Waiting to be Known

“Somewhere, there is something incredible waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan

I’ve been feeling kind of down lately. But finding a quote like this today picks me up. I feel like this most of the time. There are great things around if you keep your mind open and don’t just walk around looking down at your feet. Let the world in, even if you really would like to just curl up in bed and become a hermit. Give yourself a day as a hermit, sometimes you need that kind of time too. But, don’t stay there. The world is full of things you will be missing.

Remember Why you Love to Write

“Cartoonists are sensitive to the insanities of the world. We try to humanize them. If Maxine can get a laugh out of someone who feels lonely or someone who is getting older and hates the thought of another birthday … or if she can make someone chuckle about a stressful relationship, I’m happy. Putting a smile on people’s faces is what it’s all about.”  John Wagner, creator of the Maxine comic for Hallmark Cards.

Maxine even has a blog of her own now.

I like the quote about cartoonists because it can apply to anyone writing, drawing, sculpting, etc. As much as we write for ourselves it is good to think about who is reading what we write. How it will be perceived and what kind of reaction it gets.

Think of your writing goal, are you writing horror, comedy? Then plan your writing that direction. Seems overly simple but worth keeping in mind on days when you feel you are getting lost in the details or just need to get yourself back into loving your story again.

The Passion to Publish Your Own Words

Do you have the passion to publish your own words? I really like this quote, below, from the site of David J. Richardson and his guide to creating, publishing your own fanzine (zine for short).

First off, be very very sure you want to produce your ‘zine. It can be a very thankless arduous task, especially when you’ve got set publication dates. The need for passion was probably best stated in the 1996 British Doctor Who fanzine November Spawned a Monster, where they said:

If you feel keenly interested enough in any subject to bother spending your precious hours compiling a magazine only a very small number of people will read, then you must care passionately about your subject. You should, surely to God, actually have something of your own to say about it. There’s no merit in being dispassionate. That’s what all the professional magazine and books are required to do. You don’t have to do anything. It’s yours. It’s blank paper until you scribble on it. If all you’re writing is ‘William Hartnell, ‘1963-1966’ then why the dayglo purple fuck are you wasting everyone’s time?

Be a Better Blog Commenter

Say something relevant to the post itself. Come up with a comment more interesting than “I agree” or “Me too”. It’s not that tough to stretch out a thought beyond two words. Why do you agree with the post? What was your own experience? Most blog comments are on the short side. Find a bit more to say and make yours longer to stand out. A longer comment also gives the feeling you are interested in the post and the blogger and able to string together ideas yourself. Others are more likely to click on the link to your blog if you seem to be someone who can write and write well.

A blog post looking for advice or answers is a great time to get noticed. If you know of a resource, have an opinion, or experience that would help leave that in comments. Give a link to the resource if it is online, even if it is your own site. However, if it is your own site make that clear. That way the blog owner and readers will know you aren’t just spamming your URL, it’s posted for a valid reason.

On the other side of giving information, ask a question yourself. What would you like to know more about? What detail or information might have been left out of the post? Think of a real question, not fluff just to leave a comment.

Be supportive and uplifting and sincere. Everyone is glad to have a comment that spreads good cheer and brightens their day. You can’t smile at others through your comment but you can send a smile in text. If you can’t be uplifting don’t be a wet blanket and do not be obnoxious. That should not even need to be said.

Write with personality, passion and humour. Don’t leave a bland comment that could have been written by half a million other bloggers. Come up with something uniquely you. Maybe a different turn of phrase. How about a funny anecdote. Maybe part of a quote relevant to the post if you really just don’t have a personality of your own. (But I know you do!)

Don’t post a comment at all if you really have nothing to say or if you are posting just to create controversy. A flame war may get you traffic and it will get you noticed but is that really how you want to be known? Besides, that kind of attention is short lived. No one really wants to watch a flame war except the two people in the middle who can’t seem to let go.

Last of all, proofread your comments before you click to post them. Spelling errors are one thing but typos just look klutzy. You can try to avoid them or just not bother and give the impression that you don’t care. Also, don’t leave a comment that is a solid block of text. It is easier to read a long comment if it is broken up into individual thoughts/ ideas.

Happy commenting. Let me know if you have other great commenting ideas.

Meanwhile consider using CoComment. Your comments from other blogs are posted to your own blog in a widget. Nice way to show that you actually do make comments and give links to the blogs you read.

It is never too late for the 31 Day Comment Challenge which utilizes CoComment too. Started in 2008 but all the activities for each of the 31 days are up on the site so you can step in any time and challenge yourself.

The Secret is in the Sauce –  “…a group of women bloggers dedicated to supporting one another by leaving comments. Lots and lots of comments”.

You can join up IComLeavWe every month.

Also found The Weekend Comment Challenge on Sited and Blogged. Not sure when it starts or ends but I like the idea.

Mom Blog Comment Club is looking for more members.

The Rogue Taxidermist

Some things are just creepy. Seeing taxidermy (taxidermied?) animals which have been sitting somewhere forgotten for years is quite creepy to me. I don’t know why exactly, I’m really sure they are long and well dead after all. Just… ick!

Taxidermy.net – For the odd person who may come here and want to know more about hunting and stuffing. In some way it is interesting, as any process for doing something is interesting. Just not on my list of things-to-do, due to gruesomeness.

As I wandered looking up more information, just cause I like learning about things, I found rogue taxidermy. First it was on Wikipedia as part of the taxidermy post. If I was going to have an interest in taxidermy this would be where I’d start. Build you own mythological animal, though I still think I’d rather just draw it.

I’m not suggesting you go out and hunt down a few rodents to start reassembling them… but wouldn’t someone into rogue taxidermy be quite the interesting character to write about? So many odd elements to someone who would be involved in this as a hobby, or maybe an obsession. Create this person as a character with a past, present and a future. It could become a short story all on it’s own.

Here is a woman taxidermist to get you started: Sarina Brewer, her site is Custom Creature: Taxidermy Arts.

I like this quote from the article because it has the feeling of my own adventures as a rural explorer, only without the roadkill.

Some people never leave home without their phone or wallet. Minneapolis artist Sarina Brewer never leaves home without a cooler, a hacksaw, and rubber gloves. That’s because she’s always at the ready to find road kill and other “pet casualties” to use as art subjects for her special brand of “rogue taxidermy,” which includes winged monkeys, conjoined squirrels and rabbits, and even a chicken-carp-lamb combo, Bust magazine reports.

A post about rogue taxidermy from The Disillusioned Taxonomist. He isn’t a subhuman freak but he really does have an interesting career choice. Hope he doesn’t bring a lot of work home with him.

“Hi, I’m Mo, I’m 23 and studying taxonomy for my Masters degree in London at the great Natural History Museum.”

When you think of working at the Natural History Museum doesn’t it sound like a really cool job? Puts a whole different spin on it versus a guy in his basement surrounded by shotguns and jars of animal parts.

Cell Phone Etiquette

July is Cell Phone Courtesy Month, as I read it on Twitter this morning. Read about cell phone etiquette on wikiHow, pass the link along to those who are so addicted to their phones they ignore the people sitting right in front of (and around) them.

Digital Media Wire has 12 Unwritten Rules of Cell Phone Etiquette.

Road and Travel Magazine has The Basic Rules of Cell Phone Etiquette. Geared to travelers but relevant for anyone around other people. To quote Denise McMcluggage (who wrote the article):

Keep in mind, the more available you make yourself the more available everyone will expect you to be. People will actually be miffed if you are not instantly and constantly available rather than being pleased when you do call.

If you had an hour for a lunch break and were sitting at a table of co-workers where you were the only one not talking on a cell phone what would be your best line to get their attention and stop playing with themselves (on their phones)? It’s great to write these great lines when you have some time to think about them. At the time you never get time to really come up with just the right thing to say and then even spend time perfecting it for just that moment.

Dreaming the Future

“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.” – Victor Hugo

It was nice to come across this quote today when I’m writing about people who travel back and forth in time. Have you noticed how things seem to happen like that? When you are working on something you come across other interesting things that fit into everything you are working on in some way. Is it fate or are we just finding what we are looking for? Seeing what we have our minds open to?