January 31, 2014

Hit Or Miss by Carol Ferguson





We are so pleased to have Carol Ferguson, author and long-time InScribe member, join us as our Guest Blogger today.

I recently heard the statement, “An idea without a plan is only a wish.” That thought has simmered in my mind ever since. It describes my marketing skills through the years as I wrote short stories, articles, poems, devotionals and books. Yes, books. I have six finished books gracing my shelves plus numerous poems and devotionals. We’re coming into a new year and I’m making a change.

I love to write and have no problem coming up with something to write about. My big problem was that I had no plans for what I was writing. Oh, I poured over the Christian Writer’s Market Guide, stuck little colored dots by the publishers that looked hopeful and sent my manuscripts off, hit or miss.

My first book was a biography about missionary, Hazel Page, who lived in grass huts as she reduced languages to writing, all by hand until electronics caught up to her. I love missionary biographies but they’re not so popular anymore. Niche market, I figured, so I self-published. I was happy with the outcome and sold the book to everyone who knew Hazel. Then I wrote two Biblical fiction books. Niche market, right? I self-published again. My marketing strategy was limited to listing my books in my e-mail signature but I couldn’t afford to self-publish forever.

Moose Jaw, where I now live, is home to the annual Festival of Words. I had never attended until this past summer and it was exciting to meet and listen to successful Canadian authors. I bought books to encourage the authors (I’m a book junkie) and came away determined to write more: an idea without a plan because I had no concrete idea of what to do with what I was churning out.

Another statement that had simmered in my mind for years came from a great musician, Ken Dosso. When he was beginning to write music he was harshly critiqued at a music festival. “This song might mean a lot to you,” the judge told him, “but it means nothing to anyone else.” Harsh? Perhaps, but Ken said that critique changed his life. He went on to write music that stirs everyone’s heart, not just his own.

In one Festival workshop the subject of self-publishing came up. I listened in horror as everyone in the room ranted about how ‘legitimate’ publishers and authors hate self-publishing. I shriveled into myself as they went on and on (not everyone agrees with that point of view), but that was a wake-up call for me. I seriously began to look at my lack of a marketing strategy.

Blogging was a good place to start. I took my list of books off my e-mail signature and replaced it with my blog spot. I found the Christian Manuscript Submission Services online and learned how to write a book proposal. Who ever said to keep it short? All my proposals had been short and as a result didn’t contain much worthwhile information. Part of my learning process was to describe the psycho-graphics and demographics of my primary, secondary and tertiary audiences. Come again! What on earth was that? I had to go to the dictionary to find out. My grandson, who has a marketing degree, said to me, “Welcome to the world of marketing, Grandma.”

I finished my book proposal, submitted it and for six months my book is being recommended by the CMSS for publishers to check out. It’s a start. No more hit and miss for me. New Year, new marketing strategy!

Visit Great Canadian Authors for more information about Carol and the books she's had published.

January 30, 2014

Brrrr... by Susan Barclay

As I write this, we're in the midst of another January cold snap. The urge to hibernate is strong, but since I have a part-time job outside the home and am part of a car-pool for getting my son to school, it's not an option. If I had my 'druthers', I'd be somewhere warm, soaking up the sun. Instead I find myself surfing the net, looking for inexpensive trips south, knowing I can't possibly go anywhere before the end of April. And even then, not somewhere far away.

Work on my writing progresses well. I blog regularly and tweet often. At the end of November I reread my WIP and wrote the pivotal scene. I've since gone back to the beginning for revisions and am all the way up to chapter four. Considering how much my writing has improved since I began my novel (ten years ago, cough, cough), the reworking of it is a pleasure and will no doubt provide a better experience for future readers.

It's true, while I haven't shut myself away, my novel has enjoyed lengthy periods of hibernation. I started off strong, but then hit a certain point in the plot; let's call it a cold spell. I knew where things were going to end up; I just didn't know how I was going to get there. So I wrapped it in blankets and focused on other projects, including picture books, short stories and personal experience pieces. From time to time I'd hit on an idea, pull back the covers of my novel, try out some thoughts, and put it to bed again.

You see, hibernation isn't just good for bears, skunks and other animals. It can also be good for your writing. Much like a nap refreshes and restores, a writing break gives your brain a chance to percolate and drum up new, or better, material. When your imagination wakes up like this, you're back on a roll. And how exciting and adrenalin-pumping is that?!

Don't be afraid of putting your work to sleep for a while. It's not going anywhere. It'll be there when you're ready to get back to it, and no doubt better than it was before.

Now I think I'll go back to sleep for a while. Baby, it's cold outside!


For more of my writing, please visit my website at www.susan-barclay.ca

January 29, 2014

Seeking Silence by Ruth L. Snyder

We live in a hectic, sometimes frenetic, and usually noisy, world. I don't know about you, but I find it a challenge to slice out quiet, thoughtful times in my day. It's easy to allow phone calls, e-mail, Facebook, and other people to drive our agenda. None of these things are wrong. In fact, most of them are necessary. The problem comes when we go rushing through life so fast that we don't even have time to think about what's truly important to us. The urgent claims our attention and priorities fall by the wayside.

"These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness and worship without awareness." - Anthony de Mello

As a Christian, I find it necessary to guard my silent or quiet times. I'm a morning person, so getting up at 5:30 works best for me. In those quiet, pre-dawn hours I have the opportunity to sit in silence. Notice I said "opportunity." Even then, I have to consciously choose silence. It's very easy to start answering e-mails or reading updates on Facebook and get distracted from spending quiet time with my Creator and Saviour. I have to commit to reading Scripture, to presenting myself and my day to Jesus and asking for His guidance, strength, and wisdom. I have to force myself to be quiet, to be still, to listen. I've found it helps to have my planner and a notebook beside me. Often thoughts flit from one thing to another - I need to phone this person, I have to buy some yogurt for lunches, etc. If I write those thoughts down, it clears my mind and allows me to focus.

"Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together." -Thomas Carlyle

As a writer, I also need to cultivate silence. I have five young children and a husband and the responsibilities they bring. My writing time used to be late at night when everyone was in bed. Now it is early in the morning or when my husband's at work and my children are at school. Writing is work that is best done in solitude and silence. Writers need time to think, time to organize their thoughts, time to consider whether something is best said or left unsaid.

"And they write innumerable books; being too vain and distracted for silence: seeking everyone after his own elevation, and dodging his emptiness" - T.S. Elliot

What about you? How do you seek silence and maintain godly priorities in your life?

Ruth L. Snyder lives in northeastern Alberta with her husband and five young children. She enjoys writing about her walk with God, adoption, and special needs. Her novella, Cecile's Christmas Miracle, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


January 28, 2014

Time To Recharge by Bruce Atchison

The beginning of a new year might be the start of work for some but for authors such as myself, it's a time to rest and regroup. Because we work so hard to publicize our books during November and December, we need to rest a while and recharge our creative cells.

I've often found that I become more creative after taking a rest from writing. Going full blast at a project sometimes results in little being accomplished. The time I spent trying to bulldoze my way through the writing process could have been much better used to rest and recharge.

Even some of our machines need a break. At the beginning of each year, I shred my bills from two years ago. The problem is that the shredder gets too hot and shuts itself off before it catches fire. Sometimes we tend to run our brains like that. When our minds get mushy and easily distracted, we need to stop what we're doing and come back the next day with a rested brain.

I've noticed that when I spend time away from my blogs and my search for book promotion opportunities, my emotional energy soars. During the Christmas holidays, for example, I stayed home and watched DVDs. After New Year's Day, I felt like getting back to work.

We can all benefit from well-timed rests. A balanced approach to one's work is so much wiser than pressing the pedal to the metal non-stop. Even our Lord Jesus Christ had to take breaks from his ministry in order to speak with his father and replenish his strength. Our biology is also set up for resting one day out of seven. So the next time you feel emotionally and inspirationally drained, take a rest. It'll do you a world of good.

Bruce Atchison is a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of How I Was Razed, Deliverance from Jericho, and When a Man Loves a Rabbit. He lives in a small Alberta hamlet with his house rabbit, Deborah.

January 27, 2014

Hibernation--A Good Thing Or A Bad Thing by Ruth Sakstad

I ended up taking an unplanned hibernation from writing during the last week of December and the first few weeks in January due to the stomach flu. This is my idea of a hibernation being a bad thing.

I don’t recall too many times in my life when I was too weak to pick up a pen and write, but that is what happened. Sometimes I couldn’t even think clearly. During part of this imposed hibernation, I was afraid I might never be able to pick up a pen and write again. I hated those thoughts. But I must admit they were there.

There are good types of hibernation, like when a word (like a wheat seed) is planted in my heart but it takes time to germinate before it becomes an article or a novel. These are exciting hibernation times because I know there will be a good harvest. I just need to remember that the seed needs to stay where it is and not keep digging it up to see if it is ready yet.

I am glad to say my bad hibernation period is now over and I am finding myself free to write again. This fills my heart with joy because I believe God has called me to write.

May your times of bad hibernation where you are unable to write be short and far between. And may your times of good hibernation be fruitful and bring you joy.

January 26, 2014

A Time and Space to Write - Bonnie Way

A soft, irregular clicking sounds fills the den.  A square, white computer screen casts its glow over me.  My eyes dart to the clock display in the bottom right of the screen, calculating the time since the baby went down for her nap and how much longer I might have to write.  My ears are tuned to the sound of the baby monitor sitting behind me.  Silence still and so the clacking continues.

Writing time can be hard to find as a mom.  I've often used naptimes, typing feverishly while the baby sleeps, thankful for each moment I have to write without a small writer sitting on my lap trying to help hit buttons on the keyboard.  As my daughters have gotten older, I've also stolen moments to write when they are playing with each other (again, typing hastily while listening to the sound of their play, ready to intervene should the sounds cease to be happy) or watching a movie together (if I'm under deadline and need that writing time) or having time with Daddy.

I often find myself envying my fellow writing students who aren't moms and can write whenever they want.  Then I have to remind myself that I started my blog before I was a mom—when I was a single young woman who still found it hard to find time to write.  There will always be something more pressing upon our time, some chore or task that demands to be done and pushes aside the writing.  The key as writers who also wear other hats (such as mom) is to keep making time to write.

Canadian author Cassie Stocks says, "Don’t tell yourself that once the children are grown, or the renovations complete, that then you’ll start writing. Start now, write around the dirty dishes, write about the dirty dishes.  The right time to write is when you sit in the chair."

Many of my creative writing instructors have talked about finding a schedule to write.  Knowing that you'll be sitting in the computer chair from 8 am to 10 am to write often makes the ideas flow.  For me, that's more of a rough routine than a schedule, but I do know that I can think about and plan articles, stories and blog posts while driving or doing dishes or walking them to the park and then, when I have that time at the computer, type like crazy.

Sometimes, finding that time to actually write requires being creative.  I asked fellow Inscriber Dayna Mazzuca how she manages to write while homeschooling two kids.  She answered, "I don’t find the time; I make the time or my husband gives me the time.  If I have to take the time, then I do our schooling in the morning and send my kids upstairs to do extra computer time (they have very limited computer time) or watch a movie.  Normally I have a writing day while they have a community class on Tuesday mornings.  In the afternoon, I have something low-key for them to do so I can keep writing."

So whether your writing routine is daily or weekly, whether you have kids distracting you from writing or something else, make sure you find that time to sit in the chair with your computer (or notebook) and write.  We are writers and writers write.

Where do you write and how do you make the time to fit it into your other tasks and jobs?

January 25, 2014

The View From The Green Room - by Vickie Stam

And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years. Genesis 1:14

Some people might think it doesn't occupy the best seat in the house but it's where I find myself sitting at some point during the day and even the occasional night. When I'm tired of wrestling with my inability to sleep I give up the fight and make my way to the green room at the end of the hall. A cup of hot chocolate warms the palms of my hands and I'm careful not to spill when I sit down in my chair on wheels. The sweet aroma of chocolate fills the room. It's not the first time that I've lost my bid for a good night's sleep and I'm certain it won't be my last. As I lean back in my chair I can't help but deliver an ear-splitting yawn. I'm tired yet the thoughts that invade my head show no signs of winding down.

The walls that wrap around me are painted green. 'Olive Branch' green to be precise. The colour swatch was just one of many in a long list of possibilities but the biblical reference immediately grabbed my attention and it wasn't long before I proclaimed my decision. "Olive Branch, it is!"

The green room isn't your typical backstage room of a theatre but its location does lend itself to an amazing view of God's landscape. Just outside two large windows a forest of trees breathes life to lush green leaves in spring and summer, eventually turning them to warm hues of red and gold. Winds blow, casting the leaves from the branches. Under the weight of the wind the naked limbs bend and crackle anticipating the arrival of a blanket of snow coming to dress them. As for me, I have the pleasure of watching each magnificent season unfold from the comfort of my green room. Photos of life here on the farm adorn the walls igniting interesting tales of their own. What a marvelous place to write!

Tick-tock. The time continues to move underneath the midnight sky. My fingers begin plucking the keys on the keyboard in front of me breaking the silence that would otherwise hang in the air if I were fast asleep. The words appear one after the other forming sentence after sentence. I'm on a roll. How can I possibly give in to my persistent yawning? Deep down I fear stopping will only interrupt my train of thought and render me unable to pick up where I left off come morning. So I convince myself to stay and keep writing for just a little while longer.

When I finally click the mouse and close off, I smile. The floor creaks beneath my chair as I roll it away from the desk. I breathe a sigh of relief and flip the light switch on the wall. The wall to the green room -- the room. that is in fact, my husband's office. But for me, the best seat in the house resides in this room. By day or by night it's exactly where I go when I need to let loose the words that convey my thoughts.

My desire to put words down on paper began more than two decades ago when I opened my first journal and penned what lay inside my heart. Journaling remains an integral part of my life.

The Mb Herald published my testimony in their August Edition of 2012. It is my hope to one day publish a short story. More recently I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in a number of writing classes at Redeemer University. In between raising pigs with my  husband on a farm just outside of Jarvis, Ontario I embrace the strong desire that God has given me….. my desire to write.

January 24, 2014

Blogging for God - Lynn Dove

Someone told me when I published my first book to start a blog.  So I started blogging five years ago basically to promote my books.  I really had no thought about content or outreach, it was all about marketing and promotion.  I honestly had no idea what "blogging" really was and I had no idea that a blog could have a potential for a world-wide audience.  It was when I started to gain followers and more and more people started to comment on the content I posted, that I realized that blogging had the potential to be a ministry.

This past year, I have seen God take my little musings and expand my reading audience world wide.  I have followers who contact me and ask for prayer...many of them from countries that are considered "dark" and believers persecuted harshly for their faith.  I am humbled and at times saddened that total strangers are so desperate for prayer that they contact me, a stranger to them personally, to ask for prayer.  It is the least I can do for them.

I have been discouraged at times by dwindling book sales and have often questioned the Lord as to why He wanted me to write and publish in the first place.  I never thought about it before, but I wonder if publishing my books was just an avenue that led me to blogging?  Perhaps it was not my books, although the Lord has certainly blessed that effort immeasurably, but the blog that has given me a ministry the likes I would never have realized had it not been for my need initially to promote my books with my blog. 

It is a lot of effort.  It requires much devotion and passion to write regularly and write timely posts that appeal to a large audience.  I find I spend far less time promoting my books as a result of my blog but book sales have still held steady because people who read my blog venture to read the books as well.  Some authors may call this a means to an end, and that's what I thought five years ago to be sure, but I have a whole new mind set now.

For me it's not about using my blog to get people to buy my books per se, it's blogging to bring a message of hope and Truth to people who hunger and thirst for spiritual food.  This past year, rather than promoting my books as much on the blog, I have been devoting myself primarily to writing for His Glory on my Journey Thoughts blog and God has blessed those efforts in ways I could not have imagined.

Christian writers, do not stop writing.  If God has called you to write a book...write a book.  If God has called you to write poetry, write rhyme and verse.  If God has called you to blog, blog!  Use your talent to bring honour and glory to God in everything you write!

Lynn Dove calls herself a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order). She is the author of award winning books: The Wounded Trilogy. Her blog, Journey Thoughts won a Canadian Christian Writing Award - 2011. She has also had essays published in "Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith" and "Chicken Soup for the Soul - Parenthood" (March 2013),  Devotional Stories for Wives: 101 Daily Devotions to Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire You (Sept. 2013) O Canada The Wonders of Winter: 101 Stories about Bad Weather, Good Times, and Great Sports (Nov. 2013) and Miracles Happen: 101 Inspirational Stories about Hope, Answered Prayers, and Divine Intervention (Feb. 14).  She was most recently awarded Literary Classics International Book Awards - Seal of Approval and Silver Medal in Young Adult Faith-based fiction for her book Love the Wounded.  Readers may connect with Lynn on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog Journey Thoughts 

January 21, 2014

Marahaba... Greetings from North Africa by Jocelyn Faire

Writer's retreat, or soul therapy? What do I do?

Nature has been a source of calm, beauty, and inspiration in all areas of my life.

From North Africa for the month of January, staying with my daughter's family...

Earlier this week, I left before the household was stirring, except for my grandson who had just begun babbling in his crib.

Sunrise was imminent, the pink glows of predawn skies hurried me along the walk to the marina. By now I had navigated this pathway alone several times ... turn right at the first corner, continue past the car wash, the louage/taxi station, past the school that has a child to toilet ratio of one hundred to one, straight ahead at the first roundabout, slightly right at the second one. Sidewalks present their own obstacle course challenges of 'men's only' cafe chairs, cars, motorbikes, or stacks of building bricks; and the curbs vary in height from nine to eighteen inches—an added challenge when pushing a stroller.

Past the police station on the left, where the latest crunched Peugot waits inspection. (Mopeds are hard to insure, as “they have too many accidents.”) Papagallo's Italian-ish
restaurant lets me know I am still on track, past the final Fruit Secs stand and the Marina is in view. I breathe in deep, the fresh sea air has a cleansing effect despite the shores being overrun with litter. Two herons swoop down, as fishermen ready their boats for the morning catch, I arrive just in time to see the sun reflect its magnificent ascent over the water.

Thousands of octopus pots line the rocky port walls—the small clay pot trap has not changed for centuries. Apparently the tiny octopus and squid love to crawl into cozy spaces, and then become trapped due to their inability to either back up or turn around.

Reminds me of the children's story of a boy who caught his hand in a jar, and was unable to free it as he couldn't release his grip on the item of his desire. I am reminded how easy it has been to feel stuck in a tight spot, unable to reshape my attitude. I climb over the rocks that create the protection for the boats in the port, reaching the light house, and I watch the waters swirl... the blue of the Mediterranean sea — rich, deep colours, the boats traveling out to sea, a feast for the eyes, therapy for the soul.

My heart craves for beauty, and recently John Eldredge put it into words for me.... in that as much as we have felt pains in our lives, proportionately we seek the beauty ... this has become clear to me in my journey of grief. The amazing thing is that beauty can be found everywhere, in all countries, all climates, in ordinary and spectacular.

I have brought my travel New Testament with me; it was my daughter's, and I still feel connected when I find verses she has underlined. This morning the pages open at First Corinthians 4:7 ... And I laugh at God's sense of humour as I read: “Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us ....” (Good News NT)

I text my daughter to let her know that I will meet her on the path to her son's school.

What a great start to the day for just one of a million clay pots!

Jocelyn Faire

A child of God, a mother, a grand-mother, a world traveller wannabe, and former operating room nurse; she is a seeker of beauty. Into each life a little rain must fall, but the downpour of losing two of her three children in a car accident was an event survived by God's grace alone.  Through a journey of intense tragedy emerges a woman being rebuilt by her Creator who has led her to see the flowers that bloom in the desert.

Her book on grief, Who is Talking out of My Head? Grief as an Out of Body Experience, was published by DW Friesen in 2013 and is available in Manitoba bookstores; online at Amazon, or Friesenpress.com

She blogs about finding hope in the hard places at Who Is Talking.  You can find her on Facebook via Jocelyn B Faire.

Currently enrolled in University of Calgary's Creative Writing program.

January 20, 2014

Birthday Reflections and Gifts by Brenda J Wood

How did I get to be this old? Honestly! How did that happen? So many memories, so much life lived and so much life missed. All from choice of course.

Would I change things? Mostly not. I am sincerely content that I did not go over Niagara Falls in a barrel or attempt to climb Mount Everest. I guess I should have grabbed certain other opportunities or worked harder to achieve some goals.

On the plus side, I'm still standing in spite of childhood abuse, an eating disorder, and two bouts of cancer. Memories of deep love and a long, happy marriage sustain me, though I still struggle with widowhood. Surrounded by caring family and friends, I move into another year with thanksgiving.

Some would call my years difficult, when in fact the presence of Jesus Christ in my life, turned my many sufferings into joy. Before I knew him, I was an empty, lost, wandering soul. Someone cared enough about me to introduce us via this prayer.

Dear Lord Jesus; 

I do believe that you are the Son of God and that you died on the cross to pay the price for my sin. I believe that you rose from the dead and that you’re alive right now. Please come into my life. Forgive my sin. Make me a member of your family.  I now turn from going my own way.I want you to be the center of my life. Thank you for your gift of eternal life and for your Holy Spirit who has come to live in me.Amen

Perhaps you have already prayed it yourself. If not, it's never too late. It will change your life as you cling to its truth. You see, Jesus is all there is, and Jesus is absolutely enough. Happy Birthday to you, from me.

Brenda J Wood

Graphic source:  GlitterGraphics.com

January 19, 2014

HiberSONsation - Linda Aleta Tame

Why is it that the 19th of the month sneaks up on me?  I remember other days, like the 1st when mortgages are due and the 10th when the bills get paid.  I easily remember to check Facebook and email every day.  The Hershey chocolates in the cupboard are never forgotten.  Well they aren't there long enough I guess, but still you'd think I'd remember such an important date as the 19th when my contribution to this blog is due.

Other months have been so busy.  I have a big family,  five grown children and 12 grandchildren, and last month was Christmas, so understandably some things get forgotten.  I operate a small rental property business, and I take university classes.  I have to give myself a little grace when I forget an errand, when an appointment is missed, or when we eat Kraft Dinner because I forgot to pick up the groceries.  But, how many times can I forget the 19th of the month?  Come on, this is crazy!

I was certain this month would be different.  All the busyness has settled down.  It's January, my time to hibernate.  Things are usually so quiet during this first month of the year.  It's extremely cold in my part of the country, so I decided years ago that the only way I could enjoy January would be to snuggle inside and catch up on my writing, something I love to do.

This year, as it turns out, my husband and I had the privilege to escape the freezing Canadian temperatures and come to warm Arizona!  It's perfect.  My plan was to enjoy the sun and write.   I visualized myself sitting on the patio, sipping a tall iced-tea and tapping away on my laptop.  I could see myself by the pool with my journal, jotting down the most incredibly inspiring, maybe even profound thoughts.  So, what happend?

It's January 19th, and it's now 8:00 p.m.  This is my day to blog here.  I just remembered about half an hour ago.  Maybe the fabulous shopping, the exciting Mexican food and the cacti on the hills have overwhelmed me.  It could be that I've been distracted by the flea markets, the galleries or the AMC Ahwatukee 24 Movie Theater.  My husband is a movie buff.  Regardless, there are four hours left for this contribution to appear on the blog, so I'm doing my best to put it up. 

Hibernation is a good thing.  It helps me rest up, regroup and move forward into the year ahead.  It's supposed to help me be more mindful about the important things, to be more attentive to the Lord and His plans for me.  I'm so grateful for this blog.  It was the reminder today to soak up more of the SON, and to get writing!  I think I've had a "hiberSONsation!"

Image from naturespicwallpaper.com

January 18, 2014

Any Excuse to Un-Publish My Blog by Dayna E. Mazzura

To do more, sometimes you need to do less. To clear the decks. To purge.

So, this past month I took the drastic step of “un-publishing” my own blog. It was hard. I worried it might be professional suicide. But nothing stressed me out more than writing my own blog. I love to guest blog. Love to write just about anything else. But my blog just sapped my writing energy—and left me paranoid about the ratio of Page Views (high!) versus Comments (low!).

Social Media should buzz, connect, springboard and enlighten. My blog seemed to leave me high and dry on my own perch, preaching into the wilderness… or so it felt. I realized I do not have the energy or inclination to make it all happen online (despite taking many classes on the subject). I found myself longing for the tangible, published page… for context into which to offer meaningful content… Sigh.

This dismal dawning meant one of three things:

Either I had failed to promote my blog. To read other blogs (enough). To cross-connect through my LinkedIn account, or to sign up for Twitter and learn the popular hashtags. Etc.

Or I had not learned “how to blog” properly – to strike a conversational tone; to adopt a topic I was passionate about; to set up a weekly schedule—what I would write about when; or to tap into what was important to my readers. Etc.

Or I would forever be a “digital immigrant” rather than a digital native. At sea in a foreign environment, unable to master the new language and customs, or even follow the examples set for me by so many capable bloggers.

In truth, all three are true. I failed to self-promote. I failed to strike a conversational note. And I failed to navigate the blogosphere.

Here are my three excuses to match my three fail points:

RE Self-Promotion:
I love to promote books, authors, writing circles, poetry, readings, conferences, speakers, publishing, anything to do with the written word! But because writing is so close to my heart, I find it difficult to blog without a focus, or clear understanding of who I am writing for, or even why—other than to promote my blog/writing. I find it very hard to get excited about my own blog. Larger ones (like Inscribe’s!) are great, but personal ones are tricky unless you have a passion, a plan and an ability to promote for promotion’s sake. A lot of writers do it well. I just find it drains my energy for other writings… that follow more traditional paths (and pay). Count me a Luddite.

RE Striking a Conversational Note:
I have a long-standing prejudice towards face-to-face conversation that involves pauses, nods, even hugs and tears. And prayerful responses. Holding or joining an online conversation puts me off my game. Leaves me wanting.

RE Navigating the Blogosphere:
My own reading of how pervasive Social Media is, including its most recent migration from Web 2.0 (the online social world we now know) to Web 3.0 (picture that social data deeply mined and manipulated through locator technology that can predict – and direct – what you might be doing next, where and when!), makes me nervous. Every time I learn something new about Social Media (and there’s lots to learn), it just reminds me of all that high school reading… about Jeremy Bentham’s glass inspection house, Huxley’s Brave New World, and Orwell’s 1984. If Surveillance and Privacy are at war (and they are!), I choose Privacy.

In the end, I believe to live a spiritual life is to live without excuses, not even professional ones. So I do not hide behind my excuses, I merely offer them to you as part of the larger picture, because I do think blogs play an important role in a writer’s life. I wonder (the name of my blog is/was “iwonder”) what kind of hole it will leave in me, not being able to blog whenever I like, about whatever strikes my fancy. I wonder…

PS – I guess the best place to “find me online” is now my old-fashioned webpage – daynawrites.com or feel free to email 2dayna@telus.net if you’d like to “talk more” about the pro’s and con’s of blogging and un-blogging.