Time Out

I think I’m taking a break, here. Although I’m doing short reflections daily for Advent on the church site blog, I’ve been less than active here.

Today, at least I think it was today, maybe yesterday, that shows how far I’m behind on email too, Michelle W. who’s part of the WordPress staff, posted Lights Out: How to Take a Holiday Hiatus (sort of an onomatopoeia Christmassy sound to that). The most important part for me is the permission to say I’m taking a break.

I’m taking a break.

Life, oddly enough, is sort of slowing down. Son-Who-Lives-With-Us left to visit his father and brother in Florida. We are home alone. Shopping, although not wrapping, is done; mailing is done (okay, there’s still a family email to do); baking for “my boys” is done and either on the way to San Diego or in above son’s suitcase heading to Florida. The calendar is emptying. So why the break?

Well, Christmas isn’t just the tree and lights and presents, although we dearly love those, but a more reflective, and I’ll venture to add, spiritual time for us. We talk story and remember our families and childhood; we sit and watch the sparkle on the tree; Cliff builds fires and we listen to Christmas music. But the most important thing we do is reflect on our journeys this past year: what we’ve learned; what we choose not to bring into the new year; what we want to develop.

Although I don’t write much about our religious life on this blog (that URL is above if you’re interested), you’ve probably heard a tone of it in my writing. That’s my focus at this time of year. Peace. Justice. Kindness. Joy. Reflection. With the spirit that is part of us all and called by many names.

It’s Hanukkah, the festival of lights; Solstice, the return of light; and Christmas, the rebirth of light. There’s Kwanzaa, the celebration of culture and the wisdom of elders (that’s it’s own kind of light). The Buddhists get left out of December holy days, and the Islamic new year was in the western month of October this year. But I expect we can all celebrate spirit and light at any time of year.

Celebrate. Rejoice in your light; your heritage; your life. And the most important resolution any of us can make for the New Year is to be kind. That’s all. Kind.

I may not be back until the second week of January. It takes a while for this old bear to roll out of hibernation; and we may be going up to the farm the first full week of January. I’ll return, I promise. In the meantime:

Peace be with you. And you. And you…….All are Welcome

..

.

 

On Writing: Social Media

SAMSUNGI’m participating in a Blogging 201 online workshop with WordPress. If you have a WordPress blog, these online workshops on Writing, Blogging, and Photography are free and truly valuable. I recommend trying one out and see if you like it.

The latest Blogging 201 prompt on Social Media was particularly helpful. I have Facebook and Twitter and Linked In, but I’d also heard about Pinterest and Instagram and had no idea whether they would be useful. I knew Pinterest had to do with photos, scrap-booking sorts of things, but that was about it. And that’s not what I do.

Here’s what Michelle W. at WordPress wrote and which I found very helpful:

Each network has different strengths. Facebook and Instagram are good for parenting, lifestyle, and personal blogs. Twitter is more technically-inclined and useful for pop culture and current events/political blogs, while Pinterest is great for blogs [with] lots of images, like food, fashion, and craft blogs. LinkedIn is ideal if you blog for business.

I did my research: Instagram is there to “share the world’s moments…” and seems to be more about photos than the kinds of blogging I do, and I have Facebook, so will pass on Instagram. But those of you who do photo blogs regularly might find it useful. A nice touch is the ability to fine tune your photos on the site rather than fiddling with them on another program and then uploading.

As a general rule, I don’t send my blog posts to Linked In. I have, however, taken advantage of the new feature in Linked In to write posts with a business/training focus with tips on writing. Those have had good readership.

As a general rule, I’ve also avoided sending blog posts to Twitter. However, from time to time I write a more current and politically focused post. Having the above information gives me permission, if you will, to post them on Twitter.

Many of us use Facebook and I appreciate seeing other writers’ posts there. An interesting tidbit I picked up from Jane Friedman: Helping Writers and Publishers Flourish in the Digital Age is that having a writer’s page on Facebook is less effective than allowing readers access to your personal blog. Readers want to know who the writer is and news of the writer’s life rather that simply what she/he is writing.

I’m sure there are differing ideas on this, but for me, that fits fine. In part, because I didn’t want another page to keep up with and in part because while I post photos from time to time and respond to family posts, I rarely to never post personal information.

Each writer or artist needs to find their own comfort level, but for me, what I have seems to cover my bases: Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and a WordPress blog with several pages.

Hope the information helps you. Let me know what your ideas on the above are and whether you find a particular form of social media more helpful for your writing than others.

And keep writing!

.