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Yesterday I mentioned that I am going to be participating in NaNoWriMo once again. I also said that I am at the very beginning in terms of planning and thought some of my readers here and on Facebook might be able to help me out.  So what can you do?

The premise I will be starting with is a person going to a coffee shop every day at the same time and staying all day. She goes with a laptop and sits and listens to what is going on. She has nowhere else to go. She kinda pretends that she is doing work on the computer but she’s just sitting and eavesdropping on conversations. Over time, she gets to know the background stories and the gossip of not only the people who work there but also of the other customers. She gets to know their secrets, all by just showing up and being there all day.

What I would like from you is suggestions of names for characters and any tidbits of customer stories/gossip or of work place scenarios at the coffee shop. Anything that I can take off and create something out of.

A couple of years ago, I did something similar and one of the suggestions I loved but didn’t use is one I will, most likely, be using this year. The name was Jessica and her back story was “she will take anyone’s man so you gotta watch her!” Doesn’t that sound like fun? I could build entire chapters around Jessica and her escapades!

It doesn’t take much. Just a few words to suggest a story to be built. Or you can even just send me a physical description of someone or of the coffee shop. Sound like fun? I think it is. Please give me a hand. I may be sharing some of what I write here on the blog in November as I also committed to doing NaBloPoMo once again.

How is your Sunday going? It’s a bit gloomy here in Oregon. I’m kinda out of it today. I had a bad day on Facebook yesterday. Much drama. And it cost me a couple of friends. It’s okay though as they have been borderline for some years. Yesterday, the camel’s back broke and I had to disconnect from them. It makes me sad because I am one of those people that likes to keep everyone happy. I hate to have any kind of argument or disagreement but what I hate more is to be attacked about my opinions. So “poof!” They’re gone. And I am left shaken.

In any case, take a stab at helping me out with my NaNoWriMo project. And this stays up so you can help out any time during the month! Thanks in advance. Ciao!

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Today I am reminded that a friendship is a friendship. It doesn’t matter if it is a “virtual” or real life friendship. The emotions and the attachments are the same. And when my friends hurt, I hurt.

I have a friend that I met online around 2006 on a site called Gather. Her moniker there was The Little Fluffy Cat. She was one of the most supportive, loving, friendly, and welcoming people I have ever met. Later, she and her family came to the Portland area on vacation and I got to spend a few hours with them. There was instant recognition and the feelings were as if we had always known each other in the real world.

She’s a very private person. Her name is Lydia. Last week, she allowed her sister to post on her Facebook page about her health issues. She had kept everything secret. If I understand it correctly, she has a problem with the “connectors” in the cerebellum, or blood vessels in the brain. Her sister told of how Lydia has been in the hospital since July when she underwent a couple of surgical procedures to solve the problem but then developed other complications which have caused some loss of brain function, mimicking a stroke but has not actually had a stroke. She has not been home since July, except for being allowed to go home for a weekend here and there. During the last weekend that she spent at home (Christmas weekend), she caught a cold which made her main health issues worse. Since then, she has become gravely ill and had to be resuscitated a few days ago then put into a medically induced coma. The doctors are out of options. They are stalling and hoping that they can solve some of the minor problems which might alleviate the major ones. She has asked her friends for prayers and a miracle because she’s not ready to die. She’s 57 years old. She has a 17 year old son and one that is 14.

My heart aches for her and her family. I have been praying for her. We used to say that one day we would get together and have a slumber party complete with pjs and talking/giggling all night. I want that chance for us to have that long sisterly talk. I want her to see her sons grow. I want her to hold her grandchildren in her arms. I want her to grow old with her husband who loves her so much and has not left her side in months. I want her to recover and live a long and happy life.

If you are a praying person, please hold Lydia up in prayer. Send her positive vibes…healing thoughts…anything that might help.

 

 

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Last Friday I participated in Friday Fictioneers, a weekly blog hop that asks Readers to write a 100 word story inspired by the photo that is posted. It’s a great little exercise in word efficiency and it’s also fun to hop around to visit all the other blogs that participate in the challenge.

While visiting blogs, I came across this blog by C.E. Ayr. He had a wonderful little story written for the challenge. I commented on it and he came to check out my blog. He looked around and left a comment jokingly asking why his books were not on my reading list. We had a brief exchange which led to my purchase of a novella written by him, The Second Request, which I read yesterday.

I will review The Second Request on Monday but I thought I would just write a quick post pointing out one of the things that I love about blogging. It’s a community where one short comment leads to another and before you know it, you’ve been introduced to something new: a book, a song, a movie, a destination, or a person!  Friendships begin and the net of the blogging community stretches in welcome!

I love blogging!

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I have been reading lots and lots of blogs over the past three months and I keep coming up with blogs that aren’t very Reader friendly or sometimes even inconsiderate…not that the blogger is doing these things intentionally. I think they just aren’t aware of it.

One thing that would help, and I realize it isn’t possible on all blogging platforms especialy if you have a free blog, is changing the font. I have to increase the view size in my No Squint plugin to about 150% in order to be able to view the font without serious eye strain. I know some blogs have a variable font size where the Reader can pick the font size. I love those blogs but I think it’s probably a feature available only on pay blogs. However, if there is anything you can do to improve the size or the crispness of the font, that would help your Readers.

Another thing that would help is to keep in mind that your Followers probably follow a lot of other blogs. When I follow a blog, I read every single post as soon as I am notified of the post. Each day I spend upwards of three hours reading and commenting on blogs. So, when a blog I follow post five, six, seven, or more times in one day, that’s a bit much, especially when a lot of them are just reports of what the Blogger is doing at the moment or is about to do. Some Bloggers seem to run to publish a post every hour to report on every detail of their lives. Too much. And often too much information, too! Be considerate of your Readers’ time or you may lose those Readers.

And that brings me to commenting. Why would you make your Readers jump through hoops to comment on your post? First I have to enter all of my identifying information, then I have to prove I’m not a robot, then I have to post my comment and then I have to preview it before it publishes and then it will finally publish. It often takes me longer to comment than it does to read the post and by then, I’ve lost interest in commenting. Then there are a couple of blogging platforms that make you join their platform before you can comment. Not going to happen with me.

I often tweet the urls of blogs I enjoy so that others can visit them, too. However, if there is no Share button available or if it is there but not configured, then I have to copy the url, open Twitter, paste the url, type in any hashtags I want to add, type in a comment, then post. Takes too long. I’m not doing it and you are missing out on shares and visits. So get that Share Button up on your blog and get it configured so that all Readers have to do is hit the button and share it!

These are the top things bugging me about reading blogs today. There are others but these made it to the top of the list today. It may not apply to all of you, in fact I know it doesn’t apply to most of my Followers. However, when you have just spent the last three hours reading, commenting, and sharing blogs, these things are really aggravating and they keep me from coming back to your blog!

To those of you who are nice to your Readers by not being guilty of any of these pet peeves, thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Since I’ve gotten back to writing in this blog, I’ve also gotten back to reading blogs. They go hand in hand. Without reading and commenting on other blogs, you won’t get much traffic on your own blog. Also, one of the reasons I enjoy blogging is to make friends and have the (virtual) conversations that I lack in daily life.

While clicking on links from lists for NaBloPoMo and other blog challenges, I’ve come across a lot of younger writers, some of them really struggling with a number of issues and some of them just questioning and exploring. I guess it’s my maternal nature kicks in at these times and I find myself taking an interest in many of them and commenting on their blogs. I try to leave encouraging, even inspiring little “pep comments” whenever I can and I leave little bits of caring and support wherever I can. That’s just who I am.

Yesterday I got a reply to one of my comments and I replied back to the blogger then she replied to me thanking me for always being supportive. Another blogger, also yesterday, thanked me for supporting her “fledgling writing attempts”.

Needless to say, it has left me with a big smile on my face. I guess being me is making a difference to a few people. I guess my attempts at encouragement and support are hitting their marks. Yay! It really makes me feel good to know this.

And so I keep reading and commenting.

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1. The end of the month and the end of NaBloPoMo for me. I have done it three consecutive months and I’m tired. I think I have successfully built up the posting routine once again so mission accomplished. Yay!

2. New monthly feature which I think I will be calling “Introducing…” in which I will introduce my readers to an indie author. I have writers lined up for February through June, I think. I’ll be looking for others. If you have a suggestion, fill out the contact me form in the sidebar and let me know who and where. This feature will run on the first Monday of the month, at least that’s how I see it right now.

3. I’m joining several blogging challenges so you’ll be seeing badges and visitors that are new here and some new commenters. It’s fun for me to meet other bloggers and part of that fun is blog hopping. I hope you’ll all enjoy that with me. I’m still struggling with some of the rules on some of them and I can’t seem to get some of the linkable badges to work on my sidebar so we’ll see how it all works out.

4. One of the groups I’ve joined is 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, #1000Speak. The idea is to get 1000 bloggers to blog about compassion on the same day, February 20. You’ll probably be hearing a lot about this. There are currently over 1000 bloggers signed up to participate, including me! You may see some compassion posts in the coming weeks with a “main one” on the 20th. So keep your eyes open. And if any other bloggers would like to join, check it out here.

5. You may also see more than one post in a day from me. Not long posts but shorter ones. Maybe. Not sure. But maybe.

6. And if you have nothing better to do on Sunday, don’t forget to cheer for the Seahawks! We are 12!!!

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Over the past three months, I’ve made a conscious effort to renew old connections and make new ones.  I started blogging again and committed to writing a post for this blog every day in November and again in December.  Part of blogging is reading other blogs.  Over the past couple of months I have read countless blogs and found many of them are just not my cup of tea.  Some are a collection very poorly written posts but at least the person is trying so you have to give them credit for that, and I do!  Others, while very well written, are just not of any interest to me as they have a very narrow focus that doesn’t cross with any of my interests.  I have found others, who I have absolutely loved and began following them right away.  Others I commented on but didn’t follow, not because I was not  interested in them but because I did not want to bog myself down with too many blogs to follow because when I follow a blog, I read all their posts and comment or at least “like” their posts whenever possible.  It takes a long time to read through all the blogs and I usaually do so in the morning and again later in the day when more people have updated their blogs.  It’s time consuming, especially when some of the bloggers sign up for challenges where they post every day, like I did!

I’ve found that over the last two months, I have put myself in the role of “mom” more than once.  I’ve come across blogs written by young women who are going through difficult times with family, work, relationships, etc., and I’ve found that I can relate to their posts because I have been through similar situations and I have tried to post what I feel are encouraging and understanding comments when I’ve come across such blog posts.  I sometimes will leave one of these comments then wonder if the writer will think I am being a nosey busybody but I hope that they take the comments in the spirit in which they were offered.

There are four women whose blogs I have begun following since November or December.  I’ve gotten to the point where if they do not post on any particular day I worry about them because I know that they were intent on posting every day.  I don’t know these women or anything about them other than what they have posted about themselves.  I’m particularly worried these days about two of these women who I know I are going through some very difficult times.  One of them has not posted anything at all since December 19 and it really worries me.  I don’t have a way of getting in touch with her to check on her.  That’s one of the frustrating things about blogging.  Although there are connections made and there are definitely “friend feelings” we don’t know each other and don’t know how to reach one another except to post on one another’s blogs.  So what do I do?  I guess I sit and wait and hope that they will begin posting once again, but I really do worry about them, and one in particular.

So as you can see, when we blog we share a part of ourselves and when we comment on other blogs, we do the same.  We are inviting others into our lives, however minimally.  Connections are made.  Some are long time connections while others fade away, but those connections are made.  Some become friendships, others just acquaintances.

At least that’s how it is for me.

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