Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A New Blog for a New Year

Like with most New Year's resolutions, this blog is beginning with the best of intentions. I intend to share my love of writing, books, history, nature, and genealogy. Unlike most other resolutions, however, I intend to keep this one! I had attempted writing projects before, such as family history stories, for my files, and even tried a blog once. Things did not work out, for one reason (i.e., excuse) or another. I spent quite a bit of time at it and found the entire writing process very frustrating. This frustration kept me from attempting serious writing projects until now. What has motivated me to want to give this another shot? There are just so many research discoveries to share! I have spent the last fifteen years researching American history in-depth, and my own family's history in particular. In the process, I have come across a large amount of primary source material (deeds, wills, diaries, letters, photographs) that I find incredible, and I know others will as well.

While I have some incredible reasons for beginning this blog, what has motivated me to think it won't end in frustration yet again? Of all the writing advice I have read since deciding to blog, the most useful was the bluntest and came from Jeff Goins:
People ask me all the time what advice I have for them in regards to their writing. Honestly, most of what I say to them boils down to this: Just sit down and write. I wish it were more complicated or mystical than that, but it's not. Writing is an art, but it's also a craft. That means that almost anyone can do it if they put in the practice.
In addition to Mr. Goins, I have found Judy Reeves to be an incredible inspiration to my inner writer. In particular, I enjoyed the talk she gave on How to Be a Writer Who Writes. Like Mr. Goins, she emphasizes that the best thing to do is get writing! She takes a holistic approach to creativity that is very meaningful and seems to have me in mind when she says that for the beginning writer the next step is the tricky one and the one where most would-be writers trip up: keep writing.

Ultimately, to keep writing is my resolution! I do worry that some of the technology of blogging will trip me up. Don't expect a lot of fancy widgets on this blog! As with those who share their love and gift for writing with others, I am very impressed and grateful for all the tips other bloggers have given to others on even the smallest, most mundane technical questions. I want to share with you the recent discovery of a writing tool that has been incredibly helpful, both in reducing writing anxiety in general, but also with maintaining concentration and focus. It is an app called The OmmWriter. For a small donation, this software creates a distraction-free writing environment. The genius of the program is its simplicity. Unlike other word processing programs, cluttered with distracting icons, OmmWriter is very simple. Almost deceptively simple. At first, I saw its lack of extra features as a drawback, but now that I have used it a few times, I see the wisdom of the design. I put on the headphones, choose the sound effect and font, and go! The lack of extra features or options is liberating, and you can begin typing at once! I can worry about editing and formatting later when I cut and paste what I have written into my usual word processing program. With OmmWriter, I can focus on the writing itself. I first heard of Omm Writer from reading Free Tools for Writers, Bloggers, and Solopreneurs by Karen Banes. This book is an incredible source of free tools and great ideas.

Another writing tool I have just started using is the Grammarly editing tool. This writing enhancement tool proofreads your writing by checking it against hundreds of grammar rules! Currently, I am using the free one but seriously considering upgrading to the paid version. The free version has been incredible, but the paid version has some fantastic features. My writing anxiety is linked to a fear of spelling and grammar errors. Grammarly is a tool that will help a lot with this problem.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Happy New Year! May you experience a multitude of blessings in 2020!

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