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Writing to me is…

Writing to me is like using playdoh. When I write, I play with words, string them together, like a necklace to make beautiful sentences.

Writing to me is like using the color wheel. Nouns are blue, verbs are red, adjectives are indigo, adverbs are orange, prepositions are violet, articles are brown, conjunctions are green, and interjections are yellow.

Writing to me is music. When done right, the words flow together and create harmony.

Writing to me is fun when the words tumble out in exactly the order in which I imagine them.

Writing to me is like drawing pictures with words.

Writing to me is a way to slow down and rationalize my thoughts. Sometimes, jumbled thoughts become untangled; fleeting ideas become anchored to the page.

Writing to me is something I do all day, everyday.

Writing to me is easy. Most times.

Writing to me is like reading out loud, relishing the sounds the words make.

Writing to me is rewriting. Often.

Writing to me is poetry.

Writing to me is, preferably, pen on paper. But it’s never just black and white.

Writing to me like breathing. I don’t know how I’d be if I couldn’t write.

Writing it down - Maynefoto

What does writing mean to you?

Share your thoughts and take a minute to check out what writing means to my other Blog-A-Licious buddies:

1. Paula –

2. Stuart –

3. Karen –

4. DK Levick –

5. Shannon –

6. Corinne –

7. Sonia –

8. Sulekha –

9. Dora –

10. Sarah –

12. Roy –

13. Janki –

14. Tina –

15. Thelma –

16. Dora –


I’ve Been Nominated for a Fistful of Blog Awards!

My blog buddy, Elizabeth at Mirth and Motivation nominated me for not just one but three blog awards. I’m stoked!

Elizabeth is a blogger I admire and respect. Each of her posts are thoughtful and thought provoking. For her to nominate me for a blog award is an honor.

So which blog awards did Elizabeth nominate me for?

Well, I received the Versatile Blogger Award, the Stylish Blogger Award and the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.

Each award comes with a few responsibilities.

  1. Send a thank you and link back to the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award on to 10 Versatile/Irresistibly Sweet/Stylish bloggers.
  4. Contact each blogger that you’ve nominated and tell them about the blog award

Thank you, Elizabeth. You’ve made my day!

Seven things about me?

  1. I’d love to get a role (or be an extra) in the next Bond flick. I’ve seen every Bond movie, many times over but they never get stale. Sean Connery is my favorite Bond; Daniel Craig my second favorite and a worthy successor. All the others – Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan – were just placeholders for Craig, a man who can deliver a punch as effectively as he can receive one.
  2. I daydream of leaving my job and traveling around the world. An around-the-world trek would satisfy the nomad in me. But not just that, it’d allow me to meet people from all over, see and experience different cultures, try different foods.
  3. The only time I’ve bartended was at a wedding. I’d never bartended before but it was fun. The guests were very understanding when I told them it was my first time. (I made sure the drinks were nice and strong.)
  4. My favorite color is red. It’s the color I reach for most often but especially on dreary days. It makes me feel bold, daring, wild.
  5. Being near water soothes me. Whether it’s a lake or a pool or an ocean, there’s something about water that just soothes me.
  6. I used to be a teacher. I’ve taught Spanish to eleven- and twelve-year olds, Math and Reading to at-risk children, and principles of business to adults.
  7. I hate chocolate. It doesn’t matter if it’s white or black, I can smell it a mile away

In no particular order, the Versatile/Stylish/Irresistible Blog Awards go to…..

Drumroll, please!

  • Colorful Footsteps – Sherry’s planning a solo trip around the world which will hopefully take her to all seven continents.
  • Totsy – Totsy Mae’s a writer, reader, visual artist, graphic designer and a mom.
  • The Black Twig – Dahlia’s a bookworm, aspiring writer/traveler, sociology and international relations graduate and blogger
  • Imported Chocolate – Check out Jennifer’s travel vlog for helpful tips.
  • A View to a Thrill – Renee shows how to sample the world at a fraction of the cost.
  • WhosWorld – Roxanne’s a New Yorker who’s now teaching in China.
  • Bacon is Magic – Ayngelina left her job, boyfriend, apartment and friends to find inspiration in Latin America.
  • GypsyRoseLee – The Bond girl who never signed on.
  • To Write is to Write – Kathy is a former teacher, former librarian, former paralegal, and former pianist. Now, she’s an author and blogger.
  • Cultivated Style – William blogs about culture, style, music and has his sights set on working in the music industry

Thanks to all these bloggers who inspire me everyday, and again, to Elizabeth for nominating me for a blog award.



Before My Travel Blog

Long before I had a travel blog, I kept  journals. I have been doing that since high school. Looking back, I remember the person I was when I worried about passing an exam, gushed about a boy or a grumbled because of some new disagreement with my mother. (Yes, those teenage years, when I was trying to assert my independence, were tumultuous.)

A few of my journals (old and new) - Maynefoto

Sometimes, I was diligent and filled page after page with the most minute details of my life. At other times, days would pass before I felt like reducing my thoughts to words on a page. But I never stopped writing.

When I started traveling, it was natural that I wanted to make notes of my trips. I knew of no better way to do this than a travel journal. Sure, photos are great but they only capture moments in time. Each journal entry covers a day and fills in the moments between the photos.

My travel journals have ticket stubs, receipts, menus, post cards, anything that adds texture to my trip. When I visit a historic place, I take notes in my journal or draw. Now that I’m getting to know my camera better, I also make notes about the photos I take, the settings I use, etc.

Page from my latest travel journal - Maynefoto

The difference between a travel journal and a blog is that the journal is private. I write freely because the information is for my eyes only. While I use my journal as a source for my blog, because my blog is public, I am careful about what I share. I still believe some thoughts are well, private, and should remain that way.

Although I blog about my travel experiences and enjoy sharing them, I can’t abandon my journal. I love the way I have to slow down to translate my ideas to words and how carefully, or not, I choose those words. And when words fail, I supplement them with drawings or pictures.

Because I use a computer all the time, except when I have to sign my name, I love to see my handwriting and see how it changes throughout my journal, depending on my mood.

The journals I use must have pockets so that I can store stuff. I prefer ones that lay flat when I open them, have good quality paper and a sturdy cover. Although I like ruled journals, most times, I go for ones with plain pages as the lines can feel confining. For travel, I also prefer one that’s small enough, say a 6″ x 4″, so that it can fit easily into my purse.

Do you use a journal when you travel? What things do you write about?

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Quieting My Restless Mind

Brain, computer art
Image via Wikipedia

I spend a lot of time in my head so when I’m having one of those days, one where my brain is so stimulated, I can’t write what I want, its paralyzing.

I had this week all laid out. Starting today, I’d write about Paris. I was excited by the ideas that were coming, made notes, selected the photos but now that I’m to start, I haven’t been able to quiet my thoughts. I feel lukewarm, no, detached about it and frankly, it’d be a struggle to write even the first sentence.

Yesterday, on the subway, I ‘wrote’ an entire post on another topic — in my head. I didn’t want to pull out my notebook and begin writing because I feared the thoughts would float away — they were flowing so effortlessly, I decided to bask in the glow of their energy instead. And I did. (I must have filed them away because I can’t recall them today. But believe me, they were beautiful and oh, so poetic!)

So since my brain’s not cooperating, here’s what I’ll do in the meantime:

  • Write what wants to come out. Writing about something else, takes the pressure off and frees up my brain so it can continue to bake the idea/s that want to come out or clear the clutter.
  • Do something physical. Like cleaning (which I need to do), walking, gardening, exercising, etc., that engages the other side of my brain and frees me up so the ideas can flow again.
  • Review the events of the past 2 days. By reliving the weekend’s events, I can connect with and process the emotions and the sparks I got. I had a weekend full of activities and each was a potential blog post. I can also plan the coming weekend’s activities.
  • Talk to someone. I do have a few calls to make that are totally unrelated to my writing. Those will also take my mind off of the matter at hand.
  • Breathe deeply. Breathing deeply forces me to concentrate on my breath, not on the confusion in my head. It’s also quite relaxing.
  • Listen to music. When I listen to music, I’ll sing along or dance and that takes my mind off the noise in my head.
  • Watch a funny movie or cartoon. It’s no understatement – laughter is good medicine. It’s the perfect antidote to stress and relaxes not just the facial muscles but the entire body.

What technique do you use to quiet your mind when it refuses to do so on its own?

Interview with Blogger, Ozias Sanchez, First Year of Freedom – Part 2

Interview with Ozias Sanchez, who’s also called “Mozes,” First Year of Freedom, Part 2

Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working on your blog?

Well, I don’t spend too much time going around from blog to blog, so the only blog I look at regularly is Marcia’s blog: Inside Journeys. And I have to say, although I really don’t have a particular interest in traveling, her blog is a lot of fun to read.

Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?

Well, like I said, I don’t actually read other people’s blogs, so I don’t know anybody in specific I look up to, but I’d have to say anybody who gets more than 1000 views a day.

Do you think Pagerank plays a vital role in a blog’s life?

Any blog that wants a steady access of new viewers, yes.

What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?

In all honesty, content. I don’t really care if tons of people read my blog or not. I mean, yes, it’s nice to have people stop by every once and a while and leave a comment, but I’m more concerned with practicing my writing than actually getting people to come see it.

What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his/her readers?

Something that they can read to get away from the world, or relate to. Nothing beats the feeling like somebody who feels the same way you do.

A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interested in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

Money from blogging? If this is your goal, don’t get your hopes up, this is definitely a hard goal to reach. All I have to say is, if you want to make money from blogging, you better have an interesting opinion on controversial subjects, or be an expert at something used every day. Unless you’re somewhere along those lines, don’t expect much.

What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?

Probably the theme of the blog, because it’s the biggest part about your blog that you have to keep consistent, so I was having trouble deciding something like that.

Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?

My favorite post is my Lady Gaga one, because it got tons of views, and I’m really proud of it, and my least favorite one is probably the one about the aliens. I had nothing to write about, so I had to pull something straight out of my… well, never mind. I mean, the post is still truthful.

What’s your take on sponsored reviews?

Don’t pay to do something that can be easily done on your own for free.

If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?

Don’t blog about what you had for lunch, unless it was still alive.

Any final thoughts?

Nope, just thanks to Marcia for the interview!

If you like what you’ve read why not Share, Tweet, Digg, Like, etc. You never know who might be interested.

Interview with Ozias Sanchez, First Year of Freedom – Part 1

Ozias Sanchez aka “Mozes,” who blogs as First Year of Freedom is one of my blog buddies. Mozes and my other buddies have been very supportive in helping me stay on track on this Postaday2011 blogging challenge.

A few weeks ago, I did an interview with Mozes. Here’s what he had to say about blogging, writing and Lady Gaga. Since the interview is a little long, I’ll post it in two parts.

Here’s the first part of the interview:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Kansas City, MO, but I’ve been living in Colorado since I was 8. While I don’t meet the technical definition, I like to consider myself a Colorado native. I’m also very mature and pretty soft spoken.

Are you a full time blogger?

Well, I’m part of post a day, but I do what I can. While I see blogging as a chore, it’s also fun at the same time. Just one of those things, I guess.

What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?

Actually, a really big hobby of mine is collecting postcards. But since the post office has very inconvenient hours, and I don’t own a car, I’ve not been able to trade as many as I’d like. So, I just play Xbox or something.

How did you first get involved in blogging?

If I remember correctly, the real reason I got involved into blogging was through myspace. Myspace lets you have a blog as well as a profile. I always looked at it, but I never knew what a blog was. One day, I finally looked it up and got really interested in the idea of keeping an online journal.

How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog?

Oh, let me tell ya, it isn’t easy. Actually I’m constantly paranoid about running out of ideas for my blog. But to keep on track, I’m always writing questions and interesting things that pop in my head throughout the day; one idea could be extremely different from the next, but both are interesting.

What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?

Well, until my “official” topic of blogging about college actually comes around in August, I think the hardest part is actually sticking to one topic. I’m the kind of person that finds something interesting in everything, and I don’t know if I could not write about something for the sake of sticking to a specific topic. Well, as long as I don’t have to write every day that is. As for college, I think the hardest thing will be finding the time to blog, and having something interesting about college everyday that’s more than just college drama.

How do you describe your blogging style?

I write exactly how I talk, so I’d consider my blogging style (just like my topics) very relatable.

Do you find it more difficult (or easy) to write about personal topics as opposed to what’s in the news?

That’s a good question. I’ll have to go with personal topics, because though the news can have a lot of interesting things to write about, I commonly find some topics, like a state election, or the revolution in Egypt, boring (but still important).

What’s your strategy with your blog in general?

Would I find my own entry interesting if I came across it? And I usually try to make it more than 400 words.

What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?

Commenting random people’s blogs can get me quite a bit of views, but I usually just advertise of Facebook.

Read Part 2 of the interview with Ozias Sanchez here.

If you like what you’ve read why not Share, Tweet, Digg, Like, etc. You never know who might be interested.