today our words go out to the entire world with the click of a key.  

Creative Writing bloggers showcase their talent by putting words together to draw us into a story created from their own imagination, be it prose or poetry.  Examples can be found on Magpie Tales and One Shot Wednesday Poetry, to name a few.  I sort of stumbled into this type of writing at a time when I wanted to add new life into my own blog.

Photography bloggers focus not on the written word, but rather how life is seen through the eye of the camera.  Beautiful pictures take us around the world season by season showing what many of us would otherwise never see.

Bloggers who Teach know that while anyone can create a blog and start writing, it isn't as cut and dried as that.  More experienced writers, and those with a lot of natural talent may fare just fine.  For everyone else, there are those who teach about how to get readers, get comments, pinpoint our target audience, determine the tone of our blog, find our niche, and more.

So the question is this, which of these categories do you fall into?  Does your blog blur the style lines?  What, if anything, would you change if you could have a do over, and what's stopping you?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ten Things I Have Learned From Blogging: Anniversary Edition

Photo Credit:  nImA Destiny
In celebration of  Roses to Rainbows' first year in the blogosphere, I would like to share with you some of the things I have learned and people I've met.

1.  Getting comments.  After six months of the occasional visitor and no comments, I decided to look for help.  An internet search landed me on Barbara Swafford's Blogging Without a Blog.  She taught me the importance of reading and commenting on fellow bloggers' posts.  This is one of the most valuable lessons I learned, and led me to eventually write on the value of comments.

2.  A new type of pen pal.  In years past, a pen pal was someone with whom you exchanged written letters, but probably had never met.  Nowadays, with the popularity of the internet, the pen pal has changed.  The computer screen has replaced stationery, and the keyboard has replaced the pen.  We frequently exchange thoughts with people we haven't met; does this make us pen pals?

3.  People will give you things.  I got a lovely purple pen from my friend Margaret at Nanny Goats in Panties, that I use to rough out some of my posts.  She mentioned it in one of her posts, and I asked if she was selling them.  "No, but I'll send you one."  Thanks Margaret.

4.  Writing can be fun.  I discovered Magpie Tales, a blog dedicated to creative writing.  Willow, from Life at Willow Manor, posts a picture prompt every week, and writers from all around the world participate with original short stories and poetry.

5.  Writing can be frustrating.  There are also hours...days even...that you sit and stare at a blank screen or sheet of paper waiting for the right words to come along and bail your bloggy butt out of writing purgatory.  Here are my tips for beating writer's block.

6.  Bloggers form support groups.
  Tribal Blogs is a network for serious bloggers, started by Jen of Redhead Ranting.  It is filled with friendly, supportive people willing to share information, and give advice (when asked, of course).

7.  Blogs can take on a life of their own.
  I had different ideas about what my blog would become.  I wanted to create a source of local information to help people find good bargains and special events around town.  Problem - no local readers.  After finding #4, I began to realize that writing was more interesting to me and more appealing to others, thus changing the focus of my blog.

8.  "Build it and they will come" does not apply to blogging.
  When I first started out, I thought I could just create a blog, publish posts and wait for people to show up.  Well, I guess that is true in part...the waiting part.  See Item #1.

9.  What widgets and gadgets really are.  I thought widgets and gadets were things usually found in one's junk drawer.  They are actually those little blocks found on your sidebar, containing code that put text and/or graphics on your blog.  Speaking of the Junk Drawer, "Hi Kathy".

10.  I have a lot more to learn.  I guess this is the most important thing I have learned thus far.  I am learning every day, by reading, experimenting; what works, and what doesn't.  It is all part of the process of blogging, and I am happily looking forward my next year in the blogosphere.

I have met so many helpful and encouraging people that I couldn't begin list them all here, but you know who you are.  I do want to send out a special thank you to my friend Sara from A Sharing Connection.  She has been right there encouraging me ever since the first comment I left on her one of her photo story posts. This was my initial venture into creative writing.

The Quote of the Week will return next week.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Those Who Read Blogs Together

Have some odd conversations.  Here's a couple blurbs from last night.

Hubby said, "Redhead had a new one 8 hours ago."  
Me:  "Yeah, I read it, the one about..." 
Him:  "eHarmony Fail."  
"Yeah, that one."  He reads for a minute then asks, "what about that guy she had the date with?" 
"I don't know - someone asked the same question, but I read, commented and moved on.   I haven't been back yet to see if she said anything about it." 

Next:
"Did you read Babs Beetle?"  
Me:  "I did."  
Him:  "She has closed angle glaucoma."  
Me:  "Same as me." 
As he read through the comments, he noticed one where someone using eye drops not only missed her eye, but actually missed her entire face.  As he started to remark on that, he realized it was my comment, and said "I thought that sounded familiar", and I said, "that would be me."

I blog and he reads.  I think he got into it when I showed him the now famous Junk Drawer.  Any of y'all share your favorite reads?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blogging: The Value of Comments


We all want more comments on our blog.  But why?  Is it just a matter of boosting our egos, showing our popularity, or just making us feel good about ourselves?   Let's take a look at how valuable comments really are to both the reader and the author.

Validating the Author


Every time you read another writer's post and leave a comment, you are validating the writer.  You are saying - I have read and enjoyed your work, and found it to be entertaining, informative, or helpful.  This encourages us to continue writing and to put forth our best efforts.  So when you read something you really enjoyed, that made you laugh or even cry, please let the writer know.

Feedback

Not only are we validated by comments, but the feedback will help us with future posts.  As we build a relationship with our readers, we gain insight into what they relate to, or connect with the most.  With this knowledge, we can write more effectively to our audience, and our posts will have greater meaning than if we just write 'hit or miss' and hope someone finds it interesting.

Forming Friendships

As you receive and respond to comments, conversations spring up, and friendships are formed.  Although we may never actually meet our "blogging friends" face to face, the friendships are real, encouraging and supportive.

Promote your Blog

Here's where we get to the "me" part.  It's the old give to get concept.  Commenting on others' blogs will likely get you more comments on your own blog.  If you leave a sincere comment on someone's post, along with your "return address", they will probably come visit your blog, and hopefully leave you a comment in return.  The more active you are with reading and commenting, the greater the opportunity for others to discover you.

The Results

Whether given or received, comments provide helpful feedback, insight into your audience, new friends and, ultimately, more comments.  So next time you read something you like, give the writer a heads up.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Blogging Blockage - More Ways to Get Inspired

List posts are an important part of the blogging culture.  Recently several excellent bloggers have put together list posts filled with tips for minimizing the effects of the seasonal decline in readership, and keeping the creative juices flowing during a drought.  So now I'm sharing my list of inspirational tactics.

  1. Take a shower.  The shower is a peaceful place, and the solitude of the running water can totally block out all distractions and let you think, uninterrupted for a good 15 minutes, or right up until you accidentally slice the crap out of your leg with an errant swipe of a sharp implement.  Any coherent thought then goes right out the window, to be replaced by silent cursing of said sharp implement.
  2.  
  3. Mow the yard.  Much the same principle as #1.  To provide thinking time where all other sounds are blocked out.  Just make sure to wear a headset if you tend to think out loud so the neighbors won't think you're talking to yourself.
  4.  
  5. Pictures.  We all have tons of pictures on our computers now that cameras have gone digital and gigabytes are a dime a dozen.  Look through your pictures folder until something screams "I'm a post" to you.
  6.  
  7. Take a nap.  No not literally, just lie down and let your mind wander over anything or nothing in particular.  Random thoughts will form and sometimes a post will emerge.  You might think of places you've been, experiences from your childhood, your courtship, or something funny that happened at the market last week.
  8.  
  9. Cook.  If you like to cook, get into the kitchen and create a new dish.  Just start putting stuff together and see what you get.  Don't forget to document with pictures.  Remember, regardless of whether it's great or gross you can get a story out of it.
  10.  
  11. Day trip.  Write about your last outing to the lake, a winery (these are some I've used), a trip to the zoo, or a week at the beach.  That way those of us who don't go anywhere can live vicariously through your post.  These also make great picture posts which means you don't have to do as much actual writing.
  12.  
  13. Your pets.  Cats, dogs, birds and, of course, goats all make for good material.  This is where the video function on your camera comes in handy.  Show us Fluffy or Fido's latest antics.
  14.  
  15. Go fictional.  Just make something up.  Write short stories, poetry, fantasy, a sci-fi thriller, a mystery, or whatever from your favorite genre.  Just don't write a novel - save that for the publisher.
  16.  
  17. Document a DIY project or write a "how-to" article.  You know how to do something that others would find helpful.  Find that something, and let us know how it's done.
  18.  
  19. List post.  If none of the above jump starts your blogging engine, by all means write your own list post.  


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