Monday, October 22, 2018

Blogging Schedule Update

After thinking about this for a while, I've decided I need to cut back on blogging for several reasons:

1. It seems like my posts aren't getting as many views as they used to. (I'm basing this on what Blogger reports.) Something may have changed in an online algorithm somewhere. There might be a decline in blogging in general (I see this mentioned in other places, though usually without sources). It might be more effective for me to put more marketing effort into other social media outlets or my newsletter. Reason #3 may be a factor too.

2. With all the other daily responsibilities and projects I constantly juggle, I feel really time-pressed for writing. Cutting back on my posts, at least temporarily, should help.

3. I'll be honest--lately, I've been having difficulty coming up with topics. I started this blog over a decade ago (I think it was shortly after I got married), so that's a lot of posts! I've written over 2,200 of them, and sometimes I wonder if I'm repeating topics. Maybe slowing things down for a while will give me a fresh perspective.

I'm not planning to give up blogging completely. For now, I think I might cut back to once a week on Wednesdays, so I can continue to participate in the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group posts. This means that unfortunately I'll be giving up on the Science of the Week posts on Fridays. I enjoy researching those posts, but they do take up most of my blogging time. I have to read the science news articles daily (or read a lot at once) and decide which ones to link. If I have news, I might create an extra post for it.

Since it's late October, I'll try this schedule for the rest of the year and see how it works, both for me and for you, my readers. After that, I'll decide if I want to change my frequency. I hope no one's too disappointed by this announcement, but maybe I'll be able to engage more with comments. Feel free to leave one below.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Science of the Week, 10/19/18

Here are some of the most interesting science news articles I read this week:

A cure for Alzheimer's? Yes, a cure for Alzheimer's!
(It's actually more like customized treatments for each patient, and while it sounds promising, results can also vary.)

Survey shows widespread skepticism of flu shot

Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form

A step toward personalized, automated smart homes

Have a good weekend, and I'll see you Monday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

More Crochet Photos

Although I keep coming up with more writing projects than I have time for, I keep on crocheting as well--and coming up with more projects that I want to do. As long as I do a little both of both every day, I make some progress. I don't like sharing my writing projects when they're still in the rough draft stage, but the smaller crochet projects work up quickly. Here are some of my recently completed ones:

I started this pterodactyl right before the comic con at the end of September. I think it took about a week or so to finish. He's actually a darker purple in person.

 These are Halloween-inspired porg. From left to right, they are a jack-o-lantern porg (though my family thinks he looks like Deadpool, so maybe the next one won't have black eye patches), a vampire porg, a black cat porg, and a ghost porg. If I can figure out how to make a turkey tail, I might make some turkey porg next month. And yes, I have some ideas for Christmas....

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Now to decide which writing project to tackle next.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Library Troop

We were out of town this weekend, so I didn't have time to prepare my usual blog posts for the week. Instead, I'll share photos from one of our weekend activities: a troop at a library in Madison, Wisconsin. My husband is in the top two photos, my son is in the second, and I'm in the rest.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Season Avatar Quiz

As part of preparing for the recent comic con, I developed a short quiz to match passersby with Season Avatars. It was meant as a way to engage with people about my work and interest them in it. I didn't hand out any copies, so I'll have to save them for my next appearance. In the meantime, I thought I'd share them here.

Which Season Avatar are You?

Pick the best answer from each question below. 

1.       What’s your favorite season?
a.       Spring
b.       Summer
c.       Fall
d.       Winter

2.       What’s your favorite color?
a.       Yellow
b.       Green
c.       Red
d.       Blue

3.       Which activity do you enjoy the most?
a.       Drawing
b.       Dancing
c.       Playing music
d.       Sewing/crafts

4.        What’s your greatest strength?
a.       Good leader
b.       Fearless
c.       Kind
d.       Faith

5.       What’s your worst trait?
a.       Perfectionist
b.       Pleasure-seeking
c.       People-pleaser
d.       Low self-confidence

If you answered mostly As, you’re Gwen from Scattered Seasons. Gwen is the Spring Avatar, with the magical gift of healing.

If you answered mostly Bs, you’re Jenna, the Summer Avatar with the gift of plant magic. Jenna is the heroine of Chaos Season.

If you chose mostly Cs, you’re Ysabel, the heroine of Fifth Season. Ysabel is the Fall Avatar and is blessed with animal magic.

If you chose mostly Ds, you’re Kay from Summon the Seasons. As the Winter Avatar, Kay controls the most powerful magic, that of weather.

If you have a mix of answers, then you’re like the full quartet of Season Avatars, who defend their country from Chaos Season, a magical storm that mixes up the seasons. Learn how it began in Seasons’ Beginnings.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Writers and Genre Popluarity

Last week, I read an interesting article on The Passive Voice. It was about a study conducted by The Writing Cooperative, which develops software for writers. They surveyed 740 writers who use their products. I don't know how representative this sample is of all writers, so these answers may not be strictly accurate. Nevertheless, I was struck by one result: according to this survey, the most popular genre was science fiction and fantasy, with 34% of writers saying that was the genre they tended to write in. This is especially surprising when you realize, as one Passive Voice commenter did, that romance is the most widely read genre, so you'd expect more writers to write that. Only 8.5% of authors in this survey reported writing romance, which was the second most popular genre. Perhaps this genre breakdown is an artifact of the small survey group, or it could have something to do with some genre writers preferring other methods of producing their work.

As a science fiction/fantasy writer myself, I have mixed feelings about this result. If there is such a large group of writers in my field out there, then that means I have a lot of other writers to exchange ideas with and potentially become friends with. On the other hand, it may be harder to come up with unique ideas, and there's more competition for markets. Most of the conventions and other writing groups I participate in are genre-focused, so I have less contact with writers outside my genre.

What do you think about these survey results? Do you think they hold up when you consider larger groups of writers? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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