Random Writing Rants

This says it all

Source: google.com via Rita Pospeshil on Pinterest

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” ~Flannery O’Connor.

Last fall, my son was working on a family history project for school, so we went to interview my grandma down in Illinois. Who knew grandma was so cool? We got some great stories out of her, and along the way, she informed us that we are O’Connor’s. She kept repeating it like it’s a bloodline she feels more pride in than others. Anyway, upon reading this quote this morning, it occurred to me: I wonder if I’m related to Flannery O’Connor? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Who knows? It is a small world, isn’t it?
Now that I know I’m Irish, I am SO celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year!
~Mandy Webster
Places to Write, Random Writing Rants, Restaurants, Wisconsin

Dreaming, drinking coffee, and pretending to write

The Cafe de Arts has an interesting selection of artsy sandwiches to accompany your coffee while you hang out pretending to write.
The Cafe de Arts has an interesting selection of artsy sandwiches to accompany your coffee while you hang out and pretend to write.

I’m writing to you this morning from Café de Arts in Waukesha, WI. It’s a cute little café in a big, old Victorian house with a huge sunflower painted on the side. I so want to open my own business in an old house in my town and paint the house purple with a huge sunflower on the side. I even have the house picked out. It’s a foreclosure that’s been sitting empty for about three years, just calling me to buy it.

I have a dream of opening my own writer’s studio/café/bookstore where I can hang out with other writers and discuss our craft in a homey setting. I’m picturing fluffy couches with books lining the walls, and a barista conveniently stationed in a cozy corner.

I’d hang out all day, writing in my notebook in between talking story with my customers. Sometimes, I would offer writing classes and workshops for more focused work. Ultimately, I would create my own little writing community where I can plug in to my local writing scene and keep my creative juices flowing while offering the same service to others. Continue reading “Dreaming, drinking coffee, and pretending to write”

Dialogue, Novel Writing

Adventures in eavesdropping: Take One

Conversations at Vermillion
Coffee house conversations can be very interesting, but difficult to record. | Conversations at Vermillion (Photo credit: JeanineAnderson)

I’m working on a novel-writing assignment that is turning out to be far more difficult than I had ever imagined it would be. The assignment is to go to a public place, listen in on a random conversation, and write the conversation down word-for-word, being careful to capture the inflection in the speakers’ voices and imbue the dialog with the mood of the “scene” without the use of description. I thought writing the dialogue would be the hard part, but it turns out that eavesdropping on random conversations is extremely hard when you set out to do it on purpose for a school assignment.

After class Wednesday morning, I decided to stop by a small coffee shop near the school where I teach. I had never been in this particular coffee shop before and did not realize it was a Christian book store/coffee shop until I was halfway in the door. Continue reading “Adventures in eavesdropping: Take One”

Random Writing Rants

Free-writing is hard.

English: Screenshot from Linux software KTouch...
My keyboard foils my free-writing every time. | English: Screenshot from Linux software KTouch. An image of the Home Row keys for touch typing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m in a whining mood today, and can I just say this one thing? Free-writing is hard.

It’s not what I thought it was. I have two free-writing activities that I need to do for class this week, and the first one did not go well at all.

A good chunk of my free-write turned into me whining about how free-writing is so hard to do. But I’m supposed to write what comes to mind without thinking about it, right? And when I was doing this free-write, my thoughts about how hard free-writing is just kept taking over. So, now I’m going to whine about it in this here blog post for a few minutes and get it out of my system before I attempt to tackle the other one. Continue reading “Free-writing is hard.”

Random Writing Rants

I Need Chaos to Write

Reminiscing Summer
Summer might have been sensational if I’d managed to write something. (Photo credit: Lin Pernille Photography)

It’s hard to believe summer is over already. So much for all of that writing I meant to do this summer. I only taught one course over the summer semester, and that was online so I never actually had to BE anywhere. I did a bit of freelance writing, but the work was hard to get this summer for some reason. I had a lot of time to write, yet somehow couldn’t ever seem to get anything done. Now that I’m back to school with a full-time teaching schedule, I suddenly have all sorts of material begging to be written. It seems I need chaos in my life in order to write. Continue reading “I Need Chaos to Write”

Random Writing Rants

I need to write something

Emergency "Twitter was down so I wrote my...
Emergency “Twitter was down so I wrote my tweet on paper and photographed it and posted on flickr” : Satire on internet culture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I seriously need to write something soon. Or stop calling myself a writer.

Maybe this would have made a better Twitter update than a blog post. Continue reading “I need to write something”

Random Writing Rants, Social Media

Spellcheck Public Service Announcement

Words
Words (Photo credit: Southernpixel Alby.us)

You may have noticed that, when updating your Facebook status, certain words might occasionally show up in the text box with a red squiggly line under them. This red squiggly line typically indicates that you have spelled a word incorrectly.

Whenever this happens, simply right click over the squiggled word and see if a correct spelling is available. Click on the correct spelling and proceed with your status update.

If the correct spelling is unavailable, you can usually google the word to find the correct spelling. Unless you have completely butchered the word, you should be able to easily find the correct spelling using the tools available right at your fingertips. Continue reading “Spellcheck Public Service Announcement”

Education, Random Writing Rants, Written Communication

Active vs. passive voice: Why you should care

Wheeeee!
Wheeeee! (Photo credit: Erika Hall)

Do you use active language in your writing? Do your teachers occasionally tell you that your writing is too passive? Are you confused about what this means? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

One of my students told me last semester that her mom is an English teacher, and that she doesn’t even bother trying to teach the difference between active and passive voice to her students anymore because none of them ever “get it.” What a shame.

I wonder sometimes why passive voice is such an easy trap to fall into. After all, active sentences are typically simpler than passive sentences and require fewer words. Wouldn’t you think the brain would take the path of least resistance and lead the writer to write more active sentences? Apparently not. Continue reading “Active vs. passive voice: Why you should care”

Blogging, Random Writing Rants

Too busy to blog

Endless grading of term papers
Endless grading of term papers (Photo credit: joguldi)

It happens to the best of us. We want to write more often, but life somehow gets in the way. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got so many different projects in the works, I can’t seem to focus on any of them. And, I’m spending so much time worrying about getting my final project and paper written for one course, and my mid-term paper written for another, I have very little time left to write something I actually want to write.

Yes, here I am, complaining once again. *sigh* Continue reading “Too busy to blog”

Random Writing Rants

I need to write something

A picture of my school bags packed with books
This is how busy I am right now, in case you wondered. I have a bag for each day of the week so I can keep everything organized!

Please feel free to skip this post, as I have nothing to say today.

One of the secrets to running a ‘good’ blog is to blog often. So, I feel the need to write something today, considering I have posted nothing since Friday. I hate when life gets in the way of writing.

I’m back to school – playing both student and teacher, for the semester – so I’ve been fairly busy lately. Not to mention the fact that my kids have been sick this week, and I am trying desperately not to get sick myself until at least tomorrow. I teach two classes on Wednesdays, so I just can’t afford to be sick today. I’ll be sick tomorrow and get well in time for my Friday morning class.  Continue reading “I need to write something”