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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Years ago, in what seems like previous lifte time, I was a member of one of the first social media attempts, Gather. It was promoted to me as a place where writers could post their work and get feedback and develop collegial relationships. I was really into developing my writing so I joined. I enjoyed it but there were so many people there for many reasons other than for writing. There were photographers sharing their work; foodies sharing their insights; technical types imparting their knowledge; and so many people just there for the points and money. Yes, it was a site where members could earn points for the content they posted and the comments and views their content garnered. Points could be turned in for cash (via PayPal) or gift cards. So, as you can imagine, there was a lot of junk there, too. I did develop some wonderful relationships which are still some of my closest friends although I have never met most of them. And I am happy to say that a few are still my most loyal blog readers. At one time, there was a group of us that met through Gather that all started or revived blogs. Most are no longer blogging but we are still in touch via Facebook.

Facebook brings me to another point about Gather, which is actually what inspired this post. Recently, one member has started a Facebook group devoted to finding old Gather members so everyone can get in touch with old friends. It’s a great idea for a lot of the old Gather members. The site, you see, disintegrated rather suddenly. The whole thing was sold to a Japanese company that promised they would maintain the site and develop it further. They didn’t. And then there was a lot of fighting and “ganging up” on some members and then it was suddenly shut down with no notice. I stopped “gathering” quite awhile before that happened. Someone emailed me and said it might happen so I went in and cashed in all of my points and never looked back. Unfortunately, I was naive enough to think that the content would remain online so I didn’t back up any of my stuff. I lost a lot of my writing and a lot of pictures that I no longer have anywhere. I still have my friends. There was a group of maybe fifty or so of my closest “gatherites” (Spell Check is going crazy on this post) that remained in touch. One member, Lydia, who some of you might remember died a couple of years ago, bought membership on another site where she started a group for us to keep in touch and post our stuff or just “talk to each other.” I no longer remember the name of that site or if it is even around anymore. And if it is still around, without Lydia, I’m sure our slot was not paid for so isn’t there anymore. More of my stuff lost! I don’t care so much about that as much as I care about losing the conversations and the memories we shared, especially with the members that have passes as there have been five or six that I can recall that have passed.

In any case, I know I’m rambling, Gather brought back a lot of memories for a lot of us, not all of them are good memories. A lot of the Gather members no longer want to have anything to do with any of it so it has been interesting to see the efforts of this guy (his name is Thomas) as he attempts to revive the old relationships. I’ve been sort of helping as a Moderator for the group. Mostly, Thomas wants me to help him navigate through some of the stuff he didn’t expect to encounter, such as people who are adamantly against him renewing anything related to Gather. A lot of the problems have revolved around privacy issues that he didn’t anticipate or understand so I’m sort of there to tell him when I think he might encounter some resistance. He kind of runs things by me. I don’t mind doing it. I am sort of in a middle point. I don’t necessarily want to get in touch with any of the members that I’m not now in touch with but I have enjoyed one member in particular who has posted a few of his new writings. I used to really enjoy his stuff so I am glad that I’m reading his work again. And if anyone has saved some of my stuff, it would be good to have that. Yes, we are finding that some people printed out a lot of the stuff and have reams upon reams of Gather content saved.

Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about today. I’m thinking about a lot of things actually. I’ve sort of been quiet here but that’s because of my glasses. I still don’t have the new ones. They came in but when I went to pick them up they had not made them right so they had to go back so another two weeks of being semi blind is keeping me from a lot of reading and writing, especially online where I have the back lighting to contend with.

That’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to post again later today or tomorrow. And I will be coming around to read blogs, too. I’ve caught up a tiny bit but but there’s still so many I need to read.

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I remember hearing this phrase a lot when I was growing up. Instead of asking someone to “shoot me and email” when they arrived, we used to say, “drop me a line” or “don’t forget to write.” Those were the days. The old days.

Letter writing, and even writing with pen and paper, is a lost art. I pick up a pen and try to write some notes and I almost can’t remember how. It feels so alien to me. I think we also have a generation growing up without learning to write in cursive and without learning how to format a letter or even write the most basic salutation. That can’t be good.

I enjoy letter writing. Or at least I used to. I wrote a letter to my friend Kim, in Australia and really enjoyed it. I was pressed for time or I would have written more. And I wrote a letter to Deborah who is a woman in one of the Buy Nothing groups I belong to. We chat when she picks something up and sometimes we send text messages to each other regarding an item to  be picked up. However, I have thought for some time that it would be nice to have her as a friend. A friend I might invite for a cup of coffee or meet for a quick chat. So I jumped in and used her address for one of my February letters for Incowrimo. It occurs to me that it is also one person I am reaching out to, a person on the fringes of my circle of friends, as I wrote about in Expand. So I’m on my way!

One thing that I like about letter writing is that it is so much more personal. When you open a letter from someone, you are holding the same paper they held and reading the words they wrote out in long hand. Maybe you are also witnessing their choice in paper or ink on the letter. In some cases, even the stamp used is a personal choice. So much more personal than anything else.

Well, on to writing my February 3 letter before the day is done! Happy writing!

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I know. Silly title. But at the moment, that’s all my brain can do, come up with quick and silly titles!

As most of you know, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo once again. I have been reading a lot of the posts in the various Facebook NaNoWriMo groups to which I belong. A lot of people need a push or a shove in the direction of finding some words. So this is for them and this is for YOU. Yes, you.

Below are some words, phrases, etc., that are meant to introduce a situation, character, sub plot, etc., into your writing. They may also be good ideas for blogging topics. My advice is to copy/paste them into a new document then add some spacing (maybe triple?) then print them out, cut them into strips and put them in envelopes, or into a jar where you can grab one at random. Sometimes it may take two or three together to get you going in another direction that can help your writing ideas. I hope you find something you can use!

right before my eyes

he/she was the stranger he/she would never forget

nothing but a broken umbrella

the loneliest meal

different kind of dream

being young

love moods

lonely in that way

down the flight of stairs

the hospital chapel

the bread had turned purple

the little things

he didn’t remember

if I had known

it wasn’t until

no one would understand

stop me, please

heavy hitter

not exactly best friends

control

first blush

photo finish

the last bus

conquer

personal power

just sitting around

light up the room

If only she hadn’t missed the bus

 

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It’s the day after the snow day. A lot of people are still home from work and school as the roads are icy. I’m sitting at home, nice and warm. I left the house for about twenty minutes to get some food my daughter picked up for me. Yay for food!

Otherwise, I am looking online for ideas for inexpensive but useful groups for the adults I need to get things for. I also order two things for the youngest grandbaby. I have the kids’ gifts ordered or already in my possession so if I don’t get anything else, that’s fine, I’ve got the babies covered!

I also wrote a new Christmas story. This one is a short flash piece (under 800 words). It’s for a guest blog post later this month. It’s fiction. It feels good to sit and write something new. That’s twice this month, both for other bloggers. I’m going to try to come up with something else later today…maybe for MY blog this time!

Are you finished with your shopping? Who is the most difficult person to get a gift for? I’d love to hear!

 

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I was looking through my blog posts for previous Decembers so that I could find a specific post to contribute to a friend’s December collection of blog posts. So far I haven’t found it but I ended up reading so many of the posts that I had all but forgotten. They are full of memories, some good and some not so good. In every case I found my throat getting dry and my eyes moist. And it wasn’t all about the memories that I’ve shared with my blog readers over the years. It’s about noticing that I haven’t written real memoir pieces in a long time. I’ve written very little memoir and very little fiction. I really want to get back to writing what this blog used to be about. If I do anything in 2017, that’s it. More writing, genuine writing of memoir and fiction.

So now I have to go back to looking for that specific post and maybe I will make a list of which ones I want to reblog for you here in December. They are full of memories, mostly from my childhood but also some from my married years and the early years after my divorce raising three children on my own. Lots of wonderful memories even though some of them are filled with enough tears to share with everyone.

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Like I explained last week, plot ninjas are meant to give you a way out when you are stuck. They spark your imagination so that you can keep writing. It may end up giving you a scene, a chapter, or a whole sub plot!

Here are a few more:

–One of your characters says “It never happened.”

–Give your character(s) a favorite beverage. Tell the background of why it’s a favorite. (Maybe over a drink at a bar; at a party?)

–The door bell rings. Who is it? What do they want? What bearing does it have on your story?

–Your main character admits something. What?

Bonus

Use one or more of these words in your story:

catapult

election

exuberant

calliope

 

 

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I love participating in NaNoWriMo. We all do or we wouldn’t do it. However, each year it gets harder and harder for me. It’s not just the age. It’s the Mama Factor that seems to get increasingly bigger and bigger.

The Mama Factor? All the things that the mamas have to do to get through the day to write a the 1667 words a day that will get them to goal on November 30. When I first started doing NaNoWriMo, my two oldest kids were out of the house. The youngest was in high school but was home schooled so she was constantly home and we took a lot of day trips and excursions to keep her busy and learning new things. (That was when she developed her love of photography. She’s now a photographer. So those were important days.) It gave me time to write. Yes, it put a damper on my writing time but I got it done. It was possible. I used to wonder about the moms that had little ones at home. How could they write? It would have been a problem for me, although when my kids were little, I lived in a community where I had a lot of support. I’m pretty sure I would have been able to leave the kids for play dates with a number of people so that I could have writing time. It would have been done.

Now, however, my kids are all grown. I live alone. There is no husband to demand my time. Yet, it gets harder and harder every year. Let me tell you about my day on this year’s Day Two. I had to get up and out of the house early to drive Susie (daughter number 2) to the airport where she was flying to Colorado Springs for a business trip. I got to her house and she wasn’t ready. It seems she figured over night that we didn’t have to leave so early so she slept in a bit. I didn’t. I didn’t know about the intentional delay. I finally got her to the airport and then had to drive home to watch the two grandboys so their mom could go do a volunteer shift for Gleaners. I got there and they were still asleep so I waited and eventually came home for about an hour while they woke up and got ready to go do errands. I had to play catch up on a few things so I didn’t get to write my 1667. In fact, I didn’t write a single word for my NaNo project. Then off we went for the day (now a half day) of errands. On our very last stop, I got the kids out of the store while their mom was in line because they were starting to misbehave. I got them to the car and strapped into their car seats. When I was getting myself in, I misjudged the distance and smacked my head on the side of the car roof. I hit so hard that I almost passed out. Instant headache of astronomical proportions. My jaw felt like I had dislocated it. There were stars. There was almost blackness. Eventually, we got home but I had to wait at their house because my daughter was going to use my car for another errand and I was going to stay with the boys. About an hour later, she decided not to go out on that errand and I came home. Headache in tact. Jaw pain diminishing. But I’m pretty sure I have a concussion. I ended up sleeping for the entire time from about 5:30 until 10:30. Now I’m writing this and I’m falling asleep again so there will be no writing tonight. I guess maybe I should start counting my blog posts to my word count. Nah. I don’t think I will go that route.

How does this fit into the Mama Factor? Well, it seems that there are certain mamas who just don’t have the time to write. They have obligations that keep growing as their family grows. As much as they try, there is no time for their needs and wants; only for those of their family. Those moms are the ones that perform a miracle every November when they are able to validate their 50,000 words by midnight on November 30th.

No 1667 for me on Day Two. We’ll see if Day Three allows me to write but I will say that while Daughter Number Two is on that business trip, I will be driving to her house to feed her cats. And they have an ant problem so I can’t just fill the dishes and leave. I have to stay while the cats eat and make sure they all eat. This will involve about an hour and a half twice a day, including drive time. I might get a few words written while I wait for los gatos to eat. Might. Might not. Hopefully 1667 will happen tomorrow so I will only have to get caught up by one day over the weekend. If I fall too far behind, I won’t catch up.

So if you know a Mama doing NaNoWriMo, be kind. Offer to help her out or if you can’t help her out, at least don’t be an additional burden to her. Don’t feed the Mama Factor.

nanopoblano1

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