Category Archives: blogging

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

 

 

1500

As usual, I can’t let a numerical milestone pass without using it as a lazy title.

I checked Haibun Today yesterday, remembering that I should be in it. I am. (Despite things being approved by editors I always worry that a last minute glitch will prevent publication).

My first post, on 8th October 2014, was about Guinea Fowl sheltering from the rain. I was hoping to be appalled by my poor quality writing and banal subject matter, but it seems as good as anything I’ve done, which is a bit annoying – I was hoping I’d improved over time.

Guinea Fowl sheltering from the rain
Guinea Fowl sheltering from the rain

When I worked in South Africa I used to have a family of Guinea Fowl that walked across the front lawn on a regular patrol. The ones on the farm did the same thing, stalking the gardens, eating pests and depositing manure.

There are still four left on the farm, defying the odds. They have lasted better than we did.

I will say no more.

Just a Quick Post

Time for another swift post I think.

Having been distracted by TV and the internet I’m starting a little later than planned and have to take Number Two Son to work in an hour.

I also have a haiku to re-write, which is more difficult than it sounds, considering that it only has three lines. I’m told that two of the lines say almost the same thing, which makes for a weak haiku. My plan was to rewrite one line. It seemed logical. It seemed a quick and easy fix.

It’s taken me 24 hours now and it’s not going well. Fortunately I told the editor it would take me a couple  of days, so I’m safe for now. It will be another 24 hours before he finds out he’s dealing with an idiot.

Sorry, I drifted off into haikuland there and spent 20 minutes rewriting, checked my emails, read some posts by other people and then realised I was meant to be posting.

I’ll do better tomorrow…

 

 

Day 101

To be accurate, it’s really only day 75 because I missed a day. While I’m on a roll I’m going to go for the extra 25 and make it a genuine 100.

That’s probably all I need to say about that. From tomorrow I’ll stop rattling on about targets and just get on with it.

I have a few things to do and then I’m going to set to work listing suitable subjects for future posts.

The morning started with sunlight streaming into the living room and dazzling me. An hour later it has now gone grey and the temperature has dropped significantly.

That will do for now – I’m feeling a bit slow due to the pain in my face and Julia needs to go out.

Here are some cheery photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 100!

Finally – day 100 in the posting challenge!

(Well, really day 99 out of 100, but as I’ve averaged over a post a day I’m allowing myself to claim it as completed.)

I’m treating it in a suitably low-key sort of way and celebrated by having a tooth extracted. It wasn’t particularly enjoyable, but it could have been worse. Next time I have a celebration I may stick with the traditional cake-based version.

They gave me a form to fill in afterwards, asking how likely I was to recommend them to a family member. It’s difficult to give a useful answer to that, as I’m not likely to recommend that any member of my family spends half an hour in the dentist’s chair with pliers and power tools in their mouth.

So, what have I learned from my 100 days of posting?

Tricky…

I’ve learned that it’s possible to run out of things to say, and that photos of flowers and cute animals are an acceptable substitute. I’ve also learned that you can grow to hate blogging at times, and that setting a target makes you more likely to do things.

However, I knew that.

I suppose the main thing I’ve learned is that it is possible to set myself a long-term writing target and stick to it. That’s not always been the case in the past.

I also need to list subjects for posts and write some in advance.

That, I think, is about it.

Now, what should I do tomorrow?