Back to the basics

Welcome my good friend, Dave Walters to the blogging world. He’s been a photographer ever since I’ve known him and used to take all the photos for CCSS, a professional organization for social studies teachers. Every once in a while you get a whiff of history in his writing. Oh I do love a little history wafting through a story, don’t you? Welcome to Always Write, Dave. Signed T. C. History Gal

davewaltersphotography-taking better photographs and telling stories

Just a few old box cameraa

Anso Shur-Flash

In its simplest form a camera is elementary. A box, an opening, and light sensitive paper or film. Lens, selectable shutter speeds, aperture control, even focus are not necessary. You can make a simple pinhole camera yourself or buy a kit or even a completed version from many online shops. They are frequently made of wood and as much a piece of art as they are a working camera. If you don’t want to go to that much trouble you can buy a used box camera like the Kodak Brownie 2 or 2A for about $10-20. You might even have one in a box from a relative.

I happen to have 20-30 of those old box cameras (want to buy one?) Today we’re going to look at three examples of the box camera from the era 1900-1935: an Ansco Shur-flash, an Agfa B-2 Cadet…

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Celebrate Juneteenth on June 19th

Amid all the racial tension that permeates the United States, Juneteenth represents a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the African-American community.

Juneteenth season has already started.  It is the oldest celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.  The official day for the celebration is June 19th. Ordinarily, California along with states all across America host celebrations all week-long.

For over twenty years Allensworth State Historic Park in Tulare County had hosted a large and experienced Juneteenth celebration. The only Freedom Colony in California, Allensworth was founded in 1908.

Due to Covid-19, there will be a Virtual Tour you can register to attend this year.

Juneteenth 2012

Allensworth is a naturally parched town in the far southwest corner of Tulare County. Despite overwhelming odds, former slaves, mostly retired military families built a thriving, well-educated community in about ten years.

The school house

There were important ceremonies.

Choirs from around the state came to perform.

Guests included a local celebrity and author, Mrs. Alice Royal, who has since passed away.  She wrote the book, Allensworth, The Freedom Colony, a well-told and beautifully illustrated book about the townspeople who built the town from nothing to a thriving town of mostly retired military and their families.  

Allensworth was a proud town in which African-Americans had the freedom to run their own government, educate their own young, and prove to the world that they were capable of independent productivity.  

Mrs. Royal was born in her grandparent’s house in Allensworth,  and later attended one year of school there.  She went on to earn her BS and MS degrees in nursing and became a school nursing administrator in Oakland, California.  She still tells her story across the nation at age 89.

I met a former teacher who taught school in the charming one-room schoolhouse shown at the beginning of this page.

There were booths that taught about everything that one needed to know in the early 1900s such as how to forge horseshoes and other important implements,

and how to make corn husk dolls.

Re-enactors played the parts of Buffalo Soldiers who had originally started in the 101st Regiment United States Colored Infantry during the Civil War.  For the most part the African-American soldiers were stationed out west.  Native Americans thought their bushy hair made them look like buffalo, and dubbed them “Buffalo Soldiers.”

Many of the guests wandered through the reconstructed town visiting the various buildings.  Allensworth is the only place in Tulare County that replicates in its streets and buildings what life was like in the early 1900s.  It is like visiting Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, but moving forward 200-300 years, and 2350 miles west.

Most of the guests that day enjoyed the food and vending booths and the artificial and natural shade, the highlights of Juneteenth celebrations as well.  The temperature that October day was easily one degree for every year since the founding of the town.

Excitement and high expectations permeated the 2012 celebration because Obama was running for President. Their jubulation about the upcoming election inspired and influenced me.

A military salute from the air drew attention for a moment, but the family reunion atmosphere continued for several more hours.

Happy Juneteenth to black Americans all over the United States.

I pray that there will soon be a time where skin color does not trigger any response but respect.

9 Tips to Use Your Blogging Journal Guaranteed to Make Your Blog 100% More Interesting

Journaling can make your blogging easier and 100% more interesting.

“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.”

Mina Murray

Blogging is like shouting your thoughts to the universe. Connect them and you have a high traffic blog with valuable insights.

Mental health experts, Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005 tell you that journaling can improve life. In the same way, a blogging journal can also take your blog from lifeless and disorganized and add sparkle, interest and so much clarity that your uppity friend will want to read every post. 

Introducing Peter Problogger and Holy Hobbyblogger

Holly runs a photography business out of her home. In her spare time, she blogs about gardening and photography. She struggles with managing all her blogging tasks. When she gets frustrated, she calls her friend who writes for several famous blogs and has thousands of followers and high traffic on his blog.

“I need a bigger brain, Peter Problogger. Blogging makes it hurt. I’m learning so many things at once.”

“Your brain is fine, Holly. You need a blogging journal. Your blogging journal acts as an extension to your brain that never gets tired and is always there for you.”

“I don’t have time to write in a journal. I take at least ten hours to research and write a post. Then it’s another ten hours to edit it.  I barely have time to read anyone else’s blog. Most of the time, I just click and read blogs as fast as I can. Sometimes, I press like to get through more blogs.”

So, why are you blogging, Holly? If you just want to pass the day, work a jigsaw puzzle. 

“Very funny, you know I make puzzles from my best photos. But I love to blog because I love it when people like my posts. It’s nice reading about people around the world.”

“You’ve met over 30 people on your blog this month. What do you remember about them, Holly?”

“Off the top of my head? I remember the names of the ones that I featured, and what their blogs are about.”

“Great!. Why, Holly?”

“We talked about something they wrote, or that I was researching for my post.”

“Uh-huh. How did you find them a month later?”

“Ugh, I waste hours sorting through my posts or worse, I don’t find them!”

“Like I said…”

“Don’t say it, I need a journal. But how do I get started? I don’t even know what to write, or what kind of journal to get.”

“You’re not alone, Holly. You don’t need to buy anything. Let’s get started.”

From Journal to Amazing Blog

“I’ve always written. There’s a journal which I kept from about 9 years old.”

Maya Angelou
9 tips infographic Date Stamp, set goals, document news and weather, review and revisit, keep open while blogging, curry your lists, track your blog posts, develop a niche sheet, link research notes

Top Tip #1 Date and Time Stamp

You can buy or make journals both paper and online. Before you write a word, date any journal entries {especially with paper journals} Don’t wonder later! Dating an online journal, though less disastrous if you miss, maintains an organization useful for scheduling and searching.

You might include the time because as you continue, you get a feel for which times are best for journaling, writing, reading. One of the biggest problems bloggers have is being consistent. A journal will help you discover your best journaling times and help you be a steady blogger until you develop a habit.

Journals gather data for you effortlessly. You can chart or graph later. Readers love infographic data. The data will shows you your best blog reading and writing days. Were you stuck inside because of hot weather or an unexpected storm? The more data you write down, the easier you can draw conclusions.

Details make 100% more interesting writing!

Top Tip #2 Set Goals

“Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.”

Robin Sharma

List your goals for:

  • Learning about blogging – classes, webinars, conferences, coaches
  • Researching posts
  • Writing headlines
  • Writing posts
  • Editing posts
  • Reading blogs – readers, email, social media
  • Expanding your reach – newsletters, social media

Goals can be as large as a mission statement and as small as a daily to-do list.

Top Tip #3 Document News and Weather

Why include information about news or weather? When you reread your journal, it gives you a perspective you might use when writing a new post, or a comment. You might even include how it made you feel.

Writing improves memory. Ask yourself, what was in the news six months ago? Did anything get resolved?

New post – follow up on last year’s news.

Top Tip #4 Review & Revisit

“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.”

Jen Williamson
  • Each month, maybe mid-month, read back over your journal from the month before. 
  • Highlight or star the blogs of your favorite influencers for each day based on what or how much and what you wrote about the blog. 
  • At the bottom or top of the online journal, use these starred entries to create a list of URLs to your favorite sites to create an easy roundabout blog post. The roundabout blog post features influencers and what they have to say about a certain topic. Your saved URLs in an online journal  make it so much easier to create this type of blog. 

An influencer is anyone who makes a difference in their field of study.They might be amazing bloggers, knitters, surfers, doctors, gardeners, authors, psychologists, even poker players. Every blogger has their own group of influencers.

Influencers write 100% interesting articles!

Tracking your favorite blog posts provide you with data to find your writing niche. [Acccording to Sophie Lizard of Be a Freelance Blogger, successful bloggers have their own niche or niches] 

To find your niche, bserve patterns in your reading that will appear as you review and revisit your journal. In addition, having data about the blogs you enjoy will identify your audience – ESSENTIAL to create a 100% interesting blog.

spiral journal with printed page pasted ona a page
Cut and paste: real and digital

Tip #5 Blog with an Open Journal

“I started writing a journal, and I was learning so much along the way.”

Jay Leno

You always learn something as you read blogs, so keep the current month’s journal open at the same time to record your thoughts and insights. Keep it open as you write.

Online jourals make cut and pasting into your journal fast but you have to watch your flow of writing. Edit for smoothness

screenshot of Always Write Blogging Journal in Use
Online journal – one of many tabs open when you write The boldface line includes links to other Google docs, including a list of favorite blog URLs.

Top Tip #6 Curry your lists

At the top of your online journal, paste a list of your favorite blog’s URLs  from previous journals, or create a new Google Document and paste the link into your journal. You can cut back your list to weed out those who are not responsive, don’t blog consistently, or any other reason you have to eliminate them from your current open blogging journal.

By the way, I discovered Jon Morrow, Freelance Writing King (my moniker for him, not his) and Mary Jaksch Write to Done, years ago when reading Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging and Queen of the Roundabout Blog Post. She interviewed on Always Write, and even the interview is a roundabout.  Write to Done published an article by Carol Tice, Make a Living Writing – another freelance writer influencer.

Your To-Do – If you haven’t met any of these fine folks, please visit them and tell them I recommended them. They all offer valuable courses in writing and blogging.

Since your Favorite Blog List may get long, you might want to keep track of how many times you visited that blog, if you don’t have a quote or notes to write about your visit.

Top Tip #7 Track your own posts

You might use the journal to also keep track of your own posts. It’s quicker than searching through your blog for your posts. Write as much information as you want, but include the link to the post. 

Use the links to fulfill Tip #8.

Screenshot of Niche List in Use.
8–Sample Niche Sheet with topics or Category Headings that show up on the left side of the screen, and a list of titles with links. This sheet is done in Google Docs.

Top Tip #8 Develop Your Niche Sheet

Eventually, you can use your search feature to create a Niche Sheet listing to categorize your blog posts. Unless you want an excessively long journal, cut and paste your blog links on a separate Google Doc, and post just the link to it at the top or bottom of your current journal – the one you have open all the time you are writing.


Many blogging platforms already suggest posts for your readers to visit after they finish your amazing post. Having your posts categorized in a safe place, away from your website, allows you to find related posts without having to open and close your website constantly. It also allows you to pick the best articles to include internally. This doesn’t replace plugins that help you find posts to reference, but it does allow you flexibility.

It is a must if you have more than one blog or blog on public platforms like Medium or Linked In.

screenshot of Always Write Research Page in Use
Google Doc linked to Online Blogging Journal

Tip #9 Link a Notes or Research Page

This is also a list of topics or URLs. For example, you might have spent about two hours visiting writing communities on Facebook. Let’s say you created a list of great writing groups you joined or want to join on a separate Google Doc. Link research doc to your journal!

You might have taken an online Bootcamp class from Carol Tice blogging at Make a Living Writing. You could link the handouts and your notes into your journal so that you can find them easily. Important research links may follow you in month-to-month journal entries. 

DO NOT share the files you download from other sites. They charge a premium for their information and it is for your use only.


If you blog consistently, you will develop your own system for managing all the work that you put into blogging. These are tips I’ve learned from years of journaling and blogging experience,  picked up from classes, face to face meetings with powerful influencers, reading books, and reading thousands of blog posts. 

I hope this post will encourage you and give you useful journaling tools that will make your blog posts 100% interesting

blogging journal sample iinfographic
Checklist of what you might record in your Always Write Blogging Journal

Related Post

13 Reasons You Should Start Online Journaling Even If You Hate to Write

Always Write Homework

Great teachers always assign homework to help their students learn skills.Once a teacher – always a teacher! 

  • If you enjoyed this post, please pass it on. 
  • If you have written about similar topics, feel free to drop a link in the comment box.
  • In the comment section share how you follow up with new blogs.
family enjoying the greatly improved life with an online journal

There are many kinds of journal formats. You can spend hours creating your own. Or you can use mine for free.  Click to receive a free PDF template or Google Doc for an online journal or print it out to create a paper diary. 

Debating which to use – paper or digital journal? Join the debate.

How Facebook Changes Work Better for Managing Groups

The new Facebook changes are not a hoax. I switched over the first day it showed up on my screen inviting me to try it. It is much more group friendly.

First of all your groups are listed easily by clicking a button on the top. You may learn that you manage more than you thought. It surprised me to learn that one of the groups I created through a page I manage didn’t show up under my managed groups.

The first change I noticed was a note on one of the groups I follow with a post about being able to search a post. I’ve spent way too much time looking for a post I know is in the group and there is a way to search that group.

The menu on the side makes it easier to make changes on your group. You don’t have to open the settings button for everything.

Less Reliance on News Feed

The last change that Facebook unearthed complaints about missing people in their News Feed. Since many people use Facebook to find groups and events., this new look should make it easier to use those features and be less reliant on News Feed for their group news.

So far I like the look. What do you think?

Related Post

How to Use Canva to Create Social Media Posts

Always Write Moved

Always Write has moved to https;// All the articles that were on that site are housed on this site. I am in the process of culling and organizing the nearly 1,000 posts to keep the most relevant and eliminate duplicates.

Why Move?

Three reasons caused me to consider closing down, my Always Write site.

The first reason was financial because the renewal came up. Even though it only cost $143 per year to host on SiteGround, it cost $143 to host an extra site.

Always Write was a site and this is a When I started with, it was not as versatile as it is now. For the price of $99 per year I have more space and fewer problems. It is easier to monetize should I want to do that.

Keeping up two sites is not hard if you have a clear vision for both. Since I am a hobby blogger, not a professional, it didn’t make sense to keep up two. Always Write focused on writing. Before it was a travel blog, this blog was random. In truth, both blogs covered many topics because writing covers all topics. Sometimes it was hard to decide where to publish a post.

Blogging Changed

When I started blogging, my goal was to experiment. Now, I understand blogging and it has many purposes.

Most blogs inform, and I enjoy that aspect of blogging both reading and writing. I’m sure you read blogs every day when you are looking for information. I read one post today about the Spanish Flu and one about a couple, not much older than I am, that succumbed to COVID-19 six minutes apart.

Some blogs are personal, more like long Facebook posts or long letters made public. That’s what I enjoyed about my early days of blogging, the social connection. I made some very close friends through blogging.

There was little of that on Always Write and I missed it. Most of my early connections are now friends on Facebook. It is much faster and easier to post on Facebook than to compose a post for a blog. To be honest, it’s much easier to read a post on Facebook than to click to the blog and read the entire article.

Where Will Always Write Go from Here?

This blog began as a personal experiment, Streaming Thoughts. I recorded my frustrations with blogging more than anything and kept a running journal about my daily life. I don’t want to lose the place where I can share my history and the varied interests in my life. However, I will take out posts that have little purpose other than rambling.

Always Write is my brand. I couldn’t let it go. So I have rebranded this site once again to keep my Always Write brand. Eventually, this blog went from Streaming Thoughts to Traveling and Blogging Near and Far. The new Always Write will include the travel aspect, once we are able to travel again, if we are still alive after the COVID-19 Pandemic ends. Travel will not be the primary objective of the blog.

Always Write tried to be primarily informative. It included book and movie reviews. As it got better known, many people asked me to review their books. When I started reviewing books, I did it because I wanted to remember the book. I’m going to go back to that. If you want to write a review for Always Write, you may do so and submit it to me.

Always Write primarily offered advice about writing and blogging because I was writing a novel and establishing a blog. Many people emailed me asking me to publish their articles. Your great articles, published on Always Write are still here. Great articles about writing, photography, and blogging still have a place here. However, there are so many good articles about writing, I doubt that I will spend my time informing you on how to write. I will keep any pages and posts that I think might be helpful to you.

Photo Challenges and contests took a lot of my time when I first started blogging. They are a great way to connect and make friends. I won’t take out my Photo Challenge page, but will discard or revise my old posts. If you have blogged a long time, as I have, you have probably done the same thing. It takes a long time to do this, but it makes it usable for others to enjoy. I want to remove all the posts that are not useful.

Blogging made me take more interest in everyday things. I took more pictures than I ever had in my life, more than 37,000 of them, most of which I could throw away, but I’m a hoarder. Without my site, I have one less place to hoard. 🙂


I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones by keeping this blog current. It is almost ten years old, and has seen a lot of remodels and it’s time for another one.

How about your blogging experience? Where are you in your journey. Made any changes recently?