Blogging versus Writing

Lakhovsky: The Convesation; oil on panel (Бесе...

Lakhovsky: The Convesation; oil on panel (Беседа), 51.1 x 61.3 cm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I want to talk/write about the distinction between blogging and formal writing when you are a writer/author or work as a freelance writer. I say distinction because blogging and writing share many similarities as well as differences. I guess the question that I want to address here is, “Do you write as you blog?  No, I don’t, and I hope the answer is no for many.  For me, blogging is more about having a conversation, similar to the conversation you would have with someone at a coffee shop, for example. You let your guard down a bit, enjoy your coffee, the company, and talk about what is going on with you, your work … but also, listen to the other party, and share his/her interests.  When blogging, I may start a sentence with the words and, or, and I may use the words ending in ally with or without disregard, and tons of adverbs, depending on what I want to convey, and the mood.  It doesn’t mean that I advocate sloppy blogging. It means that I feel comfortable enough in the conversation to let go of some rules of writing and talk to readers of the blog as I would talk to a friend in casual conversation.

When writing a novel or working on an assignment, editing becomes the friend. It has been said that there is a conversation between an author and the readers of a novel (and there is); however, that conversation happens in the mind, between the lines, and certainly, after my friend “the editor” has meddle in the conversation.

Another point to consider is the purpose of the blog. Blogs that are formal, informative, and cater to a specific group of readers, should follow the applicable sets of rules, very different from conversational blogs that aim to grow a community, start a conversation, and share among bloggers/readers. I follow the same conversational rules for social media. I’d rather say “see you later gators,” than say, “I will see you later, alligators” – just to give you a common example. If I was writing an instructional, informative, or “formal post,” I would follow suit.

One thing that I find no need or excuse for in blogging or any other social media outlet, is bad etiquette, bad manners, personal attacks, improper use of language, and sloppiness (laziness). But to each its own.

As a writer/author or as a reader, how do you feel about blogging and formal writing? I would love to hear your opinion.

On Writers and Money

Question book

Question book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This may seem an odd topic, but it is one of the most annoying questions I get asked, directly or indirectly by people I know, and by strangers. It is asked as soon as the topic of my writing or books comes up. Besides annoying, I find it intrusive, and a lack of good manners. It comes in many forms, but the root of the question is the same. And the person’s goal is to know if I make money as a writer and how much. Here are some examples of the same question.

  • Are you making a living at it?
  • How much money you make?
  • Is it easy; do you sell a lot of books?
  • How are you doing with it?
  • I see a lot of people publishing books; how easy is that, is there money in it?
  • How long does it take to make it?
  • What else you do to pay the bills?
  • One can’t survive on that, right?
  • I hear the book business is not doing to well; all those book stores closing, right?
  • Oh, do you make good money?

I can go on an on giving you examples of the same question worded directly or indirectly.  When I think about it, the people who ask this question do not understand what writing entails, and most likely, they have a paycheck mentality.  I bet that for most writers who are serious and take their craft to heart, money is the last thing in their minds when they are writing.  Yes, we all want to make a living at doing the thing we love most; this is how it should be. We should all make a living this way, doing the things we love and are passionate about, but most people don’t. Most people don’t understand when someone’s passion goes beyond monetary compensation, or even fame/recognition. I bet that the majority of dedicated writers don’t care about money or fame; it is a byproduct of their love and effort while writing.  However, to be fair to all sides, there are those who write with the hopes of becoming e-book millionaires or gain fame and recognition in the field. Besides, there is nothing wrong about making lots of money and being blessed doing what you love and serving people. To me, writing goes beyond monetary compensation and fame (as a primary goal), and while I hope to one day do exponentially marvelous, that does not mean that I would love the craft more for it, or less if I don’t.

So by now, you are probably thinking what my answer is when I am asked. It usually goes along these lines –

  • I am very happy doing what I do, how about you?
  • I am lucky and blessed to work doing what I love.
  • I don’t price my passions; do you?
  • The day money becomes my story, that day I will stop writing.
  • I let the faeries worry about that part, while my Muse works on the most important one.
  • I am well.

And so along those lines it goes, usually the probing stops there.  So feel free to use those lines if like me, you get annoyed by the question. If you paint, are an artist, or live your passion, most likely, you will be asked the question many times. Some people don’t mind it, some people do, and it has nothing to do with how much money you make. Feel free to comment on the topic, how do you feel about the subject of money and writing?

Thank You Ado Bajic – The Daily Rant

I was very honored and humbled by receiving the Liebster Blog Award – Thank you Ado Bajic from The Daily Rant.  Thank you for reading and considering Inkspeare worth of receiving it.  I don’t take these awards lightly.  I am always happy to know that someone found inspiration in one of my posts.  That makes me happy; and that is all I want – to be able to share and inspire others. I hope I get the rules for the award right.  Here they are.

  • List 11 random facts about me.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and their blogs.
  • Notify these bloggers of the award.
  • Ask the award winners  to answer 11 questions when they accept the Liebster Award.
  • I answer the questions left for me, from the blogger that gave me the award.

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I am a vegetarian.
  2. I love avocado.
  3. I can’t have enough coffee.
  4. I love Purple.
  5. I love Owls.
  6. I am nuts about cats.
  7. I don’t welcome negativity or whining.
  8. I love black and white movies.
  9. I like to watch birds and take pictures of them.
  10. I like to observe people, not so much take pictures of them.
  11. I am addicted to pens and pencils, and stationery.

The Nominees are …

  1. Abominations
  2. Belle Grove Plantation
  3. Cocina de Nihacc
  4. She’s Losing It!
  5. The Kitchen’s Garden
  6. The Jittery Goat
  7. Gallivance
  8. Enchantments of a Beautiful Mind
  9. Michelle Proulx – The Blog
  10. Le Zoe Musings
  11. Old World Garden Farms

These are 11 of my favorite blogs that inspire me in different ways.  I know I have mentioned some of them before, in random posts here and there.  Some are more recent blogs that I have started to follow, and so far I love them very much. It is up to the nominees to answer the questions – I know some people do not like to get too personal or want to keep their information to a minimum. So I set you free to do as you wish 🙂 with your nomination. Answering questions is not required in my book.

11 Questions for the Award Winners (only if you feel like playing along)

  1. What is your favorite book?
  2. What is your favorite ink color?
  3. Favorite Author?
  4. Favorite writing snack?
  5. Favorite poem?
  6. Inspirational Moment
  7. Why did you chose your blog theme?
  8. What jumpstart your creativity?
  9. Best day(s) for writing/blogging
  10. Define in a few words “the simple life.”
  11. Favorite Holiday

Questions Left for Me

  1. How serious are you about your writing?  Writing is my life.
  2. Where do you face while showering, towards the shower head or away from it?  Both ways.
  3. Do you like sports?  I don’t like sports, although I enjoy watching a few – car racing, surfing, snowboarding, for example.
  4. What is your favorite book?  Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is my favorite book.
  5. What makes you angry?  Liars and Bigots make me angry.
  6. What is your happiest memory?  My Grandma telling me a story.
  7. Blue or Green?  Green.
  8. Up or Down? Up.
  9. Do you think the last two questions matter?  Yes.
  10. Would you like to get this award?  Yes.

And here is a picture of the award

liebster-blog-award

A Taste of Ramblings of the Spirit

Here is a small excerpt from my novel Ramblings of the Spirit, Book 1 of The Dinorah Chronicles.

“I picked up the book again and slowly placed it on my bed. I was not sure if opening it or let it be. I laughed at myself. The impression of the dream was so real in my mind that I thought I felt the book’s heartbeat. I turned to go to the kitchen when I heard a thump. I looked back; the book had opened. This time, I mustered the courage to look at the page. It was the page of the boy and the serpent; however, the image had changed. Now, I was looking at my dream. Spilled all over the ground were human hearts; next to the boy, I saw a key, and next to it a heart with wings that seemed to bleed. I grabbed the loupe from the nightstand to inspect the picture. There were initials printed on the heart – DS. What could it mean? Only one thing came to mind – Dinorah Sandbeck” – Chapter 21 – The Thump of the Bleeding Hearts.

I hope that you enjoyed that little bit; you can sample a little more on Amazon.  Here is the official book trailer. I hope that you like it.

 

It is All About Perspective

While cutting some veggies for last night dinner, I had one of my epiphanies.  I always cut the ends of the carrots, tomatoes, celery, or any other fruit or veggie that crosses my path.  Even when they are cut in halves, if pre-packaged, I go back and cut a slice from the ends just to have a fresh end (not sure if you follow me).  Well, by the time I am done, I have a decent amount of veggie scraps that go into the garbage because I cannot compost where I live now (but that will be possible in the near future – can’t wait).  It occurred to me that my waste was a perfect meal for people in some countries that will give anything to have a tiny slice of that scrap to make a soup – I mean countries where there is extreme hunger and poverty, and food is not an everyday sight.  Not that I am not aware of hunger, for some reason this time, it was different.

Besides feeling terrible and wasteful, I thought of how much perspective matters in how we go through life and do our own thing, and then, I thought of how it affects our writing.  When we write a story, even when we are writing from the character’s point of view, our own perspective of things and life is playing in the background.  I don’t think that it is possible to escape it totally, even when we try to be true to the character and do a lot of research about the topic or character’s behavior, origins, culture … and so on.

My point is, our perspective follows us everywhere, it is how we see things, life, and how we interpret it, besides being influenced by our own upbringing, culture, and experiences.  I have made vegetable soup countless of times, and yet, this time, those scraps meant something different, and have become meaningful somehow.

The Miracle of Senses

The pentagram is used as a Christian symbol fo...

The pentagram is used as a Christian symbol for the five senses, and if the letters S, A, L, V, and S are inscribed in the points, it can be taken as a symbol of health (from Latin salus). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I have said before, sometimes I get so focused on a task that I forget everything around me; I block everything else, and many times I forget that I was just making pancakes for breakfast or that I had just put a load of laundry and heard the bell a minute ago.  All I can say is thank God for all my senses.  The smell of starting to toast pancakes or the too quiet house will alert me and bring me back.  The gentle nag of a cat that wants a temptation treat has brought me back from the extreme focus vortex just in time.  This brings me to the topic of appealing to reader’s senses in your writing.

Just as it is important to me to get rescued by my senses, I thought of how important sensory stimulation is on a novel or a piece of writing.  Awakening readers senses gives a new depth to your story, and may rescue some readers from boredom – boredom of too much dialog or description.  Even if you are deprived of one sense, another takes over, keener and improved.  I try to keep this is mind when writing my story, as I tend to run into too much dialog.   To me, the senses are a miracle; it is how we experience the world, and how readers can experience your story.

Sometimes, I tend to ask myself the weirdest questions, and I have asked myself if I was to be deprived of a sense or ability, which one will I give up.  I know, it may sound sinister to many, but I think about unusual things sometimes.  I would give up speech.  I don’t  talk much; I am the silent type, the observer, and I rather write than talk.  As long as I can communicate when I need to in some way, I think I would be happy.  I am a very visual person, and that would be the sense that I would miss the most, probably to the point of insanity, which brings me to this point – readers are very different in their consumption of reading material and learning, so the senses that prevail throughout your story may appeal to some readers more than to others.  My point, striving for a good balance might not be a bad idea.

Do you think about stimulating the senses when writing your story?  Which sense would you give up?  Which one would you miss the most?  If you are missing a sense, how have you improved the other senses?

 

Weed Out the Dead Stuff – It is all a Death Trap

“This is a great idea!” – we have thought at one point or another.  It may be a good idea, but good ideas are sometimes, not well received or are ahead of their time.  Pride in what we do is great; however, pride should not block our vision, stalling our future.  Simply put, “try it, give it some time, and if it doesn’t work, weed it out.”  This is something that I’ve learned with time.  The problem is when we are so emotionally and intellectually attached to our work/idea that we forget to evaluate its performance and choose to ignore the fact that it is not yielding the results we expected.  You may spend years pushing a project, to find out that it was time to let it go, years back.  Just because a good idea is not ready for the now, doesn’t mean that it is rendered obsolete or useless.  It may have a good reception in the future.  An idea or project may be ahead of its time, so if you have given a good and honest try to something and it is not working out for you, put it aside, and revisit it in the future, or not.

Weeding out all the dead stuff is a way of opening room for new ideas and opportunities.  It hurts to let go of a project, especially when we spend a lot of time, energy, money, commitment, and emotional interest in it; however, not weeding out the dead stuff might end up crushing your spirit, impeding growth as an artist and as a human being.  This is a death trap for the soul.

For many of us, letting go of a project or putting it aside is synonym of failure.  I disagree; on the contrary, recognizing the need to move and rearrange ideas and projects will lead to success.  Success is defined by how you feel about the results, and not by what society tells you success is – which is usually money or status.  We are so conditioned to “the persevere-never quit mentality” that we fail to recognize when things are not working out.  If you are passionate about something, pursue it, but keep your gardening gloves on, and weed out everything that is not contributing to that dream’s growth; only then, it can flourish.  In the garden of your dreams, time is precious, don’t waste it trying to revive dead roses; instead, plant new ones.  (Could not resist ending this post with that cheesy line).

What to Do When your Mind Won’t Shut Up

A picture of American firefighters in the 1770s

Image via Wikipedia

I decided to write this post because this is an issue that I deal with sometimes, and it can get in the way of my writing, and whatever project I am working on at the moment.  Sometimes, my mind won’t shut up.  By that I mean that there is a constant overflow of ideas and images, phrases, possible projects, music … and much more that bombards me all at once throughout the day.  When this happens, it is hard to tackle something for long.  It has nothing to do with focus or concentration, I have no problem in that area.  I am blessed in the sense that I can block anything around me and work on something.   Sometimes, too much focus, for example, one day I was working on several freelance articles for a client and while sitting at my desk, I noticed a shadow blocking the window light.  I glanced and I saw a firefighter woman looking at me through the window glass.  Behind her, in my backyard, there were many firefighters, about four of them, running around.  I figured that something was wrong.  I went outside and asked the woman what was going on.  She said if i didn’t smell the smoke.  I said, now I do.  A neighbor decided to burn some brush and someone complained thinking it was a fire, and the firemen followed the smoke to my backyard but it was coming from my back neighbor’s backyard, not mine.  She asked me if I didn’t hear them knocking and I said no.  When I went to the front of my house, there was a fire truck parked on the front and other firemen walking in my front yard.

On another occasion, I had been working on some freelance stuff all day and my husband came home from work, around 5pm.  He came into the room and seemed alarmed.  I asked him what was wrong and he said, don’t you hear all that?  Then he told me to come outside.  I live in a very quiet neighborhood and people are very nice; it is usually very quiet during the day, so my husband was concerned that the street in the back or our home was blocked by police, there were many reporters, news vans, police cars, and even a few helicopters hovering on top of our home.  A neighbor told us that a woman had been murdered in her home, she was actually burned in her bedroom, a very sad incident for this neighborhood.  This commotion had happened since early in the morning and I never even heard a thing.  The street is right behind my house.  These are two examples of how I can get wrapped in what I am doing and not hear anything.

However, I can hear my mind and when it doesn’ t want to shut up, I have a trick that seems to work.  I just empty it.  I know, I probably sound nuts, but it works.  I take a piece of paper and start writing everything that comes to mind, just jotting a few words, not sentences, quite fast, whether an image, a word, and idea for a project, a scene, a title, anything at all gets written, until I stop.  Then I can go back to what I was doing and work happily.  The ideas may serve for something later on, or not.  This trick works for me.  You may want to try it, if you find yourself wrestling with your mind on occasion.

When Misery Loves Company

Finger pointing

Image via Wikipedia

We have heard this line many times – “Misery loves company.”  It is a very damaging way to live by.  Why?  When we sulk in our misery and surround ourselves with people who feel the same way, we are becoming victims of whatever situation it is that we sulk about and prolong.  Some people may even live a lifetime this way.  They have become victims and most likely, blame another for their misfortune.

I wholehearted believe that I cannot blame anyone for whatever happens in my life, because ultimately, I make the decisions, whether these are decisions that I make or think I have to make, but is not what I would like to do – in any case, I always decide, like it or not; therefore, there is no assigning blame.  When I fully understood this truth, I became free.  I saw that no matter the circumstances, I chose and that meant accepting responsibility for those decisions – positive and negative.

When we say ” it is ______ (fill the blank) fault, we are closing the door to growth.  Only by understanding that you are responsible for every path taken, and letting go of blame, there can be growth.  For some people, this is difficult to accept and they don’t want to be reminded of it.  If you do, they will find something wrong with you to be able to refute this truth, whether it is your lack of experience in certain area or life situation or something else.  For them, this is ground for invalidation of what you have to say.  Many times, that same “lack” is what helps you be neutral and understand many points of view.  Keep playing the same misery song and you will keep dancing the same misery dance.  If you don’t change the tunes, don’t expect your feet to move at a different rhythm.  That is what I say.

The artist/writer is many times, misunderstood and labeled.  Many artists/writers know that there is a price to pay when they chose to welcome creativity and change in their lives, specially when others don’t understand their art or path.  They may be accused of daydreaming, having unrealistic expectations, not working, being too emotional … and many other things, tons of other things.  If you find yourself wanting your dream very much and on the path to make it real, to survive this you must avoid becoming discouraged by what others may or may not think of you and you must work your dream against the odds.  Most important, don’t invite company to celebrate misery, because misery loves company, and growth will stop.