2014 Goals: May Status Report

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May has been all about endings and beginnings. The end of the school year brings about a summer of relaxation and freedom, but also a revived sense of creativity. As my muse continues to pull me in different directions,   I’m enjoying the journey.

1) Pitch The Muse.

Research continues on agents and query letter layouts. The May/June edition of Writer’s Digest and the Spring 2014 edition of Writing Basics have fantastic articles about the Young Adult genre and pitching the perfect query. I’m taking notes and making changes in my approach!

2) Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage

I’m starting to feel the creative flow begin for this project. I heard a song the other day that made me think of one of my main characters. I could see her reacting to a situation and the vision is continuing to grow. This is pretty exciting as it’s been a while since my muse has even considered working on this story.

3) Submit writing.

I posted two poems on Poetic Asides. Every Wednesday a prompt is posted and writers are encouraged to post their work. It’s not a competition, but I enjoy the camaraderie among poets. It’s very inspiring.

4) Continue to build author platform.

From the looks of things around here, I’ve been busy. I’m giving my entire online presence an overhaul. At the moment, my blog remodel is at the top of my priority list, but I’ll soon be making some changes on Facebook and Twitter. Creativity and writing will still be the focus, but with a new look! Thanks for sticking around as I experiment with layouts, color, and details!

Facebook likes grew from 365 to 366

Twitter followers grew from 549 to 553

Thanks so much to everyone for clicking those follow and like buttons! Your support is greatly appreciated.

5) Inspire others.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence.

The invisible goal:

6) Be flexible.

The idea of changing the look of my blog was tough to consider, but I’m glad I took the plunge. The new layout is already challenging me to try new things with photography and creative writing.

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c.b.w. 2014

Time For A Change?

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My blog has looked exactly the same for three years. When I first set the theme, I loved the color, simplicity, and atmosphere. In many ways, I still love my blog’s theme, but I’m also starting to feel the itch for something new. As my writing and creative pursuits grow and evolve, it seems only fitting that my blog reflects the changes of both myself and my muse.

The problem is I can’t decide what kind of changes I want to make. Do I want something sleek and modern? Or colorful? Or minimalist? The possibilities are endless and its hard to pinpoint a style that is both progressive and reflective of my creative interests. All I know is I like color (subtle, not bold), horizontal headers, and a simple layout.

It’s tempting to go with what I traditionally prefer, but I’m also considering a massive departure from the norm. I spend so much time on my blog, I’m curious to see how a drastic change might shake up my muse. Perhaps, my muse will be inspired to try new and exciting avenues of artistic creation.

While a foray into something new could open up new doors, there is something to be said staying true to myself. I don’t want to wander too far away from who I am or how I want to express myself. The last thing I want to be is fake blogger who represents one thing but thinks another. This blog has always been and always will be about following my muse.

Am I over thinking this? Probably. It’s as simple as picking a theme and clicking a button, right? Wrong! If I choose a theme that is too different from my current layout, I’ll have to go back and re-format over 600 posts. I may even have to reconfigure my footers, widgets, and menus. Nothing about that sounds fun!

Despite my misgivings about having to re-format, I am well aware that my blog is starting to look outdated. Pretty soon, it’s going to occupy the same shelf as cell phones with buttons and heavy laptops. No one wants to visit a blog that looks like a relic from the past (unless it’s a history blog!), nor do they want to spend time navigating a site with an archaic set-up.

As I contemplate the prospect of change, I’m reminded that things always do and must change. The last thing I want is for my muse to stagnate in a vortex of “sameness,” so I better get busy and start making some big decisions. If my blog looks a little strange over the next couple of weeks, chalk it up to experimentation on my part. I hope you’ll stick around for the remodel!

Here are some of themes I’m considering at the moment:

Fictive

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Flounder

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Writr

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BonPress

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Retro-Fitted

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What do you think?

 

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c.b.w. 2014

 

2014 Goals: March/April Status Report

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When I sat down to reflect on my goals for April, I realized I totally forgot to post a status report for March! I guess all the excitement of the April Poem a Day Challenge caused it to slip my mind. It’s been a rather quiet couple of months, but I’ve still kept much of my focus on my writing.

1) Pitch The Muse.

While I took the plunge and submitted The Muse in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, I didn’t made it to the next round. Regardless, I’m proud of myself for doing something so scary. If anything, the rejection has made me even more determined get my novel out there. I’m in the process of compiling a list of possible agents that will be targeted in my next round of submissions.

As luck would have it, the May/June edition of Writer’s Digest is featuring a section of articles on the YA genre. As always, I’m finding the information very useful in my quest.

2) Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage

Shelved until the school year is over. Never let anyone tell you teaching is an easy job. I’ve got about three weeks remaining until the last day of school and I am literally counting down the days to freedom. So is my muse.

3) Submit writing.

If you’ve spent any amount of time on my blog, you know I was an active participant in the April Poem A Day Challenge as presented on writersdigest.com via Poetic Asides. I wrote 30 poems in 30 days and I submitted each and every one.  Some of those poems were terrible and others turned out pretty good. All in all it was a great experience and a lot of fun.

Over the next couple of months, the editor of Poetic Asides and guest judges will be selecting the best poem from each day of the challenge. The selected poems will then be published in an anthology. Perhaps, if the stars align, I’ll find my name on that list, (one can never be too optimistic).

4) Continue to build author platform.

Admittedly, I haven’t been very active on Twitter or Facebook. I must have been too busy poeming or wrapped up in my day job. Or knitting. Truth be told, I’m busy brainstorming ways to make my feeds on these platforms a little more interesting. I’m in the process of researching what other writers tweet and post on their Facebook pages. I don’t want to be like everyone else, but I think somewhere in between what I’m doing and what they’re doing I’ll find my groove.

Facebook likes grew from 363 to 365

Twitter followers held steady at 549

While social network growth is a little sluggish, my blog is gaining momentum. Over the last couple of months, I’ve gained more than 40 new followers. Considering I’ve been writing more creative pieces of late, this is very exciting and encouraging.

Thanks so much to everyone for clicking those follow and like buttons! Your support is greatly appreciated.

5) Inspire others.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence.

The invisible goal:

6) Be flexible.

Aside from a great array of articles on the YA genre, the current edition of Writer’s Digest included a great writing prompt in conjunction with the Your Story Competition. My muse is already buzzing …

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c.b.w. 2014

Lighthouse Blog Award

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There’s nothing like the light of a Lighthouse Blog Award to brighten my day. Many thanks to Cat Lumb for nominating my blog for this lovely award. Her blog is a must for any writer as she documents the highs and lows of a writer’s life with charm and wit on her blog, The Struggle To Be A Writer.

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The Rules:

  • Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
  • Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  • Share three ways that you like to help others.
  • Nominate as many bloggers as you like.
  • Inform your nominees of their award nominations.
  • Have fun!

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Three ways I help others:

1. I’m a teacher, so most of my day is devoted to helping my students learn World History and Art History. Aside from content, I’m helping them read, write, and become lifelong learners. Most of all, I’m helping them find confidence in their abilities and the courage to think for themselves.

2. On the last Friday of every month, I bake a treat for my co-workers. It’s a simple, little thing, but it really brightens everyone’s day. Teaching is a difficult job, so even the smallest bit of light goes a long way.

3. For me “others” also includes animals. I regularly collect things the Arizona Humane Society needs to care for the animals they shelter. Towels, food, collars, toys, beds, etc. are brought to my classroom by anyone willing to donate. When there’s enough to fill up my car, I pack it all up and drive to the shelter.

Just recently I looked into how my new obsession with knitting might be able to benefit homeless animals and I found The Snuggles Project. This organization facilitates the distribution of hand-knit blankets to animal shelters across the country. As it turns out, my local humane society shelter is on the list of facilities that accepts donations. I can’t wait to start knitting warm blankets for puppies, kittens, and animals suffering from trauma or recovering from surgery.

Nominations:

Random Acts of Writing + [art] – Beautiful photographs, gorgeous words, tasty recipes, and fantastic pieces of art await you on this blog!

Heart to Harp – Whether it’s mastering the playing of the harp, taking beautiful pictures, or knitting socks and sweaters, the writer of this blog is full of life.

Metaphors and Smiles – Words weave together with vivid imagery and imagination on this poetic blog.

Crowing Crone – Travel alongside Joss as she goes on the adventure of a lifetime through France.

The Everyday Epic – Follow this blogger as she juggles the life of a teacher with the dream of seeing her novel published.

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Blogging in 2013

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With the close of 2013, my archive holds another year of blogging. Between documenting my adventures in novel writing, sharing photographs and poetry, playing with creativity, and exploring random thoughts, this blog has been a source of immense joy. Thank you to all of my readers for continuing to stop by to read and leave comments. Your presence here never fails to inspire me to write and pursue multiple outlets of creativity.

Thanks to the WordPress stats helper monkeys, I can share what we did together:

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 38,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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In 2014, my journey as a writer continues as well as pursuits in creativity. Here’s what I’m considering for the coming year:

  • A special series of Wreck This Journal posts or another Keri Smith adventure
  • The return of New Familiars (a series about everyday things around the globe)
  • Guest bloggers (I plan on inviting, writers, poets, and other creative spirits to share their talents and advice)
  • The continuation of Sunday Abroad
  • Continuation of photo art
  • Book Reviews
  • Posts about knitting (sorry, can’t help it), arts and crafts
  • The continuation of Favorite Thing Friday
  • A possible return of the Scribble Diary series

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What else would my wonderful readers be interested in reading about in this space? I’m all ears!

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c.b.w. 2013