How to Start a Writer Blog: 8 Helpful Tips |

5. Ask Commenters to Contribute

This is very, very important. Whenever you make a list of things, end it by asking readers what you left out. This makes the inevitable “You left out xyz awesome thing!” comment a happy collaboration rather than an indictment of the blogger’s intelligence. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented: “I can’t believe you didn’t include [some obscure nerd thing], furthermore [you are an idiot] and [should be fired].” But when I invite people to contribute, they do so gladly.

Such a simple lesson. Worth so much. Do it. Also, you’ll often get people giving you links that lead to new posts down the road.

6. The Past: There’s Always More of It

Credit to John Hodgman for the headline here.

When I started blogging, I sat down and wrote a long list of interesting trivia: topics I knew something about, interesting historical tidbits, lots of computer nerd stuff. Literally a big long bulleted list, in a file on my desktop. I then proceeded to write a blog post for every single one of those items. When I ran out, I panicked. What would happen? How would I keep coming up with a new thing every day forever? I had run out of interesting stuff!

When it’s your job to find and highlight one interesting thing every day, you quickly become a specialist at spotting interesting things. If you have any human interaction, and you keep your eyes and ears open, you will constantly encounter topics. You just need to notice them, then write about them. Go to the post office and listen to people talking in the line, look around the room, look at what’s for sale — something about that experience is almost certainly bloggable. (Forever Stamps, anyone?) So my job as a blog writer changed when I ran out of ideas in my back catalog — I became a finder of interesting things, and worked to become good at briefly describing those things. The finding skill can be harder; you need to develop a clear sense not just of what’s interesting to you, but what’s interesting to your audience, and also what can be briefly described.

via How to Start a Writer Blog: 8 Helpful Tips |

Working as a Writer

“I enjoyed work, I really did. I began to realise how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow and fixed hours and a fixed salary and very little original thinking to do. The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a business man. The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him. If his is a writer of fiction he lives in a world of fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not. Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock. The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. … A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” – Roald Dahl


This was an email forwarded to my from my Mother today:


They are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, and frequently humorous.
Winston Churchill loved them.

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it is still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

10. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. On my desk is a work station.

11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

12. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’

13. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

17. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

18. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

19. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.

20. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.

21. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

22. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

23. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

24. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

25. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

26. Where there’s a will, there are relatives.

And one more:

I’m supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

Online Editor Wanted at HerCircleZine

I like reading job descriptions for online web publishing. I started reading this one, thinking it would be a way for someone who loves illustration and arts to get into being part of the ‘art department’ for a publication. It’s not. They are looking for someone to publish and managed the visual arts section. Still worth reading.

This is a volunteer thing. They want a lot out of someone they won’t be paying. So, anyone looking into this will have to be doing it for the experience and the fame, not the fortune.

Online Editor – Visual Arts

We’re looking for a volunteer Web Editor to play a senior role overseeing the editorial content of the Arts section. With a working knowledge of feminist theory and socially engaged contemporary art practice, you will play a pivotal role in shaping the voice of

You will be a self starter with drive and creative energy; responsive, bold and confident with your ideas. Your main goal will be to work to our creative and editorial standards to enhance and broaden the appeal of

Responsibilities include:

* Researching article ideas relevant to the HCE mission

* Maintaining an editorial calendar

* Assigning articles to volunteer bloggers and freelance writers

* Monitoring expected contributor submissions (features, blog posts, etc.)

* Managing routine communications with contributors

* Posting all content to WordPress CMS with appropriate formatting

* Sourcing and adding graphics, photos, etc. as necessary

* Managing content for monthly eNewsletter – based on editorial calendar/schedule

* Take an active interest and personal pride in the aesthetic appearance of the site

* Promptly correct any typos or other errors noted on the site

via Opportunities.

14 Reasons Why Artists Keep Visual Journals

14 Reasons Why Artists Keep Visual Journals.

April 13th, 2005

By Joan Martine Murphy

Keeping a visual journal helps the artist develop a sense of self–discipline.  By drawing in your journal everyday you are developing the habit of creativity.  The drawings can be ever so simple and as time goes by you will have developed a repertoire and a visual source book.  When the time comes to design a long term drawing, a painting or sculpture you will have a wealth of ideas available and you will have developed your skills so that drawing up your design is just a matter of applying what you have learned.

The chronological nature of the journal means that you are automatically recording your personal improvement.  By recording trouble spots that need attention you are creating a path for yourself to follow.  Because the internet is such a rich source of instruction and example you should put aside time to go online to find out what the solution to your artistic problems may be.  Once you have collected a variety of examples and ideas use them to work out a personal solution by trying out all that you have seen.  This process will nurture your artistic development and help you develop a sense of direction.

A journal can become for you a ‘place’ where you can work out what themes are developing on the journey.  As issues, questions and ideas develop ‘go with them’ and let them give you direction.  Themes are good because they give you a dialogue and point of interest.  This can be a good starting point for discussions with other artists and fellow students.

It is always good when you are presenting your work to be able to fit it into a theme.  Many exhibitions are grouped in this way.  The working out of a theme also gives the artist a sense of completion when that thematic response has been followed to its logical conclusion.

Style is a process of evolution.  When you begin keeping your journal you may not even know what your preferred style is.  As you develop on a daily basis a personal style will emerge.  Dialogue with that style.  Ask your self why you have gone in this direction?  Does it make it easier?  Can you see patterns and relationships?  Do you know what is influencing you?  Write you’re self-questioning down in your journal as you go it will make interesting reading in years to come.

Once you have begun to develop the habit of creativity you will also have begun developing an intuitive awareness.  You will see things that stimulate curiosity and provoke fresh and new ideas.  You will not be able to keep up with them.  Jot them down.  Keep your journal at hand at all times. Make sure you always keep it handy and small enough to fit into any bag or in the glove box of the car.  Draw everything that catches the eye.  Later you will be excited by all of the things you have gathered as source material that you would have forgotten about entirely if you had not recorded them in the minute.  Collect ideas by jotting them down (scribble neatness doesn’t count) come back to them at a later date when that intuition or inspiration becomes relevant to the work at hand.  If notes aren’t taken at the time…the thoughts may be lost forever.

Everybody has artistic talent and can be good at drawing. You only have to tune in to the creative, intuitive and artistic side of the brain – the right side – and you will be able to draw accurate and imaginative portraits, landscapes, still lifes.

Regard your journal as your personal safe place. A collection of experimentations. No one should be looking over your shoulder …it is your space for trying out techniques in a non-threatened way before committing to a more public form of artwork.

It is also a means of communication, a holding place for ideas to share with other artists and students who wish to learn.  So keep it with you when mingling with other artists.  If you are making preparations for submissions or to win contracts make sure you are keeping your notes in this way as it can facilitate discussion at a later date if this becomes necessary.

Your journal is your note-takers paradise … as a place where ideas can be kept in the written form as well as visually…  Keep the writing short and precise but do write down any ideas that come to your head as we often forget what stimulated our visual inspirations and the writing may be useful.  Supplement your scribbles with poems, haikus, prose, and songs what ever is helping shape your thoughts and ideas at the time is relevant and may become useful.

Keep technical notes as well make sure you are learning about mixing colours, learning theory. Writing down and recording what you learn means that you have a ready reference.  Again the internet is a great way to find our information… if you are having trouble understanding light sources for example enter that as a search term and you will be amazed at how much free information you can find.  Be patient and don’t just click on the first few sites you find.  There is a wealth of information out there for the taking if you put in that little extra effort.

Set your self-learning tasks of specified natures with a particular learning outcome anticipated. For example record atmospheres by going for a walk in the same place on a daily basis for a month but at different times of the day.  Draw or paint in watercolour exactly what you see.  Or go to a different place but at same times of the day.  Don’t just look for atmospheric or natural effects look to at the kinds of activity you can find.  One example of this might new going to the same street corner at different times throughout the day – even the expressions on the faces of the people will change as they come and go.  Try it you may be amazed.  Another way of creating a learning exercise is to look at and examine objects from all sides and views.  Keep on setting yourself small learning tasks like tis and you will be amazed at how much you improve and how your understanding of techniques increases.

Again your journal is a safe place where you can experiment with abstractions finding ways to express emotions and feelings.  You can make your artistic journey a catalyst in your personal development by recording dreams, daydreams and locating meaning in them through exploration and analysis.  Again the Internet is a great place for subscribing to discussion lists where people want to explore self-empowerment and personal development.

Above all this safe haven of personal expression can become for you if you let it a source of relaxation.   A ready breathing space in a busy way of life.  Learn to do relaxation and breathing exercises before and after you draw not only so that you tap into the more intuitive side of your brain but that so that the discipline of drawing and the artistic pathway becomes a source of great personal pleasure.  Your journal should never be a chore but something you look forward to as a little breather in the busy pace of life.

Eventually your journal will naturally evolve into your precious planning tool. It will be a place where compositions are mapped out over a period of time before any major painting is begun.  Projects will no longer be daunting, as you will have a never-ending fountain of reference ideas and information.  Above all enjoy the journey and don’t let it cause you even the slightest stress.

Journaling is best if it is done daily.  It is also easiest to remember if it is the first thing you do when you wake up of a morning.  Start the day by recording a drawing of your dreams.  Or if you haven’t dreamt throughout the night, simply draw the first thing that occurs to you when you wake up.

I copied this for myself years ago. I had kept the link with the original post but that site is no longer online. I did find Joan, still writing at Suite101 and I have given that current link to her and her writing about art and creativity.

Bare Naked Breasts?

How do you feel about the issue of women being topless in public?

The idea comes from men being topless in public and how, if  things are equal, women should be able to choose to do the same rather than being discriminated against. It’s a complicated issue, with more things involved than modesty, traditional values, etc.

I wrote about women having the right to bare their breasts. What would you write about the idea, as both a theory and an issue? Try to think of it from different angles and points of view.

Ideas for a 365 Photo Project

Ideas for a 365 photo project. – Post on HubPages.

What would your ideas be for year-long photography project? Is there one theme you could find something new to photograph each day of the year? I’ve seen a few great collections which started this way. I envy them and would like to push myself to do something too. I haven’t found the right theme yet. One I know I can stick to even if I can’t get out that day or don’t want to bother too much. Of course, you can take some photos ahead, or is that too much like cheating?

Smile Power Day

I’m posting late but June 15th was Smile Power Day. I don’t know where it originated or who started the idea, but it was a nice idea to get started.

Holiday Insights: Smile Power Day

A Year of  Holidays: Smile Power Day

But, to make it confusing…. World Smile Day is October 7th.

I also read where this day was called “Power of a Smile Day”. I think that might be the original name and it’s just become shortened.

Write about something that makes you smile, even on a day when you think nothing could make you smile.