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Category Archives: Writing skills

Blogging: Where Seduction Meets Obsession

It started innocently enough a little more than a year ago.  While I was learning to fly I began reading flying blogs, anything that someone wrote about their learning to fly experiences.  I started off with reading author, pilot and flight instructor Greg Brown’s blog, The Flying Carpet.  He guided me through learning to fly with his posts on flying.  He connected me with other older pilots who I could relate to in my learning to fly experiences.  Up to that time I had heard about blogging but didn’t really know what it was.

For months I continued to read Greg’s blog and student pilot blogs.  I found myself searching for more life experiences from other student pilots and spending more and more time on-line.  I can’t seem to pin point the exact moment I decided to start a blog but sometime not long before my first post on January 8, 2010 I happened on to the WordPress.com site and it talked about how easy it was to start a blog. 

I’m not that tech savvy so I took it slow and played with the blog idea and themes.  I choose the name FlyingGma for two reasons: both are because of defining moments in my life.  The first part was my pursuit of learning to fly at age 48 and the second part was for my new role as grandma in August of 2009.  I really didn’t know where I was going with the blog when I started other than to learn something new.

I started to read other blogs on WordPress.com by way of  “Freshly Pressed”.  The seduction began when I started seeing the featured blogs on the front page of WordPress.com.  Seeing my blog featured on Freshly Pressed became my goal.

 I read many of the Freshly Pressed blogs to see what they were doing that made them unique and ultimately chosen for the Freshly Pressed feature.  I started subscribing to various blogs that I found interesting on Freshly Pressed.  Up until this point no one had ever commented on anything I had written except for two dear friends that I shared the fact that I have a blog.

Just as Satan seduced Eve with an apple the statistics seduced me.  WordPress definitely knows what they are doing when they say they have stats to obsess over.  It’s true.  When my blog started to be read regularly by others and they left a comment those numbers became more important.  I began to check the stats more than once each day.  I definitely liked to see the numbers improve or special comments left about what I had written.

Next I read a blog about someone who worried about the subscriber that they had lost and wondered why.  I didn’t realize up to this point that I could subscribe to a blog or have subscribers.  I was still learning about WordPress and blogging.  I began subscribing to other blogs that I enjoyed reading and adding links from my blog to their blogs.  The statistics just kept getting better.  Somehow in my mind I equated better statistics with better writing, which was far from the truth.  My writing has improved by practicing daily but it still has a long way to go.

I have observed bloggers remove posts from their sites because no one commented on their post or perhaps didn’t even visit a blog on a day.  At first it bothered me that what I wrote wasn’t read or people didn’t visit my blog because of the topic I chose to write about that day.  Then I thought just maybe the reason they didn’t read could have been they have a life outside of blogging and were spending time doing something else that day.  Maybe they were doing something special with their family, which would be a better thing than reading my blog.  Good for them! 

I haven’t blogged for almost a week thinking about the seduction/obsession that blogging has become in my life.  What was I giving up in the amount of time I spent preparing my blog and photos?  Time with my husband, family and other things that I enjoy like reading, quilting, baking and of course sleep. 

There will be more balance in my life from here on out.  I will continue to blog but probably not as often.  Time is a commodity, which means there is not an endless supply of it. Using time wisely is my new obsession not wanting to squander even a minute of the precious gift it is.

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An Anniversary of sorts..a New Habit

This past week marked one year of blogging for me.  I can’t believe that the time has gone that fast but then of course I’m getting older and that  is what old people do, they talk about the time going fast.  WordPress provides many statistics for their bloggers, the one I find hard to believe is that I have 161 posts in my archives. 

When I started the blog it was just to challenge myself to do something new and that meant learning the WordPress software for blogging.  As I started writing my posts it was a place I could write about my flying experiences.  I’ve wandered far and wide from my original post ideas for my blog. 

 I live in a small town and know only two pilots, one is only here seasonally.  I love to talk about learning to fly so the blog gave me a place to do that since the closest local airport is 20 miles away and I couldn’t hang out there regularly.  I have met many pilots through blogging that I can share my love of flight through their blogs.

One of the most interesting side benefits of the blog is that I am excited to get out of bed in the morning to write.  This is a new habit for me.  I am more of a late night person.  I love to stay up late reading for hours which makes it difficult to get up in the morning. 

My work schedule keeps pushing more into my evening hours, often not getting home until after 8pm which doesn’t leave much time for reading and definitely not much time for writing.  My habits have shifted from less reading to more writing.

My desire to write drives me to get out of bed earlier and earlier so I can have time I crave to write before I had to leave for work.  While I am at work I’m thinking about what I want to write about and thinking about what photo I could include and what research I might need to do before I post.  It makes my workday go faster with my thoughts racing in different directions about writing.

Some days I wonder where the words will come from but approaching  life as an observer provides plenty of writing material.  Learning new things also provides writing material if you are willing to share the good and the not so great experiences, allowing others to learn from your mistakes. 

I don’t know where this next year of blogging will lead me but the benefits of this past year and new habits will keep me coming back for more and pursuing new avenues in the new year, trying to do it better than the day before.

 

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New Shoes: Will I be able to run faster, Jump higher, Leap tall buildings in a single bound…We’ll see…

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Let It Simmer

I love to put words to paper.  Even more I love to know that there are people out there would find my writing worthy of reading.  Is that vain?  Maybe.  I suppose so at some level. 

Blogging has provided an outlet for my thoughts this past year.  I’ve shared a lot of my thoughts.  Some thoughts shared through my writing were better than others because I took more time on the content and structure of what I wrote.  Other thoughts not so much.

One thing that has been difficult for me has been to let my ideas and words simmer.  I’m excited to write-up my posts, edit and push that publish button, instant gratification, my words in print for others to read.  I want my words to be worthy of those taking the time to read them. 

As I think of writing I can easily relate it to cooking,  something I have done a lot of in the almost 51 years of my life.  When I want to cook or bake something new, I do some research.  I check out different recipes and find one that with ingredients I like or one that looks good in a picture that entices me to read the ingredient list.  The same is true with writing.  Research into the topic you write about and life experiences can make your writing more interesting to the reader.

When writing I gather the important ingredients I want to include, usually three or four ideas.  After I have decided what I want to include I begin blending them together just as in a recipe.  Sometimes just like Mom used to do in the kitchen, ask for a second opinion.  Give someone the opportunity to taste your writing and help season it.

When I am cooking, especially soups, the best thing to do is to put the pot of soup on simmer and walk away.  It gives the ingredients in the soup and opportunity to blend their individual flavors.  Some things that I make actually taste better the second day or at least several hours later. 

The same can be true for writing.  After the words are put to paper I think it is better to let them simmer.  It provides the opportunity for the words to blend and the thoughts to be mulled over,  rearranged in my mind and sometimes on paper. 

This process goes beyond just editing for spelling and grammatical errors.  It looks at the finished product, the presentation.  This is by far the hardest part for me. 

I want to publish my words now and not wait until later.  If I do, I run the risk of a soup without much flavor when I could have a soup that greets you from the very first spoonful until the last spoonful is gone with flavors blended to perfection, wanting for more. 

 

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The Pioneer Spirit of Creativity

 Jodee Luna asked me to be a feature writer at her blog http://refrainfromtheidentical.com on creativity.  This is the post I wrote for her blog.  I decided to post it here as well.

 
 

Private Pilot April 17, 2010

There are days when I feel that I was born in the wrong time period.  A true pioneer spirit imagines the possibilities that are attainable by using what you have in new and different ways.  It doesn’t need the latest gadget or craft kit to get the desired effect. 

One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Little House on the Prairie.  I realize that the show glamorized what life was like back then but the adventurous nature of those settlers that ventured out into unknown territory and used what they had to create what they needed inspires me.

My husband and I are modern day pioneers.  We like to take what we have and imagine what it could be.  In 1992 we bought a lake property near our existing home and business.  This is what it looked like when we bought it. 

People thought we were crazy when we decided to dig a foundation and have a crane lift a portion of the existing home onto the new foundation and add on to it.  We spent hours drawing our own plans and figuring out the cost of the project. The old part of the house that we were saving had no historical value but to us it was the work of a friend who built it.  Somehow we wanted to save it in our project.  The crane enabled it to happen.  This is what it looks like now. 

 

We attended an auction at a local lumberyard and bought up many supplies for our home.  We decided on color schemes, window trim, exterior finishes and windows based on what we could find and use from the auction.  We designed and built the entrance to our home.  The carpenters that helped install it just shook their heads wondering why we didn’t just make our entrance like everyone else.  We wanted something unique.

Whenever I am faced with a challenge I get creative.  A couple of years ago I wanted a headboard for our bed.  My husband didn’t want to buy a new bed because he loves our 1970’s vintage waterbed with the old big wide pine board frame.  It originally came with a bookcase headboard that I hated and the bed was just too big for our room.  By cutting off the frame of the bed that the headboard sat on I gained nearly a foot at the end of our bed to walk around.  I loved more space but wanted a headboard.  I combined my creativity and love of quilting for my own one of a kind headboard.  I painted the quilt pattern directly on my wall.

 

My latest venture in creativity is writing my blog.  Writing is not my forte and it takes work on my part to do it better each time I write.   I love taking the photos to include with each blog.  For now I take my photos with an affordable digital Nikon that was purchased for $120.00.  It allows me to take some good pictures but I want to learn how to do more which will require me to purchase a camera that can do so much more.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of my favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Sunday Night Blues

  My pioneer spirit kicked in today thinking about the new and better camera that I would like to purchase.  It was time to get creative and find a way to purchase my new camera without having to buy it on credit.  I boxed up my flight simulator and software that my husband bought for me a couple of years ago during my flight training and put it on EBay.  I took photos of the flight simulator, wrote up the description and listed it for sale.  Five days from now I will be that much closer to my new camera. 

So many people limit their creativity, thinking it can only be achieved if you have enough time and money.  The key to creativity is work.  Trying things in new and different ways until you achieve something you like.  It’s not about whether other people like what you do but how it makes you feel.

 

 

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Why Blog?…Time vs. Benefits

This morning as I was reading a blog by JoDee Luna http://jodeeluna.wordpress.com ; her words caught my attention and made an emotional connection as well. 

She said, “Have you ever felt like your life ambitions extend beyond your expiration date?   Full days leave little time for working towards those projects you want to finish.”

Blogging: Time vs. Benefit

What is motivating me to continue blogging?   Finding the words and pictures for the blog each day takes time.  When I started blogging in January it was just a challenge for me to see if I could actually set up a site and teach myself how to upload text and pictures to the site.  I’m not that computer savvy.  When I graduated from college we were still using electric typewriters for our papers.  We added carbon paper if we needed a second copy. 

I didn’t have any preconceived ideas of grandeur of a widely read blog. I just wanted to try something new to challenge myself.  I really didn’t understand how blogging worked or an idea of what I would write about, but I started.  This morning I left for work without posting on my blog because I was thinking about the amount of time vs. the benefits of blogging and were the scales tipped in a direction I could live with given my limited amount of discretionary time.

Benefits of Blogging

1.  Learning Something New

As I said earlier, learning something new was my original goal for blogging.  I have always said, “Any day that you learn something new is a good day!”  Sometimes you have to learn it the hard way but you still learn it.  I have been able to apply some of the things I have learned in WordPress in other areas at work. 

2.  Capturing a Moment of Time

When my husband and I were talking about blogging last week he said he would have loved to read what his parents, grandparents or other relatives had to say about living in their place in time.  I hadn’t thought about my descendants reading what I have written some day in the future.  I haven’t even shared with my four children or any other relatives besides my husband that I have a blog. 

3.  Seeing Glimpses of Other People in Their Worlds

Someday I hope to travel more extensively than I am able to now.  Until then, I can learn about other places in the world by reading other blogs.  Each person blogging brings a part of themselves and their worlds to share with those of us who take the time to read.  I especially love reading blogs like Sunshine in London http://sunshineinlondon.wordpress.com/ She is from South Africa and now lives in London.  She blogs about places that she finds interesting while living in London.  I can’t wait to travel to London someday and visit some of the places she has highlighted in her blog.  It’s like having my own personal travel agent telling me about what to see in London.

4.  Writing Styles

One of the most important benefits for me has been the ability to read so many writing styles.  I love reading Herding Cats in Hammond for her unique writing style.  My favorite post in the past year has been her post titled, ” I’ll Take Drooling for $750, Alex…November 9, 2010 by writerwoman61.”  It is a post about having dental surgery done on her daughter but written  in a very unique way in the format of the Jeopardy TV show.

Another blog I enjoy reading for his style and sense of humor is http://TEStazyk.com.  He writes from New Zealand so I get the opportunity to learn about another part of the world while reading his blog.  Thomas, through his blog has introduced me to a new and expanded vocabulary.  I love the creative banter of his regular readers while commenting on his latest post.  It’s a fun place to visit!

5.  Improving My Writing Skills

This would have been the last benefit that I would have written for blogging 11 months ago when I started.  I never thought of and still don’t think of myself as a writer.  The more posts I read and write I find myself wanting to do a better job in my writing.  After reading posts from another of my favorite blogs, Joe Clarks’ Blog, http://joeclarksblog.wordpress.com/, I find myself looking up things like passive voices.  A year ago I would never had looked up that topic.  Joe inspires me to learn new things both in aviation and writing through his passionate writing on many topics.

6.      Renewing Old Passions  

Photography and quilting are two passions that I have had in the past.  I never thought that starting a blog would re-ignite those passions.  The process of writing the blog and incorporating photos have me seeing everything through the lens of a camera.  Back in my early college days  I was interested in photography but I was discouraged because of its cost.  Now with the new digital cameras there are so many more things that you can try and only pay to have the pictures that you truly love.

Quilting is something that I have been passionate about for nearly 25 years and there are so many sites that give hints to make the process easier.  The ideas for quilts, tools, and hints are endless and have me exploring for the next best project.

Blogging has taken a place of priority in my discretionary time but I think the benefits are well worth the time spent.

 

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2010 in Quilting, Wordpress Blogging, Writing skills

 

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