The L Word in Letter Form

I just sent a love letter to my nephew. He is 13, taller than I am and full of muscles from sports he has been doing. So strange to think of him as a young man versus the little towheaded boy I looked after. He is being bugged by his parents and Grandmother and family friends about what he will do this summer. I remember how much I hated that when I was his age, endless nagging and nitpicking. I still hate it actually.

So I wrote him a love letter and sent it to him in email this afternoon. Just a bit about how great it is to see him becoming a man and watch him growing up and making decisions. On and on and on in that kind of way. Of couse the L word was dropped into the mix, twice I think. I mean it all and yet I dared not read it back to myself cause I’d start feeling sappy and have tears trickling down my face. Getting emotional is sometimes silly.

Anyway, write your own love letter to a young person in your family. Pick one out of the tree from some branch or other if you don’t have a young person in the immediate family. Get mushy, give them some sincere goo about life and changes and being a good person. It never hurts to tell someone the L word, even if you can’t actually say it in person.

Demonstrating the One Question Interview

Question – If you could hire a professional writer for your blog, would you choose to do so or keep writing your own content for yourself?

Canucklehead – I would continue to write myself. Visitors of Canucklehead have come to expect and in an odd way enjoy the mindless, barely legible way I write and I’m afraid writing that was in any way professional would frighten and/or confuse them. (NOTE: I would however spend the money on beer – hence the whole mindless and barely legible thing. CHEERS!)

Texas RV Travel Blog – I have been a professional writer and editor for almost 30 years.

PictureFlick.net – My current site is a picture blog, so there’s not much to be written in it. But in the past I’ve had writing blogs, and I would continue to write for them myself as long as the sites stayed informal. If I was running a tech/business blog or something similar that needed a bit more formality, I’d most likely hire someone.

Tycoon Blogger – I have several blogs and some I am not as anal about so for those I would allow a hired writer to create the content. On my flagship blog, Tycoon Blogger, I enjoy writing on the topic of blogging and social media so much that I would continue to write even if I had the option not to.

Old Red Pen – I do a comic. I’d always want to be the primary illustrator, but I’d be happy to feature guest artists if I enjoy their work.

The Thin Red Line – I will definitely always do my own writing. I’m not a professional writer per se, yet I have and do make money by putting words together.

Thirty Something Blog – I would continue to write my own content. I do enjoy posting a guest post by someone else every now and then, but it’s MY blog and it wouldn’t feel right having someone else writing the content. I do this as a hobby, for fun. Hiring someone would defeat the purpose.

Ken Writing – My blog is my writing and my writing is my blog. If someone else were to do it, it wouldn’t be mine.

Cromely’s World – I have had a couple of guest posters, but I wouldn’t hire a writer. I blog specifically because I need to write. The act of writing keeps from brain from falling apart due to work related concerns.

Jane Bradbury and Paint Shop Pro – I will always write the majority of my content. I’m a perfectionist and couldn’t bear to farm it out, and like Ken, it wouldn’t then be mine. The mistakes I make now are my own mistakes; if no one likes my blog then it’s my own fault. I can’t shift the blame to someone else, or use them as an excuse. I do fancy some guest posts though

New Scribbles – I would continue writing for myself, it is part of the fun for me, I like my blogs to have a little bit of me in them, my humour etc. Plus I am a writer and love to scribble

I asked this on the forums at CMF Ads. I was glad to get a good variation of answers. As you read the answers which hold your interest, which of them are you likely to follow up to see their own sites? When you give an interview it is important to have the information being asked but, don’t forget this is self promotion too. Use your interview to engage your reader, even when it is a short interview which isn’t appearing on your own site. You never know who will be reading and possibly dropping by to visit you.

Watering your Fish

Fish like being watered. Not a heavy, hard water but a light, gentle water. They swim all around the water from the hose when I spray them. Just love it! I think someone should design a theme park for goldfish, just those in ponds cause the goldfish in bowls are just too tanked to really appreciate a good theme park.

Plan out a theme park with a lot of water and bubbles (no ducks or raccoons, this isn’t the haunted house after all) for goldfish in a big pond.

One Question Interviews

ProBlogger posted about making a linking post. In his list of styles of link posts was One Question Interviews.

One Question Interviews – this one takes a little co-ordination and advanced planning but is when you shoot a question out to another blogger (or bloggers) to get their perspective on a topic relevant to your readers. I find these most effective when you email the same question to 5 or so other bloggers in your niche and then compile all the answers into one post side by side so your readers can see different perspectives.

I really like this idea. You can come up with a question, not too complex, and get a lot of feedback and link to each person. If you work on getting a wide variety of blogging types you could end up creating a ton of new ideas.

Mentally Refreshing Harajuku

I posted about harajuku girl fashion in my personal blog. It was fun to see the photos of these girls especially. There is such a wide variety of clothes, styles and art involved.

One point I came away with is “Mix and match – harajuku style is about visually and mentally refreshing contrasts” (Quoted from Mooky Chick’s post about harajuku fashion).  One thing harajuku has is vibrancy, vitality – even the dark and gothic fashions have a life of their own.

We need to bring all of this to our writing. It’s creative, alive and full of contrast and yet attractive (even cute) at the same time. Maybe you can bring new life to a description of something standard by adding humour. Maybe you can bring a vitality to your characters by giving them contrasting viewpoints and conflicting morals. Maybe you can pull creativity into your blog posts by putting more of yourself and your art into them, don’t stand back and read it and edit out all the risky parts that might expose something of yourself.

Be a harajuku girl for a day and wear something mix and match, take a chance and just have fun.

The Campaign for Plain English

Have you heard about Plain English Campaign or the Plain Language Network? The idea is to make communication simple and easy to understand. Going back to basics essentially. It has been used mainly as a guide for legal and government communications but should be a guide to everyone. What is the point of writing if you are not communicating? (Unless you plan to keep it all to yourself in which case you could come up with your own personal, weird form of shorthand and save a lot of paper).

Wikipedia has the following description: Plain English (sometimes referred to more broadly as plain language) is a generic term for communication styles that emphasize clarity, brevity and the avoidance of technical language.

Plain English is English written to be understood. It is written in a manner appropriate to the range of reading skill and knowledge of its audience. It is writing where there is no confusion about meaning, is free of cliché and unnecessary jargon and is presented in a way that builds understanding. Good Plain English writing has the characteristic that it communicates to an audience that is unfamiliar with the in-house language and knowledge of the writer.

Plain English Foundation

Plain Language.gov

Proper words in proper places make the true definition of style. – Swift.

What appears to be a sloppy or meaningless use of words may well be a completely correct use of words to express sloppy or meaningless ideas. – Anonymous Diplomat. Quoted in “The Complete Plain Words”  by Sir Ernest Gowers.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

When I’m asked about my favourite book I think of “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson.

There is a Shirley Jackson award for fiction writers. She wrote more than fiction. She was an early Erma Bombeck, writing about herself and her family life with four children.

“[L]et my reader who is puzzled by my awkward explanations close his eyes for no more than two minutes, and see if he does not find himself suddenly not a compact human being at all, but only a consciousness on a sea of sound and touch . . .”

“It is only with the eyes open that a corporeal form returns, and assembles itself firmly around the hard core of sight.”

“I delight in what I fear.”

“I have always loved to use fear, to take it and comprehend it and make it work and consolidate a situation where I was afraid and take it whole and work from there.”

Have you read any of Shirley Jackson’s books or short stories?

Annoyingly Subject to Word Verification

I can’t read your word verification. Likely this comment won’t get posted which is annoying after I took the time to type it.

How many people do you annoy by using word verification (of any kind) on your blog readers? How many comments have not even been made just because you demand they type an annoying code they can’t read, or choose not to bother with?

In my case, I don’t use anything but moderation. That means I approve comments before they are posted. It’s a simple thing and it works. What really does tick me off are sites where I am expected to use the word verification and they moderate comments too. One or the other should be sufficient. Why am I wasting my time and patience typing in word verification if you (the blogger/ site owner) are still holding it back to approve anyway?

You may think word verification isn’t a big deal, but I hate it. I usually will not leave a comment when it is being used.