A repost from a fun, insightful writer who knows how not to quit. I haven’t — have you?
A repost from a fun, insightful writer who knows how not to quit. I haven’t — have you?
It’s that time again: time for Black Friday Sales, pumpkin pies, four days of blessed vacation (for some of us), and spammies nestling into your blogs. I have yet again fended off dozens of false praises/questions/comments from who-knows-who. So I thought in the season of turkey and/or football, I’d repeat a blog from Jan. 4, 2014….
Good morning fellow bloggers, potential bloggers, friends, and curious ones!
I had a totally different blog in mind, but I feel this topic needs to be readdressed, with tips for those of you who are just starting out.
Everyone who writes a blog does so because they love to write. Some have pictures they want to share. Some share therapy. Some thoughts. Most everyone writes from experience, sharing what they’ve learned with others who want to learn.
Bloggers also enjoy the responses and interactions with those who have read their writing. This is where friends are made, ideas are shared, where we feel good about what we do.
Then there are the spammies.
Spammies usually attack e-mails. But blogs are also open season to those with nothing else to do than create chaos. I addressed this topic a month or two ago, and wound up deciding to moderate all comments before they get published. Things quieted down, and all was well. But the spammies are back, and I want to share with you what is a real comment for your hard work and what is nonsense.
Here is a real comment from a real follower:
Very nice! I hear you on the “creaks from my joints and the squeals from my muscles.” I definitely want to work on those this year, too. Happy New Year, Claudia! I wish great things for you in 2014! Maddie Cochere breezybooksblog.wordpress.com.
Some how I missed the yellow brick road last time I loved your story! Thank you for repeating… Deb Hathaway debhathaway.com
And even shorties:
Great story! ittymac ittymac.wordpress.com
Subscribers and nonsubscribers alike usually refer to something specific in your blog. There are times when you do get “I really like this!” or “Great post!”, but usually those are from followers you already know. (I know I sometimes use less than 5 words).
But a spammie is always from someone you don’t know, usually has no image or legit link, and often talk about things that either have nothing to do with your post or use the generic praise for you to keep doing what you’re doing. In the last two days I received 20 such “responses.” That doesn’t include the 93 comments in my SPAM folder.
Your writing is certainly extremely persuasive and that is probably the reason why I am making an effort in order to opine. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, even though I can easily notice the jumps in reason you make, I am not really sure of extcaly how you seem to unite the ideas which produce the actual final result. For now I will, no doubt subscribe to your position but trust in the foreseeable future you connect your facts better. Tata
Thanks for the comment and shanrig this story. Somehow when this stuff is going on, I tend to attribute also and to myself. Like I’m a faulty adult or something. But having done workplace advocacy for a long time and so to I’ve come to realize just how often this nonsense is taking place, not to mention that many people think that simply ignoring a co-worker they don’t like is so acceptable… Roman
Those are just a few. You can see right away they have nothing to do with your post. I’ve seen tons of others where some nebulous person says, “Your blog is very helpful. I am grateful you are writing these things.” They are generic and aimless. They usually pick older blogs where no one goes anymore. I’ve seen conversations go on between two different people about a totally different subject right in my comment section.
I don’t know how they get in there or what they want in there. I don’t know if they are just messing around or if they’re pulling information from my blog or just trying to get me to respond so they can continue to fool around. I mean, how do I know they’re not using MY past posts to share secret or illegal information? I’m not behind-the-scenes savvy when it comes to Internet privacy — or piracy. But I don’t appreciate invasion of my personal space by people who are playing in my back yard without my knowing what they’re doing (or talking about).
I’m not saying you should moderate all your comments. Strangers stop by all the time and comment and go on their merry way. You don’t have to have a liege of followers who hang onto your every post. But if you keep an eye on how many people comment on your posts (I think everyone does to one degree or another), be aware that not every comment is a true comment about you. Most of these spammies just sit in your e-mail notifications as someone who commented on your writing. They don’t have viruses or attachments, but yet when you click on their name to see who they are, who knows what that does?
I know anyone can type anything anywhere, and anyone can type your email address into anything. My husband was a victim of the recent Target scandal, and all he did was buy a Christmas present. So all this blog is about is keep your eyes open. If it’s too incredible, it’s not. If you’ve received a ton of comments on your blogs and you usually get a half dozen, sniff around. Something’s up.
But don’t worry — Big Granny is here looking out for you — and reading your stuff — so keep on reading and keep on commenting.
Fakey Spammies Always Get What’s Coming To Them….
Descriptive words are as varied as the world is wide.
Having given credit to a very general cliché, let’s think about the concept. We are conditioned to react to words based on our own experiences. Images flash into our minds before we even can think about them. That is why your choice of words in your writing is so important.
For example, at NLP Language Patters for Advertising http://blog.nlp-techniques.com/2012/07/mmmmm-write-persuasive-advertising-food/, the author writes: “The menu psychology research found the use of these five descriptor categories in the labels, food descriptions (or both) help increase sales dramatically…Visual (handcrafted, slow-cooked, fork tender); Gustatory (crispy, creamy, spicy, melt-in-your-mouth); Health & Diet Words (low calorie, all natural, organic); Memories/Nostalgia (Ye Olde, Homestyle, Made from Scratch); Geographic (Cajun, Sicilian Style, Southwestern); and Brand Names (Jack Daniels Sauce, Oreo Cookie Ice Cream).
“They also say to avoid what are now considered menu description cliches: zesty, sumptuous, mouth-watering, indulgent, unforgettable, world-famous, smothered, hearty, flavorful, pan-fried, special, and using apostrophes (“”).”
So even when you think you are using creative words you might not be using the right creative words. Describing food is no different than describing thoughts, motions, locations, and ideas. From blogs to novels, descriptive words are the bridge between the mundane and the magical. And as writers we have to be able to dance on that bridge.
I used to be the queen of descriptive words. Every look, every thought, was punctuated with adjectives, as if the reader couldn’t figure out for themselves if the hero was aggressive or merely forward. These were good times, for in them I developed the art of language, and each over-used description eventually was either changed or deleted.
But how do you spice up your writing so others will get your meaning yet interpret things for themselves?
I have a hard time describing my blog as “spectacular” or my art finds as “fantastic” because the words are so generic and over used. But I still want to grab the reader’s attention. I want to tickle a nerve that’s been hidden for quite a while so the reader comes back for more. So in my quest to sell myself and my wares I need to find words that describe me and my craft and hone in on those words. Make them mine.
Developing a writing style of your own is important. Read others’ writings. The Classics. Descriptive passages from Lord of the Rings or Farewell to Arms might be miles apart in style, but both are endless rivers of creativity. Take a look at free verse or rhymed or sestina poetry and see how each word is stretched to its full extent.
Then find your own style and stick to it. Now, Stick To It is different than Never Change It. If you have a fancy for words, by all means use them. Then re-read your work and see if you needed all those words to describe your point. If you are a writer of few words, make those count. There are some words that can replace a paragraph. Learn them.
Words are music. They sing, they explain. They carress. They express. And they all are yours for the taking.
Use your words.
This is going to be one of those depressing little ditties older people write when it looks like there is not much sunshine on the horizon. Oh, there is sunshine and flowers and soft breezes, to be sure, but I just don’t see them quite as brightly as before.
This is not an insurmountable-odds sort of thing; not a terminal disease or death of a loved one or a catastrophe of nature. This is a melancholy of a different kind. It’s the kind of thoughts you have when you have fewer years in front of you than behind, and realize that your contributions to society have been minimum (to say the least).
Not that I wanted to be a Congresswoman or a Rock Star. I’m happy with my choices in life. But it often seems that the choices I’ve made in my pretzel-logic sort-of-way have not always been the smartest ones. As much as I’ve always enjoyed my job, I’ve always been a little A.D.D., causing me to get an extra lecture or two along the way. Taking medication for the downs of my life have added more complications, as now I’m sleepy during the day, another lecture or three. I’m working on that, but, as usual, it’s after the damage has been done.
More to the point is what I’m finding as I get older. People’s attitudes, people’s opinions, are slowly becoming…mmm…a little more condescending. Tolerant. Indulging. As if I’m slipping slowly into dementia. Which, as far as I can tell, I’m not.
It starts slowly. Almost imperceptibly. People start questioning you. Telling you what to do. Turning you in the direction they think you are supposed to go. Telling you how you should respond. These people mean no harm — they are truly trying to be helpful. I don’t think they even realize they are “telling” me more and more what to do. As you get older, you have a tendency to do both…tell people what to do and be told what to do.
I am beginning to realize why older people get grumpy and depressed and frustrated. Every time someone tells you what to do, what not to do, and it’s not what you want to do, you have to make a choice. Either don’t do it and get static, or do it and give up a little piece of yourself. Not hunks and chunks — just chinks. Fighting about who’s right isn’t always the answer. As through my whole life, I’ve had to pick my battles. Sometimes it seems that I could make a battle out of everything. And that’s not the way I want to live my life.
I am not always right. Far from it. I’ve always been a little left of center, causing trouble where trouble shouldn’t be, giving up when my career choices soured. I’ve never been Einstein, but I’ve never been a moron, either. Sometimes it takes me a while to “get it.” And I know as I get older, I frustrate those younger, as I don’t make decisions as quickly as I used to. I react with my emotions instead of my brain.
But that doesn’t mean my decisions are wrong.
I’m finding that these days my energy wanes, my writing suffers, and my dreams are popping like bubbles. Again, I’m working on all of that, but lately I’ve wondered if all of it’s worth the effort. For now I have my health, my family, and charm. Shouldn’t that be enough?
When you’re older, there’s not much room to turn around. You have to hold onto your job, your health, as long as you can. So it’s better not to make waves. Better to give in and do what you need to do to move on. I’m not saying everyone over 40 or 50 or 60 needs to roll over. There are many sharp, successful working people that still have a chance to make a difference. They have dreams, they have potential. They are mentors and creators and holders of the future. They’re not flaky, left-of-center pretzel logic people like me. And I’m not sure I have what it takes to change at this point of the game.
I have to learn to let go. To not challenge, not cause trouble. What is that saying —
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
As long as God doesn’t pat me on the head I’ll be fine.