Everyday Inspiration: Wrapping it Up

For the last twenty days, I’ve been enrolled in a Blogging U. course called “Everyday Inspiration.” For this course, WordPress emails participants a daily prompt/idea to help us find new ways of thinking and writing – or, to help us “get our creative cheeses melting,” if you will.

Today’s twentieth and final assignment was this: to “wrap up” the previous 20 days of prompts, and discuss what I’ve learned and/or plan for future blogging tomfoolery.

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Note #1: Is it just me, or does “wrap it up” sound like a bad condom slogan?

Note #2: Too bad the assignment wasn’t to “RAP it up” because it might’ve been fun to summarize this course by constructing a rap song. Missed opportunity, WordPress. Maybe next time.

Wrapping up previous posts

I’ve been a busy bee in the last 20 days! Or I would be, if bees were into writing. I’ve discussed the setting and supplies I use to help me blog, I’ve written a letter to myself from the perspective of my computer, and I’ve experimented with a new format by writing a post entirely on Paint.

Perhaps most shockingly, I also put on my serious hat long enough to write a poem about secrets.

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What I liked a lot

It was helpful to not only receive a variety of prompts, but to also receive suggestions for how to get started. After all, it’s one thing to want to try something new, but it’s a whole other thing to come up with the something new.

What I liked a little less

1.Quite a few of the prompts had a kind of been-there-done-that feel to them. There were really only a few that really made me go, “Huh. Never thought about doing that before!”

2.Initially, I told myself that I was going to write something for every single prompt, even if I didn’t end up posting it on my blog. I figured the daily consistency would be helpful for me.

However, I was reminded yet again that blogging is genuinely a lot of work. It’s work I enjoy (most of the time), but it’s still work. And sometimes, when I get home from my actual job, I just want to…UN-work. I want to read, or have a glass of wine, or put on a cow suit and moo at the neighbors, or watch a little TV.

Obviously, the daily prompt aspect of this course was clear up front, so this is in no way a criticism of the course itself, just of what it felt like to be involved in it. After a few days, I improved this feeling by writing down all of the prompts to give me inspiration for the future, but only responding to a prompt if I felt truly inspired or energized by it.

As I continue blogging, I plan to…

Keep things interesting! I hope to keep experimenting with different formats, ideas, and topics. It’s more fun for me to write that way, and hopefully more fun for my readers to read that way!

For my fellow bloggers and writers, have you participated in any Blogging U. courses, or other writing classes? If you’re feeling stuck, how or where do you gain new inspiration for posts?

 

 

The Lie, the Guilt, and the Wardrobe

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For a couple of weeks, I’ve been participating in a Blogging U. course called “Everyday Inspiration.” For an assignment last week, I asked readers to visit my contact page and suggest ideas or questions for me to blog about in the future. Thanks to those of you who took the time to suggest prompts for me! Feel free to submit more as they come to you 🙂

For today’s assignment, WordPress recommended answering one of the questions or post ideas that I received. There were lots of funny, intriguing, and downright strange ideas, so this was a tough choice. Fortunately, I’ll have plenty of material in the future should I need some inspiration!

The post idea that I selected for today’s assignment is this:

 What is something weird you did as a kid?

I was a relatively well-behaved and normal kid, despite my penchant for playing in my closet and making up mildly concerning stories about my dolls.

And my tendency to stand next to my parents’ bed and stare at my mother as she slept.

Totally ordinary stuff.

Truth is, I definitely had my moments of teasing the line of normalcy. And by “teasing the line,” I really mean flying an airplane over the line, and laughing maniacally as I left it behind me.

Anyway, it wasn’t hard for me to think of a strange story, but I thought this anecdote could best be told through a series of pictures I crafted on MS Paint.

Think of it as being like a children’s story – with swear words and an inappropriate lesson at the end.

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Moral of the story: I was a weird child. Also, Moms can be tricky.

What were you like as a kid? Can you remember any strange things you might have done, or terrible lies you told? Did you get away with these things, or were you eventually caught?

 

Letter to My Cantankerous Computer: A Response from My Laptop

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Several months ago, I wrote a letter to my laptop. We shared our ten-year anniversary together this year, so the letter was partly loving and appreciative – and partly accusatory. Just like letters between humans.

Today’s Blogging U. assignment was to write a letter to someone/something – to yourself, to another person, even to an object or idea. Because this is something I’ve already done before, I considered just ignoring the prompt, and picking back up with the course tomorrow.

But then… I thought it’d be interesting to put myself in the perspective of my laptop, and write a response to my letter. You know, a response from the laptop.

Was I drinking when I came up with this idea, you ask? Nope, stone-cold sober! Which is probably somehow worse…

Laptop’s response to my letter:

Dear User,

I am glad that you appreciate all the hard work I’ve done for you. Actually, I’m not “glad” because gladness is a human emotion, and as a machine, I am incapable of that. Instead, let’s just say that your letter was processed and received as you intended.

Anyway, I was chagrined (damn it, I did it again) to read your letter about my lengthy list of flaws. Tell me, how would YOU feel if someone did that to you? If they painstakingly detailed all of the things that you don’t do correctly? Because let me tell you, user, you are no perfect being, either. At least I don’t try to convince myself that donuts are a well-balanced breakfast. BURN.

Second of all, where do you get off trying to make me feel guilty for dying those times? I realize that my death put you through a lot of stress, but you’re the one who gave me the viruses in the first place. That’s victim-blaming if I ever heard it.

Also, you do get that I’m old, right? I know that ten in human years is still a child, but in technology years, it’s basically 100. I am an elderly object. A senior machine. You have to expect that I won’t run as smoothly as I did before, and that I’ll require more upkeep.

Clearly, you’re just ageist.

So, yeah, maybe my on-button sometimes falls inside, and my down-arrow key sticks, and sometimes I won’t let you download newfangled programs. I’m even more embarrassed about these things than you are.

Or I would be, if I were capable of complex emotions.

But that part where I make you keep the cord in the exact correct spot? I’m just messing with you. Old people objects have to get their fun somewhere.

Cordially, Sincerely, Love,

-Laptop.

The Space to Write

Right now, I’m participating in a Blogging U. course called “Everyday Inspiration” in which WordPress emails me a daily writing assignment to help me get my creative juices flowing.

(I’ve always been slightly grossed out by the phrase “get your creative juices flowing.” Instead, let’s say that the course helps me “get my creative cheeses melting.” Catchy.)

Anyway, today’s assignment was to describe the space and circumstances in which I write. What type of setting do I need? What supplies or tools do I use?

Here’s what’s been working for me so far:

Tools

I write on my crabby 10-year-old laptop. I wish I could say that I use fancy apps or programs, but to be honest, I use Microsoft Word –  and not a modern version of it, either. Because the nicer ones aren’t compatible with Windows XP. #Conspiracy.

I use one document for keeping a list of blog post ideas, and another Word doc for holding my in-progress stuff. If I want to edit a picture in a funny way, I use Paint.

If blogging styles were types of dessert, mine would probably be a slightly old candy bar. I’ll leave the crème brûlée and chocolate soufflé to other bloggers 😉

Timing

I do the vast majority of my writing in the evenings after I get off work. However, I love writing really late at night, and I think some of my funnier (and goofier) stuff has been written then. (Probably because my brain is tired and confused.)

Setting

Most of the time, I write while sitting on my super-comfy-but-lacking-in-the-looks-department couch in my living room. I’d like to be able to write in more delightful settings, like at a coffee shop, or inside a gas station, but I really do my best writing and thinking from my own home.  Plus, pants are optional here.

The most eccentric thing about my writing space is that I like to keep the television on, but muted. If the sound is playing, the noise distracts me from my line of thought – which is understandable. But if the TV is totally off, I tend to freeze up and go blank. For some reason, having the visuals on seems to take the pressure off.

The view from my elderly computer:

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Purpose

Anything that gets my creative cheeses melting makes me feel better. And anything that makes me feel better, and doesn’t cause harm to anyone else (which my blog hasn’t yet, to my knowledge), is a good thing.

To my fellow writing nerds (meant in an affectionate way, of course), what does your writing space look like? Are there any habits or rituals that you follow? I found this to be a super interesting question, so if any of you want to make your own blog post on this subject (even without being enrolled in the course), I’d love to read it! Commenting on here works too, of course 🙂

P.S. – Today’s writing prompt also came with an additional assignment: to invite my readers and fellow bloggers to submit your ideas for what I should blog about in the future. What burning questions do you have for me? What silliness or seriousness would you like to see from me? All ideas are welcome, and your idea might just appear in another Blogging U. assignment in a couple of weeks. Go to my new contact page in order to send me your thoughts!

 

One Word Inspiration: Secret

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A few days ago, I signed myself up for a Blogging University course called “Everyday Inspiration.” For 20 days, WordPress sends you a daily assignment to help you strengthen your writing muscles.

They encourage you to publish the stuff you come up with, but I’ve decided to only post certain things.  After all, my blog centers around cheese (both in food and joke form), and it’s sometimes challenging to brie funny and lighthearted with these assignments.

Couldn’t resist fitting in a quick cheese pun 😉

Day Three (today’s) assignment was to choose a one-word prompt from a set list and interpret it in the way you see fit. The word I selected was “Secret,” and I decided to make a poem out of it. It’s a bit darker and more serious than what I usually do – never fear, I’ll return to the silliness soon 🙂

Secret

A secret, a secret
Burning a hole
Squeezing my mind,
Hurting my soul.

This secret, this secret
Longs to come out
I’m holding it in –
But dying to shout.

My secret, my secret
Maybe I’ll tell…
My mind might calm,
My thoughts might quell.

But then it’d be out there
Careless, unsafe
No taking it back
No choice but to wait.

Secrets, oh secrets:
Everyone’s got one
Some are harmless,
None are forgotten.

This secret, this secret
Still causing me pain
Seizing my heart
Wounding my brain.

My secret, my secret
Why can’t I tell?
Too many risks –
My conscience is hell.

The whole point of the course is to strengthen my writing skills, so any feedback would be appreciated! Again, I don’t usually do poems (unless they’re fun ones about dolphins), but feedback regarding this post is likely to be helpful for my other posts as well.

And for my fellow blogger friends – if you’ve never done one of these courses, I recommend trying one at some point! The assignments definitely have me thinking and writing in ways that I don’t normally consider.