Archive for the 'Group writing projects' Category

What I learned from 2007

In this article I look back over some of the articles I posted on my blog during 2007. This was in response to Robert Hruzek and his BLOGAPALOOZA Group Writing Project over at his blog Middle Zone Musings.

I am an Australian elementary school teacher who retired three years ago after 35 years of classroom experience. I have always been a writer but it is only since retiring that I have been able to concentrate on my writing almost full time. I’ve been blogging for a little over two years on my blog called Trevor’s Birding (mainly about Australian birds, including photos). For almost two years I’ve also been writing most days on another blog called Trevor’s Travels (about my travels in Australia, Thailand and Nepal – including a trek in the Everest region – and including many photos). My third blog called Trevor’s Writing is about writing, blogging, reading, books and all sorts of things, including some of my short stories and poems.

What I learned from 2007

January – Setting writing goals for 2007 – I believe in the importance of setting goals and have done so for many years, sometimes successfully and at other times quite dismally. That’s life – which tends to get in the way as a matter of habit. I get over it – and get on with life.

FebruaryLooking for inspiration – writing can be a lonely and frustrating pursuit. This is one way I have found that has helped me overcome a lack of momentum with my writing.

MarchStrategies to keep you writing – sometimes the words just do not flow. It is then that I need to fall back on some proven strategies to keep me pounding those keys and churning out the words.

AprilThe potential of blogging – I sometimes get discouraged about the few readers I have on my three blogs. When I stand back and take an objective view of the internet, the enormous potential of blogging is truly staggering. We ain’t seen nuttin’ yet folks!

MayTop 5 Writing Hints – some very useful and valuable hints on improving one’s writing. Now – if only I could apply my own advice to my own writing.

June – Life sucks – writing on the bad days – setbacks, crises, illness or disabilities can severely hinder one’s writing. This year, more than any other before it, has taught me a valuable lesson time and time again (I’m a slow learner). I am learning to roll with the punches. Use the good times, get over the bad times.

July – Writing through the storms of lifestruggles are a part of life. I am learning to let the storms of life strengthen me. The strongest trees are those that resist the tempest and survive.

August – How to have 250,000 blog visitors a day – my most controversial article of the year – by far. It drew many visitors seeking an instant success formula. Many were encouraged and challenged by it, some were disappointed because they missed the point entirely – or didn’t want to face up to the reality of what I was saying. I am slowly learning to apply the principles I wrote about in that article.

September – Poem #36: “Raindrops” – I occasionally feature a short poem or short story on this blog. The poem will never win a literary competition, but the post features one of the best photos I have ever taken. Through my photography I am learning that even the simplest objects can be things of great beauty.

October – A very significant day – from this very special day I gained a new understanding of the importance of family and my amazing heritage.

November – Happy birthday to me – I was all primed ready to have a very relaxing 60th Birthday. It all went very wrong but turned out okay in the end. I learned from this little incident that life doesn’t always go according to the script you have written.

December – How a little ant taught me about writing – the title says it all. We need to be aware of how even the simplest things can teach us important life applications.




A new group writing project – the BLOGAPALOOZA

Listen up everyone.

Christmas is over. The New Year has well and truly started (is it REALLY a week old already???).

Time to get on with another Group writing Project.

Robert over at Middle Zone Musings is launching the new year with a special group writing project called BLOGAPALOOZA. It promises to be a fantastic way of getting your writing going for the year of 2008 – by looking back at 2007. That’s the way Robert operates – by going backwards in order to go forwards.

Have a look here for all the details.

Note to self:

Get cracking and get your own entry finished. There’s only a week to go.

Good writing.

Writing prompt #1 – Alphabet Soup

Are you looking for a writing prompt? Or a writing challenge?

One of the staff of Writers’ Digest has issued a writing challenge:

Write a 26 word story where every word begins with a different letter of the alphabet.

That might sound easy – but I tried – and ran out of steam somewhere around the letter Q. It is not as easy as it sounds. Most contributors have followed strict alphabetical order (eg Albert beat Connie doing elegant flips…etc). Last time I checked one contributor had used the letters in a random order. There are no other rules.

Submit your mini-masterpieces here. Entries close in a few days.

If you miss out there, you could always submit them here on my blog through the comments section.

Mmmm – now how can I finish that story?

Albert beat Connie doing elegant flips. Greta hesitated. I just knew….

Never mind – I just cannot seem to go any further – and make sense. The poor old brain is in melt down mode.

What I learned from… cricket

Group writing project: This post is my contribution to Robert Hruzek’s group writing project over at his blog called Middle Zone Musings. Head over there to read all about this project, and how you can participate. Have a go – it’s fun.

The World of Cricket

I am writing about the game called cricket – not the insect. If you want to know more about this fascinating game check out the Wikipedia entry here. Cricket is a game first played centuries ago in England and now throughout the Commonwealth (that is, countries that were colonised by Britain).

It is extremely popular in countries such as England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It also has a large following in places like Nepal, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Fiji and even in Canada and the United States.

Prominent players, especially in India, are treated like gods and are often multi-millionaires from sponsorship and match payments. Even in countries with a modest population such as Australia, top players are very wealthy. Always with the abundance of money there is corruption, usually in the form of match fixing.

A cricket tragic

I freely acknowledge that I have a serious problem; I am a cricket tragic. I try to watch every game televised here in Australia. I’ve been known to sit up until 3am or later watching coverage of matches from England. I’ve recorded long slabs of matches on video for playback later. I devour the sporting columns in the papers, subscribe to cricket magazines, collect cricketing books and videos and study the statistics of prominent players. I remember more anecdotes about cricketing events than I do about family events of significance. I have attended major matches both here and interstate, but not yet overseas (but give me time).

Despite all that, I cannot play the game to save myself, hence the moniker “cricket tragic.” Sure – I know all the theories about how to bat, how to bowl, how the field, strategies of winning a game and so on. My inability to put it all into practice on the field has been a major frustration in my life. [Sigh]

What I have learned from cricket

  1. You do not have to be good at something to appreciate it: I may not be able to play the game very well, but I sure enjoy and appreciate all the subtleties and nuances and strategies of the game. Life application: when someone inspires me I need to appreciate that person.
  2. Being a team member is crucial: A game of cricket, like all team sports, cannot be won singlehandedly. Sure, individuals can and do make amazing performances that “win” the match. Without the other team members it would not have been possible. Life application: do my bit for the team; I may be only a small cog but every cog in a machine is essential.
  3. Life is a marathon, not a sprint: Games of cricket can last for five days of six hours play each day – without a result. Some of these are deadly boring but in recent years I’ve seen some incredibly exciting draws played out over the full five days with the result hanging in the balance to the very end. None of the players ever give up trying, giving their all to win at all costs. Life application: success only comes through long, hard hours and days and weeks and years of effort.
  4. Life is often not very fair: It is true that the expression “It’s not cricket” means a sense of fair play is paramount and derives from cricket, supposedly the sport of gentlemen. (This is a very outdated expression from the 1800s. It never was a truism; bribery, game fixing and corruption was as rife in those days as it is today.) Players and umpires make mistakes and the result may not be what you deserve. Good players put the disappointing decision behind them and play on; poor players spit the dummy. Life application: life will deal you many bad deliveries. Get over them and get on with life.

A glorious experience

I should be fair to myself. I did have one glorious experience playing cricket. The game was on a knife edge. One wicket to fall with the batting side only requiring four runs to win. I was fielding on the boundary, some eighty metres from the wicket. The batsman hits the ball hard in my direction. It’s heading for the boundary and certain victory. Instantly I swoop on the ball and gracefully throw it at the wicket, shattering the stumps on the full and running out the batsman, thus winning the game for my side. The crowd erupts in amazement and I’m carried off the field by my team mates.

Postscript: the whole truth

Well, it didn’t quite happen like that. Sure – I did hit the stumps from that distance during a game, but was a Sunday School picnic and the game was only a social event with no scores being kept.

Sure would have been nice to have been carried off the field though.

And now for a group writing project…

Robert is one of my regular commenters here on this blog.

And I’m one of the frequent readers (and occasional commenters) on his blog called Middle Zone Musings.

Every month Robert runs a group writing project. I must apologize to him for never having contributed to one of his world-famous challenges. So this month I thought I’d give it a go. What’s more I’ll even give the project a “kick” start by promoting it here. Go ahead – have a go.

All the details can be found on his post called “What I learned from…the world of sports.”

Good writing.