Sunshine Award + Announcements

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Thanks to Sonya at Capture You photography for nominating this blog for the Sunshine Award. I discovered her blog during the first week of the Zero to Hero challenge, and her exquisite images made me an instant follower. It may be a week before I can do a nomination post of my own, and I wanted to be sure and thank her. This is the Writing Catalog’s first nomination from a blogger outside the Part Time Monster family.

I have one more round of development to do with Sourcerer, and then I will be ready to begin improving the design and pages of this site. I’m listing my blogs on several directories this weekend and setting up a Pinterest account that I’ll use to build boards related to all our blogs. Once I am done with that, I will give The Writing Catalog an overhaul.

I’m planning to re-write the About page and expand the scope of my content here a little. It will still be writing-centric, and the links will still feature mostly writing-related content. In addition, though, I am going to use this blog as an online portfolio for myself and an archive of the best work we’ve done on other blogs.

Eventually I will have an index page of every blog series that I and the other contributors to our blogs have written. I’ll also add a few resource pages – one for writing, another for the writing aspects of blogging, another for non-blog websites that I find helpful for various forms of writing. I also  plan to include some humanities education-related content and some of my own creative work.

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog; I hope will continue to provide a medium to help me connect with others bloggers who enjoy talking about writing.

Zero to Hero 11: Good Neighbors

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I decided to use my Zero to Hero time today to find and comment on three blogs that are doing interesting work on J.R.R. Tolkien. I chose this topic because I am working on a long weekly series on Tolkien for Part Time Monster at the moment, and I enjoy discussing Tolkien’s work. Two of my three comments led to conversations, so now I have at least two new neighbors to chat with.

All Things Tolkien – I commented here on a post about the nature of evil in Tolkien’s Silmarillion, because I enjoy that sort of discussion, and I’ve been chatting about it elsewhere for the last couple of weeks.

Pages Unbound is sponsoring a Lord of the Rings read-along and spoiler-free discussion for those who are reading it for the first time. I plan to add to the discussion from time to time as the read-along progresses. They also have a link to a nice post at Chasm of Books, a Blogger site, about Hobbits and Gossip (which I also commented on).

Sweating to Mordor – This project intrigues me. The idea is that the blogger at this site is reading Tolkien as he covers the same distance as the journey to Mordor on his elliptical machine, then he blogs about the passage he just read. He’s quite a good blogger, and knows his Tolkien. He is on Day 11 or 12 of the journey right now, so really just getting started.

In addition to commenting and following, I connected to these blogs on other social media where I was able.

I am enjoying the Zero-to-Hero challenge very much, but this will be my last Z2H post here, because I feel as though I need to return to more writing-centric work here and write about the other aspects of blogging elsewhere. I will complete the challenge, but beginning tomorrow, I will do my Z2H posting at Sourcerer.

Thanks to all you Writing Catalog followers who have stayed with me since mid-December. I care very much about this blog, and I want it to become something that is truly useful to people who are looking to improve their writing skills. Helping people write better is one of my missions in life, but I am still learning how to translate that onto this blog.

If you would like to see what the non-writing aspects of the Zero-to-Hero challenge can do for a blog, take a look at the new-and-improved Sourcerer. Most of the design decisions I’ve made over there this weekend have been informed in some way by Zero to Hero. I plan to redesign this blog in the next few weeks, because I want it to look as good as Sourcerer.

I will also mention that I am a member of this discussion group on Facebook. It is a small, open group, and a few of the members have just started a Silmarillion read-along. I share links to my own Tolkien work here and add my thoughts to others’ threads.

Zero to Hero 9: Ever Deeper

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Today’s Zero to Hero challenge makes a certain amount of sense to me. Following blogs and topics five at time allows you to really build your reader in increments and make decisions about what sort of content to look for next.  I like the fact that the challenge is emphasizing the non-writing aspects of blogging. My experiences starting new blogs over the past couple of months have reminded me of some things that I already knew, but perhaps had forgotten:

No matter how good your writing is, you’ve gotta pay at least a little attention to how it’s presented, and to networking with other bloggers, if you ever want anybody to read it.

Here are five blogs I follow, but haven’t linked to yet:

Things Matter

Geek Ergo Sum

What’s Your Tag?

My [Redacted] Journey

Polymathically

Here are the tags I followed today:

Geek – because it occurred to me that I should have started following it on day 1, and I was correct.

Steampunk – because I enjoy it, and it’s an excellent genre to look at if you like interesting images.

Opinion – because we’ve made a decision in the last week or so to do some opinion and commentary at Sourcerer when the notion takes us, and I wanted to see what other people were putting in that tag. (We are NOT turning Sourcerer into a political blog, we are just allowing space to do an editorial on political, cultural, or social issues now and then.)

Leftist – for the same reason I followed opinion. The funny thing is, I did not find any leftists there, just a few people labeling their ideological opponents leftists. The topic is almost non-existent, and I think six or seven leftist bloggers could easily get together, take over that tag, and do some fun things with it.

Capitalism – I was trying to figure out where some leftists might be found, and it occurred to me that this is probably one of their favorite tags. I was correct, but I also found a few interesting philosophical and economics-oriented pieces that were written from non-leftist perspectives.

I have also started tagging things with Part Time Monster and Sourcerer when I don’t have enough relevant tags, so as we build an archive of posts, we can access a lot of the things I post on those sites by adding those topics to the reader.

This weekend, I am planning to shift my Zero to Hero posting to Sourcerer, unless we happen to get an assignment that focuses specifically on a writing-related topic. I started the challenge here because I had Sourcerer’s content for this week planned out and scheduled by the time the challenge started, and I did not want to crowd out the contributors who debuted over there this week.

Now that we’re returning to a more normal blogging pace, I think the focus of this site needs to shift back to writing; so, beginning Monday, you can expect to see discussion and reblogging of writing-related topics resume.

Thanks to everyone for following. I am looking forward to a marvelous year of (mostly) everyday blogging.