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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

4 Steps to Reach a Blog Writer's Dreams

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Who doesn't know the richness of reverie, that lapse into meditation that carries us to the core of our being? It can occur anywhere---on a bus, in a crowd, idling in the kitchen. Woolgathering we call it or, an old term, a brown study. But whatever the name, it comes to this: We're sunk into ourselves and the outer world appears like something viewed from the bottom of a pool through pellucid water, a world muted and far off.

"The Beauty of Being Lost in Thought", Victoria, September 1992

As I reread collected issues of the original Victoria magazine, 
I "sink into myself" and dream of writing blog posts in which 
my readers experience the "beauty of being lost in thought," both 
by richness of words and by vignette inspiring images. 

Premier Issue, Victoria magazine, 1987
How I long for new issues of the original Victoria to read, and
how I long to be such a gifted writer!

How does one learn to stir a reader's heart and mind? 
How does one learn to express ordinary events with clarity, 
yet with phrases filled with poetic, nuanced nouns, verbs, adjectives  
that create visual images within a mind?  

Mathematics does not require poetically nuanced expressions, 
just clarity. 
What are considered the most beautiful equations 
throughout mathematical history are those that are brief, direct, unadorned.

May 1977, Austin, Texas
All my years of studying, teaching, and leading other educators 
were focused solely on clarity, conveying ideas clearly and crisply, 
with efficiency and translucence, in as little time as possible. 
(Woe to the teacher or administrator who took too much 
of a student's or teacher's precious commodity, time!)
Mathematics teaching and school administration 
did not include writing directions that encouraged 
daydreaming and drifting away in reverie. 
The blogs that compel me most are ones 
that combine artfully written commentaries 
with original, blog-writer-taken stunning photos. 
Blogs that remind me of Victoria magazine issues filled 
with poetry, with in-depth information, with artistic photography, 
with creative ideas, with original art, with vignettes...
about people, places, times, seasons, traditions, and entrepeneurs. 

So, back to my question. 
How does one learn to stir a reader's heart and mind? 
What do I need to do?

After woolgathering, 

four steps emerged from my brown study,

including specific thoughts about 

❦ ~ how to take those steps.  

1. Good readers make good writers
an expression used in education to shed some light 
on how to teach students to write, comes to mind. 
What we read becomes part of our intellect. 
Reading poetically written phrases develops a sense of style.

 Read original Victoria magazine.  
Read My French Country Home by Sharon Santoni. 
Read Castles Crowns and Cottages by Anita, and
read comments on blog sites written by Anita.

Photography angle and font create interesting photo  

2. Analyze for how-to-write a blog, 
not just read for enjoyment.
Content, phrasing, vocabulary,
sentence structure, font, and photography
comprise a total post.

Analyze favorite writers' styles, fonts, photos,
juxtaposition of text and photos,
transitions from one subtopic to the next,
and photography angles.
Reflect on the purpose of a particular post being written.

3. The old adages, learn by doing, and 
practice makes perfect, have merit. 

 Write, edit, re-write, save draft, sleep, 
edit and re-write phrases again. 
 Sleep helps the brain process our experiences and thoughts.

4. Courses and conferences 
offer advice and experienced teachers. 

Attend a How-To-Write session at a blog conference. 
Enroll in a poetry course. 
(Anita suggested a poetry course in one of her recent comments to me 
after I expressed a desire to become a better writer. Good idea.) 
Study photography. 

Thank you, my readers. 
August 26, 2014 is my second blogiversary.

Milestones are good encouragement to continue and 
to be better by the next blogiversary! 
Thank you for reading and for becoming a friend. 

Please join me at these inspiring sites...




  1. Oh, how I love this post, Judith.

    I grew up learning to keep communication concise, which was helpful in my software QA career. But poetic writing has always been a mystery to me ~ an art form that others mastered while I instead studied music and art.

    Thank you for sharing what you've learned so far. To me, your writing is already beautiful. I look forward to all you share.


    P.S. I did not keep my original Victoria magazines as I didn't have room for them. How I miss them now! My most favorite magazine for the exceptional photography, interesting articles, and romantic writing.

    1. Lin,
      Thank you for your kind encouragement on my writing. Your incredible artistic talent and joy of living brighten my day.


  2. Happy blog anniversary to you. I enjoy your posts - I like a little eclecticism in what I read and am not drawn to blogs that are one dimensional. A little good writing, some intriguing photos, a little of this and a little of that. As far as the writing goes - the best thing for better writing is more writing!

    1. I agree with you. Eclecticism is part of what keeps me coming back to a blogger's site. Thanks for reading Botanic Bleu. I am working on expanding my range of topics.


  3. Oh Judith, my goodness, I am breathless here for a bit! First of all,I am very late because my internet service at home went on the blink on Friday. Yesterday and today, my husband and I are having to come to our local Barnes and Noble to get hooked into WIFI! I am so behind but enjoying catching up with my friends, here like YOU.

    This past week, I went for a whole week of teacher meetings to prepare for TOMORROW, the first day back. Would you believe that the word "clarity" was the theme of our inservices? As a student of poetry, this word is the energy with which I dare and dream to exercise my writing skills because poetry requires a twist. Prose adds ideas, poetry takes out extra words, tailors the thought to a composition of thought in good order and magic.

    There is so much here that I just adore. Thank you so much for mentioning my name along with dear Sharon; her blog is lovely and she is a seasoned artist in every sense. Since I've been preparing for school, I've not yet posted my next piece which will be a bit different from my typical style, but will be a response to a nomination to participate in a blog writers' process tour!

    Thank you again chère Judith. I will be in touch again as the days unspool. HUGS! Anita

    1. Anita,
      Life is amazing with connections to others. You must tell me what your inservice sessions said about clarity. Thinking of you and all teachers on the first day of school for students. While I love retirement and all that I now have time to do (like blogging), I still miss teaching math and have dreams about it.

      Have a wonderful first day of school and a great school year.


  4. Judith, another excellent post, forever teaching us and leading us to improve. Your blog examples are some of my favorites, for just the reasons you mention. One of the reasons I want to continue to blog is to have a venue for improving my own writing and photography skills. We watch the masers and learn from their examples. You, my friend, are definitely one of the masters!
    PS ~ Where in Austin did you teach in 1977?

    1. I taught at Reagan HS. I loved Austin,TX and love visiting it whenever possible.
      Thank you for your kind comments and encouraging words. You made my day!


  5. Happy Blogiversary! I've been reading your blog from early on and enjoy every one! You have made it your goal to write beautifully and you do! Love your creativity and, oh yes, Victoria, one of my all time favorites! I had to weed out before a couple of cross country moves and wish I had all those issues back! The new are good, but the old ones are the best! Have a wonderful day!

  6. Judith,
    Happy Second Blogiversary, dear one!!!
    Loved all your amazing tips on writing!
    I tend to use more creative voice and expression with my blog.
    My former students enjoy reminding me of my many mistakes! Ha!
    Your photography is exquisite!

  7. Ahhhhh, and we are so thankful that you work hard to bring us such a wonderful blog!! I am more a mis-user of the English language, so I can very much appreciate all of you who work/study so diligently to entertain us!
    The math I can understand....been there and done that! Finally "graduated" to working with college-bound it and will hate to have to retire in a couple of years :^(
    Blessings to you,

  8. I'm wishing you a happy blog anniversary too and look forward to more interesting posts. I read this earlier but wasn't sure how to respond. I tend to write my blog, like I keep my journal. Quick little captions to go with my photos and without much substance. I'll have to think about this! Enjoy your afternoon sweet friend! Hugs, Diane

  9. Congratulations on your blogiversary! Aug. 26 is my BIRTHDAY:):) Great tips. Thanks!

  10. This is a wonderful post! I also dream of writing with more style. I love the ideas and points made here. Such good advice and a goal for many of us. Thanks for sharing at HSH!


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