Tag Archives: writing

The broke writers toolbox of 8 ABSOLUTELY FREE APP’s for 2018

I’m a terrible writer. Ever so often I growl in envy, that some people simply have the skill to build words in such a manner that they create the most vivid scenes in a mere fraction of the composition. And ever so effortlessly, these people seem to do this in the first draft, with perhaps a few comma’s thrown in for editing. Life. Is. Just. Not. Fair!

Okay, I’m done sulking.

For the rest of us, there are tricks, check-boxes and most importantly free applications to use to improve our prose. Here I’d like to pause. Unfortunately, no application, book or quick fix can magically wave a wand over you and turn you into J.K. Rowling. And even the greats need a human editor… However used often, some of these do actually in time improve your writing. Or maybe writing and reading improves your writing, but then …

In the past year, where I’ve taken on re-writing one of my yawn effect drafts into something hopefully one day enjoyable, I’ve gone looking for something to help me along the way. And since everyone seems to be sharing their, ‘must read list for 2018’(or at least they were when I first drafted this) it seems fitting to throw in my ‘very useful app list for writers in 2018’.

typewriter text

1. WordWeb ( https://wordweb.info/free/ )

Back in the day, any writer with merit would have told you a good dictionary is like the screwdriver in a mechanic’s toolbox. In 2018 we have a time-saving app for that. It is definitely much easier to type in the word you want to look up. It’s also lighter to carry if you decided you wanted to go sit in the spare office during your lunch hour to get some writing time in.

And while a search in your preferred App-Shop, would probably reveal many a program worth using – I like to use WordWeb. Not only does it explain the word to you, like that heavy, bulky, The Concise Oxford Dictionary, but it often also suggests alternative words to use. It’s like a dictionary and thesaurus thrown into one. Best of all, no pop-up ads, and it works off-line. I have mine installed on my phone. The app is available for Android, iPhone and Windows.

2. Libre Office Writer ( https://www.libreoffice.org/ )

If like me, you bought your computer, tablet or another writing device with only Windows Home or similar installed on it, you know that this does not come with the Microsoft Office package. It seems that even though, there are several other writing programs, which I’ll discuss later, on a writer’s most wanted list – Microsoft Word is still a must-have – or not. I use Libre Office Writer, which is just as good as the Microsoft version. Best of all, this Open Source software is, wait for it, ABSOLUTELY FREE! The writer comes along with the entire Libre Office package, which also includes a spreadsheet and a drawing program. And to top it all off, Libre can easily open and save your files in the popular Microsoft formats.

3. AbiWord ( http://abisource.com/ )

If you simply don’t want, need or have a lack of space for the Libre Office package – Abi Word may be more appealing. It too is an Open Source, ABSOLUTELY FREE, software which only features a writing application similar to Word. No spreadsheets applications are thrown in.

4. Grammarly (https://www.grammarly.com/)

Grammarly is like your spell check on steroids. It spots so much more than your average Language Tool. Used over time, Grammarly will help you spot mistakes on your own. You can use Grammarly for free, online. The only pitfall is that it will not work offline, even the paid version. But otherwise, it is a seriously excellent, spelling and grammar checking application.

5. Pro Writing Aid (https://prowritingaid.com/)

Like Grammarly, Pro Writing Aid is your spell check on steroids. Also, like Grammarly, you can use it for free online. Again like Grammarly, it only works online – even the trial version downloadable app needs a working internet connection. The free version is limited and checks only 500 words per go. Unlike Grammarly, this App has what it calls reports. It will check more than just your spelling and grammar. There are reports to tell you if you have overused a word, reports to tell you how readable your text is and much, much more.

6. Hemingway App ( http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ )

Like Pro Writing Aid, Hemingway is yet another grammar checking application, which will point out adverbs, passive voice, and hard to read sentences. I’ve not had the chance to fully explore this app yet, but unlike its counterparts, the paid desktop app will work off-line.

7. yWriter6 ( http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter6.html )

If you are into writing full-fledged novels, yWriter6 is a very useful App. The windows version is free to download. It’s primarily there to help you organize your scenes and chapters into one workable document. There are also some very nifty tools, such as a read out loud feature, a word counter to tell you how many times you have used a certain word, a word per minute meter, basic spell check, and more. It’s an excellent tool to write your first draft on. And while it’s not as colorful as it’s pricey counterpart Scrivener – yWriter does come packed with many features.

Recently, an app has been added to Android devices, but this is not free.

8. Bibisco ( http://www.bibisco.com/ )

Bibisco is another App you can use to organize your chapters into one workable document. Unlike Ywriter which is classified as Freeware, Bibisco is Open Source.While it certainly seems not to be created for smaller devices such as tablets, it’s an app I still plan on exploring further.

Open Source versus Free-Ware

In case you were wondering, Open Source Software is a group project for programmers. The programming code is open to being downloaded for free. Anybody can contribute towards making the program better. These contributors are often not paid for doing so.

Freeware is usually created by only one individual or company who will distribute the program or part of the program for free. Often you are required to purchase the program to gain access to all its features, such as Grammerly and Pro Writing Aid.

There are many more applications to help you improve your writing, many, many more. These are only a few which I found seemed most popular and useful. As I continue discovering other applications, I may write another post to expand on this one. For now, I hope you find something on this list to help shape you into a better writer.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


instagrampinterestfacebook

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Advertisements

5 Seconds before the finish line

There it is. The finish line. The bright yellow ribbon glitters in the sunlight as we speed towards it. If you have ever run any type of race whether that be a 100m sprint or a marathon, at this point you are exhausted. You know you are only one or two steps away from making it, finishing. But what if the stands are empty? There’s no one racing with you? No referee to take your time? No one to see how your feet burn on the rubber of the racetrack? There’s no one to cheer you on? No trophy to contend for?

This is what a blog challenge like the one I’ve been writing this month feels like. Or attempting to draft a fifty thousand word novel, in one month. Many things in life feel like that. 5 Seconds before the finishing line you look in front of you and wonder. What am I doing this for? Who would notice if I simply sat down and gave up? Why am I beating myself up? Is this really worth losing sleep over?

Blog or writing challenges may not seem like such a big deal. After all, many bloggers write posts every day as a matter of habit. But, many of those bloggers earn some kind of benefit from their blogs. They have monetized them. Or they sell something which they can advertise on their blogs. But what about us? What about the ones who have a free wordpress.com blog or the Google version blogspot.com?

It’s the final countdown, but we’re not heading for Venus quite yet.

bike_in_sunset

It doesn’t really matter the scenario. Sometimes we embark on some kind of project and then end up wondering, “what am I getting out of this?” It does not need to be a project. It could be a life choice, a job, a diet, a simple quest to smile at strangers.

What am I getting out of this? How will this benefit me? What’s in it for me?

Here’s the thing, even if your answers are any of the following:

  • I now have bragging rights.
  • I have proven to myself I can do it.
  • I got a couple of likes on my Social Media.
  • I have something to talk about.
  • I have become a better version of myself

Or even if your answer is something as self-less as:

  • I made someone smile
  • I fed 50 hungry children and can now sleep better at night

If you are asking, “what do I get out of this”, your formula is flawed. You are asking the wrong question.

#MayItBeOfBenifit

This is my final post for the blogging challenge I embarked upon at the start of the month. I could have reviewed my posts for the second half of the month. But instead, I leave you with this open-ended post. What do you think is the right question?

NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


instagrampinterestfacebook

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Spotlight fever

The stage is dark. The curtains have just been raised. There we are. An echoing thump jolts our heart to full alertness. Standing there completely alone, you are not aware of me. I’m not aware of you. We are not aware of us. The blinding light seems to amplify our thumping chest. Sweat drips down our forehead. The sound of the plummeting moisture seems to be amplified. Our voice – there is no sound. An inaudible squeak. Suddenly, the light in the dark auditorium is switched on.
We can see the audience. But there is no one there. There is no we. I am alone. And no one cares that I’m afraid. No one saw the blunder. Witnessed only by the light, which passed me no judgment.

Social Media seems to have amplified, those who can see our mistakes. The other day a thought passed through my mind. What if that post goes viral? It certainly had all the makings of a viral post, and for a second my heart jolted into full alertness. And in that moment I knew. The post won’t go viral. Not only does my blog not have that kind of traction, but I’m not ready. Not my writing is not ready. I’m not. And I’m also not saying my writing is flawless, cause it is defiantly flawed, but it’s not horrid either. I took a deep breath and relaxed.

It never ceases to disgust me, what kind of poison goes virtually viral, these days – especially in these parts. Children being abused by their Nanny – caught on a Nanny cam. A drunk young woman … I’m not even going to finish that sentence. What’s even more disturbing is the reaction people have. The way we blame and shame. We judge as if we were flawless. Perhaps my content just does not have that shock factor. But if something did go viral, I know there’d be trolls that come knocking.

Painted_Face

The other day a white lady posted something on Facebook. I only mention her skin-color because it is pivotal to the story. I’ll call a spade a spade and not call her Caucasian. While she certainly is Caucasian, here we’d refer to her as a white lady. Apartheid was still within my lifetime. Some of my peers can still remember the UNO coming to their class declaring, “everyone is now equal”.

The white lady posted something on Facebook which caused a big up-stir. In a status update, she mentioned that she had just witnessed a black man taking a white person’s dog for a walk. i.e. She thought this dog to be stolen. She put on her number so that anybody who was missing this dog could ask for more information. I never saw this post myself, but it was big in our local headlines.

Obviously, the first question to ask would be, how does she know the dog belonged to a white person?

Here’s the thing – she never meant to hurt anybody or make such a racist remark. She was guilty of ignorance only and perhaps having experienced something traumatic.

What went viral, was not her Facebook post – it was the recorded call a woman made to her. The other woman who had a British type of accent, called the white lady to ask about the dog. Firstly the British accent woman asked the white woman, how she knew the dog belonged to a white person. When the latter responded that one could simply see it, in that the dog seemed well cared for. The British accent woman referred to the “missing” dog as a Bitch throughout the conversation and ended the call by calling the white woman a Bitch. Honestly, she was very mean and seemed only to want to ridicule the white woman. Goal achieved. Everyone was laughing. The white woman later needed to switch off her phone due to all the harassment she was receiving.

Online bullying at it’s best!

If you read the article in the newspaper, you’d  find out why the white woman made such an ignorant post. At one point, some of her pet dogs were stolen. They only found the paws of these animals – whom she assumed had been eaten. Still no sympathy?

Yes, I hear you. We should be sympathetic to the people who have not enough food and thus eat dogs and cats. Poverty, it is a huge problem. But can you spare no sympathy for this woman, who happens to be married to a colored man (that’s someone of mixed heritage)?

In the newspaper article, the white lady apologized for her blunder. I doubt anyone was listening or reading for that matter. The article, after all, did not go viral. Only the phone call was broadcast to everyone—thanks to WhatsApp.

lettingGoSilouette

Which brings me back to the spotlight fever. What are we shining the light on? Sometimes an issue is much larger than the one part we highlight.

In my example, there were many issues. I mentioned: poverty, racism, online bullying, ignorance and a lack of general empathy. Depending on our own life experiences, we may have focused on only one of these. We may have been enraged at the white woman’s audacity. How could she think, people of a dark skin tone can’t take good care of their pets? It served her right to be treated by the British accent lady like that. It served her right, to be harassed. She should be, belittled for her mistake.

Or perhaps like me, you saw the lack of empathy people have shown. And you hope to all that is good, the spotlight which accentuates all your flaws, never falls on you. Just be careful what you say.

I was so afraid to even use the terms “white lady” & “black man”, even though they fit the frame of this story. Obviously, I still live in a world with many racial divides. I tend to see the cultural differences as beautiful, something to be proud of. Treat everyone with respect, is the kind of value I try to model to my children. However, in this world, you need to be politically correct – always. Or rather just keep your mouth shut.

What gives you the right to speak? Except for the light. It demanded something more than an inaudible squeak.

*above images credit to pixabay

 This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO.

NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


instagrampinterestfacebook

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

If we were having coffee at the halfway mark

It’s the aroma of coffee, which makes this such a popular drink, don’t you think? My eyelids close ever so slightly as I breathe in the fragrance of the moment. Then an acute awareness strikes me. I’m not alone. It’s at this moment, if we were having coffee, I’d look at you and smile somewhat coquettishly.

Ladies and gentlemen, the glass is half full. Not the coffee mug though, that starts off filled adequately, until the very last drop touches your lips. When you stare back into the cup wondering were it all went, there’s more where that came from. If we were having coffee, we’d drink from the bottomless cup. However today, those of us who took up the challenge to blog each day in November have reached our halfway mark. We are halfway there. We may as well finish the race.

light-behind-woman

I pause with the coffee mug in my hand. Standing halfway up the mountain we are climbing, we can look back on the incredible view of blog posts published. We can look beyond the limits of this digital space.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that outside this blog, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. My children are both teething. For my one-year-old that means an upset stomach and the need for comfort. He’s not a great sleeper, to start with, but now he looks for more solace during the night. I love him, I don’t complain and never would exchange this for anything else. I’m just not getting as much rest as is desired and find myself constantly tired. What was I thinking challenging myself to a post a day? Oh, I prepared. I knew there would be days I could not post something. So I scheduled a few posts in October. But soon time will catch up with my head start.

In the meanwhile, my washing machine is doing overtime as I deal with poop all over the show, even on me. Apart from growing an extra molar, my five-year-old picked up an ear infection. And on top of that we are busy preparing her for a transition to a new school. Never a dull moment.

Not to forget the clog in the machine of life, I’ve got my job, which I’m grateful for to keep me busy and all that comes with that daily routine. Some day’s I find myself thinking that the things I post here are so unoriginal. So in-authentic. And I see you rolling your eye’s thinking—is she really such an inspiration obsessed being? I need the inspiration as motivation to keep on moving in my own life. I want the things I put here to be a benefit to whoever reads them, even if just a tiny little bit. Words are what I have to give, but the point of this paragraph was to tell you, that there is a human, imperfect human being behind them, with daily struggles similar to those experienced by many other people.

ladies-coffe-mountain

If we were having coffee on this midpoint of November, I’d point out the posts which have brought me here. Although not strictly part of my NaNoBloMo challenge most of my loyal readers have missed the first post I scheduled on the 1st of November. I guess I can not blame them. I went from writing one monthly post, to writing one each day. On the first, there were two posts.

How to overcome relationship disaster taught to us by bedtime stories was part of my 12 Day’s of it does not need to be perfect series.

I kicked off, Nano Poblano with a motivational video and post titled: How to overcome procrastination and fear. Change your life today!

On day two, I gave y’all a peek ate how I created the 2017 Nano Poblano badge.

Day three, was for a little bit of humor, with a post titled: What’s the best writers joke you know?
Day four and five were short and sweet with a Quote. Do you & Maybe we should let that s*** go.

Day six, I did the unspeakable and tried my hand at a little satire and description thereof.

The seventh post was again short and sweet with a YouTube video, in a post titled: Time to follow your dream?
While the post on the eighth was not much longer titled: What song describes you?
On the ninth, I reflected on the ‘Me too hash-tag’ with a post titled: What Women Want. And, let me give you a little tip, it’s not a chocolate coated ice cream Sunday—although those are nice.
Then on day ten, I went back to keep things short and simple with a very interesting YouTube video. I seem to like YouTube allot, don’t I?
Then for 11.11, I wrote a little poetry – something I’ve not done in quite some time. The poem is titled: One-word obsession, while I created the cover art with Inkscape.
On day 12, I went back to my tried and tested method of a Motivational Quote in a post titled: Results, actions and trying.
The 13th saw a somewhat longer post reflecting on the bedtime story: the ugly duckling. I looked at how this fairy tale really relates to life.
Yesterday, all my trouble seemed so far away and I simply went back to a YouTube snippet and tilted it: Listen …

If we were having coffee, I’d be happy if you’d read all my posts. However, the days are over where I stress myself about likes, views and who are not reading. These days, I find that once I’ve scheduled my post, I pretty much let it go. Sometimes, something will nag me, I will hear the same song played on repeat in my head or whatever reminds me to write a post until I’ve done so and hit the schedule button. Of-cause I notice the same faces for each of my posts—those people who read most everything I write. Thank you.

coffee-and-reading

If we were having coffee, I’d joke that there is one thing writers want more than coffee. It’s readers. Not bucket loads of cash. Real writers want readers more. The buckets of cash come along as an added bonus. It’s the readers who really matter. It’s the message and the story and what those two things can do for the reader. Well constructed poetry and prose, are both an enjoyment for the author and her readership. Additionally how words can invoke a feeling, a picture, a lesson.

After some thousand words, if we were having coffee I’d look up and ask; if we were having coffee what would you like to reflect on?

NanoPoblano 2017

This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO / NaBloPoMo

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


instagrampinterestfacebook

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Word of the day – satire

As most other bloggers, I write this blog because I’m bored and can’t find a better pass time. To indulge my craving to fill this blog with something else than chocolate, I’ve let slip this ‘word of the day feature’. It’s not like people can easily open the dictionary and discover words for themselves.

Not to mention, after twelve years of schooling most English-speaking humans, are proficient in the usage of the word – ‘satire’. It’s one I was faced with in a History class, which most of my classmates loved. Memorizing things, to repeat them like a parrot during exam time, undoubtedly prepares you for the real world. Spoon feeding truly helps you develop independent thought.

And then, you enter the friendly world of FaceBook. You read something strange on Reddit. Perhaps one of your peers decides to mix things up and posts an internet meme, instead of a selfie on Snapchat or Instagram. Or some Vlogger’s video goes viral on What’s App. At first you think it’s kind of funny, but don’t get it. Suddenly you are forced to do something which you have never done before. Your own mind has to wrap itself around a complex joke. She was joking, right?

frogReadingFaceBook

Writing satire as you can see by my inapt attempt there (in the first two paragraphs), is not all that easy—although to some people it comes as natural as breathing. I’m not one of them, but I enjoy reading the art-form. Yes, it is an art-form, to construct words in such a manner they poke fun at society in constructive criticism. Satire is another way to convey an opinion and focuses on the writers observation on society, politics and such.

A well-constructed satire will force the audience to some internal reflection. The modern day satire it is not restricted to writing. Satire can also be in form of a comic strip, a video, lyrics, an internet meme.

The official definition from ‘the Concise Oxford Dictionary, 7th Edition, first printed in 1982,’ is:

“satire n. 1. composition in verse or prose ridiculing vice or folly or lampooning individual(s), this branch of literature, thing that brings ridicule upon something (our lives are a satire upon our religion); use of ridicule, irony, sarcasm, etc., in speech or writing to expose or discourage vice or folly.

2. poetic medley, esp. Poem ridiculing prevalent vices or follies.”

“Eish”, remind me to never quote that dictionary again. One needs another dictionary to define that which has already been defined.

I think Wikipedia in this case is easier understood:

“Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purposes is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.”

Wikipedia continues and explains that a feature of satires are they use sarcasm and irony. They also feature exaggeration, utilize words in such a manner they could have a double meaning (double entrendre) and show comparisons.

Let me show you a few examples….

Satires have really been exploding all over the internet lately.

This video, has been making the rounds. It criticize our use of Social Media to find the perfect partner.

Madam and Eve, is a local comic strip which is printed in newspapers and can be bought in special edition books. The illustrator is brilliant. This specific one has been doing the rounds via What’s App. In it he compares South African President, Jacob Zuma to American President, Donald Trump. It’s a comparison most people in the region have been making since Trump came into office.

(Please note, I don’t have copy right on the above material. I display it as “fair use” as an embed from their respective fan page. )

There are many, many more examples. I thought I’d sample some of the more light hearted ones. With the recent feminist hash-tag making the rounds, I found some vile comments from people who clearly did not understand that the author was writing a satire or was using sarcasm.

NanoPoblano 2017

This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO / NaBloPoMo.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


instagrampinterestfacebook

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Sometimes flaws are beautiful. A look at the creation of the 2017 NANO POBLANO badge

This year, I’ve not been around a lot. M.I.A. from this blog, because I’ve been busy. Apart from taking care of my children and household I’ve also got a 8 hour day job. When I’ve had some down time, I’ve spent much of it trying to learn new life skills, new creative skills which will in turn also enable me to finish my writing projects.

I’ve been struggling tying to find and work with free design software. I was shocked to learn the price of Adobe’s photo-shop and Illustrator. Do they really charge a monthly fee, just to use a program? And then it all happens on some virtual cloud?

Urg, I’m still frustrated at this new avenue, many software developers have chosen to take. Where are the good ol’ days when you could simply buy and own a bit of software?So I started looking towards free-ware and Open Source solutions.

I stumbled on quite a few, which I still need to get used to.

Then Rara posted a request for a badge design for the one month long, each day, blogging challenge usually attempted by many bloggers in November. We needed a badge for a specific group of bloggers who signed up to attempt the challenge as a Little Pepper.

It was the ideal opportunity for me to focus on something creative which would not be quite as difficult as an entire illustration. Start small when you are learning new things.

I’m glad I took the time. I fell much more confident that I should be able to work on my project.

The new badge is completely different from last year. I took more of an artistic approach to it. Sorry. For this reason it may not be completely what the group was looking for. I hope they like it anyway.

The badge has some design flaws. Flaws I opted to keep.

I was going for a Chilly Pepper, which was a silhouette in the sunset.

When I was shading the sunset, the program inadvertently made a little space. Some or other setting that needed changing. But, I liked the uneven space. It reminded me of a real sunset. When there is a lot of dust in the air, you will sometimes find part of the light coming through stronger in some patches than in other patches of the sky.

There are other flaws, but for similar reasons I kept them. There was also another reason. My theme this year on this blog has been, that nothing in life is perfect. I challenge myself to accept and embrace the perfect imperfections in myself and my creative endeavours.

Sometimes it’s the flaws in life which make life interesting.

What do you think?

NanoPoblano 2017

It is deffinatlly very different from the badge they had last year.

Check out the other fabulous Nano Poblanos!

There you go. The badge of last year is definatly very awesome, and more design like. While mine is more art like.

Considering it is the first time I picked up Inkscape (that’s the Open Source Solution to Adobe Illustrator), to do more than just a practice doodle …

Anyways Darlings, happy NANO POBLANO’ing. Check out the list of other Little Peppers HERE.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

instagrampinterestfacebook

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

We can fix society, one story at a time

The screen is cracked. The screen of my cell phone, which I’m currently using to create this post, that is. Like a hideous spider web, it obscures my vision. Already used to the broken fragment, I swiped on.

With cell phones being so fragile, I’ve seen many a person walk 🚶 around with the same kind of blemish. Odd how quickly we adapt. We accept as normal. And I’m not just talking about the inconsequential cracked cellphone screen. Obvious. Maybe not.
After all, if everyone is doing it – then it is perfectly acceptable. I’m not just talking about drugs here. So if everyone comes to work late, it becomes perfectly acceptable to be late, each and every morning. Before your boss has whipped out his eyes, the company culture has changed.

child blowing bubble earth

What’s the big-y about culture?

Culture is something which governs our actions. What we find acceptable. What shocks us. How we react to things. This is why buzzwords such as ‘rape-culture’ are so big in our online discussions. What’s more, culture is formed by the collective experiences. I.e. What we believe, how we react to life is filtered by our past experiences. 

Did you know that storytelling creates experiences? Yes, and not just from a writer’s perspective. It only takes two different stories with a similar outcome to convince someone to rethink how they react towards that type of outcome. Two similar tales spun, and someone has gained a different experience. This in turn will not only determine his own perception, but changes the way others in the community think and act.

Think about that, for two tics.

Your stories, whether written or spoken can influence how someone else perceives the world. I’d like to hope all of us aren’t that impressionable. While stories may be used for the force of good, often they are used for the dark side.  How quickly your mind can change really depends on our point of reference. Your upbringing and your experiences.

Let’s say you are a woman. You hear from a friend about a guy whom you have never met, let’s call him Joe. Joe charmed your friend out of her socks, but got bored pretty quickly.
A few weeks later, another friend tells you she went on a date with Joe, but after a great night he never returned her calls. A random night out, you meet this Joe. Would you not approach Joe with caution? Perhaps avoid Joe altogether? What about if you met someone completely different who reminds you of Joe?
You get where I’m going here. Your friends shared experience, has become somewhat your own.

See how easy stories influence us?

If one guy gets away with a certain conduct, the next one will try a similar thing. Soon it becomes common.
Like my cracked cellphone screen, as a society we all too conveniently find some things acceptable.
I really don’t want to go into all the heartbreaking things this world has found acceptable. As mentioned, it’s sometimes the little things, such as coming to work late which rob us.

Sometimes, it takes some real strong-willed determination, not to do what everyone else finds perfectly acceptable.

The impact these stories of such strong-willed determination have on our society is sometimes the only thing that stands between us and degradation, impoverishment of the human condition.

Why? Because these uplifting stories give us a new point of reference.

While I’ve been terribly philosophical with this post, which certainly would have benefited in me being more specific, I hope it has at least given you some food for thought. Now, go forth and shine.

This post has been the tenth day of it does not need to be perfect a series I’m currently writing on this blog.

*child blowing bubble picture courtesy of pixabay.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


instagrampinterestfacebook

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Why blog? The answer may surprise you

They say that life is a lesson, you’ll learn when you are through. Similarly, they say, life is a journey. Blogging can take you on a journey too. I’ve often been asked why I spend time doing something that earns me no money. Sometimes I ask myself that question. After all, by now, it seems like wishful thinking that I will ever earn an income from blogging.

How I started blogging:

It was the year 2013. The economy had started seriously slumping as too my emotions. Mother to a toddler, finances weren’t looking so fabulous. When do finances ever look fabulous?

When you raise a child, you really start noticing the cost of things. More than anything, I wished I could somehow supplement my income. At the time, getting another job was out of the question. Parenting will do that to you. Where will a new employer understand that your toddler is sick and you need to take her to the doctor, again? For a woman, I receive some good benefits and should not complain. I earn better than many other women I know. Then again, some more women I know also earn much more than me, but those are the ones who actually had the opportunity to go and study at a University outside the country.

Making money online, is all too easy – or is it?

Life is hard when you feel anxiety at the mere thought of going out and doing new things. Earning an extra income on the internet seemed like such an easy thing. After all, all those online adverts were telling me it is so, so easy making bucket loads of cash if I just sign up here or there.

Online surveys – yay or nay?

Even then, I was not that naive. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Most likely online swindles! I was looking for something legitimate. At some point, I signed up with several websites for doing online surveys.
While this may be an ideal supplementary income if you live in the U.S. of A. or Europe, none of the offers was for my region. I was never what they were looking for. I soon found out that each and every survey I clicked on was not one I could get paid for doing. How frustrating!

Eventually, I signed up with another website. This website was a bit different from the others. Among other things, they advertised that if you put their button on your blog, they would pay you for that. The idea was born. Blog!

What is a Blog, anyway?

First I needed to figure out what a blog actually was. Yes, I was that green. I googled “what is a blog”. At that point my idea of a blog was some famous person such as an author or actor, telling their fans all about their life. After all, I was already following the ramblings of one or two of my favorite authors.

Who would ever be interested in reading my ramblings? Ordinary, not famous girl, living in Africa! What in the heck, would I even blog about? My life is not all that. So I researched ‘blogging’.

I read that a blog was similar to a website and that many websites I visited were actually blogs. The blogging professionals told me to find a niche. A topic I knew a lot about. At the time there were two main free blogging platforms. One was Blogger and the other was WordPress.

So, in February of 2014, I started a blog on Blogger. It was about Office Administration. At that point, I’d been working in the field of Office Administration for ten years. I thought I would have several things to say on the subject. Indeed, coming up with content was easy. However, I was not the only one blogging on that subject. Many established blogs already existed in the field of Office Admin. I soon started thinking; how can I be more interesting than all the rest?

A month later I also started a blog on WordPress. I mainly wanted to see the difference between these two platforms and promote my Blogger blog on WordPress and build better Social Media connections.

As they say, the rest is history. Both of the blogs I started have since been shut down.

woman-typing-blog

Blogging is a good teacher

While I’m yet to earn anything from blogging, I’ve found it to be a useful tool for personal growth. Apart from the obvious expansion of knowledge that looking up information brings, reading and writing blogs opens your eye’s to many a thing you’d before not taken notice of.  Experiences by other people can teach you many things while documenting your own is very illuminating. In a world where personal growth is a multi-million-dollar industry, this one free tool really does wonders. Of cause it all depends on how you use the platform, and like anything in life what you make of it is up to you.

You learn the strangest things about yourself and the world you live in. In my opinion, this is priceless.

I’ve learned that I don’t really like Google’s ‘AdSense’ nor the WordPress counterpart, ‘WordAds’. While there are other alternatives, none of the ones I’ve discovered work for my country (typical).

The problem I have with these programs is that you have little control over what kind of ads are placed on your blog. I’ve come across ads for fake news websites, fake celebrity gossip, diet scams and other websites with dubious intentions. Rest assured that if you see an add on this blog, it is because I’ve not upgraded it to a premier account. In case you have not read my disclaimer, in no way do I endorse any of these ads.

In trying to figure out how others monetize their blog,  these days I approach new websites differently. I evaluate a site by what it seems to be trying to sell me. I also find that I’m doing the same with new people I meet online and offline. Trying to figure out if someone has a hidden agenda was never something I used to consider. In this way, blogging has made me a little less naive, which in my opinion is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, people still tell me that I’m very gullible – since I try to see the best in everyone, but still … a little less green.

I’ve learned that there are some posts, that, even if you paid me, I’d never publish them. For example, I can’t endorse a money lending business on my own blog. I hate debt. While I do find that it is necessary sometimes, we often loan money for unnecessary things.

I’ve found websites and social media platforms, which I’d never have used and visited on my regular surfing trails. I’ve learned that especially on social  media platforms we ought to not forget our manners (even though many do). You can’t really erase anything you have published online.

I’ve learned that while I may be good at Office Administration, writing about it on a regular basis is not mentally stimulating enough. On the other hand, I’ve found that writing as a creative outlet is something I enjoy doing. It was a discovery that really surprised me, about myself.

Among the millions of bloggers out there, I still wonder how I can be fascinating enough for anyone to follow.
It is still beyond me that anyone would be interested in reading anything this girl, who lives an ordinary life in Africa, would have to say. Regardless, I love the voice blogging has given me.

What about you, what has blogging thought you?

P.S. This is the third day of ‘it does not need to be perfect,‘ a series I’m currently running on this blog.

 

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

instagrampinterest

facebook

twitter

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

#Book Review: Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One by @HHBasquiat

When it comes to sarcasm, there is a fine line between rude and witty. That line is even harder to walk when it comes to writing. Helena Hann – Basquiat and her co-conspirator Penny seem to have it down to a fine art. This is what I enjoy most about the writings of this author. She seems to be able to take everyday situations and turn them into enlightened forms of sarcastic humor.

memoirs-one-cover

Her memoirs have a sense of ‘je ne se qua’. Sophisticated and artistic pop culture commentary. Relatable stories, which seem to be inspired by real life. The blurb on the back of the book explains it well:

“Most – okay, some – of what follows is true.”

It was really hard to believe that a man (since the Author uses a female pen name) wrote some of the more painful stories, stories which seem too feminine of an experience. Perhaps men and women are really not very different after all.

Among my favorite in the collection of memoirs is the one titled:

Gotta catch ‘em all! (the modern young woman’s guide to choosing friends)

Sincerely, if you were to buy the book to only read that particular chapter it would have been money well spent. It is an excellent piece of sarcastic commentary on how shallow our society seems to have become. How labels have replaced human beings and us as a society seem to take offense with everything.

I recommend this book for anyone and everyone. It’s something a little bit different. Most likely it is not like anything you have ever read before. Defiantly something that will make you think about the world we live in. It’s charming, it’s painful, it’s fiction, it’s fact.

I give this a five out of five stars.

You can read my review of Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two here, which I would also recommend to everyone.

Find it on Amazon.

Find it on Goodreads.

Author links:

Author Blog:

 About the reviewer

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

instagrampinterest

facebook

twitter

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

To the blog posts I did not write

You were there lingering

At the forefront of my mind.

Complete with opening lines,

Title names

And formatting options.

 

But before I penned  a word

Made a few bullet points

Or powered up my computer

I shot you down!

 

Not because you were not good

Or worthy of composing

But the sudden pulse of life

Needed attending.

 

A home needed cleaning

Cloths and dishes needed washing

Diapers needed changing

Hugs needed giving

Lessons needed teaching

Hygiene needed applying

Food needed eating

 

Before I knew

You flew out the door

Blissfully flung

Into the mess hall

Of my conscious thoughts

Which linger in obscurity.

 

There you are still,

Hoping I may

Once again, stumble

Across the crumpled bit of nonexistent parchment

 

A reminder that,

It all does not need to be perfect.

 

So in my unreadable script

I put you down

Into my little pink notebook.

Unorganized thought.

Not resembling any structure.

Un-edited. Impulsive. Raw.

 

Where you are allowed to be

As you are.

Un-judged.

notebook-pecil-vitage-camera

 

This post is: the first day of it does not need to be perfect. A series of blog post I’m currently writing.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

instagrampinterest

facebook

twitter

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.