Category Archives: tip

Multiple Blogging

MultipleBloggingThere are times I take on too many projects, or in my case, blogs. I thought you might find them interesting, but also, I wanted to share the idea that writers, or would-be authors, might benefit from blogging on their interests.

writersjourneyA Writer’s Journey is this blog, that focuses on the writer audience. I share resources, links, video, and my own journey with writing that includes publishing but also the craft of writing. Embedded in The Western MD Writers site. www.westernmdwriters.com

moonshadowMoon and Shadow focuses on the pagan (earth centered religions) traditions including ritual, beliefs, crafts, and activities that celebrate the pagan religion. I focus on the elements of faith to help guide and balance our lives.

lpcblogLearnthepc.net Blog is my business blog where I share tips and hacks, reviews, and other technology related topics. This is embedded in my web site Learnthepc.net.

mlaAnd finally, My Life is an Adventure, my personal blog, which I occasional post about my life and interests. This is linked to my web site SharonPoffinberger.com.


So you might be asking yourself “How the heck does she do all that?” Well, sadly, I don’t. I tend to ignore posting regularly like I should. But I can share tips that I intend on following.

  • Schedule your writing. Blogging should be done regularly, but however you wish to blog is up to you. You can post daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, but be consistent.
  • Brainstorm topics to write about. This is easy for me, and I keep a folder under my browser bookmarks entitled ‘blog ideas’. This includes topics specific to each blog as well as ideas to spark more ideas. I also keep a notebook for ideas I want to write about each month.
  • Vary the length of your posts. Consider mixing longer posts with shorter posts. Some blogging can include only mentioning a link to a resource, or a graphic you wish to share with your readers.
  • Quality over quantity. I notice many great blogs include quality posts that might be infrequent, as opposed to many posts that can overwhelm the reader.
  • Topic consistency. Unlike my personal blog which tends to cover topics from homeschool, to pagan topics, to writing, to funny things that interest me, a good blog should focus on a genre of ideas.
  • Call to action. This area I tend to forget or not do for various reasons. It sounds so ‘salesy’ to me, like I’m hawking wares on a street corner or something. Blogs generally ask readers to do something such as share links to the post/blog, to join a mailing list, to subscribe, or take some sort of action that benefits the blogger. It’s a good idea, but I don’t like blogs/sites that pop up messages demanding I do this so I don’t on my blogs/sites.

Do you blog? Share in comments. Do you blog more than one blog? Let me know. I’d be curious your experiences and advice you’d like to share.

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Filed under Blog, Links, tip

The joy and woe of Morning Pages

IMG_0099I’m once again trying the activity of Morning Pages. Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way suggests taking some time each morning to write three pages, in long land, to provide clarity, ease anxiety, and clear out the cobwebs.

This is a great idea, except I’m not a morning person. I don’t wake up with anxiety, or thoughts, or anything but morning grumpiness. The last thing I want to do is slog through the process of long hand to write three pages worth of blithering. Three pages can take me quite a bit of time that I could otherwise be writing something I enjoy.

But I’m doing it anyway because I want to improve my handwriting and hope to find some insight, clarity, or, (dare I dream?), realization of myself.

Tips to morning pages:

Pick a journal with pages that fit your size. Currently I’m using a large spiral notebook but realized on Day 2 of morning pages that this is a bit too much to try to write three pages each and every morning. I would suggest a small notebook with lines that fit the time and effort you will put into your pages.

Pick a quality pen. For me, I prefer the chunkier size pens to fit my hand better, but the quality of ink is also important. My choice is the Bic four-color ink pen. The ink flows well, and the size feels good.  Sometimes I switch to another color for a change of pace. You may prefer a gel pen, erasable pen, or just a lovely pen to use for your morning pages.

This is my pen of choice with four different inks to choose from and a thick barrel. You can find various colors, but this one has black, blue, red, and green.

A fountain pen= I never used one of these types of pen, but they are pretty. You can get very expensive (over $200) to this more affordable model.
Erasable gel pens. I’ve considered this type, in case of mistakes. Gel pens can make pages sticky, but they come in so many colors that are bright/clear.
LED Night writing pens. I love this idea- a light for your pen so you can write in a dark room!

Make Morning Pages a ritual. This can include making a cup of coffee or tea, lighting a candle or incense, even saying a little prayer (to  your writer’s muse) for inspiration.

Integrate the Freewriting or Pomodoro techniques. Freewriting is writing for 10-15 minutes without stopping. This includes no corrections, no formatting, and no grammar/punctuation concerns. You just write nonstop.

Pomodoro technique is using a timer of 25 minute increments with 5 minute breaks between to get things done.

Adjust accordingly. I don’t believe in things being ‘one-size-fits-all’. This means if Morning Pages becomes too grueling, it’s okay to stop. Remember the goal- clarity, insight, and for me, improving my longhand. If your goals are not being met, it is okay to adjust the activity or even stop. Do only one page, write for time instead of the number of pages, or find another medium of writing/

What do you think: Have you tried morning pages? Do you think you will try it? Post in comments below.

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Filed under Author, Goals, Links, resources, tip

My experiment with Morning Pages

morningpagesThis past week, I’ve explored an exercise called Morning Pages. Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way explains writing three pages, each morning, in longhand, is a great way to clarify your thoughts and remove ‘cloud thinking’ Sort of like quieting the ‘monkey mind’ in Zazen meditation.

I figured I’d give it a try. I got an old notebook, my favorite pen, and first thing when I got up, after coffee, and ready to start my day, I’d write those pages.

This is what I learned:

Three pages is too much. Two was a bit much for me. Writing in longhand is arduous for me. It hurts. My hand cramps. My handwriting is barely legible. The simple act of writing isn’t so simple for me, which is why I prefer to type. I forced myself to do write two pages instead. Even that felt like I was working through molasses. My monkey mind wanted to be free, and struggled the entire time.

Consider the size and type notebook. I used a composition notebook, which meant almost full 8×10 page, so a Moleskin diary provides smaller pages. Spiral notebooks provide a choice in size as well as writing on flat page.

I complained a lot. Because I didn’t enjoy the entire process, my ‘thoughts’ often centered on how I hated my handwriting, or that I had nothing much to write because my brain barely functions when I first get up.

Three pages took a block of time I could be doing something I enjoyed. While I struggled through this exercise, I wasn’t working on the number of things I wanted to get done (and would enjoy more doing).

On the other hand, I want to share my own advice on this process;

Don’t feel you have to do mornings. Select the time before you’re going to get started on writing to help clear the junk in your head. Since I write in the evenings, I’d write/type after dinner and before I started writing.

Keep a list of prompts to get you started. These can include anything from fiction prompts, to prompts that provoke insight into the inner workings of you mind.

Freewriting for 10-15 minutes instead. Freewriting does the same thing Morning Pages promises- to help with clarity. It can also jump start creativity. It focuses more on the nonsensical and unrestricted ideas in your head. In other words, freewriting is supposed to be a brain dump.

Go in with a better attitude. I fully admit I didn’t have the right mindset for it to work. Even if I started complaining/whining, switch to more pro-active thinking, and move on. Unhappy with the strain of thought? Scratch it out and start again. No one will read it.

Have you tried Morning Pages? Do you need to find clarity to sort out thoughts to write? What are your experiences in freewriting? Please comment and let me know your thoughts.

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Filed under Author, Handy Links and Resources, resources, The Writer's Journey, tip

Word Processing: 10 Cool Keyboard Tricks

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While editing a manuscript, I found a need to make the process faster with the use of hotkey (keyboard shortcuts), wildcards, and some keyboard tricks to get things done.

These work only in MS Word.

Doing this

Does this

Pressing the dash key 3x will create a horizontal line in your document

== =

Pressing the equal key 3x creates a double line in your document

Ctrl   H

Opens the Find/Replace feature.

Ctrl  E

Aligns text and graphics to center

=rand(08,10)

Type this in your document creates random text if you ever need to add random text.

^p^p

^p

Using Find/Replace, put ^p^p in Find and ^p and this removes manual spaces between paragraphs

Ctrl  SHIFT  m

Inserts a comment where you put your cursor in the document.

SHIFT  F7

Pressing these two keys open the built in Thesaurus. You can often find synonyms by RIGHT-CLICKING over a word. You will choices of words to use.

LEFT CLICK

The mouse

Clicking a word twice will highlight the word. Click three times, and you select the entire paragraph.

 

Find these useful? Share with your friends, subscribe, or leave a comment to let me know. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like me to post a blog about, leave me a note.

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Filed under Editing, Program, tip, Tuesday Tip