Sunday Slackers

The internet of fascinating things to while away your Sunday …

Beginning with Sassy Women Alert, as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler do a Ricky Gervais on an unsuspecting Hollywood (and it’s fab to see George has a sense of humour. No wonder we love him so.)

 

Literature/Film: With the hype surrounding a certain film due out next month, it seemed a good time to share one of the funniest and wittiest Twitter feeds around – Fifty Sheds of Grey.

Space: The cultural significance of space exploration

Tech?: 21 times people used the internet before it was invented.

Animals: Cats and Dogs trying to decide who’s boss.

Freelancing: Dispelling a few myths about self employed people (such as writers!)

Photography: The simple beauty of children and animals

Music: John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ made into a comic strip

Miscellaneous: Mr Men’s and Little Misses for modern day Britain

Music 2: 7 Elvis tunes borrowed from classical music

For writers: Honesty in Writing and a toolbox of practicality

Fun: 7 people who totally nailed it!

Thoughts for the week – The Final Frontier!

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Everything is in my head …

… but not for much longer.

2014 was a mad year. Five regular jobs including the LitFest (which is voluntary yet takes up more time than anything else) on the go at one point was just too much. Along with running a home and family – I thought my head might explode.

Cramming in as much work in as I could left my blogging to rot, sadly. Entering 2015 though, and I’m down to three regular jobs (still including the LitFest!) which means the promise I made to myself to learn new things – and confirm my knowledge of old things – will have a chance to be fulfilled.

One of the biggest frustrations was not being able to spend time chatting on line with fellow writers. When I joined Twitter six years ago, this was predominantly the reason why. I’m looking forward to re-connecting and beginning new conversations with those writers who inspired me then.

I decided against a list of resolutions; they can lead to frustration and disappointment. Instead, I’m writing glorified ‘To do’ lists. Far more effective on a daily basis, and far more satisfying when you’ve crossed everything out at the end of the day. Including even the most mundane task shows where you’re time is going and in turn makes you more effective. I can look at the overflowing laundry basket and tell myself: “It’s ok, the dark wash is due tomorrow.”

So far today, the snake has been fed and watered, the mixed wash is done, the hand wash only items are done, the promised reference for someone is done and I’m halfway through two blog posts. I’ve even scheduled in reading time for later (A Dance with Dragons Part 1 – fifth book of A Song of Ice and Fire, which TV series Game of Thrones is based on) although I’m very unhappy with you, George, if you’re reading this, at how A Feast of Crows finished. Very unhappy. If you’ve read the books you’ll understand why. Notwithstanding the gratuitous sex and violence, the story itself, and the characters contained therein, is riveting. You have to keep reading to find out where they’ll all end up – and who will actually make it to the end. No-one is safe, as Book3/Series 3 proved.

I digressed – it’s one of my quirks/failings/endearing qualities depending on your viewpoint. And hopefully I’ll be doing a lot more of throughout the coming year J

A ramble around the garden

I’ve a stinking cold and took an opportunity between work stints to get some fresh air – the sun had briefly made an appearance and I didn’t need a coat!

The southern facing side was still quite colourful and I’ve been very shoddy of late in sharing any Wordless Wednesdays. So I thought I’d make up for it now! (And I’m posting this direct from my phone too, just to try it out, in case it looks a bit weird!)

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The currency of blogging: Blogger awards

Linking is the currency of blogging. If you want to get yourself  ‘out there’ one of the best ways to do so is to start blogging and then like and follow fellow bloggers.

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A fellow blogger recently gave me the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Award’ – thank you Petrel. It’s a great way to connect and grow and while it may seem a little obvious, it’s still just nice to get it. Someone bothered: This is why I love the blogosphere.

It can also feel a little mercenary but that’s the world we live in. I wouldn’t have landed my first paid writing job if I hadn’t been blogging and developing an audience, and more importantly, understanding why that audience developed the way it did. Which was mainly through the connections I made on line, blogging.

In the same way that to gain more Twitter followers you have to follow more Twitterers, to grow your blog’s audience you need to do the same with other bloggers.  It’s a reciprocal thing: Don’t expect others to share your stuff, engage with you and follow you if you’ve no interest in doing the same with them. Twitter is a prime example. The micro blogging site has grown because the vast majority of its clients/customers/audience love to share stuff and to connect with new people who share their interests.

So, in the spirit of the award, my most inspiring fellow bloggers are (in no particular order):

Ripplestone Review

Write So Fluid

Quillers Place

The View Outside

Klahanie

D C Relief

Three Beautiful Things

Julie’s Quest

Do check them out and say hello 🙂

Happy Star Wars Day #Maythefourthbewithyou

Not that interest ever really died away (not in my world, anyway) but it has piqued again recently with news that Disney has taken over the Star Wars franchise – George Lucas is still involved – and that director of the resurrected Star Trek film series and all round awesome guy, JJ Abrams will be directing Episode V11. Therefore, today’s Star Wars day is being celebrated more than most and how better to share what’s happening than using the new forces of nature/evil empires (delete as appropriate) Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

First up, the stunning video by Graham Putnam. Luke’s Change: An Inside Job parodies the conspiracy theory over 9/11 and is just brilliant.

And it had to happen – Call Me Maybe, starring the cast!

Then we have the Galactic Empire State of Mind – who disabled embedding, sadly so you’ll have to make do with the link.

Into the Facebook world (the Dark Side) there are some wonderful fan groups and pages sharing much Star Wars love: Retro Star Wars is posting lots of random images (with a rather lovely one of Han Solo *coughs*) while Star Wars Rocks My World is inviting you to caption many other images. And of course, Talking like Yoda because you’re a Legendary Geek is just one among many more – search Star Wars and individual names and you’ll find more than you can shake a light sabre at, including the Folkestone sci-fi celebration, if you’re in that area today.

Jedis unite on Twitter but the best parody account, in my opinion, is actually the @DeathStarPR. With quotes like “If you named your son Luke but have never dropped the “I am your father” line on them, why did you even bother?” and “Sticks and stones may break my bones but giant space teddy bears will never hurt me.” Stormtrooper just before the #Ewokalypse.” And they take social responsibility seriously to “Don’t think of it as building “Death Stars”, think of it as building “Communities”. Check out their timeline for some fab photos too.

@-_-@ is my new favourite discovery, just because of the Chelsea Buns, while Emperor Palpatine is only in it for the hats – he’s been a bit quiet of late, which seems ominous. But you’ll find everyone on there: Lando, Han, Chewie, C3Po and R2 – again, just seek and you will find – use the hashtags – Happy Star Wars Day, for example.

May the force be with you!

Confessions of a lazy and easily pleased mum

It’s something of a rarity that all four of us sit down to dinner together, but the new Box Office offer from Dominos Pizza provided an opportunity we just had to take advantage of.

Teaming up with Lionsgate UK, Dominos can now deliver a film along with your pizza, and they’re adding new titles all the time. Just check out the website and click on the movie button, found alongside the foodie stuff, to add a film of your choice to your order.

Choosing a film wasn’t too taxing but deciding on the pizza combination was a nightmare! The kids didn’t want vegetables, obviously, whereas we wanted onions and mushrooms to temper the overdose of meat; there’s only so much pepperoni I can handle. But with the order sorted, we were able to sit back (well, around – the movie is streamed on your pc or other device) and enjoy Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. I particularly enjoyed George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon (even in those clothes); OH and Number One son enjoyed Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore, while young’un enjoyed being able to stay up a bit later and watch a 15 certificate. It was either that, or we had to watch the animated adventures of Avengers Assembled – my only criticism really, was that there weren’t enough 12 and 12a certificates to choose from. I may have been too distracted choosing toppings.

It did feel rather decadent, just sourcing dinner via the internet and then not moving until after I’d finished eating – I didn’t even have to answer the door, the kids were so eager for their tea, they raced to it as soon as the pizza delivery guy knocked. In fact, so eager were we, I never got a chance to get the camera out: we all just dived in. Sorry – here’s a random picture of another Dominos pizza I just happened to have – but that’s another story 😉

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So, lots of family Brownie points earned for me, especially with the addition of mini pancakes to the order, since we don’t normally do dessert. I’ll probably live off this, if not the actual pizza, for at least another week.

This is a sponsored post, courtesy of Dominos Pizza.

Get yourself out there – again!

With the rosy glow of positive feedback still floating around my laptop,  I’ve set a date for a second blogging workshop!

Using Blogger.com, the aim of this workshop is to give you an online presence which is simple for you to maintain, particularly if you’re busy or dislike using the internet. My wish is for each participant to leave the session with a fully operational, customised blog. If time permits, we can look at linking with social media, directories and other bloggers too, in order to build your audience.

You will need:

· a wifi enabled laptop (although our venue, coFWD, does have Ethernet cables if needed)

· an email address – you will automatically have a gmail account set up for you as part of your Google profile but it’s good to have an alternative for security.

· a unique password.

· A title for your blog – this is different from the web address and can be changed. The web address cannot be changed though, so I’d recommend using your name for that. E.g jayenolan.blogspot.co.uk is my blog address but the title is ‘A tingle in my fingers’.

Also, have a favourite picture of your own saved that you’re happy to share with the world, a favourite Youtube video you can find easily and a written piece about yourself you can use in your first posts. (You can always delete or amend afterwards).

The workshop will be held at coFWD, the coworking space at 161 Rochester High Street, on Wednesday, February 27th, from 7.15pm – 9.30pm. The cost is just £12.50 and there are four spaces still available. Please visit the Eventbrite page here to secure your booking.

I look forward to seeing you,

Jaye 🙂

Workshop: Get Yourself Out There! An introduction to blogging.

As a blogger for almost five years, I’ve run a number of blogs and I’m keen to pass on what I’ve learned to others stepping into the blogosphere. So here it is, a workshop for people who want to blog but are not sure how to get started or where to go with it.

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The golden rule for writers is ‘Show, don’t tell’ – so I’m going to do exactly that! I’ll show you how to set up and customise your own blog, without any knowledge of programming, HTML, CSS or other techy talk! The only ‘tell’ you need is why you’re doing it: Which is, to get yourself out there and link with other like-minded souls, or, to find an audience and/or potential customers!

Using Blogger.com, the aim of this workshop is to give you an online presence which is simple for you to maintain, particularly if you’re busy or dislike using the internet. My wish is for each participant to leave the session with a fully operational, customised blog. If time permits, we can look at linking with social media, directories and other bloggers too, in order to build your audience.

You will need:

· a wifi enabled laptop (although our venue, coFWD, does have Ethernet cables if needed)

· an email address – you will automatically have a gmail account set up for you as part of your Google profile but it’s good to have an alternative for security.

· a unique password.

· A title for your blog – this is different from the web address and can be changed. The web address cannot be changed though, so I’d recommend using your name for that. E.g jayenolan.blogspot.co.uk is my blog address but the title is ‘A tingle in my fingers’.

Also, have a favourite picture of your own saved that you’re happy to share with the world, a favourite Youtube video you can find easily and a written piece about yourself you can use in your first posts. (You can always delete or amend afterwards).

The workshop will be held at coFWD, the coworking space at 161 Rochester High Street, on Tuesday, January 15th from 7.30pm – 9.30pm. The cost is just £12.50 and space is limited to just 6 places. Please visit the Eventbrite page here to secure your booking.

I look forward to seeing you,

Jaye 🙂

Happy National Freelancers Day

Happily, I can sing that to myself. Giving up the permanent and stressful office job in March to concentrate on writing didn’t go entirely to plan when the regular freelance writing job* I had came to an end, but temping and casual work alongside other freelance writing means I’m free to get involved in a lot of other projects.

One of which was interviewing Daniel Nash, of BRFM, a community radio show in Sheppey, which you’ll find amongst September’s posts on this blog under ‘My Sheppey’. He returned the favour, interviewing me – you can hear it here.

‘Write around the river’

Local writing collective, ME4 Writers, put together an exhibition and reading entitled ‘Letters Home’ which was the first time I’ve ever done such a thing since school – read all about the project and listen to the podcast here. I’m about an hour in but do listen to the others; a real mixture and very emotional.

The Rochester Literature Festival is so exciting to be involved with. The launch was fantastic and the second event, although a much smaller, more workshop led one, was equally stimulating. Read all about it here and sign up to the newsletter on the ‘About’ page so you don’t miss anything.

To satisfy my need to write about my local community, Goingoninmedway.co.uk has a number of articles by me, about interesting people doing interesting things. Hopefully, there’ll be more where they came from but firstly, I’m concentrating on a few ideas that have been kicking around for months, awaiting the time I had nothing else to do.  *laughs* There’s also a very interesting idea taking off – the Medway Christmas Carol, involving lots of local musicians and artists. If it ends up anything like its inspiration, it’s going to be fab!

My friend and fellow LitFest founder, Phil, is also regenerating The Regenerate, to which I’ll be contributing (even if we disagree about Rochester Castle!) plus – yes, there’s more – other LitFest founder and friend, Emma, is the editor of WOW magazine, so look out for me in there too!

*the local website – who wanted a local perspective and community bod – changed their mind and decided they wanted a qualified journalist, two and half years after I’d put my heart and soul into it. They let all the community publishers go (about 100 of us across the country) although some lucky ones were re-employed to cover two sites for the same money. Sadly, the Kent management went for one full timer to cover the whole area. So now it’s all rehashed police, fire and council press releases – which you can read in the Medway Messenger, along with a lot more local community news (send me yours for Upnor and Shorne!)