Category Archives: Inspiration

Crossing the finish line

Today is day 100 of #The100DayProject . I finished. Yay. 

*cue partially inflated helium balloons and off key band.

I feel characteristically underwhelmed. It’s always the way— reaching the end of a project when I should be jumping up and down or popping a champagne cork, but instead I’m shrugging, going, “Eh, it’s over, okay, what next?”

There are 109 days left until NaNoWriMo starts November 1. I think I will do 100 days of illustrated poetry bits (thanks to everyone who commented!), but maybe I won’t start tomorrow. I’ve got nine more days to decide. And some laundry to fold. 

The good news is this time (unlike when I finished my novel OVER A YEAR AGO, ahem) I actually DO have something lined up. I signed on to do a Gale course, Writing Fiction Like a Pro. It starts tomorrow, lasts six weeks, and sounds like a good way to organize my outline for the NaNo novel I have in mind. Best part: several friends from my local writer’s critique group are taking it, too! I will enjoy the camaraderie, and probably need the accountability. 

Do you have some short term goals, writing or otherwise? What are your creative plans?

10 ways to optimize Google searches

Recently an entrepreneur told me he needed to find one hundred pieces of quality content for his company’s new blog. 

“Piece of cake,” I said. 
“WHAT?!?” He was totally skeptical, which surprised me. I thought everyone knew how to do a google search. 
Anyway, he asked for a few pointers. I presented him with these 10 search term strategies. 
I’m happy to report he found the stellar content he was searching for. Maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for, too.
Before getting to the 10 strategies for better Google searches, make a list (mental or written) of what you hope to find. Writers’ lists should include genres, topics, poetry formats, word lengths, etc. My most recent search was for watercolors and included search terms related to paints, papers, and name brands of watercolor suppliers.
Two keys: Be general. Be specific. They sound like opposites, I know. But you’ve got to use terminology everyone in your field uses, AND get specific about which aspect of the industry you want more info about.
Then add the following:
1. Use words like best, top, five stars. 
2. Use superlatives in your field. If you’re searching for cleaning products, use search words like cleanest. Musician? Try rockin‘. (Fo realz.) 
3. Put 2015 in the search bar, or since it’s early in the year, 2014. Eliminate obsolete answers from outdated websites. 
4. Get specific. Looking for guitars? Use brand names like Fender or types like acoustic, bass, etc. 
5. Enter the name of a specific item + “review.” Benefit from others’ experiences by reading reviews. (Bonus: “review” is an especially handy search word for writers since so many literary journals have the word in their title!)
6. Type in “how to” + whatever you’re interested in. 
“How to dissect frog’s eye.” 
“How to clean grout.” 
“How to Coldplay Clocks bass line.” 
(Note: search terms DO NOT have to be complete sentences or even make sense. Google, or whichever search engine you’re using, looks for the words, not necessarily the order of the words. Also, fillers like “a” or “the” are unnecessary.)
7. Look for magazines, newspapers and journals related to your search. I often search “flash fiction villanelle horror journal submission” or such like. Not pretty, but it works.
8. Subscribe to relevant websites, blogs, podcasts. Links will be abundant. FOLLOW THE RABBIT.
9. Subscribe to newsletters. Read with an eye for new search terms, especially buzzwords specific to your topic. Our church recently latched onto the term “missional communities.” After a few titillating laughs with Punk, I searched the term and realized it’s a thing. A Christian thing. Who knew?
10. Speaking of knew. NEW. If vague search terms give you blah results, adding the word “new” can occasionally perk things up.
What are you searching for? How can I help you search smarter?

For Punk: on the verge of 40

Start something, stop something
Do it or don’t
Make it, break it, shake things up
Wake up to what you almost lost
Make up the difference
the time
your mind
Who will you be?
Who will you love?
What will you live for
die for
strive for
What do you yearn for?
What will you learn?
You’ve earned the time to think it through
Life is short
Blink and it’s gone
So long
So much time through the sieve
It’s time to live
Make every grain count
Pounce on each chance
to go
to thrive
to do
to give to the world
The shaken
Awakened
You.