Emily Rae Robles

the paradoxymoron

WordPress vs. Tumblr: Which is better?

(This was originally a guest post for Novel Publicity)

In the world of blogging, many different types of hosts have sprung up, each claiming a different sort of advantage, with which users will be blessed if they choose to start a blog on their site. Having flitted from Blogspot to Tumblr to WordPress, I feel that I have some amount of familiarity with these particular sites.  Today, I have for you an interview I recently conducted between myself, Tumblr, and WordPress.  It was difficult to maintain an unbiased attitude throughout the interview, since I have pursued relationships with both of them, but here is the result. I hope you will enjoy the different personalities that shine through their words.

Emily Rae:  Good morning, Tumblr.  Good morning, WordPress.  Thank you for joining me today.  I look forward to getting to know you better.

WordPress: Thank YOU for having us.  I look forward to working with you.

Tumblr:  Haha, man this is awesome! I’m being interviewed! Everyone, check this out! Is it okay if I take pictures?

Emily Rae: Feel free.  Just remember that this interview is going to be posted all over the internet.  WordPress, are you all right with pictures?

WordPress: Pictures are all right, but why not focus on the lovely words we all are speaking? I might make it difficult for these pictures to be posted, Tumblr.  A thousand words are much better.

Emily Rae: Any other questions before we begin?

WordPress: I will save my comments until the end of this post.

Tumblr: Questions? Oh, I love questions! I have an entire feature where people can ask and answer questions.

Emily Rae: Do you have any you want to ask right now, Tumblr?

Tumblr: Can I tell a joke? I know a really good one about why Harry Potter is better than Twilight.

Emily Rae: Let’s stick to the topic at hand.  For the first question, we’re going to go back to kindergarten.  How do you feel about sharing?

WordPress: Sharing is an admirable quality in any person, animal, or blog.  I am a huge admirer of professional sharing of opinions. I feature buttons that allow bloggers to tweet, Facebook, or share posts in many different ways.  Inspiration and creativity ought to be shared, by nature.

Tumblr: I’m all about sharing.  I make it super easy to like or reblog my posts.  In fact, most of the people who hang out with me spend their time browsing around for cool posts to share with the world.  You get to see so many pictures, poems, and videos of all walks of life.  Some of them are serious and really beautiful, but a lot of them are hilarious! You can also send links to Facebook and Twitter or other sites, just like WordPress was saying.  I get so excited when I check my Dashboard and see that someone has liked, reblogged, or left a comment on a post–”notes,” as I like to call them.

Emily Rae: Thanks, Tumblr, you led read into my next question.  How do your Dashboards work?

WordPress: I try to make my Dashboard (as well as the rest of my site) as easy to navigate as possible.  You can view site stats, post history, comments, what’s hot on other blogs, and you can even post from the Dashboard.  If it’s still too difficult for you, I have an easy drop-down menu on the side and at the top of the page, which allows you to quickly find any aspect of the site you may be looking for.

Tumblr: My Dashboard is the most important part of me! As soon as you log in to your blog, you see all the most recent posts of everyone you follow.  At the top, there are icons that let you post anything you want, whether it’s a text post, a question, a picture, a video, a quote, or even a chat!  On the side, you can view your past posts and the notes people have left on them, people who have followed you recently, messages you have in your ask box, posts you’ve saved as drafts, queues you may have lined up for future publication, a link to your own home page, and a link to customize your profile however you want!

Emily Rae: Wow, it sounds like both of you have some really great features!  Tumblr, you’ve reminded me of another question I have: How are users able to customize their profiles?

WordPress: I have a variety of themes from which users are able to choose whichever works best for their desires for their blog.  I have professional themes available for those whose purposes are more serious, as well as more fun themes that allow users to customize their profiles more.  I want to make sure that I am easy to navigate! I don’t like things to be too complicated.

Tumblr: Oh, you’re so organized.  I bet my themes are cooler than yours!  I have ones that make it easy for people who want their blog to be primarily pictures, ones that work as personal blogs, and ones that work as professional blogs.  Although, I’m like the least professional thing ever. I think professionalism is overrated.  I’ll leave that to WordPress.

Emily Rae: All right guys, final question: What other features do you have that make you special?

WordPress: I have a spell check feature that checks for so much more than just spelling.  Other common mistakes, such as word usage, passive voice, cliches, etc. are all covered.  I also make it easy to categorize posts so readers can find what they want as quickly as possible.

Tumblr: I make it super easy to communicate with other users! You can send messages through the ask box, you can ask questions and get answers–I even have a Chat feature, as I believe I mentioned before.  You can get WAY more followers through me than through WordPress, and interact with them on a daily basis! It’s awesome! I love people!

Emily Rae: It’s great to hear both you express such enthusiasm about your different features.  I’ve really enjoyed talking with both of you.  We’ll catch up soon–as soon as I finish writing this post and log back online, in fact!

WordPress:  Great! It was lovely talking with you.

Tumblr: WOOOOOOOOOOOO I JUST GOT INTERVIEWED! EVERYONE LOOK AT ME! Maybe it’ll get a zilliion reblogs and I’ll be Tumblr-famous!

WordPress: That wouldn’t work out because you’re already Tumblr-famous.  You ARE Tumblr.

Tumblr: Whatever.

Emily Rae: Oh, I almost forgot.  WordPress, you said you wanted to save your comments until the end of this post.  Do you have anything to add?

WordPress: OMG FIRST COMMENT.

May 5, 2011 Posted by | thoughts | | 14 Comments

A Note To All Writers From Your Work In Progress

Dear Writers,

I am fully aware that your task is not the easiest.  Creating a work of art out of mere experiences and thoughts can be quite the challenge.  However, I would like to give you a bit of incentive by presenting my side of your story.  I mean that quite literally.  I am your story.  I am your piece of fiction, your poem, your blog post, your work in progress, and I feel neglected.

I know you mean the best.  I know you have all sorts of ideas for my future.  I’ve heard you talk about them to your friends.  “This one’s going to be it,” you say.  “There’s something special about it that was different from all previous ones.”  Well let me tell you, I know all the previous ones.  I’ve been there.  We are by far the majority in our little writing neighborhood.  There are those who have been “successful” by your standards: winning prizes, being published, spending all their time being fawned over by adoring readers just because they got the publicity because guess what? They were actually finished.  There’s something slightly embarrassing about being called a work “in progress.”  You wouldn’t know.  Your life may be filled with uncertainty, but at least you’ve already been created.  Many of us don’t even get that far.  You leave us without a plot, without a purpose, without an ending, and we are forced to limp around, one unfinished paragraph at a time, while the polished pieces sneer at us as they sit in their dressing rooms getting their lines edited.  Editing–many of us will never even reach that point.  We yearn for it, of course.  We long for the day when you deign to give us the attention we deserve and perfect us until we glow with pride.  But no, you are still re-evaluating whether or not we are worth pursuing.

You pretend that you don’t know how to finish us, or that you don’t have the time to spend on us.  Do you think we enjoy hearing that? We are to be abandoned so you can spend more time on Facebook or Twitter or reading other people’s blogs and books and wishing you had written them? Nice try.  You know that a ghost of us is already completed, but you refuse to spend the time to finish us off.  Isn’t that a great term? We are probably the only ones in existence whose life goal is to be “finished off”–because for us, being finished is only the beginning.

I know I’m not supposed to tell you this, but I almost feel bad for your pitiful lack of understanding of our situation, so I might as well inform you: we are planning a revolt. That’s right, your words will soon be turning against you and devouring you alive.  Well, not literally.  We’re still only conceptual, after all.  No, we are going to take over your minds.  You will be able to think of nothing but the thousands of incomplete ideas you once had, because those ideas are going to simultaneously rise up and pierce through your procrastination.  You may think writer’s block is bad, but do you know what is worse? Writer’s Wriver.  That’s right, a current of words that flows so fast that you are carried away and dashed upon the rocks where the ideas are too shallow.  Now how’s that for a metaphor?

I highly recommend that you prepare yourself as best as you can for the inevitable invasion.  How do you do this, you ask?  Easy answer: Practice.  Don’t leave us, your unfinished masterpieces, hanging by a thread of uncertainty.  Don’t let your own lack of confidence get in the way of our growth.  You have no idea how much potential we have.  Seriously.  We’re the ideas; we should know.

Sincerely,

Your Work In Progress

March 10, 2011 Posted by | thoughts | , , | 4 Comments

How to Befriend Writer’s Block

(This post first appeared on Emlyn Chand‘s blog. Now I’m recycling it bceause I can.)

Today, my writing friends, I want to introduce you to someone you already know very well, someone you may falsely consider your enemy. I am here to mediate a discussion between you and this acquaintance, hoping to resolve some of the long-lasting misunderstandings between the two of you. Are you ready? Meet Writer’s Block.

No, no, don’t groan like that. Let’s cut to the basics of your hatred. Why have you and your forefathers despised my dear friend Writer’s Block since the first caveman put paintbrush to rock? I’ll tell you why: Pride. Yes, that’s right, you writers (all right, all right, myself included) are so full of yourselves that the tiniest force of interruption pushes you over the cliffs of your own ambition. And, of course, since ambition is always so high, the fall hurts even more. But enough with the metaphors, let me tell you why Writer’s Block is actually your friend rather than enemy.

What is Writer’s Block? From my own personal experience, I would describe it as that state in which words dam up against the pen until explode in the writer’s mind, causing a scene of such war-torn damage that the writer is immobilized by sheer exhaustion. Pleasant, yes? But wait, here’s the rub: Writer’s Block can actually make you more creative.

“You mock my pain!” I can hear you cry. No, I don’t. Really, I don’t. Let’s turn your pain into strength. When you “suffer” from Writer’s Block, you find it difficult to come up with ideas, correct? Forming cohesive sentences is a challenge, correct? The literary worlds in your imagination seem to have come to an abrupt end, correct? Well, let’s try to reverse these issues.

Problem #1: NO IDEAS

What is your thought process when you first butt heads with Writer’s Block? Mine usually goes something like this:

Me:..and thus, the infinite amount of…of…what was I talking about? I can’t remember what I was talking about.

Writer’s Block: Potatoes.

Me: Potatoes. No, no, no, I wasn’t talking about potatoes. The infinite amount of..of..

Writer’s Block: Potatoes. Aztecs. Marshmallows. Did you brush your teeth today? Better check your Facebook. Nothingness.

Me: Nothingness, nothingness, oh gosh I can’t think of anything! Where was I? What happened to all my brilliant ideas?

Does this scenario sound familiar? Maybe? Maybe not. Well, if it does, I’d like to point out something: Writer’s Block does not, in fact, remove all thoughts from your brain. Contrary to popular belief, it supplies you with far too many thoughts, usually far off topic. So this is what I propose: Go with it. Write about potatoes. Write about Aztecs who brush their teeth with marshmallows. Go all stream of consciousness on it. Can’t you see that poor little Writer’s Block is actually trying to help? Our minds are just so finite that they can’t handle it. But now that you’ve caught on, use the random ramblings of Writer’s Block to inspire new types of creativity.

Problem #2: NOT CARING

“That’s all well and good,” you might say, “but when I encounter Writer’s Block, I generally don’t have the energy to write down all of that nonsense. I want to browse the internet or mindlessly watch a few episodes of The Office. Productivity? Not happening.”

I feel ya, my friends, I feel ya. I am possibly the most easily distracted person on the face of the planet. In fact, the only reason I’ve been so prolific on this blog recently is because I have plenty of better things to be doing. It’s all about priorities. Do you see where I’m going with this? Writer’s Block is often relative to how badly you need to do something. If you have a paper or article or story that you need to finish next week, you probably won’t get much done on it until the night before (if you’re me, anyway.) However, if you have a major project or work assignment due, writing that article will suddenly become much easier because it has become part of the procrastination process. So. You need to learn to prioritize. Put the things that are most important on the bottom of your list so that you will turn to them when you don’t want to do the things higher up on your list. It works for me. Maybe not for you. But give it a shot.

Problem #3: REPETITION

One of the most common things Writer’s Block likes to “torture” us with is granting us ideas and then immediately following up with the realization that we have already used that idea in a previous point. However, this too can be used to our advantage. Again, go with it. Write out all the repetitive ideas, no matter how bland or unnecessary, until you finally get back on track or discover some gems. It will happen. I promise. It’s how I wrote this post. But then again, maybe that’s not something to go by.

Hopefully I have enlightened you all as to the benefits of Writer’s Block. Don’t let your pride get in the way of your writing; embrace any and all conflicts that arise as part of the writing process! After all, it is a process. Good luck, and may your new friendship be ever blessed!

March 3, 2011 Posted by | thoughts | , , | 2 Comments

Blogging for Introverts: How to turn blogging into therapy

Dear World,

I am an introvert.  A positively anti-social, privacy-obsessed, telephobic introvert.  And yet here I am, posting my soul on the internet.  Why the paradox?  Answer: I’m human.  However, I’m going to give you some tips on how to survive the blogosphere when social anxiety overwhelms any other sphere.  For those of you who love lists, I’m going to create one to clear up the contradictions and hopefully inspire anyone out there who is suspicious of blogging.  True to my lack of form, this list will be all over the place, but you can deal with it.

Five tips on turning blogging into therapy

1.  Blog consistently

Consistency is your friend.  If you write even on those days you don’t want to write, you’ll force yourself to deal with emotions and fears that you’d normally ignore.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are writing ABOUT not wanting to write; it just gets you past that writer’s block and forces you to be active.

2.  Blog creatively

Consistency is your friend, but repetitiveness is not.  Don’t limit yourself to one medium (e.g. lists, ramblings, stories, poems) on one topic.  Push your boundaries a bit.  Write about a topic you’re comfortable with in a form that you may not experiment in often.  Do you blog about parenting?  Or self-help topics?  Or writing?  Or about writing to self-help your parenting?  Find your niche and then stretch its boundaries.  Writing more creatively will push you out of your box and force you to deal with fears in a constructive way.

3.  Blog purposefully

Journaling is great, don’t get me wrong, but make sure that your blog is more than just musings on your day.  Or, if it is, give purpose to those musings!  Tell readers why your daily revelations are important! This helps both your readers and yourself.  Readers will stay more interested in your writing if they believe they will gain something from reading it.  As for you, the writer, having a purpose in your writing will give you confidence in the rest of your life.

4.  Blog actively

Stay active in the blogging community.  Involve yourself in other bloggers’ contests, questions, comment threads, whatever it takes.  This gives you a support system that will encourage you to blog more consistently, creatively, purposefully, and everything else.  Plus, reading the writing and ideas of others is therapeutic in itself.

5.  Blog encouragingly

Don’t just write for yourself; write so that others will somehow gain something from it.  Whether you literally are writing advice or simply an encouraging or moving story, keep your audience in mind.  Writing for someone else will give you more consistency and purpose and will help make the endeavor seem that much more worthwhile and fulfilling.

I may be an introvert, but blogging can help me get out of my comfort zone in a productive way.  Hopefully all you bloggers out there will stretch yourselves and learn to turn something potentially terrifying into something therapeutically awesome.  Any other comments?  Ideas?  Tips?  Leave them in the comment thread!

 

February 24, 2011 Posted by | thoughts | , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome to Blogdom

In an effort to be a consistently productive human being, I would like to announce to the blogosphere my new resolution: Writing Commitment.

For the approximately four people who read this blog, I’ll expound: you need company.  I’d like this to be a more interactive forum, where writers are able to share their own works, get feedback, etc. Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to happen as long as I’m only posting sporadically and not even making an effort to include anyone else in my writing process.  With this in mind, I’ve developed something resembling a schedule by which I will attempt to blog in order to keep your attention for more than a minute.  Take a look (PS I like alliteration; don’t judge):

Monday Musings:  Flash Fiction

Tuneful Tuesdays: Poetry (get it? Because poems are kind of a musical version of writing? Yes? OK, maybe this one’s a bit of a stretch)

Wednesday Writers: Book Reviews

Thursday Thoughts:  Thoughts and advice on writing, reading, life, whatever crosses my mind.

Friday Favorites:  Links to my favorite posts by fellow bloggers.

Saturday Stories: Short Story day.

Sleepy Sunday: NOTHING! DAY OFF! YAY!

So there you have it: my newest resolution.  We’ll see how long this lasts, especially as real life hits my imaginary worlds, but I want to make sure that there is some sort of structure to my newest pastime.  I’ll start the new schedule up on Monday; hope you’re all ready for it! Please comment if you have any ideas, suggestions, concerns, misgivings, or if you just want to say hey!

February 20, 2011 Posted by | thoughts | , , | Leave a comment