Blogging Insights

B846FBDC-8CF7-4134-B9F9-BE4C0F9D32F6Dr. Tanya, aka Salted Caramel, has a new series of posts she calls “Blogging Insights.” Tanya writes, “My writing inspiration often comes from other bloggers so I thought it would be a good idea to do a Blogging Insights post about this.” Her two most recent Blogging Insight posts, here and here, pose four questions for which she’d like to get answers from other bloggers. As one such “other bloggers,” I’m happy to oblige.

What do you think is the best way of dealing with writer’s block?

I rarely get writer’s block and, at the risk of potentially pissing off some other “other bloggers,” I don’t understand how any blogger can get writer’s block. Yeah, I know. Sometimes you’re tired or you’re not feeling well, you’re busy, or you’re just not in the mood to write. Fine, step away from your computer, your tablet, or your smartphone for a few hours or even a few days. Give it a rest.

Listen up people, we’re not talking about novels, here. Or long-form books of any genre. They’re blog posts. They range in size from six words to a few hundred words, or maybe even a thousand or so words. Come on. With all that is going on around us — from politics to religion to society to entertainment to your friends, family, pets, the stuff that you do with your life, or just whatever pops into your head — how can you not find something to write a blog post about? And with all of the word prompts, the photo prompts, the music prompts, prompts that are sentence starters, or topic prompts to consider, there is simply no excuse for coming up empty when it comes to things to write posts about.

So if you feel “blocked,” take a short break, jot down things that occur to you, that you see and hear and observe. Even the little, seemingly inconsequential things. And when you’re ready, take what you jotted down and use it as fodder for upcoming posts. Hey, if I can write a 300 word post about the size of a friggin’ breakfast cereal box, surely you can come up with something to post on your blog.

Do you follow a blogging schedule or do you post “freestyle”?

I schedule some of my posts in advance (e.g., my FOWC with Fandango prompts are usually scheduled for 7-10 days in advance), but other than that, I’m more “freestyle,” reacting to daily prompts or to things I see, hear, or read about.

Where do you do most of your writing/blogging?

Because I use my iPhone for blogging, I can do my writing/blogging from almost anywhere. I’m actually composing this post while in bed.

Have you dedicated a particular time for blogging?

It depends upon what else I’ve got going on a particular day. So whenever I can find the time to write, I do it. I usually spend an hour or so each morning reading any comments that came in overnight and I spend about an hour or two at night catching up with the posts that showed up in my reader during the day.

FOWC with Fandango — Schedule

FOWCWelcome to September 7, 2018 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “schedule.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

Aptitude for Attitude

I leaned something new yesterday. There’s this thing called a slug. I’m not talking about one of those slimy things that slowly slithers across the sidewalk leaving a filmy mucus trail behind it. Yuck.DD7E9250-3753-477C-A787-172AB6B99FDBNo, the slug I’m referring to is a tool that websites use to be accessed. URL slugs are the exact address of a specific webpage. It is the location where webpages are accessed when their URLs are typed in the address bar. It essentially is used to create a permalink for each post. WordPress automatically generates a post slug from the post’s title. For example, the slug for this post is “aptitude-for-attitude.”

So why is this important? Allow me to explain. You know I host a daily word challenge. Well, I’ll let you in on a secret. I generally create these posts about a week in advance and then schedule them to post at 12:01 am Pacific Time on the appropriate day. So far so good, right?

One of the posts I scheduled in advance was yesterday’s post, which was the word “attitude.” When I originally scheduled this post, it was for the word “aptitude.” But a few days ago, I decided to change the word to “attitude.” I changed the post’s title. I changed the word “aptitude” to “attitude” in the body of the post, and I also changed the tag to “attitude.”

What I failed to do was to look at the scheduled post’s slug. I mean who knows to check the slug? Turns out the slug said “fowc-with-fandango-aptitude,” even though I had changed the post’s title to “FOWC With Fandango — Attitude.”B8D7D1E8-3679-4912-98F9-908FCD700AE7When I changed the title of the post, it did not also change the slug correspondingly. Remember earlier when I wrote “WordPress automatically generates post slugs from a post’s title”? Well, that apparently only happens the first time you either initially publish or schedule the post. If you change or update the post later*, it doesn’t update the slug.

And this apparently led to some confusion, as a few bloggers wrote their posts in response to the One-Word Challenge built around the word “aptitude “ and not “attitude.”

As soon as I saw this, I went back to the post and manually changed the slug to read “fowc-with-fandango-attitude.”

So if you have ever either scheduled a post and then change the post’s title before it’s published, or if you’ve published a post and change its title after it was published, be sure to check and update your slug.

You’re welcome!

*This is not the case with draft posts. If it’s a draft, when you change the title, the slug will also change. It’s only once the post has been scheduled or published that it doesn’t change the slug if you change the post’s title.

Sunday Photo Fiction — The Bus Stop

img_0971“Excuse me,” Edgar said to a man passing in front of him. “Do you have the time?”

The passerby sized up the man wearing what looked like those bright orange Home Depot vests and answered, “Sure, I got the time, if you got the beer.” The man laughed and continued to walk past Edgar.

“Asshole,” Edgar said under his breath, remembering the old commercial for Miller High Life beer.

When an older woman walked in front of him, he asked her if she knew what time it was. She stopped, looked at her watch, and answered, “It’s two-twenty.”

Edgar reached into his pocket and pulled out the printed bus schedule. The next bus was scheduled to arrive at 2:45, so he had another 25 minutes of waiting in the cold drizzle at the uncovered bus stop.

He put the schedule back in his pocket and went back to reading his newspaper when a young girl approached him and offered him an umbrella. “My father wanted me to give this to you,” she said, handing it to him before running back to the limousine where her father was waiting for her.

(200 words)

Written for today’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Photo credit: A Mixed Bag.

I Need A New Mnemonic

6B42606A-5F18-4756-9521-24EC0BEF75AFThe first time I heard the word “mnemonic” was in music class back in junior high school. The teacher told us that she was going to give us a mnemonic that would allow us to remember the notes on the music scale. To this day, I remember that mnemonic, but I’ve yet to learn how to read music.

I think we could use a few new mnemonics. How about one to help me remember than the word “mnemonic,” starts with a silent m?

Or how about one to remind me to never write a post late at night on my iPhone while in bed and schedule that post to be published in the wee hours of the morning without having thoroughly proofed it?

Late last night I wrote a post for today’s “Song Lyric Sunday” prompt from Helen Vahdati. But it was still Saturday at around 11 pm when I finished drafting it, and I didn’t want it to be published until Sunday morning. Because, you know, the prompt isn’t “Song Lyric Late Saturday Night.”

So I scheduled the post, which was about the Steely Dan song, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” to be published at 3 am. When I woke up at 6:30 this morning, I checked to see if it had posted successfully. And there it was for all the world to see.

Except the title of the post was “Don’t Lise That Number.” Sheesh. I hate when that happens.

So I need a new mnemonic. Maybe PYPITTBHP, which stands for “Proofread Your Post, Including The Title, Before Hitting Publish.” That should be an easy one to remember.