Friday, September 19, 2014

Ask the Diva Episode 1

Hello happy tanglers everywhere!  if you're looking for this week's challenge it is HERE

I have been collecting some questions for an Ask the Diva segment since i was in Providence for the 15th CZT training.  Originally i was slated to speak for an hour and then have a Q&A, but it didn't work out that way because of reasons.  So i am endeavouring to answer those questions here in a totally bunch of totally random posts i'm calling Ask The Diva Episodes.  :D

These episodes will be archived in the FAQ section of this blog (found here or by clicking the tab above)

If you have a question for me, feel free to email me: lauraharmz (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject heading: ASK THE DIVA and i'll see what i can do to answer you.

So without further ado, here we go:

What are is your favourite tangle? 
boy.  This one is hard, because i have a lot of favourites.  My Go-To for relaxation is usually keeko because i can just shut my brain off.  But i love the look of Mi2 and pretty much any tangle created by Carole Ohl or Margaret Bremner.  My favourite tangle changes all the time because i seem to go through phases, but i always come back to keeko.  So, i guess that's the one.

Who do you find tangly inspiration from? 
Again, probably from Carole and Margaret.  Carole's style is so whimsical, i love that.  And Margaret is an amazing artist who really knows how to use contrast to her advantage.  Other than those two, Everything Rick and Maria does looks flawless and effortless.

You must make a lot of money from your blog?


i just have to laugh at this one.

I was actually asked this one several times by different people, both by email and at Providence.  the answer? no.  No i don't.  Yes, i have ads - but i make about $35-40 a month from those ads, which essentially buys me a coffee and art supplies.  One person implied in their email that i must be rolling in ad money as i've somehow been able to quit my job and stay at home with my kids. Nope. Nopedy nope nopperson nopes-a-lot.  My decision to stay home with my kids had everything to do with Artoo's medical condition and absolutely nothing to do with rollin' in ad money.  ;)  It's really been a challenging, and at times difficult decision, but it is what's best for our family.  Things are tight. but we squeak along.
What i do here, at the Diva Challenge, i do out of love for you guys!  For the low low price of Free.  :) because i'm sweet like that.  (But should you want to share the love in a monetary way, lol, please feel free to tip me via pay pal!)

I'd like to host my own weekly challenge on my blog - Do you have any advice for me, and can you give me challenge ideas?
uhm, i've been asked this many times, and i'm not sure how to answer that.  On the one hand - go for it.  It's a lot of work, and a big commitment, and it's not paid very well.  On the other hand - do you have something to offer to the interneting world that does not already exist?  If so, then by all means put it out there.  If not, then maybe the answer isn't another challenge. As for challenge ideas, you're on your own.  I have a hard enough time coming up with my own challenge ideas. ;)

How can i run a successful blog?
hey. great question.  I have been blogging since the year 2002, more or less, back when you had online journals or diaries (anyone out there remember diaryland?) After i moved my blog from diaryland to blogger i had a personal blog that still exists but is just sitting out in the world unloved.  The success of this blog happened by accident because i found a niche group of like minded creative beautiful people.  if i had to pick one thing to say about having a successful blog - it is to show up consistently.  Knowing that i have to write a post every sunday night means it's part of my schedule.  Part of my life.  My family knows that Sunday night is blogging night for me.  and i get it done. (sometimes really late, but it gets done).

When are you writing a book? Can i write your book for you? Can we co/write your blog into a book and split the proceeds? 
Since my blog started getting  heavy traffic i've had several offers to help me write a book, a few offers of having someone write my book for me, offers to co-write, and even actual legit offers from actual legit publishing houses.  I've declined all of them. Clearly the demand for a book is there.... and the short answer is: Yes, there's a book in me somewhere.

The long answer is: when i became a CZT there were only a very small hand full of published materials on the subject of Zentangle.  As the years went by it seemed like everyone and their uncle were writing and publishing zentangle books.  I think that is awesome! i really do.  I would LOVE to write a book, are you kidding me? But at this point i'm not sure what there is to write about that hasn't already been covered by the plethora of books already out in the world.  I'm a writer.  I've been a writer since i was 10 years old.  I know there's a book in there somewhere, but i can manage the writing by myself.  And when that happens, i'll be sure to let you know. :)

Where can i find the slideshow? Am i missing the slideshow? I can't see the slideshow? my tile didn't make it to the slideshow? Are you still doing the slideshow?
out of all the questions i've been asked so far, this one is the most common... and i hang my head in shame because the answer to this is: I don't know.  I haven't done a slideshow in a long time.  It's true.  It has nothing to do with you guys or the quality of the work you're doing (which is awesome, by the way, and did you do something new with your hair? You look great!).  It has everything to do with the mass amount of time it takes to go through and compile and label and organize the amount of slideshow submissions every week.  About a year or so ago, i had a wonderful angel come down from the heavens by the name of Suzanne - who offered me her time and services to help me get the slideshows back up and running again - and we did! and they were great... but then life, and summer, and traveling happened... and we're so far behind with the slideshows i'm not sure what to do with them.

Clearly the slideshows are the best part.  i love 'em.  you love 'em.  They are wonderful and they are so inspiring to see everyones submissions collected in one location.
But there's a lot of behind the scenes that happens, on my end and on Suzanne's, to make those work.
And so, i'm asking you - the readers, contributors, tanglers, and challenge enthusiasts - what would you like to see happen with the slideshows? Are there those of you out there who are more tech-savvy than me (it wouldn't take much, honestly) who have a solution to this puzzle? The way i see it is we could scrap the slideshows all together, or we could try picking them up again - and leaving the missed weeks lost in a slideshow-less-void, or some amazing magical third option that i don't know about that is in YOUR brain somewhere?  I'm really open to suggestions at this point.  I want to make it work for everyone, but as i said before - this blog is a big time commitment in my life that is already kinda jam packed with time commitments.  Which leads to the next question:

How long will you continue writing the Weekly Challenge? 
Forever. Or, until my brain explodes, my hands fall off and i can't tangle or type anymore.  The weekly challenge has brought so many amazing things into my life, as well as the most creative and passionate and deeply caring people.  I don't know what i'd do without the challenge in my life.  That being said - if at some point it become a burden, or a hardship to continue - if people lose interest - if my life is ridiculously compromised and difficult, i will have to reevaluate priorities.... but i'm here with you for the foreseeable future.  So.  Get out there and tangle something. <3 p="">
Okay, so that's it for the first episode of ask the diva.  i hope this has been helpful and informative - and if you have a question for me, pop me an email!

love you all!!
Laura, the Diva. 


  1. Oh Laura, How fun! This just made my friday afternoon!

  2. Major love and big thanks for all you've done, now more than a million and a half times, to encourage and inspire so many all over the world to TangleShare. There can never be too much happy.

  3. What a fun post! Love your blog.

  4. I'm one of your relatively new followers -- a recovering lawyer, self-declared travel blogger and pretty much Zentangle/ZIA addict (probably in the loosest sense of the term although I'd love to take one of the CTZ courses and learn about it from the horses' mouths (so to speak). You might be too in the trees right now (understandable) to see the forest, but I don't think your book would be just another how to Zentangle book, but rather about where it fits into the challenges you manage in your real life. I think there are a lot of people dealing with a lot of stuff who are drawn to tangling and your willingness to share your own ups and downs with the community you've created suggests (to me anyway) that there is indeed a book in there somewhere, IMHO---you know----in your definitely deserve some contributions for your time and effort.

    1. Love "a recovering lawyer

      And, your suggestion for Laura's book is a really good one. It would not only bring more awareness about how Zentangle can fit into life's challenges, it may also help to create more awareness of Artoo's condition. I hadn't even heard of it until I checked out this blog. (Keep up the "recovery" Suzanne!

  5. Love your blog. It is a constant for me and I try to participate each week. You guide us into territory untraveled or not wanted to travel and challenge the dickens out of us. Please keep going. I look forward to your exploits each week. We love you Diva.

  6. Instead of a slideshow, you could pin everything to a pinterest board. Heck, I could help you with that. Let me know.

  7. As unfortunate as it may be there is no slide show I have to admit that on one level this is good news.... I thought maybe I was just too technologically challenged to find it! Lol

  8. Could the "slideshow" be done on facebook somehow? Maybe make an album for each challenge and have people post their pictures to the album?

  9. On Art Journal Journey
    Susi puts each entry as they come in onto a Pinterest board. this makes it easy to see each entry and also they connect back to the individual blogs.
    Here is AJJ's September board

  10. Since I've known about you I'v been reading your blog. That's about a year now. For the life of me I never knew there was a Slide show" that one could watch. I'm not very "technology wise", but you wrote about organizing and coordinating things. I'd say just put them in, any old which-way and show us how people interpreted your challenge. That's the only thing I've longed for on your blog, at least one picture of what others have tangled. I'm pretty much house bound now, so seeing other's "Tangles" is not only very soothing, but makes me feel that I'm still a part of things. I have loots of time on my hands, maybe if you send the entries to me my friend Chris would show me how to do a slide show intentionally. (I did it accidentally once with my photos of a Family Christmas party.) So it can't be too hard to learn. Let me know.

  11. As to the slideshow: I love the idea but can see how time consuming it can be for you. This past year or two I haven't been even posting the challenges I have been doing. I love your challenges, do them when I can. Perhaps you can start a flickr group or yahoo group and we can post our own pics so people can look through them there. This could take some pressure off you and we could look through each others pictures seamlessly without just haveing to pick them out one by one on the links. Many of the links are already flickr sites so it might not be such a hardship to post to a diva challenge group.


tangle me some zen, baby!!