Tuesday Toss-Up

Creating a Following with HTML

Spice Up Your Blog with a Dash of Code

From time to time, I get the urge to do something new with my blog. The same thing manifests itself at home with an irresistable desire to rearrange the furniture. Fortunately for the blog (unlike moving furniture), the only heavy lifting involved is learning something new.

Now you code masters are probably laughing your closing tags off at me but I, unlike Al Yankovic, am fluent in neither Klingon nor JavaScript. However, I have picked up a few bits and pieces of HTML which you might find useful too.

How’d I Get Those Follow Buttons at the Top of the Page? Continue reading “Creating a Following with HTML”

Tuesday Toss-Up

Do You Talk Too Much?

keyboard cat
Muffin finally clears his inbox…only to discover he’s received 562 new messages.

Conversations at home. Hollering at the kids. Coaxing the puppy out from under the bed. Phone calls. Work conversations. Email. Texting. Novel writing. Blog writing. Commenting on blogs. Twitter. Facebook.  Email. Email. Email. Text. Text. Text. Phone call. Phone call. Phone call.

All of this technology affords us so many ways to talk to one another. In seconds, we can make a connection with almost anyone anywhere, meeting new people, renewing friendships, reaching out to family, and sharing ourselves with the world. It’s an amazing things.

But with the power to talk to communicate anytime anywhere comes the expectation, from ourselves and others, that we should be available to talk all the time. Continue reading “Do You Talk Too Much?”

ROW80 Check Ins

Night of the Living ROW

Final ROW80 Check in for Round 2, 2012

yawning kitty cat
Having reached the end of another ROW80, Mortimer decides to take a well-deserved nap.

We’ve reached the end of another round of ROW80. This round, I haven’t been as attentive as I would have liked. Of course, lots of life intervened. But all we can do is all we can do.

My plans for this round:

  • Update ROW80 page, for last round and this one: I updated the page at the beginning of the round but it needs another update.
  • Spend 15-30 minutes minimum 4 days a week on new novella. I’m working on expanding Postcards from Hell and its sequel, Ants in the Mailbox into a novella. My MIP is on hold for now: For the last month, I’ve tried to catch up with work projects and a big move. I put a hold on writing work until I get settled. Continue reading “Night of the Living ROW”
Parallel Tuesdays

Ray Bradbury Lives On

Last week, I was in the throes of the move (the last one for the next 20 years, at least, if I have anything to say about it) and bereft of Internet. Since I rarely bother to turn on the TV (unless it’s to watch Netflix or something from the DVR) and even more rarely bother to pick up a newspaper, I did not hear about the passing of the great Ray Bradbury until last Sunday.

I wonder what Mr. Bradbury would say about our reliance on the digital word. E-books. Blogs. Google News. Yahoo! News. Search engines. Chat boards. Wikipedia. Facebook. Twitter. Books can be burned at the digital word can be altered. While I delight in the digital, I wonder… Continue reading “Ray Bradbury Lives On”

Friday Stumble · Life List Club

Is Spam Really Bad for You?

*Throwback Thursday Post: Revisiting old posts so they don’t get lonely.*

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Friday Stumble to bring you this special program…

I’m over at the Life List Club today discussing something that plagues all of us in the blogosphere, spam. But what if it’s not so bad after all?

 Spam & EggsIf you’ve blogged (or twittered) for a while, you’ve probably harvested at least a crop or two of spam.

Ah, the spammers are in bloom again…isn’t it lovely *inhales*

In fact, they may have even been your very first comments. But, as time passed and the spam filter grew fat with bizarrely worded pseudo-comments, you probably began to resent them…especially when the spam far outweighed the legitimate comments.

But maybe we’re not giving spam its due.

Read more here.

Photo Credit
Spam & Eggs by Todd Smith, on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Tuesday Toss-Up

When I Have More Time and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

Procrastination. One of my biggest weaknesses. The sweet siren song of “later…I’ll do it…later” calls to me across the great expanse of my to-do list. Does it call to you too?

Here is a piece I wrote for the delightful Pam Hawley one Life List Club Friday. If you’ve ever been seduced by the demon Procrastination or if you know someone who has…or if you’re one of those organized types and just want to point and laugh at us procrastinators, keep reading…

*originally posted at Pam Hawley’s blog on 10/7/11*

When I Have More Time and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

How many times have you said the following things to yourself?

“I’ll start that diet…tomorrow.”

“I’ll take one of those writing classes after the holiday hubbub settles down.”

 “I’ll try that Twitter thing when I’m not so busy at work.”

“I’ll lay my plans for world domination when the kids get a little older and don’t need me so much.”

“I’ll start/finish writing my novel when I have more time.”

If you’re like me, the count is somewhere around…well, you figured you’d count it up later and then forgot.

I know, I know. You have 542,367,895,129 to do in a day.

Like Spinning Plates

Adding one more thing, especially if it’s not for your day job or your home or your family, feels like it might just bring everything crashing down.

Plates

So we tell ourselves we’ll do it when we have just a little more time. But that’s a big fat LIE. Say it with me, “Liar liar pants on fire.” Because there will never be a little more time. And, if there is just a smidge more time, something else will come along and fill it up.

You know it’s true.

And day after day sneaks past us like ninja kittens until we are left looking back at a long span of years, scratching our heads and wondering how all that time went by without us pursuing our passions. Ahhhhhhh

Believe me, I know how it goes. I’m Queen of Later.

Bow down before me, all you procrastinators, or feel my wrath. Mwahahahaha. Um, what? Oh…really? Ok. Sorry. Back to the topic…

Seriously though, procrastination is one of my biggest weaknesses. Email piles up until my inbox is begging for mercy. Laundry piles up until we’re desperately washing tiny loads just to have underwear and jeans to wear. My exercise machine grows a fur coat of dust, my reading list grows and my outline languishes.

It’s so easy to put stuff off, especially if it has to do with writing. And especially when the writing gets hard. I tell myself I’ll just do it later. I promise this time.

But since we all know there probably won’t be a later or a little more time, we have to carve out time right now. Because the demon Procrastinator lurks around every corner and behind every dust bunny.

 Lego Joker

But, um, how do we go about this exactly? How do we smite the Evil Procrastinator?

Here’s some things that work for me:

  • Make a list of goals and pick some folks to keep you accountableLife List Club and ROW80 are awesome ways to put your goals out there and find a cheering/keep-you-in-line section.
  • Start small – If the big goal make you feel like you’re standing at the bottom of Mt Everest, try making tiny daily or weekly goals. It’s easy to build on them and develop a sense of trust in yourself. I’m all about the baby steps. But, if you’re motivated by big goals, set big goals to challenge yourself.
  • Get up early – I am so not a morning person. But, if I don’t wake up at least an hour before everyone else in the house gets up, it’s a huge challenge to get any writing done. Or you could stay up really late instead.
  • Schedule reminders on your phone – Schedule daily writing times and program your phone’s calendar to remind you twice. Really pester yourself.
  • Plan, plan, plan and list – It’s weird, I love to make lists but I used to hate making a daily schedule or an outline. I wanted to be spontaneous with my creative work and just go with the flow…except the flow usually led to nothing much getting done. So now I plan and plot and list. Plus, it’s fun to tick everything off my list.
  • Visualize yourself succeeding and taking joy in every step.
  • Leave yourself notes everywhere reminding you of your goals and cheering yourself on.
  • Cut back on time-sucks – There’s almost always more play in our daily schedules than we realize. We putter around, watch tv, surf the net, etc. At least some of those things can go so we have more time to pursue our dreams.
  • Give yourself permission to take a break – It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Cut back on your goal schedule or take a break. Just be sure to set specific goals for those cutback and breaks too so the goals don’t get abandoned.

So, even though it’s still a bit of a struggle for me, I’m learning to work around my wicked procrastinating ways. And, by all that is caffeinated, I will get my novel written (and the email read, the laundry done, the weight lost…)!

Do you put off your dreams? Procrastinate on your goals? How do you conquer that procrastination?

Image Attribution (In Order of Appearance):
Like Spinning Plates by Jameson42, on Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Plates by mallix, on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Ahhhhhhh by kennymatic, on Flickr CC BY 2.0
Lego Joker by Adam Crowe, on Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Tuesday Toss-Up

Why I’m (Not) Kicking Tweeps Off My Branch

The sparrows are flying again, Thad… (sorry, couldn’t resist)

Recently, I’ve seen a few tweets saying the tweeter is unfollowing various tweeps for not following them back, for unfollowing, for not having interesting tweets, for being too quiet or maybe just having stinky digital socks. Now, I really have no judgements against such tweeters but it always makes me stop and wonder how all of this fits in with what Twitter’s all about.

Who do I follow in the first place? Generally, I follow folks that catch my eye in one of the various hashtags I follow, who were recommended by other tweeps I know and respect or whose blogs or work I admire. I might also follow a celebrity now and then or a tv show (@WalkingDead_AMC anyone?).

Is it really so important they follow me back? Although I deeply appreciate it when someone takes pity on me finds me interesting and follows Continue reading “Why I’m (Not) Kicking Tweeps Off My Branch”