Tag Archives: writing

Carich Likes/Dislikes

LIKES . . .


Modern Family, Better Off Ted, The Big Bang Theory American Idol, Jersey Shore, Grey’s Anatomy*
Being home to make dinner every night Working out at 5 a.m., cleaning up from dinner
My Real Friends Facebook-only “friends”
Working out at the gym—yes, even the treadmill! Being sore from working out 4 days in a row
Sleeping Work
Sporcle, Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, Scramble Facebook “games,” Xbox 360 shoot-em-up games
Blog lurking Blog writing
My incredibly unfashionable snow boots, striped purple cardigan, oversized hoodies, and wooly red socks Just about every other item of clothing in my closet
Warmer weather, no snow Rain (and corresponding headaches)

*to be fair, I’ve only watched 1-2 episodes of each of these shows… but enough to know I don’t get what the fuss is about!

Audience Participation: Help me choose my submission

I have lots of blogging to do, but for now: a Poll!  I need your help choosing my submission for the National Gallery of Writing.

I want something that is personal, but not too personal, that can stand alone, that is representative of the types of writing I do and that says something about me as a person.  I’ve narrowed it down to a few choices, but I’d like your help selecting the ONE favorite I should submit.

Here are the links in case you’re not intimately familiar with EVERY one of my blog posts.  :)

Of Rice and Men

30 Years Young

Operation Cutback

Foto Friday: Dear Me

A SoIL Christmas

My Best of C-U List

To All the Jobs I’ve Had Before

101 Weird Food Quirks

Mad about Mad Men

Tour de Philo

Fellow bloggers:  What are your favorite posts from your blog.  Consider posting them in the Gallery (and by “consider” I mean “DO IT!!”)

Writing a short story is like running a 5K

At first you’re just happy to finish

Then you want to be GOOD

When you finally finish, you’re just  happy to be DONE

And there’s always next time…

We’re studying comparisons (similes, metaphors, cliches) this week in my fiction writing class.  

Maybe I learned something…

When Blogs Collide

I don’t usually write about work here. Partly for privacy reasons, but mostly because I just don’t think that my work life is all that interesting.

But today was different.

Today, I published my very first work-related blog post.  The post will be included in tomorrow’s e-mail newsletter that goes out to over 100,000 subscribers each week. 

Now, I’ll stop short of calling myself a “professional writer”, but it was certainly invigorating to get paid for writing as myself,  instead of a nameless, faceless copywriter.   And I got the chance to write about two of my favorite subjects:  myself and writing!

Please take a minute to read the post (and maybe even comment?)   Yes, I’m super proud to be “published,”  but I’m also really excited about the content.  I think the National Day on Writing has the potential to be a far-reaching and very successful initiative for my organization.

I hope all of my blogging  friends and readers will consider posting something to the gallery– a favorite blog post, a slide show of your kids, an heirloom recipe, whatever.  I also hope you’ll think about ways to get your groups involved– church groups, civic groups, families, etc. are all invited to start galleries and display their writing.

Don’t worry– I’m sure I’ll write about it again!

I heart blogging!!

Let me Explain. No, there’s not time. Let me sum up.

I’ve been a bit busy lately.  Here’s what I’ve been up to the past 8 or 9 days.

Went to see an AWESOME high school production of Footloose.  My friend was playing in the “orchestra” (if that’s what you call it.)  Cheesy.  High School.  Great costumes.   Can’t beat it with a stick.

Baby shower for Kristi.  Aren’t they cute?

Kristi and Lindsey

Celebrated Kari’s 30th bday (a week early) with a surprise party at J2.  Check out these kids.   Cuteness abounds in my circle.

Beau and Macie mini-bowling
Beau and Macie mini-bowling

NKOTB, part deux.  This time, we did it up limo-style:

Limo girls in Larry's shed
Limo girls in Larry’s shed
shots at the pink house
shots at the pink house
We had 9th row seats
We had 9th row seats
The "Kids" Wore Illinois shirts for the encore
The “Kids” Wore Illinois shirts for the encore

Ran the FULL 5K for the first time.   Good thing, ‘cuz it’s Saturday. I’m READY TO RUN!

Wrote two stories for my class that I actually like.  They’re about Italian circus performers, naturally ;)

Met threebabies for the first time:  Clennon’s son Neil and Jacelyn’s twins Jacob and Dylan. I even held and fed Dylan, which is quite a feat for me because I’m not much of a baby person–and he was only 4 years old!

Took Roxie to get her shots.  And then to the Emergency Vet for the allergic reaction to her shots.   Her face swelled up like Will Smith in Hitch. It’s funny now, but I was too worked up at the time to snap a pic.  Damn!

Helped celebrate the birthdays of Scott and Kari

Caught about half of The Princess Bride, thus the title of this post.

And then everyday stuff like work and chores and running… I’m kinda worn out, but I cannot WAIT until Saturday.   Don’t worry–there will certainly be a 5K update very soon!!

With a show of hands…

WordPress has added a polling feature so I thought it would be fun to let you– my devoted blog readers– choose the topic of my next post.  Now, I realize there are only about 4 of you, so vote early and vote often.  Stuff the ballot box if you’d like…   I will write the chosen post later this week!

And I thought *I* was a meta-blogger

The guys over at Wired magazine are blogging about the creation of an upcoming article on screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), who is making his directorial debut with the movie Synecdoche, New York.


By “peeling back the curtain” on their own creative processes, the Wired guys are creating the ultimate meta-blog, culminating in the actual print story, scheduled to run in the November issue.  What a fascinating and mind-blowing concept and unique insight into the world of magazine production.

Or–at the very least– great promotion for both the issue and the movie.

Blogging on Blogging Part 3: Revision and Publication

Scott’s comment on part 2 of my Blogging about Blogging series reminded me that I never wrote about the revision and posting process.

Originally, I was going to go back to my draft from Part 2 and re-write it as a demonstration of the revision process.  Seemed like a great idea at the time.  After  messing around with a bunch of strike-throughs and trying to explain why I was moving things around, I realized that I wasn’t really explaining anything about the revision process.  Plus, it was becoming impossible to read.

Which is exactly why revision is so important.  It’s not just proofreading.  Revision is as much about refining ideas and tightening up arguments as it is about grammar and syntax.

But, at some point, you have to get to the grammar stuff.  I know enough about my own writing to look for some of my common “mistakes” and writing “clutches”
For example, I’m quite fond of starting sentences with clauses (see below).  This isn’t necessarily wrong but it does get annoying when every paragraph starts the same way.  Here are some examples from  Part 2: Drafting.   I’m sure you can find plenty in this post as well .  (What kind of clauses are these, anyway?  I’m  lacking in  proofreading vocabulary)

  • Like any kind of writing, the process of blogging
  • According to this incredibly helpful article from MIT, the drafting process is supposed to be writer-centered.
  • For the most part, the process I use for writing blog posts
  • As I’m drafting, I don’t worry much about structure

Another area I always look out for is the length of my posts. Writing for the Web 101 tells us that shorter is better.  And it is.  But I have a lot to say, damn it!

Since short, pithy blog posts aren’t my specialty, I focus a lot of my revision time on cutting the text.  I go through and try to reduce redundancies where possible and shorten sentences if I can. My posts are still long in the blog world, but I try to keep them at a manageable length.

After I cut out as many unnecessary words as possible and look for those annoying introductory clauses, I re-read the post one final time.  I go through and add in links, run a spell check, add in tags and categories and click  “Publish.”

The great thing about blogging is that even after the post is published, it isn’t done.  I often go back and edit posts once they’re published.   I usually change one or two things post-publication and then call it done.  Although revision is an ongoing process, at some point it has to be finished.

Much like this post.

Blogging about Blogging, part 2: Drafting

I’m back from New Orleans and I promise to write a re-cap post once I have a couple more photos to include.

For now, however, let’s re-visit our earlier conversation about the blogging process.  Like any kind of writing, the process of blogging can be broken down into four steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing.   Choosing topics falls into the pre-writing category, so let’s look at the other steps.

Drafting: According to this incredibly helpful article from MIT, the drafting process is supposed to be writer-centered.  Get your ideas out, they tell us, and worry about going back and revising later.  To a certain extent, this is exactly how I compose my blogs– I write out everything I want to say in one fell swoop and then I go back and revise. 

But I also revise as I go along.  Sometimes I’ll have a good idea in my head before I start, and sometimes it comes later.  At other times, I get deep into my “drafting” zone and whatever brilliant nugget I thought of earlier never finds a “place” in the natural flow of things. 

Sometimes I don’t even make full sentences or paragraphs.  I’ll simply type out the “nuggets” and build paragraphs around them.   The transitions will come later, I tell myself.  Sometimes they don’t.

For the most part, the process I use for writing blog posts isn’t that much different from the other types of writing I do.  I try to think a little more about what the audience might want to read, but that’s about it.  I try to keep my tone more conversational than I might in work-related copy and I try harder to keep  my posts more on-topic than in personal emails, but the process itself is pretty much the same.

As I’m drafting, I don’t worry much about structure, unless I have a clear-cut idea of what I’m going to say.  If it’s a top 10 list of my favorite books, for example, the structure/organization will be pretty easy.   If it’s just a rambling post about my latest idiotic adventure, I might go on and on and on for ages before I figure out where the “good parts” are.

Zach Morris Moment: If you can’t tell by now, I’m intentionally writing this post as an example of a “draft.”  The more I write the more I realize I’m rambling and I need to revise.  For illustrative purposes, I’m fighting the urge to cut, move, and refine the text above. 

Sometimes I have an outline.  Either in my head, on the screen or occasionally, on paper.  Sometimes I have almost all of the post written before I even open up my laptop.  It just depends on the type of post and the complexity of the subject.  

There is no outline for this post, for example, because even though I knew I wanted to write about the blogging/composing process, I’m not sure what I want to say about it.  In fact, I was originally going to write just one post about how I blog, but the first post was so long I decided to break it up.  Had there been a pre-determined outline for the first post, the subject of actually writing the blogs night have just been a sentence or two.

Zach Morris Moment: At this point in the “normal” writing process I would realize that this post has become too long and rambling and is not yet ready for publication.  I would also realize that it’s 11:15 p.m. and Mad Men comes on in 15 minutes.  I would normally hit “save” and re-visit this post at a later date.   Instead, I’m going to hit “publish” (without even spell-checking) and hope that my explanation that this is just a draft is enough to keep the hecklers at bay. 

(Seriously, people… I know this isn’t a well-composed piece of work. Go easy on me)

Blogging on Blogging: Choosing Topics

Inspired by this post from the always-entertaining FilkBlog, I decided to reflect upon my writing process for this blog; From how I choose my topics to the actual writing and editing of my posts.

First up… Choosing Topics

My topics tend to fall in one of these categories:

Even within these broad categories, however, choosing topics is kind of hard. 

I always struggle with what is and isn’t blog-worthy.   For each post you see here there are probably 4 or 5 posts I was going to write, but didn’t because I thought they were too lame or boring.

How I “manage” my blog ideas is quite unique:  Sometimes I’ll start a post with just a title (My Summer Staycation, for example).  I’ll save it in WordPress and I’ll come back to it.  For the time-sensitive stuff, I will sometimes pre-write them and set them to publish on the appropriate day (Wednesday or Friday).

I also have a running list of possible blog topics saved as a draft email.  That list is much vaguer more vague than the list of unpublished posts sitting in my WordPress queue, but sometimes when I’m in the mood to write and I can’t think of anything, I’ll refer back to this list to jog my memory.

For the other bloggers out there, I’m curious to hear your process for choosing topics.  Do you keep lists of ideas?  How do you edit yourself and decide which topics are “ready for prime time?”   Do you force yourself to blog at pre-determined intervals or just when the mood strikes you?