Writing as Discovery

“The process of writing fiction is totally unconscious. It comes from what you are learning, as you live, from within. For me, all writing is a process of discovery. We are looking for the meaning of life. No matter where you are, there are conflicts and dramas everywhere. It is the process of what it means to be a human being; how you react and are reacted upon, these inward and outer pressures. If you are writing with a direct cause in mind, you are writing propaganda. It’s fatal for a fiction writer.”

Nadine Gordimer

via Social Media Writing | Scoop.it.

Only 50 Words

“I’ll bet you $50 that you can’t write a book using only 50 words,” said Cerf. He knew that Seuss had used a whopping 225 words in The Cat in the Hat, which had recently been published, and he knew how Seuss had struggled with that one, so the $50 seemed like easy money. Yeah… easy money for Seuss!

via mental_floss Blog » 7 Curious Facts About 7 Dr. Seuss Books.

Can you write a short story using only 50 words? You can use the same 50 words as many times as you need. Only use the same 50 words, not a 51st.

Don’t Lose your Twitter Account

Lately I’ve been seeing more people who have had their Twitter account accessed by someone who sends out junk to their followers. If you get a private message which includes just a URL, don’t click it. Chances are the owner of that Twitter account has not sent it.

The best way to prevent having your Twitter account hacked/ compromised is to use a password which can’t be guessed/ cracked too easily. Try adding numbers into the text or make it random numbers and letters. (If your account is hacked, on Twitter or anywhere else. the first thing you should do is change your password).

If you are typing in URL for Twitter, double check it. Make sure you typed it right before you login. Don’t give your login and password to a phishing site which has bought up a version of the Twitter domain.

Don’t sign up for third party applications too quickly. Consider what they can really offer versus taking a chance on giving your information to a service you don’t really know. Before signing up check online, see what other people are saying about the service/ application. Anything that offers less than good, if not stellar, customer service should be regarded as suspicious.

If your account has been compromised but you can still login Twitter says to:

  • Change your password. (Do this first, before anything else).
  • Go to the applications you have allowed access to your account and delete as many as you can, if not all of them. You can sign back in later if you really want to keep using them.

If you can’t login or if you have a request from Twitter to change the email address on your account you need to contact Twitter and request a password change.



Oblique Strategies

Feeling stuck? Looking for inspiration? Try drawing from Oblique Strategies, a deck of cards containing commands and phrases meant to inspire. Put together by musician Brian Eno and his friend, painter Peter Schmidt, and used while working on Eno’s 1975 album, “Another Green World,” Oblique Strategy commands include: “Try faking it!,” “Put in earplugs,” and “Listen in total darkness,”

To replicate the technique yourself, keep a stack of index cards on your desk, and any time creative impulse strikes, write down a new command. The commands can be very specific (“wash the dishes”) or deliberately vague (“simplify”). However, note that the idea is that you need to have created your deck before you’re in those pressure situations and when you’re not obsessing over your work, as it’s going to be tough to come up with a bunch of oblique strategies when a deadline is looming!

via Web Life – GigaOM – Salon.com.

What would you write on your oblique cards?

  • Get to bed earlier.
  • Dump out old coffee, make fresh.
  • Down grade.
  • Change mind.
  • Put something away.
  • Step outside.
  • Clean junk drawer.
  • Get out the coloured markers.
  • Brush hair.
  • Put on the radio.
  • Day off.
  • Fortify.

Grief and Soap Opera Fans

Today is the start of the last week for All My Children, the soap opera.

I’ve been reading some of the posts by fans, some are very upset about the end of the show. I’m sad watching it too. I remember Another World being cancelled and watching that final, last ever episode. It was hard to see the last of so many people (long time and well loved fictional characters feel like people) I had grown up with. People I had watched with my Mother and Grandmother. Another World had become a tradition, something I did not expect to end.

Next, One Life to Live will be ending in January. Two long running family shows coming to an end. It’s quite a lot to lose in a few months, for loyal viewers. There has been talk about the soap operas continuing online. I don’t know if I will watch, or if I even can view them. I can’t watch the yesterday’s show videos on the ABC site so I’m not expecting that Prospect Park will work for me either.

What do you think about soap operas, fans and the strong links between them? Does it seem silly, over blown? Overly dramatic? Or have you been a fan yourself and feel sadness/ grief over the loss of your soap opera?

I think some people watching the end of their soap operas will need some extra help getting through this time. Maybe even grief counselling. If you read the forums, Twitter posts and such you can hear how painful this is for people.

Write about grief over something, the soap operas if you are a fan, something else if you are not a soap fan. 


The End for CMF Ad Network

CMF Ads are closing the network. The network did not grow huge, it did not become famous around the world and it did not make a lot of money for Ben and Turnip who began, maintained and developed the CMF Ad network and site. But it was good! Well run, honourable, reliable, it offered more than just a place to buy and sell ad space, CMF Ads was a micro community.

Not everyone who joined found this part of CMF. Some just wanted what CMF had on the surface so they never looked deeper. Some found it complicated and just asked for help and then forgot about the forums and the people once they had their ads up. Whatever the story, at the end of October, CMF Ads will be gone. Another good thing, gone.

Thank you for the years, the work and the community. Good bye CMF!


Communication is vital, bottomless in importance to the world and possibly beyond. Communication is also ever changing, one of the least stagnant things we have. New words are created, used and some are adopted into everyday language, even accepted into our dictionaries. The world is full of different languages, different cultures and endless groups of people with endless interests and goals.

Esperanto was started as a way to link people with different cultures and languages. If everyone could understand one universal language then we could all communicate no matter what part of the planet we are from or where our cultural background takes us.

Would you learn a new language? At least a few words? Would you like to be able to give a friendly greeting to anyone in the world, anywhere, no matter what languages each of you use to communicate day to day? 

From Wikipedia:

Esperanto (help·info) is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto (Esperanto translates as ‘one who hopes’), the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887. Zamenhof’s goal was to create an easy-to-learn and politically neutral language that would foster peace and international understanding between people with different regional and/or national languages.

Esperanto was created in the late 1870s and early 1880s by Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, an ophthalmologist of mixed cultural heritage from Bialystok, then part of the Russian Empire. According to Zamenhof, he created this language to foster harmony between people from different countries.

After some ten years of development, which Zamenhof spent translating literature into Esperanto as well as writing original prose and verse, the first book of Esperanto grammar was published in Warsaw in July 1887. The number of speakers grew rapidly over the next few decades, at first primarily in the Russian Empire and Eastern Europe, then in Western Europe, the Americas, China, and Japan. In the early years, speakers of Esperanto kept in contact primarily through correspondence and periodicals, but in 1905 the first world congress of Esperanto speakers was held in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. Since then world congresses have been held in different countries every year, except during the two World Wars. Since the Second World War, they have been attended by an average of over 2,000 and up to 6,000 people. Zamenhof’s name for the language was simply La Internacia Lingvo “the International Language”.


Writing for Mobile Blog Readers

Writing for Mobile Blog Readers.

It might sound funny, but those age-old writing techniques carry right over to today’s hurried mobile readers. (Think of bus or subway commuters who replaced their morning newspaper with smartphones and tablets.) Now is the time to work those suggestions into your blog. Get the nutgraph (keyword phrase) of your story in your lead (first 140 characters). Write short paragraphs, and use bullets (lists) and subheads (H2 tags) to improve readability.

You’ll be surprised at how well those old-school, JOURN-101 tips can tighten up your content and enhance the user experience for your blog readers—whether they’re surfing via the traditional web or their mobile devices.

Considering physical size and brevity can bring more focus to your writing: what you write and how you write it. Try writing shorter, condensed content. Then rethink how you display it. Do you use subheaders, do you highlight, do you bold text? Could your content be better, more readable for not just mobile readers but all your readers?

The End for Book Reading?

I found this link on Scoop.It: Publishing.

Is this the end for books? | Books | The Guardian.

Certainly, electronic books have overcome their technological obstacles. Page turns are fast enough, battery life is long enough, and screens are legible in sunlight. Digital sales now account for 14% of Penguin’s business. But there are reasons to reject the idea that the extinction of the printed book is just around the corner, just as there were reasons to reject the notion that e-books would never catch on because you couldn’t read them in the bath and, y’know, books are such lovely objects.

I believe reading will be around in one form or another. Books have been a part of our world for such a long time they can’t just fade away too quickly. But, things do change. Think of the current generation of teenagers. How many of them have every played a record, dialed a rotary phone…?

For me, reading a paperback book is my own style of comfort food (without the calories and concern about cholesterol). I read in bed, late at night. I read at the coffee shop. I never need to worry about a paperback book falling off my bed when I fall asleep reading. I don’t feel too bad if I shove around a book in my purse and get it a little dog-eared. It’s just been a bit more well read, enjoyed.

Digital technology is changing how we read as well as what we read. People are impatient, expecting near instant feedback to emails. Attention spans are getting shorter as well. How long will it take before people can’t focus long enough to read at all? Everything will become visual in order to catch attention and keep it long enough to drill their message/ information into wandering minds. Already there is too much information, an overload of distractions.

I think we need to keep our brains able to read a good book. To wind down, focus on something for a longer time period and become more involved than just on the surface level.