Contact

Though I have a contact page with my very long email address attached, I rarely get emails concerning WUOTWSO50. Perhaps it’s because my email address takes about an hour to type. Maybe it’s because no one needs to speak to me offline. However, someone looks at my contact page almost every day, yet I rarely recieve anything exciting.

It hurts that no one emails me…

Ok- not really.

But one day I did actually get an email from a real person.

This person said she loved how people got so involved with my posts- how people commented and there was a back and forth and everything was so lively.

As they were a newbie blogger, they asked if I had any tips for creating a compelling blog with lots of idea exchange and conversation.

(before I go any further I want you all to give yourselves a round of applause because it is because of all of you that my blog has this great spirit and energy. If you don’t take part in the discussion, nothing happens- take a well deserved bow)

Where was I? Oh yeah- I promptly wrote the blogger back. I gave them a tip or two that I have learned in the past few years.

Well, when the blogger wrote back to me, they said that they were surprised that I answered them, much less quickly. They were very appreciative of my taking the time out to converse with them.

So first off….

I know that I am an IMMENSELY POPULAR BLOGGER WITH A HUGE FAN BASE.

I get that I don’t normally have time for the HOI POLLOI, but I guess every now and then I need to throw them a crumb…

But seriously-

Do I come across as an ogre?

Do I appear to be the type of person who wouldn’t resond to someone asking a question?

or

Do people just not respond to inquiries or questions?

Is my down home folksiness an anomoly is the rough and tumble world of competetive blogging?

So I must ask the questions:

  1. Why do people look at my contact info and then not email me?
  2. If someone emailed your blog contact something generic or innocent, would you respond in a timely manner?

Reading and Writing and Writing and Reading

One of my blog friends (R. Douglas) made a comment to me a few months ago, and it really stood out. He said that he often wishes to write for readers instead of writing for writers…

I began to think about that. When I write my blog, I know that most of my audience are fellow bloggers- other people who put their thoughts into words and hit publish. When I write my blog I know that I am writing to writers…I also know that there is instant feedback…

What would happen if I wrote my blog and disconnected the comment section?

How would that change my writing?

When I was working on my book, I found it hard to tell a story.

I found it hard to write for readers.

I like a lot of dialogue. I don’t like description. I don’t like a lot of deep prose paragraphs…I don’t like doing the things that appeal to readers…

However, in my blog, I write to you as I speak. I may not be as blunt as I am in real life…(trust me: I am blunt in real life and I can’t hide my emotions), but you are getting 100% me…

Aside from my poor grammar and lack of editing skills, I like writing for writers…

But how do I bridge the gap from writing for writers to writing for readers?

As I work on a memoir (yup- jumping on that bandwagon) I find that I can use the style that I have cultivated in my blog- I don’t have to rely on the traditional aspects of writing- I can rely on my ability to put words on paper in my unique (I hope) way…

But will readers want to read that?

Cause let’s face it: if I write a book I want it to be read…

And I can’t write a book with a comment section that I can reply back to…

But…as I have a comment section, right here, right now…

What do you think is the difference between writing for writers and writing for readers? Or do you think writing is writing and an audience is an audience?

What are the things in books that most appeal to you?

Help a sister out and give me your opinions…

Write it Down

Welcome to today’s version of “How A Book Inspired LA to write a Blog Post”

Today’s book: Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar.

While Akhtar considers this a novel, not a memoir, there are aspects of his real life in this book. Akhtar is a Pulitzer winning author so he has some literary street cred, so when he talks about his craft I listen.

Akhtar goes home at night and writes, with as much detail as he can muster, the events of his day. People, settings, feelings, situations….He will spend about two hours retelling his day.

Talk about a journal…

Is this the only thing besides actual talent that separates me from a Pulitzer? I just don’t take the time to write down the minutia (sometimes, not always) of my day?

Show of hands: How many of you journal? Brain dump? Morning pages? I can’t see you because I won’t Zoom, so tell me who you are.

How detailed do you get when you free write?

I do a brain dump in the morning. I tend to do a combo of things that I need to do that day and I probably obsess about one detail from the day before. There’s usually some reason I become fixated on something and eventually it probably becomes a blog. But I rarely write the whole thing- I did not talk about the smell of yesterday’s heat when I complained about it. I didn’t write down the body language of the guy I didn’t trust yesterday. I didn’t write down how I met someone for the first time and how he referred to me as Sister…

  1. Why didn’t I write these details down, when they are so clear in my mind?
  2. Should I be writing these details down?
  3. Is my lack of detailed notetaking the only thing that separates me from being a Pulitzer winner?
  4. Why have I become so obsessed with Pulitzer winners?

What do you think about writing down your day in detail?

Do you think you would benefit from it? Why or why not?

What do you think about free style journaling? Pro or con?

Write how you feel…

Anything Can Happen Friday: Quotes

I have a little desktop calendar: every morning I flip the page and read my new quote. I love this way of starting the productive part of my day. I read the quote, get inspired, and then I begin to write, first a brain dump and then my blog.

Quotes can be wonderful. But only when they are not misquoted.

On Wednesday I wrote about a quote that had recently come up on my calendar. As the quote was a stand alone, I took it literally. There was no context, nor did I search for one. I assumed the publishers of desktop calendar had done due diligence.

Never assume.

It turns out the quote may, or may not have been, from a satire. If indeed it was supposed to be read as a satirical comment, then the thoughts that one would attach to it would be quite different.

Now, it the particular case of Wednesday’s post, we had a rousing discussion. It worked out as a great starting point for talking about personal satisfaction versus personal responsibility. Turns out many of us know a person or three who has chosen satisfaction over responsibility. And we all know people who have clearly chosen responsibility over satisfaction…

But the real point is, be careful what you share online.

Make sure you aren’t just blindly copying and pasting something.

Make sure you’ve thought about what you choose to post to the world.

I know I am going to be a bit more careful before I blindly add another’s thoughts to my posts.

Just because something looks pretty doesn’t mean you Blindly share

Know What you are sending before you copy and paste

Gratitude Saturday May 8

It’s my blogiversary!

Four years ago I started my blog!

Yay!

People often ask how I can write almost every day. The answer is simple: I love blogging. When I wake up I am excited to sit in front of my computer and pump out a few hundred words, even when I have no idea what I am going to write about, which, let’s face it, pretty much every day. I open my computer with a few scribbled notes that I probably wrote months before, or, like today, I just start writing and end up with long run on sentences. Who said I always have a plan?

Ha

I want to blog every day. I am excited to interact with everyone. If I’m not feeling it, I don’t write. Period. I pen a note that I’m taking a few days off (this gives me accountability in my head) and I chill until I get the urge to write again. If you don’t love sitting in front of some electronic device and blogging, you need to ask yourself why are you doing it. I once saw someone had named their blog something like “Why did I start this damn blog” and I wonder at that as a title- if your title says that you don’t want to blog, why are you doing it?

Blog because you love it. Any other reason is just not worth it. Unless of course it’s your job, but if it’s your job and you hate it, maybe you should consider another job maybe…

But anyway…

I am grateful for my blog

I am grateful for WordPress (most of the time anyway)

I am grateful for all those who choose to read me

I am grateful to all those who choose to randomly “like” my blog

I am grateful to those who choose to follow my blog

I am grateful for all those who comment!!!!

I am grateful for all the wonderful people who I have met on this journey! You inspire me!!

Thank you!

How Do I Write? Let Me Count the Words…

What inspires you?

Recently we talked about how my family always being underfoot has made it difficult for me to be creative, how I need solitude in order to tap into my muse. My muse is an introverted thing, and she needs to be alone in the house with music softly in the background and the scent of lemon wafting from the diffuser, and a cup of black tea with milk and sugar sitting on the side.

My muse took up residence somewhere else during COVID…

But anyway…

Turns out I need to be alone to actually put words on the paper…

But…

In order to be inspired…

in order to find things to write about…

I need to be out and about. I need people, places and things from which to get ideas. I am never going to get ideas from sitting in a room with my diffuser and a cup of tea. I mean, those things might make it into a work, but for the most part, how much can I write about them?

ok- expect a post about my desk sometime in July

I am a sensual person. I am inspired by the things that I can touch, taste, see, hear and smell. When you are a sensual person, you need to be interrupted. You need to be amongst the people. When you are a sensual person who is looking for those ideas, you need to be disrupted. You need some sort of controlled chaos.

Quiet to write.

Distraction to be inspired.

Look at the things that I choose to blog about. I do not get these ideas while sitting in my desk chair, smelling the lemon and drinking my tea. I might read a great comment, or be treated poorly by someone. Run out of toilet paper or talk to my sister. All these things get my brain working…makes me reach for my planner and pink pen and jot down the idea…At the time I write the note I may not know what my post will look like, but I know that I’ve hit on an idea that I can expand…

The toilet paper post of this week- do you know what my note was for that day?

things I did for my family that they didn’t realize

I wrote that note months ago because I knew that somewhere in those words was a blog post. As I sat down to write and thought about that note, the incident from the previous week popped into my mind…

Inspired by chaos and distraction…

Enough about me:

What inspires you?

Where do you get your ideas from?

How do you keep track of the things that you want to write about, paint, photograph, whatever your chosen medium is?

Do you just think of things, or do you need some sort of distraction to inspire you?

What activates your muse?

Discuss

Gratitude Saturday April 17

Have you all noticed the new WordPress thing, the one where other posts by the blogger show up at the bottom of the screen, as well as posts along similar subject area? Tater and I were talking about this the other day, as he posted about it. I was telling him that one of my posts, the one about whether or not reading was better than other pursuits, was getting a lot of hits (well, lots of hits for me) I told him that last week I gained like a hundred new readers (again- abnormal for me). So I wondered what my blog about reading had linked up to.

A few days later, tater contacted me. He told me that my post about reading was at the top of the Discover page. That’s when the lightbulb went off. My post was at the top of the page designed to highlight a post or blogger and introduce them to others.

Fine.

Now the hits and the new readers totally made sense.

So I am grateful that my post was at the top of the page for a bit of time and I found some new readers and exposed my ideas to more people.

However…

You knew there was going to be some sort of angst along with this, didn’t you?

The past ten months, I have not been really writing blogs. I have been asking questions to get the conversation started. I thought we needed something to focus on that wasn’t necessarily what was featured on the news that day. I wanted us to come together and discuss ideas. This didn’t start out as my goal, but it seemed to work. People were joining the discussion. There was a roundtable of sorts where people presented their thoughts and reflections and I know I certainly learned a lot of things, and thought about things in different ways.

This has been fun. I’ve enjoyed posing these questions.

However…

This does not mean that these have been the best blogs that I’ve ever written. Far from it. These have been pieces that have gotten me through all the challenges that we have faced throughout the past year.

So, the piece that was at the top of the charts so to speak…The reading post was like a bubblegum pop song that makes it to the top of the charts. It was cute, it sparked reaction, but it was by no means representative of what I have done or could do as a writer.

I have so many blogs that I am proud of, so I am a little sad that one of those did not get the same recognition as this one did.

Part of me wants to scream to the new readers-

“This is not the best of me- let me show you the posts I think are good. Let me show you the posts that made me cry as I wrote them. Let me show you the posts that I still laugh about. Let me show you the posts that made me who I am…

See how something “good” can be a blessing and a curse?

My guess is, knowing myself, I am going to try to up my blogging game. I am going to try to write the Great American Post. I am probably going to check my blog for error and spell check…I’m going to try to appear smarter or better or just more…

But at this moment in time….

I am grateful for having a little bit of the spotlight..

I am grateful for 4000+ followers

I am grateful that I want to open up my computer and blog everyday

I am grateful that there is no blogging award acceptance speech…could you imagine what a train wreck that would be?

I Read…Therefore…

A few months ago Never Not Reading Posted asked if reading makes us better. Simply, is reading more valuable than say, watching TV. I thought this was a pretty interesting avenue to drive down so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Do we think that people who read a lot are smarter? Better educated? Erudite?

Or are people who spend their time doing other things just as smart?

I can argue that reading words off a page is active…you are pushing your brain more because you are deciphering the letters and words and sentences to make sense of what’s in front of you. To read means that you are paying attention to not only reading the words but understanding the meaning.

Do you engage your brain the same way by watching TV? By listening to a podcast?

How do you describe readers? What words would you use?

How do you describe non readers? What words would you use?

Prepandemic, I read about 5 books a month. During pandemic we all know that my reading was off the charts. I read because I enjoy reading, but it was also one of the few outlets that I had to keep engaged. With the warmer weather and more things opening in New York, I definitely can see that I’m reading less- I only finished one book last week…But with all my reading, did I become “better” or was I just less bored? If I had watched TV that whole time instead of reading, would that have changed the person I am now? Would I be better or worse or would nothing change?

Ok- what are your thoughts on readers versus the rest of the world?

Never Not Reading is on hiatus right now, but if she does return to blogging I will supply her information.

Social?

I sort of pride myself on my limited use of social media. I made up a certificate and proudly magnetized it to my desk….

LA hereby decrees that she keeps her social media usage to less than an hour a week

Huzzah

However…

I blog every day.

So the question is:

Is WordPress social media?

I obviously don’t thing it is. I think of WordPress as being more informational. We go to WordPress to hear people’s stories, listen to their issues, learn about things we did not know.

But am I….what’s that word that I don’t like to use when talking about myself….hmmm…oh yeah…

Am I wrong?

Could I be mistaken about something?

So simply…

Is WordPress social media?

Yes or no?

Why or why not?

Discuss:

What do you See?

I’m sort of cheating today. My original intention for this post was to give you various ELA (English Language Arts) questions from different exams that students need to take. But when I looked at the questions, I realized that the passages were too long to include more than one example, so I am going to try to do an abbreviated example.

nysedregents.org January 2018

This is a passage from the New York State Regents exam that all High School students in New York state are required to take. I think that you must pass this exam in order to graduate.

If you want to play along, read the above passage.

nysedregents.org January 2018

These are the questions that go along with the exam.

Do you think you can answer them correctly? Let me rephrase that: Do you think that you can answer them the way the New York State Board of Regents thinks is correct? Can you make a case for all the answers to be correct depending on how you look at it? Or that they are equally wrong?

Here’s where the subjective/objective thing comes into play: How much does ones background, feelings, etc enter into the equation when trying to ascertain what the “right” answer is?

Is it possible to have an answer that is more right?

Now let’s jump to the next part of my thoughts:

In a world where we can all interpret things in different ways, how do we communicate with one another?

If Person A looks at something one way, and Person B looks at it another way…how do we learn to understand one another?

My background, feelings, experiences make me feel that something is a certain way. Someone with the opposite background might see something the opposite of the way I see/saw it?

In a world where no one is wrong, how do we move forward?

If no one is right, and no one is wrong, how do we resolve conflict? How do we come to an agreement? How do we fix things?

So while you are reading the passage and answering the questions, think about the greater context. Think about why you think one answer is right and one is wrong. Think about why someone might have a different answer to the question.

I will give you the correct answers on Sunday, and possibly in the podcast that will eventually align with this post.

Think

Discuss

Full disclosure: I chose this exam because this is the exam my daughter and her classmates took and I have a sort of baseline as to how actual students did on the exam.