Biking, Illinois, Nature

Instagram stories: Life on the prairie

I like Instagram, but I’ve found that I don’t particularly enjoy following people I actually know. I’m friends with most of them on Facebook, and many of them automatically share their Instagram photos to Facebook (including myself). It gets old, after a while, seeing all the same photos twice. I have considered unfollowing all the people I know on Instagram and following only complete strangers.

Central Illinois prairie.
My latest Instagram posts are photos from a long bike ride out on the Central Illinois prairie. The corn is just now cropping up, but before I know it, I’ll be riding my bike through green canyons of corn.

Continue reading “Instagram stories: Life on the prairie”

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Book Reviews, Social Media

Are you on GoodReads?

The Mists of Avalon
To give you an idea of what I like to read (It’s an oldie but a goodie!): The Mists of Avalon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey everyone,

I’m looking for friends to add on GoodReads so you can help me figure out what books I want to read next. That sounds completely self-serving, right? OK, so friend me on GoodReads so can help you figure out what you want to read next! Either way works for me!

I like fantasy that’s not too science fiction-y (that makes total sense, right?) If you have some suggestions for me, please add me on GoodReads and recommend away! Continue reading “Are you on GoodReads?”

Composition I, Editing, Education, Random Rants

English Public Service Announcement: The “an” epidemic

According to Dictionary.com, “and” is a conjunction (used to connect grammatically coordinate words, phrases, or clauses) along or together with; as well as; in addition to; besides; also.

“And” ends with the letter “d” and is NOT spelled “an.” That is a COMPLETELY different word.

English: Grammatically incorrect sign
No one will ever take you seriously when you write like this. | English: Grammatically incorrect sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I.e. “pens AND pencils,” NOT “pens AN pencils.”

This was your English PSA for the day.

Continue reading “English Public Service Announcement: The “an” epidemic”

Facebook, Holidays, New Year's, Parenting

2014 New Year’s Resolutions

Skipbo Cards
My kids love this game.

It’s mid-December and time to begin thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t typically get too involved in those. Usually, my resolution is to simply try to be a better person overall. I like to think I am slowly evolving into a human who is at least somewhat better than she was just a few years ago. This year, I’ve decided to be a little more specific about my goals for 2014. I have two:

  1. Be more fun.
  2. Stop complaining so much.

Lately I feel like I am already being a lot more fun than I used to be. I used to hate playing board games and such. I think it had more to do with the company I was keeping than it had to do with any specific bias against games. The past couple of months, my kids and I have been playing Skip-bo literally three to five nights a week. And I am enjoying it. I want more of that in 2014. So much so, that I asked Santa to bring my kids several items that we can enjoy together as a family.

As for my second goal, well—  Continue reading “2014 New Year’s Resolutions”

Education, Novel Writing, Writers on Writing

How long does it take to become a writing master?

Painting The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins
How many words do you think you need to write to become a writing master? | Painting The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Facebook friend recently shared a link to an article titled, Here’s A Shocking Truth If You Think You’ve Wasted Your Life. According to this article, it takes a person about seven years to master a particular task. This prompted me to consider how long I have been writing and how close I should expect myself to be to mastering it.

After giving it some thought, it occurred to me that I am probably exactly where I should be in regards to my writing career. Although I have been writing in some capacity for most of my life, it is only in the past five years that I have put my full effort into it. Prior to that, I had taken a ten-year break while I was married because my ex didn’t want me to write at all. Continue reading “How long does it take to become a writing master?”

Blogging

Keeping tabs on my online activity

Coloreando en Amistad
This picture has nothing to do with tabs. Zemanta suggested it. I thought it was pretty. There you go. | Coloreando en Amistad (Photo credit: PatWH)

Author Charlotte Rains Dixon recently ran a blog post in which she listed all of the tabs she had open on her internet browser. I thought it was interesting to see what all she has open for research and such, so I thought I would do a “my tabs” post of my own. So, these are the tabs I have open in my browser at this time:

Writing Prompts

Twitter writing challenge

Mandy Webster Twitter @missmandy76
You can follow me on Twitter @missmandy76.

In a recent blog post, author Hugh Howey said, “Can you entertain someone with a series of 10 Tweets? If you can’t, you won’t make it as a writer.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a challenge to me! So, how about it? Can you entertain your Twitter followers with a series of just 10 Tweets? Continue reading “Twitter writing challenge”

Biking, Cooking, Health and Fitness

Take care of yourself

Yoga Class at a Gym
Unlike this picture, my yoga class takes place in a daycare room at the rec center. They have to shove all of the kids’ toys up against the wall to make room for us! | Yoga Class at a Gym (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I started a new yoga class this week. It’s been a while. I don’t know why I quit. Two classes in, I can feel the crickle-crackle working its way out of tense muscles. I came home after class and scribbled down some poetry. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow last night rather than tossing and turning all night in an attempt to sleep on the side that aches the least.

This morning, I could hardly wake up. I am usually awake by the time my older son leaves for school, but today he had to wake me to tell me goodbye. Then I fell right back to sleep. My alarm went off twenty minutes later, signaling me to get up and get my younger son off to school. I hit the snooze button. Continue reading “Take care of yourself”

Novel Writing, Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Featured Writer Prompt: How do you prep for a new novel writing project?

P writing blue
Do you outline first, or just start writing? |writing blue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Write Your Novel this Summer, we just launched our Featured Writer series where we will feature individual writers who are participating in our summer novel writing challenge. To become a Featured Writer, all you have to do is ‘like’ our Facebook page, look for Featured Writer Prompts, and submit a response to the prompt along with a link to your blog or online writing portfolio. If your submission is chosen, we will feature you and link to your page from our Facebook page (see the Notes section of our Facebook page for more details.)

Yesterday, I posted our first Featured Writers Prompt, but I have yet to receive any submissions. So I thought I would answer the prompt myself to try to get the ball rolling. I want to also encourage my readers to submit. This is a great opportunity to drive readers to your blogs and writing portfolios. It’s also a great way to find out about other writers and learn how they approach the novel writing process. Continue reading “Featured Writer Prompt: How do you prep for a new novel writing project?”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Join the official Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

novel writing challenge
Join the Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge and write the first draft of your novel between June 21st and September 21st.

I recently wrote a blog post in which I discussed author Stephen King’s view that you should never take more than a season to write a novel. In that post, I posed a challenge to my readers to “write your novel this summer.” I’ve been thinking about this challenge, and I think it might be fun to make it a real “thing.”

How cool would it be if a bunch of us banded together to support each other in knocking out that first draft of the novels we’ve all been meaning to get around to? It could be kind of like NaNoWriMo, only we get an entire season rather than just one month. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to write a novel in one month, November is just about the worst month of the year to do it in! Continue reading “Join the official Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge”