It’s NanoWriMo Time!

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. It’s that time of year again folks. What time? Not gear up for Thanksgiving time. And it’s not Black Friday time. It’s NanoWriMo time!

If you haven’t heard of NanoWriMo – it stands for National Novel Writing Month. From November 1 – 30, you can take on the challenge of writing a novel or manuscript (50, 000 words). No editing; just writing. I myself signed up for NanoWriMo, but ended up quitting after a week and a half due to home and work obligations. Maybe next year, since I’m not up for it this year either.

Freshman Writers, this is a great way to get some fire in your bellies and write that book you have inside of you. It doesn’t matter the topic, genre or language. All that matters is that you get the project out of your brain and on to the page (or computer screen).  You can do this! I believe in you. If my pals on Twitter can do it, so can you.

Go to NanoWriMo and register. Not only will you find online support groups and a buddy system, you’ll also find NanoWriMo meet-up groups that will allow you to connect with other challenge participants in your area. Check it out and good luck! Make sure to report back at the end of the month.

Happy Writing!

Information Overload?

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about information overload. There is no shortage of ways we can get the information we need and even the information we don’t need. According to Brownielocks, October 20th is Information Overload Day.

I know I get very overwhelmed by all of the information out in the world especially that on cyberspace. Here are some tips to keep information from overloading you.

1. Find the one medium that works best for you. These days we can get information from television, radio and online. Figure out which of these is more convenient and practical for you. Stick with the one you use most and chuck the rest.

2. Clean out your inbox. I’m an email junkie. I admit it, I have an email problem. Recently, I went through my inboxes (I have three) and deleted emails that I simply don’t read anymore. I also unsubscribed from any groups or subscription lists that just take up space. If you don’t read it, you don’t need it.

3. Limit the number of email addresses you have. I have one for fun, one for writing and one that I’ve kept for a million years because it was my very first email address. By keeping separate accounts, I’ve found that I can better organize my information.

4. Life is busy, but multi-tasking can make it worse. I read my personal emails on my way to work. I have my emails connected to my Blackberry so I have them organized there. Since I commute to work, it saves me time to read and reply to emails. But, I’ve also learned to put my phone away one stop before I get off. I’ve missed my stop once or twice because of my inbox.

5. Check in on your lunchhour. Lunchtime is a great time to check your email or catch up on your favorite bloggers.

6. Limit your RSS Feeds. I LOVE to read and have subscribed to several blogs. But, I reached the point of hating the number of feeds that I get and don’t have time to read. So as I cleaned out my inbox, I also cleaned out my RSS Feeds. Again, if I don’t read it, I don’t need it.

Hopefully, these tips can keep you from being overloaded. And remember, information helps you write, but too much can keep you from writing. Happy Writing!

 

5 Ways Business Cards help you

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about business cards. October 9 – 15 marks ‘Build your business with business Cards” week.
As writers just starting out, maybe the last thing you Freshman Writers thought of was a business card. ‘What do I need a business card for, I’m just starting to write?’ I had the same thought when I first started writing in 2005. I had a hard time just figuring out what I would write. A couple of years later, I received an offer from VistaPrint for 250 free business cards. (I’ve used them a couple of times since then and it is a great service for writers starting out.) I checked out their website and took them up on the offer. I only paid for shipping and handling.

Business cards are useful for so many things. Here are some ways you can use them:

1. Getting a card helps you find your niche. In a limited space, you only have so many words to describe who you are and the writing you do. Having to write your pitch in a few words can help you find your writing groove.

2. You can list your talents in one place. If you already know what your writing niche is, you can simply transfer it to a card. By putting “writer” on your card (along with your other skills) you let clients know what they can expect from you.
3. You can accept yourself as a writer. One of the biggest challenges that writers face at any level, but more so as beginning writers is acknowledging that you ARE a writer. After receiving my cards, I had something tangible that says I am a writer.
4. You can let others know what you do. Business cards are great for networking especially at events or gatherings. If someone asks for your number or email, pass them a card.
5. Business cards help you showcase your work. By getting a business card, you can list your website or online portfolio. This way, potential clients can view your work and contact you right away.

Business cards can help you grow as a writer. But remember, being a writer is about doing what you do best – writing. Happy Writing!

Use Your Senses – Do you hear what I hear?

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. “Do you hear what I hear” is a popular Christmas song, but for me,  it’s an inspiring way to write.

In my last post I challenged you to use your senses to get you writing. We writers can often get bogged down by the writing process and get side-tracked. Sometimes we forget that writing is about using all of our senses – listening is a great one to use.

My day job requires me to listen to people  – everyday I listen for needs, requests and feelings. Part of my job is to be an active listener – ie – giving my full attention to someone else. I pay attention to the content of the statement and then repeat it. I also pay attention to what isn’t said out loud. Hearing something – ie in the background – is very different from actively listening to something and being able to repeat what you heard.

Your challenge, Freshman Writers, is to sit on your own and close your eyes. Listen to the sounds around you for five minutes and then write about it. Did you hear a train rolling by (as I do everyday at work) or did you hear the buzzing of a bee? If you have a hard time recalling the sounds you hear, try using a digital recorder or use the voice note function on your smart phone if you have one.

If you can take the sounds you hear and convert them into words, you can help your writing shine by being more descriptive and expressive. Your readers will be able to understand how the screeching of a howler monkey can resemble nails on a chalkboard and cause you to grind your teeth in reaction. Not pretty sounds by any means, but you get my point – those sounds are painful to the ear.

Use your hearing sense to write and see what you come up with. Feel free to come back and share your experience.

Happy Writing!

Use Your Senses – Eyeball it

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. This post is one of five that I’ll be sharing here about using your senses to help you write. Read on for this week’s prompt and come back here for more in the coming weeks.

My day job finds me working with people everyday. I listen to what they say (or don’t say) and watch their body language.  I have to figure out how people feel, whether they reveal it with words or action. After lots of training at school and experience in the field, it’s very natural for me. Eyeballing people can be a great way to get yourself writing.

What does this have to do with you Freshman Writers? Here’s a prompt for you. Find a comfortable place to sit where it’s busy with people. Describe what you see and only that. Use active words to describe actions, colors, textures, etc. See what you come up with and feel free to share it here.

Happy Writing!

Creative Idea Starter

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post comes on the heels of catching up on tweets and discovering a fellow tweeter’s creative way of coming up with ideas for posts.

Jeffrey Beesler tweets that he was pre-writing posts and was working on the letter T. Reading his tweet, I responded that it was a great idea to develop posts based on the alphabet.

And surfing over to his site, World of The Scribe, I found how easy and creative it was. Jeffrey is participating in the A to Z blogging challenge this month. Never hearing of this, I checked it out as well. Over at Tossing it Out, the challenge is outlined in better detail.

Though the month of April is half over, I think this is a great challenge for Freshman Writers to take on no matter what the time of year, especially if you’re stuck on ideas.

In a later tweet, Jeffrey replied that letters, song titles, and theme weeks can also be used. He added that almost anything can be related to writing, except possibly fruitcake. I countered that one could write about how much fruitcake is maligned.

Ideas can be found everywhere you look whether you’re on the bus or catching up on tweets as I did this morning. Check it out for yourselves, Freshman Writers and see what you come up with. I invite you to come back here and share what creative idea starters you have.

Happy Writing! 🙂

Sharing is Caring

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope you are well and writing. I am a believer that sharing is caring and I want to share some great information with you Freshman Writers.

Today’s post is a collection of some of my favorite websites for writers at all levels. As writers, we will continue to learn and grow in order for writing to improve. You can also (if this is your thing) end up teaching other beginning writers or at least give them advice to help get them started.

In keeping with this tradition, here my list of favorite websites that I go to for tips on writing. Some are new and others are classics that I love visiting over and over again. Check them out, see what gets your attention and get to writing.

Keep learning and happy writing!

Women on writing

Writing world

Freelance Writing Gigs

WM Freelance Writing Connection

The Renegade Writer

Freelance Writing at About

Mridu Khullar

Funds For Writers

Problogger

Media Bistro

March is Humorists are Artists Month

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about humor. So, here’s a brief joke to get you started.

Knock, Knock.

Who’s there

Humor.

Humor who?

Humor me will ya!

Okay, I know that wasn’t a good one at all. Humor writing is HARD. It is much harder to make someone laugh through writing (at least for me) than it is to make that person laugh by telling a joke.

Writing about humor is hard, I think, because it seems easier to write about anger, happiness and/or sadness. All of these feelings can be communicated, especially when you’re in the moment. I’m not saying that writing any of these is simple, but humor is something that has to be thought out, timed well and executed well also.

Ok, now that I’m writing this I guess all writing is hard. I’ve also tried my hand at it so I know that humor-writing is hard.So scratch this idea writers. Instead, I’ve got a few sites for you all to check out. A few pals of mine write humorous posts and I love them. Read on for some humor writing and see if you get inspired!

Happy Writing

Amy Mullis – This is an amazing writer if I do say so myself. She’s fun about all the things you expect and some of the things you don’t. She’s a great humor writer and I want to be like her when I’m further along in my humor writing.

An Army of Ermas – This website is packed full of Erma Bombeck fans and writers of wonderful humor. I love reading as much as possible and I know you will, too. And you’re welcome to submit your work should you take on the challenge writers. And I think you should!

Naptime Stories – I blog once (or more) a week on this site about my adventures as a mom. I’ve tried to make it as humorous as possible. Not necessarily for the readers per se, but to crack myself up when I want to tear my hair out! lol

A book recommendation – Since the website above was inspired by Erma Bombeck, I’m recommending Forever, Erma – a great collection of years of her columns sharing her parenting adventures, advice and humor.

Attitude is Everything

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. As we’re all fresh off the Oscar train from last night (if you watched it), today’s post is about attitude.

Last night, Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted. I was looking forward to a great show. Unfortunately, there were moments were the jokes went flat leaving me saying, ‘huh?” Hathaway was funny, quirky, even weird at times, but she seemed to be having as much fun as possible.

I love James Franco in his movies, but during the Oscars, he fell flat. He didn’t seem to connect with the viewers and I could tell that he was thinking about the names of the presenters on the show. He seemed to be reminding himself of the names so he wouldn’t forget. He also seemed to be too serious to the point where the funny moments were unfunny.

What does this have to do with you Freshman Writers? The problems that Franco experienced are the same ones that writers do in presenting their work.

An editor can look at a query letter, article or blogpost and KNOW that a writer is nervous, insecure and unsure of him or herself. What gives a writer away? The tone of the piece, lack of details and even a lack of enjoyment in writing. Franco showed all of us that attitude is everything and his left me feeling that he could’ve easily stayed home and let Hathaway do the job by herself.

Before applying for a writing job or sending out that query letter, Freshman Writers, have someone look at the piece for you. If you don’t have a proofreader, let it sit before you revisit the piece. Read it as a reader, highlighting the good and the bad. Then tweak the piece to show your best self. Let the editor see your strengths and enjoyment of writing.

More than anything, your attitude reflects how you feel about yourself as a writer and your work is a key example of that. Let the best of you shine!

Happy Writing!

How to move on from a writing job

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Happy 2011. I’m hoping to write more for you this year as I’ve recently let go of a long-term part-time writing job that I’ve enjoyed.

How do you move on from a job? Simple – do it gracefully.

Writing a resignation letter isn’t easy. When I had to resign from my previous full-time job (a job I truly detested), I took my time to write about the good things I learned there. It was challenging but, I was able to do it once I focused on the great tasks I’d learned.

What also helped was that I wrote it for the second supervisor I had there. She and I had our differences, but I was able to see that she prepared me to work at my current, high-pressure job in social services. Since I left in 2007, I’ve been back to see her a few times and really let her know how grateful I am for her guidance and persistence in challenging me to push myself more.

This time around, I did the same thing. I wrote about how much I enjoyed working for the employer (because I really did) and added how much I loved working with a great team of people. I also added my sadness for having to leave (due to budget cuts & more responsibility) as well as disappointment for not being valued as an individual working for two years with the company.

That being said, Freshman Writers, always highlight the good stuff that you’ve learned and acquired through the position. What goes around comes around. Editors talk to each other especially if you highlight where you’ve worked in the past when applying for new writing jobs.

Remember, that there are first impressions and lasting ones that will follow you wherever you go. Being classy can take you far.

Happy Writing!