Review: The Writing Diet

I am reading Julia Cameron’s book, The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size.

Already, I like this quote from the Prologue:

“As you lose weight, you will stop waiting for the magic wand that will transform your life. Instead, you will realize that the magic wand is actually a pen and that, pen in hand, you can transform your own life.”

Reading the book hasn’t done much for me. However, it’s not about the book or the ideas and advice inside the pages. I’m just not ready to put the work into changing. Change isn’t easy. Before you can even start you have to want it enough to make the change. I’m just not there. I have plenty of excuses/ reasons. All of them are valid in their own way. But, I know, the reality is not going to change and I would like to lose weight. I do have plenty to get rid of.

If you pick up Julia Cameron’s book, The Writing Diet, it can help you… if you let it. The ideas will work, but you still have to actually do them yourself.

Other writers writing about the challenge of weight loss and maintenance:

The Succulent Scribe

ProBlogging Success: Weight Loss and Blogging

Types of Content

Kim Lawless wrote What do we mean by content?

Back in 2007, pioneering content strategist Rachel Lovinger defined the main goal of content strategy as “to use words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences.”

Part of the problem in defining methodology is that content is such a small, generic-sounding label for the big, diverse, unruly, ever-changing universe of digital stuff we consume. To complicate things further, what stuff we can call content seems to be up for debate (there have even been backlashes against the word ‘content’ itself).

But instead of arguing about what is and isn’t content, could it be more helpful — in order to better come up with the ‘how’ of content strategy — to start instead by looking at how to work with particular types of content? Think of content as falling into one of these four major groups: informational, branded, user-generated, and systemic. The lines between them aren’t always completely clear, but each type tends to bring up a unique set of goals and challenges, and desired outcomes.

Informational content
Reduced to its essence, the goal of informational content is to meet one of your users’ most obvious needs — to give them the information they’re looking for. Relevance, clarity and consistency are crucial. To make that happen, one of the biggest challenges is in managing production flow and lifecycle. You need to understand who the authors, approvers and editors are; how content gets from ideation to publication; where it gets published (on your site, to an app, social media channels?) and when — does it change hourly, daily, weekly? And finally, how it will be managed and governed.

Branded content
Rather than strictly informing, branded content builds connections with users on an emotional level. Its goal is to build and support brand messages, persuade people, tell stories, and encourage engagement.

User generated content
Whether it’s through social media, commenting, or more intensive uses of UGC, having content produced by your audience is an effective way to build engagement and loyalty with content, and as a result it has become key to many content marketing strategies. Since real users are contributing content, UGC is often seen to bring both authenticity to brands and engagement to the audience, benefitting from things people are already doing online. In many cases, UGC is being produced in alongside (often in response to) informational or branded content.

Systemic content
This is where you’ll find content that describes content, making it findable, helping it flow to the right places, supporting SEO and even setting it free from the constraints of platform by giving it structure and extensibility, allowing for reuse. It is often available through an api, and helps publishers to identify, organize, and publish content in ways that are meaningful to users.

On any site or platform, the content ecosystem is going to be made up of one or more of these content types. By delving more deeply into the each of these types and clearly defining what outcomes you want from each of them, the ‘how’ of content strategy –- processes, tools, and roles should be involved, for example — starts to become more clear.

This is more than I am really OK with quoting from the original post. Usually I restrict the content I quote to a paragraph or the essential elements of the list post. I will write things in my own words with my own experience and thoughts added to give my point of view.

This time I want to read this over myself and get more from it. Also, the points made don’t make sense once they are taken out of the original context. So, here it is.

Where do you stand or waver on the limits of curating content versus just reprinting someone’s original ideas?

Quotes from a Soap Opera

I laughed at a line spoken by David Vickers. I don’t know if I have it typed exactly, I tried to be quick while it was circulating around in my head. Then I picked up a few more when I tried to find the first quote, to see if anyone else had picked it up and had it the same way I did.

“I’ve been conducting a survey in my own head and there apparently, I’m legendary.” – David Vickers, from the One Life to Live soap opera, talking about his Ninja skills and intelligence.

Todd Manning: “Must be nice living in a world of newspapers; all your people in black and white. ”

Sad that All My Children and One Life to Live are ending. I began watching both of them sometime after Another World was cancelled. I had watched Another World with my Mother and Grandmother over years and years. It was very hard when Another World was cancelled, about the same time my Grandmother died. Anyway, now I’ve gotten attached to All My Children and One Life to Live. I’ve got favourite characters. I’d like to see them go on an on and eventually get old. Now I won’t. There is some talk about the shows getting another chance online. But, no guarantee that will happen or, that we will be able to see it in Canada. Already the online videos for past shows only work if you are watching from the US.

My little redheaded sister is getting married today. I should be getting ready, deciding what I am going to wear… but I’d really like to crawl back into bed and nap awhile instead. I hope I can nap in the car on the ride out there. (I’m not driving).

Writing in the Sand

August is winding down. If you aren’t down under you have access to sand, somewhere. Even the landlocked places can drive to a lake if they need a last dash for a summery day at the beach. Sand, water, seagulls and things washed up on the shore – those are the elements of the beach for me. Did you build a sandcastle this year? Just take a bucket, a container from yogurt, cottage cheese or some other food will do as a bucket. Pack in wet sand and dump it out upside down. Stick some bits of driftwood, pebbles and a seagull feather in it and you’ve made a simple sandcastle.

I like to draw and write in the sand too. Bring a camera (protect it from the sand – you know how it gets into everything!) and take a photo of your name/ your blog/ your favourite quote in the sand. Decorate the letters with swirls like waves or dot it with pebbles or draw something uniquely you along with it. Photograph your creation. No one else in the history of the universe will ever have a creation exactly the same and no one ever will in the future either. Writing in the sand is never permanent but it is always unique.

Before you leave the beach, do you leave your sandcastles and sand writing there or do you wreck them with buckets of water or walking through them after you’ve packed everything up?

Ubiquitous Photography

Do you use your digital camera or your camera phone to take a picture of something you want to remember, instead of writing the information down? I have been doing this more often. I think it started when I was in a bookstore with my Mother. She wanted me to write down the name of a plant from a magazine. There was a photo of the plant as well. I got out the digi camera and took a close up so she could have the photo and the name too.

Since then I’ve used it to take photos of real estate signs on properties for sale which might be of interest to my brother. He buys, fixes them up and then sells them again. He is looking for a farm property which he would keep and I see many of them as I road trip along, looking for abandoned and derelict houses.

I also use the digi camera to take notes for me when I find a quote in a book, an author’s name on a book I’m too over budget to buy, and I’ve photographed something to remind myself of the idea it gave me when I saw it. Like seeing an old doll at a thrift store. Later I wrote about the doll and ended up using my photo as an illustration along with it.

Others are doing it. Some more practical than I am, using it to plan and organize things, like a collection of business cards. There are good ideas to be found. Read on…

The Ubiquitous Camera Phone

Recent studies report that a majority of people who use their camera phones use them for ubiquitous purposes such as remembering a parking space or notes on a blackboard.

Lifehacker: Geek to Live: Develop your (Digital) Photographic Memory
Lifehacker: Use your Cameraphone as a Visual To-Do List
GeekSugar: Use your Camera Phone to get Organized

Old Buildings are not Ours

I really like this quote but I don’t fully agree with it. People from the past can not live in the future, they can’t change with the times and understand how life evolves after they are gone. Not every old building can remain standing forever in the future. Some have to make way for progress. But, enough should be kept to share the value, the passion and the accomplishments of the past. To keep the knowledge available for the future as well.

Old buildings are not ours. They belong, partly to those who built them, and partly to the generations of Mankind who are to follow us. The dead still have their right in them: that which they labored for…we have no right to obliterate. What we ourselves have built, we are at liberty to throw down. But what other men gave their strength, and wealth, and life to accomplish, their right over it does not pass away with their death. – John Ruskin

What would you write about the old and the new, as a metaphor, some kind of example to show the value of the past and the future? Write about merging of the old and the up and coming.

Another Adult Writing Prompt

This one has a name I’m not so sure about posting here. Yes, I do write adult content (mainly for my own amusement these days) but I am a nice girl, a Canadian too. Some things are just not done in polite company. But, because it is a proper name, the name given to the group, I am going to quote it.

Fuck Me Friday is a writing prompt for adult writers, done by Aisling Weaver on Fridays. Of course, you don’t have to read the posts, or participate. But, I do think it is important for writers to stretch a bit, try new things. Even if that means writing sports, horror or adult content – when you have no experience with them. You don’t have to become a professional erotica writer in one story, just give yourself the room and the freedom to explore.

Dead Men Tell No Tales

“Dead men tell no tales” – Hiriam Breakes

From Deep Sea News: Hiriam Breakes was a Dutch pirate, the second son to the Councillor of the Island of Saba in the Netherlands Antilles. In his twenties, he stole the ship and cargo of his employers and renamed the vessel The Adventurer. Almost immediately he came upon the Chilean vessel “Acapulco” which was carrying 200,000 small gold bars. The hapless crew were all murdered in a most despicable manner, and being the Acapulco was better ship than the The Adventurer Breakes stole the ship and refitted it for piracy.

Now there’s a good lad.

I like knowing who was behind the famous pirate quote originally. You just had to know it wasn’t going to be some, shy, quiet type.