Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Starting a Blog

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Q: I have heard of blogs and kind of know what they are. My question is what do you write on a blog, like stuff thats on your mind or just whatever? And what websites can i logon to to start blogs?.

A: Blogs come in all shapes and sizes. Each site has it’s own primary focus. On this site, I try to answer questions as a mother would do. That’s why it’s called Advice From Mom. I answer questions from readers like you. I also write short articles which give advice that a mom would give. My son has a site call Today I Found Out. He loves learning and so blogs on new things which he has ‘found out’. There are many other sites out there which have written content. These might be self-help, photography, parenting, etc. There are also blogs which give information on how to make crafts and may even sell the finished product. Some sites have no written content at all. These may be maintained by people who love animals and so have animal pictures, or people who enjoy scenery or funny pictures.

If you want to start a blog, you first have to decide what interests you. Do you have expertise in a certain area that others could benefit from? Once you’ve found your niche, you can start a blog. To start a blog, you need to obtain a domain name. Mine is advicefrommom.net. Then choose a hosting service. Designing a website is not something I do but I am informed that there are many tutorials that make this part of your project fairly easy. My husband does all my computer work for me. I only do the writing portion of this site. I recommend that you find another site which has more indepth information regarding websites. I’m certain there are many out there that can give you better information than I have available.

Spam Drives Everyone Crazy!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Q: Hi there, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any support is very much appreciated.

A: Spam drives everyone crazy! My husband has this female voice that announces: “you have new junk mail. Yippee!” every time a new email comes in. He insists it is almost totally accurate. I don’t have a voice talking to me. I get literally hundreds of spam a day and my poor computer would get hoarse if it had to tell me every time spam arrived. I have a spam filter that does a nice job separating the wheat from the chaff but it occasionally lets through the spam anyway. To avoid allowing the spam to enter my site, no comment is allowed to be published until I push the ‘approve’ button.

To answer your question, I doubt any one spam plug-in is any better than another. Sometimes I think the people sending out the spam have programmed their computers to send them automatically to any email address they have access to. I read a story years ago of a world where humans had annihilated themselves and the computer operated house just continued to set the table and do the dishes and vacuum the floors as if nothing had happened. If humans ever do annihilate themselves, I’m sure the sound of the human voice will continue in my house as it announces to no one ‘You have new junk mail. Yippee!”

Ignore the junk mail. Push the ‘delete’ button and get on with the fun part of blogging. Best of luck to you.

Where Should I Attend College?

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Q: I’m only a sophmore in high school but I know I love to write and I don’t know what I’d enjoy more as an actual career, journalism or creative writing. What would be the best college for someone like me?.

A: I did a little Google search for you and found these sites which would be able to answer your questions much better than I could. The sites are:

http://www-as.phy.ohiou.edu/~rouzie/569A/compcreative/University.htm

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/220386-colleges-offer-best-undergraduate-writing-programs.html

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/writing-programs

http://www.pw.org/content/2010_mfa_rankings_top_fifty_0

I was also able to find a site which offers free online writing courses. This might help you get a little head start on your writing classes.

http://diplomaguide.com/articles/Online_Creative_Writing_Courses_Offered_Free_by_Top_Universities_and_Educational_Websites.html

Best of luck to you in your career.

Getting the Job Done

Friday, October 14th, 2011

I’m sitting here thinking of writing. The article written for the site last night just didn’t want to come. I knew what I was thinking but couldn’t make the words align in an interesting way. Ever been in that situation? Not just in writing but in any area of your life? You know what you want but you just can’t line it up. Sometimes you look at it one way. So wrong! You turn it around 180 degrees and it doesn’t add up to what you started with in the first place. The trick is trying to figure out where you went wrong. It’s a trick that sometimes looks too hard to start. I want to quit until I am reminded of the words of Marilyn vos Savant. ‘Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.’ I’m still working on that article but in the meantime, I’m being reminded that I’m not that different from most every other person on this planet. We all come up against times when working through a tough project seems like an impossible task. So, I thought I would offer a few suggestions that have worked for me in the past. Hopefully, they will help you as well.

The hardest tasks to unravel are the ones with way too many components. The bedrooms of my children come to mind. I send them into their rooms every day to clean them and every day they assure me they have done it. Because I lack fortitude, I don’t check on their progress for several days. After all, if I check, I will have to insist that they do it right. Then we’ll go through the battle of ‘it’s my room. Why can’t I have it my way?’ I then go through the same spiel I went through the last time we had this conversation. Chips spilled on the floor invite bugs which will spread into the rest of the house, dirty gym socks left lying under the bed will eventually require a gas mask for anyone passing ‘your’ room; etc. Procrastination doesn’t improve the situation. Eventually, I will have to enter their room for one reason or another. That’s when I am forced to accept my role as mother and teach my offspring correct cleaning techniques. When the carpet on the
floor isn’t visible because of the books, crayons, laundry (dirty or clean?), toys, and papers, you can feel slightly overwhelmed. That feeling is only intensified by the amount of stuffed animals, dresses, shirts, and socks piled on a bed that hasn’t been made since the last time you checked. Your only hope is to take things one step at a time. For instance, the bed first. Break the bed down into it’s many components. Any dresses on the bed still on hangars can be considered clean and re-hung in the closet. All other clothing should be considered suspect and returned to the laundry basket. Stuffed animals can then be returned to their designated container. By this time, you should be able to identify food, candy wrappers, soft drink containers, etc that can be thrown into the trash. Once everything has been removed, you can replace sheets, blankets and pillowcases. One part of the room is done. Take the floor in the same manner. I like to remove the biggest things from the floor first simply because I get a clean spot faster that way. Then start removing things in categories as you did with the bed. And now you have a manageable task. This technique can be applied to any task with an overwhelming amount of work involved.

Then there is the problem of the project that requires concentration and study. You learned as a student that the best place to study was the library. Why? Because your roommates weren’t partying in the next room, the television wasn’t blaring, the radio couldn’t be heard in the next county and the phone wasn’t ringing off the hook. Hang onto that concept when you’re trying to sew a complicated Halloween outfit for your child. Or when you are trying to decorate the perfect cake for the party. Trying to do either of these chores when the kids are up is a bad plan! Wait until they’re in bed. Or, if you’re too exhausted to do anything once they’ve gone to bed, get up before they do to get the job done. The project is so much more enjoyable when you are uninterrupted.

Since you already know that I lack fortitude and tend to procrastinate, it will not come as a surprise to you that I like to put off unpleasant tasks. It is amazing how much I can accomplish while avoiding giving the dogs a bath. The beds need made, the laundry should be folded and put away, the kitchen floor needs washed, the front porch hasn’t been swept. I should probably dust the books shelves. I haven’t called a stressed out friend in a few days. I could get my house totally spit polished, my car buffed and shined, the yard and porch cleaned and on and on and on. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing except dogs are living beings for whom I have accepted responsibility. So they have to be bathed. My solution is to assign myself a day and time to do this particular task. It’s important that I inform family and others of my intentions. Otherwise, I am too willing to be distracted by other things like ‘come have lunch with me’ or ‘let’s go garage sale-ing’. Once I have stated publicly that I will be doing this job, I might have time to go to lunch or even spend a little time at garage sales but I will have to be home in time to bathe the dogs. I’m sure there is a task that you have that is equivalent to bathing the dog. So schedule it in! Short of an emergency room visit, do it as scheduled!

I’m sure others will have little techniques they use to get the job done. If so, please feel free to put in a comment for the rest of us. Thanks!

February 22 Quote of the Day

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2000

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
Twyla Tharp

To be lost in your art is a wonderful refreshing way to release some of the tension brought by your daily life. But I would have to disagree with the idea that it is the only way. People come in all shapes and sizes and so they differ in the ways they find to ‘run away’. For some getting lost in music can be that release. For others there is writing, prayer, a good book, meditation…… It is good, though, that we can all find our own way to leave the daily grind for just a little while.