Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Writing Wall

Here is a lovely interactive idea from Wall Wisher, I've left the link pointing to this wall and am really hoping you will all add a tiny post by double clicking anywhere on the page and a post-it will jump up for you to complete. The little pink tabs along the bottom take you to this wall of  mine and you can try it out.

Posts won't show up right away as I've clicked the option to approve  all posts before posting. But you can add a website, a video, a media link.

It is in beta and does not work with all browsers but it supports IE7+, Firefox 2+, Safari 3+, Chrome 1+, and Opera 9+ which hopefully covers most options

How to Use Wall Wisher

I found it incredibly easy to use. You can log in to Wall Wisher by registering your name, email and choosing a url for your wall. You can log in with a Google account or Open ID or  be anonymous if you're simply posting. You choose your colour scheme. Then edit the title--the one above is called Daily/Weekly Writing--and add a small description.

Double click on the wall to add some post-its, embed in your blog by choosing from the Do More option on the horizontal menu along the top right hand side. Add or invite friends and off you go--your own social networking wall available in situ on your blog. Can't wait to try it out. The procrastination possibilities are phenomenal.

I did hope to have it in the sidebar but am keeping it visible for the moment to allow you to see the full size option which you can also use with its own url as a stand-alone. 

Six Suggestions for Building a Wall

  • Use it like pInterest for pinning your book covers and inviting reader comments.
  • Use it for reading club discussions of your book/books
  • Use it as another place in which to showcase an image, video or audio link. I simply added my website hence the view box which opens the website in a new window. The images will have to come from a url link for instance on flickr or photobucket.
  • Use it for pinning tiny poems or favourite fragments of your daily writing.
  • Use it to jot down ideas as you write.
  • Use it as part of a workshop or lecture presentation.
  Any more suggestions or ideas? Use the wall or the comments box below and let me know what you think of this as an interactive aid.

And no, this is not procrastinating. It's another way of oiling our writing mechanism after the weekend. :-)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Writers On The Move: Reading is for Life

I'm guest posting today considering the importance of social reading at
Writers On The Move: Reading is for Life: Many studies document the importance of social eating to help combat malnutrition in the elderly, especially those who live alone with few...

Note the  illustrations which I found at Old Book Art . It's a lovely site and the images are all free to download and use under a Creative Commons licence. It takes a bit of creative thinking to put what you're looking for in the search box too but it certainly turned up the right pictures for my purpose.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A - Z Challenge for April

A to Z  April Blogging Challenge banner with bird
 Life is full of challenges without adding any voluntarily. But the A - Z Challenge for April seemed such fun, and such a good writing discipline, that I have signed up with my Happy Editing blog. I'm number 1193 on the list so you can see what a popular idea this is.

Starting April 1 with A, but with Sundays off after that, bloggers post an article each day carrying on with topics in alphabetical order until they reach the final post for Z.

We must also try to visit and comment on five blogs from the list each day. As with the MotherReader blogging challenge, I'm hoping to make new friends and expand my reading interests.

Social worker Doris Plaster used the fifty word blog posts she created for last year's challenge to produce her book, rated with five stars on Amazon,  Home Sweet Nursing Home.

Six days left for signing up and planning alphabetically organized topics. I'm a sucker for blog badges and there are badges and banners galore to suit any site. If you're interested, come join  at

Social Media Icon Sets

Ring the changes with a choice of 33 icon sets to use as social media buttons for your website or blog. These come from Web Design Booth but I found more social media buttons at Buttons Hut

Copy the code to enable their use or let Button Hut link them for you. I'm not sure about how much sharing of info has to be done to enable this but always take care as in the past, much social media hacking has supposedly taken place through button links.


Bit hypocritical of me to share them really but they are pretty and could give you ideas for designing your own . easily done even using a free program like Paint which can usually be found under Accessories on the Start menu.


Keyboard problems

Giving up for the moment as my keyboard won't punctuate using any uppercase symbols and getting it to produce capital letters is highly problematic. Overworked and doesn't mind going on strike lol.  

Monday, 12 March 2012

How to Create Facebook Fan Pages

Writers On The Move: The Virtual Book Tour (a primer and example):  "I know all about online book tours," (says Magdalena Ball). "Right now I'm smack dab in the midst of one.  You know about them too, because you're here, reading this..."

And she most certainly does know what she's talking about and explains it well.

She is also tonight --Monday March 12 at 7pm Est (US) giving a free webinar on creating Facebook Fan Pages. 
Get the details from
Writers On The Move: Workshops:   March 12, 2012 Writers Workshop! Title : Designing Customized Facebook Fan Pages Date: March 12, 2012 Time: 7PM, EST USA
I'm hoping to attend...if I can stay awake and Maggie is well worth staying awake for.

Motivation Monday

Time-Saving Tip
Organize  email. All email providers allow you
to save and categorize your posts into named
folders or files. I spent ten minutes last week
battling my emails into a vague format
reminiscent of David Allen's Getting Things Done system.

Check out his free downloads.

Sometimes taking the time to stop and study
does save hours in the day later. I'd reached
over 2600 unread emails on one account alone
and was in despair.

I haven't got the mailbox down to zero but I
have sorted out March. I made folders entitled
@action--do it now or soon, @blog for posts
that would be useful to future blog posts,
@edit for work, @project for writing,
@research, and @reference for things I may look
into when I have time. I'm an optimist.

The @ sign means they head my folder list. The
system also means I delete anything that is of
no imminent use. If anything is important, it
will turn up again or I can always track it
down on the internet. Of course, and this was a
tip from the Kaizen Plan, if you make the first
folder @aawriter, it will be top of the pile,
reminding you of what you are supposed to be
doing with your time.

Distractions and Diversions
Looking for motivation to do nothing? Or even
motivation to stop doing nothing? Then the
Speculative Salon post on 1001 sites to distract writers is a gold mine. Never fear, there aren't 1001 sites but the ones it
lists are fascinating and mainly helpful.
It even contains two to stop you suffering from
internet distraction.

But before you give up internet pleasures for
the day, perhaps take a look at Margaret McGaffey
Fisk's list of writing tools. The various
tracking spreadsheets there might boost the
writing and the word count. 

Better still  remember to visit her blog on a Friday
for the five interesting links. Call it
research, or finding inspiration or even just

Motivation Through Opportunity 

Apply for a scholarship to the UCLA extension writers' program. Sadly this one is only for US citizens.
Successful students will be able to study on
site or online.

Check out the writing contests on the sidebar.
Aim for one. And polish up an article, a short
story or your novel ready for submission next

My e-Book Progress
So slow this week but I should have another of
the dozen projected chapters finished by
Monday. Spent too much time setting up a new
website for my creative husband. 

Achievement note: the creation of a customized header for
his Word Press blog. Now that was motivation
and distraction in one.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Magdalena Ball--On The Value of Slow Writing

 With great delight  I welcome Magdalena Ball to Slow and Steady Writers today, talking about her writing process and her new novel Black Cow. I am a great admirer of the versatility of her writing which encompasses poetry, short stories, reviews, articles as well as novels.  If you are lucky enough to attend her content rich workshops at Muse Writers Conference and Writers on the Move, you may find this hard to believe but she says she is one of the world's slow writers too...

On the Value of Slow writing

Since I'm out touring my new novel Black Cow, I've been doing a lot of interviews. The first thing I always get asked is about what I'm working on now. Of course I've got a work-in-progress and it's coming along, but if I provide a very exciting overview of the plotline, it doesn't mean that the book will hit the bookshelves within the next few months. I'm a s-l-o-w writer. Is that something I should admit? After all, buzz is all about right now. I'm doing my best to create buzz for my new novel. Should I disappoint my fans by telling them that it will be at least two years before I've finalised the first draft of my third novel, and that's not counting the six months in plotting I've already spent on it? Though it isn't as hot as the slow food movement, slow writing is gaining, well, momentum (that's momentum of the tortoise variety). Yes, it's a movement, if not a revolution.  So what is slow writing and why write slowly?

Slow writing is about putting quality before speed. Like a long, slowly cooked Coq Au Vin, slow writing is well crafted, with rich, complex flavours, and deep, powerful characters. This sort of writing can't be chugged out. There's not much in the way of a rote formula to help you if you want to write this kind of work. Everything has to be fresh, new, and impeccably crafted.  Slow writing not only takes time to craft at the front end, it takes revision. That's lots of revision, not only on our own, but with the help of a canny editor.  That often means that the work has to be left for a little while after a first draft is finished, maybe several months to gain some all-important perspective. Then the work has to be read critically, like a reader might, with an eye to rhythm, to character development, to story and character integration, to that subtle but critical transformation that occurs between the pages of the book. 

Research, Reading and Readers

Slow writing allows for full and extensive research. This means taking the time to really find out the historical context of the period you're writing in, reading extensively. It might involve travelling to your setting, or consulting other books, or interviewing experts.  

Slow writers have slow readers in mind. That is, readers who take the time to enjoy the care with which you've crafted your book, to enjoy the subtle references and connections, the implications, the deeper themes, and to find the poetry in your prose.

Slow writing doesn't mean that the book you create is difficult, unwieldy, or laborious. Quite the contrary, because the careful, slow crafting will almost always equate to a smoother, easier, and dare I say it, quicker read for the reader.  But together, the slow writer and the slow reader form a partnership that begins and ends with attention, that precious and all too rare commodity in these fast paced times. 

Magdalena Ball is the author of the novel Black Cow. Grab a free mini flip book of the book from 
Bewrite Books

And a final postscript from me to say that Black Cow truly is a very good book. When I have finished reading it I shall be adding yet another five star review to all the others already posted on Amazon. Find out more about the author and read an excerpt from Black Cow.