Raw Literature: Writer Unplugged

So I’m forcing myself to get over my Guestapostophobia. Facing my fear. Writing guest posts.

I’m happy to have a post up at Carrot Ranch, a supportive community of flashers (erm…people who write flash), hosted by the ever-encouraging Charli Mills. Check out my post about how letting go and just writing can produce a powerful, genuine story.

Carrot Ranch Communications

Essay by Sarah Brentyn, a member of the Congress of Rough Writers.

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I’m in awe of “raw”.

This tiny three-letter word is like a super hero. I’m a word nerd and I love that this petite power house can describe so many items, objects, and states. We use it to talk about food (uncooked), the weather (cold and damp), skin (red and sore), emotions (intense and unrestrained), fabric (unfinished, unhemmed)…

My favorite definition, from the depths of Google’s dictionary, is of “a material or substance”: in its natural state; not yet processed or purified. It also provided some marvelous synonyms: unrefined, untreated, natural, unedited… That, to me, is raw literature.

And that is all I write.

I’ve been scribbling stories since I was nine years old. Probably younger, but that’s when I remember completing my first fictional tale. Have I moved beyond that? Of…

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Guestapostophobia (The Fear of Writing Guest Posts)

 

 

I was going to write an awesome guest post.

It was going to be spectacular.

Then I sat down to write.

It turned out to be a post about writing posts. I couldn’t believe it. And it was bad.

I don’t have trouble writing posts for my blog. They’re pretty easy. In fact, I write them in my head all the time like some crazed commentator.

Then I tried to write for someone else’s blog. This caused much panic, self-doubt, writer’s block, and a small amount of sweating, which shall collectively and henceforth be known as SEBS (Someone Else’s Blog Syndrome). SEBS can range from mild to severe.

Cure?

Just type.

If you’ve been offered a guest post, go for it. If you follow someone who has a guest series, ask about it. You might even write something great. But, hey, if it’s bad, that’s okay, too. Move on.

If it really sucks, well…you’ll make a lot of people happy. Because they’ll think, “Wow, that stinks. I could write a post so much better than that.” And they will. And they’ll submit it and guest post. See? You’ve helped a fellow blogger or two. Doesn’t that make you happy?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

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Have you written any guest posts? Do you develop SEBS? Is it just me or is writing a guest post more difficult than writing your own?

 

* Look at the photo again. Sure, the pink flowers seem pretty…until you stick your face close to them and realize there’s a spider sunbathing inches from your nose. That’s my photographic metaphor for writing a guest post.

 

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

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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

 

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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.

 

My New Blog Scares Me #MyFirstPostRevisited

 

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I’m calling out bloggers to publicly share their very first post.

I want to see them all. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Whether you’re thrilled to have an excuse to dig out that old post and give it some fresh air or you’re seriously considering deleting it after I tag you, I want to see it.

It will be interesting to read these (as a fellow blogger) and, also, for you to find your oldest post and see where you were then as opposed to where you are now.

 

As per the rules, here is my first ever (unedited) Lemon Shark post:

 

My New Blog Scares Me

I’ve been blogging for over a year. Yet now that I’m switching the location of my blog, I’m scared. This is a bizarre and fascinating phenomenon which I feel should be studied.

The site is so fresh and clean and shiny. I don’t want to muck it up. Quite suddenly, my posts are no longer adequate. My writing is no longer worthy. Because…why now? Oh, right. The fresh, clean, shiny new blog. It is not to be muddied with words willy-nilly. Posts must be planned and polished to perfection. Ah. But that’s not how I write. So I am faced with a serious decision. Do I change who I am for my new blog?

I have this chance at a new online existence. It’s mind-blowing. I can be whoever I want. I can be funny. Well, I’m not sure about that but I can be very serious and literary. Although. With the fragments… I do love fragments. And swears. They’re fun.

My point is still valid. I can easily, with the click of my mouse, switch the colors, the theme, and even the name of my blog. With a wee bit of thought, I can change the whole focus of the thing. I can become someone else. Someone else who is me because I am still here writing and I’ve joined Twitter and I like all my tweeps there and whatnot.

So I’m stuck staring at the screen. It’s taunting me. Really, it’s not. Well, maybe a little. Some of the taunting is me of course, I know that. But screens can taunt. Ask anyone. *whispers* They can.

My first post needs to be a Mona Lisa. Or a Girl with a Pearl Earring. Okay. Aiming a bit too high. How about the slightly lesser known, but still magnificent, Spaghetti on Wheat?

My magic 8 ball says…“Ask Again Later” What?! I was counting on that! How much later? Stupid toy. Forget it. Here goes. My first post on my new blog:

Hello, gentle readers. Spaghetti on Wheat.

Thank you.

 

 

Yup. So there it is. My very first post here on Lemon Shark. Okay, now I get to tag five bloggers. Have fun. Because I think we could all use some silly fun.

Obvious rules:

  • No cheating. (It must be your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…first post only.)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).

Other rules:

  • Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine but NO editing.)
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  • Tag…um…ten two twelve five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  • Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include “the rules” in your post.

Completely silly rules that I’m making up as I type:

  • Drink a glass of wine, bottle of beer, cup of coffee, mug of herbal tea or whatever floats your boat after you hit “publish”. (In other words, toast yourself. Go you!)
  • Read the post out loud in a Mickey Mouse voice.

 

Rachael Ritchey (Since she created the awesome badge for this blog hop, she’s my first victim.) 🙂

Now the five…
Norah Colvin
D.G. Kaye
Geoff Le Pard
Silver Screenings
Loni Townsend

Can’t wait to read everyone’s first post. 😈 Pass it on…

 

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Help Me Find Your Blog

 

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Your Gravatar

Your G (globally) R (recognized) Avatar (um…avatar)

 

I’m not saying you must have one of these or even should have one. It’s totally up to you, of course. But it’s possible you’ve heard something like this from me:

“Hello. 🙂 Just an FYI: Your Gravatar leads to your old blog.”

Or

“Hi there. 🙂 Your Gravatar is unclickable.”

You may already know this. You may not care. You may want it that way. But, just in case, it’s an easy fix.

Sometimes, when I’m rushing around or out and using my phone (which, if I’m honest, isn’t “sometimes”, it’s “most of the time”), I’ll click on your name (or image) to get to your blog. It’s quicker and easier than searching through social media for your handle or typing your name into Google then scrolling until I find you.

If you have a Gravatar, think of it as your avi, bio, blog, social media, and all that jazz rolled into one.

Update that bad boy for your bloggy friends so we can find you. Or don’t. But please don’t take offense if I comment about your GRA. Take it with some grains of salt (around the rim of your glass), a margarita, and a smile.

 

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you have a Gravatar? Does it link to your current blog/website/social media? Do you keep it up-to-date or have you forgotten about it until now?

FAQ and useful info: http://en.gravatar.com/support/

 

After talking to some tweeps, thought I’d add a quick how-to sort of thing:

Sign in to Gravatar.

Click on “MY PROFILE” at the top of the page.

On the right, you’ll see a list.

“WEBSITES” allows you to add, well, websites. (You can add all sorts of things here that you want to show up as a thumbnail image below your name – not just WordPress blogs, FYI.)

“VERIFIED SERVICES” gives you a drop-down menu letting you quickly and easily add social media by cutting and pasting the link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger, YouTube, and more.

 

Without Apologies

 

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If you miss one or two of my blog posts, I will not accept your apology.

People comment, email, and DM to apologize for not visiting my blog or doing so a week or more after I’ve posted.

For the love of all that is covered in chocolate, please stop.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s very sweet (the chocolate and your apology). And I’ll admit I’ve done this myself to fellow bloggers.

Of course I like seeing you here but, if you can’t make it, it’s all good.

If I don’t see you for a long while, I might inquire. But, if I do, it’s out of curiosity or concern not anger or upset.

Every once in a while (or more often), we get overwhelmed in the blogging world. We can’t keep up. Either with writing our own posts, reading others’ posts, commenting, or replying to comments.

It’s. All. Good.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I don’t know how many times I’ve blogged about this but I don’t care. I’ll blog it again. I’m a broken record. Whatever.

I do not believe blogging should be a source of stress in people’s lives. And, yes, we are people. With lives. Outside the bloody internet.

Sometimes, we can’t catch up and need to rid ourselves of guilt and empty our inbox. I think we’ve all been there. Or most of us, anyway.

I will not tell you that you’re doing something wrong or not doing enough.

I won’t.

You’re good. Just like that.

But I also will not tell you you’re wrong for wanting to be everywhere and do everything. Sometimes, we do this to ourselves.

So, if you really feel the need, you could pop over here and leave a smiley face and I’ll know you were drowning in notifications. Then I could save you, you know? It’d be a secret code or something.

I’ll drop by your blog and leave you a life vest.

 

 

I’m not even going to ask.

If you’re overwhelmed, stressed, falling behind in the blogging world…take a breath, empty your inbox, and throw away the guilt. If people get upset about you missing a couple of their posts or not replying to their comment…well… *shrugs*

You’re all good here. Cheers, gentle readers.

 

Time, Time…Ticking Away

 

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Some people are always whining about not having enough time.

I am one of those people.

Inevitably, I’m subjected to someone telling me, “We all have the same number of hours in a day.” They then tell me I’m choosing to spend these hours not writing or reading or blogging and that, they claim, is my problem.

Uh huh.

Well, I’ve got to say, that really used to tick me off. (Get it? Tick me off? Tick. Tock. That was fun.)

But I guess, if you think about it, they’re right. I am choosing.

What they don’t realize is that the choices some of us make are significant: Write or eat? Read or sleep? Blog or bathe? Respond to post comments or spend time with our children?

While most avid readers would lose a bit of sleep to finish a good book, please… Be kind when someone says they are short on time. Because there are people who actually do have extremely limited free time due to circumstances beyond their control. And their choices aren’t always easy.

There are writers who are choosing between finishing their physical therapy exercises and finishing writing their next chapter. There are unwashed mums (and dads) who are missing out on a game of Monopoly with their kids to read blog posts and respond to comments.

There are meetings and appointments, science fairs and soccer games. There are art shows, recitals, school functions, and award ceremonies. This is in addition to yardwork, cooking, cleaning, laundry…

Sometimes, the choice isn’t between writing and watching TV, it’s between writing and attending their child’s play.

To me, that is not a choice. And for those who don’t understand that, there’s really nothing I can say. (Though I’ll probably still complain about lack of time.) #sorrynotsorry

Usually, I choose my health and my family over reading, writing, blogging, and social media. But not always. I’m ashamed to admit it, but there it is. And I know I’m going to regret it.

Yes. We do all have the same number of hours in a day but not always the same amount of time. In regards to how we spend that time, yes, we have choices. But some choices are easier than others.

 

Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to get things done (reading, writing, social media, blogging, commenting…)? Do you find it easy to make choices about how you spend your time? Are you one of those “we all have the same amount of hours in a day” people? Be honest. We’ll still love you.

 

Why Quitting Writing Is the Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

 

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It’s been one year since I quit writing.

When I posted about this, it was heart-breaking.

I cried.

I regretted sharing my decision.

Then I realized how much I needed to post it. To feel it. To publicly admit it.

Here’s the thing. The biggie. I’ve “quit” writing before but I’ve never really quit.

I’ve had a meltdown over a story or a freak-out about my computer crashing (save your work!) or stopped writing out of frustration because I’d been interrupted for the fifteenth time. I’ve had writer’s block, run short on time, gotten sick, had self-doubt… You name it.

I’ve thrown my hands up and shouted, “I quit!”

Those are probably relatable to most writers. There is always something trying to block your way, drain your energy, waste your time, or stifle your creativity.

But when I wrote that post, I well and truly quit.

When I published that post, something inside me shifted.

This wasn’t a writer’s temper tantrum. This was me letting go of my dream. I waited two whole agonizing months to return.

Though, in the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t a long time, it felt like forever.

I thought about losing the creative outlet I’d been using since I was nine years old. I thought about flash and writing prompts and how much I’d miss those. But, honestly, what I thought about most was the fact that the characters in my novels would never finish telling me their stories. I thought about the fact that I would never write another word about these people.

I cried. Again.

 

Truth is, I was in a bad spot and thought quitting writing would take some pressure off. I thought it would give me more time and energy to deal with the crap. What I found was, by taking writing away, I was less able to deal with things.

You know what? I am overwhelmed. I do have a lot going on. There are shitty things happening.

There were a year ago and there still are today.

I did need a break, but not from writing.

I thought my life demanded I let go of my dream. I thought I had to kill a piece of myself, to make room for a new piece—one that could deal with all of the drama, chaos, and responsibilities. But it broke my spirit when I quit.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved putting pencil to paper and creating stories. I’ve always known writing is part of me. It’s not that I discovered this last year, it’s that I got a reality slap. A reminder that I need writing. Not just that I love it—I need it.

I had to feel this, really feel this loss, to fully appreciate how much I needed it.

I am a writer. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.

 

 

The fact that I quit writing played a big part in the publishing of Hinting at Shadows. One year ago I stopped writing and, almost exactly one year later, I am a newly published author. Of a book that I love. One that I’m proud of. One that shows we never know what the future holds. One that proves we cannot bury our dreams.

 

Have you ever given up, quit, or let go of something you loved? Did this hurt or help you? Or both? Did you ever return to what you left?