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I was intrigued to find this website, and astounded. Who knew there could be so many ways of starting to write, or get ideas for it? Does this mean that the infamous writers’ block is so widespread that all these starters are necessary, presumably so. I particularly like the Story Starter idea, and the Plot Generator. I’ve been reading elsewhere about the use of software to create articles, which I don’t like the idea of, but using software to spark an idea is not quite so bad.

I have to admit that as a newbie to blogging I’m finding it difficult to think of things to write about. I guess part of the difficulty is that I’m trying to write this blog as practice, and also to show my writing when I can get started, so I’ve limited myself as to topics. I think perhaps the practice part needs to have more prominence, I should just write and not worry about who might read it.

It’s a similar quandary to one I read about recently, that of making small talk. Making small talk is definitely a skill, and one which needs to be learnt and practiced. I think I used to be quite good at it, I can remember going to functions, and having to sit between two strangers at dinner and make conversation with them. I used to be able to do it, but I’ve gotten out of practice, although I think I’m getting better at it again. I also think I am more confident to say things, and less worried about what people might think.

The book I read about making small talk suggested ways of thinking of topics, using your surroundings as a starter. For instance, the view from a window, or a picture in the room might suggest a subject for conversation. One point strongly emphasised was the difference between open and closed questions, and that closed questions don’t encourage the flow of conversation. I find this difficult though, since the open questions suggested sound a bit stilted to me. The writer was very strong on such things as ‘What experiences have you had?’, ‘What places have you visited?’ and similar things, which I also feel are a bit intrusive.

On the other hand, we are often told that people like to talk about themselves most of all, so perhaps this is the right approach. I kow that I am sometimes out of synch with other people on this, I’m not sure if it’s my English upbringing which makes me more reserved than the Australians I mix with these days, or whether I’m a bit old fashioned. I think it may be the former, since Australians of my age group are more frank about things than I tend to be. I’ve always noticed it ever since I came to live here, subjects which I would not bring up seem to be acceptable topics of conversation.

I don’t really know where this post is going, perhaps because it’s really going nowhere. I need to practice two things, first thinking of topics for conversation, preferably before I need them, and second thinking of topics for blog posts.

In the meantime I might add a picture, one of those being worth a thousand words!

Garden of the Heysen family home, Hahndorf, South Australia

The Cedars, Hahndorf, South Australia

This is a photo I took in the garden of The Cedars, just outside Hahndorf in South Australia. The property is where the artist Hans Heysen lived and worked, and still belongs to the family. A beautiful setting, much more English than I remembered. Subject for another post perhaps.

Note to self. A good idea would be to select a topic, a place, person, book etc., do some research, and write the blog post as a mini article on the subject. Hone my skills at research and writing at the same time, and demonstrate what I can achieve in both areas.