Guest author: Sarah Brentyn – Where I Spin Self Doubt Into a Post

I’m over at Sue Vincent’s place chatting about how nerve-racking guest posts can be. Sue is a sweetheart with a great sense of humor (and a fabulous blog). She gave me scones and let me be my goofy self so that was fun. Please check out my piece: Where I Spin Self-Doubt Into a Post (then think about writing your own…)

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

I feel I should put my best foot forward here. Instead, I’m going to go ahead and say I’m having some sort of attack.

Panic?

Perhaps.

I can churn out posts with the best of them. But writing for someone else’s blog is just… It’s like cooking in someone else’s kitchen, you know? And worse yet, they’re going to serve whatever you make for dinner. To a party of twenty.

So, about now, you’re asking yourself “What’s all this?” And wondering what I’m going on about. Since I don’t really know, I’ll continue on, as usual, in my pantser style.

Sit. Have a cuppa with me, and let’s talk about guest posts.

What the hell? She’s writing a guest post about guest posts? I know, right? Bear with me.

It’s intimidating. You’re sharing your writing in a space that’s not yours.

Every blogger who interviews, hosts other writers, provides promos…

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Who’s That Blogger? Sarah Brentyn

I’m over at Barbara Vitelli’s today with a fun interview for her awesome new series called “Who’s That Blogger”. I’m delighted to be back at her place for a cuppa and some laughs. Barbara (aka Book Club Mom) is a fab book blogger and lovely lady. Please check out the interview, leave a comment there, and peek around her blog. Cheers!

Book Club Mom

whos-that-blogger

Blogmaster:  Sarah Brentyn

Blog names:Lemon Shark and my fiction blog, Lemon Shark Reef

Type of blog: I suppose Lemon Shark is an eclectic blog focusing mostly on my thoughts about life and writing and surviving the aforementioned.

Where in the world?  Ooh! I know this one! “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” Score ten for the Shark.

Blogging since when? I don’t really keep track of these things. However, there’s a handy list on the side of my blog so, with just a peek, I can see I’ve been blogging at Lemon Shark since…2014.

What’s your story? What is my story? “It was a dark and stormy night…” Damn! Taken. My blogging story is odd. Why? Because, although I have a blog (two, actually, I have two and, yes, I know that’s not a “good idea” or whatever but I have a fiction blog called Lemon…

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How to Get Your Blog Post Back from the Depths of WordPress

 

lemon-shark-screen-shot-sarahb

 

I was minding my own bloggy business when I messed up a post that I had spent some major time setting up. I don’t know how I even did it but I turned the entire thing into one big link to a Google search. Huh? Right. Moving on.

WordPress would NOT let me ‘undo’ as I usually do when I muck something up. I was stuck. In the muck. Oh…

And non-techie me figured out how to fix it. Little ol’ me! Most of you probably already know this but I thought I’d share just in case I could save a fellow friendly blogger the trouble of rewriting a post. (I even have visuals. This is all mind-blowing, I know.)

I made up a Wonderful New Post to walk you through this super easy process.

 

STEP ONE:

Write an awesome post and be proud. Fix those typos, polish, and click “Save Draft”, as always.

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Click to enlarge

 

STEP TWO:

Mess up your awesome blog post and panic. Then notice how you now have “Revisions” over to the right. You didn’t have that before. You must “Save Draft” at least twice before that shows up. This “Revisions” is your key to salvation. Or your post’s salvation. Same, same. Click on “Browse” over in “Revisions”.

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Click to enlarge

 

STEP THREE:

You get a choice here. You’ll now see two versions of the post. Click on “Previous” on the left of your screen OR slowly move the sliding arrow in the middle of your screen over to the left.

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Click to enlarge

 

STEP FOUR:

Cool! You’re getting closer to your original (or the version you want back). It says this was my “9 minutes ago” revision. But…it still has my mistake in the green there, see? I don’t want this.

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Click to enlarge

 

STEP FIVE:

Neat! You’ll notice the big, blue button that says “Restore This Revision” is now clickable. (It wasn’t before.) Click that button when you see the post you want. Ah! My mistake is no longer in that green area.

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Click to enlarge

 

STEP SIX:

Look! It says “Post Restored”. I have my Wonderful New Post back. Click “Save Draft” then “Publish”. (Or schedule, if that’s your thing.)

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Click to enlarge

 

Happy blogging days, my friends.

 

Balancing Blogging and Writing (Or not…)

 

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There’s a blog trend happening.

Lots of people are leaving, taking a break, or slowing down—some for personal reasons, some to write.

I thought, “Huh. That’s cool. They’re writing. I could write. I’m a writer. I write things.”

And they’re announcing it. Which is nice. Unlike me. With people emailing to ask where I am. And by “people”, I mean like two. Two people. Since I’m small potatoes in the stew of the blogosphere, most probably didn’t even notice.

I haven’t so much stopped as slowed my pace. I haven’t been able to manage a balance.

I’m still blogging a bit but have relaxed my posting, not participated in some of my regular writing challenges, not been as active in reading your blogs. (Apologies.)

See, I’m working on stuff. Secret stuff.

No, it’s not secret. I’m writing. I do that sometimes. And not just on my blog.

Also, I’m stressing about life and loving life. Dealing with responsibilities and enjoying summer sunsets.

It’s all good. Writing is a thing we writers do that makes us happy. Maybe “happy” is a strong word. How about “alive”.

I’m writing, gentle readers, and sharing it with the world.

You have been warned.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Have you taken a blogging break/slowed down or have you kept up your usual pace? Are you working on a writing project? (If you’ve managed to balance blogging and writing, please share in the comments. Inquiring minds want to know.)

 

Erased

 

I have a love/hate relationship with technology.

 

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And here’s one of the reasons why. (Just one of them, mind you.)

My email isn’t working. Poor me, right? And when I say “not working”, what I mean is that one minute my emails were there and, the next, they were gone. Every. Single. One.

Wiped clean.

Every email I have ever sent, received, saved, or flagged…erased. Every folder…empty.

Although I’ve gotten better about deleting unnecessary emails, there were well over 3,000 of them. Years’ worth.

Gone.

I use my email as a file folder. That thing was chock full of writing, receipts, ideas, blog posts, gift lists, links, photos, videos, personal correspondences, business emails, contacts, submissions, rejections, invoices…

Yes, I know. You shouldn’t keep that kind of info in your email. (Also, I rely solely on email notifications for blogs so, if I haven’t been to visit you, this is why.)

I’m embarrassed to admit it but I went through a sort of grieving process. Shock, denial, anger, upset, acceptance.

Or as close to “acceptance” as I could get: I unplugged.

Not out of need for a break but out of sheer, unadulterated anger. Which, I suppose, means I didn’t actually “accept” anything. Whatever. I piled every last device (including my phone) on the floor and threw a sheet over it. I couldn’t even look at the stuff.

There was some fear below the surface of that anger.

I’m still wary of touching any technology. I approach my laptop like it’s a time bomb.

Tick, tick, tick…

It’s unnerving. I’m paranoid about every “update” that pops up on any device. This whole thing really took me down. Set me back. Put me on edge. Brought me up short. (What other cliché can I fit in here?) I want to get into my regular online routine but I’m so damn nervous.

I’m afraid of what else could go missing. I have notes of all sorts just sitting on my phone and laptop. And now I’m waiting for something to go wrong. Waiting for technology to fail me again.

I looked around for my notepads, planners, and calendars and found they were incomplete at best. I had some appointments, meetings, dates, and deadlines written down but, really, not many. The pages were pretty bare. And I honestly couldn’t remember when I stopped writing in them regularly.

This has me seriously thinking about how much I store on electronic devices. And how much I need to distance myself from them.

 

Have you ever lost important documents, emails, or contact info? What did you do? (Dare I ask…how did you react?)

 

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Just an F.Y.I. to all of my lovely bloggy friends: I’m working on this. Will I get my “Happily Ever After”? I’ve never been a huge fan of those but, in this case, I’m hoping for it. Or at least a “Good Enough Ever After”.

 

Blog Happy

 

Misery loves company? Perhaps.

 

Sarah B. Mr Men books - sig

 

Does company love it back? Not sure.

I don’t think blog visitors do.

So, when hit with a prolonged period of illness or an unfortunate series of events, what’s a blogger to do?

When you are miserable, do you put that aside and smile for the keyboard or do you discuss what’s going on?

I suppose this depends on what type of blog you have.

I’ve hinted at my health issues, talked about writing crises, and touched on the fact that life isn’t so swell at the moment. But dwell? Meh. That’s boring. Maybe annoying.

Should I talk about spring? I suppose.

I don’t want to be Miss Doom and Gloom (and not just because it’s a silly name) but I’m also sort of irritated by Shiny Happy People. So I will write this:

Start climbing.

As the saying goes, when you are at the bottom, or damn near it, there are only two ways to go—sideways and up. Okay, the saying doesn’t go like that but it’s funny. Unless you’re in something so narrow you can’t possibly move sideways. Then it’s mean.

I guess the best idea is to mention and move on.

 

Thanks to my childhood collection of Mr. Men books, I know that, when life is messy, you can grumble a bit but then you’ve got to be cheerful and not grumpy then blog happy. I know. That’s totally weird. But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you write about real-life issues on your blog? Or do you pretend all is well and just publish your next post?


Taking the Red Pen to Your Comments

 

If you’ve commented on my blog, chances are, I’ve edited you.

 

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Please pop your eyes back into your skull and know this: I do not rewrite comments. I edit. Or, more precisely, proofread.

Why? Well, for one thing, I can’t help myself. I mean, I can not help it. My OCD-ish tendencies notice typos like a giant slug in a rose garden.

When I see an extra space, I delete it. When I see a forgotten period, I add it. If you type ‘dp’ when you clearly meant ‘do’, I change the ‘p’ to an ‘o’.

That’s how I roll.

Second. If I know someone pretty well, know their writing, and see an error, I’ll correct it. It might embarrass them to have a misspelling. Eh. It might not.

But I have had plenty of people submit a second comment correcting their typo. “Oh no!” or “Sorry! I meant to write…” I trash that and just fix it for them. Unless it’s a funny comment. Then it stays. (Seems I’m not the only one with typo/commenting issues. Just saying.)

I wish people would do this for me. *sigh*

Third. If you leave a really long link, it messes up my mobile site and the page just sort of floats around making it difficult to read. So I turn your long link into a short link.

Instead of http://sarahbrentynflash. wordpress.com/ 2015/09/01/ legume-allergy- leads-to-domestic-troubles-2/

It neatly says: Legume Allergy Leads to Domestic Troubles

If you’re new to Lemon Shark, I won’t edit you. I don’t know you or your writing style.

You could be using slang or live in the UK and your ‘realise’ is not a typo but a right proper way of spelling ‘realize’. You could be the next e e cummings and like using all lower-case. It’s cool. Your little letters are safe with me.

I love my readers and their comments. I do. I appreciate the time it takes to read and respond to a post. I also have some kick-ass commenters at Lemon Shark who add so much to the discussions.

You might be a bit offended by this confession but do give me a bit of a break. (I’m trying to uncover my true colors—refer back to mention of OCD).

And, if it helps, I edit my own replies. All. The. Time. Especially from my phone. Damn auto-correct. Also, the cute emojis sometimes show up very differently once I hit “post comment”. I’ll put a frog face (no, I don’t know why I’m putting a frog face) and then it’s like… Wait. What is that? Edit. Change. Aw. A smiley face with its tongue sticking out. Much better.

So, if you’ve commented here, I’ve probably edited you. #SorryNotSorry

 

Have you ever edited a comment? Are you going to stop commenting here because of my confession?

 

(Someone please make my day and tell me you’ve found a typo in this post.)

 

Dream a Little Dream for Me

 

I stopped in the middle of my New Year’s Eve walk to take in this moment—the sun setting on December 31st, 2015.

 

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I stood on the path and thought about my recent posts. I’ve been talking a lot about true colors, my identity crisis, and letting go.

I reread these past few pieces and saw a theme: I’m unhappy with how I perceive myself and how I’ve presented myself to the world.

I had limited space to write a bio about who I am and what did I put in that profile? “Mum. Lifestyle Writer.” Really? That’s who I am? That’s not who I want to be.

And so the sun sets on my old life. It’s bittersweet.

I know I’m supposed to be optimistic in the beginning of January with everything I’m going to accomplish for the New Year. But, as I said in my Scrooge post, I don’t make resolutions.

I do, however, set goals for myself throughout the year.

Have you ever considered quitting to be a goal?

I know the definition of “quit”. I know the connotation of it, as well. (I love turning connotations on their heads.) Quitting is considered bad, something you shouldn’t do.

Ever thought about it in a positive way? Because, of course, we should quit bad habits. I’m all for quitting a job you hate. And, personally, I feel it’s an excellent decision to quit reading a book you’re not enjoying when there are so many good books out there.

What happens when you realize that a dream you’ve harbored for over thirty years isn’t working? When you finally realize that you’re not very good at it? Do you hold on for dear life to that one dream or let it go so you have a chance to discover something else you like that you might actually be good at?

You’ve always wanted to be a ballerina and have worked your whole life to get the lead in The Nutcracker but you’ve only ever been able to get a part as one of the Mouse King’s minions.

There has to be a time when quitting isn’t bad but actually the best thing you can do for yourself. And that time for me is now.

I’m quitting writing.

I don’t enjoy the type of writing I’m doing and had made a decision to switch genres from nonfiction to fiction.

And that was when I had a painful realization… I suck at writing fiction.

I have nothing waiting for me to fill the emptiness where my dream used to be. But I’ve never been one to wait until something better comes along. I will bury my dream. Or, if it sounds better, I will let go of my dream and watch it sail away on the breeze.

People have lots to say about quitting:

“Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed.”

“You just need to try harder.”

“Quitting is not an option.”

“You’re taking the easy way out.”

Easy? Have you ever willingly given up your dream? It’s excruciating.

I’ll continue my blog. It’s a tiny thing, yes, but without being able to write my little Thought Bubbles I’d burst. Get it? Burst my bubble? That was fun. So, yes, I will continue that outlet for my creative longings and hope that is enough.

I’m jumping off the cliff of my dream that I have stood on since I was 9 years old. It’s scary. I might fall. But I might fly.

 

Have you ever given up on your dream? Why? Did something happen to prevent you doing it or did you decide? Was it a specific age (turning 30, 40, 50) or an event in your life? Did you find something you loved after you gave up your dream?

 

Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you — Doris Day