A Brief Note On Protesting

I just sent a text to my mom letting her know that Instagram wasn’t broken. We are all digitally protesting with the Black Lives Matter movement.

I thought it was a funny text to send, but, until around 8a, I had no idea there was a digital protest scheduled for today.

When not under lockdown, I enjoy a peaceful protest. I like groups of people getting together to support each other and a cause. I like the visual reminder that government and institutions that provide public services are meant to serve the needs of the public.

We are beholden to laws laid out by the government based on the needs of the people. Without these protests, we are in danger of forgetting the government is meant to work with and for us.

They, those working in government, are also people. These laws and regulations are meant to protect them in addition to the rest of us. All of us.

Protests, be they digital, paper, or traditional, can serve to move a cause forward, shine a light on neglected masses, and illustrate our desire to work together toward a common understanding and a system that is as fair as humans can make it.


Sleepy Spring Days

It’s starting to feel more summer than spring. Midday naps are looking more inviting, and it is getting harder to get out of bed in the morning.

In fact, this morning, I slept in. It felt like the beginning of summer break. I feel unfocused. The sun is beating down on everything. Getting into the pool even seems like it would take too much effort.

(Putting on a swimsuit is hard sometimes. They’re tight.)

I’ve not had a summer off since high school. I had a few months a few years ago wherein I wasn’t trying to build a business or finish any books by a deadline. That was the most summer-like feeling I had experienced since I was teenager.

I slept in for a couple of weeks, I feel into video games and television pretty hard for a week or so, then I became restless.

Because I know I will start feel restless after a few days of laziness, I’m going to gently push through the call to recline and balance the final edits of How to Write a Children’s Book with playing The Sims 4. I may even gift myself a nap.


Q: Do you write a story on a computer or on paper first?

A few years back, I took a writing class with a journalist in Nashville named Gloria Ballard.  Most of the students, including me, brought notebooks and pens.  I believe only two students brought a laptop on which to compose. 

I remember her being genuinely shocked by this.  While she said she was encouraged by us all to start writing with pen and paper again, I was beside myself with envy.  I knew I could get a lot more writing done if I could exercise some self-control and write directly to the screen.

After that class, I started building up my “compose on computer” muscles.  At first, I had to turn off the WIFI and uninstall my video games (I’m a child).  Now, I do discovery writing on paper and write for publication on the computer.

If you are curious about discovery writing and just writing in general, please visit notnowimwriting.com where I talk all about the craft and business of writing. 



In 1996, I got my first computer. It was a Gateway. You know, the ones with the cow box. Do they still make those?

::opens new tab::

Yes. They do.

It was then that I created my first of many screen names, chatted in chatroom for the first time, and started my very first blog.

At first, it was in the form of some kind of notes app inside the AOL system. Over time, I moved on to using Homestead by Intuit.

::opens new tab::

Yes, they’re still around.

Between 1996 and now, I started over 100 blog. I have used some to explore ideas, and some to test businesses. As of right now, I run more blogs than I want to admit as most of them are in testing phases, but these are my top three:

This one which is the personal log: hellothisisbarbara.com

A writing blog: notnowimwriting.com

My company’s blog: pilgrimfowlpress.com

But what about those others I mentinoed? Well, there are at five others that are in the testing phase.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because, you might want to start a blog, and I think you should. I also think you should know that I’ve been blogging since 1996, so if this seems easy for me, it’s because I’ve been doing it for 24 years.

Let me ask you a question. Why haven’t you started blogging if you feel like you want to give it a shot?

Is it because you’re afraid someone might read it and think it’s garbage? Let me kill the suspense for you – Yes, someone will think your blog is garbage, and, sometimes, it might actually be garbage. But, it will be done.

Do you think you don’t have anything to write about? Really? Do you have a favorite show, movie, video, book, recipe for green juice? Do you love anything? No? Why not? Answer those questions in writing. Boom. Blogging.

Not every blog post is great. Hell, this one lacks structure, you had no idea why I was writing this to begin with, and, truth be told, neither did I. But, that’s what a personal blog is for. It’s for stretching your legs, stretching your mind, and it asks you to reflect. It asks you why.

Backblaze Just Saved My Book

An hour ago, I thought I had lost 30,000 words.

When you make up stories for living, you need to constantly back up your work. Sometimes, you get stupid and label two files the exact same name (that was me). Also, sometimes, you accidentally replace the actual working draft with some blank file of the same name like a damn noob (also, me).

Luckily, I remembered to renew my subscription to Backblaze and was able to get my actual working draft from the backup and peace has been restored to the kingdom.

Look, it worked out for me this time, but it hasn’t in the past. I learned the hard way (I lost the first novel I ever wrote due to a faulty laptop battery and hard drive malfunction) that must have system to backup your work, and it must have redundancies.

I save my working draft on Dropbox which also saves it to hard drive, and my computer regularly backs itself up to Backblaze.

I pay for both, because I need both. Sometimes, I act like noob and ruin the files on my hard drive and in my Dropbox. It isn’t often, but when it is 30,000 words of your work, often isn’t the issue. If I didn’t have Backblaze, I’d be out a month’s worth of hard work.

Moral of the story – back up your work! Do it in three different places!


You Can’t Out Think The Work

No matter how hard you try, you cannot escape the work. I’ve read hundreds of books on the craft of writing, I’ve taken around 20 writing classes. I’ve made an investment in time and money to learn how to do the thing I love better and faster.

I continue to take classes, read books, read blogs, subscribe to newsletters, and believe every writing guru on YouTube that says they have found a way to make outlining and therefore writing easier.

At the end of the receipt, the session, the book, the lecture, the true remains the same: No matter the execution, the work must get done.

Q: I subscribed to your newsletter, but I’m not getting notified when a new post is up. Why is that?

There are two ways to follow this blog via email.


You can join the monthly newsletter which comes out on the first Tuesday of every month. This newsletter will include a little note from me, details about upcoming books, courses, etc., a list of all the blog posts from the previous month, and links to purchase books and courses.

Follow the Blog Via Email

You can follow the blog via email which sends you a link every time I post something new.

Joining one of these lists does not automatically sign you up for both, so if you wish to only sign up for one you totally can.

Courses $11.99 on Udemy

My writing courses on Udemy are discounted as part of their Memorial Day Sale.

*Please note these sales are entirely run by Udemy. If you miss it, I cannot extend it.

Today, We Hike.

I love the internet. I love computers. I love sitting inside my climate controlled home with my coffee within arms reach and a fan gently blowing on me. But, sometimes, I get restless, because while I am a house cat, I am also an outdoorsy person.

I like to hike, kayak and bike. I like to do these things early in the morning before the rest of the world realizes these activities are just waiting to be done.

Which is why early this morning, we set out to hike. I had been too much house cat and not enough person. I had only realized that when we climbed an incredibly steep incline after trekking down to the base of waterfall. I reached the top panting and smiling having used my body for actual locomotion. This is what I’ve been missing.


My Dog Has Terrible Taste

I am beginning to think my dog has terrible taste.

She’d rather eat something of a yellow-ish grey color that has been sitting in the yard for who knows how long than eat her breakfast which was kept in a protective casing until lovely scooped into her stainless steel bowl.

I looked at that yellow-ish grey stuff. I’m pretty sure it was cat poop.

How can I trust anything she does or says now? How, I ask you?

This Is How I Lose 50% of My Followers

That’s exactly what I said as I shared a post on Instagram on Sunday.

One of my favorite Instagram accounts is Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. Their mission statement on their website says the following:

We rescue farmed animals and give them care and sanctuary, connect animals with people to advance veganism, and advocate for animal rights in alliance with other social justice movements

They posted a imagine on Instagram asking people to sign a petition addressing what is going in the meat industry right now as a result of COVID-19. I do not want to get into here as the details make me too sad, but you can visit their website and decide whether or not you’d like to sign the petition. Their website is http://woodstocksanctuary.org/

Anyway, I signed the petition like a good activist, and hit share on the post. It moved the image into my Stories section where I wrote the caption, “You can be an omnivore and also not an asshole.”

Then, I pressed share. As I did, I said, “This is how I lose 50% of my followers.”

What’s funny is how much, albeit brief, fear I felt in those two seconds before posting. Obviously, I posted it despite my apprehension, because, among other reasons, I don’t want to feel like social media is cultivating my personality. I’d rather believe I am cultivating the atmosphere of my own social media pages and profiles.


Over 1700 Writers Writing Together

Woo hoo! 🎉🥳

There are now over 1700 writers writing together on Skillshare! AND we have 24 new writers writing together on Udemy this month!

Holy moly!

If you are looking to take a class, click here or click on Courses in the menu above! There are two free courses available on Skillshare, so get them freebies, people! Get on it!