Thursday, October 27, 2005

More on blogging

In my January 29, 2005 blog on, well, blogging, I talked about whether blogging takes time away from your writing. One of my blog visitors wrote to me recently and asked me to go more into blogs, so here goes.

Now that I have had this blog for nine months, I have a few more things to say about blogs and why I think they are a good thing. And how I avoid having my blog take time away from writing.

First off, I blog irregularly--as you know, if you've been checking in here. Once, twice a week at most. I know some bloggers who post long blogs almost daily and while I like to read their blogs, I can't personally keep this up. It would take time away from writing, for sure.

But here's the thing....I have tracking software that allows me to see where most of the activity is, in regards to my web site and what I have seen is that this blog seems to generate the most hits.

I started my blog because my editor at Harcourt thought it would be a great way to keep my Web site fresh, without having to revise the web site itself. When you have a web site, you need to give folks a reason to return. This blog seems to do that. Of course now and then we add features to the web site--there's the TV show I did with Barry Kibrick, on my site, and I've begun archiving radio shows. And soon I will start posting chapters on my web site that didn't make it into Pen on Fire.

There you have it--my three cents on why to blog and how to not let it rob time from your writing. (Other things, frankly, have the ability to take time from my writing more than blogging does....!)

Hopefully this answers your questions....!

Why it's trouble posting comments

First I want to tell you why you cannot leave anonymous comments anymore: Because I was receiving so many frivolous comments--not rude, just Web site promos and, well, yukky spam.

So I decided to only accept comments from registered users. I apologize for the hassle, but, frankly, not a lot of people, I find, comment anyway, or they write to me personally, and I just grew tired of spending time tossing comments into the trash.

That said, I would love to hear your comments! I hope you'll take the time to register with if you haven't already.

More soon.....

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Archive is up--finally!

We finally have four radio shows archived on my Web site, thanks to Rob Roy and Dave Mosso. And more will be coming in the future. One is with literary agent John Ware, another is with narrative nonfiction author Judy Blunt and novelist Robert Stone, and the third is Ron Carlson, short story writer.

Go here and click on the right side of the screen where it says "audio archive."


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

When you need to get your butt out of the chair

Usually it's a fight to make yourself sit long enough to get some writing done, but sometimes you just need to get up and shake out those muscles--something writers are lax about.

I don't know many writers who like to exercise. In my Southern California neighborhood, I certainly know a fair number of people who like to exercise, who go to the gym or work out with a trainer or run, and love it. I always look at these people with a bit of amazement. That anyone would love to exercise is beyond me. It's an admirable trait, one that I don't possess.

Maybe it's genetic. No one in my family has been an exerciser. My Aunt Teresa used to walk a ton (which may be why she lived to be in her late 80s, for the most part all healthy years).

But I went for my annual the other week and my doctor ran blood tests--the usual ones--and they came back pretty okay except for my cholesterol, which was a bit elevated. Not much, but enough for me to remember my mother had high cholesterol and my grandmother had some strokes, and maybe it was time to pay attention to such things.

I worked on my diet a bit, which is not all that bad; I gave up meat more than 20 years ago. So I cut out some butter, some cheese, ice cream. But exercise was the thing I really needed to work on. I walk now and then, but when I had a dog I walked a ton. No longer.

A friend told me about a Pilates DVD--Gaiam's Pilates for Weight Loss. The narrator doesn't baby talk to you and the beachy setting is gorgeous. So I started doing the 30 minute workout.

Then I made another discovery, something that is so motivating, to this writer, anyway: Books on tape (or CD). Now it's fun to go on Long Walks, because I get to listen to a book. It makes me want to walk longer, take the long route, circle the block to get to the end of a chapter. I listened to Anne Tyler's A Patchwork Planet and John LaCarre's The Constant Gardener this way, and now I'm listening to Ian McEwan's Saturday.

So if you have trouble getting out of the chair, stock up on some books on tape, lace on those tennis shoes, and take to the streets. Not only will you be healthier, you'll have more energy for writing. (I sound like a regular cheerleader, but I swear, I was never one in high school....)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I'm not ignoring you...

I really do mean to post more here but lately, I'm just about as busy as I can stand--all with things I choose to do and enjoy doing, but still. There are limits. I just haven't found mine.

Working to finish a book proposal (tweaking takes forever but is necessary) for my agent. Working on fiction. Teaching two online classes, one class at UC-Irvine extension, two private workshops--one weekly, one biweekly. My radio show. My job editing The ASJA Monthly.

Of course there's my son and my husband, the cats and the fish. There are the trips to Toyota to get maintenance for the car, trips to the acupunturist to get maintenance for me, the markets, the library and such. I can imagine if I watched TV, I'd really have no time at all.

And so my blog suffers. I'm sorry! I love blogs. Here is one I check out daily: click here to go there. And more I like: Aunt Violet's rant, The Tranquilo Traveler, and The Yarn Harlot. I could list a ton more blogs. Once you start, there's no end, seeing how there's a zillion blogs being published right this very second.

If you have a writing-related blog, post it in comments; I'd like to check it out.