Important Message: We Have Moved!

Well, I have moved to self-hosted.  I decided to do this a long time ago, and this is me finally getting around to it.  After a long day yesterday, I managed the wordpress install, chose and customised the theme, rearranged widgets and fixed the feed.  To say this has been a learning curve is to vastly understate the obvious!

Anyway, what this means for you, is that you’ll need to move your feed subscription.  I have lots of exciting new developments planned, and I just know that you won’t want to miss out!

SUBSCRIBE HERE

I’ll be keeping this blog up until I manage to move over all my in-post links, and to make sure you all get this message about the move.  I wouldn’t want to lose any of you!

Also, if, in the past, you have been so kind as to link here in your blogrolls, could I ask you to alter the link to lead others to the blog’s new home?  Thank you so much!

Anyway, why don’t you head on over there now, and check out my welcome message?

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June 12, 2008. Admin. 2 comments.

Some Less Ordinary News

Angelica Blooming

Just a few bits and pieces today to bring you all up to date:

  • My 2nd photograph for The Calm Space is now up and available for download as a desktop.  The lovely Leah has added in some text and a calendar, and the whole thing looks just great.  I’ve already downloaded it for myself, and I’m really happy with the result.  Oh, and while you’re over there, why not have a browse around this month’s issue.  June’s theme is Freedom and there are some really wonderful articles.  Really recommended!
  • Photography Less Ordinary is positively thriving with more new members and more beautiful photographs.  If you haven’t joined yet, add me as a contact and I will send you an invite.  Oh, and you only have till midnight (your time) tomorrow to submit your photo to the time capsule challenge.  We already have some beautiful entries, so why don’t you give it a go?
  • Lastly, I have been rediscovering Friend Feed, and I’ve discovered that they have a new function on it whereby you can create a ‘room’ where you can contribute links, photos, comments, stumbles etc and share them with a specific community. So, I’ve started a bit of an experiment and I’ve created a Room Less Ordinary where I’m sharing links that I think would be of interest to my readers, new photos to my own Flickrstream and to Photography Less Ordinary, new blog posts here and other news etc that I think you all might want to know about.  It’s very intuitive to find your way around, so please do feel free to join.

Well, I think that’s all for now.  Do you have some news you’d like to share?  What’s been going on in your corner of the world?

PS. The photo included in this post is not an alien, although I’m aware that that is exactly what it looks like.  It is, in fact, my angelica plant about to bloom.  This plant continually amazes, as we never quite know what it’s going to do next!  Seemed appropriate somehow…

June 3, 2008. Admin. 6 comments.

Guest Post For JJL

A brief interruption in the series on photography to let you all know about a guest post that I’ve had published over at Joyful Jubilant Learning for this month’s theme: Learning From the Movies. I chose to write about the New Zealand film Whale Rider and how it helps me to appreciate a sense of place.  There are already some really lovely comments over there, so I really recommend you go and check it out!

If you’re reading this and you’ve just arrived from Joyful Jubilant Learning – Welcome 🙂

You may want to check out my About pages: About Amy and About Lives Less Ordinary, both of which will give you an idea of what this blog is all about.  Please do feel free to kick off your shoes, make yourself comfortable while I go and pop the kettle on.  I do so hope you’ll stop for a browse and a chat!

May 21, 2008. Admin. 4 comments.

Meanwhile, Over At The Breathing Space…

Following A PhotoTrail

I’ve been talking for a while about doing ‘something’ with my photographs that I share with you all here. The feedback that I get from you always blows me away and my confidence with the medium has gradually increased over time. So, today marks a significant step for me, and I’d like to share it with you all as it’s the accumulation of your words that have got me to this point. Karen Wallace, who blogs at The Clearing Space and also produces the online magazine The Calm Space, got in touch with me recently asking if I would like to contribute an image to The Calm Space to illustrate this month’s theme of ‘Balance’. I was, of course, thrilled and, after careful consideration, submitted a photograph that best captured ‘Balance’ for me. I tried to think where it was that I found balance in my life, where I felt centred, where I regained my sense of self. Anyway, you can check the result out for yourself: it’s over at the section of the site called The Breathing Space. The lovely Leah Maclean has created a desktop wallpaper from the image which you can also download from site. It includes a calender for the month of May, and it looks just lovely. I’ve downloaded it as my desktop already, and I’m really pleased with it!

Why don’t you pop over and have a look, download the desktop wallpaper, leave a comment and then check out the wonderful articles there.

After all, I think we could all benefit from a little more balance in our lives…

May 1, 2008. Admin, Photography. 10 comments.

A Sunday Roundup

It’s been a busy couple of days, so I just thought I’d bring you all up to date with what’s been going on with me, and with some friends from around the blogosphere:

  • The first piece of news is that I was interviewed for a Scottish newspaper, Scotland on Sunday, on my research for my phd.  It was an interesting experience, but quite disconcerting.  I’m used to being in control of my words, and so to relinquish that power was really quite unnerving.  Anyway, you can check it out here, if you want to see the result.
  • Robert Hruzek has announced the WILF topic for April and it is…. Odd Jobs.  If you’ve never participated in one of Robert’s writing projects, then I encourage you to have a go this month.  It’s a great way to meet new bloggers, and you will almost certainly be entertained by the entries that you read.  I’ve joined in the last 2 months (which you can read here and here) and only have positive things to say about my experience.
  • Joanna Young, over at Confident Writing, has launched her new theme for the month of April, which is POWER.  She’s got quite a lot planned with an emphasis on participation, so you should head over there now to see how you can become involved.  She’s looking for guest posts, power tweets and linked posts on the theme.  Joanna is such a generous, hospitable blogger, that I can assure you,  should you join in, you’ll get so much out of your participation.
  • If photography is more your thing, then you’ll want to check out Graham’s April photo challenge.  This month is a bit of a tricky one, in that he has set the theme of the 7 deadly sins.  I think there’s a lot of potential for fun in this theme, though, so why not give it a whirl!
  • I was included in a post by Karen Swim which celebrated Good People Day.  She said such lovely things, which I so appreciate. You should go and check out her blog, as she is such a friendly, generous soul and that really comes through in her writing.
  • And lastly, Nenette at Simply Sweet Living, tagged me with the 123 book tag. The rules are:
    1. Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.
    2. Open the book to page 123.
    3. Find the fifth sentence.
    4. Post the next three sentences.
    5. Tag five people.

OK, so the first 2 books I picked up had no text whatsoever on p123.  The third was Alice Munro’s The Beggar Maid, and on p123 I found: “She dressed exclusively in old clothes of Clifford’s.  Old pants that didn’t quite zip up on her because her stomach had never flattened out after Adam, and frayed white shirts Clifford had once worn for performances.”  I won’t tag anyone specifically, but if you fancy having a go, feel free!

Right, well, I think that’s us up to date now.  What’s your news?

April 6, 2008. Admin. 11 comments.

The Good News and the Bad News

Good News

My post, Scared Silly by the Fairies, was a runner-up in Shelly Tucker’s contest over at This Eclectic LifeDamien Riley did a fabulous job judging the entries, and then posted his own suitably scary story, which is well worth the read!  The overall winner of the contest was Robin, from Around the Island, with her post Treed, or rather staircased, and the other runner-up was  Cindee from CiNdEe’s GaRdEn with How I Scared My Daughter Silly.  Incidentally, you can read Damien’s interviews with both of them here and here.  I’ll be contributing my own interview just as soon as I get my act together!

The full list of entries for the contest is as follows:

Why not have a browse, be scared silly, and discover some great new blogs!

Bad News

The bad news is that my post, Only Connect: The Essence of Authority, did not win me the SOBCon/ChrisG prizes.  That honour went to the well-deserved post, Why you should win this contest – not me, by music industry blogger, Andrew Dubber.  I’m sure that everyone who attends SOBCon in Chicago this year will have a wonderful time, and I can’t wait to hear all about it!  As for me, I’m taking this as a sign that I need to concentrate on the completion of my phd.  You never know, maybe I’ll make it to SOBCon next year.

So congratulations to Andrew, and commiserations to the other bloggers who contributed some really thoughtful posts on what it means to blog with authority.  Why not go and pay them a visit and join in the conversation:

Also, an honorary mention must go to Roland Hesz at Fractured Bloughts, who didn’t enter the contest but contributed his thoughts on authority in his post Basis Of Authority: Be Authentic.  And also to Lorelle Van Fossen over at Blog Herald who posted  What Gives You The Right To Tell Me.

As with the other contest entries, do go and check the posts out and give your thoughts on what authority blogging means to you.

OK, now here’s your chance to share: What good news/bad news have you received recently? How will you celebrate the good news?  And how will you turn the bad news into something positive and good?

April 1, 2008. Admin. 9 comments.

Only Connect: The Essence of Authority

This post is an entry to the competition run by Chris Garrett to win $2000 of SOBCon and ChrisG consulting prizes. Details at the end of the post!
Only Connect
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.
– E.M. Forster
For my 21st birthday my parents bought me a purple iMac. I had recently moved with my husband and my baby girl to the wild and windy north coast of Scotland; my nearest neighbours were 4 miles away, I couldn’t drive, I had no TV and I was 8 months pregnant with my son. By the time my birthday rolled around, my new baby was 6 weeks old, and I’ve never felt so isolated in my life. By giving me the gift of the iMac, my parents did more than give me a machine that I could write my essays on; they gave me the gift of connection.
 
8 years on and my connection to the internet is still of great importance to me, but things have changed somewhat with my introduction to blogging. Over the last 6 months that I’ve been producing Lives Less Ordinary, I’ve discovered that the connections that I’m involved in are multiple and wide-reaching. By posting images of where I live, coupled with my words and my thoughts, I have not only created a resource of beautiful photographs, a place where people can come and find inspiration, a corner of the internet where readers can enjoy an escapist moment out of their busy lives, I have founded a community of like-minded individuals. I am helping others to connect not only to their environment and to my environment, but also to each other and to themselves.
 
For me, this is the essence of ‘authority’ blogging: the ability to create connections.
 
As Chris Garrett states in his definition, to blog with ‘authority’ means to blog with a ‘friendly and open’ personality, to demonstrate ‘expertise, experience, knowledge or talent’ and to display an understanding of how to ‘develop visibility’. In order to demonstrate all of these attributes, you need to be able to make connections: you have to connect on a personal level with your readers, you need to connect your readers to ideas, information, and images that they’ll find valuable and will enhance their lives in some way, and you need to connect with all those you haven’t met yet, who you believe would appreciate your blog’s content. If I were to attend SOBCon 08 in Chicago, one of my main contributions to the event, along with my energy, my enthusiasm, my unique perspective, my creative approach (and my photos!), would be my ability to create connections.
 
What I would hope to gain from a consultation with Chris, from attending SOBCon and from meeting the other delegates, would be the opportunity to create connections to people, resources, information and advice which combined would help me put together a plan to make my next project a success. Yes, you read that right! I have another project brewing, which would, in some ways, be a sister blog to Lives Less Ordinary, as it would focus on one specific topic that I often engage with here.  I have big plans for this project, and I know that I can make it a success, but by attending SOBCon and by consulting with Chris, I would hope to gain the support of an amazing community, I would learn how to avoid some of the pitfalls which may slow down my progress, and I would learn how to refine the skills that I’ve been developing over the last 6 months. Attendance at SOBCon coupled with the consultation would be invaluable in helping me towards my goal of becoming an authority blogger.
 
It would help me to connect.
 
Now, if you fancy having a go at winning yourself the prizes listed below, you still have time. Follow the instructions on how to enter, and you could win the opportunity to attend SOBCon in Chicago. Trust me – you really want to be there!

sobcon08_logo189x60.jpg

Authority Blogger Contest Prizes and Rules

  1. $1000 budget to pay for SOBCon08 registration and travel expenses which also includes:
    • a copy of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett
    • 60 attendees will get free design and SEO consults from Network Solutions experts.
    • a $99 lifetime hosting offer from THC
    • a pro account at E-Junkie
    • a free subscription to Blogger & Podcaster Magazine and a chance to join their new USA Today guide
    • a professional video interview on you and your biz for BlogTV sponsored by Fuel My Blog
  2. A hour of consulting with Chris Garrett, face-to-face if possible.
  3. The complete Authority Blogger online course when it launches.
  4. An introduction to all of the speakers at the event.

It’s a fabulous prize package!

To Enter:

1. Write a blog post explaining why you’re the best candidate to be the next Authority Blogger. What you’ll add to the event, what you hope to learn from a personal consultancy with Chris Garrett and the wealth of great business bloggers in that weekend in Chicago. Be sure to write with authority. Tell your compelling story.
2. Have your post written by March 31st.
3. Leave a trackback to this post or a link in the comment, so that we know you’ve entered.
4. Your post can include pictures, but should be no longer than 1000 words.
5. Liz Strauss, and Chris Garrett, that’s me, will select the winner on 1st of April.
6. In the case of a draw a representative from Blog Catalog will have the deciding vote.

So, how would you define ‘authority blogging’?  Do you agree that the essence of authority is connection?  What inspires you to connect with a blog’s community?

March 26, 2008. Admin, Inspiration, Uncategorized. 15 comments.

Guest Post for Write To Done

Just to let you all know that I have written a guest post for Leo Babauta for his new writing blog Write To Done.  The post is called Stephen King’s Greatest Lesson For Writers.  Please do check it out and leave a comment!

Hope you all had a Happy Easter 🙂

March 24, 2008. Admin. Leave a comment.

Prize Draw Announcement

When I launched my prize draw last week, I had no idea that so many would enter it.  I have been so taken aback by the outpouring of good feeling towards Lives Less Ordinary, and it makes me so happy to know that, for many of you, it provides a splash of positivity into your daily routine.

So, on to the prize draw, which I’ve recorded as a video clip.  Watch it to see who wins!

OK, so just to make that clear, the winners are:

  1. Megan
  2. Captain Stardust
  3. Penelope Anne

My commiserations to all those who entered and didn’t win.  I only wish I could send you all a bundle of goodies!  However, this competition has been such a success, that I may well do another at some point in the future.  Until then, I hope you all continue to leave comments and engage with the wonderful community being fostered here. Most of all, however, I hope that you keep enjoying what you find at Lives Less Ordinary.

March 12, 2008. Admin. 10 comments.

Prize Draw – Scottish Tablet

The last item in the prize draw bundles of Lives Less Ordinary/Scottish goodies is a Scottish sweetie called tablet:

Scottish Tablet

Scottish Tablet 2

Scottish Tablet 3

Now, I have a small confession to make – the tablet you see in the photos here is not the tablet that will be included in the prize draw. And, no, it’s not because I ate it! I’m extremely fussy, as most Scottish people are, about their tablet, and for me, the tablet in the photos just did not make the grade. It looks like tablet should, but it doesn’t taste as nice as I know tablet can. I will be replacing it later today with tablet I’m happier with.

Anyway, the better tablet (once I’ve bought it) will be joining the photographs, the origami cranes, the highland cattle keyrings, the tartan scarves, the pewter pins and the poetry books. Today is the last day you can enter the prize draw to win one of the 3 prize draw bundles, so if you haven’t done so already, head over to the post, To My Readers, and leave a comment giving feedback on my blog, before midnight (your time) tonight 11th March. I will be randomly selecting the names of 3 commenters tomorrow, so make sure you come back to find out who the 3 lucky winners are.

Best of luck to everyone!!!

PS Comments are disabled on this post, to ensure that all entries are left on the correct post.

UPDATE: Found some fabulously morish, melt-in-the-mouth, sugary goodness, tablet while out at the shops this morning. Of course, I had to test it just to make sure it was good enough for my readers 😉

Thistle and Rose Tablet

Thistle and Rose Tablet 2

Thistle and Rose Tablet 3

March 11, 2008. Admin. Comments off.

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