Sunday, 15 August 2010

Bitten By the Blogging Bug :)

Being part of a community of writers is a great way to stay motivated and to share resources. My community at Associated Content is  one of those where members also get each other moving. It’s a very gentle thing, even when a challenge grows from a few comments in a forum post or a Facebook status to something more official. But it usually has the effect of setting a bunch of us off on some writing adventure together.

In July of 2010 we all caught a blogging bug. Those who had never blogged before learned what blogs are and how to write one. Those of us who had been neglecting our blogs for other kinds of writing returned to our blogs, or perhaps started new ones.

In my case, I ended up creating several niche blogs and really giving the Blogger platform a fair shake. I was also inspired to write some articles on blogging for other writers, and as I create this page that work is underway. If the topics interest you, I hope you’ll pop by and read one or more of them.

Writing Blogs

Ruby Writer: The blog you are currently reading, and the place where you can learn more about my writing

Read Write Up: A secondary writing blog at Blogger, which offers different features and has different rules on what content can be displayed. In all likelihood, I will probably merge the two blogs and buy a domain for the resulting writing blog.

Education Blogs

The Character of Education: A look at what public education is and should be; philosophy of education, alternative education and homeschooling; educational policy

Education in Montreal: Topics of interest to students, parents and educators in Montreal and the province of Quebec
Homeschool Writer: General topics for those interested in home-based education

Homeschooling in Quebec: Topics of interest to home educators in the Montreal area, and throughout Quebec

School Days: Resources and tips; mainly for parents, but students and classroom teachers may also find it useful

Blogs About Home & Family

Canaduceus: Topics in health care, conditions and diseases, health and wellness from one Canadian’s point of view

Cooking à la Canadienne: History of foods; recipes from Quebec, Canada & elsewhere; tips for food buying & preparation. This blog will run from meal starters and once a month cooking (OAMC) to cooking for picky eaters and people with special needs.

Just Desserts: The politics of food & housing; social justice; sharing our bounty & surviving on a fixed income
Parenting in the 21st Century: The challenges of contemporary parenting

The Special Needs Family: Resources for families of special needs children; as I have personal experience with autism spectrum disorders and ADHD, these will be more frequently discussed

Blogs on Other Diverse Topics

Au Tournant des Saisons: Celebrating the turning of the seasons

Between the Worlds: Personal reflections on earth-based religion

Coffee with Kyla: A bit more of a catch-all blog; arts and entertainment, books, recipes, reviews

Wild Thyme Blows: An odd little blog about oral traditions, recitation and the lore of flowers and herbs

Most of these blogs are quite new, so I hope you will be patient as I add content to each of them. I will make an effort to keep an up to date listing at Ruby Writer, so if there are any changes they should appear there.

This post was originally published at Ruby Writer, the sister blog to Read Write Up.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Help for Non-Fiction Publishers

My oldest and dearest friend, Angie Mohr, is the author of the Numbers 101 for Small Business series of books. In her blog Writing & Selling Non-Fiction Books she discusses the ins and outs of the publishing business, with a specific focus on non-fiction writing. In a series of articles "Negotiating a Non-Fiction Book Contract," Angie discusses the process of negotiating with a non-fiction publisher. Teaching from personal experience, she offers accessible advice that writers can use to get the most out of a contract.

Here's an excerpt from the second article in the series, which discusses how writers can avoid getting locked into a contract where a publisher reserves rights for different formats, markets or foreign language editions and then does not exploit those rights to the writer's advantage.
Reading over a book publishing contract can be a daunting task for many first-time authors. Knowing what rights your contract grants the publisher, however, can mean the difference of thousands of dollars over time.

Here's what you need to know about the grant of rights section in your publishing contract:

Photo: Daniel Jaeger Vendruscolo,

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Using Twitter to Promote Your Writing

Search engine optimization is emphasized on many writing sites. A lot of writers will say they get the majority of their page views from Google searches, among others. But social media does contribute to page views as well. Many writing sites offer promotion tips that make use of sites like Facebook and Twitter, Digg, Technorati or others. It is not uncommon for sites to also offer tools that will automatically post links to these sites for a writer, or that encourage readers to "share" on one of a number of sites.

Despite the encouragement, not all writers are yet comfortable with social networking sites. Privacy is one concern that is frequently cited, but it may also be that the writer feels a little put off by a new and unfamiliar technology. Some of us perhaps feel we must become attached to our mobile devices at the thumbs in order to become part of the Twitterverse. Or maybe the question, "What are you doing right now?" just seems a little too invasive...


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Trappings of a Writer

When I was about the age my oldest daughter is now, I fell in love with writing paper. There were all sorts of little writing kits in the stores then - note cards, little cardboard folios with matching paper and envelopes, citrus scented paper decorated with oranges and lemons, faux antique paper with Hobby Holly in four different poses. I must have had half a dozen sets at any given time. Oh, and don't even get me started on the blank, fabric-covered "anything books" that turned up a few years later!

Photo by Chris Wightman Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
It seems most of us eschew the old pen & paper methods now. It's rare to use snail mail unless you're sending a package. We email, text & Facebook each other. Writers use a word processor. People keep electronic calendars and to do lists. Some people are even using electronic wedding invitations these days.

But there's no getting away from the trappings, even with our electronic platforms. In fact, maybe it's become more of a distraction than ever. Be honest, have you ever wanted to get some writing done but instead ended up spend an hour browsing through new blog templates and updating your layout so everything looked just right? Have you ever come back a week later, only to redo the whole thing again because the new template is even better than the last one was? I bet you have!

 The trappings of writing are still with us. They are no longer bottles of ink and crisp sheets of paper, but at times they seem almost as tangible. And if they help us get the job done, why complain?