One of the best things about the blogosphere is its ability to shrink the planet.
With a simple click, you can discuss writing with someone in London, exchange recipes with someone in India, or brainstorm with someone in Denmark.
The world which used to be of unfathomable size…now fits in your pocket.
One obstacle yet to be overcome, however, is language.
Blog hosts like Blogspot, Tumblr, and our own WordPress, have made it simple for users to create blogs in their native language.
Reading it… not so much.
I have a few bloggers who follow me here on my author blog and several who follow Nesie’s Place, whose blogs I am unable to read. I can stumble through Spanish and French, after that…I’m a deer caught in the headlights!
On a good day…if I’m on my cell, ye olde translator kicks in and automatically translates the page. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. I used my cell earlier today to visit a blog I think was Lithuanian. The translator kicks in, and I’m waiting…and waiting, when suddenly the translator posts the error message, “Unable to translate; no translation found.” It then not only closes itself – something it’s never done before – it also closes the browser!
Attempting to translate another blog from Urdu to English, I cut and pasted a paragraph into a window on freetranslation.com and was given a translation of the “blogger had taken his foot for a walk in the park and thrown his dog around.”
Can’t be sure…but I don’t think that’s correct.
It would be nice to be able to do more than visit these blogs and simply leave a like. That’s the lazy way. Better to be able to translate the page and comment accordingly. What if the blogger is advocating for the burning of all coffee plantations or the banning of books, and I casually pop in and leave a like?
That would not be good.
It would be great if blogs could auto-translate…and maybe they can. I’m just not aware of how to access the feature.
If you know of a one-size-fits-most app or add-in that will allow successful language translation, please share it in the comments below. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this issue.
Not this time anyway.
All you wanted to do was write a book.
You had a great start–six-thousand five hundred and seventeen words. But now you’re stuck. You haven’t written a word… in three years.
You venture online for a bit of help and inspiration and in no time at all you’re sorry you ever heard of the Internet.
Sifting through a thin layer of the gazillion returns on ‘how to write a book’, you become confused.
Tropes? Outlines? MS? Taglines?
All you want to do is write a book. That story has been stuck in your head since the week before high school graduation decades ago, and it won’t go away.
You just want to get it down on paper.
But all the search returns–where do you start?
You find THE link that says, “Join a group” and things are starting to make sense. You can join a group. You’re a born joiner!
Discouragement sets in a few days later when you still haven’t found a group to join, and it’s not that you didn’t look.
The first group was for published authors only. LA-DE-DA!
The second group didn’t require members to be published, but a completed manuscript WAS required.
How are these groups even in the “how to write a book” search returns if you must already have written something to join???
The next group wasn’t so bad… they were just weird.
They kept calling themselves plotters and pantsers, and talking about conflict resolution, and a satisfactory HEA to satisfy Betas.
What’s a beta?
The last group… wow. That was some next-level-new-age-bullshit!
Moments after joining the group chat, introducing yourself, and sharing your dream of writing a book the interrogation begins.
How big is your mailing list? What’s the link to your author website? Have you installed Google Analytics? How often do you blog? What’s your target audience? Do you have a professional editor lined up? What program are you typing your book in? What’s your plan for marketing and promotion? Have you written proposal letters for publishers and agents? How do you expect to get noticed and sell books?
You break out in a cold sweat! What the hell is SEO and ROI??? And there’s that ‘Beta’ word again!
How are you supposed to HAVE these things when you JUST DECIDED TO WRITE THE FREAKIN’ BOOK???
The Group has been throwing out links which you’ve clicked on and you now have thirteen browsers open. You’ve also kept a running total of costs in your head – $4500.
And you haven’t even hit ten-thousand words in your story.
The group moves on to new topics and you sit quietly… even though you want to scream and vent like you invented the term “going postal”.
The meeting ends… thankfully… and you toss your thanks and goodbyes into the chorus. You leave the chat, unjoin the group, and close the browser.
In hindsight, you should have followed your spouse to Art and Wine Night, or surprised your parents by showing up at St. Paul’s for bingo night.
Sighing heavily, you head for the coffeemaker, suddenly veering off towards the wine… minus the art.
Returning to your desk, your mind is crammed full of things you know nothing about, but just about everyone is the free world is willing to teach you… for a price.
All you wanted to do was write a book. When did writing become so complicated? The Internet did not invent books. Millions were written before ‘https://www.’ became a thing.
Collecting your thoughts… with a nod to the wine… you make a short list of the things you saw and heard repeatedly. Website, mailing list, social networks. Those will do to start… eventually.
You push the list aside, close the remaining thirteen browsers… and work on your book.
Just because your drip-feed app includes an option for auto-DMs on Twitter doesn’t mean you HAVE to use it! Less is more.
Try talking IN the feed and following them on other social networks. And don’t UNFOLLOW them after they follow you because that just proves you’re an ass.
Becoming a published author in 2016 was a big deal for me. Not just in the fact I had a real book ‘out there’ in the literary world, but after writing for over thirty years, I wrote something I allowed someone else to read. Except for school papers and a few years of penning FanFic, that just didn’t happen.
Since the earth didn’t tilt on its axis, nor did I internally combust, I decided to go all in and take it to the next level for 2017.
Yes, I am slightly off-center.
I’ve chosen character sketches, plots, and BLURBS as my one year project. I may or may not use them in future WIPs, but it’s good practice and the Literary Gods cringe with displeasure at some of the blurbs found on books.
Sorry. It had to be said. Many have poured unlimited amounts of blood, sweat, and tears into their writings…and seven and a half minutes into the blurbs. Purchasing books based on covers seems to be a ‘thing’ lately, but the blurb is EVERYTHING. Having an amazing book cover that grabs readers’ attention is pointless if the book synopsis leaves them mentally writing their shopping list.
Do NOT send the town villagers after me with their torches and pitchforks…I’m just sayin’.
You can find my first writing challenge submission here. Read it, recommend it, or leave me a comment. Do you love it? Hate it? Think I should instead consider a profession in long haul trucking, or perhaps, fish husbandry? Tell me. I won’t break…promise.
Have a great week, and remember, it’s Girl Scout cookie season! Don’t even try to fight it – just have your money ready!
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