Category Archives: Social Media

Coming Back for Seconds — Why I Just Can’t Get Enough of the Whole Blogging Thing

Blogging Heroes

Blogging Heroes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m still new to this whole blogging business, but what has really blown me away the most is the instant sense of community I have felt since starting my blog.

As a writer, a lot of the time, I feel kinda marginalized by society. I don’t want to sound like a victim in all of this, believe me. But it’s rare that I openly tell people I’m a writer or that I’ve written a novel. Mostly, I suppose, because I worry people will think I’ve got tickets on myself or that I’m being pretentious.

But it’s more than just me that’s the problem. I’m sure of it. Really, it’s about jealousy, I think, ultimately. People can’t stand to hear about someone else who is actively following their dreams, especially when they themselves are locked into 9-to-5 wage slavery. Because even when I have told friends and such, in the past, about my writing, they have usually feigned complete indifference.

Hell, even my own family have in no way got behind me in this respect. It took me seven years to write my first novel, and do you think I could find a single family member willing to give up the seven hours necessary to read it? Nope. Not bloody likely!

But that’s enough about what’s bad in my life as a writer. Now I want to focus on what’s good. And, at the moment, that’s blogging. And by blogging I really mean everything about blogs generally. The writing and the posting I do on my own blog, sure, are a big part of what I’m talking about, and yet, you know, what’s really got me excited is knowing all you guys are out there doing your blogs as well. Finally, I don’t feel so all alone! Yay!

I didn’t use to know why people joined blogging communities. Until I joined one myself. Because the operative word “community” had apparently been completely lost on me. Now I know differently. There are hundreds, no, thousands (tens of thousands, even 100s of thousands)  of you out there all obsessing over the same literary quandaries I myself am beset with. Hallelujah! I’m not a freak…well…

Anyway, let me tell you about one of my current favorite blogs to visit. The site belongs to a guy called Cristian Mihai. And here is some info I copied from his About page: Cristian Mihai (born 25 December 1990) grew up in Constanta, Romania.

Now, like I said, I’m new to blogging, so I still don’t know how to link my blog to other people’s blogs and all that technical stuff. But, whatever, I just really like what Cristian writes about. To be honest, I actually just really like the way he writes period. He’s only 23, but he is filled with such incredible ambition. I gather he wrote two novels last year, and (wait for it) this year, 2013, he plans to write three more! Holy writer’s block, not! Prolific, much?!

So, look, he doesn’t really have any idea who I am. But yesterday I posted a comment on one of his articles about how inspiring both his attitude and output are. Along with that, I also added how it took me seven years to write my first novel and how I was in no way keen about embarking on writing a second.

Then, early this morning, something completely shifted within me. On remembering my comment of yesterday, I came to realize that I can do this. I’m ready to give it a go. And God help me, for saying so, but I’m going to embark on that hellish journey I have practically sworn I would never embark on again. I’m going to write that second novel that’s been taunting me ever since I finished my first. Moreover, I reckon I’m going to write a third as well to round out a proposed trilogy. Nuts! Totally. Come on, bring it on!

“So, why?” you ask, “What has given you this incredible change of heart?”

To which I reply, “You. All of you out there who I know are just like me and Cristian. Because you, too, are aspiring novelists, budding screenwriters, gifted poets, genius photographers, funny fringe journalists and kick-arse comedic talents, more generally.”

And how do I know this about you all? Because I’ve seen your blogs. And you know what, I absolutely LOVE what I’m seeing! So keep it up guys, let’s change the world. Together.

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The Daily Dilemma — “What Should I Be Feeding My Pet Blog?”

Gremlins

Gremlins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sure, blogs are like pie-holes — everybody’s got one. Right? But, the thing is, I’m sorta new to this whole blogging thing, and so I’m not so sure what I should be feeding mine.

My blog, not my pie-hole! You see, I’m talking about what my blog needs to help it thrive and grow strong. I’m trying desperately here to discover the equivalent of the daily food pyramid for blogs. Really, what is the ultimate blog diet?

As a kind of sidebar, let me just say that when I think about my blog having a diet at all, the first thing that comes to mind is those words of caution from the movie Gremlins about not feeding them after midnight. Gremlins, that is. Whereupon I next find myself compulsively substituting the concept of a ravenous blog for the concept of a hungry pack of gremlins, just because. It’s automatic.

Anyway, ultimately, then, I guess, the problem is that I fear what’s going to happen if I get it wrong. I can already see the headline now, in fact…When Blogs Go Bad! Because I fear that’s exactly where my blog will end up going. Firstly, it’ll slowly wither and die, And, then, secondly, it’ll turn into a zombie blog and go on a brain-eating rampage. Nobody’s blog will be safe! Least of all yours, dear reader…

Which again leads me to my asking you for your advice. Really, just what is the ultimate blog diet? But wait, before you answer, let me tell you what I’ve already been feeding mine. That way you can let me know if I’m on the right track.

So far, I’ve fed my blog some “Top 10 list”-type posts and a bit of flash fiction, along with some blog posts about blogging and a handful of poems. But it still doesn’t seem like enough. I mean, does it?

The trouble is that I’m not pretty or handsome enough for posting a whole lot of selfies, and I’m not really all that big on having travelled to interesting places, either. Well, I suppose, I could have a go at writing a few…oh my gosh! Is that really the time? I’ve just realised that I’ve only gone and broken the only cardinal rule of blogging…

Help, what have I done? God, forgive us all, I’ve gone and fed my blog after midnight! Aieee!!!

The End

PS Any thoughts, people? 🙂


“I’m Yours!” — The Top 10 Reasons Why I Will Follow Your Blog

  1. Team Follow BackYou’re so funny! If you can make me laugh in the first 30 seconds, I’m yours! NB I don’t mean fake, FaceBook lol funny, but rather witty, cleverly sarcastic or can tell a rude joke without resorting to potty humor.
  2. You’re so cute/hot! Hey, I’m only human, what?! Seriously, if your profile photo makes my eyes water “coz you ugly!”, sorry sister/brother I ain’t following you, no how! 😉
  3. You’re so talented! Look, everyone with a blog thinks they are the next Oscar Wilde/Orson Welles/Dorothy Parker/Tom Wolfe/Groucho Marx/Anais Nin. But let me tell you something: you’re just not! If, however, you have a unique and quirky writing style and something new and original to say…guess what, I’m yours!
  4. You’re Somebody High Up in the Biz! I’m a writer, see; so if I think you might be a big player in the print/publishing racket, I’ll suck up to you in the hope of finally getting my big break. Go ahead, take your percentage, I’m yours!
  5. Your Blog Got Freshly Pressed! I hate you already, how did you manage it? Maybe if I like and comment, like crazy, all over your blog I can share some increased popularity too? Nah, I know, that’ll never happen, so I’ll just follow you instead. I’m yours! (till tomorrow anyway…)
  6. You Followed My Blog First! I am the absolute Boss at #teamfollowback, believe me! Go on, let me prove it to you, follow my blog and you’ll see I’m not speaking with no forked tongue here: I’m yours!
  7. You Have Lots of Top 10 Lists Posted! Yup, you guessed it, I am just another one of the legion of fans of the good old Top 10 list. Heck, they’re easy to digest and don’t add more than an inch to the waistline. Post a Top 5 list and I’m not so excited, make it a Top 10 list and I’m yours!
  8. You Can Write a Catchy Headline! Just so you know, The Seasonal Habits of Ecuadorian Bed Bug Farmers is not what I consider to be an example of a catchy headline. But if you do manage to hook me with a couple of good headlines on your blog, it’s a fair bet I’ll soon be saying, “I’m yours!”.
  9. You Posted a Comment Somewhere I Liked! Truth be told, my following you is going to be about a 1,000 times more likely if the comment of yours I liked was left somewhere on my blog. Because, chances are that’s when I’m more likely to respond by telling you, “I’m yours!”
  10. You Just Plain Got Lucky, Punk! Hey, I hit the wrong button and somehow ended up at your blog?! Well, whaddaya know, I kinda agree with whatever it is you stand for? What a fluke, huh? You know what, punk, it’s your lucky day, because, guess what, I’m yours!Keep Calm

OMG! Who knew #teamjesus would fight so damn DIRTY!

imageNow, listen, I don’t claim to have ever known Jesus Christ, personally, but he strikes me as the kinda guy who would’ve been able to take a joke, right?

Okay. Here’s the thing. I’m a writer and have just self-published a novel called Missing Zero. It is a work of satirical fiction, which — among other things — tells of the supposed final redemption of the Antichrist.

And so, again, just let me point out, once more, that my novel is a work of FICTION.

Anyways, as part of getting word of my novel out there, I started a Missing Zero FaceBook page (please Like, if you would be so kind). And on this page I post somewhat “challenging” images and ideas pertaining to accepted Christian dogma. However, I do not actually explicitly endorse any particular stance whatsoever, whether it be atheism or Catholicism or fundamentalist Scientology etc. My sole aim is to generate debate and thereby generate interest more generally around the central themes of my novel.

Really, the most contentious proposition that my novel asks its readers to consider is whether it might be possible for someone as supposedly evil as the Antichrist to find absolution and forgiveness in the Lord’s eyes. God being, in theory, after all, all-loving.

Still, nothing prepared me for the kind of outrage I have encountered from certain Christian visitors to my FaceBook page. Let me share a fairly typical exchange with you, here:

Sarah ThunderBird: Fuck illumanti. YalL can suck my dick.

January 22 at 2:34pm via mobile · Like · 2

Sarah ThunderBird: Bitch please u must have a mental disease
January 22 at 3:08pm via mobile · Like

Firstly, I’ll just explain that, within the social media more generally, the word illuminati has apparently become pretty much interchangeable with the word Satanists, from what I gather. Either way, after ignoring Sarah’s original taunt, I responded to her second comment by quoting back at her the next line from the Eminem song she herself had referenced by posting Bitch please etc. After which, she responded by writing:

Sarah ThunderBird: Eminem can suck a choad along wit all yall wana be fake ass devil worshiping people.

January 22 at 3:28pm via mobile · Like · 2

Fair enough, I suppose. Although I don’t suppose I really want to know what a “choad” is, given the context of Sarah’s caustic comeback. Trying a different tack, to clear the air, I responded with some lyrics from a completely different song, thus:

Missing Zero:
You make friends with the Devil, you have fun with the Devil
You make vows with the Devil, now who you think gon’ win?
You make love to the Devil, definitely have fun with the Devil
You never fights with the Devil
You get right with the Devil
Now who you think gon’ win?

Read more: SWOLLEN MEMBERS – DEVIL LYRICS
January 22 at 3:29pm · Like

To which, Sarah replied

Sarah ThunderBird Fuck the devil he can smd so can u.
January 22 at 3:30pm via mobile · Like · 3

But wait, now she had an ally in the form of Jesse Watt. And here’s what he next said:

Jesse Watt: THEY WILL FALL!! YES THEY WILL FALL!! COME LORD YESHUA/JESUS!!
January 23 at 9:15am · Edited · Like · 1

Jesse Watt: Tell’em Sarah Thunderbird.. I don’t vote either & WILL NEVER VOTE FOR THERE PUNCK ASS MF!!
January 23 at 9:18am · Like · 1

And my response?

Missing Zero: Can’t be sure, but didn’t you perceive a hint of a penis in absolutely every one of Ms ThunderBird’s previous comments?

Which conveniently brings me to the point of today’s blog. Namely, when did #teamjesus stop being all cuddly and Christian? I mean, they all fight so dirty now. Whatever happened to good Christian humility and forgiveness? I’m not a prude, but I have to admit I’m shocked! What would Jesus say?

If I might be so bold, I’d like to therefore finish now by leaving you all to ruminate on this strange turn of events, while also offering you this passage from the bible to reflect on in the meantime:

Jhn 8:7 he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Happy Easter, Everyone!


“Fancy a Quickie?” — Zen and the Art of Bonsai Blogging

Day 008

Day 008 (Photo credit: merrick_monroe)

I can only surmise that the world’s various educational systems are to blame. Hell, I mean, everybody is too damn literate! Absolutely everybody now can write like they went to journalism school, whether they ever actually attended any such institution or not!

What the f#$k?!

You don’t believe me? Then check out any of the squintillion or so other blogs being posted somewhere around the planet at this very second.

Sobering, huh?

Which is why I am here today advocating the gentle (and very Zen) art of Bonsai blogging. This I believe being the only answer to the very real risk we all face of being swamped by a veritable tsunami of well-written words.

So keep it short and pithy, people, when blogging. Prune and condense your prose. Make your new thought-piece about myopic biopic producers bring to mind the awe and wonder that a miniature, 1000-year-old Japanese maple tree might provoke.

But how? How is this to be achieved? I hear you demand to know.

Well, here’s my sole tip: Come to the point quickly, or get your hand off it!

Explanation: Believe me, I’m in no way endorsing the literary equivalent of premature ejaculation per se. But simply pointing out that a “good” quickie quite often beats (hands down) a whole lot of writerly intellectual foreplay that hasn’t any actual real grunt or thrust behind it.

So, what do you say? Because I still haven’t heard your answer to my titular question…

PS. If you’re a dude, my question remains largely rhetorical, okay.

A Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Kiyo-hime') b...

A Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Kiyo-hime’) bonsai on display at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the United States National Arboretum. According to the tree’s display placard, it has been in training since 1946. It was donated by Akiko Matsudaira. This is the “back” of the planting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.”

― Anaïs NinDelta of Venus


Move Over, Elvis — The True King is Style!

Elvis

Elvis (Photo credit: shandopics)

Don’t get me wrong. Elvis did have it for a while.

But let me make it clear, I’m talking about black-motorcycle-leathers-wearing Elvis, not bloated Las Vegas-white-sequinned-pant-suited Elvis.

So what is it again? I hear you ask.

Style. And it is the true King! Just ask any good writer worthy of their moniker.

But why do I think that?

Ok, just let me explain.

Recently, I’ve joined a few on-line professional blog-writing communities. You know, to try and hone my writing chops, you might say. Anyway, at one particular site called Helium, you are expected to rate other people’s blog articles against each other, as a kind of anonymous peer-review type process.

And, so far, what has struck me, more than anything else, is that good writing pretty much boils down to one thing: style. It doesn’t matter what the article I’m being asked to review is about, if it’s clunky to read I usually end up marking it down.

By the same token, though, if the article’s prose reads well I tend to rate it more highly.

A case in point was a Helium article I found myself reading just yesterday called Tips for reducing bust size appearance. Now, notwithstanding the fact that as a man the word breast holds a special power over me, this article really shouldn’t have been of much interest to me. But because the style in which it was written was engaging I kept on reading it anyway.

The same holds true for creative writing. Your story might have the most amazing plot twists since The Sixth Sense and the most compelling characters ever to exist outside of a Tolstoy novel, but if your style sucks…forget it, Honey! Sorry, I’ll have stopped reading after the first two or three paragraphs.

So what makes for a good writing style?

Answer: In a word (or five) — having a way with words. Although word choice, word arrangement and the words “hard work”, probably answers the question best.

I for one absolutely love what Winston Churchill is quoted as saying about word choice, in particular:

Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.
Sir Winston Churchill

I was first introduced to this quote by way of my reading Mark Tredinnick’s invaluable writing guide called The Little Red Writing Book. Just buy it.

Anyway, Tredinnick explains that the short, old words Churchill was referring to are words like hill, bird, sky, hunt, tree, kill, sun etc. Words that, to my mind, hold some special sort of primal power. They were the very first words of our language. And (believe me) they will be just as fresh and full of meaning at the end.

As for word arrangement, George Orwell, I believe, is the out-right authority on the subject. His Politics and the English Language is an absolute master class in writing for aspiring writers, of whatever bent. To quote his essay briefly he contended that:

“…prose consists less and less of WORDS chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of PHRASES tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.”

Just read it. If only to understand why such terms as friendly-fire are an abomination.

Finally, though, as to the words “hard work”. Well, you don’t have to be an Einstein to know (in the words of Thomas Edison) that, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration“. You know what? You’ve got to sweat over it. And you’ve got to keep working at it, every day!

So why don’t you come and join me at Helium (where I go by the name Hadiran Brand, don’t ask!) or join one of the other many writing communities out there.

Move over Elvis, the new King is style…

09 TN State Fair #174: Elvis Impersonator

09 TN State Fair #174: Elvis Impersonator (Photo credit: SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent))

I’m just a hunk, a hunk of burnin’ love
Just a-hunk, a-hunk o’ burnin’ lo-ve!


Hello, Rejection, My Old Friend!

English: post card with message about acting d...

English: post card with message about acting differently to avoid rejection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ah, sweet soul-crushing rejection! What would a writer be without it? No doubt much happier, I’m sure. But also much less of any kind of a writer worthy of the name, I should expect.

Because, really, without the constant threat of rejection, writers would grow lazy. Or even lazier, if you like. As you know, we’re a feckless bunch of layabouts us writerly-types, aren’t we? We want all the applause and plaudits with none of the hard graft or headaches.

All of which, I believe, marks out rejection as a necessary evil in the life of any serious word-smith. Simply put, it’s only through the constant threat of rejection that we force ourselves to improve and grow.

Recently, for instance, as a case in point, I have decided to try my hand at professional blog writing. (FYI The on-line concern I’ve signed up with are called GhostBloggers). There’s no real money to be made, I’m quite certain. But as a way of honing my writing skills, well, I thought it was worth a try.

Anyhow, of course “surprise, surprise!” — true to form — my first article/blog was immediately rejected. For your amusement I’m inserting the main body of the rejection email here:

“Thank you for submitting your article to Ghostbloggers.net. After careful consideration your submission has unfortunately not been selected for purchase. We are limiting the amount of articles written in first-person POV. ‘I’ is personal and informal, and is still not appropriate in a lot of business and marketing writing. We encourage you to change your article and submit it again.”

My favourite bit, though, came by way of a sort of coda at the end, which read thus:

“You have a unique voice as a writer, and I look forward to reading future submissions.”

Why thank you, a thank you very much! I say, ever-so sincerely and from the bottom of my heart. Yeah, right!

To which I next say, “Hello, Rejection My Old Friend, I welcome you back once again.

Because really what’s the point of making enemies with that constant companion (and infallible advisor) all of us writers are forever stuck with? Believe me, REJECTION RULES! Can you dig it?