Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 23-29, 2018

Happy New Year! Hope everyone has had some time to make peace with 2018 and is looking forward to 2019.

HappyNewYear2019

The holiday week is always a little scant with respect to content. Still, here’s a small, but tasty batch of informal writerly learnings to start 2019 right 🙂

Julie Glover: is the new WordPress format stressing you out? It hasn’t hit up here yet, but I anticipate some angst when it does. Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Mark Leslie Lefebvre about long-term publishing success. Later in the week, Joanna and Orna Ross help you position yourself for writing and publishing success in 2019. The Creative Penn

Leanne Sowul says, forget resolutions; reflection is the key. On Boxing Day, Gabriela Pereira interviewed me, Brenda Joyce Patterson, and Stacy Woodson for a special DIY MFA radio team episode! DIY MFA

Katrina Bird guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: three story planning books to consider.

Eris Young: seven things writers get wrong about language. Mythcreants

Cold Crash Pictures critiques five more scientific inaccuracies in film.

 

And that was the first Tipsday of the year! Come back on Thursday for some thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends.

tipsday2016

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The next chapter: 2013 in review

I think it’s important to recognize all the good things one accomplishes.  With regard to my writing, 2013 has been a banner year.  I haven’t seen its like in … well a very long time.

You may remember way back at the beginning of the year what I wrote about resolutions, how I’m not fond of them, and how I prefer to make reasonable goals so I can have a chance to reach them.

It worked a charm for me.

I wrote four (soon to be five) new short stories this year and revised six others for submission. This has resulted in three fiction publications (one paid), and another three poetry publications.

While the goal of Kasie Whitener’s Just Write Challenge was to write thirteen stories in 2013, I think that eleven was pretty darn good, considering the other things that I’ve accomplished.

I sent Initiate of Stone for a content edit in January and revised the whole thing twice. I’ve now sent the manuscript to select beta-readers and have sent it off to one agent and will ship it to one editor shortly.

In the mean time, I started on a middle grade fantasy, Gerod and the Lions, and drafted Figments, a YA fantasy, during NaNoWriMo.

Since the end of November, I’ve given myself a bit of a break. I’ve written a crap-load this year (because in addition to the 11 short stories, poetry, revisions, and the 50k+ draft, I’ve also tried to keep things rolling with my blog) and felt the distinct need for a rest before diving back into things in 2014.

Though I was not able to meet my goal of revising my blog (reader response seemed to indicate it wasn’t a priority) or moving to self-hosted WordPress, those goals remain on the list.  This time last year, I managed to accrue 100 followers on my blog. Now I’m over 222. While I’m still considering a newsletter, I continue to hold off. Until I have a novel out, I’m not certain a newsletter will have much value.

This year I also attended the Canadian Authors Association’s (CAA’s) CanWrite! Conference (June) and the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (October). Both were amazing experiences, and I learned a huge amount from the sessions at both conferences.

Currently, though my services haven’t been much requested of recent months, I’m sitting on the CAA’s Program Committee, and so putting some of my efforts into not only the CanWrite! Conference, but also, the Literary Awards, the Roving Writers Program, and other events.

As a reward for all my hard work, I’m going to be investing in Scrivener, thanks to the NaNo

Scrivener (software)

Scrivener (software) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

reward discount, and purchasing the 2014 Guide to Literary Agents.

As far as what I’m aiming for in the New Year, stay tuned. I’ll have a post on more reasonable goals coming up next week.

books for sale!

books for sale! (Photo credit: bookgrl)

In the meantime, please share your accomplishments. It really helps to put them down in writing. I think when you see everything you’ve managed over the last year in print, you’ll be amazed. I was.

Then celebrate! You were fantastic! And you know what? So was I 😉

Sorry, couldn’t help the Doctor Who reference. Geek girls rule!

LEGO Doctor Who (Collection)

LEGO Doctor Who (Collection) (Photo credit: ChocolateFrogs)

My first NaNoWriMo

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Off the top, I have to say this: I won!  My first time out and I won 🙂

Backtracking to my trip to Surrey

Before I even left, I was considering NaNo. The municipal liaison came out to the Sudbury Writers’ Guild meeting in September to promote. My leave would be until November 18, 2013, so I thought I’d probably have a chance.

While at SiWC, I heard several people talking about NaNo and how it had really helped them get their ideas down, break through writers’ block, built their confidence, and so forth.

By the time I got back, I was determined to give it a try.

I chose a project that I had outlined years ago. I’d had a little bit written, but I hadn’t touched it in years.

I was going to start over in any case.

The power of planning

I knew I was going away for a few days to visit some friends, and that I’d be going back to work before the month was out. I started out by front loading the work, trying to move ahead quickly at the beginning so I could coast a bit at the end if I needed to.

Still, when I went back to work, there were a few low count nights. I was worried.

To make time for my writing in the evenings when I went back to work, I tried using my smart(er than me) phone to keep track of my email and social media.

I got up a half-hour earlier than usual to check Facebook, WordPress follows, and my Feedly follows and share the interesting stuff on Twitter and Google+.

The pilgrim’s progress

Here’s a convenient table for you:

Day Count Total + or –
1 2161 2161 +494
2 2284 4445 +1111
3 2325 6770 +1769
4 travel 0 6770 +102
5 2122 8892 +557
6 travel 0 8892 -1110
7 1877 10769 -900
8 2168 12937 -399
9 2190 15127 +124
10 1675 16802 +132
11 1721 18528 +191
12 2284 20812 +808
13 2008 22820 +1149
14 1699 24519 +1181
15 1684 26203 +1198
16 1894 28097 +1425
17 1668 29801 +1462
18 1727 31528 +1522
19 return to work 1181 32709 +1036
20 549 33258 +82
21 507 33765 -1242
22 1822 35587 -1087
23 1814 37301 -1040
24 1707 39008 -1000
25 1731 40739 -936
26 1677 42416 -926
27 1692 44108 -901
28 757 44865 -1811
29 2232 47097 -1246
30 3802 50899 +899

What I learned

I don’t think I could do this working full time.

Having said that, it was fantastic to know that I could pull a 50000+ word draft together in 30 days. It was interesting to me because my first novel took me a year to write, working in the evenings and on weekends.

It gives me hope that if I do end up getting a deal for my work at some point and am asked to pump out sequels in swift succession, I should be able to do so. Also, if I end up going the self-publishing route, it’s always good to have moar material out there. If people like what I write, I can potentially supply the demand.

While my Samsung Galaxy Note II is quite lovely, I don’t think that I could manage my social media long term using it alone. Some of the information so easily accessible on my desktop is not so convenient to find in an Android app version of the program. Also, some things don’t translate well. Though the Feedly app appears to allow FB mentions in a post, it does not actually include them when posting to FB.

I have a few strange-looking posts over the last couple of weeks, and was not able to keep track of anyone’s birthdays on my phone, so apologies to anyone I may have offended or missed as a result.

Again, it’s good to know that I can do a minimally good job of maintaining my social media from my phone if need be.

Today, except for these blog posts, I have not written. I’ll get back on that horse shortly. I’ve also had to let a few submission deadlines slide because I just couldn’t manage to do it all. Everyone has their limits.

Coming up

I’ll be blogging in the future about my writing plans moving forward as well as a little about work. Interesting times I live in 😉

Writerly Goodness, signing off.

My progress on the Just Write Challenge (and some other writing stuff)

I signed up for Kasie Whitener’s Just Write Challenge in December of last year (I think).  The goal was to write 13 original short stories in the year.

Later, Kasie amended the rules a bit to include revised stories.

The goal was to have everything ready to submit in the fall.  Well, I’ve been submitting my stories all along.  I don’t think that disqualifies me, but I just wanted to come clean.

Here is my progress review:

New/original fiction

  1. Nothing’s Perfect – flash fiction – posted to my blog for one of Chuck Wendig’s challenges – January 2013.  No acceptance or rejection carried with the challenge.
  2. Beneath the Foundations – short story – completed and submitted to Innsmouth Free Press Sword and Mythos anthology, February 2013. Subsequently rejected.
  3. Molly Finder – short story – completed and submitted to In Places Between, April 2013.  Subsequently rejected.
  4. The Broken Places – short story – completed and submitted to Fearful Symmetries anthology, May 2013.  Subsequently rejected.  I can now say that I’ve been rejected by the likes of Ellen Datlow.  Not sure whether that’s a good or a bad thing 😉

Revised fiction

I’m so glad that Kasie changed her expectations, because, whew, I kind of petered out after June 😦

  1. Downtime – short story, revised and submitted to On Spec, January 2013.  Accepted! (2014 schedule)
  2. A Terrible Thing – short story, revised and submitted to Tesseracts 17, February 2013.  Subsequently rejected.
  3. The Gabriel – short story (approaching novella), revised and submitted to Writers of the Future, March 2013.  Subsequently rejected.
  4. Cicadas – short story, revised and submitted to the Rannu Fund Prize, June 2013.  Outcome unknown at this time.
  5. Night Traffic – flash fiction, revised and submitted to Mouse Tales Press, July 2013.  Accepted! (October 2013)
  6. Killing with Kindness – flash fiction, revised and submitted to Gigantic Worlds anthology, July 2013.  Subsequently rejected.

So, with 4 new and 6 revised, I’m up to 10 stories written or revised and submitted, yielding 3 acceptances, 5 rejections, 1 neutral, and 1 outstanding response. That’s not bad.

Previous year’s submissions

Submissions last year resulted in acceptances of my poetry to The Atomy (July 2013) and Enhance (March 2013), the inclusion of a creative non-fiction piece in Spooky Sudbury (October 2013), and the acceptance of one of my photos, also to Enhance (January 2014).

Poetry

My poetry has also been accepted by Sulphur (date of publication as yet unknown).  This was the only poetry submission I have made this year.

WIP

I have finished what I thought was going to be my last revision of Initiate of Stone before querying, but I’m still quite a bit over the maximum word length generally considered by agents and editors in my genre.

As my goal is to obtain representation and a traditional deal (if I can), I’m parsing again, but am 3/4 the way through that process as well.  I may need one more go-though to trim those last few thousand words, though.  I’m getting to the point that it seems naked!

Once that’s done, it’s beta time*, preparation of my synopsis and query, sending to interested parties from a pitch conference last fall, and the slow agony of the querying process.

Other writing goals

I’m going to be attending the Surrey International Writers’ Conference this year and entering their fiction contest.  It will likely be a revised story.

There is another contest in early September for which I will likely revise something.

If I’m able to get a self-funded leave (this is a work thing—lots of stuff happening, or not, on that front, but I’m saving it up until I have a better idea of my fate), I will be revamping my blog and moving to self-hosted WordPress (eek!).

Once my current WIP is into the querying stage, and until I hear from my betas, I will return to Gerod and the Lions, my MG fantasy, just for something different.  I’m going to be on the lookout for more anthologies and interesting calls to see if I can get some more original fiction written.  Again, this may depend on whether I get my self-funded leave or not.

Once GatL is drafted, I’ll return to my Ascension series, either revising IoS based on beta/other recommendations, or moving on to Apprentice of Wind.

That’s all I have on the go or in the plan for now.

What have you been up to recently?  Have you joined any challenges?  How is it going?  Working on a novel?  Short stories?  Poetry? Creative or other non-fiction?  I’d love to hear about your creative adventures!

___________________________________________________________________

*I have several people in mind, but if you are interested in epic fantasy with a female protagonist, drop me a line at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com.

A year (and a bit) in the life of Writerly Goodness

This post is one in a series of Anniversary posts for Wordsmith Studio (WSS).

What is WSS, you ask?

It’s a group of people who originally bonded through Robert Lee Brewer’s April Platform Challenge last year and who have gone on to create a community online, not only through our blogs, but also through social media (Facebook, Twitter (#WSchat), LinkedIn, G+, Goodreads, Pinterest (sorry, not a pinner, so no link for the group there), and probably a few other places that I don’t know about yet).

Originally the MNINB Challengers, or Not-Bobbers, we slowly evolved into our own collective.

Part way through the year, a group of fabulous people got together to create the Wordsmith Studio site on WordPress.org.  Since December of last year, a number of members have been blogging regularly on the site as well as on their own blogs.

Others have been attracted to WSS who had nothing to do with the original challenge, and others who participated in the challenge have moved on to other projects.

So now you know, and knowing is half the battle Go Joes! 🙂

Prelude to a kiss challenge

One thing that amazed me was the diversity of people who participated in the challenge.  Some of them had been blogging for years already, or had several blogs.  Others, like myself, were new bloggers.  Others still didn’t start blogging and platform building until Robert’s challenge prompted them to.

I actually started my platform building in September of 2011.  I tried Joomla! first, but found it to be less intuitive than I wanted.  Plus, I was posting a blog more than anything else, and couldn’t figure out the proper way to set a blog up on a Joomla! site.  I wasn’t interested in bothering my techie husband, or in paying someone to sort this out for me, so I looked at other options.

In short order, I found WordPress, and gleefully uploaded the software to my self-hosted domain, labbydog.ca, converting all of my content into proper posts for my blog.

I learned as I went, relying heavily on experts such as Robert, Jane Friedman, and Michael Hyatt and the resources to which they referred me.

Then in February of 2012, disaster struck.  My blog was hacked, and our hosting company insisted in a complete wipe.  RIP labbydog.ca.

After playing around further, I decided, gun-shy and tender creative person that I was, to move to WordPress.com.  On Robert’s advice, I’d purchased my domain name, mapped it to WordPress.com and www.melaniemarttila.ca, A.K.A. Writerly Goodness was born.

At first I was merely attempting to recreate my content and was posting 5-6 days a week.

Enter the dragon challenge

I was already following Robert at the time, and when he announced his April Platform Challenge, I jumped onboard.

For a month, I eagerly awaited my daily dose of platform.  I’d been on Facebook since 2007, and had, as part of my amateur platform building program, already joined Twitter, LinkedIn, and G+, so the days in which the challenge task was to set up accounts on these services I had things a little easier.

It’s a good thing too; otherwise, I’d have fallen waaaay behind.

I learned about having a mission statement for my blog, about using a blogging schedule (doesn’t blogging in this sense sound like a colourful euphemism?  What the blog?  Blogging work!), about calls to action, guest blogs (hosting them and proposing them), interviews, tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, hashtags and Twitter chats, mailing list, business cards, newsletters, Goodreads and other kinds of social media.

By the end of the month, I verged on the overwhelmed.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I cut down on the frequency of my posts.  A new position at work meant that I had even less time and energy to spare for my blog if I wanted to keep up with my novel and other creative writing.

Something I’ve learned is that, as a writer, the writing comes first.  Blogging is a part of that, but if I don’t get my stories, poems, and novels written, submitted, and published, the blog is tantamount to an online journal and practically useless for the purpose of promotion or true platform building.

Now I blog on weekends only, and it’s been working for me, which is the most important thing.  I’ve been getting the writing done and have achieved a greater balance between my professional, creative, and personal lives.

I have several new pages, with links to those of my books that are still available for purchase from the publisher, my blogging schedule (such as it is), an invitation for guest bloggers, awards, and so forth.

I’ve started doing interviews with a number of friends, online and in real life, and was surprised but ultimately pleased when a fantasy writer right here in town contacted me out of the blue on my blog to be interviewed.  It speaks to the unexpected impact that blogging has had on my creative life and the community that I am, however back-asswardly, building 🙂

This post will be my 190th, I have 118 followers through WordPress, and publish my posts to 243 friends on Facebook, 412 followers on Twitter, 112 connections on LinkedIn, and 90 people have included me in their G+ circles.

I’ve participated in a few challenges (October submit-o-rama, I ❤ my blog, and the Just write 2013 short story challenge) and a couple of the Goodreads group craft book discussions.

I’ve posted a grand total of once on the WSS site and am currently waiting to hear from Robert regarding a guest blog on My Name is Not Bob.  **Hint: Look in your spam folder, Robert 🙂

It’s a humble beginning, but I remind myself that platforms take years to build and that until I have something more than a couple of old poetry anthologies to shill, that I’m not likely to have a massive following.  Even then, unless I turn out to be the next big thing for real, I’ll probably only see modest growth.

Next

I’ve been threatening to move to WordPress.org for a while now.  I still haven’t found the time to parse my archives and clean up some of my old posts.  I have to rework some of my images too, since in the early days of my blog, I just did a Google search for my images.  I have to find creative commons equivalents, use my own, or remove them entirely.

Nor have I settled on a new hosting company.  The fear of hack still lives in me and I’m admittedly dragging my feet on this one.

I’m also considering a greater involvement in WSS.  The site is still in evolution and I’m not sure what I can commit to.  Want and need are two entirely different things.  Keeping that distinction in mind will help me stay sane.

What I will do is encourage all of you to visit the Wordsmith Studio site, peruse the wonderful diversity of our members’ sites and blogs (photo bloggers, pet bloggers, health bloggers, poets, fiction writers of all genres, non-fiction writers, publishers, and so much more).  A weekly round up of our anniversary blogs will be posted on the Veranda, so please read on.

Also visit My Name is Not Bob to see some of the lessons learned posts from several of the original challengers.

Many of my online friends have had amazing years, some good, some bad, some demoralizing, and some downright inspiring.  Most of them are far more eloquent than I am.

Consider liking, commenting, sharing or subscribing.  They are teh awesome, with a little awesomesauce on the side 🙂

Happy anniversary WSSers!  Love you all, even if I don’t show it often enough.

Caturday Quickies: Other Writerly Goodness to share

In other writerly news

A couple of weeks ago, Mark Leslie contacted me about my submission to his Spooky Sudbury project which will be published through Dundurn Press later this year.  He’s going to include the piece I submitted 🙂

Last week, Sopphey Vance, editor of Enhance Magazine, advised that she was interested in one of my poems.

These were both submissions I had made last fall, while participating in Khara House’s October Submit-O-Rama challenge.  It’s wonderful to know that my efforts are bearing fruit.

On a slight downer, my submission to the League of Canadian Poets’ National Poetry Month Blog has not been accepted.  This is my fault.  I delayed in sending my poem in and they had too many submissions to post everything.  It’s a ‘live and learn’ moment.

Certified and certifiable

I found out the Monday following my return from Chatham, that I passed my certification (yippee!).  I am now a certified trainer through my employer.  This could open up several opportunities for me in coming months.

Also on the work front, my acting position as training coordinator has been extended through to August 31, 2013.  Given the chaos that is my portfolio right now, I’m not so certain that this was a wise move on the part of the powers that be (PTB), but I was happy to accept.

Monday, I’m heading down to Toronto again for a course in writing briefing notes.  This one I’m not facilitating.  Professional development rocks 😉

Platform impasse

WordPress

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

I’ve reached the anniversary date of my blog this month and with that have come some challenges that I hope very soon to turn into opportunities.

I have now passed my WordPress follower goal of 100.  I’m currently at 111 and am faced with the challenge of setting up a quarterly newsletter.  I’ve been dragging my heels on this, though, because …

I’m seriously considering migrating to WordPress.org from WordPress.com.  I can’t very well set up a newsletter on my current site and then leave it.

I’ve been reading up on the process of migration/blog set up through WPBeginner and Michael Hyatt.  I’m pretty certain I can make the leap, but I want to parse my posts first.  I need to ensure that my pictures are either my own, or provided courtesy of a commons license.  I want to edit some of my posts too, so that I can make sure that my best foot is put forward.  I know that few if any people will peruse the archives, but I want to be ready of they do.  This is going to take some time.

With the move, I’m also considering a change in theme/appearance.  This also deserves some careful consideration.

Do you have any suggestions for a new theme?  Any and all welcome in the comments below.

Alas, Google Reader, I knew him well

Only days after the announcement that Google Reader would be decommissioned in July, the option disappeared from my more + tab.  Not interested in spending the time trying to find a buried link, I decided to try Feedly.

Feedly Logo and iPhone App Design

Feedly Logo and iPhone App Design (Photo credit: imjustcreative)

So far, so good.  I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.

What I’m working on now

So … I’ve been mentioning for ever that I’m going to submit some more poetry.  I’m now thinking Sulphur will be one of those.  Maybe they’ll like the poem that the League passed on 😉

I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of Initiate of Stone, but since the beginning requires significant rewriting, this has not been easy.  The progress is painfully slow.

I’m having better luck with the short stories and hope to have them completed/revised in advance of their respective dues dates.

Just as a reminder: Writers of the Future closes April 1 and In Places Between April 4.

Recently, I became aware of the Rannu Fund prize.  Bonus: Cory Doctorow is one of the tie-breaking judges.

Conferences

Was looking at the CanWrite! conference this year and it looks quite good.  So good, I’ve just registered 🙂

My other goal is to attend the Surrey International Writers Conference.  Registration isn’t open yet, but I’ll keep watching.  Also, their annual writing contest opens April 1.

So there’s lots of Writerly Goodness going on.

What’s happening in your writerly life?

Caturday Quickies

Writer-tech: Asus Transformer and Samsung Galaxy Note II

I’ve always been a bit of a technophile.  I think it comes from the fact that Phil is computer-dude supreme, a genius even, or, as one of our friends once called him, an ass in jeans 🙂  I like to joke that I learn things from him through osmosis.  I’m fairly certain that if it weren’t for Phil, that I’d still be tech-clueless and likely in a lot sorrier shape than I am now.

I’m still tentative about some things though, and learning something new in the technical realm that I’m not particularly motivated to learn can still stress me out.

Once upon a time …

In another life (that’s how long ago it was), I had an interest in creating Web pages, and with Phil’s help, I learned how to do basic HTML scripting, you know, the kind that you had to type out in Wordpad, tags and all?  I’d do my own graphics too, real basic stuff, that I’d put together in a freeware imaging editor that I no longer remember the name of.  I use The Gimp now 🙂

I did a few Web pages for some of my employers at the time: Huntington University, The Art Gallery of Sudbury, and ACCUTE (the association of Canadian college and university teachers of English).  Eventually, I graduated to Microsoft FrontPage, but I couldn’t compete with the new Web page design companies that were plentiful even in a place like Sudbury.

I maintained listservs too, and brought at least one employer into the world of Yahoo! Groups, then the only game in town, so to speak.

Enough of my techie history though.  I just wanted to give you some perspective, and to set the stage for my next revelation.

Let’s do the Time Warp!

Fast forward a few years and here I am happily writing away with a desktop, laptop, and USB keys to affect file transfers.  I was a confirmed bibliophile too, lived the smell and the feel of books, and didn’t want to enter the world of ereaders even after Phil bought one (a Kobo, by the way).  As Rupert Giles said to Jenny, knowledge should be … smelly.

I’d started my blog, been hacked, restarted my blog and was on a dedicated mission to build my platform.  I didn’t even understand what that was to begin with; I just know that I should have one.

My phone was what I affectionately called a “dumb” phone.  It was the dumbest I could find when my contract came up.  Called the Doro phone, it was marketed at seniors 😛 with a big number pad and no camera on board.  I had a digital camera.  I didn’t think I’d ever have need for anything else.  I just wanted to be able to make a phone call, and to receive one, maybe text a friend every once in a while.

Then things changed

I got tired of the dumb phone and its limitations, of paying more than half of what my friends were for their I-phones and Blackberries.  As my shelves were quickly filled with paper books, I began to see the benefits of an ereader.

Phil had given his Kobo to his mom and purchased an ASUS Transformer.  He began to use it every night, reading books off Project Gutenberg, comics, and even watching Netflix in bed.  I began to see the attraction.

So, I bought my own ASUS Transformer, and I love it!Transformer1

First, it was super easy to set up and learn how to use.  I was downloading apps from the first day.  There’s more than enough space on the dear little thing to keep me happy for a long time.

Second, it has a suppementary keyboard attachment which extends the battery life, memory, and data ports, as well as helping to protect your investment.

I have access to internet, email, all of my social media, WordPress, and just about anything else I’d want.  The only down side is that it’s not so easy taking my writing on the road.  Polaris Office doesn’t do a bad job, but there are some features that I’ve just gotten used to in Microsoft Word that Polaris doesn’t understand or offer.

Dropbox has the potential to replace my USB though 🙂

transformer2I also have, with the tablet, not only Kobo’s, but Amazon’s app too, so now I can read whatever I want wherever I want 🙂  I also have news, comics, and other readers, so I’m pretty much loaded for bear.

Plus, it has a camera/video recorder with voice recording too!  Can my dreams of podcasting and vlogging be far off?

The Transformer’s all but made my laptop (and my camera) obsolete.  Who knew that an upgrade could actually lead to an overall reduction in the amount of tech I own/use?

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

(The more things change, the more they stay the same.)

Around my birthday last year, I had done a lot of word-of-mouth research, asking friends and coworkers about the kinds of smart phones they had, about their service providers, and contracts.  How much were they paying a month and what were they getting for the price?

I’d had my eye on the Galaxy Note since Guy Kawasaki reviewed his purchase of one.  I looked up every review and the worst anyone had to say about it was that it was a little big.  Big whoop, I thought, I’ve got decent-sized hands.

As serendipity would have it, my service provider sent an upgrade offer to my email.

Phil, who used to have his own cell phone, then tired of it, had been forced back into a contract by his employer.  Then, as a cost-saving measure, his employer introduced a cost-sharing program, whereby Phil could get his own phone again, and his employer refund him for part of the monthly cost by way of compensation for using the service for work purposes.

So when I mentioned the upgrade offer, and that I was seriously considering the Galaxy Note II, it was perfect-tech-storm time 🙂

Galaxy1We went out and got ourselves a couple of Galaxy Note II’s that weekend.

Phil now uses his note to read/watch movies in bed 🙂  It’s lighter than the Transformer, even without the keyboard.  We have a wireless network at home and Phil has one at work, so we’re going to downgrade his data plan.  He almost never has to use LTE at all.

I’ve found it a boon because I can keep track of my email and SoMe notifications at work and better manage the time I spend online in the evenings.  I haven’t yet graduated to using it to create blog posts at lunch or anything, but I can see that happening in the future.

It’s essentially a tablet with a phone and text capability.  Because it’s an Android, like my tablet, I can have all the apps I have on my tablet on my phone too.  Many of them will even sync up.

I love the stylus feature though.  Included in the Galaxy Note II’s applications is a note suite galaxy2which has everything from basic notes, to meeting minutes, mind-mapping tools, financial planning notes, greeting card creation notes, drawing apps, etc.  I haven’t explored these thoroughly yet, but I have used it for shopping lists, to do lists, and reminders.

galaxy3You can simply write on your note, or use the text conversion feature to change your handwriting to text.  It works great for me.  It’s only messed up once, when I was demonstrating the feature to a friend.  I can definitely see this replacing my journal some day, but I still have about 10 or so paper journals to write through first.

I’m not an early adopter

For some things, I’m the first person to take an interest and conquer the new tech.  This happens most often in my day-job.  In general, I’m not the first person to pick up the latest technology.  I like to wait until the manufacturer has worked out the bugs and someone else has tested the product first, often Phil.

I haven’t been very quick on the uptake with respect to all the writerly apps I can make use of on my tablet and phone either.  I’ve barely scratched the surface, so I’ll leave you with a few sites I found that were very helpful to me in selecting the best apps for my droid.

I hope this post will be useful to those of you considering a tablet or smart phone.

Tomorrow, there will be a brief pupdate.  Come on back now, ya hear 😉

I <3 my blog: the beginning

I’ve enjoyed Khara House’s challenges before.  Her October submit-o-rama was a hit 🙂

Khara HouseKhara’s really good at sussing out what her community might need and delivering it while playing to her strengths.

January is I ❤ my blog month and it’s not going to be a challenge in which everyone is dashing helter skelter to get a bunch of stuff done.  It’s going to be a gentle, thoughtful reintroduction to your blog and the reasons you started it in the first place.  It’s meant to reignite your passion for your blog and get you back on track.

I first met Khara in Robert Lee Brewer’s April Platform challenge and that was a task-a-day, whip your butt into shape kind of challenge.  A lot of us struggled to keep up, but Khara was way out in the leader-pack, showing the way.

So I’m back.

The “assignment” for week one was about developing a blogging schedule.  Now I had one.  When I started off, I was posting 6 days a week, then I dropped to five, then four … you get the idea.  In September, I hit the burnout phase.  I was trying to do too many different things and I just couldn’t keep up with the posting on a regular basis anymore.  It felt like a chore.

So I deleted my blogging schedule page and defaulted to posting when I wanted to/had the time/had something to say.  Sometimes that was several times in the course of a week.  Sometimes it wasn’t at all.

So now, in addition to being back with a Khara House challenge, my blogging schedule will be back.

It’s going to be basic.  Something I can manage given working and writing and critiquing (which I’m getting back to shortly).  What I’ve hit on, is a weekend blog-for-all 🙂

Lemme ‘splain: I figure that blogging once a week will fit into my schedule and if nothing else, I’ll post on Saturdays.  But … if it’s been a particularly inspirational week, I’m going to blog on Sundays too, and if a whole lot is happening, I might blog more than once a day.

So it’s a bloggin’ free-for-all, or a weekend blog-for-all.

Hope you like it, ‘cause it’s what you’re gonna get!

2012 in review

Interesting that this should come out only days after I compiled my own Best of 2012 🙂

Happy New Year everyone!  I’m off to the sister-in-law’s for a partay!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.