Tag Archives: blogging

Tools of the trade

A friend of mine—a Renaissance man of sorts—writes a blog about fishing.

His latest post, entitled “The Right Stuff,” examines the equipment people need for their various hobbies and professions. Also a musician, this man likened fishing rods to guitars, as far as the selection of equipment based on one’s goals and skill levels goes.

While I know as little about casting a rod and reel as I do about playing the guitar, I found his post thought provoking. He discusses why a beginner shouldn’t begin with the most advanced—and often, most expensive—equipment and what considerations go into proper selection.

I know a fair number of golfers and have overheard my share of debate over the need for expensive equipment. My husband, a marathon runner, spends what he considers a lot of money to buy shoes and enter races and participate in running clubs. A cyclist friend pours his spare change into bikes and flying to Hawaii to watch the Ironman triathlon up close.

My friend’s blog got me thinking about my own hobbies.

In 1977 I got into crocheting. I spent about half of the $2.35 an hour I earned at the yarn store on acrylic yarn. Once I spent an exorbitant sum of $6.99 on a complete set of crochet hooks, which I still have but no longer use.

That’s it. Except for a couple of style guides, I don’t spend anything on my hobby. Perhaps it shows.

I suppose I could take up more hobbies, and then I could blog about those. Golf is out, as plaid does not become me. We’ve already established I lack musical and athletic talent, so neither a violin nor a tennis racket is an option.

I don’t care much for stamp collecting (sorry, Dad) or bird watching or scrapbooking.

As I look back on some of my most popular blog posts, I notice (and WordPress confirms) that the best stories came from travel experiences and mishaps.

Therefore, would it be reasonable to conclude that I’d be a better blogger if I had a bigger travel budget?

As I see it, my choice is either to buy more style guides (and new bookends!) or a plane ticket.

With any luck, things will go terribly wrong.

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Filed under Sports and Recreation, Technology and Social Media, Travel

Part-timers disease

Now then.

More than two months ago, I announced here that I’d be letting out a little slack in the blog, to free up mental energy for a busy work season. I was buckling down to pressing obligations and, until those were tended to satisfactorily, there’d be no time for frivolous writing. Big mistake.

If you’re wondering how my September 23 resolutions turned out, I indeed completed the work, meeting all deadlines. To top that off, I pulled off the largest closet cleaning in 20 years.

Then, I erected more barriers. Believing I couldn’t clear my head enough to get my blogging groove back if obligations remained, I addressed, signed and stuffed 230 Christmas cards and finished 95 percent of my shopping. I even have most of my out-of-town packages ready to go in the mail.

But every time I sat down to tap out what used to be a free-flowing daily ditty, my skin itched. My teeth clenched.

Oh, sure, I’ve sneezed out a handful of posts this month, but they’re not my best work. And they’ve troubled me all the more for their awkward sparseness.

In an attempt to reverse my blog atrophy, I spent yesterday afternoon re-reading my blog posts of last November and December. I didn’t even recognize the writing.

This setback has proven the validity something my father once said. Over the last few years, people asked if he had considered shifting his writing and performance schedule into a lower gear. His answer was always that part time doesn’t work. The frenetic schedule kept him sharp and productive and able to maintain the rhythm. I see now that he was absolutely right.

(To give equal time, my mother suggested that, if I cleaned out my closets, things might flow more freely in other areas of my life. She too was right.)

Today is the first Monday of the season of Advent. Yesterday our priest encouraged us to take up renewed discipline—of the spiritual kind. I do intend to do that and, now that I’m ahead on many of my Christmas preparations, I might even have energy left to artificially resuscitate my inner Erma Bombeck, William Safire, Roseanne Roseannadanna, or whoever else I feel like being this season. Maybe even myself.

Did I really begin with “Now then?” That makes no sense.

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Filed under Family and Friends, Holidays, Marketing/Advertising/PR, Technology and Social Media

Super coincidence

Darn you, Stephen Colbert.

On Tuesday I had jotted a blog idea on the back of an envelope and had only to fill it out. This, you recall, was the day the nation’s policymakers approved the creation of a Super Congress of 12 members, to hammer out solutions to the federal budget crisis later in the year.

I had outlined some thoughts about the notion of a “super” Congress. My mind spun the notion into a “Super-duper” Congress, beneath an “Über” Congress. I swear I wrote this, even if you don’t believe me.

As I fleshed out the outline in a hotel room Tuesday night, I flipped on Comedy Central for a little bedtime snack of super-reality.

I found Stephen Colbert interviewing New York Times Washington bureau chief David Leonhardt. Near the end of the interview, Colbert recited the very notes I had just typed in. Great minds.

You’ll notice, if you follow the link to the interview, you might or might not experience a problem with the audio. On one computer, I could get the audio; on another I could not. I did a search on “why can’t I get audio on Comedy Central?” and learned that plenty of people experience this same technical glitch.

Among them is a young person whose conservative father has cut off all of his/her access to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert; this young person was trying to find a work-around.

As a parent of a former sneaky teen, I sympathize with well-meaning parents who want to control access to inappropriate content. But The Daily Show and The Colbert Report? Seriously?

So, I correct myself. Not “Darn you, Stephen Colbert.”  So he unknowingly stole my idea. He got there first. Plus, he has a few more followers than I do. He has millions. I have hundreds.

I say, “You, go, Stephen Colbert. You’re a super, a super-duper, even an über role model.”

Oh, and I’m not even going to bother with “Satan sandwich.”

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Movies, Television and Radio, News, Politics, Technology and Social Media

Blocked

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I seem to have hit a little slump.

There have been days recently when I didn’t post a blog entry, in part for lack of time and in part for lack of inspiration. Also, lately, I feel that my writing lacks the energy it used to have and I don’t want to subject readers to lethargic dronings.

I’ve been at this blogging project for 16 months now, having written 385 pieces. Inspiration used to rush at me faster than I could mash it into the keyboard. Lately? Not so much.

Over the weekend, I tackled a small writing project that gave me the same sense of paralysis. Eventually I found the energy to hand in to the client what I think was good work, but not without teeth-grinding anxiety.

This isn’t like me.

As I researched punctuation for Friday’s post, I came upon an interesting perspective on writer’s block. Then another one. Both jumped to the same conclusion: Essentially, quitcherbitchin.

Here’s what author Philip Pullman said in 2006 on the subject of writer’s block:

“Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block, and doctors don’t get doctor’s block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it?”

A bass player named Paul Wolfe wrote a piece recently on his blog, which worked from the same premise—that there’s no such thing as writer’s block—also using the plumber analogy. It’s worth a glance if you can relate.

So if there is no such thing as writer’s block, what has gotten a hold of me?

When I approached my recent client project, you would have thought I had decided to try skydiving. Profound fear consumed me.

I moved my computer from my office to the dining room table so I’d have room to spread out and to breathe. I set my papers out neatly. I took a shower. I returned to the computer. I straightened some knickknacks. I sat up straight, put my fingers on the keyboard and took a deep breath. I opened a six-ounce box of SweeTarts, sifted through the candies and ate all the purple and orange ones. Then I arranged the blue ones along the edge of the box, then the red, then the green. By this time my stomach was in my throat and my heart was racing. Utter silliness. This was easy stuff, nothing complicated. As soon as I typed the first word, the others came, but it took me more than eight hours to finish. It was touch and go there for a while.

So it goes with the blog. I don’t wake up with ideas and words to support them the way I used to.

The bass player says if you believe in writer’s block, then it wins. Pullman doesn’t believe in it either.

So maybe it’s just an old fashioned case of jitters.

Maybe I ought to lay off the SweeTarts.

Or maybe it just boils down to this bumper sticker:

9 Comments

Filed under Marketing/Advertising/PR, Technology and Social Media

The Versies

I’ve never met Susan, writer of the Coming East blog, but she has graciously included me in a circle of bloggers to whom she’s conferring a Versatile Blogger Award. Being that, like Susan, this is the first blogging award I’ve received, I’ll accept it proudly, once I complete four requirements. I believe, once I do this, that I’ll receive 36 new dish towels in the mail and never get Sepsis.

1. Thank the blogger who gave the award and link to his or her blog. I’d like to thank Susan . . .

2. Share seven things about yourself. Okay, seven facts about the person behind Word Nymph, which I don’t believe I’ve previously shared in the blog:

  1. During the time I was in high school drama club, I was the only person to earn all my Thespian credits without having acted in a play. Auditioned for everything, but the only role I ever got was NARRATOR.
  2. I’ve met Bill Cosby, Tiny Tim, Bill Clinton (twice), Hillary Clinton, Ken Burns, Antonin Scalia and Sandra Day O’Connor. If you count people I’ve met without their knowledge, I’d add Bonnie Raitt, John Denver and Pope John Paul II, but that would be a stretch. Because I was a lobbyist, members of Congress and candidates don’t count.
  3. I am the daughter of two musicians and have not a shred of musical talent.
  4. I make good deviled eggs.
  5. My husband and I accidentally crashed a private Hollywood party in honor of Teri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman, enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres, before making a quick exit—and getting the last of the swag bags.
  6. I always have to look up the spelling of hors d’oeuvres.
  7. I keep resolving to start fewer sentences with “I.” I’m not doing very well at that.

Gosh, I didn’t realize there’s so much left about which to blog. Let me know which stories you’d like me to tell.

3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers and link to them.

In one of my blog posts, I did highlight some of my favorite bloggers, so please pardon any redundancy. And pardon me if I mentioned you then and not now. It’d be great to spotlight some I’ve come across more recently. So, resisting my tendency toward pathological compliance, I’m keeping my list short. See my Blogroll for more.

Bain Waves
Coming East (Thanks, Susan!)
The Digital Cuttlefish
Grasshopper Eyes the Potomac
Life in the Boomer Lane (a previous recipient, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to show her off)
The Naked Listener
Self Expression
The Sticky Egg
Uphill Writing

As most of these awardees are my friends, I won’t ask them to feel as though they need to pass on the award. You may remember my blog on chain letters. I wasn’t pressured to do this. I’m just so darned tickled to get a Versy. Does this mean I can add “award-winning blogger” to my CV and Twitter profile?

4. Comment on their blogs to tell them of the award. I’m working on that. Some bloggers make it easier than others.

See you at the after party?

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Filed under Movies, Television and Radio, Music, Politics, Technology and Social Media

All or Nothing

Over the years, I’ve come to learn that I operate at two levels, All or Nothing.

I prefer All. All gives me the energetic mindset to pursue a goal, get a job done, live my life. Nothing? That drives me insane. I don’t relax well; it’s just not my nature. Even when I’m in a rocking chair, I’m rocking at full throttle, my mind in overdrive. Remember that I call myself word nymph, after the purple-headed wood nymph, which can flap its wings insanely fast.

Every once in a while, I get an unwelcome visit from Nothing. Sometimes, it just pounds on the door until I open it.

A few days ago, I felt a bug coming on. My approach to illness is to beat it down with a club. So I kept working, then through the weekend, I kept all of my volunteer and social commitments, as Nothing nipped at my heels. By Sunday night, Nothing had beaten me into submission.

As I lay in bed with a high fever, feeling like thousands of bees were stinging my epidermis, I worried about my Monday morning blog. But, as Nothing took over my brain, I couldn’t have cared less about the blog. By Monday, it didn’t have a chance, nor did anything else I had hoped to accomplish. I am going to be fine and am so confident of this that I have made new commitments for the latter part of this week and into the weekend. I’m giving Nothing a two-day pass; after that, it’s back from whence it came.

I have learned that I can go from zero to sixty in eight seconds. Deceleration must be forced upon me.

For now, I’ll give in to sleep. But I’ll dream of dangling participles.

See you tomorrow.

Is it “from whence it came” or just “whence it came?” “Whence” means “from where.” Wouldn’t “from whence” be redundant?

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Filed under Health

It’s been real

Yesterday, the one-year anniversary of Word Nymph, I shared that I’ve been discerning the future of this blog.

As you might imagine, coming up with new ideas, researching them and writing fresh and thoughtful content six days a week requires a tremendous amount of time and energy.

Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I announce today that I am calling it quits. It’s just too much.  I’m out of ideas. I’m out of stories, observations and opinions. There’s nothing left to write about.

Besides, after some deep soul searching, I no longer feel it is my place to correct the world’s grammar, punctuation, pronunciation and spelling. Maybe those things aren’t that important after all.

It’s been fun but it’s over. Good bye.

APRIL FOOL!!

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Filed under Holidays, Technology and Social Media