Friday, May 30, 2008

My Three Beautiful Girls!

Life has been particularly busy this week. We've had doctor's appointments, time off for the holiday, and all sorts of other busy stuff. So instead of a lengthy writing post, I am giving you a glimpse of my pretty girls. I am so proud to say that they are every bit as lovely on the inside as they are on the outside!

What's more precious than a sleeping baby?

Looking to the future...

Beautiful ballerina...

Well, I hope you all have a great weekend and I will be back with a writing post next week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why "Blog Surfing" Makes Me a Better Writer

Since returning to the world of blogging and freelance writing, I have been taking the time to visit and catch up with some of my favorite blogs. I have even added and visited several great new ones. I used to think that "blog surfing" was leisure activity and that this was nonproductive to my writing career. I have decided that was the wrong sort of thinking. Here are a few reasons why:

(1) Reading other writing blogs helps you learn more about your trade. Just visit Matt Keegan's The Article Writer, or Lillie Ammann's A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye, and you will find out just how much you stand to learn from reading the blogs of other professionals. They have spent hours upon hours creating posts that will help you find success in the freelancing community. These people, and many others just like them, care about what they do and they care about your success.

(2) Reading other blogs exposes great resources-- whether its a potential job or a website to increase exposure. Michele Tune of Writing the Cyber Highway recently invited me to join ChicksWhoClick, a private network for women in media, creative arts and girls' & women's advocacy. What a great resource for meeting fellow writers and finding (as well as sharing) information to make the writing journey a little easier for others.

(3) It's a fantastic way to meet awesome and amazing people. I cannot tell you how many inspirational stories I have read on other people's blogs. Stories of overcoming abuse, beating cancer, raising children with disabilities, and fighting online internet pedophilia touch my heart and remind me that bloggers are real people who care about real life issues. What an honor to be acquainted with such people.

(4) Reading these same blogs inspires me to write more, and most importantly, to be a better woman. I read what others have gone through. I see what causes they stand for and support, and all the good they are doing in the world. Reading these blogs inspires me to use my writing gift to do the same. I want to write more, get involved in community causes, and grow as a woman and a human being.

Yes, I have decided that taking the time to visit other blogs can only enhance my writing career, and encourage the kind of growth as a human being that will make me a better writer. So don't feel guilty. There's something to learn from everybody. Take the time to visit some great blogs, and get connected with some wonderful people--I guarantee that remarkable things will come of it!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tuesday's Tips and Tidbits for Better Writing

The Cliche

Cliches are old phrases that once made a strong impression, but have been used so much they no longer make an impact on the reader. They come to mind easily, and seem to make writing sound more interesting. But using them too much is poor writing etiquette.

Overuse of cliches might look something like this in a story:

Billy always enjoyed getting under his mother’s skin. It was his sneaky way of cajoling her into letting him do what he wanted. He'd simply climb the walls until she would get all worked up and say, “For Pete’s sake, Billy, go over to Johnny's house to play!”

Perhaps this is an entertaining story, but the cliches are too much! If you spot one in your writing there are two things you can do: (1) Give it a new twist. An example I like is, "Halfway up the ladder of success, she found several rungs missing." (2) If you can't give it a new twist, simply replace it with a more fitting word or phrase.

So be sure to read the writing on the blog, and avoid the old cliche in your writing.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Writing Technique's and Tips

The most avid readers understand the rewards of reading something that touches our senses and flows with the beauty of nature itself. People will return again and again to a writer who knows how to connect with his readers in this manner. Good writing is stylish, and stylish writers are successful.

The exciting thing is that you can accomplish writing style by many different means. The usage of good grammar, how you apply different writing techniques, and plenty of practice all help you create your own unique voice. These are all qualities a stylish writer applies to his writing.

Every Monday I am going to post on the topic of "Stylish Writing." It may be a post about something as simple as common word usage errors, punctuation, or maybe it will be a little more complicated. Whether simple or complex, it is guaranteed to be good information to help you (and me) to become a better writer.

Deep down inside, don't we all want others to read and enjoy our writing? Hope to see you Monday!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Excused Not to Write?

Chances are if you are reading my blog, you are a writer in some capacity. You may be a freelance writer trying to make a living, or perhaps writing is one of your favorite hobbies and you are literally aching to give it a real whirl and see what you are really made of. Regardless, of why you write, it is important to stay on track.

For me it's far too easy to let life get in the way of my writing. Please allow me to translate this last sentence in more understandable terms: I make excuses. OK, so maybe it's more like procrastination. When I sit down at my computer to write, I subconsciously find reasons not to write. First I check my email, then read articles from the various newsletters I receive, I read my favorite blogs, and one thing leads to another. By the time I'm "ready" to write, my time is up. I have to go tend to another responsibility.

So what do you do to get past this? Well, if you succumb to this same type of behavior, you may first begin by comforting yourself with this thought: Some of the most successful writers are also great procrastinators. So don't be too hard on yourself, but beware that it doesn't become destructive to your writing goals. I've tried a few ideas that might also be helpful to you.

Number one, give yourself an allotted amount of playtime to check your email, read your favorite blogs, or surf the internet. Set a timer and when it goes off, then so does the internet (unless you are using it for research or it directly pertains to your writing). This really works, I've tried it.

Set deadlines for yourself. This is very advisable when you are getting paid to write. You don't want to disappoint a client and lose a good reputation or potential work in the future. But even if you don't have to turn something in by a certain date, making yourself believe you do, helps get the job done.

Finally, try to do your writing at the same time every day. My time is in the afternoon when my children are asleep and my husband is at work. I don't have a ton of time to write at this stage in my life, so I think about what it is I want or need to accomplish and focus my mind on that goal.

God has given us a great gift and talent. As I get back into the swing of writing again, I must also remind myself that a busy life is not an excuse not to write, and procrastination is not productive. Determination and focus, will however help me meet my writing goals, and the same goes for you!

Until next time take care and stay focused!