Writing About Fat People

BBW stands for big, beautiful woman. Why does a site like the Urban Dictionary post negative definitions like this? (See below).

How do you know what’s humour, what’s serious and what’s over the line?… Substitute something else for “fat” or “black” or “Mexican” and see if it still sounds okay. Changing one descriptive word can do more than just change your perception.

Fat itself is not a bad word. The words around it change the sense of how the word is intended.

How would you write about a fat character?

What are your own preconceptions about people and how do they influence the way you write?

 

bbw peoplevia – Urban Dictionary: BBW.

Writing Prompts for Food Bloggers

Check the link to read the full list. The list included your foodie history, diets, ingredients, kitchen gadgets, where you would have dinner if you could choose from anywhere in the world and what makes a memorable meal. Of course, food loves and hates make the list too.

I liked the prompt about ingredients you’ve been afraid to try. There are so many interesting, exotic and unusual ingredients these days. I can remember when my Grandmother was afraid to cook corn on the cob. She had never seen it before (in the UK) and ended up leaving it to rot before she worked up the courage to cook it. I always thought that was silly when I was a kid. But, corn was pretty commonplace to me. I’ve since had a few things expire in my own fridge.

How do you feel about the word foodie?

Write down 10 of your favourite food words, and then make a sentence for each word. Turn each sentence into a blog post idea.

via 16 Writing Prompts for Food Bloggers | Food Bloggers of Canada.

 

I think it’s a great list. Many of the prompts could be adapted for other topics if you put some creativity into it.

Blogging 101: Say Your Name

Capture

I haven’t re-named any of my sites but I have gone through and put more thought (and some humour) into giving them new bylines. I can’t promise they will still be the same a month from now. But here they are today:

herebedragonswreckyratbird

diycreativeblogging

greenlivhistory

asciiartist

 

wordgrrls

Today’s challenge:

You set your blog’s address when you registered at WordPress.com, but your blog’s title — what readers see on your site when they visit — can be changed at any time. Today, let’s make sure you love yours.

Today’s assignment: edit your title and tagline.
Why?

The title is the first thing most readers will see.
Your title and tagline work with elements like like your address and theme to give visitors context and help them decide to stick around.
Your title doesn’t need to be the same as your blog’s URL — there’s no need to call it “maryjanesmith922.” Your title should reflect you.

A title is typically only a few words, so consider adding a tagline — a phrase that appears under your title and helps flesh it out. Think “Burger King: Have It Your Way,” or The Daily Post: The Art and Craft of Blogging.” Look at the post your wrote yesterday. Why are you here? Let us know in your tagline.

Here are the details on editing your title and tagline, along with some accumulated wisdom from other WordPress bloggers. Here’s one of our favorite nuggets of advice:

Try listing adjectives that describe your personality, and play around with the words until you can tweak them into a name that’s catchy but uniquely “you.” Puns always work well. Start with certain common phrases, songs, and literary titles, and then mix the words up. Or use your own name in a clever way.
She’s a Maineiac
If you’re already thrilled with your title or you want to do more, feel free to publish a post, too! Let readers know what inspired your title and tagline, or, If you need want writing inspiration, take a look at today’s prompt.

Content Curation with Scoop.it

This was originally posted to HubPages in 2012. Moved it from there because it wasn’t being read.

scoopit3

Content curation is all about finding great links and resources to share with others interested in your topic/ niche. The great thing is creating a resource which give credit and promotion to great sites and knowing you are getting them the readers they want. Directed traffic. Also, for your own benefit, you build yourself as an authority on the topic you curate the content for.

There is limited customization you can use to decorate or fix up your topic on Scoop.it. If you use a paid account, of course, you have more options.

Scoop.it does let you export your topic as a widget which works well in your blog’s sidebar if you want to promote it and get traffic to your Scoop.it topic.

See my topic – Creative Writing Inspiration on Scoop.it as an example.

Update: Since I originally wrote this, Scoop.it has begun offering their content curators the ability to send newsletters out for each of their topics on the network. There is a new mobile app too. Take a look.

scoopit1 scoopit2

How to Use Scoop.it

There are a few elements to creating the post (once you have found the link you want to add):

The image which is posted with the link.

You don’t want to post an image which is not relevant to the post. Don’t post whatever image comes up first and leave it like that. You won’t build yourself up as an authority by being sloppy or careless.

When you use Scoop.it you are able to add an image of your own choosing. So anything you cut and paste or even create yourself can be used. If I am not happy with the images to choose from I will use screen capture and take a quick capture of the site’s logo, part of the header, something to identify the link.

Also, whatever image you use is going to be a big factor in whether the link gets noticed and then clicked. Keep that in mind. The image is making a first impression.

Next up, the title of the link you are posting.

Don’t ignore the title. Scoop.it gives you a title taken from the HTML code on the site you’re linking to. But, not all titles are just fine right out of the box this way. Adjust them. You might even go all out and rewrite them to something your readers will be more likely to want to read.

Then comes the description.

I admit I get lazy at this point, probably more often than I should. If my title and the image are working I think that is enough. Most of the time. People are mainly going to notice the image and then the title to see what the image is actually about. So, a description is extra.

However, a description can be a nice extra. I will use “” and quote something from the post I’m linking to. Or, I might write a quick blurb about why I’m linking to that post. Something about my first impression or an idea I got from it.

Don’t forget to add tags/ keywords.

Scoop.it has the option to add keywords to each link. I leave it up to you to decide how valid this is compare to the extra time and effort it takes to forever be typing in the same words. This is one thing which doesn’t work for me at Scoop.it. I wish they would let the content curators set their keywords and have them posted automatically. Then, it would just be a matter of changing them if necessary, for individual links.

We already use a niche/ topic/ category to add the links/ posts we are linking to. So the topic is set and keywords could be set along with it. This would save some extra steps which seem pretty unnecessary to me.

With Scoop.it you can click where you want to share the link as you post it.

Pick your poison… Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Before you actually click on Publish, make sure you have set the category your link is being curated to on Scoop.it.

But, if you do send a link to the wrong place you can go back and edit it. Rescoop the link to the right category and then delete the one which was sent to the wrong one. No disaster to fix a little mistake but getting it right the first time will save you from opening another window on your web browser. I’m always using the bookmarklet in my toolbar when I curate content for Scoop.it, so I don’t have to go to the Scoop.it site to add content, I can just keep cruising along and find more.

Move Words Around Like Pieces of a Puzzle

4. Move words, sentences, paragraphs around the page like pieces of a puzzle. The beauty of writing on a computer is that you can move words and groups of words effortlessly. Just reminding yourself of that tends to make it easier to find your writing flow. If you get your mind set that the words will be seen by the audience exactly as they flow onto the page, it can be paralyzing.

For those overwhelmed by the amount of ideas banging around in their head, jot the ideas down, one by one, in a loose cross between thought-notes and an organizational outline. Then, you can slowly work your way down your list, flushing out concepts into sentences and paragraphs without worrying that you might forget something critical.

via 8 Writing Strategies for People Who Say They Can’t Write | Entrepreneur.com.

Manage Your WordPress Tags with Strictly Auto Tags

First, download the Strictly Auto Tags plugin.

You can do a lot to get started with the free plugin on WordPress. But, if you really want to manage your tags better, and maintain them, the paid plugin gives extra features and options. Please donate, even if you use the free plugin. Plugin developers need love (and coffee) too.

Second, read this guide to using the plugin from Rob, the creator of the plugin (and a list of others which you can find on his site, Strictly Software).strictly auto tags

There are 2 main uses for it.

1. With Auto Discovery ON. This is where it is ideal for news sites as it will find new people, names, companies, institutions etc without using lookup lists. So if I got famous over night and an article was imported about me  I would be found without some other sites list being updated e.g 3rd party API’s (as the other tagging plugins use APIS to send data over and get tag suggestions back and would have to wait for my name to be added to the list). 

So for discovering new names e.g two or more capitalised words like Robert Reid or acronyms like CIA. Then the auto discovery is good for finding NEW possibilities for words to be used as tags.

2. You can always use it with Auto Discovery OFF. If you have a massive tag list you have built up already and just want to re-tag posts then that’s great. It will just use your existing tags as options. 

Obviously you can use it with both options on and see if it finds any new tags worth using. That is your choice.

Always use the example in the readme.txt as a test to ensure it works.

Always read the debugging steps in the readme.txt file to see if it is a bug or you not setting something up or expecting it to do something it isn’t set up to do.

Also if you write your own material I would always save as a draft first, see which tags it has put in, then remove those I don’t want, add those I do before publishing etc. The quality of the tags will always depend on what material you are writing about, stored existing tags that are in that article, and any new words the plugin can find.

I used Strictly Auto Tags, the free version, to re-tag my blog after removing every tag about 2 years ago. I had gotten frustrated with the clutter of tags which repeated each other in slightly different ways and it was a big mess when I wanted to tag a post and had too many options or nothing at all. Anyway, Strictly Auto Tags is great.

How I used the plugin on my own blog

Start by using Discovery to re-tag (especially if you are starting from scratch as I did). Then, go through and edit, revise, add, etc, the tag words which the plugin discovered and added for you. There will be a lot of them but I found none were too extreme or completely off the mark. Most I did delete or revise (making phrases one word or changing a word down to the singular rather than the plural). I kind of enjoyed working on all those tag words. I had forgotten so much about my own site and things I wrote about in the past. I made notes for future blog posts based on the tags discovered by Strictly Auto Tags.

Keep your tags working and sorted out by using the auto tags without Discovery on. Once your tags are set the plugin will tag your new posts with the existing tags. As Rob wrote, save your post to draft first and check which tags will be added. This is when you can edit them if you don’t want a tag or want to add a new tag.

Purchasing the full version for more features and to see what else I can do with my tags now that they are working so well again

Tagging was such a chore for me before that I am going to get the paid version of Rob’s Strictly Auto Tags plugin so I can run it with all the extra features and avoid the tagging problems which caused me to get rid of them all before. I did find tags to be a good thing and I do see that they add to traffic and the chance for my blog posts to be found. So, doing away with tags was a good experiment, but I’m bringing them back now. Very glad to have found a plugin to do a lot of the work for me. Sure, I could have ignored all the past posts and just started tagging from here, but that would bug me. I am a bit all or nothing in that way.

Lexophile is a Good Word

My Mother forwarded this in email today:

“Lexophile” is a word used to describe those who love using words in rather unique ways, such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish”, or “to write with a broken pencil is pointless.” A competition to see who can come up with the best one is held every year. This year’s winning submission is posted at the very end.

When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C..L.A.
The batteries were given out free of charge.
A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
A will is a dead giveaway.
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
A boiled egg is hard to beat.
When you’ve seen one shopping Center you’ve seen a mall.
Police were called to a day care Center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
Did you hear about the fellow whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.
A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.
When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.
He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
When she saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she’d dye.
Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.

And the cream of the wretched crop:
Those who get too big for their pants will be exposed in the end.

My History as a Web Publisher (Blogger)

When I started a blog, back in 1998 the early blogs, the very best of them, were all done by creative people who loved words, colours and design. Some of them wanted readers, fame, popularity and most of them got it. Blogging was new. Blogs were inventive, creative, an adventure. No one questioned what Google would like because Google didn’t exist. Blogs were something magical, seeming to exist outside of time and space and even reality (if they knew how to work the code). This was before Blogger, WordPress or any other blog software or client.

I was not a coder, or a programmer and my HTML was very limited. I bought a couple of books to learn HTML. I made progress. I had a rudimentary blog up, but they weren’t really called that yet. You were as likely to call them a web log or an online journal as anything else. Images were new and changed so much about the early web logs. Most people did not put up a site because it was easier to just play on the networks like the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and the newsgroups (which were eventually moved to Google, becoming the backbone of Google Groups).  I joined newsgroups for ASCII artists.

This post will be continued as I feel like writing more.