There once was a girl who loved writing,


Medieval illustration of a Christian scribe wr...

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

And found it could be quite exciting.

She jumped up from a log, and started a blog,

and she now has a forum worth citing.

Okay, so it’s NOT the best Limerick ever.

Today while scanning the pages of Freshly Pressed (and what WordPress blogger doesn’t?), I came across this delightful piece by Malinda Essex,Ph.D., entitled “Three Things I’ve Learned From a Month of Blogging.”   I’m sure you’ll want to go ahead and read Malinda’s post for yourself. Malinda took the opportunity of the milestone of her first month of blogging to reflect on what writing had meant to her.  She expounds upon how much she’s enjoyed the opportunity to write and the chance to have people read it and offer kind and insightful comments. Malinda’s post made me realize that there was a time when very few writers were able to get their words out to the world in a meaningful and accessible way. This thought so moved me that I posted the following comment to her blog:

There once was  time when those who loved to write could only get their works read if:
1.  They wrote letters to the editor or opinion columns for the local paper, and were lucky enough to get them chosen for publication.

2.  They became a published author.

3.  They wrote newsletters or other self-published missives that they sent out to the readers, who mostly felt obliged to read them.

But now, there’s blogging.

I remember a time when I hoped if I was a really good writer, and worked tirelessly at my writing in a garret, preferably one without heat or electric lights, then mailed my hard-written manuscript to dozens of publishers, that maybe, just maybe someday, my work would be published and someone besides the family and friends that I would force to read it, might actually, voluntarily read it. There is still the hope that someday I will write and have published an actual tome (by then it will probably only be an e-tome) but in the meantime,  I have blogging.

It seems that I never run out of things I want to write about, and love to have the opportunity to share them with others. And it seems that thousands of others, 336,812 as of today, by WordPress count, feel the same way. We’re fortunate to have an opportunity to share our words, even though we may never be officially chosen by an editor, agent or publisher somewhere, to be allowed to have our words read.

Writing is a way to share a tiny part of oneself,  without giving all of yourself away, and getting that tiny part back from the readers who comment, read and like. Just like Malinda, I appreciate every single reader who stops by to share a little part of themselves, and their words, with me. 

I  love this opportunity to share my writing with you, and feel fortunate to have it, without having to suffer in an unheated garret. I’ll keep going until I have nothing left to say, or until you all start begging me to stop. And in the meantime, I still have those two barely started novels, and one memoir on the back burner, nagging at me to come back to them soon. And I will although I probably won’t be moving to an unheated  garret!

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The Group of Four


As all bloggers know, we need readers. We craft our words carefully, sitting  hours before our keyboards late at night, early in the morning, and all crazy hours in between. We write in between work, household chores, minding children, paying bills. We toil away at our words. Finally, when each blog is done, polished, spell-checked, ready for public review, we click Publish, and wait. We wait for our words to come to life  in the eyes of our readers.

I have many regular, loyal readers, and I treasure and appreciate each one. But that was not always the case. When my blog was still a baby blog, my readership was sporadic, often disappointing. As a shy baby blogger, I wasn’t hip to recruiting  readers. Until the Group of Four  came along.  Yep, my very own little 4G network. I’m not sure which one I met first. I believe it was Techy, of  Working Tech Mom who very kindly added me to her Blogroll. Blogroll? I didn’t know there was a Blogroll. Then came Margaret of Conjuring my Muse, Zahara of Earthquakes and Rattlesnakes, and Mark of The Idiot Speaketh. Since then these four have been loyal blogger-readers, commenters, and all-around blogging buddies, as I try to be to them. Even if I write a fairly ho-hum post [which hardly ever happens I’m sure 😉  ] I can count on someone from my 4G network to chime in, to be there to support me.

Who is your Group of Four? Who do you count on to help your writing come to life?

(Images courtesy of Google)

I’ve found you Halmanta


"Hello Huffygirl" (Courtesy of Google)

My previous post on Zemanta/Halmanta spurred some comments from blogger-readers who did not know about Zemanta. At first I couldn’t remember how to find Zemanta and where I set it up, which convinced me more than ever that Zemanta had taken over my blog as Halmanta. But, not to worry, the good folks at WordPress came though. The short answer is that it’s under “users,” then “personal settings” on the sidebar menu for WordPress bloggers. Here’s the link if you want to know more (or less) about how to use (or not use) Zemanta/Halmanta for your posts. Be careful though – you might end up drifting off into space like I did. 🙂

http://en.support.wordpress.com/zemanta-for-recommended-links-photos-articles/#how-to-activate-zemanta

Now if I could just learn how to make links into neat little text like all the other bloggers do!

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(Non WordPress bloggers – here’s the link http://www.zemanta.com/)

Where DO you get your photos, Zemanta?


Probably a lot of WP bloggers use  Zemanta. Zemanta is a blogging-assist tool that suggests tags, related links, and photos to help polish up one’s blog. Most of the time Zemanta is a helpful tool. But sometimes? I’m wondering what words I typed that makes Z come up with such crazy photos. How could a picture of a clothes hanger possibly relate to my blog about readership? A picture of a chocolate factory for loyalty? The Bilovice Manor in Moravian, Slovakia for a blog about writing? Really?  

"Hello Huffygirl" (Courtesy of Google)

I think sometimes Zemanta’s inner Hal takes over. You know, Hal, the obsessed computer who takes over the mission in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. “No Huffygirl, I can’t let you write about THAT. Here, let me help you. Here’s some photos for your blog. Use THESE.”

But often, I resist. I try to use my own photos whenever possible, and sometimes I don’t want to sort through Z’s photos to find one that’s in the public domain. But Z persists, coming up with more and more absurd links and photos no matter how many key words I give him, er it.  “I’m don’t think so Huffygirl.” At times like that, I just want to turn Z off.  Sorry Z, I’m turning you off now. “I can’t let you do that Huffygirl.”

"Goodbye Huffygirl" (Courtesy of Google)

“Sorry readers, Huffygirl’s not here right now. I’m Halmanta here to assist you”

“A Look Back” is a hit: Thanks Erica


Feature photo from "A Look Back..."

Last week I posted A look back: my first year of blogging, a retrospective look at how Huffygirl’s Blog has grown and evolved this past year. It was great to spend some time reviewing and reflecting, pondering what worked, and what didn’t this past year. And I thought that was that. But unbeknownst to me, the fun folks at WordPress (WP) had other ideas.

As many of you know, since January WP has been engaged in a campaign to encourage its 300,000+ bloggers to write it up, with two campaigns: Postaday 2011 and Postaweek 2011. WP bloggers have been encouraged to post daily, or at least weekly in 2011. Personally, it seems to me that getting bloggers to blog is not really a problem. We bloggers tend to have a lot on our

It's the Daily Post! (Photo: Huffygirl)

minds and don’t mind saying it. Anyway just in case we need some help, WP has set up a special feature to encourage bloggers called The Daily Post. As one might expect, each day The Daily Post shares some kind of writing tidbit. Sometimes it’s a topic suggestion, a post about inspiration, or a challenge to post a photo or something outside of one’s usual comfort zone. 

Well surprisingly it seems that I’m much more inspiring than I knew, because on February 22, 2011, The Daily Post headline read “A WordPresser’s reflection on her first year of blogging.” WP author Erica Johnson featured my post “A Look Back…”  to encourage other bloggers to take a reflective journey with their own blogs. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/a-wordpressers-reflection-on-her-first-year-of-blogging/ As usual, any mention from the good folks at WP brings a flood of visitors to the featured blog. I only became aware that my blog had been cited when I saw my stats rising and looked into it to figure out the source of the spike.

The unexpected publicity from WP brought many new visitors to my blog. I’ve had great fun exchanging comments with them, and taking a peek at each commentor’s blog (yes, I REALLY looked at every single one.) It’s been fun, inspiring and fulfilling, and once again made me keenly aware of the wonderful community of bloggers out there. I’ve “met” folks from other countries and cultures and found that they really aren’t that different from me. It reminds me that I’m not alone – that bloggers from around the world are but a few keystrokes away. It’s also a great reminder to US bloggers that not everyone in the world uses Farenheit, inches and pounds, at least not the same way that we do. Good to keep in mind. 

So once again, thanks WordPress and special thanks to Erica at The Daily Post for making my day.

© The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

My 100th Post: Thanks WordPress


This week turned out to be a whirlwind for me and Huffygirl’s blog. It started out ordinary enough. I usually don’t get huge traffic on my blog, but I know the readers I do get seem to enjoy it, so I keep cranking out as much as I can for those who are kind enough to read it. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, something happened. I had a couple of comments, not from my usual readers, and one of them said “Congratulations on being FP.” FP?  FP? It took me a minute, but I, like most WordPress bloggers know that FP stands for Freshly Pressed. WordPress picks several blogs they like a week to feature on their home page, Freshly Pressed. Kind of the WordPress equivalent of being nominated for a Pulitzer. I couldn’t believe it – me on FP? Finally? I did not expect this to ever happen. I clicked on the home page, and there it was, a picture of my latest post at the top of the page, my post about a story I shared about once lying about my age. Then, the flurry of blog activity started in full force. I watched in amazement as comment after comment appeared on my blog, as my stats went from the usual 3-30 a day to over 4,000 over the next two days. I felt honored, exhilarated and terrified all at the same time. As I answered comments and wrote my next post, I thought “I’ve really got to make this GOOD because now real people (I mean people besides my friends) are actually reading it.” I worried about typos and apostrophes and whether my grammar was correct. Even though I always care about those things, now it felt even more important. PEOPLE are watching. And then, as all good things do, the flurry of fame came to an end. On Thursday afternoon I clicked on the WordPress home page to see a whole new set of blogs featured on FP. My fame was over.

That's me at the top - with the picture of the phone!

But it’s not. Not really. I’m sure I’ll never see 2,400 people read my blog in one day again. But I have some new faithful subscribers and got to read kind, thoughtful  and interesting words from a lot of  people. I read their blogs too.  These are folks, who like me, work hard on their writing to do exactly what we all should be doing: making someone laugh, cry, think, learn.

The folks at WordPress do a great job of putting out a blogging platform that offers lots of slick features and works great. And they seem like a nice bunch of folks too.  The greet me on my blog with “Howdy huffygirl!”, answer my help requests promptly, even the really stupid ones, and put out lots of tips and helpful videos to help bloggers make the most of their blogs.

So, I’ll do my best to keep writing something thoughtful, useful or entertaining, and promise to always spell check, watch my grammar and hold myself to high standards. And I hope you all keep reading. Thanks readers, and thanks WordPress.

http://en.wordpress.com/tag/freshly-pressed/

  © The author and Huffygirl’s Blog, 2010 to 3010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Huffygirl’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.