Let's talk Blogs

Starting a blog? How do you know which format is right for you? Good question. There are tons of different places to set up and blog, but I'm only familiar with four of them so that's what I'll talk about.

I use blogspot, wordpress, live journal, and tumblr. All for different reasons.

Blogspot: This was the first blogging journal I set up. I choose it because it was easy to navigate. I use this for my main writing persona for both readers and other writers, and yes, I have also sometimes put personal posts on it.

I've noticed that the majority of writers I know also use blogspot.

Wordpress: I use this blog for my pen name CC James. I'm fairly new to it, but have found that it is as easy to navigate and set up as blogspot was. It's another favorite for writers. The appearance--fonts and layouts--is a little more cooler than blogspot.

Tumblr.: I also use this blog for my pen name CC James. I opened a tumblr., mainly because that's where all the hip cool young people hang out and since the CC James books are targeted for the younger crowd it was the place to be. It took a bit of a learning curve for me to figure out, but once I did it's easy. Also I'm no techno geek, so if I can do it, anyone can. What I love about tumblr. is the interaction ability. Once I subscribe to another person's post, their posts show up on my dashboard so I don't have to go hunt them down and vice-versa if someone subscribes to my tumblr, they don't have to hunt me down either. It is so much more interactive than wordpress or blogspot, which is why I think the younger crowd loves it. Kind of like an expanded twitter that you can load pictures or gifs and retweet reblog other's cool stuff at the click of a button. You do have to put in the time to gain a following by interacting with others, which is part of the fun. But you have to do that with any blog anyway.

Live Journal: This is by far my favorite. I use it for an entirely different purpose besides my writing. The interaction is the same as with tumblr. I love that I can go to my "friend's page" and all my friend's posts are right there (under cuts) so I only see the first line unless I choose to see more. I don't have to go hunting all over the web to find them. It takes minutes to scroll through and see what everyone's up to and make a few comments. Also, there are livejournal communities that you can subscribe to and anyone who posts to the community shows up on my friends page as well, so I also don't have to search for people with the same interests as me. They are all right there. I can then decide whether to comment or friend them. Also on the flip-side, everything I post goes automatically to those who have friended me so I'm getting much more exposure than with blogspot or wordpress.

All of these sites are free. Livejournal does show ads, which is annoying, but you can opt to become a paid user for $15 a year and the ads won't show on yours or your friend's pages when you go to theirs. It's well worth it.

Example of Wordpress Tumblr Livejournal example of a community


Beauty Secret your Avon Lady won't tell you

A month ago, a friendly neighborhood esthetician shared this information:

Vitamin C face lotion. Any brand. Any price.

This past month I've been putting it on my face every day in the mornings and in the evenings when I'm not so tired I drag myself to bed I remember.

The results are amazing. Okay I don't all of a sudden have the flawless skin of Jennifer Lopez—I can't sing or dance either—but the redness I've been camouflaging for years with foundation has dramatically lessened. I don't even wear foundation anymore. Yes, even on days when my hermit self leaves the house.

Also, the fine wrinkles and shadows near my eyes have smoothed out quite a bit as well. Not totally, but I'm not exactly in my 30s anymore either.

Her other skin tips:

Rub Brown sugar on lips to exfoliate.

Don't leave the house without sunscreen.

Wash your face twice a day.

Writing Past Grief: Punching Through

It's been 9 months.

My son had cystic fibrosis and he passed away 9 months ago. This is the first time I've even lightly posted about it. It's still much too raw and painful. He was 14.

I understand grief, understand the 7 steps of mourning and the myriad of emotions that crashes through you. What I didn't realize was how that would affect my writing.

I had no idea grief would sabotage my writing confidence.

Everything I've worked so hard for over decades years is shattered. Poof. Gone.

No one wants to read this.

Your characters are too sad.

I thought you knew how to string together a sentence.

No wonder your agent can't sell your work.

You don't deserve to succeed.

Give up. You don't have the energy for this.

I feel like screaming at those inner voices as George Hamiliton did in Love at First Bite "Children of the Night…Shut up!"

So, my new mantra: I'm not a quitter, not a quitter, not a quitter.

I sit down and just start writing, giving myself permission to write badly, if I should punch through and get it done and something surprising happens.

My normal teenage heroine all of a sudden has a sibling who died in her back story and she is screaming at her love interest about how he doesn't understand…what tragedy has he ever experienced in his life that gives him the right to tell her how to feel?

I bang my head against the table. Is this all I can produce now? Angsty grief-driven characters? I just want to write stories, not go through therapy while doing it.

Then again, maybe that's all there is left. Pushing through. I'll let the characters grieve, let them flow however they will and maybe I'll come through the end of it with a little healing on my own. Who can say? I'll let you know how it goes as I continue these posts on writing past grief.