No More ArtWritingLife

WordPress is hounding me to renew my old domain, ArtWritingLife. They say

The domain artwritinglife.com will expire on Sunday, July 18, 2021. Visitors to artwritinglife.com will not see “Steve Campbell”.

That is true. I have a new domain, stevenlcampbell.com, which I created last year. Both domains take you to this website/blog. I suppose that if you signed up to follow my site via artwritinglife.com, you will get a notice after July 18 that the site is no longer available. The easy remedy is to visit/follow me via stevenlcampbell.com.

My apologies for any confusion and/or problems this may cause. I simply wanted a domain that reflected my name in it. I chose it because I published books under Steven L. Campbell and that is the name that pops up in many searches. However, I now publish as Steve Campbell, the name I published my artwork under.

Bottom line is, I am still at WordPress and easy to find.

Peace and love, everyone. Have a great day.

10-Year Blogging Anniversary

I received notice last week from the good people at WordPress that my blog reached its 10-year mark.

Happy Anniversary, dear blog.

I recall when I began chiseling its foundation in January all those years ago, publishing my first post in February, and getting my first follower. I received many more followers in the next ten months, and I eagerly followed my followers, we commenting back and forth, and I feeling like a new tenant of part of a happy community. Sadly, I no longer hear from those bloggers. Two of the blogs from 2011 are in limbo and haven’t shown activity in several years; the rest of my followers of that year are no longer around.

All the same, it has been a fun ride and I haven’t run out of things to post! Here’s to ten more years.

Nine Years Blogging at WordPress

I received notice earlier this week that I have been blogging at WordPress for 9 years.

This prompted me to reflect on my blog’s look and changes during its near decade of existence.

I didn’t call my blog Art~Writing~Life in 2011, but called it Creating New Worlds. My web address was my full name. The first image below is a short-lived header. I planned to present only my art here.

2011 header 1

I quickly changed my mind about my blog’s purpose so not to limit my options. And I used my full name. The following image was my header for the remainder of 2011.

2011 header 2

The next image was my header from 2012 through 2013. I called my blog my “Official Website” because I was in the midst of publishing my books at Amazon in 2012.

2012 header

My header took on a fantasy look in 2014. And I referred to myself as a literary and visual artist.

2014 header 1

By August 2014, I simplified my header and stopped publishing my books at Amazon.

2014 header 2

I began selling my books at Smashwords, so I changed my blog’s header in 2015 to reflect the books there. My novel Trespassing never made it to print, but the other three are still there … for now.

2015 header

2016 saw two header changes here.

The first change was a simplification that added more white space and less visual “clutter.”

2016 header 1

The second change came in two parts. The first part was to my blog’s name and address, which became ArtWritingLife. The second part was to get all crazy again with graphics in my header. I get like that sometimes.

2016 header 2

In 2017, I put my full name in my header again.

2017 header

From Handprints To Footprints had become my motto here, so I created a different header to show it. Also, I shortened my name to Steve Campbell to reflect my plans to publish books under that name.

2018 header

Finally, my current header reflects my free spirit.

2019 header

Receiving that notice also prompted me to look back at my first post, “A Day in My Life,” published February 20, 2011, at 10:49am. I received 2 Likes, 2 comments, and 2 followers that day. Since then, after acquiring 682 more followers, no one else has Liked or commented on that post, which shows that we all have posts that go unnoticed and unread. Even I forgot about it until I looked back. And I enjoyed reading it again, which has prompted me to share it here.

So, here it is. Perhaps someone new will like it.

A Day in My Life

Words awoke me the other morning, repeating in my mind loudly, obtrusive. At 4:27, I snapped on my lamp and scribbled them down.

Dark cold
Deep blue
Frigid from the death of violet

I wondered, What does it mean, frigid from the death of violet? I tried to remember the dream that had birthed those words, but it had vanished.

I extinguished the light and dozed. More words came to me: Birthed. Birthing. Born anew. They repeated and filled my head, sounding like children clopping in oversized rubber boots around my bed until the clamor became one voice saying Words. Words. Words. You send your words into the streets; they’re attacked and raped there. They give birth to new industries; your old words fall away like fallen soldiers.

Again I awoke. Again I asked, What does it mean?

Nothing revealed. I fell asleep and dreamed dreamlessly until sunlight stirred me back to the living. I took my jottings to my office and put them aside while I worked on some pencil drawings—3 hours of studying shadow and light. After breakfast I put away my art project, picked up one of my stories in progress and wrote some chapters. My main character was in a dark place—dark cold, deep blue; the basement room she was in was painted blue-violet and was frigid from the lack of windows.

Aha! The writing went quickly as words spilled from me. Soon, I had a few more chapters.

By afternoon I left for my other job (the one that pays the bills) and left behind the creative person that I am. There is no place at that salt mine for thinkers, imaginers, visionaries. People like that have been verbally attacked there for being different, and their souls spiritually raped.

Aha! … again.

I returned to my writing for an hour that night and struggled to continue my story; I was empty from the time spent at my other job. I struggled as well with the desire to edit what I had written so far—a bad habit that I am trying to break myself from. A writer should not edit his first draft until the story is completed and he has had time to put the story aside for a few weeks.

I drew instead, happy to be home and filling my emptiness with all that I love.

Bringing Back Ravenwood [writing news]

I spent today planning on paper what I’m going to do with my blog. I have been absent from it for several weeks, so I want to remedy that by posting more often.

The first thing I did was bring back an old page to the Writing Blog section in the Menu. It’s called “Ravenwood” and it houses links to many of my old Ravenwood posts that ran from 2011 to 2012. Ravenwood was the original name of the town that became Ridgewood. I’m thinking of changing Ridgewood back to Ravenwood. It’s just a thought, but I’m drawn to the name Ravenwood again.

If you have never read my Ravenwood stories, you can do so by going to its menu and clicking on the chapters. Here is a quick link for those of you who aren’t at my website.

I made another change to the Menu by moving News ~ Updates to a subheading under the About heading.

This post will be included in that section.

Finally, I plan to return to those Ravenwood posts and talk more about them during the year. I want to analyze again the direction I was going in with those stories.

Stay tuned. I feel it’s going to be an exciting year at this blog.

Coming Attractions [plans]

August is ending. Summer is almost over, which means it is time for me to return to my writing and art. And with that, it is time to break those long periods of silence here.

Before I took large portions of the summer off to collect my wits and to catch up on the parts of my life not connected to the Internet, I was reworking my books about Verawenda. This has been an ongoing project for several years, and one I would like to see come to fruition by the end of the year.

Other projects involve photography, which I plan to reveal during the autumn and winter months.

Winters are long where I live, and January, February and March are often brutal enough to keep me at my computers instead of going outdoors. You can expect to read and see a lot from me during those months. I also expect to return to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing during that time. I do my best writing in the winter, so I’m 99.9 percent positive I’ll have something to publish.

More about that later.

I’m excited about seeing another October come along. If I could perform one magic feat, I would make it October for at least six months of the year. And not because of Halloween. There has always been something romantic and magical about October, from the smells in the air to the lighting of the sky each day. And, of course, the colors of nature before the leaves fall.

No other month has such a pull on me. April and May come close with spring and the start of baseball, but October will always be my favorite month of the year, which makes November a melancholy one for me.

But enough of that.

It’s time to focus on good things for this blog.

So, as another summer winds down and my creativity begins percolating again, I guess the only thing I can say in closing this blog post is, “Stay tuned.”

My Blog’s New Look

I gave my blog a new look again. It was looking cluttered. And since I’m at a standstill with my writing and art projects, I figured I’d have a go at blog design and pray for something appealing. This came after I gave up the idea of pulling the plug on my blog altogether.

Life got really crazy-busy during the past year and I grew weary trying to keep up a blog. Blogging and keeping it fresh and interesting are huge responsibilities. When I don’t invariably post new and exciting content to it, I feel guilty of letting down my followers.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of material sitting in the archives for you new followers. It’s a feature that goes unnoticed because of WordPress’s push at shoving new material at us. Their Reader page with its constant updates is the first thing we see when we log into our accounts. It’s a shame they don’t have a better feature for our archives other than a search bar. But I’m glad to have the old search tool because I love reading and looking at gems from the past.

But don’t take my word for it. Start digging around and see for yourself.

Corry Writer’s Block

I joined the Writer’s Block writing group in Corry, PA in 2002, three years after Corry author and newspaper columnist Beverley Bittner founded the  group.

A quick shout-out to those of you who remember us.

Above is the group’s official logo.

For historical reasons, I decided to post some the group’s old news columns and stories here at my website. Our group didn’t have an official historian, so I will use old notes and files from the nine years I was president and webmaster. I lack many newsletters and website archives from the earlier three years, so contact me if you have any 1999–2002 newsletters and any photos of the group in action.

The Hermit Blogger [writing news]

Again, this communique is long overdue by the rules laid down by the so-called professional bloggers dominating the blogosphere. But I’ve been busy with important facets of my life to boot daily, weekly, or barely monthly to this blog to keep anyone abreast of my art and writing “escapades.”

The book project is going well, though not on schedule. But that’s okay. I’m taking my time, developing the story, weaving and connecting the story and character threads and arcs, building the plots and their highs and lows, sanding the rough edges, and keeping my eye on the ending.

To do this my way and to keep it mine, I have to be a hermit from other writers. I don’t watch TV or movies while the final draft is in progress. I don’t read other books but my own. I don’t reach for books on writing because I don’t want to know anyone else’s rules on writing when I have those moments when I’m stuck. I need to work out the problems on my own. This is my project. I need to be selfish because it’s no one else’s name on the book when it’s done but mine.

It also means not visiting writers’ blogs, which sometimes results in missing great writing from someone who worked hard to communicate something important to other writers. But that’s how it goes. I don’t cut into my writing time by liking and following the latest good stuff. In fact, I restrict my time online to 30 minutes a day—sometimes less. That means my blog is ignored too often, and even my emails go unread for weeks.

But when the book is done…

I don’t place too big an emphasis on publishing, not like some writers I know. This year’s project will be an ebook and paperback product at Amazon. Later, it will go to other outlets. Meanwhile, I’ll catch up on some of the blogs I’ve missed and a few books I want to read. And start jotting ideas for my next project.

My Verawenda Blog [writing news]

Vree

A little more than 2 years ago I created a blog for one of my fictional characters, Verawenda Erickson. I wrote an About page and 2 blogs, then got busy with other things in my life and never added anything more. I put it in storage and left it untouched until today when I gave it a facelift and published it again. You can see it at https://verawenda.wordpress.com/. Should my plans of writing more stories featuring Vree work out, I’ll post there every Friday.

***UPDATE***

As of August 2017, I discontinued the Verawenda blog and moved its posts to this blog. You can find those posts under the Writing tab, in the heading titled Vree’s Journal.
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Correction [writing news]

In my haste to post more often, I misspelled Margga, the witch-spirit character from the Vree Erickson story, Margga’s Curse, in my most recent posts. Corrections were made and, while I had a few minutes to spare, I redesigned my site to a slimmer, sleeker one. I plan to continue posting the revised version of Margga’s Curse as soon as I get time between my busier-than-usual work schedule.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t done so, check out my free stories here at this site, along with other free stories available at Smashwords and Wattpad.

Tell More Stories [fictional guest post]

Lenny Stevens

Hi. Lenny Stevens here. You may remember me from my last post, Help A Guy Out.

I think Steve Campbell is making a mistake rewriting the Margga’s Curse story so that Vree Erickson’s parts are in first person point of view—aka 1p POV. He’s trying to be trendy because many young adult books today are written that way. I say “Leave it 3p POV and get on with telling more stories.”

But I know he’s gonna tinker more with Vree’s first story, so that’s why I’m butting in with my two cents and publishing it at his blog. Then he’ll see it and maybe listen to me.

So, Steve, I know 1p POV makes the character seem closer to the reader: we follow along in their heads as they do business. “I went there, I saw this, I did such and such,” blah, blah, blah, etc. You can only tell the story of what the narrator experienced, or experiences (as in the case of writing in present tense—please don’t write in present tense and make me box your ears with how much I hate that, too).  When you write in good ole time-tested, reader approved third person past tense the way you did with the original Margga’s Curse, you can cover all important POVs and tell the story from different angles without switching back and forth from third person to first person. Many readers hate all that switching back and forth. And I’m one of them.

Another reason I dislike reading 1p POV stories—suspenseful ones especially—is I find myself distracted from the story’s immediacy by thinking “You’re gonna make it out alive. You’re telling the story!” 1p POV kills suspense, and Margga’s Curse is full of suspense.

So, my dear Steve, if it’s closeness that seems lacking in Margga’s Curse, I suggest writing it with deep POV. Deep POV is the feeling that the reader is in the characters’ shoes. The story is seen and felt through the characters’ experiences, history, thoughts and feelings, but told in 3p POV without markers.

Markers, you may remember from those writing classes you took years ago, are the reminders to us readers that a character is doing something. She felt, he saw, she watched, he thought and so on. It’s reporting. It keeps readers removed from story events and the characters’ feelings. Get rid of ’em. Doing so pulls us readers deeper into story events and deeper into the characters’ minds and hearts.

Here’s an example with the markers watched, thought, saw, and felt:

Lenny followed Vree to the pine tree behind the house and watched her toss her backpack atop a branch. When it stayed, she hurried back, never once looking to see if she was being followed.

And she thinks she’s being sneaky, he thought as he saw her go inside the house. Please.

Lenny waited a few minutes, then took Vree’s pack from the branch. He hesitated before he stuck his hand inside. He thought that the creature living in the green crystal would turn him into a toad as soon as he touched it. He flexed his hand and sucked in a breath before he felt three of the crystal’s smooth, icy facets burn at his fingertips.

Here’s an example without markers:

Lenny followed Vree to the pine tree behind the house. She tossed her backpack atop a branch, then hurried back to the house, never once looking to see if anyone followed.

And she thinks she’s being sneaky? Please.

After waiting a few minutes, he rescued her pack, hesitating before he stuck his hand in. Would the creature living in the green crystal turn him into a toad as soon as he touched it? He flexed his hand, holding his breath before three of the crystal’s smooth, icy facets burned his fingertips.

Without barriers like watched, thought, saw, and felt, the reader moves deeper into the story world by being one with the character instead of watching the character perform and react.

So there you have it: my stance to keep the story and all following stories about Vree and me at 3p past tense and with deep POV.

If you take my advice, you’ll thank me that you did. I guarantee it.

Now, finish more stories about Vree and me so I can get more fans. I plan on starting a fan club and you’re not helping.

Thanks for listening. Don’t make me keep commandeering your blog.