On Awards and Following and Things of that Nature

Wordpress and Pen

Yesterday marked my last post at Blogger, and there were a few awards that needed to be acknowledged before I packed up my pen and headed over here to the great big world of WordPress.

It’s always nice to leave on a high note, and I’d like to reblog that article here.

On Awards

To quote Quentin Tarantino: “It’s the writer’s year, man,” which tells me that he must have read the article I wrote way back on the second day of January (The Year of the Writer). Heck…I didn’t even realize he followed my blog. Thanks, Q.

He’s a real peach. “We’ll do lunch, k? Call my people and set up a time. Kiss, kiss.”

What have I gotten myself into? Lunch with Quentin Tarantino. Sheesh. An afternoon spent wondering how long the sweatball on the tip of his nose will dangle before splashing onto his crouton. Three hours of eating noises.

Okay, so I tried to channel the flippancy of QT in his Oscars acceptance speech—and I hope by now you’ve learned to appreciate my sense of humor (it’s an acquired taste)—but I’m actually quite humbled to receive this recognition from my peers. Truly, I’m touched, honored, and…well, humbled. Yeah, I know I’ve already said that, but it bears repeating. Sometimes in my attempts at humor, I self-aggrandize, but that’s simply a mask worn, a role played to disguise my quivering insecurities, a faux-skin of cockiness.

So, in order to give these awards the attention they deserve, this may turn out to be quite a long post, but then again, what’s new? Brace yourself, Effie, because by the end of it, the entire soundtrack to Jaws will have played and we all will have written lyrics to the score of Gone With the Wind.

First, I’d like to thank the fine folks who said, “You want me to pick eleven people to award? Shoot! I can only think of ten…oh, wait…there’s that smart-ass fellow who thinks he’s the shit—what’s his name? Something to do with Google…Gmail? Email? Oh, yeah…M.L.”

Hey, I’ll take what I can get.

Gracias, Al Diaz
February 3, 2013

Until a few days ago, I didn’t realize how far behind I had fallen in accepting these, but if the truth be told, the fault lies with that miserable bout of the flu that was thrown into the mix. In my feverish delirium, I thought only a couple of weeks had passed but it was over a month ago that Father Dragon gave me the first of this group, The Liebster Award.

We all know Al Diaz, who is making quite a name for dragons everywhere. The cave over at Father Dragon Writes is always toasty and inviting, full of fun and adventure, and I lieb going over there every chance I get. I wish it could be more often. Thanks again, Al, and give the dwarves some dragon love from me.

Thanks, Julie Luek
February 8, 2013

Next, Julie Luek passed along The Versatile Blogger Award. Julie’s thoughts have grown abundantly, and she’s cultivated a crop of respect and admiration from the writing community, me included. I really appreciate it.

I try to avoid being just another writer’s blog in a glut of writers’ blogs—there are far better ones than mine from which to learn—so instead, my goal has been to address a variety of topics that interest me, and hopefully, you, too.

I have covered subjects such as: Shakespeare, the Bible and religion, grammar, the perils of online life, books, movies, history of words and expressions, etc., all from the perspective of a rebel with a cause—a writer with a pen. Watch out!

It is my firm belief that we, as writers, have the opportunity and responsibility to change the world, one story, one article, one exposé at a time. A humorous lesson on the word, “supposably,” has received over thirty hits on this WordPress site, which means that an additional thirty people on this good earth know never to use the damn word. Well, supposably.

People who search for information on the Pope, or Latin, or Semper Fidelis will also learn  about the underhanded dealings of an electronic cigarette company while doing so.

However, those topics, while important in their own right, are rather benign, and if I really want to make a difference, then it’s time to tackle the more controversial issues. Much like resuscitating an ailing story, it’s time to add conflict! We have the world at our disposal; let’s make the most of it.

Much appreciated, Alex J. Cavanaugh
and Tara Tyler
February 25 and February 27, 2013

Did that inspire you? Because I was aiming for a smooth transition into these next two awards, which are actually the same acknowledgement given by different folks: The Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Thank you, Alex and Tara, for gracing me with this title. It’s my third VIB, and a hat that I’m very proud to don. And, in my opinion, it’s the prettiest one out there, so ’tis a pleasure to display it on the wall.

Each post provides an opportunity to spread a message, a nugget of knowledge, a ray of sunshine, and I try to take full advantage of that. Since both of you have sizable followings, I’m truly flattered that you’d consider me for this when you have so many from which to choose. Wasn’t the word, “humbled,” used a couple of times earlier? With these two mentions, make that “extremely humbled.” Thanks again.

Merci beaucoup, Elise Fallson
February 27, 2013

Everybody is spreading the lieb, even an American in Paris. Elise Fallson sent this last one, a second Liebster Blog Award, all the way across the pond, and I’m sure the postage wasn’t cheap.

When one wonders if people even like him, much less love him (or at least his blog), it’s nice to get two nods for this honor within the same month.

Thanks, Elise, and you might want to put a tracer on that bottle of Bordeaux…I think it got lost somewhere in transit; it never made it with the award. Oh, the cheese, too.

With each of these awards came the usual instructions to thank the person who gave it to me, which I’ve done, list seven (VIB) to eleven (Liebster) random facts about myself, answer seven to eleven questions, nominate eleven to fifteen people, and ask them seven to eleven questions.

Honestly, that’s a lot of work! Do the Pulitzer recipients have to go through this?

Look…I understand the point of the awards: to recognize those people whose sites, thoughts, topics, viewpoints, or whatever, have moved us. As for the questions posed, they are an attempt to get to know us better. I get that. But I’m not going to do that.

For one thing, I’m not that interesting.

But moreso, if you follow me on a regular basis, the answers to all those questions will eventually come to light. I’m brutally honest and talk about everything under the sun—things that are happening in my life, how I handle situations, where I’m at in the writing and publishing process—if I were to disclose all of my deepest-and-darkest, well hell, I’d have nothing more to write.

Okay…maybe that’s the point of all this. To get me to shut up.

Another thought I have about the awards is their prevalence. Yes, I know that there are literally thousands of writers’ blogs out there, all deserving recognition. I know because I read them. And during my reading, many times I think, “Other people should know about this site.” So, I make mention of them in my own posts.

An award should be something above and beyond that…something truly special.

Let’s use the VIB award as an example. Instructions say to pass it on to fifteen deserving sites. To do this for both awards would bring the total to thirty people. Add to that the eleven nominations for each Liebster award and the grand total is now fifty-two. See how quickly that adds up? It diminishes the luster of the award, makes it too commonplace. I can’t even think of fifty-two sites offhand, but if I could, I’ve just knocked out most of my following. And then…they have to do the same.

So, I keep it simple by giving each award to one recipient, with no strings attached: no questions, no random facts, just me, telling them, “Hey…you’re doing a great job!” And when there are duplicate awards, as is the case with the Liebster and VIB, I nominate one person per award.

Therefore, today I will acknowledge five people who, for various reasons, have stood out among the ultra-talented crowd this month and caught my attention:

  • The first Liebster Blog Award goes to Livia Peterson, of Leave it to Livia, who is one of the most supportive bloggers around and a real sweetheart. She’s received a Liebster before, and for good reason…she will put a smile on your face whenever you see her cute little mug in the neighborhood—you’ve gotta lieb that, and I do.
  • The Versatile Blogger Award. Hmm…I had to think long and hard on this one; there are so many of you who qualified (but see how narrowing it down to one makes it all the more special?). After scrolling through my blog reader, one name kept grabbing my attention with the variety of things that he had addressed: Mark Means of Left and Write. What a great guy, and a load of fun, too. For versatility, his site is left, right, up, down, and every which way but loose.
  • The two Very Inspiring Blogger Awards find their way into the hands of a couple of relatively new sites to my ever-growing circle of excellent blogs:
    Mark and Kym Todd from Write in the Thick of Things are published veterans breaking ground in the exciting world of blogging—get to know them, because great things are coming out of that thicket. They serve as inspiration to sojourn on to the next-directed step, to trudge the road to happy destiny.

    Susie Klein, a.k.a., The Recovering Church Lady, is a pure-tee joy. I’ve gotten to know her through Facebook, have checked out her delightful blog (which has the tagline, “Pleasing God is simply not as hard as you think”), and have walked away inspired each and every time. You will, too.

  • The second Liebster Blog Award is gladly handed to Sydney Aaliyah. “Happiness, Passion, Love, and Faith” are four things that we desperately see in our journeys as human beings, and Sydney presents them all in a blog that you’re sure to love.

I encourage everyone to tap on those links and discover for yourselves what they have to offer.

It is not my intent to insult the creators or givers of these awards by adjusting the guidelines, it’s just how I feel about them. The recipients are more than welcome to pass them along in any manner they see fit.

On Following

If you’ve made it this far into the post, kudos! You must be a true follower. I figured that most of you would leave before the awards were ever given, and although there was fair warning, even I did not foresee the need for an intermission.

This really is like the Oscars.

But for those of you who stuck around for the whole show, you’ll get excellent swag bags on your way out—just see Quentin.

Out of all of the things that we do as writers, following has become, by far, the most time-consuming for me, surpassing my actual writing, and I must re-prioritize.

Currently, these are the things I must consider:

  1. The first revision of my rough draft. Monty is tapping his foot and looking at his watch. Also, four other books in the series to plan.
  2. Another manuscript (NA) in the works, with three more books popping their ideas at me all the time. Our brains are like perpetual motion machines, generating new scenarios all the time that, if not pounced upon, may be lost forever. I can’t have that.
  3. Several short stories for various competitions.
  4. A short e-book.
  5. Articles for local publications.
  6. Articles for other websites.
  7. My caregiver’s blog, the reason I started all this, has been severely neglected.
  8. My writer’s blog.
  9. IWSG, Progressive Book Club, A-Z Challenge, and other blog events.
  10. Two self-study college courses.
  11. Books to read and review for other sites and authors.
  12. Etc., etc., etc.

Add to that the usual grind of blog reading and commenting and I can’t do it all. As it is, life is pretty harried with the daily schedule of being an Alzheimer’s caregiver, and with the writing alone that I have to do, it makes for a 36-hour day.

Then there are other commitments that require my attention: church, my gospel quartet, an Easter solo to rehearse, doctor appointments, shopping, cooking, cleaning…life stuff.

And I know I’m not unique in this. We’re all in the same boat. My tribe: YOU … ME … Together.

The Solution

I will tweet about, share on Google+, post on Facebook (without getting all spammy about it), your blog articles as a show of support, but my own ability to actively follow will be limited.

On my new site, I plan to spotlight each blog I follow with a review. There will not be a blog roll, per se, but instead, a page of links to each site and to the reviews I’ve written. I think that is the best (and classiest) way to show my support. And you must realize, if I like you enough to follow you, then the review will be favorable. Good publicity!

Of course I will still be around the neighborhood, popping in when you least expect me. I have the A-Z in April, the IWSG, the PBC, the Top 10 Movie Fest…there is plenty that will keep me around…it just won’t be as much.

I’ll still blow through Alex’s on Fridays to find out all the scoop that happened that week; will continue to learn a lesson or two from Melissa Maygrove’s Grammar Police Mondays, go surfing with Jeff Hargett on Sundays, hang out at Julie’s new place to sit alongside some fine company, contemplate Vaughn Roycroft’s heady musings.

Then there’s Writer Unboxed, Copyblogger, Write to Done, The Bookshelf Muse, Time, Huffington Post, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, and all the larger sites I follow, which are many.

So I guess this move will tell me who my tribe is. I really hope it’s you, but don’t follow out of reciprocity or obligation, follow because you want to, because there’s a payoff somewhere in the mix. Let’s be real in this virtual world.

It’s time to ride the wind…wanna come along?


ML Swift


19 thoughts on “On Awards and Following and Things of that Nature

    1. Thanks, Julie. This one is a little “cleaner” than the original. I couldn’t copy and paste the other (well, I could, but it never formats correctly), so in the re-type, I did a quick revision.

      Thanks again for the VB award.

    1. Thanks for swinging by, Gus…I was beginning to think I had pissed you off. 😉 And thanks for the welcome. I’m getting used to WP now…finding my groove.

      1. Honestly, I’ve been pretty bad about commenting on a lot of the blogs I follow, yours included. Nothing personal, just haven’t been following through on the comments, that’s all, so my apologies for the silence.

      2. Oh…don’t sweat it…I thoroughly understand, man. I just posted that I’m going to have to cut my commenting down in order to get my writing done. I was really just raggin’ on you. I appreciate it any time you stop by.

        Just read your WD post in my email…I’ve about the same love-hate thing. I’ll be over to comment later.

        It’s hard to know when I’m joking sometimes…rarely am I serious, but people certainly know it when that’s the case.

    1. Okay, okay…I admit it got rather long-winded (I think it was in the 2700+ word range), but it was my last post and there was a lot to wrap up. I was trying to get out of there by Feb. 28, when I started writing it. 🙂 The thing is, this version read better. I gave it an edit in the transfer. You now have to re-read the whole thing and tell me what I changed. I do have shorter articles, though, just so you know. There’s my new one…and it’s got music. Thanks for keeping me real, D. I’ll let you join in on the lunch with me, Julie, and Q. You’ll get your swag then.

      1. Immediately on the revised version I noticed that prickly paragragh was eliminated. The one that came just before your new “The Solution” title. That was my favorite paragraph which I enjoyed reading, but you were right for removing it. That’s something best said offline in a venting session with true friends. But I so understood the vibe of it and applaud you for it. Any other changes I didn’t notice because I didn’t reread the entire thing. Only saw the most obvious change.

      2. LOL. I was teasing about the re-read, but you’re right about that paragraph. It was a little too pointed. Sometimes I’m such a snot.

  1. Dang, I missed this post and it seems as if I am pilling on. I have nominated you for The Liebster Award as well. That gives you a second oak leaf cluster. The best keep garnering more awards. I understand if you want to hold back before announcing this one. Anyway, thank you for all the help along the way. You are a good friend and a great man.

    1. Rob, I appreciate the Liebster! And it seems like you’re clustering a few leaves yourself.

      A nasty lingering flu has put me extremely behind on all my stuff, visiting included. It may take me awhile to get back on track.


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