Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

As a child, one of my fondest memories was of waking up at the crack of dawn only to smell the delightful scent of turkey raosting in the oven! My brother and I rarely ate breakfast. Instead of filling our minds with thoughts of all the wonderful food we would stuff our bellies with at noon - mashed potatoes, corn, homemeade rolls and all the traditional foods that we looked forward to - we distracted our thoughts of hunger by watching the Macy's Day Parade, and sneaking little tidbits of food from the counters.

This year, I get to have Thanksgiving at my house. My husband's family will come and there will be a house full of cheerful laughter and conversation, and not to forget the satisfied grunts and lip smacking that go along with a hearty meal! I will carry on my tradition of making my "famous homemade rolls" and a whole bunch of other very yummy goodies. It will be fun - busy, but fun!

I hope you all get to spend your Thanksgiving carrying on the traditions that make you the happiest, and most of all, I hope that you have as much to be thankful for as I do!

Have a very Blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Part I: Uncovering Your Niche in Research

Research - it's one of the most important elements involved in writing, but not one discussed very often. Perhaps because for some, research is an uncomfortable topic - often involving doing things that might take you out of your comfort zone. But it's important, and unless we are authorities on all the topics we write about - which is highly unlikely - it is most always necessary.

I am going to do a series of posts about this very subject because really, there is so much to say about it. My series will explore the different sources of research there are out there, and will delve more in depth into how to to maximize your results from each source I cover.

If you think, "Well, I am writing a...this does not apply to me," then think again. Business writing, article writing, magazine writing, book writing, almost every kind of writing I can think of requires at least some element of research. Even essay writing can be enhanced by it.

Research is involved in business writing because it is necessary to know about the business before you can write about it - demographic info, relevant statistics, or even research into what your writing client wants you do do for him.

Article and magazine writing both require research. If you have a rich understanding (which, unless you have first-hand experience, can only be obtained by doing thorough research) your writing will reap the rewards. You need to understand a topic before you can write about it. Trips to the library, surfing the internet and interviews will provide all the information you need.

Book writing is the same, just more involved. You cannot possibly write a great novel set in the Civil War era, without battling through the important dates, political happenings, and battles and victories of that time.

Even if you are only thinking about writing - maybe submitting to a particular magazine - you still need to research your market. Seasoned writers know how important this is. You cannot submit to a magazine - or even website - you've never read. What sorts of things they publish (essays, poetry, fiction, features), the length, topics are all important. If a magazine doesn't publish poetry, they won't publish yours. You, in turn, are going to suffer unnecessary rejection.

Good, thorough research makes successful writing.
Here are a few reasons why:

(1) It helps us get our facts straight
(2) We glean important statistical information
(3) It adds substance
(4) It gives us that all important writer credibility
(5) It adds interest
(6) It creates believability

There are lots of reasons to research! And if you haven't already done it yourself, don't let it intimidate you. It is fun, educational, and moves you out of your comfort zone - which means growth for you and your writing.

I hope to see you back for my next post on research. It will include the different sources of research you can lean upon to give your writing that extra-special something!

Until then, have a wonderful day!

News Release Distribution

I found this review on news release distributors - both paid and free. I thought it may be useful to anyone looking to learn about distribution options.

Review of Online News Release Distributors

Friday, November 09, 2007

I have PageRank!

Oh! I have PageRank! I can hardly believe it! I know it sounds silly, but I have been watching my blog for the last six months and for some reason, my PageRank has been nothing but a filled in bar of grayness!

I researched this matter by myself a few times but came up with no answers. I even consulted Matt Keegan of The Article Writer who is a wealth of information when it comes to stuff like this. I tried his suggestions and kept coming to dead ends. In fact, I thought maybe my blog was under a ban for some unknown reason. I gave up, dejected with the idea that my blog would be banned forever. Now I have a PageRank of 3/10.

So forgive me for my maybe overly enthusiastic excitement, but I am thrilled that I no longer have to look at other people's blogs, see their pagerank and feel sorry for myself (LOL). Yippee! Thank you Google! Most importantly, thank you to those of you who have in any way contributed to my newfound status!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Just be Yourself!

Anyone who writes as part of their job or even for work knows that it is a creative process. It took me a long time to figure this out. I always thought that in order for you to be a "creative" writer, you had to write poetry, or short stories, or books.

I have always longed to write something "creative" like that, but for some reason, have never been able to. Oh, I have submitted short stories to contests, but I always seem to go back to my safe spot in writing - researched articles, press releases, more business related writing. I truly admire those who write in the way I wish I could.

What I have learned is that even business writing is "creative." You still have to craft words together in a way that makes them both flow, make sense, and most importantly encourages your readers to keep on reading - or hiring you for the next project. And even though there are unique sets of rules to abide by, like in writing press releases, for example, you still have the ability to use your own voice to make it uniquely yours.

I have always been told that my writing is inspirational, but yet calming. I am so flattered by that because I have also been told that I have a calming personality - I am soothing in my parenting, my relationships, as well as in all situations I find myself in. I guess I am a peacemaker. I don't argue or fight with my husband or children. We might have disagreements, but I always remain calm and never get worked up. I just state the facts from my point of view!

Being told my writing is calming, inspirational, or encouraging makes me feel wonderful because that is who I am and I know my true voice is coming out on the keyboard. Does "calm" translate into boring? Hmm...maybe it does, but I can work on that, and I will! And as for those short stories, the day will come when I tackle more too.

In the meantime, what makes your writing uniquely you?

Do you love a scary movie, and therefore enjoy writing thriller fiction? Do you long for the nostalgic, and write moving poetry? Perhaps, like me, there is a quality in your personality that comes out in your writing. Feel free to share what defines your writing most!

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Updates and Apologies

To begin with, let me offer my apologies to you. I know I have been gone for a while - too long, I am afraid - and to be honest with you, I have no excuse at all. Sometimes, when I'm faced with the question, "Do I take an afternoon nap, or do I blog," the napping part just wins me over. So sorry about that, it goes with the pregnancy territory. Making a baby is as taxing as climbing a mountain, so I've read.

I am now 19 weeks into my pregnancy. That means I am almost half way there already! I can't believe how quickly time is passing. I have felt great, and even my hunger isn't as bad as it was earlier on - good thing because otherwise I would be as big as a house by the end of nine months. As it is, I have only gained about nine pounds, and am right on target with weight gain.

I began feeling baby move about two weeks ago. Movement is still sporadic - some days baby moves a lot, and other days I don't feel any movement at all. I just want a good kick here and there to let me know everything is ok.

The best part - the day (other than the arrival of the baby itself) I have been waiting for since finding out I was pregnant - is that today I had my ultrasound. The sonographer was wonderful. She really took her time with us. She showed us all the parts (except the special part that keeps it a surprise!). She took extra time to just let us watch that little baby. We watched baby opening and closing his mouth, swallowing, waving, kicking, and doing all sorts of precious things. We brought home several pictures, but the best part - the very best part - is that our baby is healthy. After my last pregnancy, I was so scared there would be something wrong. But, no. God is good. So far everything is great, and our little baby, who is about ten inches long, and as many ounces, is completely healthy. I am so happy!

So that's my most important update for now. As for my writing, it is not as my blog has been. I have been writing plenty. Not only have I been busy with various articles, but I have also been writing lots of press releases. It's been wonderful! Yet another blessing in my life!

I hope and pray all is going well with you! For now, I am going to pay a visit to all of my favorite blogs, and I will try to be back soon!

Have a wonderful day!