Category Archives: Advice on Blogging

Bogged Down in Blog

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Bogged Down in Blog

It’s hard to write while traveling–
your half-knit thoughts unravelling
as they call you in to talk
or have a meal or take a walk.

You sleep in other people’s houses,
wrinkles in your unpacked blouses,
possessions jumbled in your cases,
move at unfamiliar paces.

You live a life that’s not your own–
daily walking, driven, flown
while trying to remember faces,
confused by all these different places.

In the past I adored going–
miles passing, airwaves flowing.
I loved to move like a rolling log,
but that was when I didn’t blog!!!

Now I find I’m scurrying.
Wake up already hurrying.
I’m confused and frankly dumb,
forgetting where I’m coming from

as well as where I’m going to.
I’ve lost a sock and lost one shoe.
Still, I find time to write each day,
here in some room, hidden away.

This daily writing’s an addiction
that makes real life a dereliction!
I short my hosts to do my writing.
I’ve given up my life for citing!


The Prompt: State of Your Year–How is this year shaping up so far? Write a post about your biggest challenges and achievements thus far.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/

Morning Dew and Switcheroo: WordPress Daily Prompt Weds NaPoWriMo

When I’ve Passed A Restless Night

When I’ve passed a restless night,
to once more welcome morning light,
I do not leave a lover’s grasp.
No knitted legs need to unclasp.
What time on waking I can afford
is spent by me, unwinding cord:
the earbud cord around my neck,
my PC power cord from the wreck
of pillows, comforter and sheet
that somehow, now, are at my feet.
My MacBook Air, just by my shoulder
has come unplugged and so is colder
to my touch. It won’t power on.
Then, when plugged in, my poem is gone.

For the month of April, I am marching to the beat of two drummers, NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) and the daily WordPress blog. So, for the fun of it, I’m going to try to write a few poems that incorporate both prompts. The first part of the poem (above) meets the NaPoWriMo challenge that springs from the form known as the aubade. These are morning poems, about waking up, dawn and daybreak. Many aubades take the form of lovers’ morning farewells but the topic was left wide open and so I took a different slant on it.

The second part of the poem (below) segues into the WordPress prompt entitled “Switcheroo,” that asks what blogger I would trade places with if I could. I’ve tried to make the two poems work either as single poems or as one longer poem. Tell me what you think. Does this work or do you prefer them as separate poems?

My Kindle lies upon the table,
still spewing words, if it is able,
from the book by Audible
that I heard was laudable;
so I chose it to listen to
knowing words would be but few
before I gave my thoughts to dreams
in short, imaginary schemes.

In sleep, I’ve pulled the ear cord tight.
It disconnected and tales took flight
into the air and so are gone
and my dreams become the song
whispered in my slumbering ear­­­­­­­­–
all that I dream and hope and fear
coming up to enter thought
revealing to me what I’m not
as surely as what I may be:
a page, a paintbrush and a tree.

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And so as I’m unwound from sleep,
I sit up, my date to keep
with that world I’m connected to
with cyber-nails and blogging glue.
Those who find the world absurd
might give pause to read a word
that I wed with more words ‘til
my dreams have finally had their fill
of eating up my conscious life.

Now that I’m no longer wife,
mother, an employee or
the keeper of a traveling store,
if I wish to spend my days
ensconced in a creative haze,
who is there to bother me?
I live alone. My days are free.

I would not trade with Heather Armstrong,
(Dooce.com) or Huffington,
for though more followers would be nice,
(Any blogger would like a slice),
still it is perhaps excess.
I don’t want so much success,
for much as I’d enjoy renown,
as far as being toast of the town–
I will remain just who I am.
I’ll take my blog without the jam!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/switcheroo/

IMHO

 The Prompt: IMHO–Link to an item in the news you’ve been thinking about lately, and write the op-ed you’d like to see published on the topic.

IMHO

I gave up reading the news years ago. I just got too depressed when I did so. Certainly, stories filter through and then I hear the pertinent details or look them up online, but gone for me are days spent listening to and watching repetition after repetition of the same facts, many later found to be untrue or exaggerated.

So, this prompt is one that sent me out into the news Internet, looking for a story. The first one that came up was of the French pilot who it seems deliberately sent his plane careening into the Alps, killing everyone on board. Then I found a story about Korean twins, separated at birth, who never even knew of each other’s existence but who found each other over Facebook. Then a story about a woman who transforms abandoned Bratz dolls that look like hookers back into dolls that look like little girls.

Then back to President Obama’s Iran negotiations, a small girl born with two heads, The Voice finals in Australia, a letter of thanks gone viral, written by the mother of an autistic child to a businessman who had put away his papers and played with his seatmate for the 2 ½ hour flight. I flipped through dozens of other stories on the way: about the royal family, dogs, cats, a cow furnished with prosthetic legs and saved from slaughter. This hodgepodge was heartwarming, heartshattering, overwhelming, and two hours later, I had still not chosen a news report to write an op ed piece on.

I guess, instead, I will write it on how the internet seems to be substituting for our lives. This flood of information furnishes the vicarious existence once limited to The Soaps: The Edge of Night, Another World, General Hospital. I still remember the day Joan Lenzi came running into our room in college, tears streaming, shouting “Laura died, Laura died!” My heart flipped over in dread as my mind searched madly for a mutual friend named Laura, only to discover, once Joan had collected herself a bit, that a character on our favorite Soap had just departed our after-lunch afternoon.

No more skipping Astronomy to experience the next vicarious thrill. Without Laura, who was Luke? With no further excuses to skip, I dropped Astronomy, insuring the necessity to attend summer school to catch up.

Now it is harder to avoid excuses. When one internet heroine or villain passes from sight, there are ten thousand others to take their place. Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, OkCupid, Match.Com, Christian Singles, Pinterest, Blogster—ad infinitum. There is so much to fill our lives and furnish excuses for what we don’t want to do that it is no longer really necessary for us to assemble a life around ourselves at all. So long as we can somehow manage to feed, clothe and house ourselves, the rest is available online.

When I suffered a debilitating migraine lately, the first to know it were internet friends. My Skype near-romance phoned my oldest friend, now rarely communicated to other than through Skype or online Scrabble games. She talked me down from a near-panic attack and I eventually fell asleep. The next morning I wrote about it (Here) and had a flood of sympathetic comments from blogging friends. Another friend who lives in the town where I live Facebooked me the name of a medication that might forestall future headaches. No neighbor arrived on my doorstep with chicken soup or offered to feed the dogs, but cyber friends gathered round, giving me that warm feeling formerly reserved for a down comforter.

I had to look up IMHO before I wrote my response to this prompt. It’s a term often used in the past by my Skype near-romance. But every time, I forget this initial-speak. It’s as though life has been shortened enough. Emails have become Tweets and emoticons have replaced phrases of opinion, affection, disgust or frustration. Hyperlinks replace restatements and hashtags replace the social organizations where we used to gather for coffee or a coke and a good old-fashioned in-person gab session.

In my humble opinion, everything is finally short enough. If we become any smaller, we are going to implode. Computers now fit in the palm of one’s hand and I’ve heard of technology where one day they will be implanted into our eyeballs and transmitted to our brains. At that point, what do we become other than human robots? Perhaps it is all a plot by the machines of the world to be the next step of our evolution. Perhaps what the most far-out science fiction writer once imagined has become our world. In my humble opinion, we have gone far enough. We are able to know too much by doing too little. Experience too much by doing nothing at all. The time has come where observing life is more interesting than making it happen. Time to stop!!! But that is just “my humble opinion,” expressed as a full statement—railing out against this too-short world.

Note: Once more, my NaPoWriMo and Daily Prompt subjects seems to have intersected, so to read my other short post today, go HERE.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/imho/

The World Is Too Much With Us

People here are funny. They work so hard at living they forget how to live.”
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

The World Is Too Much With Us

How was life when we didn’t know everything?  Back when there was no TV and when news got shared once a day on the radio and once on the door stoop in the morning?  We were so busy with our own lives that we didn’t spend every minute of every day bound up in the ills of the world.

Violence was a neighborhood game of cops and robbers, but nobody really ever identified more with the robbers.  It was more a game like kick the can, where you were trying to keep something away from the other side.  Violence was not the point and when I look deep, I know that a game of cowboys and Indians was no more an expression of prejudice than listening to a World Series game of the Yankees against the Dodgers was.

To rephrase a quote from Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), I have to say that people of the twenty-first century are funny.  They work so hard at living they forget how to live. I include myself in their ranks.  I am so tied to my computer that I panicked recently when I spilled a Coke on it and had to go a few days without.  My day felt strangely empty even though I had an entire ocean and beach spread out before me and a small town full of people to talk to, a porch full of art materials.  But, I’d become so accustomed to my blogging world and even to talking throughout the day via Skype to a very dear friend, that I didn’t know what to do with a day that was just a day in one place with one set of people around me.

Existence has become a thing that has no value unless I can write about it and I don’t seem to be able to write anymore unless I am writing into a computer and sending experience out into the world.  I am committing, perhaps, even more of a sin than those teenagers glued to their hand devices, texting their friends. They, at least, are connected to someone,  whereas I simply talk to my computer and send out copies later.

Who is most at fault is not the point.  The point is that connection with the world at large that keeps some of us from a simple and private connection to the world immediately around us.  We know so much about so many things we really don’t have much control over, that we have become voyeurs. The entire world has become grounds for our gossip.  We are fascinated by the gory details, shocked but in a sort of fascinated daze that keeps us many times from realizing that this is more than a movie. This is reality.  Someone’s pain.  We feel it for those seconds and minutes and hours and days that the horrible action stays in the headlights of this rushing vehicle that is our world, but then we pass on and it is as though one program has ended and the next begins.  We think about world events in episodes.  Off with the old one, on with the newest slaughter or murder or coup or genocide or monster storm or hostage situation.

In the meantime the minor tragedies around us sometimes go unnoticed.  We are so fixated on the stories of major tragedies on the other side of the world that we forget the real people and small dramas going on around us.  We watch nature shows on television while ignoring what wildlife still exists around us.   We suffer the passion and pangs of romance as onlookers.  Observing the great chefs of the world takes up time we could have been baking chocolate chip cookies.  Watching Honey Boo Boo in horror becomes a punishment in comparison to  sitting in a playground, watching children living the world in real time.

Yes, what I write is hyperbole, but I think it is true, to a varying degree, of most of us connected to the technical world. It is like a horrible accident passed on the hightway that we are told by our mothers to look away from.  Who can resist?  No matter how much the gory scene may invade our dreams and turn them into nightmares, we cannot look away. And now with TV and the Internet, we could spend 24 hours a day watching such horrors. And often do.

There is such a thing as being too connected to too large a world.  This is why I disconnected the dish network and cable years ago.  The bad news still leaks through, as does the good news, but in quantities I can take and that leave time for real experience and a perhaps misplaced faith in the world and human goodness and yes, even my own goodness.  I am beginning to try to spend more time away from the computer–to simplify, if that is possible in this busy cluttered mess of a life I’ve once more collected around me.

I find the valuable elements slipping away and less energy to collect more around me.  Friends die and move away both physically or emotionally.  This is the process of life.  But it is also the process of life to stay engaged in a real way and to fight for meaning and value in our lives.  This should not be so hard.  There should not be so much to plow through to get to ourselves and what is really important.  The Mr. Deeds quote, in modern context, might be altered to read, “We work so hard at observing and being in contact with the world at large  that  we forget how to live in that world.”

The Prompt: Silver Screen–Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the subject of your post. Now, write!

Citing or Writing

Citing or Writing

Two little Internetters sitting on a log.
One is a writer. The other reads a blog.
The one who reads it learns a bit,
but I’d rather be the one who’s writ;
for there are parts of me inside
that like to run away and hide

and the only way I get to be them
is if I take the time to see them.
But they are canny, reclusive, meek;
and so unless I prod and seek,
they stay hidden, sealed away–
never seen in the light of day.

Somehow, blogging brings them out.
The Daily Prompt, without a doubt,
seems to catch them by surprise
and lures them from behind my eyes
to meet the screen–to shine and glow
and tell me what I need to know.

So if I want to follow others,
or entertainment is my “druthers,”
I’d go on reading other blogs–
other writers on other logs.
But since my need is to know myself–
to lure the rest of me from the shelf,

I’ll make the choice that’s most exciting.
If I had to choose, I’d keep on writing.
For if blogging is a game,
sitting on the bench is lame.
Those who write just keep on fighting
while those who read are just reciting.

 

The Prompt: If you had to choose between either writing a blog or being able to read the blogs of others, which would you choose?

How to Make your Blog a Viewer Magnet! by Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh

Make your blog writing top heavy. Leave your introduction and exposition and background and picture and video for the end of your blog piece. A lot of people use the WordPress Reader to decide if they will read or like your story. If all they see is a picture or a reason why you wrote the piece instead of the writing itself, people (I know I have) will skip your piece. For example, if it’s in response to a writing prompt or exercise, put that information at the end.

Also, the most important sentence or stanza is your first one. Make it count. Make it interesting.

Try it! If you see a difference in your stats after a few days, let me know!

If you would like me to check out a specific piece by you, check out my About section for details.

Thanks for your time and attention. I hope I find you in times of great creative energy

Want More Attention? Episode 1, 22 ThursdayJan 2015 Posted by in Writing.  Be sure to check out  her blog.

Note by Judy:  The above short essay by Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh gives such good advice that I’ve reblogged it here. I’d like to add that your title is all-important.  If your title is just the title of the prompt, there is nothing to distinguish you from 100 other posters.  Make your title a magnet that will draw in your reader.  I always scan the response page to the prompt, looking for intriguing titles.  I read those first, then go back and start at the end and read backwards, thinking there might be more meat in pieces that haven’t been dashed off immediately as soon as the prompt is posted.  There are exceptions, of course, but with so much to read, this approach works for me.  In addition to The Reader, of course.  Happy blogging!  Judy

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