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World Book Day, blogging and lockdown

Today 4th March 2021 is World Book Day. I was alerted to this fact by two emails. A rather unlikely source of this information was the one from the National Trust. The National Trust website has some literary podcasts about famous British writers.

It was not at all surprising that Penguin Books also mentioned it. There are books available for just £1. If your local bookshop is able to supply books in the lockdown, please try to support it.

Blogging in lockdown has kept me motivated. I know some people have been finding it difficult to write or to be motivated in other ways. (I have to admit that some of my household tasks tend to be neglected in favour of reading and spending time online.)

It seems to me that reading blogs has also become more popular as people have more time indoors. I find blogging challenges help me to stay motivated and also provide communities of supportive bloggers. Cee Neuner, who has Midweek Madness Challenges (CMMC) for which I have been posting entries for on Sue’s words and pictures, has a list of blogging challenges for writing, music and photography.

On this blog I have been using Linda Kruschke’s paint chip poetry prompts. I am learning a lot about poetic forms this year. If you have enjoyed my occasional photos accompanying my poems, do pop across to Sue’s words and pictures to see more.

I am looking forward to the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge, which begins later this month with the theme reveal sign up from March 8-11. My theme reveal will appear on March 11.

Some good books have been published during lockdown. S.L. Russell, whose book The Healing Knife came out in the first lockdown, has written another; I hope to read The Thorn of Truth soon after its publication date of 21 May 2021 . Joan E. Histon’s book, The Senator’s Darkest Days is likely to have a sequel. Tracy Williamson and Marilyn Baker told their story in A Beautiful Tapestry. Ruth Leigh’s debut novel, the diary of Isabella M.Smugge is being followed up with other books about this star of Instagram. Another debut novelist, Joy Margetts is going to be featured here on Sue’s Trifles in two weeks time. Her historical novel, The Healing, is already available from her website and will be in bookshops from 19 March. A new children’s book, My diary, is being launched today by Emily Owen.

Which books published in 2020 and 2021 have you read and enjoyed?

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A post about writing and blogging

It seems a long time since I wrote about writing rather than books or craft. I haven’t been able to meet with any of my writing friends this year due first to my own illness in January and subsequently due to lockdown and then the inadvisability of travelling unnecessarily and meeting in groups.

Instead I have attended some events on Zoom organised by the Association of Christian Writers. I have enjoyed these, learned from them and been able to have short chats with other writers in ‘breakout rooms’. I have also enjoyed informal chats with other ACW members on Zoom. These were set up by a member, who asked for some adult conversation. We have had some fun. Occasionally one or more of the male members of ACW joins us, but often it is like a night out with the girls, but from the comfort of our own homes in geographically diverse places.

I have also co-ordinated the local group’s bimonthly meetings, which we began doing by email and have now added a Zoom session as well. It has been time-consuming, but worthwhile.

The irregularity of some of my blogging activity, especially on Sue’s Words and Pictures is the result of having other demands on my time and little opportunity to visit photogenic places. I am learning how to use the camera on a new mobile phone as I had to upgrade from an old Android version, when too many Apps stopped working.

As if a new phone were not enough of a challenge, WordPress is now trying to force everyone to use the new Block editor. After blogging for more than eight years, I am very familiar with the classic editor. I shall continue to use it as long as possible since it seems far more versatile. This week I prepared a blog post for future publication by creating it with the block editor (there didn’t seem to be any other way!) and then editing it by selecting classic editor from WP Admin. (WP Admin has been hard enough to find for some time, being at the bottom of a menu and requiring some scrolling to find it!)

Blogger has recently introduced a new system, causing confusion to many bloggers. (I use that for my More than Writers’ posts.)

If you blog are you finding all these changes annoying and time-consuming? Or do you like battling through new ways of doing things?

Changes to my blogging and social media habits

While I have been spending more time at home, I have perhaps also spent more time reading and writing blogs and scrolling through Facebook and Twitter.

I have noticed some changes in the blogosphere, some of which I had noticed when they happened and others for which I missed the announcements. In the past I have taken part in challenges set by WordPress’ Daily Post. These stopped some time ago. The UK Blog Awards, which I entered in 2014 ceased after a few years. Only recently I discovered that the post40bloggers, which featured posts from older bloggers no longer has a website. The Blogging from A to Z Challenge continues each April. On the official challenge website there were a number of posts about blogging and its future. In part those posts have helped me decide to write this post.

Another blogging group on which Sue’s Trifles is listed is Bible Gateway’s blogger grid. The badge in the sidebar or below the post, depending on the device used, is a link.

My blogging habits have changed recently. After the Daily Post stopped issuing a weekly photo challenge I reverted to posting once a week on Sue’s words and pictures. This year I decided to join in with Cee Neuner’s On the Hunt for Joy photo challenge. This is also a weekly challenge. I have been posting my response to it midweek as well as a post on Saturday. My Saturday posts have become rather parochial since lockdown began in March, but I am hoping this will not continue indefinitely.

Here on Sue’s Trifles I took a month off from book reviews and craft posts and an occasional post about blogging in order to complete the A to Z Challenge. Normal service is now resumed.

Another challenge I have been taking part in is Linda Kruschke’s Paint Chip Poetry Challenge. This is a weekly challenge issued on Fridays. There is a topic and a number of words or phrases from those paint colour sample sheets found in good hardware stores. The challenge is to incorporate a certain number of these into a poem and share it either in the comments or on one’s blog. I have been sharing mine in the comments, but have decided to gather them together on a page on this blog.

I have also entered several of Helen Yendell’s writing competitions, which also involve including words she provides. All these help me improve my writing skills. Reading the work of other writers in response to the challenges also helps.

Over on Twitter I have been a regular participant in #wildflowerhour on a Sunday evening (8pm London time). I have decided to take a break. This is to free up some time to work on a writing project. I have learned a great deal about the wild flowers that grow locally, but I have found that there is far more to recognising plants than just being able to name them: there are different kinds of speedwells, vetches, scabiouses and more. I forget some of them from one year to the next and have to learn them again! A break should be good for me.

For the followers, who are more interested in craft than writing, I am including a photo of a small blanket I have made from my friends’ left-over yarn. It is going to a new arrival in their family.

Today (21 May 2020) is Ascension Day. It is the day when we remember that Jesus Christ returned to heaven. Luke 24:50-53

This was necessary for the Holy Spirit to be sent to Jesus’ followers. Acts 2