I own a banana slicer. And I am not ashamed.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I took a day and instead of tweeting, just emailed myself everything I would’ve tweeted. I did this knowing I would eventually blog it all. I don’t know why. There’s no particular goal of this, just the fact that the blog is a laboratory and I get to mush stuff together on it and see what goes kablooey.

So here are my tweets, including the stuff I would’ve re-tweeted (RT). Make of the mess what you will.

kablooey1

Stereoscopic vision really freaks me out sometimes.

It is not a happy thing when the baby eats a dead bug. *SIGH*

RT @lecrae: Peace doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. It’s means problems won’t have you.

HEY I JUST MET YOU, AND THIS IS CRAZY
BUT LET’S TELL RIDDLES AND I’LL EAT YOU MAYBE.

(I tweeted this one after all. Had to.)

(I tweeted this one after all. Had to.)

RT @scalzi: Most nerdy t-shirts just don’t seem that clever to me anymore. Clearly, my next t-shirt should read WHY ARE YOU ON MY LAWN

Your choices change the direction of other people’s lives. You are not isolated.

RT @AdviceToWriters: There’s a word for a writer who never gives up: published. JOE KONRATH
#amwriting #publishing #writing

RT @BenHoward87: If you see a centaur, remember it is not your friend. It is a mythical creature and as such does have the capability for rational thought.

Sometimes you just gotta take a few minutes and shave your legs.

Me too. RT @YMinisterswife: Sometimes I am compassionate. Sometimes I am not.
I am working on it.

This floor is messing with my head.
tilefloor

RT @PassiveVoiceBlg: Misguggle http://t.co/h8dCtF0HCM

RT @BenHoward87: Peanuts cartoons + Morrissey lyrics = the hilarity of existential despair http://t.co/DkfxO50Kw6

I am in my favorite place in the entire universe. Walmart checkout. #notreally

I’ve been beta-reading things for people lately. Good to work on #amwriting stuff, even if it’s not mine.

RT @LeVostreGC: Thou: subjecte. Thee: objecte. Thy: possessif (:thyne, yf yn front of a vowel). Now thou knowst, and the knowinge ys wel half of the battel.

Trying to clean my carpet with baking soda and vinegar.
baking soda and vinegar carpet

I own a banana slicer and I am not ashamed.

Remember when Scully wore shoulder pads?

Remember when desktop monitors were the size of anvils?

RT @pattonoswalt: Be a warrior, that your son may be a doctor, and his son a poet, and his son a podcaster, and his son a resentful Libertarian.

Remember when we couldn’t Google anything?

RT @LeVostreGC: Siri, wher ys the horse and the ridere? Siri, wher ys the horn that was blowinge?

.@LeVostreGC Wher in the worlde ys Carmen Sandiego?

Remember when payphones?

Just so you know, Kinesio-taping your stomach to pull your abs together is not for sissies. #diastasisrecti

That awkward moment when you look in the mirror and there’s an ant crawling in your hair.

It occurs to me that I haven’t performed a solo in 7 years.

Rain. Thunder. Contented. Sigh.

RT @BenHoward87: If I blame everyone alive for all the things that have happened in existence, will the internet still have a reason to exist?

Your Blog Is a Big, Friendly Dog — Redux

Greetings, me lovelies! I just got through reading a great post by Michael Martine: “Why You Should Experiment with Your Blog.” (Edit: Michael’s Remarkablogger is no longer in existence, so I’ve removed the link.)

Darling, most constant readers, does this sound familiar to you? ; )

kablooey

If you’ve read me here for any length of time, you know that I’ve enjoyed romping about with the blog-as-lab(oratory) concept. So when I read Michael’s post, of course I had something to say about it. : ) My comment on his post reads as follows:

Ooh! Ooh! I love the blog-as-laboratory concept! I’ve had several conversations with Judy Dunn of Catseyewriter.com about it. These led to: several concept posts on my own blog; a grand experiment of blogging every day for a month; and a myriad of tiny little blogging experiments that taught me some of what works and some of what doesn’t work on my blog. It’s great fun and an awesome learning experience!

I will admit to plenty of “mucking about for its own sake” ; ) simply because I thought a particular experiment sounded fun at the time. But Michael, I’m thinking that maybe this is where I’m not quite the audience you’re speaking to, since mine is an author blog. Yes, I am “selling the service” of fiction novels, and I do want readers of my blog to convert into readers of my books. But part of what sells the books is for readers to get to know me — and part of getting to know me is getting a glimpse of what interests me. And that’s a lot of things, many of which show up on the blog at random times. So maybe I can get away with bending the “rule” a little. ; )

So there you have it, folks. Another brief reminder of what I’m doing here and why and wherefore and whatnot. Feel free to drop me a line sometime and let me know how you think the experiments are going. I’d love to hear from you.

Here we go again...

Here we go again…

I blogged every day this month. Let me show you it.

Hidey-ho, precious inklings!

Today marks the final day of Blog-Every-Day August (BEDAug), my grand experiment to see what would happen if I blogged every day for a month. That month has now passed, and I am pleased to report two favorable results for which I’d hoped:

1. I am, in fact, capable of blogging every day for a month.

2. Blog traffic did, indeed, increase.

Because I enjoy doing things backward, I’ll address the traffic increase first (delving into which posts seem particularly related to the increase, as well as general topics for the past month) and the discovery about my blogging habits last.

Here we go.

Blogging Every Day: Increase in Blog Traffic

I. Traffic Spikes

On one hand, compared to tons of bajillions of blogs out there, my blog doesn’t get a whole lotta traffic.

On the other hand, compared to tons of bajillions of blogs out there, my blog gets oodles of traffic.

The gripping hand (and my hat’s off to you if you get the reference) is that comparing my blog to other blogs is silly. Comparing your blog to other blogs is silly. Comparing ourselves to others is silly. But that’s another story and shall be told another time.

After 1 year and 8 months of this blog and attendant Google Analytics obsessing checking, you’d think I’d be a GA expert by now. I’m not. Stats interest me up to a point (see Keyword Searches, below, which keep me entertained), but beyond that point, I don’t care to delve into all the numbers and percentages and blah de blah. A lack of interest in stats is actually what kept me from pursuing a major in Psychology instead of a minor. That, and the fact that going to grad school didn’t exactly swing my verge.

But I digress. As one does.

So. I don’t understand all the ins and outs of GA. But what I do understand is this: Several times during August, Court Can Write saw happy spikes of visitors. Because I lack GA-expertise, I can’t tell if each spike is related to what I posted on that particular day, or if it’s related to the post on the day before. For the sake of nothing in particular, I’m going to assume the former.

With that in mind, here are the spikes and what I think are their related posts:

Date: August 3rd

Number of visitors: 34

Post: “Glances That Fall Like Sunshine”

Topic: discovering Truth via poetry and changing the world in a good way by focusing on your personal circle of influence

Number of visitor comments: 0

Date: August 9th

Number of visitors: 32

Post: “We Must Disenthrall Ourselves”

Topic: patriotism and the drivel of both Democrats and Republicans

Number of visitor comments: 2

Date: August 17th

Number of visitors: 31

Post: “I Was a Weird Kid and Here’s Proof”

Topic: how my parents bribed my 8- or 9-year-old self into going on a week-long class field trip by promising me that we would go snail hunting when I got home, because I was into that

Number of visitor comments: 0

Date: August 29th

Number of visitors: 61

Post: “In Which Pregnancy and Car Wrecks Don’t Mix”

Topic: how I was in a car accident at 36 weeks pregnant

Number of visitor comments: 6

I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from these numbers. What interests me is that the spiked posts all relate to my personal philosophies or my personal history; none of my posts on the Writing Life sparked as much traffic. This makes me think that most of my visitors would rather read about me than read about writing.

While that’s a ridiculously effective ego boost ; ) I’m not sure what to do with it. Blog less about writing? Blog more about writing? Keep doing what I’ve been doing? Questions…questions that need answers, but I don’t think anyone can provide them for me. I certainly can’t provide them for myself.

Experiments with partially inconclusive results are fascinating but somewhat frustrating. ; )

Ah well. Onward!

II. Google Keyword Searches

Sadly, the keyword searches haven’t been terribly interesting this past month. From what I can tell, the only search strings possibly related to posts for this month were:

º “courtney cantrell” (obvious).
and
º “36 weeks pregnant” — which would bring readers to “Pregnancy Still Isn’t for Sissies” and “In Which Pregnancy and Car Wrecks Don’t Mix”.

Again, it would seem that what leads most people to my blog is stuff I write about me, not stuff I write about writing. Perhaps “Court Can Write” is a misnomer. Perhaps I should consider re-naming the blog “Court Can Live” or “Court Can Philosophize.”

Hmm.

(If you’re curious, other top keyword searches and their possibly related posts were:

º “bachelor in writing”.
º “light bulb metaphor”.
º “alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day moral”.

But none of these three were BEDAug posts.)

III. Other BEDAug Blogging Topics

During August, in addition to posts and topics I’ve already mentioned, I also blogged about the following:

º editing
º my short stories
º being created to create
º the nature of sarcasm
º boundaries
º marriage
º zombies
º TEDTalks
º the power of doodling
º vorpal unicorn morphing powers
º my novels
º how to murder a character in a novel
º the Olympics
º famous people
º art
º parodies
º failure
º my Most Official Rules for Living
º relationships
º cats
º book reviews
º other people’s books
º my To-Read List
º reality

Just as a reminder, you can find all of the Blog-Every-Day August posts by clicking the tag “BEDAug” at the bottom of this one or by clicking “August 2012″ in the sidebar on the left side of your screen.

Blogging Every Day: My Habits

Once upon a time, back in the dark ages of 2011, I resolved to blog twice per week and keep a cushion of blog posts. I started doing both of these things. I kept them up for a while. I’m not sure at what point these habits ceased, but cease they did.

If I rememory me correctly, blog traffic decreased incrimentally as a result.

As we’ve established here today, traffic has increased as a result of my blogging daily.

Increase in blog traffic is good. Increase in blog traffic means (hopefully) more connection with the readers of my novels and an increase in reader awareness of my novels. Both more connectivity and increased reader awareness are two of the main points of this blog’s existence.

Thus, it would behoove me to continue doing things that help meet these goals.

Thus, it would likely behoove me to continue blogging every day (and to work on my non-existent blog cushion).

Considering that I am about to become the main caregiver to a tiny, helpless human, it is not realistic to think I can keep up this daily blogging thing.

But.

At least until I see myself approaching the point of tearing out my hair, I intend to try. Keeping up this daily blogging thing, that is.

You heard it here first, folks.

Owing Copious Thanks

For my success in this month-long blogging adventure, I owe thanks to the following people:

Judy Lee Dunn, with whom I first started pondering the blog-as-lab concept and who spurred me on in this adventure by quoting Yoda and telling me not to try it but to do it;

Astrid Bryce, who saw my Blog-Every-Day August announcement on Twitter and promised me cookies if I made good on my intentions (Astrid, I’ll be in touch!);

and Joshua Unruh, who joined me in this scheme after I promised to give the month-long blogging challenge some “structure” (whatever that means), as well as deliver him cookies for his successful completion of said challenge. As of this posting, he has yet to finish up Blog-Every-Day August by tendering his August 31st offering, but I have no doubt that he shall do so by the end of the day.

Judy, Astrid, and Josh, I couldn’t have done this without you. Thanks for a great Blog-Every-Day August!

Your Blog Is a Big, Friendly Dog

Once upon a time, blogger Judy Dunn and I had several exchanges concerning the concept of a blog as a lab.

Here we go again…

No, no, no. As you’ll see if you click through that link above, I don’t really mean that a blog is a big, friendly (and apparently put-upon) dog. What I mean is that a blog is a laboratory where you get to make a splendid mess in an effort to see what happens when you mix a bunch of stuff together that most people wouldn’t dream of mixing together.

My Latest Blogging Dog Experiment


          
I don’t know why this idea popped into my head.

Well, that’s sort of a lie. I’m pretty sure that this idea popped into my head because I subscribe to sci-fi writer John Scalzi’s blog “Whatever”. Mr. Scalzi blogs every day. This triggered in my head the thought:

Now, the part I honestly don’t know the because for is the part where I think I might be able to do this just because I see Mr. Scalzi doing it.

I guess it’s because of reasons, yet again.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Ooh aah. I deserve bananas.

So. I shall embark upon an experimental adventure: For the month of August, I shall attempt to blog every day.

Because I obviously don’t have enough to do and I am a crazy person.

I don’t know what shall come of this, if anything. Maybe it will result in things most glorious. Maybe it will serve only to highlight my lack of an inkling of a conceptual hypothesis of reality. Maybe it will break me forever of stringing together prepositional phrases.

Zounds.

So, we’ll see. Josh has indicated that he might consider joining me in this venture, though I have yet to hear from him a definite yea or nay. On Twitter, @AstridBryce has offered me incentive as follows (click to embiggen!):

My dearest, most darlingest readers, prepare yourselves for pulchritudinous cramazingness.

Or a zombie-ish apocalypse.

When Blogging Give You Laryngitis

Will the real Courtney PLEASE make some noise?

Or: A Blogging Voice Is Hard to Come By

If you’ve tweeted with me recently…

…or if you’ve read comments I’ve left on others’ blogs…

…or if you’ve paid close attention to my blog posts over the last month or so,

…you know that I’ve been worrying about my vision and my voice.

When I started this blog, I had a vision for it: I knew I wanted it to be my platform for launching my novels, and I knew I wanted it to be an encouraging, inspiring place to talk about writing.

What I didn’t know was just how to translate that vision into reality.

I still don’t know. I can’t give you a “5 How-Tos for Turning Your Blogging Vision into Reality.” That, however, would make a cramazing blog post, and if you write it, tell me. I will link back to you.

Anyway, I’m still figuring out the how-tos. Judy Dunn (of catseyewriter.com) and I have had several conversations about blogs as labs.

Blogs Are Big, Friendly Dogs

I mean, no: Blogs aren’t big, friendly dogs who lick your face and make big, sad eyes at you. Blogs are laboratories, in which you can experiment with the crazed enthusiasm of a ten-year-old with her first chemistry set.

Mix things! Pour things into each other and see what happens! Sometimes you’ll get gunk, and you’ll get in trouble because you made the house smell like rotten eggs an hour before the neighbors come over for coffee and ice cream. (I might or might not be waxing nostalgically anecdotal here.)

Sometimes, though, you’ll pestle and mortar a few elements into your blog that create a spectacular bang. And that’s when it turns glorious.

So, that’s the blog-as-lab concept. It’s all fun and games, ’til someone gets a thumb burnt off. I’m learning not to be scared to try new stuff (see my recent first video blogs).

When The Dogs Worry Me

The operative word of the previous sentence is “learning.” As I hinted above, I still get nervous about my blog’s vision and voice. If my vision is the theory, then my voice is the practice. And I’m not talking about how my voice sounds in my videos (even though I personally don’t get the greatest thrill out of listening to that, lemme tell ya).

No, what I’m talking about are these questions:

When I write my blog posts, am I being genuine? Am I being sincere?

If I’m not being genuine and sincere, do I at least sound genuine and sincere?

Am I being myself?

How much am I holding back because I’m too freakin’ scared of getting rejected for whatever bizarre reason my subconscious chooses to drum up this time?

I know I’m connecting with readers — but how much more would I be connecting if I weren’t holding back?

Am I truly so terrified of making myself vulnerable?

Three weeks ago, my first novel came out. One would think that means I’m not afraid of being vulnerable. Sharing a novel with the world is a pretty soul-baring thing to do.

But still.

I blog. And I feel myself holding back.

Is it fear?

Or is it pride?

Does part of me still think I have to pretend I’ve got it all together? After all this time and after getting knocked off my self-gifted pedestal again and again, does part of me still believe I’ve gotta show the world some perfect example?

Am I too full of myself to share my true self with you?

In Every Job That Must Be Done…

I found a fun thing this week. Somebody tweeted it, and sadly I cannot remember who it was. But you can find said fun thing here:

Tweet Topic Explorer.

At the bottom of the Tweet Topic Explorer screen, you can type in any Twitter ID, and the system will generate a picture of all these nifty circles of different sizes and colors. Whichever words that Twitter ID tweets the most, those will be in larger circles. And they’re grouped together by color, showing which words appear together in most tweets.

If you click through that link above, you’ll see that I did this with my own Twitter ID. I also did it with several of yours. But I ain’t tellin’. ; )

And as soon as I saw what the Tweet Topic Explorer generated for me, I felt like a burden had dropped off my shoulders.

Sample of Tweet Topics for courtcan

There, my dear inklings, tweetlings, and darlings, is my vision for my blog. Why did the burden drop off my shoulders? Because what I tweet about, I’m blogging about. And if most of my tweets include those words you see up there, that means I’m tweeting and blogging about all the things that are part of my vision.

love
novel
book
color
coffee
read
tim — which is actually “time,” if you must know. ; )

Things I’m thinking as a writer. Things I care about as a writer. Things that keep me going as a writer. Not to mention the people. (Tweetlings, follow those IDs you see in my Tweet Topic cloud thingy. They’re pretty cramazing folks.)

All of these are part of my vision. ‘Twould seem I’m sharing more of that vision than I thought I was.

And as for my worries about my voice…well, if my mind weren’t sitting back and letting my fingers do the talking for this post, I probably wouldn’t have talked about slobber-happy retrievers and crazed ten-year-olds with chemistry sets.

Here’s to fun little hints that let me know I’m “doing it right.” (You know who you are.)

Here’s to keeping it real, and here’s to sharing more and more and more.

_______________________________

Speak up, y’all. What are the vision/voice concerns that keep you up at night?

Is your struggle with fear? With pride? With something else?

What keeps you from making yourself vulnerable?

What are the obstacles keeping you from your audience?

What’s the one obstacle you can pulverize right now?

Tweetlings, do the Tweet Topic thing — what surprises you about your results?