Category Archives: Preambles to Writing

A few interesting blogging facts

Recently, I read some interesting facts about blogging but I don’t recall where I saw that. I had made note of a few things which stood out to me, and which I will share here in case you might like to know.

graph pie

Were you aware that 64% of bloggers blog as a hobby? Only 27% of bloggers write full-time at this. I think I would consider myself, at present, full-time – or the closest thing to it. I don’t blog every day but I try to keep up a manageable routine and schedule – however haphazard that can be at times. :)

I learned that 21% of bloggers have been blogging for more than 6 years. I started blogging in September 2008 on another site, which makes it five and a half years ago for me.

Do you know what are the major traffic sources for blogs? I’ll tell you: Search Engines make up 48% and Social Media make up 28% – which would consist of Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and other such places. My posts are noted by me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and anywhere else I or my readers choose to mention my posts.

In January 2010 I moved to WordPress. I am pleased to be one of the 40% of bloggers who are using WordPress as their blogging platform.

Another interesting fact is that 30% of bloggers are 25-34 years of age, while 27% are 35-44 years old, and I don’t fit in either of those age groups! Oh well, I still feel at home here.

How do you rate with regard to the above facts? Do you have any other interesting things to add to this information?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

 

 

 

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Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 14: Ready, Set, Go!

Welcome back! Over the next many months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month fourteen:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 14: Ready, Set, Go!

I have a terrible time making a good first impression. I either come off looking stuck up because I don’t say anything at all, or like an idiot because I talk way too much.

The good news is that most people are willing to overlook that first sentence or two that does (or doesn’t) come out of my mouth, but, when we shift our focus from social situations  to novels, that first sentence becomes all important. For many people, including editors and agents, the first sentence is all they need to determine whether or not they read the book.

So let’s discuss two important things you need to learn about writing a first sentence.

1. The first sentence doesn’t have to be written first.

Duh. Of course, you don’t need to write it first. But seriously, you don’t. Since that first sentence is so important, it sometimes stands like a wall, blocking off every strong intent, every beautiful word, every delicious story that could follow, because the writer chokes.Trust yourself, go on with the novel. Start the marathon, but, when you return to that first sentence, consider your prime target.

IMG_1426photo credit: Neil Harrison

Strangely enough, your prime target isn’t craft or artistry. It isn’t even voice, although all those things are important.

2. Your prime target is your reader.

Allow me to share the first sentences from three very different manuscripts that I’m working on. (The titles are “working titles,” which means they’ll probably be changed.)

1. From TAIL FEMALE, “I’ll be fifteen next apple harvest and I got me a baby girl one years old and she’s named Chinaberry Scott.”

2. From WISH, “If you pace it off, the cement floor measures six feet wide and nine feet long, and the ceiling stands high enough that I can’t reach the camera mounted in the corner, even with a running jump.

3. From BONE FIRE, “The morning the giant walked into the village, Rose was stirring a bag of stew that hung over the outside hearth.”

Whatever weaknesses these first sentences contain, each carries one important attribute. It targets the reader, because most readers are going to stop and say, “What?”

My best advice about your first sentence? Write a sentence that holds a bit of mystery in its gut, so it pulls your readers forward into that story you can’t wait to tell them!

Strength to your pen!

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you come back April 24, 2014, for part 15.

8 fun ways to procrastinate

Are you a procrastinator? Or, do you wish you could find things to help you procrastinate … because …  maybe that story you are working on just isn’t coming together and you need a harmless distraction to give your brain a break.

If you need that break, or you feel you simply want something fun to while away a little time, first … I found this funny clip for you to watch.

Ellen DeGeneres on procrastination

Then, here are eight fun ways to procrastinate. Enjoy!

  1. Bubble Wrap pop
  2. Today I found out
  3. Create word clouds
  4. Play piano
  5. Neon Bible
  6. Swap Sketch
  7. Reaction Time Test
  8. Google Fight

The ones I don’t already have on my Writer’s Helps page will soon find their way there so you can find them easier any time you want to take a fun break. :)

Do you have any other fun ideas?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!

 

Does fear control your life?

FEAR.

What do you think of when you hear that word?

From the time I was a small child fear was my constant companion. It hindered me in every way. Sometimes it got pushed aside but rarely did it let go. It has taken years for me to begin living without it taking over, and even yet I struggle against its seemed power in my life. I have come to believe that when fear is not of value it is a choice to be made.

FEAR IS A CHOICE.

Without going into a lot of personal grief about things not necessary to mention at this time, I want to direct you instead to an excellent post I found. Titled “Is Fear Driving You Forward or Dragging You Under?” it was written by Kristen Lamb  <—- so please take a few minutes to go there (just click on her name) and read it. She says it so well.

E. E. Cummings said, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

I’m still working on that. How about you?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

Does music inspire you? (very funny videos)

My topic for today is music.

cool cat!(photo is of our white, blue-eyed cat, Scamper, whom we had for seventeen years.)

I enjoy music. Not all music, but likely most. When there is music playing I have a very hard time staying still. Music seems to speak to the depths of me.

Classical music is supposed to be good for the brain, especially good for the development of babies’ brains. I read that studies have found classical music is helpful during studying, doing homework, as background sound when doing other things. I find that particular music genre can simply be enjoyed without the listener being really intruded upon by it.

I came across this video that I think is one of the most hilarious things I have watched lately. Every time I view it – and yes, I like it so much I have viewed it multiple times, and will again – I either snicker or laugh out loud. It’s not only the involvement of the players but the audience reactions that get me every time. Take a look at this classical interlude and let me know what you think, but please remember to come back to see the next one I am including. Better yet, make it easier for yourself and just right-click so you don’t leave my blog entirely. :)

I understand not everyone appreciates music. There was a time it was considered to be evil-inspired on every level. But then on the other extreme there are those who enjoy not only listening to music, but playing an instrument AND singing along. That leads me into this funny clip which I think you will agree proves my point.

How does music affect you? Does it make you want to dance? Does it help your thought processes when you write?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

How is your grammar? Take this quiz!

How’s your grammar? Ever wonder how you rate or what words still trick you?

question mark

I recently discovered a short grammar test. I’m always interested in knowing how I rate when it comes to proper grammar usage, so I took this twenty question quiz to test my skills. It is easy to do and I’m sure you will find it of benefit.

I didn’t get a perfect score, and would have been surprised if I had managed that. There are a couple of things that still trip me up. 85% isn’t bad, though. It makes me a Grammar Warrior:)

Interested? Try it here.

How about testing your grammar skills, then please come back and let me know how you scored? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Wildlife out my window; reminder of chance to win a book

First I want to remind you to enter the draw, if you haven’t already, for a paper copy of the book by Erik Weibel. The Adventures of Tomato and Pea is a good one for that special child in your life.

Now I want to tell you about something fun. Today I glanced out the window and was surprised and delighted to see a young deer! She was making her way through the snow on the far side of Dad’s lawn, following the brook to the back of the property. Upon reaching a bend in the brook she stepped in and took a long drink of cold water. Having enough, she raised her head, looked around and crossed the stream to climb the hill on the other side. Soon after the deer had ventured by, a cock pheasant hurried along the brook and also made his way up the hill.

It’s always interesting here at my dad’s. One never knows what will appear in the brook or on the lawn, at or near the feeders, or just passing through. Besides deer and cock pheasants and their hens we have watched ducks, a fox, raccoons, hawks, many other birds including cardinals, a kingfisher, and grey herons. 

The images I’m including were not taken from today’s sightings, but they are my own pictures. The first photo is one I took of a young deer in my own driveway one winter. The others were taken at Dad’s last summer.

oh deer! closeup (1)DSCN0030DSCN0021November 11'12 003

 

I just wanted to share this since I hadn’t been able to post over the weekend.

A final memory jog … the draw for The Adventures of Tomato and Pea is tonight, Tuesday, March 11 at 6:00 EST. Please encourage a new author and leave a comment on the interview.

What wonderful sightings have you had this season?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)