Tag Archives: blogging

Blogging by iPhone

I downloaded the WordPress app and now test it whilst reclined on my bed, my dog hogging the covers, and the day drawing to a close.
I find I simply cannot type as fast on this tiny keypad as I can on my PC. I normally use a program to add posts that enables more freedom to add pictures and formatting.

I can see this might be useful to add blurbs, quotes, or quick posts.

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Graphics for the blog posts

wishImayThis post is more for bloggers, but for authors who blog, they might need to figure out ways to add photos and other graphic media to the blog to add character and color to their posts.

writersthoughtsMake your own. Using your own images is best because you’ already have copyright, and can use such graphics as you see fit. I use my own photos from time to time, but also graphics I work in my Photoshop program.

Use Stock Photos. You can opt to buy stock photos through sites like Dreamtime.com, IStockphoto.com, or Fotolia.com which allow you to purchase graphics as needed often with a subscription based purchase. This can get a bit pricey.

Use Amazon.com. If you join Amazon.com as an affiliate, you get any graphic for products to use in your blog. The trick is finding the right product that doesn’t look like a product to illustrate your point. Maybe you want to use product placement, so that works too.

frootbat31Use screen grabbing or printscreen methods to make graphics. When I blog about another blog or web site, I use Pixlr Grabber extension for Google Chrome (or Firefox). This allows me to capture a part or the entire web site I want to walk about. I edit it for size and appearance, and insert into my posts. You can find other screen capture type extensions for your browser. You can also use the printscreen button on your keyboard to add to an editor of choice.

If I’ve forgotten any other methods, please post in comments below. These are just a few ways I use graphics in blogs I’ve found effective.

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A Writer’s Strengths and Weaknesses

books.jpgNaturally, writers find they have strengths in some areas and weakness in others. I would say one of my strengths includes cliffhangers at the end of chapters, which leaves the reader wanting more. I’ve had three readers tell me this, so I’m not boasting. (ok, maybe just a little).

My weaknesses consists of the passive voice, and wordiness. I can explain something with lots and lots of words, when a simple, straightforward sentence would suffice.

Figuring out what those weaknesses and strengths are can prove challenging, if not painful.  I’ve seen writers give up on writing when they think they’re not perfect, or the feedback too harsh. But writing can be fixed and improved. The red pen can be your best friend and teacher.

- Be honest with yourself. If you hope to improve your writing, you need to be honest about faults if you ever hope to improve them.  It doesn’t mean you’re a ‘bad writer’; it means you need to hone your skill.

- Be mindful of your weakness without letting it derail your goals. . Instead of quitting- fix it by working through problems and improving. Writing is a skill that needs practice, trial and error, and exploring through creativity.

- Remember, a story is about storytelling. Even a weakness can be forgiven if you excel somewhere else. I’ve read published novels that didn’t offer a great story, but the plot and/or characters were enough to keep the pages turning.

Take the time to listen to critiques and objectively read your work to find the weaknesses. Once done, now you have a quest to find a means to rework, delete, or somehow improve that which hinders your writing.

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Blogging- When you have nothing to say

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There are days I find myself staring at the blank screen, trying to figure out what to write about for my blogs. This is where the ‘idea folder’ comes in handy.

An idea folder doesn’t have to be a literal folder, but a service, notebook, phone app, or anything where you store ideas. You can jot down notes on index cards and keep in a recipe box, or use something like Evernote or Web clipping extensions for browsers to put ideas there.

Ideas come to me at weird moments through my day, and I often feel as though I’m grasping at butterflies before they fly away and I forget the idea before it takes full shape.

My inspirations;

Photos- I find lots of ideas through photos on the web, or even when I take my camera out to snap photos.

http://imgfave.com/frootbat31

http://vi.sualize.us/

Chat or conversation with friends and family. I get lots of ideas via my writer’s group, while my personal blog tends to find inspiration in odd things my son says, or emotionally driven rants on politics or issues.

Current events offer tons of ideas to comment about, or you can share your own experience with the topic. For instance, I’m writing about the National Novel Writing Month coming up in November.

Personal experiences I think offer the best topics. Readers appreciate that insight and revelation from a point of view who went through the process.

Books I read offer tons of ideas, especially when I want to add my own two cents on the subject.

Other bloggers. I have a circle of bloggers who visit, read, and post, offering me links back to their blogs. I can then read their thoughts and comment, cross-linking to illustrate where I found the inspiration.

Once you compiled a number of ideas on your list, when you feel uninspired, look at the ideas folder and start writing.

Post your own inspirations and ideas for topics below.

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Filed under Blog, Goals, resources, Writer

Do you write like a man or a woman?

Hacker Factor  Gender GuesserI happened upon this site, Gender Guesser at Hack Factor, the other day. Being I never gave much thought to gender roles as a writer (I often head hop into characters, both male and female), I figured I’d give it a go.

Two samples of fiction turned up a ‘male’ results. Factors the system considers includes the use of words like ‘and’ and gender specific keywords such as ‘was’ and ‘is’ as female, and ‘the’ and ‘it’ as male.

I’m not sure how they made that conclusion.

Whatever the results, I feel they are just plain biased. First of all, labeled as one or the other as ‘weak’ already shows bias against a gender, not a writing style. Weak writing should be seen as weak writing and only weak writing- not female or male.

Oddly, I’m often mistaken for male online. My guess it has more to do with my online name as Frootbat31. One guy explained he thought I was male because “what female would pick a bat as her avatar?”. Um, me, apparently.

A fellow chatter once explained his reason of assuming my being male had something to with my humor and style of talking. Perhaps it has that element my son told me the other day, how I have a ‘take-no-crap’ attitude?

I think the real issue should focus on weak writing versus strong writing, and how we, as writers, need to practice the strong writing. Labeling as one gender ties into all sorts of nature  versus nurture arguments, and I think in this modern age, we can recognize there’s exceptions to every rule.

If the gender guesser assumes you’re female, reread your stuff and highlight any words such as ‘is, was, were, should, should’. Find stronger verbs to describe the action, or even delete them. “We were late to the party” can easily be shifted to “We arrived late to the party”.

Personally, I feel I write like a PERSON and am satisfied with that.

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Filed under Editing, Handy Links and Resources

Some neat blogging add ons for Firefox

I love the Firefox browser. I also use Internet Explorer, but only if a site won’t open or have a plug in I need. Otherwise, I stick with my Firefox due to the neat addons and personalization things I can do with it.
I really love how the toolbar works, where I can add folders and bookmarks as I see fit. I keep Thesaurus, Dictionary, Wikipedia, and a link to my local library at the ready, as well as a folder with all the writing sites I’m a member of.
I keep things simple, because adding too many things to a browser can slow things down on the Web. I keep only the ones I use frequently and feel as though I can’t live without;
StumbleUpon.com is a highly addictive toolbar I have to shut off when I’m not using it. This is only because I can spend hours of my time clicking through sites, video, and pictures that fall under the tag words I’ve chosen. I find so many new web sites because of it.
Scribefire is a neat little addon program that works with your blogs. I have WordPress and Blogger blogs, which easily work with Scribefire. I can add more formatting with the Scribefire than if I go through the sites.
Google Bookmarks provides me a way to backup all my bookmarks somewhere else so I don’t lose anything.
Shareaholic allows me to pick and choose which networking sites I use such as Twitter, Facebook, and yes, even StumbleUpon so I can share sites I find interesting with my friends.

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