New DSLR!

(OK, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and all of that. Bah, humbug, I say! Let’s get on with things.)

I finally bought myself a DSLR.  I’ve been wanting one for the last few years. I’ve now “graduated” from this:

to this:

 

I’m so excited, I can’t resist broadcasting my acquisition of this new toy.  I didn’t buy the kit lens, but the new Tamron 270 zoom, which is smaller and longer (and more expensive) than Canon’s 135 that comes with the camera.

I’ve forgotten basic photographic principles, having become lazy with the little P&S, but my dissatisfaction with my own photography finally prompted me to buy the new camera. The money spent will now prompt me to review all those principles and learn the new ones which apply to digital SLR photography.

I’ve already found kindred photographic souls on Flickr, but I dare not join them until I can post some respectable images taken with the new camera. Maybe I’ll be able to do that within the week, insha’Allah.

 

 

Blogging a Book

Certain blogs are good enough to publish in book format. American Bedu, http://americanbedu.com/ , for instance, contains  posts of interest to those who would understand life in Saudi Arabia from an international perspective. I’d love to be an editor, and cull the wheat from the chaff for an eventual hard copy book of that blog. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong course of undergraduate study, so the only editing I get to do is of my own work.

That’s OK. I have enough of it to occupy my time for the rest of my life, and since I have gravitated towards the memoir genre, I continually contemplate the writing of my own memoir,  publishable in book form, of course.

Aside from the reasons or the advisability of such a project, I am finding excellent resources to help an author accomplish just that– writing a book. One such resource is Nina Amir’s “Blog a Book” blog, in which she shows the ways in which a blog can be brought into the service of producing a book:



Occasional bloggers think that their blogs can be lifted and patched into a book, but that wouldn’t work except for a small group of highly focused blogs with dedicated followings, such as American Bedu. The blog format has developed into a vessel to contain conglomerations of outpourings from the blog writer’s psyche, and as such, has enjoyed tremendous popularity. Even focused, purposeful blogs tend to represent fluid affairs and current topics, or else serve the instruction of esoteric subjects.

Nina Amir’s idea turns the thrust of the blog around. Rather than using a blog to elucidate the blogger’s ideas on religious, political and social positions— interspersed with daily activities, menus, and weather reports— a blogger could use a blog to shape and hold a book project.

I like this idea. I will think about it.Let me know if you, too, think it’s a good idea for your writing.

WNFIN Results

Statistics for the WNFIN Project
Writing Nonfiction in November

This is the first year I’ve participated in any type of writing challenge, and I am satisfied with the results. I’ve produced the rough drafts for several essays worth more effort, and I’ve improved my sense of emotional balance. Rather than write sporadically, I’ve written regularly, even when I didn’t feel like it, except for five days, several of which found me totally upset with my son-in-law, and of two which found me at work unexpectedly during my usual writing time.

I joined the challenge on November fifth, therefore I had twenty-five days of participation. The statistics are as follows:

Total words written: 17071

Average: 683 words per day for the 25 days to which I committed
Actual average:  898 for the 19 days on which I actually wrote
Least amount of words a day: 237
Most amount of words a day: 3339
Goal:  50,000
Short of goal: 32929
Days needed to achieve goal at present rate: 48
Total days to goal: 73 (~.2.5 months)

This interesting experiment made me realize the necessity of commitment and good-old-fashioned will-power needed in order to be a writer while still in the midst of responsibilities. I learned my own rate of production. The fact that I fell profoundly short of the goal does not distress me at all, because the goal was not my own. My intention here was to do as much as I could, and even though I couldn’t do much, I did some good work.

I suppose I am ready to set a goal of my own. The goal would be to write consistently, at least twenty-five days per month, on the average of 500 words per day. I can do this. I will even craft essays worthy of posting to this blog and/or distributing elsewhere. The main goal of writing, however, is to open life’s door to deeper levels, and to position my soul closer to center.