Bridges

14 Writing Tips from Blogging

15 Jul

writerIf you aren’t a blogger, you don’t realize how top-notch you must be to succeed in that field. You need a strong voice, a friendly style, and a command of all 7,486 writing rules itemized in tomes like Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. But in blogging, you only get a couple hundred words to capture an audience. Compare that to the thousands you get in a short story and the tens of thousands in a novel.

I was a novelist before a blogger and I understood that styles differ, so when I started blogging, I stumbled on TimeThief’s One Cool Site. That became what Oprah would call a ‘life defining moment’. In a day when common sense isn’t always so common, she had it. I learned about the importance of headings, good content, brevity, and proper grammar. As the months passed, the surprising by-product of becoming a better blogger was I became a better writer. I found myself incorporating her hints into everything I wrote. I even taught them to my 3rd-5th graders. Of course I did–they were cogent, pithy, and effective.

She recently posted ten tips about writing. Now, her audience is bloggers, but as I read them, I found they summarized the essential elements that go into novel writing. See if you agree:

  • “The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” – Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing
  • “People who think well, write well. Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.” – 10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy
  • “Work of section in hand, following plan of section scrupulously. No intrusions, no diversions. Write to finish one section at a time, for good and all.” – Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing & Daily Creative Routine
  • “Use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English–it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.” – Mark Twain
  • “Paragraphs are almost always as important for how they look as for what they say; they are maps of intent.” – Stephen King
  • “Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.” – Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story
  • “Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style. I am not urging you to write a novel, by the way — although I would not be sorry if you wrote one, provided you genuinely cared about something. A petition to the mayor about a pothole in front of your house or a love letter to the girl next door will do.” – Kurt Vonnegut
  • “Two kinds of writers. Those who think this life is all there is, and want to describe everything: the fall, the battle, the accouchement, the horse-race. That is, Tolstoy. And those who think this life is a kind of testing-ground (for what we don’t know — to see how much pleasure + pain we can bear or what pleasure + pain are?) and want to describe only the essentials. That is, Dostoyevsky. The two alternatives. How can one write like T. after D.? The task is to be as good as D. — as serious spiritually, + then go on from there.” – Susan Sontag on Writing
  • “If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” – Hilary Mantel
  • “One that works for me every time is to focus on the positive intention behind my writing. What is it that I want to communicate, express, convey? By focusing on that, by getting into the state that I’m trying to express, I find that I stop worrying about the words – just let them tumble out of their own accord.
  • It’s a great strategy for beating writer’s block, or overcoming anxiety about a particular piece of writing, whether that’s composing a formal business letter, writing a piece from the heart, or guest blogging somewhere ‘big’…” – Joanna Young
  • “There’s a sureness to good writing even when what’s being written about doesn’t make all that much sense. It’s the sureness of the so-called seat of an accomplished horseback rider or a sailor coming about in a strong wind. The words have both muscle and grace, familiarity and surprise.” – Anne Bernays
  • “If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story.” – Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck
  • “Both running and writing are highly addictive activities; both are, for me, inextricably bound up with consciousness. I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t running, and I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t writing.” – Joyce Carol Oates

What do you think? Has blogging made you a better writer? If you’re struggling with writing, have I convinced you to try blogging?



Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a bi-monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

Visit Jacqui at: http://jacquimurray.net/2013/07/15/14-writing-tips-from-blogging/

    “Loving can cost a lot, but not loving costs more. Those who fear to love often find that want of love is an emptiness that robs the joy from life.” – Merle Shain

Visit John O’Leary’s blog at: http://rising-above.com/ignite-your-possibility/take-back-your-life/

The tragic bombings in Boston dampened an event intended to celebrate the best of human achievement. It weighs heavily on our hearts today and will forever affect those who were either injured or lost loved ones.

Terror has that impact.

It propels us toward fear. In fact, fear is both the motivator and the result of terrorism. In these tragic times, we could let ourselves be overwhelmed with fear.

But there’s an alternative view that I challenge you to strive for today.

While fear is an easy place to jump to and can be motivating, it is usually negative and has a short burn. So, my friend, today I challenge you to choose the eternal motivator: love.

Truly inspired leaders leverage love to inspire others into optimism, action and spreading joy. Love changes individual lives, unites families and transforms organizations. It’s important to remember this simple truth when choosing between living in fear or love: love wins.

At first, this may seem too simple for either the depth of this tragedy or the challenges you face in your own life, but history suggests otherwise. There are innumerable examples of despair and brutality that are retaliated with the weapons of hope, a path forward paved with love and it’s impact clearly illustrated.

One example occurred in 1956 when Martin Luther King Jr.’s house was bombed. That day he had publicly started supporting a little unknown lady named Rosa Parks. Because of his beliefs, someone tried to destroy his house and silence his voice. Although he wasn’t at the house, his wife and young child were. King raced home, comforted them and then spoke to an angry mob of his supporters gathered in his front yard. These people wanted revenge on those who had instigated the bombing. King had to choose between fear and love. This is what he said:

“If you have weapons, take them home; if you do not have them, please do not seek to get them. We cannot solve this problem through retaliatory violence. We must meet violence with nonviolence. Remember the words of Jesus: ‘He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword’. We must love our white brothers, no matter what they do to us. We must make them know that we love them. He still cries out in words that echo across the centuries: ‘Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; pray for them that despitefully use you.’ This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love. Remember, if I am stopped, this movement will not stop, because God is with the movement. Go home with this glowing faith and this radiant assurance.”

In the battle for racial equality: love wins.

In the battle to grow as individuals, or to repair broken relationships, or to communicate more effectively, or to forgive past wrongs, or to create vibrant corporate cultures, or to grow sales, or to create schools that excel, or to lead hospitals that heal, or to ignite the possibilities in others, or to overcome cowardly acts of terrorism: love wins.

Love has that impact.

My friend, in the midst of the fear over the Boston bombing and all of the challenges you face, remember: love wins. I encourage you to take this message with you into the weekend. Let your fear be overwhelmed and replaced with love; love that you find this weekend in the joyful sounds of your family, friends and the sights and sounds during this new season of spring. Carry this love with you and know that the best truly is yet to come.

 

Connecticut Considers Appointing Animal Advocates In Cruelty Cases

Urban_2013-04-05

State Representative Diana Urban with her rescued pet Chihuahua/Jack Russell “Indiana Jones” at a press conference called by Rep. Urban and advocates to promote HB. 6690, a bill that would establish a process for appointing an advocate for the welfare or custody of an animal that is the subject of a criminal proceeding.

Hartford Connecticut – State Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, has introduced a bill in the General Assembly that would appoint an animal advocate in animal cruelty cases.

The advocates, which would be University of Connecticut law students or pro bono attorneys, would work to ensure that those accused in such cases are ordered to undergo counseling and/or serve prison terms and would not be allowed into programs such as accelerated rehabilitation, which end up erasing the arrest from their record.

“We want a conviction with counseling,” she said. “We need to have this on the record.”

Urban, who is co-chairwoman of the legislature’s Children’s Committee, stressed that research shows a clear link between animal and human abuse and rattled off graphic cases across the state in which animal cruelty was part of domestic violence incidents.

Urban also said another study has shown 80 percent of mass murderers began by abusing animals.

“The research is irrefutable,” she said. “The people who do these kind of things also have a proclivity for violence towards children and adults.”

Urban, who is known for her work on issues involving children and animals, said that the courts have not taken the problem seriously. But she said she has been able to get the issue on the agenda this year for the annual judge’s summit.

The legislature’s judiciary committee is slated to hold a hearing on Urban’s proposal – House Bill 6690 – at 10 a.m. Friday in the Legislative Office Building.

Urban originally wanted to get the law included in the sweeping gun, school security and mental health bill passed by the Senate and debated in the House Wednesday but then decided against it.

“We keep saying we want to identify early signs of mental problems. Well, this is an easy one,” she said.

Urban said the law would allow an animal advocate to be appointed by a judge or requested by a prosecutor. She likened it to a court-appointed guardian who looks out for the interests of a child in custody, abuse and other cases.

She said defendants would have to pay for counseling and treatment and would have to continue with it until it is deemed a success.

She said the law would not cost any money, as the advocates would be working for free.

Urban said Democratic leaders are supporting the bill.

“I think we’ll get it done. I know it’s going to make a difference,” she said.

Reblogged from:  Animalconnection@wordpress.com

Freckles, Dog Dragged By Car And Thrown In Dumpster, Makes Miraculous Recovery

slide_288949_2276359_freeAn abused dog who was starved, dragged by a car and tossed in a dumpster has made a miraculous recovery thanks to those caring for him.

Animal Control recently found a 1-year-old pitbull mix in a dumpster in Baltimore, Md., after an unidentified passerby called the organization to report a dog moaning in the trash, according to Noah’s Arks Rescue, a rescue group based in Okatie, S.C.

The dog was quickly rushed to the Essex Middle River Veterinary Center where veteranarians determined he had been not only starved down to 30 pounds and abused, but he had also dragged behind a vehicle. The incident tore off huge chunks of his skin and left bone exposed.

But that’s not all doctors discovered.

“We did X-rays when he first got here and he had just a bunch of foreign material in his stomach – money, metal objects and other things we saw,” Dr. Matthew Jones told ABC’s WMAR Baltimore. “I personally have never seen something that severe as far as whatever happened to him prior to finding him in the dumpster,” he added.

The dog was eventually named Freckles, presumably because of the black spots on his white ears.

Jennifer Smith, president of Noah’s Arks Rescue, volunteered to take over the care of Freckles, and the group is currently collecting donations to pay for his medical needs.

By Thursday, Freckles’ condition had greatly improved. On Facebook, Smith explained the dog was not only eating treats but also trying to “talk” by barking. All of his vitals have remained stable thus far, although he might lose one of his badly damaged front legs. He has been moved to the Charleston Veterinary Referral Center in South Carolina.

Via Noah’s Arks Rescue:

Our little boy is close to one year old and has the best fighting spirit. He is here today because he wants to be here. What he has endured, very few animals could have. We are hoping and praying his young age will be in his favor and allow his body to fight off everything that is being thrown at it. I know a lot of you are saying we should put him down. I will tell you the same thing I tell everyone else, as long as an animal is fighting to be here, I will fight along side him and do whatever it takes to make him comfortable and to thrive.

Noah’s Arks helps animals in S.C. and around the nation.

South Carolina’s animal cruelty laws are rife with loopholes, and the Humane Society ranks the state 47 out of 51 in terms of animal protection. Under the state’s current laws, there is no requirement for veterinary care, there is no ownership ban for convicted offenders and many are still unsure whether it is illegal to shoot an animal due to the unclear wording, according to CBS station WCSC.

“It’s extraordinarily frustrating,” Kim Kelly, South Carolina’s Director of the Humane Society of the United States, told WCSC. “It’s very difficult to know that someone is abusing animals and not just one or ten animals but hundreds of animals and not be able to get a conviction.” The more time passes, the more “animals suffer.”

If you would like to contribute to Freckles’ medical expenses, click here to donate to Noah’s Arks Rescue.

Excellent book! The book is written by simply a man of God. Very moving and written in such a way that the spirit is made real and attainable.

Diarmuid O’Murchu is a Catholic priest and enthusiastic commentator on the interplay between religion, science, and spirituality. Two of his books on this subject are Quantum Theology and Evolutionary Faith. In this ambitious theological work, O’Murchu deftly takes a roving look at the third member of the Christian Trinity who has been slighted by believers and bypassed in the secular world as a sort of whimsical Caspar the Ghost figure.

Although the author will concede that the Holy Spirit has a playful side, he refuses to limit the Spirit’s presence and activity in our everyday lives and in the broad sweeps of history and time. O’Murchu charts the energies of the Spirit as a spur to the Creation of the world. He applauds Miriam Therese Winter reframing of the seven gifts of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22-23) in light of quantum physics: relativity, uncertainty, probability, complementarity, nonlocality, sychronicity, and change.

O’Murchu heralds what we can learn from aboriginal wisdom about our relationships, connections, and the great web of life. He includes under this tent Native American spirituality, the Spirit of Africa, and the Great Religions of Asia, and shamanism. These traditions expand and enrich the already fecund Christian beliefs in the Holy Spirit, especially among fundamentalist Pentecostal churches. But even in their most liberal moments, Christian communities might find it difficult to accept what O’Murchu calls “The Erotic Spirit” behind creativity, pleasure, intimacy, and passion. Ditto for “the Spirit of the Wild” where chaos and mystery blaze a path that goes beyond law and order and rationality.

http://www.diarmuid13.com/

 

Could a change in our perceptions–a shift in our beliefs–hold the timeless secret to healing, peace, and even reality itself? New discoveries in physics and biology suggest that we’re about to find out.

Gregg Braden’s new book – The Spontaneous Healing of Belief – Shattering the Paradigm of False Limits. 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8DeBePK3Wg

Question: What is meant by empowering heart-based living?

Answer: The words “empowering heart-based living,” which appear on some Institute of HeartMath Web pages with IHM’s logo and often in our literature, essentially encompass our mission and vision: giving people tools to experience this healthy, coherent way of living, described as follows:

When all of our intentions and actions in daily life originate from the intuitive wisdom of our hearts, when we feel and act with sincere appreciation, caring and kindness for others – all qualities of the heart – and when we can observe the world around us without the preset judgments of the mind, but rather with the compassion in our hearts, then we will truly be living life from the heart.

“Heart-based living,” IHM founder Doc Childre wrote, “helps you learn to live in the now, bringing more of your real self into each moment. Becoming more of who you really are releases inner security, allowing you to relate to life with increased hope and confidence. Increased fulfillment is the result of this process.

Institute of HeartMath Mission/Vision

The mission of the Institute of HeartMath is to help establish heart-based living and global coherence by inspiring people to connect with the intelligence and guidance of their own hearts.   Read more at: http://www.heartmath.org/faqs/heartmath-system/heartmath-system-faqs.html

 Your best resource for spinning hardship into positive growth is The Thriving Mindset.

The Thriving Mindset is a flexible and mindful approach to attending to and perceiving the world that enables Thrivers to switch between different modes of thought, emit a sense of hope even in the face of hardship, see themselves as capable of managing adversity and achieving goals (self-efficacy), find meaning in challenge, and continually strive for personal growth. Thrivers can be pushed to their limits — just like the rest of us — but they have the ability to persevere in the face of challenge. They can do this because they have the Thriving Mindset, which is the most essential resource for spinning challenge, fear and risk into the ‘good life’.   To read more, please visit: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/flourish/201002/spin-challenge-positive-growth-learn-thrive

  Has Your Inner Child Gone to Never Never Land? Or Reconnecting To Your Inner Child by Robina Hearle and Sue Stothard

Reconnecting to your inner child, what does this mean? why do I need to do this? , and who is this inner child anyway? And what has Never Never land got to do with it?

Your Inner child is a part of you, a real being. A fragment of your soul. The part of you that first consciously evolves from in the womb until six years of age. This child during this time experiences the world, and forms from these experiences her/his emotional pattern for life. This is the most important time in a person’s emotional development, because what happens now lays down behaviour patterns for life, good and bad.

It would be fair to say the Inner child is the real you, the innocent beautiful, angelic being that you came in as.
So why do I need to reconnect? Well you might not have to, but just need to acknowledge his or her existence and strengthen the bond.

If you need to reconnect it’s because…read the complete article at: http://www.healthandgoodness.com/article/healing-your-inner-child.html

 Last Week’s Story: 

  Bridging the Gap

 Trevor Jenkins  (Photo courtesy of NT News) 

Before we agree to connect or commit to others and their pain and suffering-take a reality test. It’s easy to connect or make inroads with people that don’t challenge our beliefs or ways of thinking, in other words to connect with people, “just like us.” It takes real heart and courage to listen those in every pocket of our society.  

Trevor Jenkins, known largely for his voluntary collection of rubbish – which he leaves in piles for council workers to collect, uses his public sculptures to document the lives of homeless people. The news article below from NTNews in Australia makes us realize that our expansion of heart to those in situations difficult for us to swallow may lead us to the realization that we fear the contagion of other people’s true suffering- for fear it could be us. See story below..

Towards a world embracing us all 

Ahead of Anti-Poverty Week, Trevor Jenkins – the man also known as the Rubbish Warrior – argues that many may choose to ignore poverty and misunderstand those in that situation, but the poor and the homeless have their own strengths that enrich us all. 

PAIN and human suffering is an important resource. It can be as rich as minerals, as powerful as diamonds. It is more prolific than sex. 

It’s more than…To read more visit: http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2011/10/16/266831_ntnews.html 

Please comment below or follow my blog.

A flower stands alone

To be or not to be…

“The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you somebody else.”  (E.E. Cummings- American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright) 

We come into this world with billions of neurons, little neuronal circuits in the brain that have paths connecting to other little circuits. These circuits lead to great heights, connecting us to all kinds of wondrous possibilities giving room for incredible amounts of thoughts and ideas. However, through various types of experiences and relationships with our parents, society and culture, we “become.”

In his book, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg- New Constructs of Mind and Reality, Joseph Chilton Pearce suggests, “the education of a child is unlearning as well as learning.”  From the first indoctrination into our world, we are under the positive or negative influences of family triads, tradition, heritage, educational systems, and numerous personalities that float through our days. Pearce also explains that there are areas of the mid-brain thought to have a kind of ecstasy-response that when stimulated you can “hear all the bells of heaven ring.” Could it be that as we grow up and our logical side of the brain develops this experience diminishes? He further suggests that life moves us towards correcting this imbalance of mind that the development of logic has brought on.  If balanced, a logical process could then selectively direct an infinite potential. Perhaps we could then once again, “hear the bells of heaven ring” soaring to heights never dreamed imaginable. He quotes William Blake as saying:

“Man’s mind is like a garden ready planted. This world is too poor to produce one seed.” We find, nevertheless, that the specifics of the plantings are given shape by the kind of weeding, thinning, and fertilizing done by other minds.”

Additionally, child abuse and neglect can cast a shadow throughout our adult life, the negativity mirroring our image. If we are not loyal to our searching for authenticity or true nature, discarding the lies or buying into popular culture, constructs or concepts, our dreams, imagination and innate potential may lie dormant forever.

Dare To Be Yourself

Being true to oneself is not for the faint of heart.

By Karen Wright, published on May 01, 2008 – last reviewed on January 20, 2012

It starts innocently enough, perhaps the first time you recognize your own reflection. 

You’re not yet 2 years old, brushing your teeth, standing on your steppy stool by the bathroom sink, when suddenly it dawns on you: That foam-flecked face beaming back from the mirror is you.

You. Yourself. Your very own self.

It’s a revelation—and an affliction. Human infants have no capacity for self-awareness. Then, between 18 and 24 months of age, they become conscious of their own thoughts, feelings, and sensations—thereby embarking on a quest that will consume much of their lives. For many modern selves, the first shock of self-recognition marks the beginning of a lifelong search for the one “true” self and for a feeling of behaving in accordance with that self that can be called authenticity. Read more at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200804/dare-be-yourself

Connecting to Soul…

“That’s why people listen to music or look at paintings. To get back in touch with that wholeness.”    (Corita Kent-aka Sister Mary Corita Kent, artist and educator)

My brain is hard-wired for fall. Autumn shadows never fail to let me know it’s fall as they dance on the ground marking new directions. I love the vibrant colors of gold, red and orange as the sunlit leaves begin blowing in the changing winds. Being born in fall, I think somewhere inside me is an internal “happy switch.” Somewhere deep, down, something knows I came into the world during this wonderful season and it rejoices!

These are the memories I treasure! The places that call from the heart. The “kid” places we sometimes forget about. The memories that remind us we could do anything or be anything we wanted! But more importantly, the world before we colored it. The places we left space for in our hearts because we had formed no judgments yet. Those special places still reside within us if we listen.   The soul is not on our time schedule. It waits  eternally for us.

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” (Winnie the Pooh quotes)

Recapturing Our Childlike Joy

“The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.” Richard Moss

I took a walk alone into town on a sunny day and sat down for a few minutes to watch the children play at the local park. Read more…  http://violetsun.hubpages.com/hub/Recapturing-Our-Childlike-Joy

8 Responses to Bridges

  1. Terrific work here – thanks for sharing!

  2. Very inspiring and thanks for all the likes ;)

  3. Pingback: Looking to Steer Clear the HTML5 Potholes? - You The Designer

  4. Pingback: Rise Above… | Chasing The Perfect Moment

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