Pack Your Bags: Virtual Blog Tour Award!

Christmas at the mall

You know you haven’t been decorating your house when you have to use a photo of mall decorations.


After my post about readying hearth and home for Christmas, you may be surprised to see me here. ‘Tis the season not only for being jolly but also for passing out awards! The thoughtful and creative author of The Grizzle Grist Mill has nominated me for the Virtual Blog Tour Award, which humbled and surprised me. I have enjoyed her reflections on life, her photographs, and her poetry.


My daughter prefers for me not to watch her rehearse, so I’ve been respectful of her wishes. She made this photo from a video — hence, the poor resolution.

One unusual feature of the Virtual Blog Tour Award is that nominees are assigned a date for publishing acceptances. My date is December 15. Once I’ve posted my responses to the award questions, I will return to preparing for Christmas and readying my house for the out-of-town guests who are coming to see my daughter dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker” later this week. (Did that just slip out? Yes, I’m a proud mama.)

virtual tour

Here are the rules:

1. Pass the tour on to up to four other bloggers. Give them the rules and a specific Monday to post.

2. Answer four questions about your creative process. Your answers will help other bloggers and visitors know what inspires you to do what you do.

  • What am I working on at the moment?
  • How does my work differ from others in my genre?
  • Why do I write or create what I do?
  • How does my writing or creative process work?

3. Compose a one-time post which is posted on a specific Monday (date given from your nominator).

So, here goes:

DSCN0691Four bloggers whom I nominate: 

1. Heather Publishing

2. Perspectives On . . .

3. Glimpses of Beauty

4. Trees of Transition

If you accept this nomination, please respond by posting on Monday, January 5. (If it is more convenient for you to post on December 29, that is fine.)

Here are my answers to the questions (which make me realize that perhaps I am not enough of a Writer with a capital W to merit this award):

What am I working on at the moment? As far as blogging goes, I plan to take a break. I need to recuperate from three months of intense blogging that began with September’s Blogging 101 and continued through November’s Photo 101. Yesterday, I posted the final theme, “Triumph,” on my other blog. Eventually, I will review my Photo 101 pictures and put together a gallery of ten favorite photographs, but that can wait until after the holidays. Photo 101 was supposed to stop after Thanksgiving weekend, but, because I was so slow, it continued into mid-December; Photo 101 has crept into Writer’s Quote Wednesday posts and into Stream-of-Consciousness posts. Going places without a photo theme in mind will be strange, but I need a respite from thinking constantly about what to post.

This weekend, I read an excellent post on stepping back for a broader perspective. Blogging has insinuated itself into nearly all of my leisure hours — and some of my working hours. I need to assess why I’m here on my blog so often and whether that is an appropriate use of my time and energy. While I plan to take time off from posting, I hope to continue writing privately at, which has been a great resource for online journaling. I’ve contemplated re-taking Blogging 101 in January, since I never finished the second half of the course. And I’m sure I will continue to take photographs through the holidays!

How does my work differ from others in my genre? Many bloggers seem to write fiction — novels and short stories — and poetry. Aside from one haiku that I wrote this fall, I have not written poetry in years. The last poem I remember writing was when my ballerina-daughter, who spends many hours a week in pointe shoes, took her first steps! I have realized that the most productive time for my writing poetry was during my college years, when I was reading quite a bit of poetry in my classes; I also had far more time for solitary contemplation. As a homeschooling mother with two students to educate, I am unlikely to expand my writing beyond essays at this time.

I illustrate posts with my own photographs, but that is not unusual in the blogging world, particularly with blogs that are travel-related (as mine set out to be). Literary allusions sometimes work themselves into my posts, but I see similar references in other bloggers’ posts.

Why do I write or create what I do? When I started this blog, my goal was to share my experiences of hiking, mostly in local places, and of traveling. We had just returned from California, and I had many photos and memories that I wanted to share, particularly with the children who weren’t able to accompany us on that trip. While I have rarely kept a journal of my daily life, I like to keep a travel journal. The habit of keeping a travel journal began when my husband and I went to Pakistan for two months. Before we left, friends gave us a blank journal with Bible verses or quotations written at the top of many pages. Later, I was very thankful that I had a detailed record of our experiences.

Writing, for me, is a means of self-expression and of self-discovery. It is a way of filtering the beauty of the world through the beauty of words. Writing is also a way of preserving the past and of creating a visual record, through photographs, of the places I’ve been. Some day, I hope to write something of more permanence than a “blog,” which seems such a flickering and insubstantial medium. I once envisioned myself as an author of children’s books, but my creative spark would need to be rekindled first.

How does my writing or creative process work? I prefer to write in response to an internal prompt: an idea or observation will start germinating; then, suddenly, I must sit down at my computer and write. I do not make a written outline, although I have a mental outline of what I want to say and how I plan to support my points. Once a draft is written, I will rearrange sentences and paragraphs or add transitions. I have to cut out many “extra” words, sentences, and, if I’m feeling strong, paragraphs. If I can get one of my daughters to read my draft at this point, I am a happy woman. Other eyes always catch things that I miss.

Blogging events and courses are more difficult for me creatively. I find it intimidating to write a post on a Photo 101 theme or a Daily Post prompt, with hundreds of other people responding to the same topic. I try not to read other responses until I have finished my own: if someone else takes an approach that I have considered, I move on. “There is nothing new under the sun,” but I find it easier to participate in an event like Silver Threading‘s Writer’s Quote Wednesday, in which each blogger brings her own prompt. There is less risk of duplication.

While I find it harder to respond to an external prompt, once I get going, the writing process is much the same. I prefer to do all my writing on a post in one or two sittings. When I am “in the zone,” I would not notice a herd of elephants stampeding past me, much less one of my children trying to get my attention. It is dangerous to interrupt me at such times; yes, my family is very patient.

It might be wise to wait a day before posting a completed piece, but I like to be done with a post. A half-written draft gnaws at me, so I try to finish drafts while the drive is there. It is a rare post that gets published and remains unedited. The day or so after I publish a post, I keep coming back to fix a sentence, cut an adverb or adjective, or change a caption. After a couple of days, I let the post go. I enjoy editing a piece that is still warm from the oven, so to speak, but revising an old post is like eating a piece of stale bread.

End of the questions! Good luck to my nominees (should they choose to accept this award).

Look homeward, angel

Look homeward, angel.


22 thoughts on “Pack Your Bags: Virtual Blog Tour Award!

  1. Sandi I’m absolutely so embarrassed that you nominated me for the blog tour and then I fell off the face of the blogging world! Thank you so much for your kind gesture. I have recently been back into blogging, which has been a wonderful relief to be writing again. I am sorry I disappeared for so long without saying a thing. I hope you have been doing well. I look forward to catching up on some of your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Considering my own burn out and your stated desire to take a break, I should not send the link to The Diary of Samuel Pepys (; however, I hope you and your readers might find inspiration for articles from the site.

    I liked the idea that might motivate me to begin my own necessary history for children and grandchildren. I hope it is truly a way to write privately for a while, or I just could make my LESSONS LEARNED blog private and work that way until I get the feel for scheduled writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll check out the Samuel Pepys link, Beth. Turns out, I got very little private writing done during my break: I wrote once on I got a lovely new journal for my birthday (which was during the holidays), so I might take a stab at writing-win-a-pen for a while.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m going to wait until the 5th. I’m still looking for people. I get caught up in reading the blogs and forget what I am doing. Plus I’d like to sit on it for a day or two and make sure what I wrote is what I really want to put out there. No big deal … just less off the cuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Ginger All the Way | sappy as a tree: celebrating beauty in creation

  4. YES! I have enough time. I ACCEPT! Thank you for setting a reasonable date. I will get started tonight right after work. A good post with intention about intention. Love it. Coming out of NaBloPoMo, I think I kinda lost my intention. Thanks for the Christmas present! Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I think I am done. I am open for suggestions on any nominations, seems I have been falling behind on seeking new blogs to follow. I might sit on this for a week and pick new people out of the blogging 101 class. IDK. We will see how I feel in the am.

        You weren’t kidding when you said the questions were more in-depth than you realized. I thought yeah, I know what I am doing … I know why I write. Turns out I had more than one answer to every question. So far my word count is 2264. Is that too long?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on your award and your daughter’s upcoming performances! Blogging can become an all-inclusive endeavor, especially once we’ve gotten to the point that regular readers become cherished friends. We don’t want to leave them ‘hanging’ too long, nor can we bear to miss what they are producing. It’s enough to swirl the senses and eat up our hours!

    Chuckled at your mall photo; I could take a picture of my wrapping paper, I suppose 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you on both counts, Sammy: she is excited but nervous. (We don’t get to take pictures during the ballet, which is just as well, b/c it is very distracting.)

      You are right about wanting to find out what’s up with other people. I signed out of WordPress on my phone and on my laptop, but then I found myself sneaking in the “back door” of my email. Even if I don’t post for this week, it will be hard not to pop by and see what’s up with everyone else.


  6. Thanks for accepting this award, and I loved reading more about you! Your writing inspires me to be more deliberate and consistent in my own…Thank you for all of your encouraging words to me lately…Since, we won’t “see” you until after the holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you again for thinking of me 🙂 I found those questions were more in-depth than I had realized; I could have written about them for hours, but I’m not sure if anyone would have read them.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too! My company arrives in four days . . .

      Liked by 1 person

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