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Blogs, Creative Writing, Uncategorized

Non-scientific Writing Community Polls on Twitter

person dropping paper on box
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

 

I enjoy Twitter polls and can hardly resist scrolling past them (no matter the subject). There’s something about being part of a poll that I just dig. (I’m a Boomer). I thought it would be interesting to get an idea of what writers think, feel, use in their craft, etc. For the last five weeks, I’ve polled the #WritingCommunity on things that piqued my curiosity. I participated in the polls, as well. The writing and publishing processes are dynamic, and I wanted to see what’s fresh. Some of the polls I ran had only a handful of responses – but some data is better than none. Of course, since this is a ‘non-scientific’ poll, the results are technically misleading. I could even go so far to say some responses may have been for sport (see the poll on 3-12-19 below).  At the present time, I’m content being a part of the #WritingCommunity on Twitter.

 

TWITTER WRITING COMMUNITY NON-SCIENTIFIC POLL

(Total votes are listed after polling data)

  • 2/21/19: Writers, how often does your WIP change genres?
    • 36% Sometimes; 18% Always; 46% Never (11 votes)
  • 2/22/19: How much time do you spend reading books every day?
    • 25% Less than 1 hour; 50% 1-2 hours; 0% 3-4 hours; 25% Over 4 hours (4 votes)
  • 2/28/19: Novelists, do you create an outline for your novel?
    • 36% Always; 27% Never; 37% Sometimes (11 votes)
  • 3/1/19: What writing software are you using, if any?
    • 30% Scrivener; 41% Word; 20% Google Docs; 9% Other (44 votes)
  • 3/6/19: Have you ever completely revamped your WIP before publishing?
    • 75% Many times; 25% Once or Twice; 0% Never (4 votes)
      • (I’m filing under questions just stupid enough to ask)
  • 3/12/19: Have you ever taken an online writing course?
    • 64% No; 18% Yes; 9% I’m a Genius; 9% Currently taking a course (11 votes)
      • (I’d love to meet the geniuses one day)
  • 3/16/19: What are you currently writing?
      • 80% Genre fiction; 13% Literary Fiction; 7% Other (15 votes)
  • 3/20/19: Are you planning a book launch?
    • 60% Not sure; 30% No; 10% In Progress (10 votes)
  • 3/26/19: What to do when writing and losing focus?
    • Total 39 votes: 31% Exercise; 23% TV; 31% Read; 15% Other (39 votes)
  • 3/30/19: Which of the 4 genres would you buy a book?
    • 41% Literary; 0% Nonfiction; 7% Poetry; 52% Crime (27 votes)

Tweet comments were posted on some polls (summarized below)

  • 2/21/19 Poll: “…while it might change, it’s never too far from where it started.”
  • 3/1/19 Poll: Other writing software noted in poll comments: New Novelist; OpenOffice; Zenwriter; Hemingway; Grammarly.
  • 3/26/19 Poll: Activities when losing focus noted in poll comments: watch videos; housework; write something else; nap; physically move to a new space to write.
  • 3/30/19 Poll: I purposely used the four categories of my personal interest in this poll. Two people commented:
    • Sci-Fi
    • Crime Fiction and a split between contemporary Lit.

 

What did I learn? I learned that I was almost always in the lower percentage of the polls. I embrace being different so very much!

What was I surprised by? 64% of those that answered had never taken an online writing course – I’m one of the 64% (the only poll where I was with the majority).

As much as the poll was unscientific, it helped me interact with the writing community.

 

Blogs, Creative Writing, Recipes, Uncategorized

National Pound Cake Day

 

 

 

NATIONAL POUND CAKE DAY

 

Today, March 4th is National Pound Cake Day among other named days. *

According to my journal, I last baked the pound cake noted below in the Spring of 2017. I was living away from my home state temporarily at a Fisher House in the state of Virginia. A close family member was recuperating in a hospital at the time. A lady I’d met months before at the house gave me this recipe. I’d made pound cakes for years with a sour cream addition. The variation of using heavy whipping cream instead was a recipe I was eager to try. The cake turned out well, and I must admit other people at the house thought the same.

I’ve lived in the northeastern United States my entire life. My time in Virginia on that trip lasted close to a year. I had the pleasure of learning the so-called ‘southern hospitality’ was a real thing. The Fisher House was a home away from home. It was always a delight to get a warm welcome from a house guest after a long and sometimes emotional day at the hospital. Most houseguests got a chance to return the favor in kind. I’d have to say it was rare that there wasn’t prepared meals, snacks and fresh baked goods waiting for the guests at the end of their day. Houseguests and staff alike shared in the hospitality that made the time at the house bearable as the hospital patients recuperated.

I don’t have nutritional information for this scratch recipe. And hey, do you really want to know anyway?

So, in the spirit of National Pound Cake Day, here’s my contribution.

(*By the way, today is also National Hug a G.I. Day. My G.I. has been hugged today and he loved the pound cake!) 😊

 

Whipping Cream Pound Cake

Ingredients:

5 or 6 eggs

½ pint heavy whipping cream

2 sticks of softened butter

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups cake flour

2 ¾ cups granulated sugar

 

(A Bundt pan can be used for this recipe, but I use the tube pan to get better results for this heavy cake)

Grease a large tube pan with a light layer of shortening and dust with flour.

(Notes: I used 5 eggs, the original recipe called for 3 cups of sugar; this makes a large cake – if desired, a reduction by half in the ingredients would make a smaller loaf pound cake)

 

DIRECTIONS                                                                 

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs (preferably room temperature) one at a time beating each into the mixture, then repeat the process with each egg.

Add the vanilla extract.

Stir in equal amounts of flour, then whipping cream and stir. Repeat adding whipping cream and flour until the last amount of flour is mixed into the batter.

Bake at 300 degrees F. for 1 hour 45 minutes (I preheated the oven for only 5 minutes or less before baking)

Check for doneness with a toothpick or clean butter knife.

round bread
Photo by Isabella Mendes on Pexels.com
Blogs, Uncategorized

National Clam Chowder Day

seashells in a bag

Photo by julie aagaard on Pexels.com

 

Today, January 25th is National Clam Chowder Day. I promised on a blog post last year that I’d revisit the subject of National Days. Better late than never, I always say. The 25th of February is also National Chocolate Covered Nut Day. I prefer chocolate covered nuts much more than clam chowder, but I learned clam chowder was a more interesting subject.

Are you aware that clam chowder has over nine variations? I mean, who knew? Maybe clam chowder lovers were aware, but not I. Not being a huge clam chowder fan, I can say that I’ve eaten clam chowder at times throughout the years. As a child and into adulthood, I only knew about two types of clam chowder: Manhattan and New England. I always preferred the Manhattan chowder for its tomato base and flavor.

Why does clam chowder deserve a special day? While I can’t answer the question, I believe the issue is not as subjective as I’d originally thought. National ‘Singles Awareness Day’ was observed just last week. If you’re single, aren’t you aware of it every day of the year? If you’re single by choice, shouldn’t you celebrate it every day? Maybe ‘National Singles Day’ would be a better term. Semantics, I know. National ‘Fun at Work Day’ is observed later this week. I wonder how many employers will buy into making the work day ‘fun’ for employees without sacrificing their bottom line? A day of fun at work is possible for some professions, though. When you consider there are ‘National Days’ slated for just about anything, naming a day for a chowder with multiple variations might be reasonable.

Besides New England and Manhattan clam chowder, I’ve read about variations of clam chowder named Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, Hatteras, Minorcan, Long Island, and Puget Sound. It seems the different areas of the United States add or omit ingredients to the chowder, thus giving it a unique name that stuck with the region. While I won’t go into the details of all the variations, I found one interesting variation I’d like to try. Hatteras clam chowder is prepared with celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, and clam juice. My own favorite potato soup recipe has almost all the ingredients of the Hatteras variety, less the clam component.

If nothing else, clam chowder and its many varieties are interesting enough, in my opinion, to have a National Day observance.  My opinion counts – at least on this blog. Personally, as a writer, I’m looking forward to National Tell a Fairy Tale Day tomorrow.

If you like clam chowder, which one is your favorite, and why?

 

 

 

 

References:

https://www.homeandplate.com/blog/2015-2-hatteras-clam-chowder/

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/february/

https://www.ehow.com/info_8355520_different-kinds-clam-chowders.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Writing, Uncategorized

Creativity While Writing

low angle view of lighting equipment on shelf
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What spurs your creativity while writing?

 

Very often during my writing process, I take mini-breaks to update social media or read the news, etc. Today, a subject about music and writing came to mind.

Music has been an important part of my entire life. There’s something to the saying about music being the “soundtrack” of one’s life. Name me a few top ten songs on the ‘Pop’ charts during my childhood or young adulthood. I’ll probably be able to tell you what was going on in my life just by the mention of the songs’ title.

Sadly, music for the past decade or more hasn’t had too much of an impact on my memory retention. Almost exclusively now, I find myself listening to songs from twenty or more years ago.

Music gives me inspiration at the beginning, middle and end of my day. I thank my parents for always playing records and having music available during my early years. If ever I were on the proverbial desert island, I’d want an endless soundtrack of music to enjoy.

One of the MC’s in my current short story collection is thinking of The Carpenter’s song “Close to You” when she meets who she thinks is a potential love interest. I listened to the song for inspiration to help me along with the MC’s feelings at that moment.

At other times, I take a short walk outside just to breathe in fresh air and my stories are rejuvenated.

What inspires your creativity in the writing process?

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Uncategorized

Writing Rituals

Blog Pic_Writing Rituals_021019

I’ve read about writers who have very detailed and specific writing rituals. My rituals aren’t as detailed as I’ve heard others claim. I could probably imagine a space that would make my senses pop if I put more thought into the process. For now, what follows is my writing ritual at the present time.

I have space in my home where most of my writing gets done. The lighting is based on the time of day and how I’m feeling. If I’m having a not-so-good morning, shades are closed, and the lights are set to low. When I’m raring to go, natural light and hydration are all I need. In the evenings, lights are set to as bright as possible. Due to various reasons my writing space needs to be mobile. The constants are my paper notepads, pen, pencil, laptop, electronic tablet, and a beverage.

Silence, while I’m writing, is now a must. Silence helps with my creativity and clears thoughts in my head. However, silence in my surroundings isn’t always possible. A frequent pre-writing ritual of mine is doing meditation. Guided meditation with audio files or silent meditation helps me start the day or clear my thoughts toward the end of the day. After meditation, I listen to a few of my favorite songs while I check email and update social media.

When I was younger and away at college, I could write an entire essay with music blaring all around. I know those days are gone forever. There’s enough mumbo jumbo going on inside my head without adding music to the mix.

I’ve changed habits over time and my current writing rituals will most likely change in some way going forward. I normally do what works for me at the present time.

What’s your writing ritual?

Uncategorized

Mulberries

mulberry

I remember the tree that stood only yards away from my grandmother’s front yard when I was a child. I called it ‘the berry tree’. I’ve since learned the berries I loved to pick and eat where I stood were actually mulberries.

I’ve been wanting to do a history book relating to the section of town where my fondest memories of childhood exist. The street where I grew up is no longer considered a street. Trees on the hillside have grown where the houses use to stand. The street is currently blocked off with concrete barriers. Its name is only referenced on historical maps of the city.

I came across an online forum where people were commenting on various city streets’ history. The area where my grandmother’s house stood was mentioned. The consensus was that it was a forgotten street and houses probably never stood on the street. The comments had to be from people too young to remember or ones that didn’t research. I had to set the record straight, of course. I commented that people did live on the street. Cars actually drove up and down the street that served as a connection to a busy avenue. The huge sinkhole or “cave-in” as we called it back then, closed the street off to thru traffic. That event was the beginning of the end. However, people lived on the street on the street for another twenty-five years or so after the cave-in.

At some point, I’m going to dig through old pictures I took as a child/teenager who loved cameras. I hope to find snapshots that show the house and street that’s forgotten. Most adults that lived on the street at the time are long gone from this earth. If the pictures can’t be found, I have my memories which are still clear enough to tell the story.