1 Challenge, 7 Links


One of my favorite bloggers, Random Acts of Writing [+ art], was kind enough to include me on something called the Seven Link Challenge. I’m honored to say the least that she felt I had a body of work worthy of such an endeavor.  The idea is to reflect on previous blog posts and share our favorite moments.

Blogging is a relatively new thing for me, but I have to say I’ve enjoyed every step of the process. From dismal failures to surprising successes the blogosphere has challenged me to grow as a writer. Since late April 2011, I’ve managed to write 80 posts covering a wide range of topics. Launching this blog was all about giving myself a reason to write and I’m happy to say I’m more motivated then ever.  Thank you to all my readers for joining me on this journey.

Most beautiful post:

  • Can You See Your Dreams?  Dreams are always beautiful.  In this post, I give an outline of a dream board I keep posted above my writing desk. I was delighted to hear from people who were inspired to create a dream board for themselves.  If that’s not beautiful I don’t know what is.

Most popular post:

  • The Best Souvenirs Are Free  Thanks to Freshly Pressed, this post takes an easy victory for most popular.  I’m still suffering from FPSS!  While the stats skyrocketed, I swear the most fun part of the whole thing was the long list of comments.  So many readers shared beautiful stories of travel and trinkets – their comments are well worth the read if you find yourself with a few extra minutes.

Most controversial post:

  • I Write Like . . .  The last word I would use to describe my blog is “controversial,” but this post got a few people to e-mail me personally.  I love how some viewed it as a fun game, while others are determined to figure out the secret algorithm of the program.  Either way, fun is had by all.

Post that didn’t get the attention I thought it deserved:

  • Ivan Klima: The Best Writer You’ve Never Read  This category gives me yet another opportunity to tout the genius of  Ivan Klima.  He is one of my favorite writers and I always feel like he doesn’t get enough attention.  In this post, I outline a few favorite works and include some quotes that showcase his unique point of view.

Surprisingly Successful Post: 

No matter what I do, I can’t narrow it down to one!

  • The Anatomy of My Pen Name  I had no idea so many people would be fascinated by my pen name process, but this post really struck a chord with writers and readers alike.

Most Helpful Post:

I can’t help it!  Two links fall under this category, too!

  • Books I Can’t Write Without  I posted this a while ago, but people still contact me with news of buying the books I listed.  Who would have thought my library would have such an impact?  I sincerely hope each book helps to keep the inspiration going.  Keep writing!
  • The Notebook that Built My Novel  I wrote this post because a friend of mine asked about my novel notebook and how it worked.  As a result of the post, a lot of people were inspired to make one of  their own and I can’t even begin to say how exciting it is to hear that.

Most Proud of Post:

Can I put the whole blog? Okay, okay, I’ll narrow it down to two.

  • The Bell Jar  This was the first book review where I feel like I finally found my groove in writing a synopsis.  Readers seemed to agree, as this was the first book post that got a steady stream of comments.
  • The Way Back  This is the post that launched my blog, so I have to include it on the list!  Thanks to this short story and those who read it, my blogging continues!

– – –

I’d like to invite the following bloggers to take on the Seven Link Challenge:

RoughWaterJohn the Pirate

TBN Ranch

Tattered Past


Write Up My Life

You are all an inspiration to me and I hope you’ll take on the challenge!

c.b. 2011

Freshly Pressed Shock Syndrome


This week I was afflicted by an ailment I hope every blogger will get to experience at some point.  It all began on Thursday¹ morning when I logged into WordPress and saw something very familiar on the homepage.  I blinked to make sure I wasn’t imagining it, I read the title three times just to be sure, and then my eyes bugged out of my head.  Oh. my. goodness.  I pointed at the screen and shouted, “Hey, that’s my blog on Freshly Pressed!”  That’s when I knew I had Freshly Pressed Shock Syndrome or FPSS.

The nerd in me couldn’t resist taking a screenshot to celebrate!  Congratulations to all the other Freshly Pressed bloggers who probably have FPSS as well!

Symptoms of FPSS include:

  • failure to blink
  • the inability to close a gaping mouth
  • a constant shaking of the head in disbelief
  • uncontrollable squealing
  • rapid heartbeat
  • hyperventilating
  • involuntary jumping up and down
  • immense gratitude

What followed the initial onset of FPSS was an incredible and exciting influx of traffic on my blog.  I honestly never expected or believed numbers could go that high.  Just two days before, I was ecstatic with a higher than usual double digit hit count.  My new bar graph obliterated that previous victory into a teeny tiny sliver.  The funny thing is I was a little sad to see all my previous achievements blasted into oblivion, but then I looked at the total hit count again and got excited all over again.  Hmmmm . . . . perhaps I should add emotional confusion to the list of FPSS symptoms.

Adding to the chaos of rapid traffic was e-mail overload.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many e-mail alerts in all my life!  Having everything funneled through your e-mail is fine when there’s 7 or 8 comments on a post and a couple likes, but several hundred stuffed my mailbox faster than I could process them!  It was insane, yet so much fun!

When I got around to checking out the post that caused all the commotion, (The Best Souvenirs Are Free), it was amazing to see a virtual patchwork quilt of gravatars situated under the “Like” button. Thank you to everyone who took the time to give that extra click.  It made this whole process that much more meaningful.

My sincere thanks goes to everyone who left comments.  I am in awe of how many of you shared your beautiful stories and souvenirs, (keep them coming!).  It’s such an honor to have those memories on my blog.  We may never meet, but the creation of a common thread between everyone who joined in the discussion will never be forgotten².  At the moment I’m a little overwhelmed, but in the coming days I will respond to every comment.

One of the side effects I wasn’t expecting was the massive jump in subscribers. I really appreciate that extra show of support and find it so inspiring.  I hope future posts will keep you all coming back again and again.  My blog can be a little random, but I do strive to make it as interesting and fun as possible.  Thank you so much for adding me to your reading list!

I wish I could say “The Best Souvenirs Are Free” was totally my idea, but I have to give credit to my muse.³  My incredibly fickle and random muse put the idea in my head ten minutes before I was planning to leave the house for a writing session.  My day shifted an entire hour so I could snap the picture, but I guess the rest is history.  I owe her a big one, (Greeaaat).  Extra muse juice, perhaps?

Last but certainly not least, thank you to the WordPress gods and readers for giving me the chance to feel like a real writer.  May every blogger know the thrill of FPSS.

– – –

¹Actually, the hubbub started on Wednesday when Muse Juice was selected for The Daily Post.  Naturally, I broke out into a raging case of DPSS (Daily Post Shock Syndrome).

²Goosebumps are yet another symptom of FPSS.

³ FPSS also leads to unexpected groveling to your muse.

c.b. 2011