Lights Out: How to Take a Holiday Hiatus

The Daily Post

The end of the year can be a personal and holiday maelstrom. Hanukkah. Christmas. Kwanzaa. Kids are off from school. Family and friends are in town, or you’re traveling to them. Work projects need to wrap up before January. Or maybe you just want a week or two of down time to reflect and prepare for the start of a new year.

No matter the reason, lots of us want to simplify during the year-end whirlwind. One way to cut back? Don’t worry about your blog. Here are four ways to take a blogging break without losing your readers.

Wise words from American World War II propagandists. (Image in the public domain.) Wise words from American World War II propagandists. (Image in the public domain.)

Announce it

The easiest way to put your blog in a holding pattern for a few days? Just stop posting.

Don’t just disappear, though: let your readers know you’ll be taking a break and let them know when you…

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Editors’ Picks of the Year: Notable Reads on WordPress.com

The WordPress.com Blog

Our editors dove into the archives to resurface top posts published on WordPress.com this year, from personal essays to comics, and photography to fiction. Here’s a glimpse of what you published — and what the community especially loved — in 2014.

“Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did,” Stephan Pastis, Pearls Before Swine

“Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning,” writes comic artist Stephan Pastis of the legendary Calvin and Hobbes creator. This summer, Pastis collaborated — in secret — with Watterson. Their awesome idea: Watterson would silently step in and draw Pastis’ comic strip, Pearls Before Swine, for a few days, pretending to be a second grader. Pastis recounts the experience, offering a rare glimpse of Bigfoot.

Pearls Before Swine; Stephan Pastis; June 4, 2014.Pearls Before Swine; Stephan Pastis; June 4, 2014.

“No Apology,” Mehreen Kasana

I will apologize for ISIS when every…

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Book Review: The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

Live to Write - Write to Live

The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

I had been hearing about the birthing pains of The Art of Social Media for some time. Peg went to school with my husband and as a result is one of my Facebook friends so I’ve been able to vicariously watch the book’s progress as it developed. Of course, I was intrigued.

art of socialAs a little bit of author background, Guy was the special adviser to the CEO of the Motorola business at Google. Peg is a social-media strategist and director of digital media for Kreussler Inc. Both of these people live and breathe social media and they know their stuff.

A few weeks back, I reviewed a book on social media specifically for writers. It was a good non-overwhelming start into the basics of what a writer needs to do in order to be visible on the internet.

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Weekend Edition – Writers, Better with Age plus Good Reads and Writing Tips

Live to Write - Write to Live

Writers, Like Fine Wines, Get Better with Age

reading glassesAbout a week ago, I picked up my first pair of reading glasses. I like being able to see more clearly, but cautious overcompensation to avoid a collision between the lenses of my glasses and the rim of my tea mug has resulted in tea dribbling down my front on more than one occasion. There is also the fact that the bridge of my nose is a bit crooked (or, maybe it’s that one of my ears is lower than the other), so the glasses sit askew, giving me a slightly crazed and disarrayed look. Not exactly what I was going for.

Though a small part of me laments the fact that my eyes will now likely become dependent on glasses, a larger part of me accepts this development as the mostly benign rite of passage that it is, and also something of a…

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Finding Focus In Different Media

The Daily Post

The main medium for my creative energy is writing — whether I communicate with bloggers and editors, draft a post, or jot down something just for myself or a handful of close friends.

When I get stuck, though, one thing I almost always find useful is to stop thinking with and through words.

My default alternative is music. It might still contain verbs and nouns if it’s a voice-centric genre, but something about the abrupt transition from the written word to the clash of sounds often shakes me out of the writerly malaise I’m experiencing. Music, just like writing, often aims to convey emotion and tell a story, so hearing how a composer deals with these challenges can be incredibly illuminating.

It doesn’t have to be music, of course; it can be cooking, or playing a game, or solving a puzzle. Here is celebrated novelist Nicole Krauss, explaining how looking at visual art has helped her think about…

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Physical and Mental Stress Relief for Writers

Live to Write - Write to Live

Right about now, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. You might feel a little stiff and achy, distracted, unable to focus. I hear you. I’m feeling that way right now, too, which is why I decided to share a few little stress relief treats today.

First, on the physical side, sitting at the keyboard for long periods of time definitely wreaks havoc with neck and back muscles, not to mention the tendons that are susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome. To help you combat these muscle gremlins, here is a link to a series of yoga stretches plus two videos of simple, quick exercises. Doing these routines only takes a few minutes each day, and can provide some immediate relief as well as help prevent further pain and injury.

Office Yoga: Sneak These 10 Stretches Into Your Day

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buddhify2On the mental side of things, I am loving…

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Weekend Edition – On Inspiration and Practice

Live to Write - Write to Live

What Building a Desk and Practicing Yoga Have to Do with Writing

xmas deskThe day after Christmas has always been my favorite day of the holiday season. They call this blissful twenty-four hours Boxing Day in Canada. It is so named, if Wikipedia is to be trusted, because of the holiday’s origins in the tradition of wealthy homeowners presenting their domestic help with gift boxes on the day after Christmas.

For me, Boxing Day is usually a hard-earned moment of rest after many long weeks of incessant chaos. True, the house is usually in a state of utter (if festive) disarray, but I’ve always been able to divert my attention from that distraction by sticking my nose in a book. That was my plan for this year as well. I had intended to follow the game plan laid out by my friend and fellow writer Tracy Mayor who tweeted that she…

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