A few months ago, I wrote a post describing how difficult it is to write in the “off season.” You know, the season that doesn’t offer all that much in the way of lawn care, flower pictures, hiking, etc… I forget what I had actually posted, but I remember the essence of it. Basically, I felt that there was nothing to write about.
A big problem among those who call themselves bloggers, or anyone who writes anything online with a degree of frequency, is being able to come up with content. I don’t suffer too much from this problem because I have kept this blog very broadly focused (if that’s not an oxymoron) over the years. I have many categories that have nothing to do with one another. By having things set up like this, I can basically put together anything that comes to mind and jot that down online. It doesn’t necessarily need to be limited to photography, pets, technology…you get the picture.
Anyway, even with this setup, I do sometimes come up short with thinking of things to discuss. Well, let me take that back – I always have something to say, I just need to find the motivation or clarity to get the thoughts out. Things get all jumbled up and then I lose motivation. It’s weird because if I don’t start typing right then and there, days pass before I realize that I missed the boat.
Recently, I started thinking that I couldn’t possibly be alone with this way of thinking…with this issue. I thought that since blogs have become such an integral part of society and so widely popular, there must be people out there who are experiencing the same thing I am. With this in mind, I began a search online for those individuals. I was searching for the thoughts and ideas of those who have blogs, who contribute to them regularly and who use them for self expression – those whose livelihood depend on it or even just the serious hobbyist. After a few searches online, I came up with some websites that provided some interesting reading.
The first website I discovered is called ProBlogger. This is a really popular and very well put together blog. It focuses on the blogging community and offers tips and tricks on how to become and stay profitable. It also gives ideas for content and motivation. It really is a great resource and I bookmarked it, but unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was looking for at this particular time.
Even though ProBlogger holds the qualities I just described, I was looking for something on a more personal level. I wanted to read stories and discussions from individuals…individuals who have strong feelings on various topics and who are willing to share them. I guess I was looking for inspiration. After a while and a few more searches, I did find something of the sort.
The second website I found had a post called, “Top 100 Creative Writing Blogs.” I thought I really hit the nail on the head with this one. I bookmarked it too and started my reading.
The post is broken down into sections – General, Aspiring Authors, Published Authors, Improving Your Craft, Grammar and Editing, Getting Published, Genre Focused, Fiction Writing and Poetry. There are one hundred blogs, so it took me a while to go through them all. Some really got me going. Some didn’t. Many of them simply offered advice on what to do in the blogging arena, which seems to be a trend out there. When one can’t think of what to do, one offers advice on what to do. It’s interesting, but repetitive.
I stopped looking for the time being, but have regularly revisited that one post with the 100 blogs. Since they were blogs, they were likely to be continuously updated. In a weird way, I think I was looking for my blog, only written by someone else. I wanted a story, an experience…I wanted someone to share something. I wanted something to sink my teeth into as opposed to being offered advice or a schedule to follow or tips on grammar and editing. I wanted a human to tell me something.
A few of the blogs offered something similar to what I am searching for, but I am continuing my hunt. One thing I did discover though was that writing is a lot like photography. I was thinking of just this topic in the car this morning on my Sunday trip to the food store. Right behind the shower, driving is my favorite time to mull things over.
A bit about Sundays – Sundays are quickly turning into something called, ummm…something called, well nothing. I don’t have a name for them because nothing really goes on. Enjoying a relaxing Sunday is probably what people here on Earth have been doing for thousands of years, but I’m just starting to pick up on it. Instead of me waking up and thinking that I have to do something, I wake up and try to think of doing nothing. I walk around and do a bit of non-essential work, drink my coffee and go about my day. Around one o’clock, I take a shower and get dressed. I then venture out to the store to pick up breakfast and dinner. I always get a variety of good and interesting bread, about four dozen gigantic eggs, crab cakes and potatoes for breakfast. Then, I grab some sort of fish with accessories for dinner. I know, that sounds like a lot of eggs. The store I go to offers these cage free eggs that are the biggest I have ever seen. I actually cooked one last week that looked like it was from an ostrich. The problem is that I really burn through these things during the week, so I have to buy a lot of them.
Wouldn’t you know it, during my trip, one of the songs I listened to was by Tears For Fears. Hmmm….
Tears For Fears – Advice For The Young At Heart
When I get back, I cook and then eat. I get the fire in the fireplace going, pour myself some apple cider from the farm up the road and then think about what I am going to do with the rest of the day. Today, I decided that I was going to write this post, so here I am. In the past, I have gone for a walk, did some more work or just read. Whatever happens, I usually enjoy peace and quiet, which is nice.
About that writing and photography thing…
Since I purchased my camera, I have been watching photography tutorials and reading up on various camera accessories. Right now, I am in the market for some lens filters and either a nice macro lens or a wide angle lens. Since I think the wide angle lens will offer me more opportunity, that will probably win out. I’ll pick up the filters at the same time because they’re relatively inexpensive.
Generally, before I purchase almost anything, I head over to Youtube to see if anyone has done a review video on the items I am interested in purchasing. By watching videos and reading reviews on Amazon, I can become rather educated fairly quickly. It’s good, but it does offer one drawback. The drawback is…I start thinking that, compared to all these knowledgeable people, I’ll never get good at what I am trying to get good at. They know so much about the topic or product, so much more than I know I’ll ever even be curious about.
It’s weird because writing is the same way. As I read all these blogs written by aspiring authors, I feel inadequate because I don’t have the years of experience that these people have. I also have no classes or formal training. It somehow makes me feel like I am doing it “wrong.”
Then, I remember a lesson I learned a long time ago while working at the, yes, the radio stations.
One day, a sales person approached me and asked if I could help her out on a personal level. She wanted a quick graphic that would creatively show a title she had come up with. Since I was still new and easily taken advantage of, I agreed to help her. She told me about how she had already asked another graphics person to help her, but he was still working on it…after a month.
I got the specs from her and in about ten minutes, I emailed her a file. I didn’t think about anything… I just did it. She came running over to my desk ecstatically with a big smile on her face. She said, “It’s perfect!!! Better than I imagined.” She then showed me one of the several mock-ups that the other graphic artist had given her (he had a degree in this stuff and was used to slow and steady mock-ups). I smiled because it was obviously over thought. I know the trick he was trying to accomplish, but he was thinking far beyond anything that this sales person had in mind. He focused on the exact font style and size, clearances, and spacing – way too deep. I just gave her what she wanted.
The lesson I learned had to do with translation. It doesn’t matter how much you know, what matters is if you can translate what you do know into what your audience wants. And that’s kind of what I think about with writing and photography. I think that perhaps I shouldn’t get hung up on whether or not I know as much as others out there, I should simply stay focused on what I feel is good and comes from me. Sometimes, too much knowledge becomes a barrier.
Another Driving Video
A few weeks ago, I took some more video while driving. I did this on the most perfect sunny day, so I got a lot of nice footage. I also started using some audio from one of the Creative Commons licensed websites I found. The audio site is really good and I have a feeling I am going to find tons of great stuff.
Watch this video. I think the music goes well with it. It actually becomes mesmerizing after a while. I increased the speed only 2x this time, so you can get more of a feeling of what’s going on.
Time Lapse Canon T3i – BMW X5 Highway Driving
The Holidays are Here
I have been noticing something in the past few days that I haven’t noticed in a long time. I know it happens every year, it’s just that I haven’t seen it in so long. Which is weird.
Both yesterday and today, I saw older (than me) couples hanging Christmas decorations on their houses. It’s probably because the weather is good and they are getting it done while they can. I am most likely seeing it now because again, the weather is good and I’m outside.
Older couples intrigue me. Ever since we moved into this neighborhood, I have been able to witness what we’ll most likely be doing in ten to twenty to thirty years. The funny thing is, what I think we’ll be doing and what I am witnessing the older couples around me doing is exactly what we are currently doing. We all do the same thing no matter where we are in life. We wake up, eat, work and go back to sleep. Sometimes in between one of those things, we decorate houses.
We don’t fit in this neighborhood. There are only two of us and we don’t have children. The house is too big, but the property isn’t big enough. What would be nice is half the house and twice the property. Yes, that would be nice. But, every time I start thinking about the situation I’m in, I have to remind myself of where I was just a few short years ago.
Anyway, about these older couples hanging decorations. Both times, I saw the man on the ladder and his lady handing him stuff to hang. Both times, each couple looked very relaxed and as though they were out there to breathe the fresh air just as much as to hang the decorations. It was nice to see because…I don’t know…it was nice to see people getting along like that. We live in a very woodsy area and for couples to choose to share a life together, move away from everyone else and to live the lives they want to live is refreshing.
I haven’t exactly thought all that much about this decoration thing, but I wanted to say something about it. If I had a picture, it would help explain so much.
I Could Be Happy, I Could Be Quite Naive
I think you can better grasp what I was trying to say above by watching that Tears For Fears video I posted. Listen to the lyrics.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago called, “The Greatest Human Tragedy” that I almost removed. After reading it over, I thought I had gotten off track and I thought that some parts of it may have come across differently than I had intended. I also didn’t get much feedback on it which led me to believe that while people may have read it, they might have smirked at it.
I decided to let it go and to finish out my day and get some sleep. After that, I forgot all about it.
A few days after that, I called my older sister to say hi. Lately, we have been having really good conversations and now that we are older, I feel as though we are tapping into each other’s personalities in a way we never had the chance to. Our interests are fairly aligned and even though her life is many times more eventful than mine is, I think she is at the point of getting back into some of her old hobbies (yes, you are). She is also one of my more avid readers, so I like to bounce ideas off her for future topics as well as to discuss previous ones. I can count on her honest opinion.
As the phone was ringing, I really didn’t have any idea what to talk about. That never matters because, as I’m sure you have experienced before, people just have a tendency to say something like, “Hey, what’s going on?” and things take off from there. As the phone rang a third time, I heard her pick up. I barely got the word “Hey…” out before she said, “You know, I have some thoughts on that last blog post of yours…”
“Well, thank you.” I thought. I didn’t think anyone even read it. Now, whether she thought it was stupid or interesting was still to be known. She said, “I think many of us are doing what we think we should be doing…” and the conversation continued on. By saying that, I realized that she had actually read it and didn’t focus on the writing style or quality, but focused more on the content. This was music to my ears. Oftentimes, the absence of noticing something is validation of that something.
She also said something to the effect of how musicians have been trying to express very similar thoughts through the ages, they just call them lyrics. You know those famous, “Where the heck have I been?” moments I keep talking about…yeah. I knew the whole thing felt familiar.
We Have the Whole Wide World in Our Hands
We went for a walk yesterday. As I already mentioned, the weather has been good. I know I’ve said many times that this part of the country offers a few days of the year that make everything worthwhile. Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week were those days.
We walked our usual walk…to the mailbox. It’s almost exactly a mile away, which gives us a brisk and healthy two miles each time we do it. It’s long enough to say you did something while short enough to easily continue your day afterwards.
During this particular walk, we noticed a few more cars than usual traveling on the road. We live on a dead-end, so when we see more than two cars pass us during the entire mile, we take notice. These cars would pass us traveling in one direction, turn around and then head back the other way. This wasn’t something that was hugely noticeable because neither of us mentioned it or discussed it, but still, I thought about it.
Just as we got to the mailbox, we saw three cars oddly waiting at the stop sign. It looked like they didn’t know where they were going. The driver of the first car was hanging his head out of the window yelling something at me. I didn’t quite hear what he was saying because of some background noise, so I smiled and jovially walked over to him and allowed him to repeat himself. As I arrived at his car, he simply asked how to get to the highway.
“Oh, yeah, you just keep heading straight, go to the stop sign and make a left. Go all the way down and you’ll run right into it.”
He said thanks and then continued to tell us that there had been a motorcycle accident about a mile out and they had closed the whole area off. That’s why everyone was driving on this detour. This would explain the additional cars mistakenly driving down the dead-end road we live on.
He then continued on to tell us that the motorcycle driver was dead.
The smile that I was wearing as I walked over to his car disappeared. We turned around, began walking again and headed back to the house.
During our trip back, we discussed the accident and tried to put together the pieces of what could have happened.
She mentioned that she had just seen a man driving a motorcycle down the road…right before we began our walk. It looked like he was out for a cruise to enjoy the good weather. Hearing that made my heart sink because about a half-hour earlier, I mentioned that I was almost ready to head out to get some exercise. I can imagine this being right around the time one of our neighbors was giving his wife a kiss goodbye, telling her that he would be right back.
As time slowly passes, there is a never ending accumulation of events that occur. You remember some of them and forget the others. So many are good, but just as many are bad. This may be why I feel as though I am becoming more sensitive…more sensitive than I’m comfortable with.
I feel terrible. Absolutely terrible. I know that as I sit here and write, there is someone who is also sitting somewhere wondering what just happened. Someone who just had their life turned upside down. Someone who is wondering if anything matters anymore…because all the focus we put on the “important” things in life can be taken away at any moment.
I will tell you one thing. Life is a frustrating surprise. It’s a surprise because not one soul on the planet knows what is going to happen next and frustrating because just the people we want to warn don’t care to listen. A frustrating surprise indeed.