Coffee Share 220930 :: September Wrap-Up

Shared on Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share.
Her most recent exploration blog post can be found here.


How did September slip past us so quickly? It had 5 Fridays and (with this one) I did coffee shares for each – so I know I was conscious for much of September, but it seemed to have flown past.  The weather made it’s normal September shift from the heat of August to the much cooler mornings and occasional spikes up into the 80s F.

I spent an unbelievable amount of money getting our driveway repaired and last week stopped the possibility of burning our home down by finding a way to clean the dryer exhaust of an embarrassing amount of lint – which burns as if it’s gasoline, but I’m about burned out on home maintenance for the time being. I also transitioned from one squamata (blue belly lizards) crew to a new tribe. Getting to know these new neighbors has been fun.

So – let’s kick back, relax with a mug of some luscious dark brown brew and savor this last day of September, and yea, I know this has to be a virtual thing because we’re a global group and our visit stretches across 24 time zones and 3 days. Thanks again to Natalie for making this magic happen each weekend.

I’d commented to a peer blogger that I was close to meeting my goals for this year and am thinking about 2023. I’m still thinking through both.  For 2022 I wanted to accomplish these things:

I wanted to improve my fiction writing by creating a body of new stories that were better reader experiences than I’ve ever written before. I’m both surprised and pleased with my results so far.

I wanted to succeed at 2 writing projects over the year: the weekly 99-Word Story challenge from the Carrot Ranch and the WritePhoto challenge by KL Caley. I honestly feared failing badly at the 99-Word Story challenge but I’m actually happy with the results of both and have a nice collection of short fiction of different lengths to share and enjoy.

I wanted to transition my readership base from Facebook, where I started this story-telling journey back in 2014 to a brand-new blog. I started this before 2022 but this year I finally saw the bulk of my readership come from WordPress. I was frustrated by the lack of control I had over my essays on Facebook. Once you post something there, it falls into the news feed and quickly drifts out of reach. I had my own originals of course but part of the fun and learning happens with reader feedback and that’s what gets lost.

I wanted to add readers to my blog. In one sense, this possibility is better than publishing because with a story blog, an author can get and retain feedback on each shared story both for conversing with readers and for study. This year, I’ve gotten the kind of feedback that improved both my old and newer stories. Reader’s kind words are always welcome of course, but how great is it when other authors tell you how your work could be improved? This happened this year.

I wanted to become a better self-editor and toyed with the idea of buying a grammar tool but this year I discovered features in Microsoft Word that did better grammar checking and would robotically (okay, objectively…) read aloud my writing which all but screams out mistakes made by my fingers not typing what was in my head. I love this feature and believe it really stepped up the quality of each story I’ve used it for.

I wanted to increase the number of story-reads this year, which is tricky in several ways. First, this shouldn’t be that important in the first place. I’m not charging anyone anything for reading my work. Writing remains my hobby, but I’ve found my writing improves when I know people will see and judge it. If they like what they read, they are more likely to read more. The reverse is also true so if I write boring, poorly punctuated, meaningless, or pointless, non-entertaining stories – then I don’t deserve anyone spending time to read my work – so this drives me to do better. But the number of readers I have is hard to really know, because WordPress, I think monkeys with the number, adding ‘likes’ to ‘views’ but, and I hope I’m wrong here, it seems not always. As compared to last year when I had a big burst of readers from Facebook, this year may not see as many ‘views’ because I’m getting a lot less from that platform while seeing more from WordPress, just not as many, so how serious do I want to take this metric? I would have liked to see more readers in 2022 than I had in 2021 but am already grateful for the readership I’ve seen this year.

gw card shot 2 croppedI started one project this year that was made possible by the Read-Aloud feature of MS Word. I decided to go back and put each of my ‘I Recall’ memoir essays through this edit step and this week I finished the first section of this collection. All my grammar school stories are now new and improved. I even added new material to some and rewrote many sections.

You can read them all by going to this link and clicking on a story.

I promise there are some great laughs to be had.

============

Finally, I’m pleased to let you know that I got 2 new stories and 1 refresh done last week.

shallow focus photography of man
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

Update: Just in, Marsha has released her summary of my submission to her last story chat.

Did you read my: ‘A Daily Regret’? Click here to read it. 

Then: Here’s her summary (warning: contains spoilers) of what happened when a bunch of her authors got together and discussed it.

This stuff is like gold for an author!

CR99 Broken ArmMy newest 99-word story for the Carrot Ranch project is a quick parental smile about a teenager whining about having his arm in a cast. Mom was having none of it and in 30 seconds you can read what she did to, um, adjust his perspective.

This story is actually based on a memory I have of my High School friend’s sister who – well – you’ll get a glimpse of what happened by checking out this story.

Click here to read ; Casting Distinctions

Bednar Disk TrailerThis second story is longer but should leave you a bit out of breath. It’s a contrast between a guy who needs to reduce the stress in his life and how, what he does, stirs things up unexpectedly. I’ve not heard from Tom Cruise on the movie to be made from it, so read it now before I have to pull it for the studio contract.

 

Click here to read: Farm Fresh Tension

Road RollerFinally, here’s the last grammar school story from my Read-Aloud rewriting of my ‘I Recall’ collection.

It’s about a good friend who pushed me too far which caused a conversation with my dad which led to my doing something I thought was unthinkable.  This story may take you back to a time when you and a good friend struggled to get past a bad situation.

Click here to read ; A Shot Between Friends

That’s it for me this week. I’ll be around as time allows to check out your coffee venue most likely after work or during the weekend.

Blessings all.


GW bio card 4

36 thoughts on “Coffee Share 220930 :: September Wrap-Up

  1. Great writing/author goals Gary and congrats for reaching them. Have you heard of the program called Grammarly? I hadn’t, but my editor recommended it to me as another tool to help with the process. It has a free version, so I have downloaded it and been using it and once I got used to it, I enjoy its assistance.

    Happy October Gary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shari, I have heard of Grammarly but did not know they have a free version. Thanks for yet another great pointer. You changed my writing big time when you told me about the Read Aloud feature in MS Word.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I use the read-aloud feature of MS for the first and maybe the second edit of my books. It is great. I also use Grammarly for everything I write for public consumption. I pay the premium price; everything gets checked, including my shopping list. Glad you are closing in on your goals, Gary. If I weren’t going on 82, I think I would set some too.

    Like

    1. Hi John,
      So you know, my system is acting wonky. In random acts of resistance, it’s not letting me comment, or like or follow different sites. I’ve eliminated the browser and the need for a reboot. VPN sometimes makes a difference but not always. I tried to comment and like one of your posts but both failed. Same with trying to follow you. I’ll keep poking about looking for the cause but wanted you to know.
      Thanks for the insight. I’m both looking forward to and worrying about retirement. Still need to sort that out some.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gary, Thank you for your coffee share. There are still three months to go before the end of 2022 so you’ll likely surpass your goals. Congratulations! I’m surprised that you haven’t been using WordPress pingback feature to link your coffee share post to my post which makes it easy for blog readers to find your post. It’s easy to create a pingback and it’s basically a free promotion tool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Natalie.
      I’m not clear on what your suggestion is.
      I drop my link into the Linky Link but did you mean I should also drop my link into the comments of your post announcing the new coffee share is up?
      I don’t see anyone else doing this, but would welcome the chance to share my stories with your normal audience/followers.
      Do I understand correctly?
      Many thanks

      Like

      1. Hi Gary, I’m suggesting that you create a pingback from your coffee share post to my coffee share post in addition to dropping your link into the linky. Several bloggers have been doing this (e.g. Trent, Janet, Maria, etc.) You’d see the URL to their blog post appear as comment in my Comments section. The pingback when done correctly, makes it easy and convenient for readers to click and go to your post directly. I have readers and followers who are not participating in the weekly WCS linkup. They may see your pingback and hop over for a visit.

        Here’s how to create a pingback: https://wordpress.com/support/comments/pingbacks/#how-to-create-a-pingback

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Gary, to create a pingback, just link to Natalie’s post in your own. So you can say something like, “This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer,” and make “Natalie the Explorer” a link to Natalie’s post for that week. Then a link to your post will show up in her post comments as a pingback.

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      3. Ah – got it.
        I always add a link to the inlinkz collection, but it never occurred to me to link back to her original post.
        Thanks Janet

        Like

  4. YOu’re doing well Gary, sometimes it’s just perseverance and keeping on going! Lots still to learn in life isn’t there? It never ceases to amaze me how much I don’t know despite getting to this grand age of 61 🙂 #weekendcoffeeshare

    Like

    1. Hi Deb. My system is acting up and I’m having issues both liking and commenting on other’s posts..
      It’s always something. . . .
      I loved reading about your disastrous bus trip – wow!
      I tried to comment there but was unclear if it stuck.
      Thanks for the visit and yes, I’ll be learning about this blogging thing for some years to come.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Gary, I, too, have explored other avenues of posting my writing but found WordPress to be the best as this is after all, your own website and unless you manual delete, whatever posted here will remain permanent and searchable via a variety of search engine.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad your fiction is moving along nicely and that you are meeting your goals. I’ve gone the other way, writing less fiction in 2022 than any year since 2012.
    I hope your weekend is going well. Have a great week!

    Like

    1. Yea – but if I went musical on everyone, I’d be doing them a favor by recording a 60 Hertz hummm.
      We’re getting lingering heat today, but a Sunday is still a Sunday.
      Thanks for the visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s always a good idea to have your own home base on the internet outside of social media. Too many people have lost their audiences when a social media company changes their algorithm in a way that reduces views.

    Congrats on all your writing progress! Writing can be lonely and frustrating, but having an audience makes it worthwhile. If you want to improve your self-editing skills, I highly recommend the book, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King. Another book that’s really helpful is Janice Hardy’s Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (And Really Getting It).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for the post , Gary. The algorthyms baffle me. I think the same peeps have been in my corner for years, a few added here and there but I rarely see a number of likes reflected in the number of followers. I can’t spend time on that worry. Just write, write well as possible and don’t forget to enjoy it.

    Like

    1. Thanks Antoinette. Agreed – I’m picking up bits of clues about the WordPress stats algorithm but it remains frustratingly useless sometimes. On the other hand, I’ve great progress in my own ability to put together a good story and am greatly enjoying it. Bottom line: without WordPress – I wouldn’t have much of an audience, let along so many who go out of their way to encourage my efforts.

      Like

  9. Hi Gary,
    Thank you for the virtual coffee and for your updates on your writing progress. I enjoy reading your writings and stories that you share. Keep up the great work and I hope you have a wonderful week ahead! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I use the free version of Grammarly but often sometimes ignore its corrections as it seems to want everyone to be too stiff and formal. I do appreciate its corrections of spelling mistakes, but not always its choice of formal language. It’s the best free choice for everyone as the first line of defense against silly mistakes.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t know why I am embarassed to admit this, but I do edit my posts after I publish. A lot of the times I am writing very early in the day or very late at night so I am barely awake when writing. A few days (or a few weeks) later, I do re-read my posts and feel the need to edit. When I use Microsoft teams to instant message my coworkers, I even edit those messages too (haha).

    Like

    1. Hmm, I can’t figure out why you’d be embarrassed about circling back to edit older posts. Have you looked at your stats for any recent month and drilled down to see when a post was read, say month by month. My bet is that, like me, you’ll find that many of yours are read in the months following the week where it was originally posted.

      If a post has 25 readers the first week, but then 100 more in the 6 months that follow, why would it not be a good idea to improve the reading experience of those 100 readers if you reread the post 2 weeks later and made come corrections or clarifications or improved your references, perhaps thanks to some feedback that one of the original 25 gave you?

      Just last month, one of my readers caught a logic problem in one of my stories that broke the surprise ending. I was more than pleased to correct that and make it a much better story than what I originally shared.

      Blogs are not normal social media where what you share one day is all but gone from easy access in a few days. Blog articles can be found and enjoyed months and years later. My story blog is proof as many of my most popular stories were written years ago.
      The ability to edit and improve our writing is a huge benefit of blogging.

      I offer that you’re wasting angst by being embarrassed by this later editing. I think you leave an even better trail of writing behind you by doing so.

      Like

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