Category Archives: blogging

The New Editor

I just clicked to use the new editor. In trying to get back to the old one I found that they are going to force me to use the new editor from 1st June whether I want to or not. In addition to that I have had to read a load of condescending drivel about the  ease and power of the new system. This comes complete with “blocks”, which I don’t understand and have never needed, but seems to come without the buttons that will allow me to add photos and links.

I should have known something was going on because I’d been suffering minor glitches for a week or two and it’s usually a sign that some jiggery-pokery is in progress.

It took me 45 minutes, and many false starts, to get back to the classic editor and despite looking, I am still none the wiser about how to post photos or add links using the new editor. I would have thought that a new and improved editor would have made this easier, not harder. I also can’t find the word count on the new one.

As usual, the words new and improved are used as if they are interchangeable when in fact new is not the same thing as improved at all.

All in all, if we have to have a new editor, why can’t we have one with a decent set of instructions sent to us before the thing is rolled out. I know these things happen, because that’s what happens with websites – people keep tinkering with them and other people keep telling you about the new and improved version and how “people” have been asking for changes and giving positive feedback. It’s always “people” rather than actual names.

To be honest, I come on here to practice writing, to put my thoughts and frustrations out of my head, to look into the loves of other people and to have a general chat. I don’t need anything glitzy and high tech.

What I really need is the digital equivalent of a box of old-fashioned printer paper (remember the stuff with circular holes down the sides and perforations at the end of every sheet?) that I can write on continuously and add links and photos.

That is pretty much what I had until a few hours ago and I was happy. Now I can’t add links and photos.

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Wood – impersonating a strange animal…

 

The Secret Life of a Blogger

I’ve just been looking down the list off drafts for the last week. They are also known as false starts, ideas and notes and are there for various reasons.

Last night’s effort stalled after 200 words on the grounds that it was depressing. I can’t see much in it worth salvaging and when I have a clear-out it will probably go. It falls in the gap between being entertaining and cathartic, and that’s a very dull and self-indulgent gap.

The one before that has a copy of Agatha Christie’s Great War VAD record Card, and I have not yet written anything to go with it. I may or may not develop that. Again, it’s just going to be a re-hash of available facts and I’m not sure I can add anything useful to the amount that has been written about her.

The third is my drfat for the 12th May Mass Observation Diary. I’m not sure whether it would serve any purpose if I sent it in.

Fourth is a five line false start on dead badgers. It probably needs a recipe to get it going again. That was originally going to be about blood tests but it was overtaken by the phone call requiring a repeat test. When I returned I started the post again.

Fifth is the start of the original 1926 post. I started that the night before my 1926th post, which ended up being about blood tests. It was not as good as the opening I eventually used. This is saying something, as the opening I used will hardly go down in history with “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

For more good opening lines read here. I must try harder. It’s slightly depressing that a search for ‘best opening lines’ resulted in six sites offering conversational openers for Tinder. They aren’t all great lines, though I did like – “Do you have an ugly boyfriend? No? Want one?”

I’m going to try that on Julia.

The next two are about regimental brooches. Whether they are attempts to bore my readers or drafts for articles, I’m not quite sure, but I have plenty of photographs and I may well put something together to teach you about regimental brooches and the depths of a collector’s soul.

Finally we reach back to Scone Chronicles 38. It was written just before lockdown and I lost the photos. It features scones and Sir Bradley Piggins.

This isn’t quite an accurate account, as I cleared out a few weeks ago and these are just the eight most recent. The real stinkers get binned regularly.

Do you have a similar system, or are all your starts true sparkling jewels of blogging excellence? Or do you clear out more often? I still have some from years ago, where I’m hoping to use a title or a well-turned phrase at some point in the future. I am, in psychological terms, a hoarding optimist.

Finally, the pictures are from the  chickpea and peanut butter curry we had from the boxes last night. It was the one I’d looked forward to most eagerly, and the biggest disappointment, as it was tasty but not spicy. I liked the meatballs and the pork steaks better. However, we will be incorporating it into our menu rotation as a variation on the veggie curries we already make. The two photos show natural light and flash versions of the same meal. The one with flash (seen here) is much more welcoming.

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Thai red curry – chickpeas and peanut butter

I could have done without the roasted broccoli, which seems to have been a feature of the three meals (it’s covered in sauce in this picture) and there was enough lime with the grated zest on the rice, without using the wedges provided.

Of course, as soon as I say that, WP decides to stop showing me my photographs…

Wednesday – Tackling the Backlog

We went to Bakewell today. We went to Bakewell last Wednesday too. We may not be exciting but we are consistent.

However, this highlights a problem – I still have a lot of photos from last week. I also have a food review from last week, and I already have another one from this week.

This is a small backlog, but one which, in normal circumstances I would normally ignore. Things would be left and I would move on. I don’t delude myself, life goes on even in the absence of my views on traffic, tourists and charity shops, and nobody will feel a sense of loss if I don’t get round to writing about my hot pork sandwich. As for the book reviews I was planning – I wrote a book review in January 2019 and another in December. I’m guessing that most people don’t really visit the blog for my book reviews.

However, after a good night’s sleep, a lovely day in Derbyshire and a Valentine’s Day Gift that went right (and took a load off my mind) I am feeling inspired to work.

The lack of poetry writing in my life is also a factor. If I write prose I can pretend I am too busy when, in truth, I’m lazy, unimaginative and uninspired. Being busy prevents me facing up to that. I can write “lazy, unimaginative and uninspired” and still feel good because I’m writing about eating cake and looking at ducks.

Dog owners were a notable feature of the day. I think dogs are lower down the evolutionary scale than cats, I don’t like them in cafes and I tend to think that anything bigger than a terrier should be banned from living in town. However, I have to say that the dogs today were charming, full of character and attended by a great bunch of owners, who all seemed sensible, cheerful and enthusiastic about dogs. It was good to see, and really cheered the day up, to be honest, Cats tend to be a bit aloof, and I’ve never seen one look happy on a lead.

This post features ducks, people and a few other things from our visit to Bakewell last Wednesday. It misses out the sandwich, which will be the next post. I will then move on to this week’s visit, and the cake, but that will probably be instead of writing about Thursday or Friday.

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When the price of scrap goes up I’d cut the locks off and cash them in – I am not a great romantic

I will write about them while the weekend of storms rages around my head.

An that is how the next backlog will develop. Well, it’s one way. They also develop because I sit in the living room with Julia, chat about life, watch TV, snooze and use the netbook. It does well for an ageing, low-powered evolutionary dead-end, but it can be slow and tedious when loading photos. Hmm, ageing, low-powered evolutionary dead-end – sounds a bit like me.

I’m writing this on the computer in the cold dining room. It’s less comfortable but a lot quicker.

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The river Wye at Bakewell

Plans, plans, plans

The plan for the morning was to rise early, sneak downstairs as Julia slept and get writing. I have haibun to write, submissions to make and a new ambition to fulfil.

I want to hit my sixth WordPress anniversary with an average of 365 posts per year. I’m currently on 333 a year. I think that means I have to write 365 next year, and a further 160 to catch up. That’s 1.5 posts per day.

So, I need to examine the reasons for my deficiencies in posting.

One, obviously, is idleness, indolence, sloth or laziness. There are some nice words for it, but it all boils down to one of my defining character flaws. I don’t like hard work.

Two, which is a similar thing, my talent for procrastination, time-wasting, loafing and wandering off on the internet, either to play games or browse Wikipedia. Recently I found a new games page and I am now a dab hand at Nine Men’s Morris and, thanks to Wiki, can also discuss its history and variations.

Three, memory. I sometimes forget to post. You’d think one a day would be simple enough to remember but I have a lot to remember, such as my name, computer passwords and what Julia just said to me. Some days it’s hard just remembering how to walk and breathe at the same time.

Four. Sometimes I just fall asleep at the keyboard, leading to fifty five lines saying ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg etc

Or, worse, with the pattern of a keyboard impressed in my face, like one of Dr Who’s more low-budget adversaries.

Today I will attempt multiple posts.

Watch this space.

Today’s picture is the recycled Robin from the Garden Centre in Scone Chronicles 3.

A New Start

Time, I think, for a new start.

I’ve allowed myself to lose focus in the last month or so and I actually missed a deadline this week. Normally I have a list of deadlines to work tom but I’d let it slip. Suddenly I realised that the 30th June was only days away.

I hate submitting at the end of a submission window because you’re never sure if a rejection is due to quality or due to the fact they already have enough good stuff.

Add an extra variable, that I hadn’t been completing  enough material, and I had to make the tough decision to let the deadline pass.

I didn’t like doing it, but it’s better to leave it than submit rubbish. It was due to go to an editor I hadn’t sent anything to before and I didn’t see any point in making myself look unprofessional.

I have now set myself a number of targets, which I’m not going to share until I see which ones are working. This is, I admit, a bit of a cop out but I feel happier that way. It’s also erring on the side of modesty as I’ve set myself some stiff targets. If I hit them all and tell you about them it might look like I’m boasting.

However, one I will reveal is that I’m back to daily posting. This Day One. It’s the easy one. Day Two might be trickier.

I will also reveal that I’m setting myself a target of at least 185 words per post. That avoids the temptation to take shortcuts because it’s about practising writing, not just ticking off the days.

Fine words. Let’s see how it works out.

The pictures are poppies in the front garden. Each morning three or four open up. By the evening they have blown away. We have several clumps of them and, apart from some minor deadheading, we don’t do anything to them. They even planted themselves. You have to admire that in a flower.

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Poppies growing from cracks in concrete. The rumpled effect smooths out as the day draws on.

 

Why I Started Blogging

 I started blogging for two reasons. One was that I thought Quercus Community needed a profile on Social Media. That reason has passed, as there is no group now, and I really should change the name. I did say I was going to do this a year ago but I am famous for my inertia.

The second was that I needed more practice writing. I’d become slack and lazy and unproductive. I’m still slack and lazy, but it has made me more productive. I can, as I found yesterday, knock out a thousand words in an hour. I didn’t mean to time it but I had about an hour to fill and I did two posts in that time (one still to be published) which came to 970 words. In my world that’s near enough a thousand.

The reason I wanted to write more was that I enjoy it. I had also looked at something called “content writing” and thought it offered a way of making money. Not a fortune, but enough to keep us fed. Unfortunately, when I had a serious look at it the sites offering employment they all seemed to be full of American students offering to write for next to nothing.

My plan of writing to keep us supplied with groceries collapsed. That sort of money is only enough to buy biscuits and, to be honest, it’s easier just to give up biscuits and write things I enjoy but don’t get paid for.

At the moment I’m going through a bit of a slump with the blog and failing miserably at my self-inflicted target of a post a day.

It’s partly to do with time, partly to do with inclination and partly to do with equipment. I still haven’t had the laptop repaired and the netbook isn’t very inspiring. In other words, I only have myself to blame.

And that’s it. Just 300 words in twenty minutes today, because there’s not much more to say. However, it is interesting to note, as with poetry writing, that the more you do, the more fluent you get.

I’m avoiding the word “better” as I’m not convinced my writing is better than it was – just that there is more of it.

A lot of reading

I had a lot of posts to read tonight, and still have more to go. Sorry if I haven’t been keeping up.

I also had a lot of reading to do as I’ve been having trouble believing some of the comments in a blog I read regularly. The reading tends to indicate that my incredulity is well founded. Then again, it would, because I am right and they are wrong.

Then I had another internet link trail to follow – from Peterborough to Shakespeare. I may tell you later. It’s all Clare Pooley’s fault. She’s a bad influence.

I’ve also been looking after a frozen wife – a day in the garden was not what she needed today.

Now I have to take Number Two Son to work. By the time I get back it will be late to post.

Sorry, this is a bit short even for me.