Crossing the finish line

Today is a big day. Today is the day that (when I hit the “Publish” button on this post) that I will have completed my colleague Justin’s month-long blogging challenge. Every day for the past 30 days I’ve posted a new blog post with some sort of original content. Some days have been pretty good posts, some were posts for the sake of posting. I’ve learned that daily posting is not my style, and I’d rather have more time to think about what I’m going to post, and then craft it a bit, than worry about just getting a post done. Then again, before this challenge, almost all of my previous posts have been photos. This is the first time I’ve written anything substantial for (this) blog since I started it. Today also marks the end of Camp NaNoWriMo, where for the past 30 days I have been writing fiction and adding to the novel I began last November as part of … Read more…

50K and the light at the end of the tunnel

I’m writing like a fiend. Despite all odds, I have managed to write every single day this month. Even when I ended up in the ER, through the death of a pet and the adoption of a new one, and the last minute frantic planning of WordCamp Austin, I have found time to put words down on virtual paper, and to stay at or above “par” almost every day. For proof, here’s today’s stats: The diagonal line represented “par”, or the total number of words I needed to log in order to stay on track to reach 50K by April 30. Each bar is the total wordcount to date, and whether I was above or below par by that day. As you can see, I’ve cut it close. When I did NaNoWriMo last November, even with traveling out of the country for a week I made much better progress: I attribute the differences to a few things. Of course it … Read more…

Can you spare some change?

What’s the deal with change? People are terrified of change. Even when they hate their lives (or some aspect of them) people will keep doing the same things they’ve always done. Fear of the unknown, concern about what might happen if things change, causes people to be risk-adverse. I once knew a woman who despised her job, her office, her bosses. She was moved to a new job without her consent, and dug her heels in, refusing to decorate her new office, even though she disliked the furniture and the color of the walls (which she could have had repainted). She could have retired and either become a volunteer doing something she loves, or found another job, but instead remained in the same job. It was easier remaining in a job she couldn’t stand than to take a chance and do something new. When I look around, I see lots of people who are afraid to take chances. They might … Read more…

Halfway through and still alive

The month is halfway over now. Fifteen days of blogging for Justin’s blogging challenge, fifteen days of writing as part of Camp NaNoWriMo. Is the glass half full? After all, look at everything I’ve accomplished! So many blog posts! 26,371 words written towards my novel! Or is the glass half empty? There’s still 15 days to go. Where will the ideas come from? What will be my motivation? Well, one thing’s for sure. It’s hump day. And today, I declare that the glass isn’t half full or half empty. It’s just a big cup of steaming hot coffee. 🙂 To all my fellow writers this month, let’s keep going. We can do it!

Acupuncture gets right to the point

Alternative health care fascinates me. Not only are the tools for providing care different from “traditional”, allopathic care, but the methods can also vary. Often, alternative care finds ways to reach people who don’t have access to doctors and hospitals due to expense, scheduling and other concerns. As I learned through my herbalism training, it often works just as well, or better, than mainstream treatments. After my unexpected trip to the Emergency Room on Friday, I discovered that the pile of medicines prescribed to relieve my pain helped… to a point. Even with a full dose, I was still in considerable discomfort, particularly as I tried to sleep. Looking for a solution that would work in tandem with the medications (not wanting to chance herbal remedies this time around), I considered acupuncture, something I had tried once in the distant past for a similar issue. I discovered a small clinic in Austin called Acupuncture Together that advertises low cost treatments ($30 for the first one, and $20 … Read more…

pen nib

I don’t want to write this post

I love to write. I do it for a living, assisting WordPress.com users, creating and updating support documentation, and communicating with colleagues. At a distributed company such as Automattic, there are few in-person/voice conversations. The majority of interaction among colleagues and between staff and our users is through written communication. Outside of work, I write fiction for fun and am an occasional blogger. For the month of April I signed up to do Camp NaNoWriMo and my colleague’s blogging challenge, so I have been writing quite a bit more than my norm, seven days a week. Like I said, I love to write, so it’s great to have so many opportunities to do so. However, even for someone who does so much of it, it doesn’t ever get easy. And tonight, I really didn’t feel like writing a blog post, and had absolutely no ideas for what to write about. Each time I make a conscious decision to write something, I have to think about … Read more…

What Makes for a Successful Blog Post ?

This month I’ve been participating in my colleague’s blogging challenge, and so far I’ve managed to post every day in the month of April, which means after tonight, that’s eight consecutive days of blog posts. All of the posts so far have dealt with writing, more specifically something related to Camp NaNoWriMo. What I’ve found curious is examining which of my posts have been the most popular, measured by traffic or by comments. The two winners so far are last night’s post, The Confession of a Perfectionist Writer, which I think has more comments than any blog post I’ve ever written, and perhaps my post Writing Partners, in which I did little other than post a photo of two of my cats. My takeaways from this are that I either need to post about the inherent difficulties of writing, or just post more photos of my pets. It also makes me wonder what makes for a successful blog post? Are there topics … Read more…

Confession of a Perfectionist Writer

I have a confession. I’m a perfectionist. Isn’t that what writers aspire to become? The kind of writers who can spew perfectly-composed prose, elegant plots, and compelling characters right from their fingertips, as if every time they touch the keyboard another gem gets added to the page. I’d like to be one of those writers. Hell, I’d like to meet one of those writers! Because the truth is, very few people can write beautiful stories the first time around. Even the greatest writers of all time have gone through drafts. When I was a high school senior, I was lucky to go to Marquette University and see some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s manuscripts on display. I was astonished to learn that some of the characters we know and love didn’t start off with the same names we know them today (I seem to recall Gandalf was one of them). I was even more amazed to see lines scratched out and scribbles in the … Read more…