Tag Archive | Blogging

Long Gaps in Between

Dear Blog,

Remember me?  I’m trying to get back into the habit of blogging.  As you can see, I posted three times recently.  So proud!

Taking a break wasn’t a good plan.  Writing about life and sharing what’s up with you was a good habit to develop.  Having a goal to write a blog post makes me more aware of little events that can turn into some sort of whimsy on my blog.  This break reminded me of my relationship with my childhood diary.  Except now my creations can be found in the tiny recesses of the Internet instead of being hidden under a mattress under lock and key!

Dear Diary

My “Dear Diary” used to get notes like this too.  “Dear Diary, Sorry I haven’t written to you for so long.  I’ve been so busy with such and such.”  Of course, Dear Diary never got angry about some of my long absences.  It was me who got upset when there were long gaps in between that missed some important parts of life.

My break with you started when I took a writing workshop in March.  The classes were on Saturday afternoons, and there were only a few of us who attended.  The teacher motivated us by helping us set goals.  She told us that a novel needs to have at least 60,000 words.  Who knew that a novel needs to have so many words?   So far, my manuscript has 90 pages, or 31,358 words.  The pages have been printed off, and I started editing them.  In the workshop we also learned that some writers write a book from start to finish, but other writers, like me, fill in places as they go along.

While filling in places on the manuscript, I discovered “Call the Midwife,” and I bought the DVDs.  After seeing the first episode of the TV series, I got sucked into watching all three seasons.  Times that were usually set aside for writing were spent watching TV.  The show is based on a memoir written by Jennifer Worth.  Ms. Worth was a midwife in the 1950s and worked in the very poor neighborhoods of east London.  My book is a memoir written from the point of view of my dog.  What makes a story real and enjoyable is when the reader falls “in love” with one or more of the characters.  If a connection isn’t made, the audience gets bored.  The characters in the show told the real life story of Jenny Lee during her work as a midwife.  Watching her and her comrades’ struggles and achievements kept the show interesting.  Making those sorts of connections in a book would be helpful, and a writer would benefit by learning how to do that.  Unfortunately, after finishing the series, I fell into the habit of watching not-so-educational TV shows when I should have been writing.

Spring came and melted away soggy and mushy winter days that we used to share blogging together.  Sunday afternoons got busy spending time having coffee and chatting away the day with my daughters.  Before we know it, one will be back at college and the other one will be married.  It’s nice to spend time with the ones we love when they are nearby.

Then Minnesota was blessed with beautiful summer weather that has to be enjoyed while it lasts.  Time was spent walking Lila the Dog around our woodsy park.  Three mile walks ended up taking up more time, and even the book got pushed to the back shelf.

Putting blogging aside prevented me from visiting posts from the other bloggers I follow.  Most of them are still writing away and sharing life.  Everyone’s life keeps chugging along whether it’s written about or not.  My hope is to keep blogging, even if it is about a “bug on a rug” or a “goat on a boat” because it’s fun to make up stuff too!  Between you and me, I hope there will not be any more long gaps in between.

Mary Ann

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.  –Mother Teresa



It Helps Us to Say Thanks, Part II

A year ago, I wrote about some fun times at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in a blog post called It Helps Us to Say Thanks.  My brothers and I thought it would be nice to get a memorial paver there in memory of Mom and Dad.  We suggested that memorials be given to Como in honor of our Mom who died last year.  We recently submitted a poem that we all liked, but it didn’t get approved because it was too religious.  It wasn’t really a poem:  It was a prayer!  Since the zoo is a public place, they said they could not inscribe a prayer on a paver.

So I wrote this instead:

Thanks Mom and Dad
For the family that we were with you,
And teaching us truth in all that we do.
By showing us what is wrong what is right,
And helping us keep our attitudes bright.
By having you laugh around our small brood,
It helped us to stay in such a fun mood.
By caring for us and showing the way,
Work is important but so is to play.
By loving the world in which we do live,
All of creation it helps us to give.
Kindness to people and animals too,
Tending the flowers and trees as did you.
By thanking the wind the sail that it blew,
Moving us along to explore what’s new.
By missing loved ones when they go their way
We do that now too, but memories stay!

Mom loved flowers and they both loved to sail.  I thought this would be a nice remembrance!  I hope Como thinks so too.

Happy Birthday Blog!

 Picture Courtesy of Moodester

When I think back to last year and the day when I created this blog, I remember how scared and excited I was. I had no idea what to expect after I clicked the publish button. I did get one like on my first post, and there were a few views too. The first few times I received a comment was really exciting, and I still really appreciate receiving comments and having people subscribe to my blog!

My daughter Katie convinced me to post my blogs on my Facebook page which was a really scary moment. Now people I actually know could choose to read my blog. Katie said, “You want people to read what you write, right?” Now friends might mention a post they like, and I might act like it’s no big deal, but it is such a big deal to me because I love to write.

Starting up a blog was a huge step that I am glad I took. There are many drafts of stories and poems hidden away in drawers, trunks and filing cabinets that are not ready to be seen by others, but somehow blogging has been a fun experience that I always look forward to.  Sharing what I write is good too because it helps me pay attention to life’s little moments, and how they connect to other events. I get the chance to make the events connect into a story. Working with words and how they get arranged is a fun process to be a part of.

This is my 52nd post over the year, and that works out to be one post a week. My posts don’t fall into a very rigid schedule, but it helped me keep writing for a whole year now pretty regularly, and that is a good goal that I can be proud of.

I just want to thank you, my readers, for stopping by when you can! Thanks so much for stopping by, liking a post or making a comment! I am so glad I got a chance to meet you (if I didn’t know you already).

To Blog or Not to Blog, that is the Question!

In my last post I wrote about how I started a new blog called, My Grandpa, the Woodcarver.  It was so easy and fun to write about my Grandpa’s House.  I enjoyed walking through each room in my mind!  Writing about Grandpa brought back many memories – memories that I do not want to be forgotten.

That may be why writing memoir is so popular today.  Regular people who are not even famous are writing memoirs.  In the foreword of Lisa Dale Norton’s book, Shimmering Images:  A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir, Hal Zina Bennett points out that people want to reflect on their lives and share what they have learned.  Lisa Dale Norton has been teaching writing classes for many years.  She explains how the memories that stay with us stay for a reason.  Those memories are our shimmering images – a part of our lives, our story.  I also found this book helpful because the author points out different ways to format memoir and what a memoir needs to engage readers.

When I thought about my new blog, I found myself jotting down my “shimmering images.” Suddenly I realized that I had the format of a book to be written laid out right in front of me.  If I chose to, I could begin writing a memoir of special memories that would include Grandpa’s woodcarving skills, instead of writing a blog.  Even though some shimmering images have been revealed to me, I realized that I need to uncover the other important aspects that make any story work, such as theme, the underlying meaning, conflict and resolution.  While I was going through this process, even more recollections came to me.  When I woke up this morning, I was surprised when the song “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey” kept playing in my mind.  I used to play that song for Grandpa on the clarinet that he bought for me!  I have not thought about that song in years.

Writing a book seems like it would be a lonely process.  When I blog, I sometimes get feedback that can be inspiring and it helps me want to write even more.  I’m afraid that I would not be motivated to write a book because I would not be getting that feedback.  I most likely would not let anyone read my book as it progresses because it wouldn’t be my final piece of work.  Yet, in my mind I keep hearing one of my friends say, “What’s with all this blogging?  When are you going to write your book?”

“A book?” I think.  Can I really write a book?  I know it’s not easy.  As you can see, I am wavering and indecisive.  I question:

  • Would all the work be worth it;
  • How long will it take me, a slow writer with a busy life, to write a book;
  • What if no one likes what I wrote; and
  • What message do I want to send?

What are your thoughts?  If you have had personal experiences with how to keep yourself motivated while writing a book or blog, maybe you could share your thoughts here.  I would like to hear what you have to say!

Whether My Grandpa, the Woodcarver ends up as a book or a blog, I plan to keep writing on My Reality Show!  Who knew blogging could be so fun!