Posts in category “WordGrrls”

Write Your Final Fanzine

Written by Laura Brown

Think of a fanzine you might have written. (Maybe you even did write one). After all the issues, the community you may have found, the new things you learned as you published about your favourite TV show, celebrity, type of fruit, grocery store chain, etc. How would you finish it all, a final goodbye?

I thought this was such a great creative writing idea. Writing sort of a eulogy for your creative passion once its wound down. Maybe you ran out of things to say. Maybe you got tired of it. Maybe your opinion about the whole thing changed. Maybe it got to be too expensive. There are lots of reasons a small, self publication, a fanzine, would close down. Would that be part of your final issue, or would you leave it for people to guess at? Leave them wanting more?

You might make a final grand statement, an epic summary of everything you have found and learned. I think I'd try to do that then change my mind when I couldn't make it short enough, or be sure I hadn't forgotten something and then want to write another final issue.

Of course, if you've never written a fanzine this could be your one and only. The one and only fanzine about wilted lettuce... giraffes... bicycle lanes... the evolution of Sunday shopping... there really is no end to the range of ideas and topics. They don't even have to take themselves very seriously.

Oh No by Mammoth Island

The Silent Book Club

Written by Laura Brown

"The Silent Book Club is a global community of readers and introverts, with more than 800 chapters led by local volunteers around the world. SBC members gather in person and online to read together in quiet camaraderie. Find a chapter near you or a virtual meetup at"

My local chapter has gone dark. I think it happens a lot to groups like this. Someone gets inspired to start, works at making it go, then gets discouraged when it doesn't work as well or as fast as they would like. Some hang in there, a lot don't and move on to the next fresh inspiration. People don't understand, or don't want to know that nothing starts out big. The groups that hang in and trudge along are the ones with a chance to grow and become popular, or at least get a regular attendance.

I thought about offering to take up the local group myself, to re-start it. But, I pulled myself back and waited. Its so easy to take on a new challenge when its fresh and you feel enthusiastic. For me, I'm better to wait and see if I still feel that way a week from now. I'd rather wait now than have another project started and left unfinished/ unsatisfied.

There are times you make a go of something and then something else comes along to muck it up. Its not always in your control. But, some of it is. Know yourself and don't jump in with both feet right away. Make sure its really what you want before you commit to it.

Have You Ever Written in a Book?

Written by Laura Brown

I have written in a book. A book I owned not one borrowed from someone else or a library. Also, not a book I was going to trade in at my local secondhand bookstore for more secondhand books. So, I didn't feel it was defacing the book, but it still felt as if I were breaking some kind of cultural barrier.

Quoted from the Amazon book description of "The Reader in the Book: A Study of Spaces and Traces" by Stephen Orgel.

"One of the most commonplace aspects of old books is the fact that people wrote in them, something that, until very recently, has infuriated modern collectors and librarians. ... The underlying question is at what point marginalia, the legible incorporation of the work of reading into the text of the book, became a way of defacing it rather than of increasing its value-why did we want books to lose their history?"

I made notes about what I was thinking as I read the book. I made wonderful notes I wish I could read again now and be inspired by what I thought years ago when I first read the book. But, I gave the book to someone else to read and they didn't value it the way I did. It's gone. I don't even know if they read it cover to cover as I did, or just humoured me when I said how wonderful I thought it was.

Beyond that sad little story, I think people who write in a book are those who did find more inspiration, more to explore, in the book than the people who read it (maybe even loved it too) but did not leave any notes. Leaving a note, making that decision and acting upon it to crack into the pristine pages of a book... it takes guts, for lack of a better word. Writing in a book, leaving a mark is one thing, quite a thing for some. But, that's just the start. Your personal thoughts are there, exposed, for as long as that book is still around.

A book has to be burned to be destroyed. Throwing it into the garbage is not a final end. Someone could still pick it out, clean it up a bit and read it. Composting, is closer to an end, but that takes time. Quite a lot of time and you're not going to be there to guard the spot where its composting for as long as it would take for that book to break down. So, your thoughts will be there beyond the time it takes to jot them down.

Knowing and thinking about all of this, would you write in a book? I still do.

750 Words

Written by Laura Brown

Inspired by The Artist's Way morning pages. An online group who write 750 words (three pages) each day. Writing is private, not published, intended to help people get into the habit of writing every day. Registration required for the site. Community forum and blog posts. Asking $5 a month for membership which includes features to inspire writing.

Trying Chyrp Today

Written by Laura Brown

I've looked at so many interesting things related to minimal web site designs yesterday and today. My mind is full of this and that. I created an idea for this site, doodled the layout I'd use. Then, I found this software, Chyrp-lite.

It has enough features to work with my old site and yet its simple to deal with. So far. I've thought others were going to work, gotten enthusiastic and then found they just didn't work for one reason or another. I wondered if I was just being too picky. Or, finding ways to nitpick and procrastinate about getting the site up again. I hope not.

Installing it wasn't difficult. Looks like it uses markup which I will have to get used to. Unless there is another option. This is my first post with the software. No problems found.

One Way or Another

Written by Laura Brown

One way or another I've done what I wanted for the site layout. Not exactly as I envisioned it but its done. Sometimes I can get lost in the details and use that to procrastinate from the bigger work at hand. Not 100% wanting to start on the big picture.

I tried using the FSE (full style editor) with WordPress. I even liked the idea of it. But, at this stage its more work to deal with it than to go back to GeneratePress, which I've gotten to know and find pretty reliable. So, that's what I did. Chalk it up to a learning experience as far as the FSE editor.

I also added a contact form. Something new for me. Will see how much spam it gets and then decide if I want to keep it. I'm not even sure how it works yet. Does it need an email address? I didn't give it one. If it stays in WordPress that will work out well enough. I'm not expecting to hear from many real people versus spam, other than my Mother.

Next I will start going through all my posts from the last 20 years to update them, decide whether or not to keep some of them, and fix the broken image files on all of them. Thank you WordPress for not exporting them this time. (I'm sure it did before because I don't remember having to fix this many other times I've moved the site). Anyway, it will be like re-visiting myself, reading an old diary. Along the way I will tidy up categories and maybe even tags.

Then, what can I do about content scrapers? Nothing I've found or tried seems to work.

"The love of knowledge is a kind of madness" – C.S. Lewis

Written by Laura Brown

"The love of knowledge is a kind of madness" – C.S. Lewis

Where Would You Love to Write?

Written by Laura Brown

This was part of a quiz about what type of author you would be/ are. I loved this question. Which answer would you pick?

Choose a place to pen your masterpiece.

  1. A busy train station where you can sip iced coffee while people-watching
  2. A secret garden full of wonders you’ve never seen before
  3. A cozy coffee shop interior while gentle rain falls outside on a cold gray day
  4. Your bedroom—you feel most comfortable there.

Although the train station was high on my list and its my bedroom where I usually do end up writing - a coffee shop on a grey and rainy day was my most preferred place, by far. I love a rainy day and looking out the window while working on something creative with a delicious (still at least warm) coffee is pretty much perfect in my books.

Source: What Type of Author Would YOU Be? - Underlined

Do You Still Write With a Pen?

Written by Laura Brown

There is, still, something I like about writing by hand that I miss when I'm typing on a keyboard. There is a smoothness to the pen and paper and I like having good penmanship. There is no penmanship at all with a keyboard.

Today I found a note from Perfect Pen, a site selling pens and etc. They say 95% of people write their name first, when they get a new pen. I don't know if its true. How would you find out about that. Chances are someone selling pens and seeing people test them before buying, would know. So it could be true. What did you last write, by hand? I wrote a grocery list. But I also sent out handwritten Christmas cards this year.

I write down ideas for stories or non-fiction ideas for posts to my sites. Sometimes they never become posts. Lots of ideas are written and just don't develop further, or get mislaid somewhere, one way or another. But, I still like writing ideas more than typing them. My brain works differently while writing.  A bit slower and not as directly focused on the idea while I have the distraction of the pen, paper and penmanship. More than likely that changes how the ideas develop. Typing is so instant.

National Ballpoint Pen Day is June 10th. It's the day the patent for the ballpoint pen was filed.

Have you ever gotten into calligraphy, with fountain pens? I did a little of that. In high school I had a fountain pen. It was fun to write with but not as clean as a ballpoint pen. Of course, there have been pencils since the age of the dinosaurs (not literally). Pencils are just not the same, though artists still draw with an assortment of them.

Today, even though it isn't Ballpoint Pen Day, take a look at all the pens you have collected, scattered, around your home. Get some scrap paper out of the recycling and test all your pens. Not many have the option to be refillable and reused now. Or, people almost never seem to do that. Too many freebie pens given away to take the time to recycle them. Unless you have a favourite pen. I did have a favourite ballpoint pen but it was kind of exotic and I couldn't find ink to refill it. If you can find a use for the pens that no longer work, got dried out, or broken, that's great. Most likely the best you can do is get rid of them and have that much less clutter around.

Happy pen testing. Will you scribble something or ring true to the theory that the first thing you write with a new (sort of new) pen is your name?

Firefox Web Browser Can Make the Internet Easier to Read

Written by Laura Brown

I've been having a lot of trouble seeing clearly when trying to read websites. The style seems to be small, pale grey fonts which are very hard to read. No problem for a computer, or other machines. I wonder if these sites which are hard to read just expect machines and not human being to read the information? Are they just looking for web traffic for marketing. Content doesn't seem to be very kingly when you can't read it. Anyway, that's a bit off topic but the issue really frustrates me, personally.

I found a way to change settings in Firefox to make websites easier to read. It seems to be working, so far.

Go into your settings, click those three stacked lines in the right top bar of the web browser. Then Settings. From there you should be able to find the Languages section. See images below. Just click the "zoom text only" to turn that feature on. Then go into Advanced and set a minimum font size which your web browser should stick to when it opens web pages. The minimum font size may not work 100%. Some web developers choose to force font settings rather than letting readers choose what works for them. Again, likely valuing cosmetic looks instead of a readable site.

The zoom text only is great and has worked every time for me. Instead of enlarging the entire site, images and all, only the text is made bigger. So sites are not warping as much when I want to read them. Of course, this means zoom will not work for images now if you have been using it that way. But, I find it works well to open images in a new tab. Most of the time the image file is actually larger than the one used on the web page.

Zoom is a feature which allows you to increase or decrease either the size of a web page or the size of the text. This article explains how it works.

Source: Font size and zoom - increase the size of web pages | Firefox Help