During the 2013 Blogging from A to Z Challenge I’m posting what I like to describe as “semi-useful” procrastination strategies for writers and others who may need a little break from the task at hand from time to time.
Hard to believe that we’re down to the last four letters of the alphabet. What on earth are we going to do with all the free time, bloggers? If you’re stuck for idea, well, maybe I have a few sites to help you get over the withdrawal from the A to Z frenzy.
World Wide Words: I was delighted to discover this site a few days ago–don’t know how I’d missed it for so long. “The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or change their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least some part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, the background to words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.”
Weavesilk: You draw lines, they turn into smoke. It’s an elegant, beautiful, delightful way to waste your time, and Weavesilk will generate a link so you can share your magnificent creations on Twitter or Facebook.
Wordle: I don’t really know why this one’s so appealing, but it is. The developers describe it as “a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide.” You paste in a whack of text or a url, and Wordle does the rest. Here’s my latest Wordle creation:
For all my fellow writers out there, if you’ve come to a grinding halt in the middle of your magnum opus, and you want to take break but still keep those writing juices from freezing in your veins, why dive into some flash fiction ? If you’re not a writer but have been kicking the idea around, this can be a safe way to test the waters. There are many sites out there that have weekly flash challenges, and the two I’ve participated in most often and found wonderfully welcoming and supportive are:
- Five Sentence Fiction: This challenge “is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist.” Host Lillie McFerrin (@posts a one-word inspiration every week, and anyone can participate by writing a five-sentence story based (but not necessarily including) that word.
- Visual Dare: Every Wednesday Angela Goff posts an image, and your mission, should you choose to accept is to write a story of 100 words or less based on that image.
And, finally, I don’t know about you, but I love to hear writers talking about their works, their processes, their writing journey. All of it. And the finest–the hands-down finest–interviewer of writers has to be Eleanor Wachtel of the CBC’s Writers and Company. As I said in a post a couple of years ago, “I’ve never heard her be snippy or snotty, belittle anyone or treat her guests with anything other than respect, curiosity, and great sensitivity. She has a true gift for putting her guests at ease and for allowing the conversation to twist and turn in the most unexpected and delightful directions.” If you’re interested in writers and writing, I urge you to give the podcasts of her show a listen.
There are some terrific bloggers participating in the challenge this year. Check them out over here.