Stepping Stones Blog

Sunday Salon: August 31, 2014

It is the last official weekend of summer, and therefore time for my annual declaration: Christmas will be here before you know it.

I am not sure why, but the time between September 1st and January 1st is one big blur.  I love the season, don’t get me wrong, but I continue to marvel at the wisdom of my mother who said, “Molly, the older you get… the faster time flies.”

Reading:  I am still working on the same books as last week, namely, Diane Keaton’s memoir, Then Again, and Scott Kelby’s books on Digital Photography.  I am nearly finished with the memoir and have thoroughly enjoyed it.  Not only does Keaton have a compelling story, she tells it well, and it is a book that I believe I can reference when writing my memoir.

_MG_7531I have also amassed a few middle grade novels that I plan to use as my NaNoWriMo “textbooks”.  These are children’s books that appeal to a similar audience (grades 5-8) and/or fall into the same genre (historical fiction with an element of time travel).  My hope is to read these books not only for content, but also to analyze them for writing style, plot structure, and character development.  It is officially two more months until the start of NaNoWriMo 2014 and it is time for me to get focused.

Writing:  This has been a good writing week.  I wrote a blog post on the advantage of journaling a rough draft, and I attended a free webinar, hosted by K.M. Weiland and featuring Joseph Michael, the coach of Learn Scrivener Fast.  I cannot praise this 60+ minute webinar enough!  I learned so many useful tips that I have already implemented, and I immediately signed up for his “Ninja” level tutorial series.

For those who may be unaware, Scrivener is an inexpensive (approximately $45) software program that is designed exclusively for writers.  If you are unfamiliar with this product, I highly recommend you download the free 30 day trial and play with it.  (as a side note… Scrivener is available for half price to all winners of NaNoWriMo… a fabulous incentive!!)

In addition, I began some character sketches for my NaNo protagonist, and I plan to begin re-reading my rough draft, assimilating beta-reader comments, and developing a revision plan for NaNoWriMo 2014.

Photography:  It has been a good photography week too.  I have not taken many pictures, but I am gearing up… so watch out!

I registered for an online class recommended by a friend, and so far I must say, I am very impressed.  The Dash is a monthly class series offered by David Peterson of Digital Photo Secrets.  Each month he offers 2-3 different Dash challenges, each for $25 (or less).  There is an entire online community devoted to fellow photographers who seek to improve their craft.  Each dash is four weeks long and offers eight different lessons, with assignments.

I have registered for the Pets and Wildlife Dash (does this surprise anyone?!) and I couldn’t resist the reduced rate to register for All About Lenses.  I will let you know how it goes.

In addition, I registered for the course, 30 Days to Better Food Photos, at the beginning of the month.  This is a FREE ecourse that offers amazing content … for food photography or just photography in general.  The course is offered by Neel of Learn Food Photography.  Each day an email is sent that includes a particular focus… some tips and tricks… and an assignment.  There is a special Facebook group where photos can be posted and comments encouraged.

I have LEARNED so much, especially the decisions that must take place before the shutter is released.  Although I have not fully participated this month, I hope to focus on the lessons this fall in anticipation of learning to compose a better photograph before the holiday season.  I recommend anyone interested in photography to take this class the next time is offered.  You are certain to learn at least a little, and it costs absolutely nothing!

Other possible info:  It was the week for online classes, that is for sure (perhaps I secretly miss the Back-to-School energy….)  I saw an ad on Facebook for a Udemy class entitled, Travel Hacking by Huntley Mayo.  This normally $79 course was on sale for $28 and after watching the intro video, I was certain I would receive my money’s worth.

I have watched about 30% of the videos and must say that I am fascinated.  Travel has been my dream since the age of eight, and I am certain with the tips I have learned, I can make this dream come true.

All in all, I would say that it was a good week, and I look forward to continuing this trend in September.

I wish all of you a great day off tomorrow in celebration of Labor Day, for come Tuesday, the days will begin to blur 🙂

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1 Comment

  1. joyweesemoll

    Lots of wonderful things going on in your life. Those photo courses sound wonderful! As do the rest. This year, my back to school energy is going to the England trip and that feels good, too.

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