Blogspot Friends, Could You Help Make it Easy for Us to Stay in Touch? #Blogging

I used to blog via Google’s Blogspot, or Blogger, for about 8 years– it ran parallel to this one until last year, when I merged the two blogs into this site. In all those years, I made tons of friends on Blogspot.

I still visit as many of you as I can (never enough, but still), and sometimes I wish I could talk to all you friends on Blogspot, tell you my wish-list as a visitor, commenter, and friend.

Here’s a list of things I’d appreciate from my Blogspot friends in order to make it easier for us to stay in touch: (Some of you have them all covered– this is for those who may not have thought of these points)

  1. Make it easy to follow you: Blogspot doesn’t provide a good follow system any more— have you considered adding a Feedly widget? Here’s a post on how that will help your commenters and followers.
  2. Give us an option to comment via Name/ URL: A lot of Blogspot blogs do not allow a visitor to comment unless they’re logged into Google plus or Blogspot. By allowing the Name/URL option as well as OpenID, you vastly increase the number of bloggers who can easily comment on your posts. Check out how to do this, here. If you’re afraid of spam, you could enable comment moderation!
  3. Add a Tweet button and connect it to your twitter account: This button makes it easy-peasy to tag you on twitter while sharing your post– so you can RT it or respond with comments on twitter. Check out how to do this here. The buttons below my posts allow you to share my posts on social media. I’m ever so grateful for the shares I receive. Some days, I’m too tired or unwell or busy to comment on your posts– but I’d still love to share them. Please make it easy to do so, and you shall have my grateful thanks.
  4. Make comment verification easy: A lot of my commenting and sharing happens on the phone. Please do not make me click on these picture thingammijigs — they’re a proper nightmare on a small screen. Having to tick a box saying ‘I’m not a Robot’ should be enough, right?
  5. Create a Gravatar: When you comment on my blog from a different platform, I often find no way to find you unless you take the time to type in the right link. A gravatar makes it easy for you to leave your links while commenting on blogs on platforms other than Blogspot. This is how to create one. It will take five minutes to create it– once done, add your links to your profile page– gravatar lets you add links to your blog and social media.

Afterwards, just stay logged in on Gravatar– when you leave a comment on a self-hosted blog like mine, or on WordPress, or any of the other platforms, the blogger you’ve visited can easily visit you back by clicking on your gravatar. For instance, my gravatar is here.

We all want to visit and comment on as many blogs as we can. We also like receiving comments. As a self-hosted blogger on WordPress, I’d love to still be able to keep in touch with all my Blogspot friends, and this open letter is a step in that direction.

What blogging platform do you use? Do you find it difficult to leave comments on blogs on other platforms? Is it tough for WordPress users to comment on Blogspot, and vice versa ? As a blogger on Blogspot, is there anything you wish a WordPress blogger would do to make it easier for you to comment or share?

Have you faced problems while leaving comments on this site or sharing my posts? I try my best to make it easy, but I’d like to iron out any remaining kinks, so please let me know.

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I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post the last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity. You could add a link and a badge to one of your regular posts that weeked, in order to participate.Writer's Retreat

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button. (Feel free to share this post if you like it. You’ll find icons to re-blog it via WordPress and Blogger to the left of this post.)

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Are You Happy? #Happiness #Life

Are you happy?At each significant stage of my life, whether it was the first day of school, or college or moving to a new place, or marriage, well-meaning friends and relatives have asked me: are you happy?

I’ve given garbled responses, of course, because unlike common belief on the subject, there is no yes or no answer, because it is not a yes or no question. This snippet from Oatmeal articulates my response.

It is a rather long snippet, but completely worth the 25 seconds it takes to read it. Go scroll through and check it out, I’ll wait.

Some of our collective obsession with happiness is misplaced, I must say. I’d much rather have meaning, fulfillment, pain, peace, passion, in all their contradictory and messed-up glory. Happiness hides in moments, in scattered things. It is a journey, not a destination; an awareness, not a target.

Happiness is a choice. On some days, it is the harder one to make. You can choose to be unhappy on those days, and that’s all right.

What about you? Do you ever ask others if they’re happy? Has someone recently asked you this question? What was your answer? What’s your take on happiness, and its place in our lives?

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We are the World Blogfest HappyI co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post the last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity. This monthly event has brought smiles on the faces of a lot of participants and their audiences, and somewhat restored their faith in humanity. Here is a great example.

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Are you happy?

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Will you be joining the #CHERISHED Blogfest this October?

Here’s an update on the Cherished Blogfest 2017!

Blogging is all about making connections, sharing information, emotions, opinions, memories. One of the best Blogging advice I have for new bloggers is to participate in Blogfests: choose something easy, and make new friends!

I found a very good friend in Dan Antion many years ago, and in 2015, I co-hosted the Cherished blogfest with him and other blog friends, Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat and was joined last year by Cheryl Pennington and Kate Powell.

Here’s my post for last year. The ask for the blogfest was this:

Often, objects lead us to memories.

The objects we hold most dear, harbor the most cherished memories.

For the CHERISHED Blogfest 2017, we invite you to talk to us about one of your cherished objects. Tell us what it is, post a picture of it if you like, and tell us why you cherish it.

Keep your post to below 500 words.

We will share memories, emotions, information: we’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships.

Cherished Blogfest 2017
Cherished Blogfest

The Cherished Blogfest 2017 list will be active from Friday, October 13th through Sunday, October 15th. We will, of course, open up the sign-up list in advance.

Dan has explained the reason for this change in dates very well– a conflict of dates and organization with We are the World Blogfest. It is largely thanks to Dan that the Cherished Blogfest continued last year– he did the bulk of the organizing. I hope to be a more active co-host for the Cherished this year.

The name ‘Cherished’ and the image is courtesy Cheryl Pennington, who posts brilliant images and writing on her blog. I would also encourage you to check out the blogs of the other cohosts: Dan Antion (the designer of the badge), Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, Kate Powell, bloggers with genuine and fascinating takes on everything from life, travel, fiction, art and the writing rigmarole.

How long have you been blogging? Have you taken part in any blogfests? Organised them? If yes, have blogfests helped your blog? Are you signed up for We Are the World Blogfest? Do you follow the Cherished Blogfest page? Will you be signing up for the CHERISHED Blogfest 2017?

I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post the last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity. You could add a link and a badge to one of your regular posts that weeked, in order to participate.Writer's Retreat

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button. (Feel free to share this post if you like it. You’ll find icons to re-blog it via WordPress and Blogger to the left of this post.)

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Want Tips to Interview Experts for Your Project? #amwriting #IWSG

interviewHere on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my absolute pleasure today to welcome author and teacher, Rebecca Reynolds. She shares her wisdom on conducting an interview for a fiction or non-fiction project.

Whether for fiction or non-fiction, you may need to get a particular angle on an event or place, or be looking for an expert or authentic viewpoint, or perhaps just want to catch a particular accent or vocabulary. You may wish to use the resulting content as quotes, or a monologue, or draw on it for a novel or short story, or lightly fictionalize it. This is where an interview comes in.

I conducted over 40 interviews with curators, artists, museum visitors and others, which appeared as edited monologues in a work about museum objects from around the UK, Curiosities from the Cabinet: Objects and Voices from Britain’s Museums.

These were mainly face-to-face, with a couple on the phone and a couple by email.

Coming out of the end of the process, here are some tips I would offer:

  • Don’t ask, Don’t get. Ask, often get. Even top-level people are usually keen to share their work (and often have an obligation to, if they work for a public sector organization). You might have to chase a bit though and make your way through different levels in an organization. I would say I got to meet 80% of the people I approached.
  • Make your credentials clear when contacting them. Who do you work for? What pedigree do you have?
  • Keep the request simple. What do you expect from them? How long will it take? Will they have to do any preparation?
  • Show that you know something of their work – useful both for the enquiry letter and the interview itself. This also helps in forming the questions and ‘proving’ yourself to them. I only felt I was being tested by one interviewee, and it helped that I’d skim-read a biography of the person I was talking to him about.
  • You don’t have to use the interviews if you don’t think they are strong enough. There are a couple in the book I might not have included if I thought I didn’t have to. You can always use them in other ways, say in a blog post.
  • If it’s face-to-face or on the phone, record it unless the interviewee would prefer you not to. This will help with backing up your notes and checking later.
  • Go with the flow. If someone is on a roll let them talk, and ask questions at the end. I interrupted one person to check a spelling; this disrupted his train of thought and he struggled to resume it. Of course it’s different if you are doing a more critical interview though, which requires you to interrupt, challenge, probe.

In the end I found the interviews the most enjoyable part of working on the book– it was fascinating to hear people try to summarize their life work, often in a very short time.

It’s amazing how much people respond to being listened to.

Curiosities from the Cabinet: Objects and Voices from Britain’s Museums is available from Amazon , Smashwords , and to order from your local bookshop.

How to conduct an InterviewRebecca Reynolds is a teacher and non-fiction writer. Her main places of museums work have been the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Museum of English Rural Life, Reading. She blogs here.

How do you prepare for interviews for your writing? Are you a reader, a writer, or both? Have you ever been interviewed for a book, article, or television? As a reader or writer, do you have questions for Rebecca?

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Writer's retreatThis post was written for the IWSG. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) every month! Go to the site to see the other participants. In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, go join rightaway!

Co-Hosts this month: Tamara Narayan | Pat Hatt
Patricia Lynne | Juneta Key | Doreen McGettigan|

I co-host the monthly We Are the World Blogfest: I’d like to invite you to join, if you haven’t as yet, to post the last Friday of each month a snippet of positive news that shows our essential, beautiful humanity. You could add a link and a badge to one of your regular posts that weeked, in order to participate.Writer's Retreat

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button. (Feel free to share this post if you like it. You’ll find icons to re-blog it via WordPress and Blogger to the left of this post.)

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What’s the Best Book You’ve Ever Read? #AmReading

Best BookWhat’s your ‘best book ever’ — this was a question I came across in a reading group. A lot of readers named the Potter series, some listed romance and scifi titles, and the rest came down hard on them, for not appreciating ‘the classics’ and ‘literary’ books.

To me, the word ‘best’ is subjective, in a relative world. What’s good for me could be utter trash for someone else. I’ve read all the Potter books, liked the first and couldn’t resist finishing the last few– but thought they could all use editing.

They are by no means the ‘best’ for me, but my ‘best book’ changes year to year. Right now, it seems to be ‘All the light we cannot see.’

What’s important is that there are books for every kind of booklover, and even those books we look down upon secretly ( I’ll admit to not being fond of E L James) are important and useful: because they get people reading/ engaged in stories. The very experience of immersing oneself in a story has far-reaching psychological and physical benefits, so I’m not going to trash any book at all.

We can all agree to disagree on what the ‘best book’ for us is, and leave it at that. The Potter books brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, and that in itself propels it to some kind of ‘best of’ list, I think.

From time to time, ‘best book lists’ crop up, like this one. Or another, of books you must read before you die, like this one. While opinion may differ on whether they’re the best– these lists can be an easy way to access good books– with so many books published each year, we’ll never read all the books in the world that we’d like to.

So what is your ‘best book ever’? Do you read books for enjoyment, insight, knowledge, escape? Would you recommend a book, or a list of books you’ve liked in recent years, so we can all add to our tottering TBR piles?

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page in case you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL button. (Feel free to share this post if you like it. You’ll find icons to re-blog it via WordPress and Blogger to the left of this post.)

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