You Should Be Reading Blogs

Reading inspires me to write.  Often it doesn’t matter what I read, though I will say, if I want to be inspired to write a poem – well, I read poetry.

If you are unsure what to read, you should start searching online for blogs that cater to your tastes and hobbies.  You may need to weed out some poorly written blogs.  You may need to avoid blogs that people start but then never update.  You may want to avoid blogs that have too many advertisements flashing in your face.  The point is, once you have found a few blogs you would like to keep up with, you will want to know when new posts are updated to those blogs.  A simple solution to that is to use an aggregator.

Fear not, this is simply an online tool that keeps track of all the blogs you follow.  When a new post goes up on a blog that you follow, you’re aggregator will set that post aside for you.  You can read it now; or later; or never.  Think of your aggregator as a personal secretary who organizes all of your incoming blog posts.

My favorite aggregator is Feedly.  It allows you to create your own categories, then drop your blog feeds into an appropriate folder.  I currently have folders for typewriter related blogs, Crafting blogs, classical music blogs, letter writing blogs, and of course writing blogs.

Many writers start blogs to share their own writing.  Great.  Want to read what other people are writing in gothic fiction?  Google “gothic fiction blogs”.  You’ll be presented with many, many options.  Some will be blogs attached to websites that advertise for publishing, agents, books, etc.  That’s fine.  Check out the blog.  If you don’t like it, don’t add it to your feed.  I didn’t find a personal blog regarding gothic fiction until the third google search page, so be patient.  Soon you’ll be finding blogs you want to read regularly.

Not sure how to add new content to your new feedly account?  Here’s a web page that will tell you all about it.  It may seem very technical but trust me, if you take a little time and experiment with it, you will be rewarded.  Pertinent news feeds and blogs will be at your fingertips in no time.  The best part of all is, you can always use google (or your favorite search engine) to learn about RSS feeds, blogs, podcasts, vlogs – anything that might be helpful to you personally.

Want to keep track of your favorite blogs easily?  Check out the Feedly aggregator.  If you have any specific questions, let me know and I’ll help you out.  ~Tom~

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February 17 Debrief

Wonderful meeting this past Saturday.  Thanks to Pat, Heather and Dinty for sharing their recent work.  We heard about murderous vampires (are there any other kind?), inspired woodworkers, and family members that carried a bit of larceny with them.  What will you write about this week?  Share it with us!

Next meeting is this Thursday, February 22 at 4:30PM.  Room 102, Blasco library.

~Tom~

Celebrate The Warm-up With Writing

Greetings gutsy word scribes!  We should be melting this weekend, let’s celebrate!  Our next writer meeting will be this Saturday, January 20 at 2:30PM.  Plan to bring 5+ copies of any writing you would like reviewed by the other writers.  Don’t have anything?  Sit down before Saturday and scribble out some words.  I myself am a procrastinator, but I can always bring in something – you can too!

See you at the Blasco library this Saturday!  ~Tom~

P.S. Don’t forget to avail yourself of the online resources and  library books for guidance.    Have fun, and get it done.

The New Year-Resolve To Write!

Happy new year dauntless wordsmiths!

Power of Words

This is a great time to make one bold resolution- to write even more in 2018.

Here are some links to get you motivated.

Don’t forget to use this very website for more inspiration and motivation.  I just updated the Writing Resources page with more links.

Wishing you many prosperous (writing) experiences in 2018.  Cheers!  ~Tom~

 

Upcoming meeting – Nov 25

Greetings intrepid writers!

We will be meeting this Saturday, November 25 at the Blasco Library, room 219 from 2:30 until 4:00PM.  Bring some of your writing to share (double spaced please), and please bring six (or more) copies of your writing so we can pass them around to everyone.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.  We are looking forward to a great turnout.  Don’t eat too much turkey, Happy Thanksgiving!  Looking forward to seeing you this Saturday.   ~Tom Hitt~

Cutups and Blackouts

As a writer, you owe it to yourself to explore cutouts and blackouts.

blackout_poetry_example_1

You simply take a page of text and arrange (or rearrange) the words to form a poem.

Here we have visual art imposed to enhance the effect…

blackout_poetry_example_2.jpg

…but it’s easy to just clip a page into 4 quadrants and rearrange them, looking for segments that resonate.  Write the poem you hear.  When you need to jumpstart your writing, this is a great place to go.  ~TH~

The Empowering Effect Of Non-comparison

The Empowering Effect Of Non-comparison

sand_castleImagine a child on the sunny beach, building a sand castle.  She has her pail and shovel. She has unlimited amounts of media including sand, water, stones, sticks and shells.  As the creation rises, she recognizes in the materials the infinite possibilities of combination.  This is perceived as great wealth for creation and re-creation.  Once completed, there will be cajoling to come and see, see what I created!  There is also the learned understanding that the castle is ephemeral.  It will not exist tomorrow, unless she decides to build again.

Suppose she comes to the beach the next day, prepared to create an even better castle.  As she hurries to the sea she looks left.  A child and his mother are building an entire town around a beautifully manicured castle, complete with drawbridge, parapets and banners.  We can infer that our little girl’s excitement might be undercut, joy bleeding slowly out.  Sound familiar?

When I taught music in public schools, I was often distraught by my student’s immediate desire to compare the music they made in class with their favorite pop star icons.  Since I have retired, that perspective has redoubled.  When you want to learn to juggle, you can go online and learn the basics.  However, you will also run across videos of jugglers that seem to have a natural talent for juggling 5 disparate objects, while balancing on a unicycle, blindfolded.  The gap between what you might accomplish in 30 minutes of practice and that kind of talent may cause a deflating ego effect.  This is the corrosive effect of comparison.

Want To Write?  Write!

Sounds grim I know, but I have a solution for you in your daily writing habits.  I often refer to this perspective as looking through the telescope backwards.  Instead of internalizing the vastness of the job at hand, look at it from the perspective of small progression.  If you’re feeling like that little girl on the beach, raise your shoulders and begin building your castle.  Take cues from the mother and child you observed; “Ah, I never thought of using sticks that way!  I’m going to try that too.”  Imagine yourself going to them and introducing yourself.  Ask if you might help out with their creation.  In other words, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Remember that when you compare your own work to work done by veterans, you want to glean clues as to why their work is successful.  Word choices, grammar, descriptive language, POV.  Then just select one tool or media that you observe in their work, and introduce (play with) that one idea on a page.

That’s how your own writing will improve.  That’s how the veterans learned.

Write every day without wallowing in comparisons.  Remember, just because you have all the sand in the world at your disposal, it doesn’t mean you have to use it all at once.  ~TH~