Blizzard in Calabash – 24 February 2015

P1290012-SNOWHere it is, the Great February Calabash Blizzard of 2015 and I am stuck in the middle of it. It’s my first winter here in southeastern North Carolina, the land of sparkling, sunny beaches, young girls in skimpy bikinis, and old men wearing sandals and black socks. I’m one of the old men, I just skip the black socks.

Today is not a day for beaches, bikinis, or black socks. There’s a blizzard going on. It’s starting to look like Boston outside.

No, not really. I made that up. And the picture is from a different year and a different location. What we do have is a light snow and sleet mix falling right now. When I get a little more daylight, I’ll update this with today’s pictures.

Whatever falls is going to be a mess for us here in the land of the sparkling, sunny beaches.

Blogging 101 | Post 3 – ‘ritin’ rampage!

cropped-new_writesomethingtoday1.jpgDecision to Quit

When I signed up for this course, I decided come hell or high water, I would complete it this time. I got behind, as expected, woefully behind. In fact, this is only my third post of the sixteen assignments we’ve been given so far. I actually decided this past weekend that I was going to give up on this again.

What Decision?

I woke up this morning and changed my mind. I decided, right or wrong, that I am going to get caught up before Friday and complete this course – finally. So, I’m starting a writing marathon, no, like the title says, a ‘ritin’ rampage. That’s what I’m going to do – go on a freaking rampage and write thousands and thousands of words and publish them all.
Let’s get started with this.

All good boys deserve a favor.

Four score and twenty years ago.

Whistle while you work.

Fly away little Starling…fly, fly, fly.

Ooooops!

Sorry about that! Those quotes are completely unrelated to the topic at hand. They were just some poor, pitiful attempts at humor from poor, pitiful me. The topic is writing to get caught up, and I am starting with today’s assignment, since it’s easy – it’s already done.

Sharing and Publicizing, Oh My!

This is the real assignment for today, and like I said, I am already doing it. Currently, whenever I publish something on this blog, it automatically notifies or posts on these social media services: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, and Path. I have to admit though, either all the articles I’ve shared on social media were lousy, or the people who look at my social media sites aren’t interested in reading. Who knows, but I’ll keep at it.

So, This One is Done

The rampage is started, the coffee is flowing, and somehow the words are falling out of my brain onto the keyboard. Call this assignment done, if you will. If not, I will. Next up, I believe, will be a two-fer, if I can make it work.

Stay tuned!

Blogging 101 | Post 2 – Did the Photo Entice You?

Winslow SunsetAbout The Photo

First, let me ask you a question. Did the photo entice you in any way to read this post? Was there any appeal? Do you think you would have bothered to read this without the photo? We’ll get back to this in a few minutes.

Failure to Lunch

It’s well past lunchtime. I decided not to take part, again. I’m too involved with the coffee I am still drinking, again. And I guess you might say I am involved with writing for this course. Again! I tried this past weekend to get caught up, though if I’m honest, I didn’t try very hard. Staying up all night to watch 12 straight hours of The Walking Dead then sleeping most of the following day doesn’t qualify as writing for this blog.

My Title and Tagline

But I am here now, missing lunch and drinking my coffee, to get back on track. As I said previously, I am determined to complete this course this time. The post I wrote for my earlier attempt to complete Blogging 101 pretty much covers my thoughts on my title and tagline. They both still describe what I want to accomplish with this blog. I’m not changing them.

Quoting My Own Article – Cool!

Although this is pretty cool, quoting myself is not the real purpose. Since I have blogged here for a while, I’m going to share a couple of tidbits that I have learned and wrote about. The quotes come from the article I published last November.

While we are taking this course, we kind of have a captive, willing, and participative audience. We all want other BU101er’s to read and comment, and maybe even follow our blogs. Michelle gives us the assignments and guidance, we do the work (even when it’s late) and post our links to The Commons, which gets us interacting with each other.

When this course is finished, and you start posting in the “Wild World of WordPress,” without the benefit of The Commons, this is what happens.

You write and write and write and edit and revise and write and edit and revise some more. Finally, you get ready to hit that publish button. First, though, you need to get your categories set and then pick your oh-so-important tags. Then you hit that magic button.

Within seconds, your post makes it to the top of the list for the tags you selected. For example, suppose you chose blogging as a tag. If you looked at the WordPress tag cloud page and selected the blogging tag, you would end up on this page, where you would find your post at or near the top of the page. But not for long! As soon as more bloggers post their content, they capture the top spot, and just like on Google, the top is the prime page real estate. That is why I wrote this.

Exposure [on WordPress], I believe, is a momentary piece of timing and luck. In other words, you have a very short period of time for readers to view your post and be compelled enough to read it and decide if it merits enough effort to investigate your blog further.~Rich Richardson, from my post Writing Success on WordPress

Back to the Picture

You’ve figured out by now that the photo is not related in any way to content in this post. That is why I asked the questions. Go back to the page with the blogging tags. Scan down and look at several posts. How many do you see with a photo at the top? I’ll venture that more than half of them do. My picture is there to entice you to read this, and if it helped at all, it served its purpose. That is why I wrote this, which is quoted from the same article.

Third: I believe anything you post is going to fail the timing and exposure tests unless you have a great, or at least good photo to go along with it. I believe this based on my own experience: To date, I have published 88 posts to this blog. Of those 88, the top three posts with the most “Likes” all included decent photographs. In descending order, they are: Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life | 2, “Super Sport” | Photo Challenge – Letters, and Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life.~Rich Richardson, from my post Writing Success on WordPress

 Good Writers Write Good

Good writing, as with any other endeavor, requires mastering the fundamentals. For me, it means once again reviewing the basics, which is why I decided to enroll in the Coursera course Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade. It provides a really good review of the basic mechanics of writing English prose.

I’m also enrolled in Pre-College English, a free, online course from Saylor Academy.

If you feel like you need help with your writing, by all means keep writing, but find a course that suits you. There are plenty of offerings on the ‘net – just look.

Good luck to all.