Well, it has been another quiet week on the blog. Life was not overwhelming this week, in fact, it was gloriously routine, but I think I am still drained from the events of the beginning of the month. I did not come home and fall asleep on the couch, but I did come home and veg on the couch. Perhaps this coming week I will have the energy to avoid the couch altogether and do something more productive – like escape with a good book or work on my own writing skills.
It seems that during this season of life my blog routine seems to concentrate on the weekends. I try to read as many of your blog posts as possible on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and then I try to write my own post(s) in the afternoon. The blog reading this weekend showed me that I am not the only one who is struggling with finding balance in life that includes blog writing, blog visiting, and blog commenting.
Nicole had a fabulous post that summarized my “bloggy” feelings perfectly. I DO read a lot of blogs, but I simply do not have the time to comment on each and every post. While I love the idea of continuing a blog conversation with my cyber friends, the reality is that I don’t have time to respond to comments made on my own blog. I LOVE them – I READ and CHERISH each and every one of them (except for those pesky Spam comments – which I will discuss in a moment), but my life would be totally out-of-whack if I commented on all of them. I hope you understand – and I hope you take the time to read Nicole’s post, which is so much more eloquent that what I have just blurted here.
Along these same lines Lynne posted this morning about Blogging without Obligation – which apparently was as popular a subject in 2007 as it is today. I will ask you to visit Lynne’s blog to read all that this button entails, but essentially, it gives us the freedom to make our blog what we need/want to make it. And while I would love to post everyday, read 4 or 5 books in a week and immediately post well-written, thoughtful reviews, the truth of the matter is that is not a possibility right now. For someone who naturally accepts guilt for any situation, I need this visual reminder that it is ok if the blog is what it is – and that it is not what my unrealistic expectations tell me it should be.
Does the lack of new posts signal the spammers to visit your blog with increased regularity? I initiated the comment moderation function on the blog about six months ago when I seemed to be inundated with spam. That seemed to do the trick and up until this week, I have only had to delete a couple of comments a week. This week, however, I have had multiple comments A DAY from spam artists and I must say that it is rather annoying. Is anyone else experiencing this phenomenon?
Well, classes have been in session for nearly a month and we are now in FULL SWING – and what I mean by full swing is that there are papers to grade, tests to grade, novels to read (re-read for me), and parental communication to delicately write. I have three wonderful Teacher Aids this year who can help with the grading quite a bit – but the buck does end with me and that it is always time consuming.
I did have a fun experience with the iWrite class – the class where they are to write a 12 chapter novel in a year. We are having a TON of fun – but not quite doing all the required work in the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum. I have now decided that we will do the worksheets in class – helping one another flesh out characters and potential conflicts, rather than requiring it as homework.
I do like to try to give the students some time at the beginning of class to exercise their creativity and found this exercise on the internet that they absolutely LOVED. One student – my star “artist” – went to the white board and drew a square that represented the four walls of a room. The students were then told to design this room. I did not tell them what kind of room it was – how big it was – where it was located. Just – design a room. OH MY WORD — 30 minutes later they had created an elaborate study/den that included not only props but characters, and the design continued to the front yard with added landscape and mythical creatures. They used the entire white board and complained that they did not have more space. They asked if we could keep it up and continue the adventure the next class period. It was one of those times when an idea for a lesson is actually better in person than it was on paper. It was awesome!
Well, I continue to fail miserably at reading challenges. As much as I LOVE Carl’s RIP challenge, I have just not been motivated to read any of the books on my list. I blame this ongoing feeling on that of general malaise and remain optimistic that this is not a life-long condition, but rather, a brief interruption. I hope to return to my old reading self shortly and still participate in this challenge, even if it is at a slower rate than I had hoped.
One event that I would LOVE to do is participate in the read-along of The Historian. This book has been on my TBR bookshelf for several years and I even had it listed on my original RIP reading list. While 100 pages a week would not normally prove to be much of a problem for me….for some reason this year it seems like an impossible goal.
I did however pick up a book that I had put on reserve at the library, A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves. I know that I discovered this title on one of your blogs, but darn if I can remember who it was that recommended it. If it was you….please know that I am forever in your debt! This book is absolutely PERFECT for me and where I currently reside on my writing journey.
The book is divided into 12 chapters – one for each month of the year. There are 12 Writing Principles that are highlighted for each month, as well as very practical advice to help hone the writing craft.
In addition, each chapter also offers a writing prompt for every day of the month. I have always struggled with prompts because they are typically focused on the ‘creative’ side of writing and quite honestly, my brain draws a complete blank once the prompt is read. These prompts, however, have the opposite effect for me. As I was reading them my mind instantly imagined a scene or a memory or a possible life application and I WANTED to stop what I was reading and start writing immediately. I also loved the fact that there was no right or wrong way to write about these prompts. If I want to use the prompt to write a scene for a fictional story, I can do that. If I want to write about a memory from childhood, I can do that. If I want to imagine what life might be in five years and write about a personal dream, I can do that.
I feel as though I have finally found a book that will allow me to be the writer I desire to be. I have finally reconciled the fact that writing (for me) is not wasted time, but rather vital to my journey of self-discovery.