Drowning in my ‘To Do’ List

 

 

Why do I always feel like I’m treading water?

I write a list which keeps chores, projects, appointments, and phone numbers handy, but…

This ‘To Do’ list never actually, you know, gets done. Which kind of defeats the purpose.

I continue to add to it until that cute, little notepad shaped like an owl or sunflower just won’t cut it and I have to break out the big guns. A huge, yellow legal pad. And still…I’m writing on the second then third page. This is usually for one week’s day’s worth of stuff.

If I complete something, I get that satisfaction of crossing it off. *ah* I love that. Sometimes, if I sweep the house and it wasn’t on the list, I’ll add it just to cross it off. That’s a perk of the dreaded list. (I know. It’s pathetic.)

What’s more pathetic is, when I complete a ‘work’, ‘home’, or ‘writing’ task, something else rushes in to take its place.

A ‘To Do’ list is helpful in certain ways but also serves as a tangible reminder that I WILL NEVER FINISH THAT LIST.

It’s like trying to scoop water out of a pool with a teaspoon while a waterfall splashes more in right next to me.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you use a list to keep track of all the things you need to do? Do you have another (better) way? An app? A different way of approaching the traditional ‘To Do’ list? (Not including ripping it in half and throwing it in the trash – tried that. Doesn’t work.) If so, please share your wisdom in the comments. I need a life vest. Thank you…

 

 

Why You Need a ‘Contact’ Page

 

 

I’ve recently run across a few blogs where, for one reason or another, I would have liked to contact the writer. I looked for a ‘contact’ page. I looked on their ‘about’ page (if they had one). I looked all around their homepage. Alas, if the information was there, I couldn’t find it. Perhaps I gave up too soon. Regardless, I did give up. That’s the point of this post.

I found something on Sue Vincent’s blog a few months ago talking about the various reasons why it’s probably a good thing for your readers to be able to contact you. It also gives step-by-step instructions on how to create a contact form if you’re a bit wary of sharing your email address on your blog.

Click on ‘my sites’ top left of the screen, scroll down to WP Admin on the blue drop-down menu and click.

Hover over ‘pages’ (or ‘posts’ if you prefer, but it will get lost unless you pin it) and click ‘add new’.

There, at the top of the screen, is a button to ‘add contact form’. Click this and it opens a drop down box.

Click ‘add this’ and it inserts a whole bunch of bracketed code. It will show up with your details in it on the preview, but they are not visible to others.

And there you have a working contact form.

Just so I’m not accused of being a hypocrite, I’ll come right out here and say, if you look at my menu, there is no ‘contact’ page. I’m thinking of adding the form Sue mentions but, in the meantime, there’s my ‘about’ page. I’ve had a way to contact me on there since the beginning of this blog.

That said, perhaps I’ll make it a bit more obvious…

Anyway, do check out Sue’s post:

 

 

 

Do you have a ‘contact’ page? Or a way to contact you on your ‘about’ page or main blog? If not, is it an oversight or something you’ve chosen not to do?

 

My New Blog Scares Me #MyFirstPostRevisited

 

my-first-post_revisited-bloghop

 

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.

 

Cheers to You, My Friends

 

cheers-to-you-my-friends

 

I’m making a list. I’m checking it twice. I’m going to toast you. Naughty or nice.

Seriously, it doesn’t matter. Either way, you’re good on my list.

Every year, during the holidays, I watch A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. Numerous times. Many numerous times. And, while I watch these films, I eat yummy foods. And drink delicious beverages. Sometimes seasonal beer, sometimes red or white wine, sometimes a treat of something sweet like Baileys. It’s a tradition.

So is toasting. The drink, the meal, the movie, the season…

And this year I’m adding you, my bloggy friends and fellow tweeps. Because, whatever my love/hate relationship with social media, the blogging “rules” I refuse to stress myself over, keeping up online appearances, I still appreciate you. Muchly. I love the comments, conversation, and community. You are the wind beneath my fins. (I could not even help that and have no idea where it came from—apologies.)

Back to my list. I’m actually making one. For real. Leave a comment with your preferred movie. I will raise my glass to you in gratitude, good health, and a happy holiday.

Thank you, gentle readers.

Cheers!

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Happiness, joy, peace, love, chocolate, wine, and cheese platters, my friends! Happy Holidays! ❄️

(A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life? P.S. If you don’t care for either of these movies, please, I beg of you, don’t tell me. It will hurt my delicate feelings. But, if you feel the need, just write: “I won’t say… Cheers!” and I will still include you on my list.)



Balancing Blogging and Writing (Or not…)

 

Blogging and Writing -sig

 

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”.

 

Does Size Really Matter? (In Defense of the Pithy Blog Post)

 

Does size really matter?

 

Sarah B The Bard 2 sig

 

On Sundays, I publish a post of 200 words (or less). But every blogger knows anything under 300 500 1,000 (what is it now?) words is not a “real” post.

Huh. My fingers were flying across the keyboard as my ideas were pouring out. I recall reading and responding to comments. I could have sworn that was real.

Even my full-length posts are usually only 300-700 words. I say what I need to say then get the hell out of Dodge.

Yes, I know: Google spiders, SEO, zzz…

When I taught, I rarely gave my students a firm word count. If the assignment would clearly benefit from a strict number of words I did but, most of the time, when they asked, “How long does it have to be?” I answered, “As long as it needs to be.”

Yes. I’m sure that annoyed some students. Moving on.

Blogs.

If you go on and on (and on and on) when you write, maybe you should think about whether you need every single word. If you simply love writing long pieces, that’s great. Go for it.

I prefer short, to-the-point posts. I enjoy writing them, and I enjoy reading them. I will read lengthy posts but only if they’re super duper awesome with a cherry on top. I don’t have anything against long blog posts.

Why do so many bloggers have a thing against short posts?

Reason #1. It won’t be picked up in search engines. That’s kind of my problem, not the reader’s. They don’t need to worry about me. I’ll be fine. Really.

Reason #2. “It’s annoying” to click on a link and be directed to a post with less than X number of words because it has no “substance”. This one irks me. Substance and length have absolutely nothing to do with each other. I have read some loooong posts with lots of “keywords” that were fluff. A bunch of letters grouped together on a page without saying anything. Those are impressive. I mean, seriously, that’s got to be tough to do. How does one even go about writing 3,000 words without saying anything? I’ve got to take a class on that.

I’ve also read some short, thought-provoking posts that pack a punch.

If you have a lot to say on a subject and it takes 2,000 words to say it, that’s cool. I’ll read it. But please do give the little posts a chance. Writers can sometimes surprise you with how much they can say in 400 words (give or take).

 

“Don’t use seven words when four will do.” 

 

My Sunday thoughts in (way over) 200 words. I know, irony is fun.

 

ThoughtBubble

I was going to stay far away from this but I… Just… Can’t. So, for you, gentle readers, here’s what I’m saying in a nutshell: It’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use it.

 

Do you have a specific word count you stick to? Do you force yourself to keep writing a post because it’s too short even if you feel like it’s done? Does the size of your blog post really matter?