#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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Catching “Feels” #writerwednesday #writerslife #feels 

Photo credit: Tamara Álvarez via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Like I said  in “All I Ask“, I’m answering questions I receive from time to time…this is question #3.

In a comment a while back, a fellow blogger friend from the 2017 A to Z Challenge, Geraint from Penguin Ponderings, asked me where I get my “feels” from in my fiction. I invite you to check out Geraint’s blog for some great stories. He also posts some beautiful shots of wildlife on Instagram.

It’s not the first time I’ve been asked that question about “feels”. I know what it refers to but not being 100% certain of what the proper definition is, I turned to the trusty Urban Dictionary:

“Feels”:

  • Shortened version of ‘feeling’, generally a strong emotional response;
  • A wave of emotions that sometimes cannot be adequately explained;
  • A word used to describe something that is intensely emotional on a level somewhere between you feeling empty and you on the floor in a ball weeping uncontrollably.

Okay, so I would not categorize my writing by that last one but you get the point.

Like many others who write fiction, I get my “feels” by tapping into experiences and situations that have challenged me. Usually, I don’t have to dig that far.

I enjoy taking a scene to the basic underlying emotions that we all have, translating those feelings beyond words into “visuals” and having those scenes resonate enough to provoke a physical reaction…hopefully.

For me, a “feel” is successful if I find myself rewinding or rereading a certain part of a movie or book over and over again.

If I get the very same “pang” in my chest each and every time I reread or rewatch, that’s a “successful feel” for me, like that final fight scene of JLo’s movie “Enough” or Maya Angelou‘s “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” and her other autobiographical books.

Emotions are emotions:

  • that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know that you aren’t safe (“The Things Women Go Through“);
  • washing your hands clean of someone you used to love for good and finally meaning it (“Gone“) ;
  • allowing yourself to give into sweet temptation and not caring about the consequences (“Straight, No Chaser“); or
  • shutting yourself down to cope with the consequences of a bad situation (“Stronger“).

“Feels” are all about the good, the bad and the ugly of our emotions.

And what about you? How deep do you dig to get the “feels” for your writing?

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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Willy Wonka And The Baby Factory

I’m minding my own business and doing my thing on the beach. But I can’t help overhearing a conversation between a small group of men sitting nearby having a “good old boys” time.

Like so many who fly down to PR just for the weekend, it’s clear that these “boys” are in town to party and that the Medalla drinking and cigar puffing is part of the pre-party festivities.

My ears perk up when one of the men starts talking about his latest baby momma. I try not to judge people but I can’t help myself with him.  It’s clear that the children he has are from multiple women and that he sees it as some kind of warped badge of honor.

I’m already rolling my eyes behind my sunglasses but my eyes bug out when he says, “I tell you man, these females are sooo tricky. Always getting themselves pregnant so that they can trap you into paying for them.”

Females?

Always getting themselves pregnant?

Paying for them?

I take a closer look at him and truly wonder what woman in her right mind would let him within 10 feet of her whooha but to each her own taste.

I text a friend to share my judgmental thoughts and almost die with laughter at her response:

“Total loser! If he chose not to cover his d*** before he did the deed, the only asshole to blame is himself. He probably Willy Wonka’ed some poor girl who was too young to know better.”

Me:

“Are you watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory again?”

Friend:

“Yup. It’s part of a Johnny Depp movie marathon on tv. How did you know?”

Me:

“Just a good guess.”

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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