It’s “I Love to Write Day”

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post comes in the exact middle of NanoWriMo. I tried Nano last year and I couldn’t get through it. In celebrating November 15 – “I Love to Write” Day, I hope you can share why you love to write. My goal is to help you Nanoers get back on track as well as any writer’s block sufferers and beginning writers who don’t know where to begin.

Sometimes the thing we love to do most is hard because we get drained, tired and frustrated. I know I get that way. So I’ll start.

I love to write because:

1) I love expressing myself.

2) I love helping others.

3) I need to write.

4) I love making others laugh.

5) I love to encourage others.

6) I like to pay it forward because I’ve been moved by other writers.

Share why you love to write in the comments section below. Be motivated and 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!

Notable Quotable

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. This week’s quote is from The Lion King, which I had the pleasure of previewing last weekend. (Thanks again to Mommyslinks!).

As writers, I feel that we focus a lot on who we are (or are not) and sometimes forget that we’re not alone in this. In the movie, Simba has a spiritual encounter with his father who reminds Simba that in forgetting himself, he has also forgotten his father.

It is very important for all writers to remember the writers who came before us. In their works, they remind today’s writers that they are not alone. Every time you feel lost and alone as a writer, read the first book, essay or manuscript that inspired you to become a writer. When you remember them, you remember yourself and your writing dreams. Whether it’s Joyce Carol Oates, Sylvia Plath, or Stephen King. Someone inspired you Freshman Writers to pick up a pen (or turn on the computer) to share your stories and thoughts.

“In forgetting yourself, you have forgotten me. Remember who you are. Remember.”

~ Mufasa a.k.a. James Earl Jones (The Lion King)

Also, for more inspiration from the movie, check out The Lion King 3-D for two weeks only starting September 16, 2011.

5 Tips on Handling Rejection

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about something that touches writers all of the time – rejection. Yes, to some writers who’ve dealt with it, rejection is a hard blow. Especially after putting in hard work and heart into the writing. To others, rejection is motivation to keep on going; to keep tweaking the writing; to keep the pen moving.

After hearing about The Help movie, based on the best-selling book by author, Kathryn Stockett, I was amazed to learn that her manuscript was rejected an amazing 60 times! 6-0! According to More Magazine (on Yahoo Shine),  Kathryn Stockett went through 60 rejections before her manuscript was accepted on try #61. I couldn’t believe it! She’s made of strong stuff indeed. And in sharing her story, she revealed one tip that kept her going until her writing was accepted.

1. “Give into your obsession.”  Kathryn simply zeroed in her focus on her manuscript. Over and over, she worked on it. Writing and writing until she felt it was ready to send out. Which leads me to the next tip:

2. Find a space for your writing to grow. Kathryn went so far as to rent a hotel room to work on her writing after her daughter was born. Find a nook just for you to write in. Which brings us to tip number three:

3. Have supportive friends and family.  Someone had to be there with the little one while Kathryn was writing – that was her hubby. Nothing helps a writer more than to have people who understand your compulsion to write. Even if they don’t write themselves. Having a support system can help you when (and it happens to all writers) you DO get rejection.

4. Celebrate the first rejection. Kathryn shared her first rejection letter with friends. This is a great way for writers of all levels to reframe the idea that a rejection is truly a rejection. Sometimes, writers can get caught up in feeling sorry for themselves and then stop writing. Here, Kathryn took a lemon and made lemonade by cheering and then getting right back to work.

5. Don’t quit. Kathryn didn’t stop writing. She kept going. One of the easiest things to do after a rejection is to quit; to think that you’re just not cut out for writing. Kathryn pushed through this and kept working. And you Freshman Writers can do it, too.

Freshman Writers, I hope Kathryn’s story inspired you the way it inspired me. She stuck to it and now her book is a best-seller that has been made into a successful movie. Cheers Kathryn! I salute you! Thank you for inspiring Freshman Writers, readers and movie-goers everywhere!

Happy Writing!

Making a Pen Name Work

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about pen names. I shared previously that a pen name was a way for writers to branch out in various genres without sacrificing their reputations in a particular field of work. According to Dictionary.com, a pen name (pseudonym for writers) is a fictitious alternative to a person’s legal name or a name used to hide an individual’s identity.

Annette Charles was not a writer, but was an actress best known for her role as Cha-Cha DeGregorio in Grease. Last week, while reading about her passing, I also read that “Annette Charles” was a pseudonym and that she was also a speech professor in California. Shocked, I read that Ms. Charles used her birth name to teach classes.  I would have never guessed that Annette Charles and Anne Cardona were the same person.

This is how a great pseudonym works. It effectively keeps two (or more) careers separate. For writing, a pen name allows for a writer to work in different genres. I use my name for all of my non-fiction work and some fiction pieces. But, I keep a pen name on the side for those pieces that would be too racy to publish under my own name.

In this way, writers can avoid backlash in one genre for writing in a different one. Such as writing parenting articles and then writing erotica. All genres have their places, but writers can write in more than one.  A pen name allows for writers to move between genres.

Writers, how do you make a pen name work for you?

Happy Writing!

Travel down Memory Lane for Ideas

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post was inspired by my lack of ideas last week for a parenting blog that I write for. I just could not come up with anything current to blog about.

I actually went back to the blog to read posts by other writers there. We all have children of different ages. My son though is probably one of the older kids written about on the site and sometimes I just run out of things to say.

Cruising on the site for awhile found me laughing at the adventures in potty training that some of the other moms had posted. I laughed because their posts reminded me of my own problems with diapers and potty training. So, I decided to go back in my memory to write about my own adventures. And it worked! I came up with two posts on the spot and then a couple more for future publishing.
Writing consistently for a website can be challenging when you’re idea bank has been exhausted. If you Freshman Writers are stuck on ideas, try going down memory lane to see what ideas jump out from the past. You never know where it’ll take you.

Happy Writing!

It’s All in the Taste

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is one of a series on using your senses to get your writing going. If you enjoyed my posts on sight, sound and smell, then you might like this one on the sense of taste.

I’m a foodie. I LOVE all kinds of food in moderation (Otherwise, I’d look like Willy in the Free Willy movies). My favorite thing about any meal is the very first bite. I can taste the big flavors and nuances of more subtle flavors in the dish. As a writer, I’m able to describe why I love the taste so much. So here’s today’s challenge for you Freshman Writers should you choose to accept it:

1. Line up a spoonful each of – salt, sugar, lemon juice and coffee grounds. You can use any flavors you’d like so dont’ worry about sticking to this list. It’s just to give you a starting point. Make sure to keep a glass of water nearby to cleanse your palate after trying each sample.

2. Have a pen and notepad ready to jot down your initial thoughts.

3. Let the tasting begin! Start with a sip of water and try the first item on your list. So if you taste the salt first, what does it remind you of? Do you think of a specific dish or event? And don’t cheat by saying it’s salty. Use other words to describe the flavors.

4. Write something down for each flavor until you complete the exercise.

5. If you have trouble finding the words to describe flavors, try watching Andrew Zimmern on Bizarre Foods. I love his show and he is great at sharing his thoughts on specific flavors and textures of food.

Bon Appetit and Happy Writing!

June 10 is Ballpoint Pen Day

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Just wanted to send a happy hooray out to the ballpoint pen. I don’t know about you, but the computer wasn’t the first writing tool I used. It was my handy, dandy Dr. Grip Ink Pen. I’ve used this particular pen for nearly 15 years and I love it! Thinner pens broke in my hands because I pressed down very hard on paper or caused my hand to hurt from writing. Someone gave me a Dr. Grip pen when I was a teen and never looked back.

You can check out Idea Finder for the history of the ballpoint pen, which was years longer than I thought. I’m anxiously waiting for my newest Dr. Grip Pens after losing my last one about a month ago. The cheaper pens I’ve found just don’t do it for me. And no, it hasn’t stopped my writing at all, but missing my favorite pen has pushed me to get back to my portable word processor.

Hope you have a great Ballpoint Pen Day and please share your favorite brand of pen in the comments. 🙂 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!