Help Me Find Your Blog

 

gravatar-image

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.

 

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.)



Pinstagram

 

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When I asked whether writers should use Pinterest or Instagram, there was a clear winner: Pinterest.

However.

I keep stumbling across articles saying how Instagram is awesome for authors.

What I don’t understand, about either of these, is how they are “social” media.

I get that you’re more visible, building your platform and so forth, but the chattiness of, say, Twitter is not there. (Claims the girl who is on neither of these networks.)

As I see it:

Instagram: A cool place to showcase pictures of your vacation, your lunch, or your cat. Or show off your mad photography skills.

Pinterest: A cool place to create collections of pictures that you like, that you took, or that inspire you. Or all of the above.

How is this social? And why are the articles saying you must be social on these networks…or else? (And what is the “or else”, anyway? Are there social media monsters that will crawl out of my computer and gobble me up? Actually, that’s creepy.)

By the way, I haven’t ignored you, my lovely friends. Pinterest it is. Because you said so.

Here I am… pinterest.com/sarahbrentyn

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Are you on Pinterest? If so, let me know so I can find you and “friend” you or “follow” you or, um, “buddy” you or “chase” you or something. Also, are you social on there? How? I’ll try my damndest to be social with you.

If you’re on Instagram and really like it, I could be persuaded to join that, too. Let me know…


Unremarkable Me

 

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I’m exceptionally ordinary.

I realized this while struggling with my author bio.

Honestly, I already knew but it’s really in your face when you’re trying to create anything that requires you to write in third person the answer to an unanswerable question: Who am I?

I’m me. Just me.

Unremarkable.

I’m not being self-deprecating but I am wondering…

Why does everyone need to be special?

Everyone is unique. Not the same thing.

Let’s face it. We want our bios to be memorable. That’s the point, isn’t it?

I went through this last year while trying to write a social media profile and “About Me” page for my blog. I had a major WIC (Writer’s Identity Crisis) and deleted myself.

But this. It’s so…final. An author bio, many experts say, can make or break you. Break me? Eek. They’re right! I can’t just cut and paste and fix it. It’s there. In writing. Forever.

Eh. Okay. So it is.

No matter how many times I rewrite it, I’ll most likely look at it in a few months and wonder what the hell I was thinking. So I’m going to accept that and let it go. And while I’m at it, accept who I am on paper.

A unique yet ordinary woman.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you have difficulty writing your bios? Do you change them often or write them and leave them alone? Do you try to present yourself as ‘special’ in some way? Do you even remember what your bio says anymore?

 

 

Breathe In, Breathe Out… Check Twitter, Answer Emails

 

Meditation Beach - sig

 

I’m meditating.

Yay, me.

I’ve tried this before but never stuck with it.

Meditation has always felt like a hand-me-down sweater that looked pretty on my older sister but never fit me quite right.

So, recently, I ditched the books and switched on my phone.

That’s right. I’d decided to turn my phone off to reduce stress. Now I’m going to turn it on again (first thing in the morning—fab way to start the day) with emails, calendars, and social media waiting to pop up and bury me in notifications. Why? To reduce stress, of course.

A soft voice is telling me to take a deep breath in…and out…in…and out, feeling the stress melt away as I become mindful of the TEXT MESSAGE: WHAT TIME IS YOUR DR APPT? in…and out…notice your breath rising and falling…rising…falling…TWITTER: SOMEONE LIKED ONE OF YOUR TWEETS! notice where the tension in your body is…WORDPRESS: NEW COMMENT WAITING APPROVAL ON LEMON SHARK REEF!

Cell phones are an odd place to go for relaxation.

Yet, here we are. Or, as I like to say, “It has come to this.” The digital generation where everything you could ever want is waiting on your home screen.

‘Tis true. There’s an app for pretty much everything now (but that’s another barrel of bananas).

There are tons of meditation apps out there ranging in focus (housework, walking, commuting, work, pregnancy…) and price (free, $100/year, $30/year, $3.99 one-time purchase…). With all the choices available, I’m overwhelmed. I’m spending a lot of time sifting through them. I’m having difficulty choosing one. It’s starting to stress me out.

I don’t write about irony a lot but a lot of things I write are ironic.

This is one of them.

First, turning on a device that’s distracting and stressful to become mindful and reduce stress.

Second, trying to choose one in the enormous collection of meditation apps saturating the virtual world.

Yes, I can turn off my notifications when I meditate. Then turn them all back on. Every. Single. Time. Yeah, that won’t happen. And phones ring with, like, phone calls. Yes, I can turn my ringer off. That won’t happen, either. Also, they have handy things like reminders, notes, and to-do lists that screech, “LOOK AT ME! I’M IMPORTANT!” And you have to yell back at them that you’re on your way to Calm and you’ll get to them later and, by that point, you’ve lost your way.

 

“How do I get to Calm?”

“Oh, that’s easy. Go to the corner of Distraction and Stress. Take a sharp right onto Digital Way, where you’ll see notes, reminders, and to-do lists. Pass those and keep going straight until you reach Relaxing Scenery. If you don’t like that space, you can dive into the scum-covered Decision Pond and wade through until you find a new Calm. Good luck!”

 

So. It has come to this.

 

Do you meditate? If so, have you ever used an app? How is that working for you? (Feel free to drop the name of the app in the comments if you like it. Thank you kindly.) Whether you meditate or not, what are your thoughts on using an app for this practice?

 

Go *Tweet* Yourself

 

Go Tweet Yourself - sig

 

I just figured out I could retweet myself.

Late to the party.

I won’t lie. I played around with it a bit, hovering over those double arrows, clicking them, unclicking them, and generally goofing around.

My first thought, before I played, was: “That’s weird. Why would I do that?”

My second thought was: “I wish Twitter would introduce some useful new features.” (Ahem. Edit button.)

It went downhill from there:

“Hee-hee. I wonder if I’ll get a notification from myself that I got an RT from myself.”

“Where would it come from?”

“What would it say? ‘You retweeted you!’ or ‘You really think you’re something special to RT your own tweet, you humble fool.’

But, then, I got to thinking about how I use my Twitter account.

As I’ve mentioned, I mine my own tweets for future short stories and flash. So it might be kinda cool to revisit a piece of micro fiction and have it show up on the timeline of someone who missed it.

Then again, I could just pin it or copy and paste it into a new tweet… So, I guess, I’m back to my first reaction. Retweeting yourself is weird.

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you retweet yourself? Did you know you could retweet yourself? Do you find any benefits to retweeting yourself that I’m completely missing? Did you notice how I just like saying ‘retweet yourself’ because I’m immature and find it amusing?


The Dinosaur Ate My Smartphone

 

When did I become so dependent on technology?

 

Dino Ate My Smartphone crop - sig

 

After I got erased and abandoned my electronic devices to a heap on the floor, I had to call people. On a landline. Told them I was goin’ old school.

A few days later, when I got the nerve to pick up my cell phone again, I realized that not only was my email still messed up, my texts weren’t working. I felt disoriented and isolated.

Which is completely ridiculous.

Let me give you a snapshot of my childhood.

No microwave. No CDs. No DVDs. A rotary dial house phone attached to the wall. Yeah, that’s right. You heard me. Attached to the wall. Do NOT get me started on apps and social media because there were no computers let alone cell phones. We had a pet Brontosaurus.

Point is, I grew up without technology. I didn’t even get a smartphone until I was 40 years old and I’ve become so attached to the stupid thing that if I lost it, I’d be crushed. Crushed, people.

After spending four decades without one, I’m utterly, hopelessly reliant on a device I received only two years ago.

How did this happen?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

Do you feel like you’re too dependent on technology? Are you too attached to your smartphone, iPad, or tablet? (Just out of curiosity…did you grow up with or without technology?)

 

Be Your Own Muse #Tweets4Blogs

 

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I’m tired of my talented tweeps telling me they have nothing interesting to write. (Say that three times fast.) Whether on their blogs or on Twitter… Doesn’t matter.

So. We’re going to mine our tweets for inspiration. (Please do read that when you get a chance—it’s short.) Yes, you will have something to mine. And, no, it will not be boring.

I’ve had numerous fellow writers recently ask me about Twitter prompts.

I have pointed them (you know who you are!) in the direction of a variety of challenges but I think there’s some shyness or confusion somewhere.

No matter.

Here’s the deal. I am going to give you a prompt each week and you will write a poem or micro fiction or memoir in 140 characters or less.

It will take no time at all and you will soon have a collection to scroll through for your blog. You might spark an idea or an entire blog post. Maybe a flash fiction piece.

I’m going to make this easy.

Every Tuesday I will pin a prompt to the top of my timeline. Why Tuesday? Eh. Why not?

Follow the prompt, write something, and use this hashtag: #Tweets4Blogs

Like this:

I’m writing haiku
To demonstrate how easy
Tweets 4 Blogs will be 

#Tweets4Blogs

See, in that “haiku”, I’ve also managed to demonstrate how awful the writing can be. But that doesn’t matter. It’s the spark of the idea, remember? Good.

Once you’ve tweeted, move on with your day. That’s it. In a few weeks, use the search bar and enter your handle and the hashtag. Like this:

@sarahbrentyn #Tweets4Blogs

Look at the garden you have! No, seriously, look at that stuff. It’s gold.

The seeds of inspiration that move like ticker tape on a Twitter timeline don’t have to be masterpieces.

Here’s our mantra: It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be done.

Two minutes. Every week.

 

Be your own muse!

Visit me on Tuesdays for the prompt.

 

Just Say ‘No’

 

I am overwhelmed.

 

Sarah B rainy day - sig

 

(All I can think of is The Princess Bride: “Is this a kissing book?“)

“Is this a complaining post?”

No.

Sort of.

Not really.

When I wrote Envy and Honesty six months ago, I had no idea how many writers were struggling.

This is huge, people.

Listen.

I’m not going to whine but I will say that you are not alone in feeling stressed.

Falling behind on blogging? Haven’t written for a day (or a week)? Give yourself a pass.

I know. There are endless articles telling us what we SHOULD do and COULD do if we REALLY want to and if we TRY HARDER and MAKE the time.

This is awesome if you’re asking for a kick in the ass. Sometimes you need a nudge, you know?

Personally, I’m sick and bloody tired of seeing this “advice” directed toward all writers. Because we are all different.

Excuses aside, this type of boot camp approach does not work for everyone. It might be motivating to some but is detrimental to others.

If you’re overwhelmed, stop reading that stuff. I know this is blasphemy, but…it’s just a blog. It’s just a word count.

Please. Give yourself a break.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

If you’re overwhelmed, do you feel pressured to keep up or do you take a break from blogging/commenting/social media?