Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the category “writing prompts”

NaBloPoMo 5: Cluttered Desk, Clutter of Kitties

Some days I write posts on my own ideas, and some days I use a prompt. Today I’ll use the NaBloPoMo prompt for November 5:

Tell us about your writing space. Where do you write your blog posts?

Here, let me show you. This is my desk view on September 4, 2013, the day of my 200th post (which I wrote about here: Zero the Hero Helps Celebrate My 200th Post).  Not too messy a desk, really. Some books, my computer screen, a notebook, my calendar, and that ubiquitous coffee cup from our local WAWA, the source of the best brewed coffee anywhere around. (Now enjoying Pumpkin Spice… and soon Winter Spice.)

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Notice, however,  that this was a bit of a close-up shot. That was for a reason.

The wider the view of my desk, umm, let’s just say that the more chaos clutter things appear on the desk. Important things. Post-it notes. Reference books. Current reading books. Notebooks. Printed pages of blog posts from NaBloPoMo, November Photo A Day prompts, BlogHer posts, Research page prints, and so on ad nauseatum.

Here’s a little more honest wider view of my writing space.

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Still, this is a somewhat organized chaos desktop with all I need within handy reach.

What? You want me to step back further for an even more honest wider view? Well, gee. I think my camera just ran out of film. Digital camera? Well, who said that? Let’s just leave this alone, okay? You wanted to see my desk, and here it is in all of its cluttered glory. Now it’s time to get back to some serious blogging. Besides, the cats are meowing to get their turn.

The Last Meow

Ha. What do you call a bunch of cats in a room? A clutter of kitties!  (Get it? Meow)

clutter of cats

Meow for now. =<^;^>=

Blimey! Another Blog Challenge? NaBloPoMo. OK, I’m In.

Okay. I am a pushover for blog challenges. For two years running, I have completed the A to Z Blog Challenge in April and will probably jump on the bandwagon again next April. I learned a lot from those challenges, mostly that I like challenges, that they get me to write more, and that I can complete them.

survivor_[2013]

This year I joined the Blog Every Day in May Challenge. Hmm. Maybe two challenges so close together is a bit much.

BlogEverday[1]

Photography Challenges

I have climbed aboard on Cee’s Fun Foto express which provides challenges of various types, but mostly related to photography.   I wrote about some of those challenges in a blog post here: Newly Discovered; Cee’s Photo Challenges. I enjoy the photography challenges and take tons of pictures, but they sit on my computer. After all, who wants to see 200 photos taken in one day! Now I have an outlet for these gems. The photography challenges encourage you to think in different ways and to look at things from all angles. You get some surprising results when you do this, and you get new ideas for writing.

WANAFriday Challenges

One last challenge: WANAFriday. 100 bloggers with a range of experience in blogging joined with Kristen Lamb for a blogging experience: WANA112. Kristen’s primary message for all of us was this: We Are Not Alone (WANA). As bloggers, we need to stick together and encourage each other, to give feedback, and to share thoughts and feelings. My WANA112 group is probably most responsible for keeping me going as a blogger.  Now with almost two years at blogging and 225 posts published, I feel much more confident about posting and joining challenges.wana logo

This WANA112 group of 100 friends has largely stayed together now for over a year. Ninety of us joined a closed Facebook group where we post about whatever is on our minds. About six months ago, several members of the group suggested we start our own challenge, and so began our own WANAFriday challenge. One member of the group posts a prompt for the rest of the group, and those who have the time and inclination respond to it. Between five and ten people respond each week.

NaNoWriMo, NaNonFiWriMO, NaPoWriMo

Every year about this time, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) comes around. The goal is to write 50,000 words on a novel in one month.  I am not really a fiction writer, so the idea of writing 1,600 words a day does not grab me at all.

As an alternative, NIna Amir organized WNFIN (Write Nonfiction in November) or NaNonFiWriMo (National Nonfiction Writing Month)  for nonfiction writers. While I do write more nonfiction than fiction, I cannot imagine writing 50,000 in one month. One year, maybe.

Nina Amir sent a note about WNFIN: (Thanks, Nina)

You don’t have to write 50,000 words during the Write Nonfiction in Nov. Challenge…you can write an essay, an article, a report….or a book of any length.

By the way, in April I run National Book Blogging Month (NaBoBloMo) for those who want to blog a book in a month. You can find that on my blog, http://www.howtoblogabook.com. :~)

And we can’t leave the poets out. NaPoWriMo challenges all poets and non poets to write 30 poems in one month. I haven’t tried this challenge yet, but I have it tucked in the back of my brain for future reference.

And Now: NaBloPoMoNaBloPoMo_November_small

But now, we have another choice: NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month). Write a blog post every day in November. That I can do. I have done this with the A to Z Challenges, and I can do that again. Besides, NaBloPoMo provides prompts by the month ahead of time in case I don’t have ideas of my own. (I write on a variety of topics, including cats, but my favorite topic relates to teaching writing to developing and struggling writers.)

If you want to sign up for NaBloPoMo, click here: NaBloPoMo, November 2013, Blogroll. Look for the November writing prompts here.

A Challenge for Everyone

Of course, there are many other challenges on Internet…something for everyone. Starting with the biggie:

The Daily Post at WordPress.Com: Weekly Writing Challenges
The Daily Post at WordPress.Com: Weekly Photo Challenges
Ese’s Weekly Shoot and Quote Challenge
yeah write weekly writing challenge
Velvet Verbosity 100 Word Challenge
Six Word Saturday
Wordless Wednesday
It’s Monday: What Are You Reading?
Where’s My Backpack: Weekly Travel Theme Challenge  New theme on Fridays
Ultimate Blog Challenge: (Blog post a day in January, April, July, October)
Make Something 365
30 Day Gratitude Challenge
Should Be Reading: Friday Finds: Books you have added to your TBR list
Five Sentence Fiction: A new prompt word given each week.
FatMumSlim: November Photo a Day
Lisa Jo Baker: Five Minute Fridays
Saturday in Six Words
The Weekend in Black and White
Weekly Writing Spark — Ignite Your Creativity.net
Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge
Festival of Leaves Challenge
Tuesday’s A to Z Challenge
Theme Thursday
Friday Foto Challenge
BEDN Blog Every Day in November
Super Quote Sunday
Thursday Lingering Look at Windows
Festival of Leaves
Friday Fictioneers: 110 word challenge, photo prompt
Insecure Writers Support Group..post 1X a month
Sunday Stills
Trifecta Challenge: two writing prompts a week
Community Storyboard weekly writing prompt

For even more blog challenges check http://dailypost.wordpress.com/blog-events-listing/

(My personal challenge is to find all the writing and photo challenges! If I have missed any, please add it/them in the comments section below. Thanks.)

"Spooky" the Longwood Gardens cat, PA. Photo by Dawn Ellis

“Spooky” the Longwood Gardens cat, PA. Photo by Dawn Ellis

And Now: The Last Meow (Where the cats get the last word)
We really don’t care how many challenges MaMa Jan gets into, just as long as she doesn’t forget to give us kibbles and cuddles and lets us nap whenever and wherever we want!  She knows our motto: “Eat, Play, Nap.” What else is there for cats to do in life?
Meow for now. =<^;^>=

P.S. Please add links to other blog challenges in the comment section. Thanks.

PSS. See you tomorrow on NaBloPoMo.

WANAFriday: Witches on the Prowl

The WANAFriday prompt for Friday, October 11, comes from Kim Griffin.  (Delayed post!)

Witches ~ What images does this conjure up?

Deep in the woods of NJ, I found this triad of witches, no doubt conjuring up their next evil deeds, their cauldron brewing in the background. I could hear them snickering and cackling and chortling over their dubious devious designs. I could only pick out a word or two here and there of their conversations  (“tasty morsels,” “scaredy-cat kid porridge,” “brat soup,” “leg of kid,” “liver pâté,” and “jellied hearts”). The witches had big plans.

Silly children on a school trip did not take this situation seriously. They gawked and took pictures, even though their lives were in serious, even mortal, danger. Oh well, kids think they are invulnerable to bad things. The witches, itching to spring into action on a secret signal from their leader, must have been thinking: “Fresh young things for lunch! Yum!”

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I snuck up for a closer look.

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Then I took a look in their cauldron. No doubt, the witches were already planning to have a tasty lunch. (Well, the kids finally ran away, so the triad of trickery were stuck with the much tougher boiled crocs.)

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Okay, here’s the truth: Before I left for a vacation in California recently, a friend and I visited Grounds for Sculpture, an exquisite 35-acre park located at 18 Fairgrounds Road in Trenton, New Jersey. We found these witchy, bigger-than-life statues among the garden sculptures. What an astounding place. We were surprised and awed at the variety of sculpture, the beauty of the gardens, the whimsical nature of some of the sculptures, and the humor in the displays. This is a very special place for a day trip. We had our own delicious lunch at the Rats Café on the Grounds for Sculpture property. (Rats Café from The Wind and The Willows.) Definitely go visit this place!

The following video will give you a good view of the Grounds for Structure:

WANAFriday Posts

Here are some witchy views from other WANAites.

Kim Griffin: The Many Faces of Witches
Liv Rancourt: #WanaFriday Witches
Dianna Bell: On the Virtues of Buggering Hedgehogs
Tami Clayton: Dear Benedict. On Witchcraftery, Living on a Prayer, and the Power of Enough

Happy Witching!

WANAFriday for 9-20-13. Dandelion Dreaming

Ellen Gregory posted the #WANAFriday (last Friday’s) blog prompt for September 20, 2013:

Share your favourite (or interesting) WORD — what does it mean for you? (Note that Australian spelling there!)
I love words like serendipity, scintillating, effervescent, splendiferous, grandiloquent, sibilant, and supercilious.  All these multisyllable words sound pleasing to me. Some of them have somewhat haughty meanings, but they still sound interesting, sweet, and maybe a bit humorous.
My husband likes the word magnanimous and money. Yes, money does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it.
#MyWANA Favorite Word
Siri Paulson already wrote about serendipity, so I had to choose another word for this prompt challenge.
A recent Facebook posting reminded me of another word I like: Dandelion.

Yes, folks, dan-de-li-on. Some folks consider it a weed, but where I come from, we know better.

photo: fcpsdotedu

photo: fcpsdotedu

Not that dandelion has always been a lovely word for me.
When I was a kid, those egg-yolk-yellow dandelions blanketed our football-sized front and side lawns, squeezing out the more desired green-velvet grass. Mom, always looking out for what the neighbors thought, decided that a dandelion infested lawn in our nice neighborhood was not socially acceptable, so she decreed that we kids had to get out there on perfectly good icy-cold-Maurice-River-swimming days to dig out these perverse lawn inhabitants and dispose of them.
dandelions in lawns
Mom didn’t like it when the flowers turned from yellow to white puffy balls, and the feathered seeds starting flying through the air on the light summer breezes, seeking new rooting grounds (notably our neighbors’ lawns) to infest. (What would the neighbors say then?) And, beware, if any one of us kids ever, ever, ever blew on those fluffy seed balls, trouble would surely follow. Back then, there were no taboos about spanking children!
photo: legallysocialbledotcom

photo: legallysocialbledotcom

No. Mom wanted those dandelions out of her lawn. Pronto!
So, day after day, on the hottest of days, my Little Brother Bobby and I sat out on the lawn persistently digging out dandelions, not always with the best attitude, I might add. (A few dandelion flower fights made it a little more interesting, but only when Mom wasn’t looking.)
We thought this whole dandelion destruction debacle was a losing battle, but Mom had different ideas. She was determined to have a lawn as nice as Mrs. Cervini’s down the street.
Well, Mom won. After that summer, our lawn did look as nice as Mrs. Cervini’s. Green, nicely trimmed, and dandelion free. We kids felt pretty proud about that, too.
What? Dandelions Can Be Eaten? Who Knew?
DAndelion salad
Now, here’s the thing. Dandelions are a cash-crop delicacy in my hometown, Vineland, NJ. In fact, Vineland holds bragging rights to being the “Dandelion Capital of the World.”  (Not far away, in Hammonton, NJ, is the “Blueberry Capital of the World.”)
We didn’t know that dandelions were valuable when we were digging up and disposing those dastardly weeds to make Mom happy.
Yes, dandelion is a valuable food crop in early spring. You can use dandelions in soups, salads, fritters, muffins, breads, and even tasty wine. I haven’t heard of a dandelion dessert, but who knows, some creative chef out there may have dreamed up a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth dandelion dish. Vinelanders hold dandelions in high esteem in a special spring festival each year. A dandelion dinner at Merighi’s Inn on East Landis Avenue is the real deal.
Dandelion Salad Fit for Royalty
We had simpler fare at home. Each spring, Mom made dandelion salads, decorated with hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with paprika, to accompany our evening meals. “Dandelions are loaded with vitamins A and C, iron, and beta-carotene,” she claimed. “Eat!”
“The secret to good dandelion salad,” she said, “is to pick the tender leaves before the plant forms its flowers. (Once the flowers bloom, the leaves taste bitter.) Add a little vinegar-oil-garlic dressing, and there you have it: a delicious, healthy spring salad. Decorate the salad with hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with paprika and enjoy. Simple, but delicious.”
Today’s WANA favorite prompt brought back a lovely childhood memory. Check the following posts for other #WANAFriday Participants’ favorite words:

Di Bell digs deep and finds some wonderful lost words.
Ellen Gregory shares her love of kitties with the word ailurophile. 
Julie Farrar uses her word as a jumping-off point. (Look for a kitty in here, too.)
Kim Griffin goes nostalgic with a Mary Poppins’ word.
Siri Paulson beats me to the punch with serendipity.

The Last Meow

Favorite Word? For a cat? That’s easy. Eat-play-sleep. That reminds me. I think it’s nap time now. Maybe I’ll head out to the dandelion patch and take a snooze.

photo: flickrdotcom

photo: flickrdotcom

Meow for now.  =<^;^>=

Five Recipes for Dandelion Wine

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