Pre writing basics

Happy Tuesday morning. Or Welcome to Dark Tuesday, if you’re a World of Warcraft player. Today is usually maintenance day and the game is offline for several hours while Blizzard does their touch up tasks. Time for those players who are greatly addicted to the game to do their wash, take a shower and shampoo, clean their bathrooms, call their mommies, etc.

Today I want to get started writing about my 48 hour film school course. (I also need to start doing the course.) I have enough gear (lacking studio lights) to get started and I haven’t. I still haven’t come up with a product nor a give away even after all these months (Years?) and have been using that as an excuse for not doing a lot of things.

I believe that to be successful in getting started in this project, I need to define a product. What do I have to offer that could be that product? I believe that my knowledge of WordPress, Genesis Framework and the child theme, Dynamik would be a good focus. I could create a give away of a document that shows how to set up and configure a basic website.

The giveaway could be a PDF document or a screencast. This could include getting a domain name and a web host, connecting them via nameservers whose addresses come from the host, creating a subdomain or an addon domain on the host, installing and configuring WordPress, then installing Genesis Framework and Dynamik.

After showing them how to get things set up, I could then create a product that shows the method of creating a website using these tools that are in place and ready to go.

I documented the first process already. It needs some cleaning up and bells and whistles but all the detail is there.

I now need a website project to use as the model for the second process. I’m working with friend and mentor, Jan on a rewrite of her website. Bob has indicated that he and I may work together on a website for his emerging project ideas. I could use Mining My Mind, my just started website  as an example and then there’s always the possibilities of creating an anonymous website. As a matter of fact, I like Mining My Mind because it’s my creation and I don’t mind it if gets negative or positive attention.

MiningMyMind.com is an example of a writer’s platform. It is a log of the creation of a book and the writing process involved therein. So far, I only have content in a section weirdly labeled as “Writer’s Block” which contains 5 or 6 submenus, each linking to a  writing prompt and my interpretation of it.

Thinking: Could this website be the writer’s platform for this project?
NOTE: Need a name for this project. Got to make it real. I guess since it is my project and it will be the only writing project for awhile, I could call it one of those really obvious and unremarkable names like “My Writing Project” or MWP for short. Yep, MWP it is.

Larry Brooks and other of my influences are big on outlines. So, I need to create two outlines for my two products – my give away and my premium thingees.

Thinking: Is an outline the first step in the writing process? I’m not sure. I like doodling around on a piece of printer paper placed in landscape mode on my drawing surface and creating sort of a mind map. An outline can come from that. But, wait…isn’t a mind map a visual outline? It is but it is difficult to include a mind map inside a textual document. But, I have a mind mapping application that can use the existing visual map to create a textual outline or even a web page. The one I use is called iMindMap but there are several digital mind map generators.

Maybe I should outline this process I’m presently describing. So that would be at least 3 outlines (or mind maps). My problem always seems to be a matter of technique rather than of process. How to do I do this? Where do I store it? How do I retrieve it? So many details bug me. Why can’t I adhere to the keep it simple, stupid advice? KISS it, Lindsey.

I bought a book on outlining, for goodness sakes! I think that all the students of my generation learned how to create an outline using pencil and paper and numbering the major topics with capital Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV) and subtopics with smaller Roman numbers (i, ii, iii, iv).  That was, and is, simple. DO IT!

So, for today I will create at least one outline on a piece of printer paper that shows what I need to do to start the MWP (my writing project, remember?) I will scan and include that early outline (mind map) in tomorrow’s blog for posterity.

About this session: Today I began writing at 5:45am and wrote continuously within the 750words.com interface and stayed pretty much on topic for about half an hour with 919 words. The process was about getting ideas from my head into some kind of physical display. The desired outcome will be initially a physical hand drawn mindmap leading to a digital outline or perhaps a digital mind map that can be incorporated into my Exploring New Media blog.

Total 750words.com words since September 8, 2013 are 275,331

Music for today is on Spotify and may be found under the title “Study Music Academy”.

Talking About Writing

A couple of days ago, I was a guest at the Northwest Austin Business Connections (NWABC), one of the oldest Austin meetups I know. They’ve been at it for over 25 years. The person who invited me (Lorraine Ayliffe) has been a member for a least 25 years and she thinks that she may have joined somewhere after the group’s third year. That’s a long time for a group of people to continue an effort.

Long story short, she invited me to speak to the group and I attended a meeting to get a flavor for what the group dynamic was. I have been a member of another networking group and the difference between it and this one is immense. NWABC is like a bunch of friends getting together to share business leads with each other on the order of, “I can’t do that but I know someone who can.” Lorraine is also a web developer and she did not feel threatened by the thought of me, also a web developer, being a member of the same group. “We’re here to cooperate”, she said.

So I volunteered to speak to the group on June 25th, 2014 at 12 noon at the Pizza Bistro at 12001 Burnet Road, Austin, Texas. This document is my first effort to discuss with myself what I will be doing.

Questions I need to resolve:
01. How long should my talk be? Need to allow for some questions but perhaps not too many. Should leave them wanting more of me.
02. Is there a means of connecting my computer to an existing projector? Or do I wing it without digital support?
03. Exactly how do I refine my writing topic?

Outline:
How I started – number 2 pencil, big chief tablet
How I continued – college, Wife of Bath parody based on some of my acquaintances in Hazard, Ky
Recent re emphasis -
Free Writing for the Challenge 2013
750 words a day with 750words.com
NaNoWriMo – 50,000 words in 30 days
Creative Writing 101 course

Aside: Big Chief is being done by American Trademark Publishing located in Brookshire, Texas in the Houston vicinity

My first memory of writing as a process of putting letters and numbers to the paper as opposed to composition was in the first grade at the Broadway Grade School in Hazard, Kentucky in the middle of the last century.
I remember that my tools at that time included a couple of number 2 Dixon pencils and a Big Chief tablet. The tablet cover showed the uppercase and lowercase alphabet that I struggled to imitate. The pencils had short lives since I spent a lot of time at the pencil sharpener creating just the right sharpness.
I can remember grasping the pencil in a death grip and trying to correctly write my name. I’d flip from the page I was writing on to the cover for constant verification that I was correctly forming the letter of the moment. Usually the tip of my tongue would be visible.

Aside: I see the same behavior in my 2 year old grandson today. But he is only 2 and on him, it’s cute. On me? Well…

The years passed. I wrote as necessary to do homework. I wrote occasional letters to distant family members – but no more than I had to. My college days were pretty hit and miss at first. I joined the Air Force right out of high school and because of numerous geographic changes ended up attending 7 colleges and or universities before finally settling down to get my BS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

I got around to taking Freshman English there and did a 10 page parody of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath from the Canterbury Tales. MY characters were based on people I had known in my hometown of Hazard, Kentucky. My English teacher gave me high marks for this project and counseled me a couple of times about becoming more professionally involved with writing. It had been fun doing that one paper but I had no desire to continue.

Fast forward MANY years to 2013. I signed up for the Challenge 2013, an annual event conducted by Ed Dale and crew since about 2005. This year he showed how to create and publish an eBook on the Amazon Kindle bookstore. But… I didn’t. But I did learn a lot from a daily lesson each day of September.

I particularly remember the 8th day of September 2013. That’s the day that our exercise was free writing.

The assignment was something like “choose a subject and write about it continuously for 5 minutes.” I set a timer for 5 minutes and began writing about whatever came to mind. At one point, I bogged down and in order to “write continuously” I wrote “blah, blah, blah” which was enough to jog me out of my funk. I continued to write beyond the 5 minute goal and felt very satisfied with the effort and the result.

So much so, that I joined a writing group called 750words.com where my new writing goal was (is) to write at least 750 words every day. Success? Yes, I’m still doing that. This is the 222nd day out of the last 223 days that I have done that.  271,842 since September 8, 2013.

Not only that, but I participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) event in November 2013. The goal was to write at least 50,000 words during the month of November. I wrote 51,547. Not a novel but focused single topic writing.

I continue to write each day much in the vein as you are now reading. As I read back over this article, I am glad to see that I have a working model for my June presentation. Just have to firm and tone it so that my listeners don’t go all glassy eyed and fall off their chairs.

Na shledanou!

Thoughts About Time and Writing

Thursday – one strange day of the week. Almost but not quite through the work week.

When I started up the work week on Monday, today was not even a faint thought. Monday was then the present and Thursday was the future. Now Thursday is the present and Monday is the past. Time is so confusing. May I used the cliched example of time being like a river? Thank you.

To me, time is like a river that continuously moves me along with no chance of a physical return. Pause to think about that. Hmmm. Okay, that works for me. The things I did yesterday are already dimming in my mind UNLESS they made a big impression at the time in which case, I’ll remember them a bit longer.

Let’s explore that a bit. [Read more...]

Thought about becoming more beholding

Just when I thought that I was only beholding to a handful of my folks (family), I got involved in a brainstorming session with friends Jan and John at the Business Success Center. We were looking at a new design for Jan’s website and one thing led to another and I suddenly realized that I wanted to have a business making real  money not a hobby which yielded petty cash.

Aside
It may be dawning on you that I may not have been paying complete attention to the problem at hand. I could say that I was multitasking but the truth is, humans don’t multitask. They don’t. However rapidly you switch from one focussed intent to another, you are still only doing one thing at a time. For a discussion more erudite than I can present, look at this NPR discussion.

Where was I? [Read more...]

Monday Thoughts About Writing

It is Monday, April 14, 2014, the first day in the rest of my life as they say. Indeed, it is my next opportunity to do anything with my life. How will I use my week to come? I used the words “not beholding to anyone” in yesterday’s post. That is not exactly correct. I do have strong responsibility to my wife of many years. I try to always make her happy. I have the responsibility for picking my grandson, Thomas, up from daycare on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and keeping him entertained until one of his parents retrieve him a couple of hours later.

Those are my major “beholdings”. After that, the choice of what to do is hidden somewhere between my ears, between my nose and the back of my head, between my chin and the top of my head. I shall call this area “Lindsey’s Brain”. Electrical impulses spark and jump with vigor offering me thousands of choices each second. It is my distinct pleasure to choose the impulse du jour. I say “du jour” because I like variety. I may not want to do today what seemed to be very interesting and a lot of fun yesterday.

But today, [Read more...]

Just Writing and Writing Some More

I decided not to write about my Writer’s Platform web design today just because I didn’t want to. Isn’t it nice to be able to make such a decision? It has an upside and a downside. The upside is the independence to do pretty much what you want to because you are retired and not beholding to anyone. The downside is that you are retired and are not being paid for that which you have decided not to do. LOL. Well, I understand what I just said.

Today has been a nice, quiet day for me. Sundays are usually days of introspection and study. This one has been no different. I had 2 projects that I wanted to do and that I do each day. I wanted to write my 750 plus words for the day which I’m doing. I wanted to react to a writing prompt and I did.

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Day 4 Writing Prompt – Sent to the Wrong Printer
You’re at work and you print something personal (and sensitive). Unfortunately, you’ve sent it to the wrong printer and, by the time you realize it, somebody has already scooped it up.
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[Read more...]

Creating Writer’s Platform – Day 4

header-1140-by-300-bigpicMy writing for the day has been handled differently than what is customary for me. I am finding that I look so forward to working with my writing prompt of the day that I’m not getting to my writing about creating my writer’s platform until later. For instance I did my third writing prompted piece before daylight and it is now 7:20PM as I get around to my daily writing. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I get uneasy when I haven’t finished my daily writing before noon. But times (and activities) change. Perhaps I’m creating new habits. The ultimate goal is to write 750 words or more each day. I’m doing that and then some.

Today’s writing prompt from the WritersDigest PDF, The Writing Prompt Boot Camp, Two Weeks of Craft, Creativity, and Discipline was:
Mystery Cookie.


My header aheader-1140-by-300t MiningMyMind.com is coming along nicely. I ended up using my iPad to take the picture of me partially hidden behind some books while I sat in front one of my bookcases. While cropping the picture down to 1160 pixels by 300 pixels I found that I could get a good picture but that the books I was exhibiting got lost because of the image ratio. But good fortune arose and I believe that I captured a better picture than I had expected.

Changed Header Title Font to Type: Amaranth, size: 60 pixels, color: black
Changed Header Tagline Font to Type: Amaranth, size: 20 pixels, color: black
Changed Header Text Tile Paddig to top-padding: 40 pixels and left padding to 40 pixels.
This display is not yet satisfactory since some of the text is obscured by the background. I will be back to work on it later. I’m not entirely happy with the photo so I’ll have to wait and see what challenges it brings to the emerging design. [Read more...]

Creating Writer’s Platform – Day 3

IMG_0965I had a nice start today. I wrote from a writing prompt for the second time of my life and for the second day in a row. The writing prompt was the second prompt from the WritersDigest PDF, The Writing Prompt Boot Camp, Two Weeks of Craft, Creativity, and Discipline.

Writing Prompt 2  The One that Got Away
You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day – the one whom you often call “The One That Got Away.” What happens?
I wrote 305 words based on this prompt.
My writing platform at http://miningmymind.com has the basic infrastructure in place: WordPress, Genesis Framework, Dynamik – a child theme for use with Genesis Framework, and several Genesis Framework plugins.

Today, still discussing website design, I’d like to address the header. The header is the part of the website that typically is at the very top of each web page on a website. It can be solely text or it can be an image or images with or without text.

The header for MiningMyMind will be an image stretching across a fixed page width with some text.

Before I create the header image, I will need to check on the Dynamik page width settings for this site. The default full layout width is 1060px/1140px.

I also need to decide whether I want a fixed design or a fluid design.  I will start with a fixed design and change it to fluid later on if I feel it necessary.

At this point, it should be noted that use of the Dynamik child theme automatically creates a responsive website [Read more...]

Creating Writer’s Platform – Day 2

IMG_0517Mining My Mind Milestone 2

One of the products I downloaded from WritersDigest.com was a PDF entitled The Writing Prompt Boot Camp, a two-week boot camp of creative writing prompts purported to help boost your creativity and help you get in the habit of writing every day.

I haven’t been having problems writing each day. In fact, today will be day 213 of 214 days of writing 750 or more daily words at 750words.com. But – and there always seems to be a but – I have not been consistently picking a single topic to write about. I’ve mostly written what now appears to me to be a journal of Lindsey stuff.

My intent with the two weeks worth of prompts is to do each one in order. I will write around 250 words per prompt. That should be enough to “prime the writer’s pump.”

Here is today’s 300-word result, “Breaking Up with Writer’s Block“ on the Mining My Mind website.  Or you can read it right here. [Read more...]

Mining My Mind Milestone 2

My idea for a book may be loosely compared to a single spermatozoon in a crowd of millions who wants to be a human someday. There’s a long unknown journey ahead of me. It’s dark. There is no map. I’m being crowded at every step by other spermatozoas who want the same thing. The spermie continues its headlong flight with an infinitesimal chance of success.

Here is where my analogy breaks down. I know where I can go.

The path to accomplishment has been documented by thousands of authors. The results are in front of me in my library, in public libraries, on the Internet, in bookstores, in friends’ libraries. All I have to do is define my direction and strike out. I need not fear failure. I need to take action. Any action. Like the spermie, I need to continuously swim upstream

Yesterday, as step 1 of my journey of 1,000 miles to write a book, I joined WritersDigest.com as a VIP member. I downloaded The Writing Prompt Boot Camp and signed up for their free email newsletter. I also got their Author Platform Premium Collection. Now I have more things that I don’t have time to read. So priority time.

The following is a priority chunk that will fit somewhere in my life. [Read more...]