that's me - Stephanie Boman!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The view from here

Besides writing, I occasionally play with collage art for a creative outlet. This scene is actually a composition of six different pictures. One of the things I'm drawn to in doing this kind of art is making an entirely new landscape out of images from several different sources and playing with perspective.

Growing up I thought my mom was so tall. Like stilt-walker tall. I don't have many specific early memories, but I keenly remember staring up at my ginormous mom towering over me, her legs rising over me like redwoods, sure that she must be one of the tallest women in the world.

In actuality, Mom was 5'4".

One time I heard our elderly neighbor's landscapers and later noticed the leaves in our yard gathered into piles. I couldn't believe the nerve he had to send us a message by having his landscapers blow our leaves. Husband knocked on his door to straighten him out. As soon as he mentioned the leaves, the old guy, who had a bad heart and a false eye, said he was sorry he couldn't pick the leaves up, but he was just too exhausted after raking them.

A few months ago Wee One was waiting for the computer as I finished checking email.

"Oh Mom," she observed with tender pity, "you have a folder called 'Rejections'."

A few months earlier I would have looked at her with chagrin. How nice it was to be able to laugh and explain that I didn't use it anymore.

And don't get me started on going from complaining about toys strewn around the house to cherishing the sight of them.

It's all about perspective. Things can be perceived so differently depending on time, distance and attitude.

As one daughter leaves for college and another enters middle school, as I come to a startling realization of how old I'm getting when I find out Lance Armstrong is a year younger than me (I don't know why, but that one blew me away), as I heed advice and revise a manuscript or read books with exceptional writing, as I accept that things aren't always neat and tidy and life still goes on, I'm gaining perspective.

And wadda-ya-know, the view is so much clearer from the vantage point of an open mind.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Who are you?

I don't want all my posts to be strictly writing-related, but this one is definitely directed at fellow writers who blog.

Is your blog working? I don't mean functioning, I mean, is it representing you the way you want to be? There have been many times when I've gone to check an author's blog and had a hard time finding anything out about them.

Here are the things I look for (this post will focus on general blog presentation, not blogging content):

Your name. Believe it or not, some people forget to display their real name. This of course depends on whether you want to be blogging incognito or not. But if you are a writer trying to network, make sure your name is easy to find, especially if it isn't in your url.

A way to contact you. I don't know how many times I've wanted to contact someone and have had to leave a message in a post comment to do so because there is no info on how to contact the writer otherwise.

Info about yourself. This doesn't have to be extensive or overly personal, but I like to know where you are in the writing journey and/or what your goals are. Are you published, agented, or just writing for fun? Genre is also helpful. Give us some background to know where you're coming from.

A picture of yourself. This is a personal preference, but I like to put a face with a name; I remember you better that way.

Other places to find you. Website? Twitter? Facebook? Give me links in case I want to connect with you in other ways.

As far as appearance, your blog doesn't have to be souped up to stand out. An attractive, simple template works fine. Whatever design you choose, make sure your blog is easy to navigate. Keep it clean. Your sidebar shouldn't be cluttered with awards and quotes and pictures that people have to scroll through to find your "about me" section. Keep it, and your "follow me", near the top. Make it easy for people to subscribe.

These are the basics. I've only got fifty lovely followers, so I don't profess to be an expert. These are my own personal thoughts on the topic. What else do you think is important in a blog appearance?