#TBT – When You’re Tired, You Should Never Play With Your… (2015) #writerwednesday #wordpress

Focus

Photo credit: dkalo / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

(Repost from 2015)

I was tired and sleepy. But instead of going to bed like a normal person would, there I was, playing around with the WordPress templates to see if I could freshen up my blog.

I was debating it since it took me so long to tweak what you see right now. You see, when I first started on WP, I spent an entire weekend figuring out the difference between pages, posts, tags and categories. It was frustrating but definitely a learning experience.

You’d think that I now know enough to test out new templates without screwing up my current one, right?

Wrong.

I hit Customize instead of Try and my blog went haywire.

After more than a little panic, I undid the damage but that definitely took the sleep out of my eyes.

This lesson just adds to my already long list of things not to do, especially when I’m tired.

If it ain’t broke and it’s working just fine, maybe it’s best to leave it alone.

Except for the widgets. Well, maybe the widgets and the menu…

Are you thinking about freshening up your blog? 

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Originally posted on December 20, 2015.

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Are All Writers Introverts? #writerwednesday #writerslife

Photo credit: hang_in_there via Foter.com / CC BY

Naturally, all writers are not introverts.

But most of the blogs and books that I read are written by self-proclaimed introverts – the kind of writers who grew up spending lots of time in their own thoughts and who thoroughly enjoy their own company.

One of the items on my 52/52 list is to stay at home in my pyjamas for an entire weekend and not leave the house so yeah, I’m an introvert. But I’m by no means shy…well, at least not for a very long time.

This Huffington Post article lists 23 signs to determine if you are introvert.

My score?

21/23 but I won’t tell you the two I “missed”. 😊

But since I told you my score, you’ll need to tell me yours. How do you score in this article below?

“23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert”

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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Don’t Be A Jerk (2016) #tbt #writerwednesday

Respect usually begets respect and the only place nastiness will get you is…nowhere.

no nope nah black girls black girl

http://giphy.com/gifs/blackgirlmagic-mhp-melissa-harris-perry-3oEjHYuwHzWUW4uses

Your blog is where you express yourself, offer your perspective and invite readers into your world.

When readers agree with you, you feel a sense of satisfaction that they understand what you are saying. And even when readers disagree with you, you’re okay with it because they’ve explained their point of view in a respectful manner.

But what do you do when a reader leaves you a comment telling you that your point of view is wrong, stupid and that you have no idea what you’re talking about?

I was reading a blog where the post was related to “you know what and you know who” and some of the comments from one specific reader were ridiculously rude. I should also add that the blogger was simply giving their perspective in a very non-offensive manner and that it was obvious that the reader did not take the time to read the entire post…

Okay, it’s no surprise that politics, racism, sexism and discrimination against specific groups are topics where people get passionate about getting their point of view across.

But I was astounded at how this blogger choose to keep “engaging” with that reader’s nasty comments and personal attacks…a reader who truly did not fully read the entire post.

Look, everyone has a right to speak their truth, no matter how “alternative” or diametrically opposed it may be to your way of thinking.

But no one has the right to be disrespectful or nasty towards you.

My finger will never hesitate to click on Spam, Trash and/or Block if it disrespects me, another blogger in my comments section, a certain group or an entire community of people.

I don’t know about you but I have no interest in wasting precious time, energy or words to entertain those who are disrespectful towards others.

tamar braxton tamar aint nobody got time for that

http://giphy.com/gifs/tamar-braxton-aint-nobody-got-time-for-that-rX9dPaJHRJt7i

If you disagree with a blogger’s point of view and want to comment, do it in a mindful and respectful way. Use your words in conjunction with your brain and try to clearly explain why you disagree.

If what you read truly gets under your skin, skip to another blog or just “unfollow”.

And if you’re itching to be rude and disrespectful, don’t bother commenting at all. It’s not worth your time arguing with “hate”. Spend that time promoting “love” on your own blog.

Respect usually begets respect and the only place nastiness will get you is…nowhere.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

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What Genre Are You? #amwriting #writing #writerslife

 

Like I said  in “All I Ask“, I’m answering questions I receive from time to time…this is question #2.

Well, Felicia from Nesie’s Place beat me to the punch with a question I had planned on tackling next month on a #WriterWednesdays but she’s quick on the draw like that and I like it! Always full of great insight, I encourage you to check out her blog here and while you’re at it, you should pick up one of her three books. Yes, I said THREE books!

There is no time like the present…

What Genre Am I?”

I already know that the closest genres to my writing are Romance and Women’s Fiction but after a little digging, I’m still not sure into which my writing would fit. Would it be Women’s Fiction with heavy dose of Romance for added flavor?

We all know what Romance is but do we know how it differs from Women’s Fiction?

“A romance novel focuses entirely and completely on the romantic relationship and guarantees a happy ending for the heroine and hero. Women’s fiction focuses on a woman’s journey, wherever that may take her and whatever that may encompass. Though usually emotionally satisfying, a happy ending is not an expectation…The confusion between women’s fiction and pure romance sometimes occurs because the above elements of romance and a happy ending may also appear in women’s fiction. Yet, neither is a requirement in that genre.” – Writer’s Digest
“The Rules of Romance Novels are clear. The narrative must revolve 100% around the two characters involved—the Hero and his heroine (the H/h) and it must always (always always always) end happily….it must be About The Romance, keep all other elements as secondary, and it must end on a happy note with a little angst thrown in for good measure and satisfied fans. “Women’s fiction” is a much broader category with a single rule: a woman’s experience is at the heart and soul of the narrative. This woman can fall in and out of love, she can cheat or get cheated on…she can be young or old or in-between and it could also be set just about anywhere or any time…” – Writer’s Digest

It’s clear that my “Living to Die” novella falls into the “Women’s fiction” category with no fuss and no muss. But my novella wasn’t a creative piece I had planned on so it doesn’t count. It just developed organically during the A to Z Challenge because of something I was experiencing at the time.

But as for the stories closer to my heart and always on my mind, the ones I have planned for my characters, only time will tell where those will fit. Writing realistic and flawed characters (who sometimes have no regrets about those flaws)…Characters who could be living next door to you…A little cliffhanger or two…Issues of “diversity” sprinkled…That’s more my style…

But what about stories that provide the male protagonist perspective like Tyler? Would that still considered as “Women’s fiction”?

If you know the answer, feel free to tell me.

In the meantime, I’m going to follow the advice that someone gave me recently:

Stop thinking about it, write your story and figure out the genre later.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews

 

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Go F***** Yourself – 9 Tips #tbt #bloggingtip #amblogging #amwriting #blogger

Photo credit: Blogging Librarian via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Edited from original post – July 25, 2016

Do yourself a favor and go FOLLOW yourself.

From the day I started on WP with the Writing 101 course, I was curious to see what my posts would look like to others in the community so I “followed” myself. It was a great learning experience because I immediately saw where I needed adjustments to format, fonts, widgets and other settings and I still tweak elements every so often.

I’m far from being an expert but I thought that I’d share a few tips I have learned .

Here are my 9 tips:

1. Enable “Reblog” for each of your posts, that is, if you don’t mind others giving you credit and wanting to share your awesome work. Using the WP reblog function will automatically let the original blogger/writer know that the post has been shared. I try to remember to “disable” comments redirect the reader to comment directly on the original creator-blogger’s site. As far as I’m concerned, they wrote it so they should have all the credit.

2. Enable “Share” for social media like Twitter, Facebook, etc. if you don’t mind others sharing your posts (similar rationale as #1);

3. Properly enable “Pingbacks to other bloggers so that they know that you mentioned them. It’s happened a few times where I’ll be catching up on my blog reading, see my name mentioned in someone’s post because we exchanged on a topic, etc. and I never said thank you/acknowledged the mention simply because I didn’t know. Being Canadian, I like to be polite…sorry. 🙂

4. Enable “Like” for each of your posts, even in the WP digest email settings. If there’s no “Like” button for your post that the reader can simply “tap” when using the email digest, they may skip it and you’ll never know if they enjoyed your post;

5. If your WP template allows for it, use a slightly LARGER print and darker font for the more “mature” readers. My theme doesn’t seem to have the possibility of a darker font but I’ll be asking the next time I chat with a WP rep;

6. Enable for “Full” text (and not just a Summary) for users reading via the WP daily/weekly digest by email. Additional clicks and links may deter those readers like in #4;

7. Direct your blog to the correct URL. I can’t tell you the number of times I read a comment, click on the blogger’s profile/blog name and I’ll get an error message like “unable to retrieve posts”, “blog no longer exists”, etc. If bloggers can’t easily see what your blog is about, they can’t easily follow you back;

8. “Public” versus “Private”. Unless you really want readers to ask for permission to read your blog, ensure that your blog is listed as “public”; and

9. Avoid lots of colored fonts. When I developed content for an e-learning tool a few years ago, an adaptive technology specialist explained that colored fonts can be problematic for readers suffering from visual impairments such as low vision, color-blindness or difficulty in adapting to changes in brightness. Yes, I also think that color is cute but  I’ve also seen first-hand how frustrating reading can be for those with certain vision issues so I personally try to minimize my use.

Bonus: Shorter posts. In these fast-paced times, readers want quick and easy. Something quick to read while waiting for the bus, a take-out order or at the doctor’s office. I admire Seth Godin‘s posts that are deep, thought-provoking yet short. I’m still trying to work on being “short”.

Calling all writers and bloggers, what tips would YOU like to share?

©2017 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

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Breaking My Blog #writerwednesday #writerslife

Cutting back on the blog is my way of getting more time to edit my novella.

I gave myself 10 days to edit and revise 10 pages per day, knowing full well that there would be a few bumps. I’m about 20 pages behind schedule but if I don’t get distracted by another sappy Hallmark movie, I’ll catch up on the weekend.

There is only so much I can do in 24 hours but I sometimes have a hard time remembering that. Purposely “underwriting”, editing my posts less and reposting older content is helping me find more time.

I also keep reminding myself that my goal is to publish my fiction, not post on the daily.

I may have a bunch of followers but I don’t kid myself into thinking that they are waiting with bated breath for each of my posts!

So to keep reminding myself of my goal, I’ll be “breaking my blog” bit by bit to post more about the “writing process” and writing in general.

I’m a writer who blogs to hone my skills, share my musings and exchange with YOU in the wonderful world of WP.

Which begs the question:

“Are you a writer who blogs or a blogger who writes?”

M xoxo

 

 

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My “Pet Peeves” #blogging # writing #writer

Photo credit: anyjazz65 via Foter.com / CC BY

Like I said in “All I Ask“, I’ll be answering some of the questions you’ve asked me from time to time…this is question #1.

And today, I have an excuse to vent a few of my pet peeves. You can blame Julie from Facets of a Muse who nominated me for an “award” a while back. And though my blog is an award free zone, I decided that I would answer one of the 11 questions – the one about my pet peeves. I invite you to check out Julie’s latest post here.

Okay so in no specific order, here are random things that peeve me. You can judge me silently…

  • People who use their speakerphones or have Facetime conversations in waiting rooms (especially at the hospital) to pass the time. Have they forgotten that they are NOT within the four walls of their home and that no one else is interested in being part of their conversation? Just leave the waiting area and go outside!

  • Do not call and tell me that you have “something really important to tell me but I’ll you later“. How about you say NOTHING until you can really tell me later? If your intention is to freak me out until you do tell me, you will have succeeded. And the next time I see you in person, you will be cruisin’ for a brusin’ if it turns out to not be serious.

  • Being the only one in a washroom with a bunch of empty stalls and someone decides to occupy the one right next to mine. Really? Are you kidding me?

  • A waiter, chef or anyone else handling my food with a beard long enough to require a rubber band or its own postal code (zipcode for the Americans out there). BTW, I have no clue who this guy is…he just has the perfect rubber band for my example;

  • Hair in the bathtub, sink or on the soap…GROSS. Wash it down the drain, pick it off the soap, I don’t care what you do – just get rid of it please!

  • Why is it that the “pants on the ground” style is still around? I don’t need to see your knock off brand-named underwear and though I may have a slight aversion to “skinny” pants, I’ll take that over stupid pants any day.

  • Being on hold for FOREVER with your doctor’s office/airline company/service provider/etc only to get cut off as soon as an agent picks up;

  • A “man bun” if you don’t have the swagger to pull it off or the additional “accessories” to distract me away from the said bun because my eyes are glued somewhere else.  I may give you a pass if you’re an older surfer dude like my Galen character in “Living To Die”. 

There are plenty of others but those are just a few of the pet peeves that came to me.

What are some of yours?

I promise not to judge…well, at least not out loud. 🙂

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

 

 

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