Broken Links and Microfiction Monday

I’m tidying up my links, using a plugin to check those which are broken. I like to find the site at a new link but most of them are just gone. Kind of sad to see someone’s project lost, forgotten or abandoned. Anyway, one project which I can’t find new or continued anywhere is Mircofiction Monday.

Microfiction Monday: The challenge is to write a 140-character long (or shorter) tale based on the photograph or illustration provided every week.

There won’t be any more photographs or illustrations from the original source. Why not pick something yourself and try to create a full story in just 140 characters? You can use Twitter to edit your characters to exactly 140, or a little less.

This illustration is from Brian Kesinger. A steampunk Valentine.

Edna’s faithful robot waits in the old ruins of a Victorian dream house. He holds the photo they took on a long forgotten Valentine’s Day.

Avoid the Daily Post Burnout

Avoid burnout.

If you want to stick to daily posts on your site you have options.

  • Write the posts a week ahead and then schedule them to appear daily.
  • Instead of writing a long post with many points divide it up. Use each point as an individual post and turn them all into a series, interlinked on your site.
  • Get help. Find someone else in your niche who would like to write but doesn’t want to do it alone, or doesn’t know HTML, etc.
  • Use borrowed content. There are many sites which offer contributed content. Read the rules at each site.
  • Write shorter posts. Go with an illustration or draw a web comic one or more days of your posting week. You’ll still be busy posting every day but the change of media could keep it from getting stale and give you fresh insights.
  • Revamp your blog layout, template or theme. Giving the site a new look makes it feel new again, or at least not the same old routine.
  • Change the format of your posts. Write in point form or make a list post once or twice a week instead of the standard paragraph form.
  • Write ahead for seasonal posts. That way you know you have at least one day off to look forward to.
  • Interviews and product reviews can be kept in a stash to be posted when you want to take a week off without notice.
  • Most people have a 5 day work week. You can take off weekends and still be considered to be posting daily. (It’s a personal choice).
  • Exchange content with another writer. Or, arrange to exchange blog babysitting so he/she writes for both blogs one week and you take on both blogs the next week.
  • Run an event. It could be a contest or something with the idea of social networking/ community building. You will need to promote it and get others involved but it also gives you something to write about each day as you talk about your idea and the progress you are making.
  • Finally, just take a week off. Announce it in your blog and give the date you will return. Try to stick to the return date unless you really do decide to abandon your site once you are away from it.


Stop Putting Off the Gathering of an Idea

Write about a topic you have been interested in but keep putting off for one reason or another. You know there’s something… check your notes, think about it for a minute, phone a friend, whatever it takes.

Don’t just write a short article, add links, look for relevant clubs or associations, find a photograph (or take one yourself) to go along with your post. Draw an illustration if you can’t take a photograph to go with the topic. Build the article into a resource for others who are interested or might just wander in and become interested.

Do You Use Captions?

4. Use deep captions.

Studies have shown that image captions are consistently some of the most-read copy on a page. Try pairing a strong image with a “deep caption.”

Deep captions are two to three sentences long. That’s long enough to intrigue your reader to dig in to your whole article.

via 8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content | Copyblogger.

I don’t use captions on my illustrations. I guess it’s mainly laziness. I know I tend to read them when I see them on another site. Sometimes it’s just a note to credit the source of the illustration. But, that information can be at the end of the post/ article instead. Adding a caption is making good use of a feature available with WordPress blogs. Do you use captions?

The Sketchbook Project World Tour 2012

Read more about The Sketchbook Project World Tour 2012 on their site.  It’s for visual artists to contribute and eventually the sketchbooks will be exhibited in the Brooklyn (US) Art Library.

There are a list of topics to choose from to use as inspiration for your illustration. Which would you pick (to write about or) illustrate?

  • I remember you
  • The last of the people I know
  • In fifty years
  • Ask me how I can help
  • The first ever…
  • Hope
  • In 10 minutes
  • Along the line
  • Grey side of life
  • Fill me with stories
  • Things found under car seats
  • Untitled
  • Travel with me
  • Forever in a nutshell
  • Disasters
  • This is a sketchbook
  • The worst story ever told
  • Fears and tears
  • The companion books
  • Transatlantic
  • It’s summer where you are
  • It’s winter where you are
  • Nothing new
  • Time Traveler
  • Opposite day
  • Uncharted waters
  • Life underground
  • Monochromatic
  • Long trips and short phone calls
  • Encyclopedia of
  • Sandwich
  • Prehistoric
  • Writing on the wall
  • A path through the trees
  • Stitches and folds
  • Heroes and villains
  • Treehouse
  • Forks and Spoons
  • Waterslides I never rode

Edward Scissorhands in ASCII Art

I’m not an illustrator, I just play one on my own blog. But, I’ve got the idea to create an ASCII art illustration for Edward Scissorhands’ 20th Anniversary. I can’t believe it has been 20 years. Anyway, wish me luck. It’s going to be bigger in size than any ASCII Art I’ve created in the past. I drew a sketch of my idea in the coffee shop today. I like it so far. But, bringing it from my hand drawn sketch into ASCII is going to be challenging. Not that I can’t do it. Just a bit tricky. So far I have my Edward. It’s possible this won’t be the final Edward but it’s what I decided on while in the planning stages.

I’m also going to work on creating some kind of ASCII art gallery. Every now and then I bump into an old ASCII art I did myself and forgot about. Plus there are so many others which are really good and I’d like to keep them from falling into the realm of dust bunnies. Also, I will try to keep artist initials with the art. That’s something not every one does when they show ASCII Art. So, another project. I think I will just start it out on Gives me something to do with my login there. I will have to look into how it works to use a lot of image files there and if it is tricky to export them later (should I end up doing more and want to move it to a domain).

For now… Here’s Edward!

Stay on the Optimistic Side

Today for the A – Z Blogging Challenge… O is for Optimistic. When do we have a more optimistic day than those days we make big changes to our lives? I made this ASCII art illustration for my wedding, years ago. Things didn’t turn out as I had hoped at the time. But things are still changing and evolving. I’m still mostly optimistic.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

More wedding ASCII art:

Finding the Fixed Sys Font

Once upon a time when I made ASCII Art, I was a great fan of the FixedSys font. It is a monospace font which works very well for illustrating with text. However, in my Windows Vista computer the FixedSys font is missing. I looked for it, tried other options, but was not happy. So I went online to see what people were writing about it.

I now know that FixedSys has been given an upgrade of sorts and is now known as Consolas. I found Consolas and gave it a try. It is nicer, maybe nicer and smoother than the old FixedSys.

While searching for information I found the font called FixedSys Excelsior. It is like the old fashioned FixedSys but it is less smooth than the new Consolas font. You can see a pretty drastic difference in the two fonts when I show them in an ASCII art illustration of the Canadian flag.

The 1,000 Word Challenge

You may not be doing so well with NaNoWriMo, or NaBloPoMo or even IComWeLeave, but… you can do a thousand word post on your blog. It’s a one shot deal. Think of it as 5 groups of 200 words, or 4 groups of 250 words and it doesn’t really seem that bad at all, right?

This is Challenge #10 at Up For It.

From Seth Godin: How to Write a Blog Post:

An appropriate illustration,
A useful topic, easily broadened to be useful to a large number of readers,
Simple language with no useless jargon,
Not too long,
Focusing on something that people have previously taken for granted,
That initially creates emotional resistance,
Then causes a light bulb go go off
and finally,
Causes the reader to look at the world differently all day long.

Of course an illustration doesn’t count for your 1,000 words. But, if you consider these points it may help you to generate ideas and keep you focused on what you want to say. Each post does not have to be something profound. That’s asking a lot if you are posting frequently in the environment of online writing where so many people are writing about the same thing. But, when you really have something to say, a topic you are passionate about, you can create a great post and have enough to say to do the 1,000 Word Challenge.

If you begin to run out of something to say, brainstorm for more points. I got used to the essay format when I was in College. We were expected to write 5 paragraphs, exactly. The beginning, 3 points in the middle and then the conclusion. This means you (I) always work to have three points to explain, confirm or illustrate whatever I am saying. I have tried to break out of this pattern, mainly because I don’t like to be stuck into a pattern. But, it is a good way to get yourself writing and making sure you have enough to say.