All aboard the blog train...

Over the past 12 months I've taken two Blogging Your Way e-courses. In addition to lessons taught, we were encouraged to team up with partners on home work assignments. Home work was not mandatory, but like everything in life, effort counts. We randomly met homework partners in a class forum. My first partner in a class of 700 plus students was a delightful Australian blogger Tammy of Lady Tam-Tam who relocated to Washington, DC for her husband's job. She lives a few blocks from where my husband lived when we moved from DC to Atlanta. My second partner in a class of 300 plus students Kristiina of A little of A lot lives in Virginia. To say that we lead parallel lives is an understatement. What are the chances, right?

We could post questions in the forum section called "members helping members." Through this forum, I met so many talented, creative and friendly bloggers from all walks of life all over the world. By the end of each course it was clear to me that not only were we learning from each other, we were all supporting each other's success.

One of my fellow classmates, the daydreamer started a blog tour. The tour works like a chain letter. Each blogger answers the same four questions, and then passes them on to a few other bloggers. And so on.

Effie of apieceofbliss graciously invited me on the tour. I won't say too much about Effie, because she's guest blogging for my travel column soon.

The four questions:

Q: What am I working on?
A lot. Among other things, I'm working on stretching my writing muscles. To that end, I'm participating in The Daily Post's Writing 101 challenge. The Post presents a daily topic with a twist for those who are up for the challenge. Using what I learned on Day 5 "Be Brief," I'll be as succinct as possible here. My college Shakespeare professor used a heavy hand with his red editing pen. He encouraged us to use strong verbs and avoid any form of the verb "to be" (ironic for a Shakespeare class). He loathed certain words like "really," "truly" and "sincerely." Coincidentally, Day 8 was "Death to Adverbs." The assignment was to write an adverb-free post. Try it. My goal is to do at least one lesson each week. I've also subscribed to grammar girl's quick and easy tips to brush up on grammar.

{new illustrated version! via}

Q: How does my blog differ from others in this genre?
My own voice and style. I think it's important to feel comfortable using your unique voice without worrying about being liked by everyone. I'm opinionated and not afraid to show it. I also write about things I loathe with liberal abandon -- something I seldom see other bloggers do. When I was a corporate writer, one of my colleagues and I talked about writing a book called "Corporate Bullshit." All talk and no action. Someone else beat us to it. I always encouraged my clients to use straight talk. They always ignored me. This is my chance to tell it like it is.

Q: Why do I write this blog?
Because it's fun, and provides me with a platform to practice my writing skills.

Q: How does your writing process work?
I wish I could say that I have a streamlined process. But I don't. That's part of the fun. I do keep a notebook to jot down ideas. I always have draft posts in the hopper, but they often get trumped by a project I'm working on or something I've seen, read or talked about with my friends that I find interesting or makes me laugh.

Enough from me. I'd like to introduce you to my tour guest:

Hi, my name is Barbara. I’m an Italian-based graphic designer and freelance photographer with a penchant for traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. My blog momographica narrates adventures and misadventures drawn from my daily creative routine.

Barbara writes her blog in Italian. If you don't speak the language, I encourage you to pop over anyway to see her stunning photographs, especially if you like flowers. She will be back here soon to show and tell us about her home town near Milan.

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Thanks, Effie for inviting me on the tour. Barbara, we look forward to seeing where you take us next!


  1. Maureen--I loved your answers. I am especially inspired by the no BS and telling it like it is. I know you are direct, but I guess I never thought about it this way in regards to blogging. You've left me with a lot to think about! And here I thought I was just going to check some blogs and hit the sack tonight :) And also, the tip on the 'writing 101' course. I need to take this STAT.

  2. Hi Maureen: I'm so glad to have found your blog via Dana's post today. It seems that we have a lot in common - love of design, Audrey Hepburn, Vancouver (my husband was born and raised there). Wasn't Holly's class amazing? I missed her last class since I was already taking a photography class to learn how to use my DSLR camera, but I have taken three in the past. I've always learned so much. You have a new follower.

    1. Hi Cyndi,

      Thanks for stopping by. Yes, we do have lots in common. I'm heading over to check out your blog.

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