Conversations, Entry #1: Has Regret Helped You Grow as a Writer?


From now on, I’ll share comments posted by you, dear readers, that have inspired me, in a rubric I’ve generically named “Conversations.” I highly value your insights, and occasionally I’m sure there will be a few that are too valuable to be left buried and forgotten in the comments section, seen by my eyes alone.

It’s not the first time I’ve done this, as you may recall from this post and this little survey. But I hadn’t thought of dedicating an entire category to reader responses.

Until now.

I envision this to be a weekly post. There may be irregularities, however, should I fail to sufficiently engage my readers. 🙂

For our debut, I present you this inspiring comment I received from Melissa Janda, in response to my post, “Have You Been Using ‘Epiphany’ Wrong?

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The Blogger Who Spam-“Liked” Me

Inspired by “On a Different Type of Spam” by Herman Kok (kokkieh).

[8:03 AM]

Look! I have just posted a photo on my blog, of Lord Chubbington dancing on a string. Isn’t he adorable?


OK, it’s time to engage in some meaningful blog marketing and get people—a lot of people—to see Lord Chubbington. You see, the best way to do this is on the WordPress Reader, which is perhaps the most ingenious invention in the history of blogging, like, ever. I simply have to type the topic—“humor,” in my case, but feel free to type anything you feel like “reading”—in the search box, hit enter, and voìla!

See that “Like” button underneath every post? That’s my secret weapon. Although, if you’re reading this, I guess it’s no secret anymore.

First post. Click. Second post. Click. Third post. Click. Clickety-click-click.

Phew. Fifty-seven posts “Liked” in a minute. That’s got to be a personal best or something. Wait, what’s this? Continue reading

The Value of Blog Comments and Serendipity to Creativity


Serendipity has often led me to wonderful discoveries of obscure wisdom buried by information overload. Ingrained into this excessive load, are blog posts, which are designed for instantaneous consumption of information, after which they are piled up in a corner of cyberspace, forgotten.

Until someone—the blogger or an inquisitive reader—decides to uncover them.

If a blog post were a needle in a giant, ever-expanding haystack, then a blog comment would be a grain of sand underneath that needle. Indeed, a comment is usually read only by the person it is directed to, even though it can equally contain insights too valuable to ignore. Fortunately, on a fortuitous day, random chance can lead us to the unexpected discovery of these insights.

I’ve already shared Melissa Janda‘s thoughtful comment on how blog awards can alleviate a writer’s loneliness. I’ve also shared how my discussion with Julie Israel inspired another post titled “On Education, the Arts, and Writing”. In this post, I’m going to share two more comments I’ve received from two other bloggers, which I hope will inspire you as they did me. Continue reading

Survey: Are Blog Awards Useless?

Veegaland awards

Each day, bloggers nominate each other for at least 22 awards. (I arrived at this rough estimate by searching posts tagged with “Awards” and counting those published in 24 hours.)

So far, this blog has been nominated for three, and The Liebster Award is by far my favorite, as it reflects the philosophy behind this blog. As YA writer Annie Cardi said, “The Liebster is designed to encourage bloggers who are new or don’t have a huge following, which I think is awesome.”

So, if it’s such a fantastic way to encourage bloggers, why is the response rate to nominations close to zero? So far, I’ve nominated a total of 28 blogs and only one—fellow fountain pen enthusiast Jack Spratt—decided to pass the award through. That’s a whopping 3.57% response rate! (Disclaimer: I’m neither upset nor bitter.) [Edit: Xarglebook apparently responded as well, increasing the response rate to 7.14%.]


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He Said, She Said: Stephen King’s Advice on Dialogue Tags

king-onwritingI think we all agree that dialogue tags are necessary for readers to know who’s talking. But writers are divided in how we use them:

Some, including Raymond Carver, simply use “he said, she said”; others apparently invent a million different synonyms for “said”; still others try to find balance between the two extremes, sometimes even fifty-fifty.

Yesterday, yet another writer, Jack Woe, jumped into the fray:

I’ve read quite a few blogs about the evilness of dialogue tags. For example, Joe Moore wrote in The Kill Zone how new authors are overusing the alternatives of said.

They go to: exclaimed, murmured, screamed, whispered, pleaded, shrieked, demanded, ordered, cried, shouted, and my all-time favorite, muttered.

Thing is, I as a reader, don’t care. I just don’t read dialogue tags — at all.

He’s not alone. To me, modifying such a perfectly fine tag as “said” is like Pimp My Ride gone bad. (Tip: Read that sentence again in Samuel L. Jackson’s voice.) Continue reading

The Liebster Award

liebster-awardLadies and gentlemen, the third award for this blog is in! This is my favorite so far; this weekend I’ll show you why.

For now, I’ll just say it’s a great way to celebrate up-and-coming bloggers—in line with the mission of this blog. If you’re interested in the history of the Liebster Award, click here.

Thank you Susan T. Sweeney for nominating me. I’m simply going to steal her description:

[It’s] like a chain letter. You nominate blogs with less than 200 followers, ask them 11 questions. Have them post 11 facts about themselves, and then you nominate 11 blogs (also providing them with your own questions). Then thank the person who nominated you. From what I can tell it’s a cool informal way to say ‘I think your blog is interesting and fun, good job.’

If you haven’t already, please check her blog for more interesting quotes and images like this:


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Update: ‘About’ Page, New Design

Instead of writing, I’ve spent the weekend:

  1. Changing my domain;
  2. Rewriting my “About” page to include the philosophy behind my blog—and my domain;
  3. Implementing a new design, which involved CSS editing, uploading new images, new fonts, etc.

What do you think? Please let me know in the comments.


Yes, Neil. I know. Right away.