WDP — Leisure Time

What do you enjoy doing most in your leisure time?

I spent almost 50 years of my life getting up each and every day and going to work. A lot of my work involved writing proposals, presentations, analysis documents. I also interacted with coworkers, clients, prospective clients. I even tried to find some time on weekends to write The Great American Novel, but never got very far.

Then, at the end of 2016, I retired. No more proposals, presentations, coworkers, clients, prospective clients. Just me and my wife (and the kids when they found time in their own busy lives to visit with us). Suddenly I had an abundance of leisure time. An over abundance, actually.

So, what should I do with myself and all of this new found leisure time? I wondered. After a month or so into my retirement, my wife apparently got tired of me just hanging around and always being underfoot. She said to me, “Hey, you like to write. Why don’t you start a blog?” It was actually more of a demand than a question. Then she said, “That will keep you busy and out of my hair. You’re driving me crazy.”

I thought about that for a minute. Hmm, okay, I could express my points of view on the world around me and publish them on the internet, where they would be out there for anyone to stumble upon, virtually speaking. And maybe some people actually would stumble upon my blog posts and enjoy what I wrote. Maybe some would even responded to my posts. Comment on them.

Maybe not just my family and friends, whom I would tell about my new hobby, but total strangers from around the world would read, like, and comment on my posts. Maybe I could actually form connections with a large and vibrant community of other bloggers.

So I started blogging. It felt great to see my thoughts, perspectives, ideas, notions, and opinions “in print” for all the world to see. I discovered flash fiction and realized that, while I was unlikely to ever write the Great American Novel, I was a decent very short story writer and blogging allowed me to hone those skills and get almost immediate feedback from those who read them.

I discovered that there were writing prompts to help bloggers like me come up with something to write about and to post on our blogs. I even started creating prompts of my own to help nudge and inspire other bloggers to come up with ideas for their posts.

So, with all of what I just wrote as background, the short answer to today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is that what I enjoy doing most in my leisure time is blogging. And as the photo at the top of this post suggests, I do almost all of my blogging on my smartphone.

WDP — The Perfect Space

You get to build your perfect space for reading and writing. What’s it like?

I already have built the perfect space for reading and writing. It’s inside my head. And the beauty of my reading and writing space is that it’s everywhere and anywhere I am.

And what facilities my highly flexible, perfect reading and writing space is that I do virtually all of my reading and writing, including blogging, on my iPhone, which is always on and always with me.

For example, right now I’m sitting on the couch in our family room. My wife is watching the latest episode of The Property Brothers Forever Home on HGTV. I’m inside my head — my reading and writing space — tapping this post out on the virtual keypad on my iPhone.

Who could ask for a more perfect reading and writing space?

Image credit: Andrea Faria at Pinterest.

Sadje’s Sunday Poser — Comments

For today’s Sunday Poser, Sadje wants to know…

How important it is to you to answer comments on your blog posts? Do you think responding to comments is an important part of blogging?

I really appreciate it when someone takes the time to read and comment on one of my posts. And I do read each and every comment. Sometimes, I will simply Like the comment to acknowledge that I’ve seen it. Other times I will simply say “Thanks.” And time permitting, I may respond with a longer comment.

But the point is, I will do my best to read every comment or link-back to my posts and respond with a Like and/or a comment. Because, yes, both commenting on other bloggers’ posts and responding to comments other bloggers have made on my posts are not only important, they are quite possibly the best thing about blogging.

Blogging Insights — Reading is Fundamental

It’s Monday and Dr. Tanya is back with her weekly Blogging Insights prompt. She provides us with a quote about blogging or writing and asks us to express our opinion about said quote.

This week’s quote is from author George R.R. Martin.

“You need to read everything. Read fiction, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers. Read history, historical fiction, biography. Read mystery novels, fantasy, SF, horror, mainstream, literary classics, adventure, satire. Every writer has something to teach you, for good or ill. (And yes, you can learn from bad books as well as good ones — what not to do).”

Writing is storytelling. Unless you’re writing technical specifications or manuals, your writing needs to tell a story, whether fiction or nonfiction.

As with any craft or trade, you need to study the masters, to learn from those who have come before you. And if the craft you want to hone is writing, then you must do your homework. You must read how other writers have told their stories.

So I have to agree with George R.R. Martin. If you want to be a good writer, you need to be a good reader. Even if, like me these days, much of your reading is other bloggers’ posts.

Throwback Thursday — Book Report

Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Maggie chose the topic of “Reading Culture and Books.”

Maggie would like us to think about how our grandparents, parents, siblings, and friends felt about reading. Then consider how this impacted your life as we matured.

1. Who were the readers in your family?

My mother and my two older sisters were avid readers.

2. Were there some people who did not like to read or could not read?

My father was not a big book reader. His reading consisted mostly of the daily newspaper.

3. Did your family subscribe to the newspaper?

Yes, we subscribed to the daily newspaper.

4. If you did get the paper, was your Sunday newspaper considered special? What part did you enjoy?

Yes. It was bigger, the comics were printed in color, it include a local features magazine as well as Parade magazine. I liked the comics, the sports, and the movie sections.

5. Did your home have books strewn around? Hardbacks or paperbacks?

Not really. We had a few bookcases with a mixture of hardbacks and paperbacks. My mother was a fan of Reader’s Digest’s condensed books and my oldest sister was a member of the Book of the Month Club.

6. Did you frequent the library at school?

I did leverage the school library for papers that I had to write for my classes, but I used my local public library more than my school’s library.

7. How about the local community library? Did you have a library card?

Yes, because my school libraries were relatively small, I spent more time at the local public library. I did have a library card.

8. What was the first book you remember reading?

I don’t know. Maybe one of the Fun with Dick and Jane books.

9. Did you have a collection of books (Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Happy Hollisters, etc?)

I loved The Hardy Boys books and even Nancy Drew, but I checked them out from the library, so no big collections at home.

10. Did you read comic books? If so, what titles?

Yes, mostly DC and Marvel comics. I had a huge collection, but my father threw them all away when I went off to college. To this day that pisses me off.

11. Did you end up a bookworm, a casual reader, or someone who read only when required?

I’d say more of a casual reader.

12. Is there a book from your childhood you would like to read again? If so, what book?

Not really.

13. What book or books have been extremely meaningful or influential in your life?

Again, I’ve read so many books during my lifetime that it would be hard to pick specific books from my youth that were “extremely” influential. Maybe my love for The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew influenced my enjoyment of mystery and suspense books.

BONUS QUESTION: What book(s) do you frequently gift to others? Why?

Other than books for babies and toddlers that I get for my grandchildren, I rarely get books as presents for others. But one year for her birthday I bought my wife, who is a big Jane Austen fan, a vintage (1906) set of all of her books.