Friday, July 31, 2009

Writing Brochures and Business Cards, Part 1

Ok--this is out of the ordinary, but you ought to expect that coming from me. LOL. I know there are some technical writers out there or people in advertising who would love to share their tips on brochure writing.

Would anyone else be interested?

Whether or not we like it, writers need sales tools, too. If you are writing for your own business, for book publishers or for a business where you are employed, at some point, you are going to need business cards, brochures or at least a web page to advertise or represent your business.
What should you say or not say? How should you say it? Do you pay a professional advertiser to write it for you or create it yourself? How do you determine the best way to write it? Do finances play a part in your choice? Or do you purchase what you need, believing that this is the cost of advertising which you eventually will recover through the business you receive?

On your brochures, do you ask the usual questions as hooks? I.E. "Are you looking for...?" or "Are you tired of...?" Are they trite buzz words? Enquiring minds want to know.

Through the business endeavors I encounter, I am learning a variety of writing styles that I never thought I would need or want to try. I'm "loving" it!

I'm a life long learner of all things. Aren't you? Life never ceases to amaze me. I wouldn't pretend to but I desire to know it all. Maybe it's that strong New England spirit or the entrepreneur in me. I have to find answers to every question about everything I want to learn.

Why wonder when you can use the world wide web to find the information you need? Here are two articles about writing business handouts.
If you are really brave, then watch this educational video clip where the speaker (with a heavy northern accent, by the way) teaches us how to use MS Word to create a basic brochure. It takes a few minutes to watch and is perhaps not as modern and flashy as desirable, but it contains simple, step-by-step instruction for the average person to learn how--so stick with it until the end of the clip. You'll like it.

Most important of all, readers, I want to know what you think about the subject. What has worked for you? How do you feel about the topic? Are there any potential guest bloggers in the audience who would like to add their expertise on this subject?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dr. Wordwielder's Wordsmithing Woa's

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you that my visit to Rather Be Writing last week was diverted due to circumstances beyond my control.
You see, last Wednesday evening, I was sitting in my customary location on the Davenport in the university library. I was reading through the B entries in my Oxford New English Dictionary when the lines in my bifocals appeared to blur and the words on the page began to fade and then after that I do not recall anything for a while.

All of a sudden, I was startled by a cacophonous CRASH. I arose from my seat to see what was the matter. Oh, wait, that's not me. (Well, I must have been reading too much of Clarke Moore's poetry to my classes that day.) Suffice it to say, my dear friends, that the sound with which I became enlivened, resembled that of a gun shot. I feared that one of the drama students had gotten carried away in the auditorium nearby. But upon closer examination, I discovered no students nor staff members remained in the wing where I had taken up temporary refuge. It puzzled me greatly how such a boisterous boom could come from a seemingly empty building. I wandered from hall to hall when ZAP!!! At that very moment, a white flash of light flooded the air outside the Science laboratory where I expected to find the source of the explosion which had startled me. My left hand stretched toward the counter for stability and I peered over the rim of my spectacles but saw nothing. In fact, I seemed to have lost my visual senses. After a momentary lapse, the discovery that I was enveloped in a pervasive absence of light gave me pause for consideration. I needed to find a way out of the laboratory and into the hallway where I could use my cane to tap along the surface of the wall and circumnavigate the facilities to the exit.

Of course, I remained calm but plotted my response in the event that I should run into the hoodlums who had caused such an offense in order to rob or vandalize the university. My suspicions were that it was a fraternity prank but one could never be certain. It might even be a group of terrorists. I deduced that, even in the shadows, I would have an advantage over the young whipper snappers. Having been employed for so many years of my career at EEIEA, I knew the campus like the back of my hand. There had been many a day where I roamed the hallways reading J. R. R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis while circumventing the crowds of students who stood chatting in the hallway between classes. I could certainly find my way around better than anyone I knew.

I felt my way out of the room with my cane while clutching the classwork and dictionary in my right hand. I could always use the massive volume as a decoy should the need arise by casting it in the opposite direction of my escape path to lure my assailants away long enough to evade apprehension. I proceeded with caution but also stood erect in order to appear invincible in the event that the criminals had donned night vision equipment.

As I left the room, I was delighted to be greeted by battery-powered emergency lighting in the hallway, leaving shadows distinguishable enough to lower my cane. I advanced with ease toward the visitor's office where I would attempt to locate the telephone and contact the constabulary authorities. As I placed my armload on the chair just inside the doorway, I froze. There, standing in the window behind the desk ,hiding behind the draperies was one of the intruders. The window was open and a breeze flowed through or I might not have seen his shadow wavering back and forth. I crouched and tried to crawl around the edge of the desk so as not to alert him to my presence but years ago, I had injured my right meniscus in an ice storm when visiting an educational conference in Boston. I gasped but was able to stifle it, then proceeded to tip toe with my weapon in hand. As I approached, I raised my cane as high into the air as I could and applied the force of a belly club as I swung. My cane caught in the drapery and tangled up, knocking me off-kilter into the desk behind me where I apparently landed on the button for the intercom and heard my voice echo through the building. “Take thattttttt!” I heard as I struggled to untangle my cane. I pulled it back behind my head and then thrust it toward the window again hoping to strike him but just at that precise moment, the lights came on and blinded me. Reflections on my bifocals prevented my eyes from focusing but then my vision was restored enough to see my victim in full spectrum light. There stood a graduation gown with a pair of the administrator's Florsheims on the floor beneath. It was apparent that a graduating senior had just returned his gown to the office and the secretary had inadvertently left the window open and left it hanging there after closing the draperies.

I was never so undignified in my entire life and realized that I must be in need of some suspended somnolence. I was fortunate to be the only staff member in the building as the security personnel had already retired for the evening assuming that I would make my usual after hours exit and secure the building myself. For this, I was grateful. I stepped forward to seal the aperture and discovered the source of the power outage as a bolt of lightening darted in the distant horizon. The generator back-up timer had tripped after the electricity had been affected by a lightening strike somewhere on the campus. I glanced around and noticed that there was not a sign of combustion in the atmosphere at all so I exited the building and meandered to my vehicle. In all the chaos, I must have left my lesson for you on the desk in the visitor's office but I did not want to become a lightening rod in the lonely parking lot so I scurried into the driver's seat and attempted to drive away into the storm. I thought, perhaps that I might arrive on time but as I continued my journey toward your home, the clouds darkened and the floodgates of heaven prevailed to penetrate the road with horrific hail. I feared that being in Florida, I might be on the outskirts of a hurricane or tornado but had no choice but to continue as I could hardly see the boundaries of the road. Eventually, I arrived upon the edge of my driveway but as it was approaching Two o' clock in the morning,I presumed that you would already be in your bedstead and not appreciate a guest at that hour. I beg upon your mercy for forgiveness of my rude behavior to have not kept my word on traveling to your residence last Wednesday and I hope that your readers have used the week of my absence as an opportunity to study the incredible linguistic lecture which I had deposited here upon my last visit to Rather Be Writing.

This week's lesson shall consist of the following:

1. Hectic or Helpful Homonyms? Choose the correct homonym to place in this old song. “I may never ride in a ___________ but I'm in the Lord's army.” Is it: a. calvary OR b. cavalry.

2. Ideal or Idiotic Idioms? When the utility bill came, it made my___________ because it was so elevated. CHOOSE ONE: a. blood run cold OR b. blood boil.

3. Wise or Wacky Words? Sanguine. Does it mean: a. happy, optimistic OR b. an object containing sparkly sequins?

4. Comical or Cute Coinage? Evoktional may be defined as: to create or do something that will evoke a response from someone. The word also denotes a devotional quality to the response that is evoked. The first time I became aware of this word is when Ms. BeckyJoie's brother, Ray Thombs, Jr. used it to describe his common mode of operation in human relationships. Dear Readers, coined words are rather an addiction to me as a professor and philologist, so if you could kindly humor me a bit and send me your coinages this week via email or a post, it would be ever-fulfilling for me to peruse.

In fact, this week, please do not post your answers here on this weblog but instead, record them on a page elsewhere such as Facebook, Twitter or your personal weblog.
Then come to this page and leave the address or location where we may find your answer. I shall leave the quiz answers with your host to announce at a later time in the next day or so. Thank you so much for understanding my plight last week and I appreciated your consideration and forgiveness.

The time has arrived when I may need to vacate the residence of my hostess but I shall return again soon. I've been very busy lately and a bit scattered so if I do not appear on time, I please to beg your pardon. Nonetheless, whether or not I am present, I shall not neglect to deliver the lessons to Ms. BeckyJoie so that she may be able to publish them for all of her readers to study and memorize. For now, I bid you goodwill and good night. Until we meet again....
Post Script: Don't forget to answer the exam questions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Facebook, Twitter and Youtube

Have you heard the pitter patter of people roaming around deep in Twitter Chitter Chatter? Have you considered putting your face up next to your thoughts on Facebook? How about putting the You into Youtube?
I've realized for a while now, what wonderful devices these were but I had not been taking full advantage of them. Both my brother, Ray and my friend JoJo alerted me to what some experts are saying about using such tools so I went online to hear the scoop.
According to Twitter Guru, Perry Belcher, social media tools are powerful items for writers and business people. Many people think they do not have time or that these are merely time-wasting devices. I've been "razzed" for my own obsession with communication via social media networks. When I do something, I do it full force. I'm learning to find the balance between playing with it and communicating as a business person and friend. That's the key.
As David Alston puts it, "Social media is not a media. [The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.]" The people on your networks are not only your audience, but they are first, your friends.
Not only has using these tools helped me as a writer but it has grown me as a friend, family member and homeschooling mom to build a community with people about whom I care. Connecting me with people from states all over the USA, my list contains family members and friends who live far away, locals with whom I share everyday parts of my life and new friends with whom I've become acquainted from public interaction or via the web. Fewer still are my business connections. All are important to me and teach me many things.
As well, my children are learning communication skills when they sit next to me and I model for them how to interact with people. So, I'm not only playing with the social media tools--think again! I'd also like to exhort you with this: don't knock them as a waste of time, unless you are so addicted to them that you can't live your life. They don't have to rule you. That's your choice. Just don't diminish their importance to you as a person or a writer. And don't belittle them because you feel a sense of guilt that you ought to be doing something else instead of "wasting time". Communicating with real people is never a waste of time.
While Facebooking and Twittering can be addictive--don't I know it?-- they can also be useful for connecting with readers and forming relationships with real people. They can be a great platform to share your ideas and provoke reactions. Balance is the key. Choose your words wisely.
(NOTE TO FELLOW CHRISTIANS: I have done a large amount of ministry via FACEBOOK chat's and IM's as well as emails. I'm not saying this to elevate myself as it is God who brought MANY people to me for help. I am thankful that He did. I just want you to think out of the box here about social media tools. They aren't just for silly teenage ramblings and tangents of over-tired women like myself, although that certainly does add entertainment factors into the mix.)
One thing that I find appealing about Twitter is that you are limited to a few words and characters so that you really have to think about word choices before posting. It's great for practice in concise speech. Facebook gives you more story room but yet, not as much as a blog. I'm still trying to figure out how to network them, but so far, the experience of each is enjoyable.
Youtube is another free networking tool, giving you the opportunity to let readers get to know you and feel a connection with your message and personality. One blogger "friend" of mine, parodied a song and sang it over Youtube and received umpteen zillion hits. She went from having many readers to having an abundance of followers as her funny video made it's way around blogworld. Of course caution must be taken that a professional or well planned monologue be presented or it could mean ruin for your business. Never do anything on "too much a whim". It could get you in trouble. On the other hand, the most successful people take risks and shoot from the hip at times, too.
In closing, let's examine the follow quotes from a man whose words come from experience and success.
Who said these words?
  • "I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user."


I accidentally posted that Dr. Word Wielder will arrive here this evening, but that was an error. He will arrive at Rather Be Writing late Wednesday evening. I suppose with all the new happenings, I was so excited about him coming again that I wanted to bring him early. Oops.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Questions, Answers and Bloggy Referrals

Do you like having your mind stimulated by other writers and their ideas? I do. I think I fell in love with the concept of blog quizes and questions. I like the whole idea of memes too but I tweak them and make my own up too. (If you haven't noticed.)

Today's blogpost will take you to some other writers that I like to read. Some I have met and know, while others I've only met online or met recently. Nonetheless, these are some of the interesting sites that I frequent. I wanted to share them with you so that you can have your mind stirred as well.

A friend of mine who I love dearly and have been priviledged to get to know over the internet is a talented well-known author and speaker. Today, JoJo Tabares has posted on her blog a question about a photograph of an animal (amongst other thought provoking material). See if you can figure out what animal she has on a photograph. Note: I post her blog address often as we are such kindred spirits and I spend alot of time reading up on what she does best: communication.

Another blogger of whom I am a new acquaintence has written a quiz that will take some of you down memory lane. I like the name of his blog. It is "From The Book of the Wise and the Foolish". On his Facebook account, he posts alot of writings from his "RSVP to God". Ask him about it and sign up to follow his blog. (He needs some followers as he has interesting things to say.)

One personal friend and fellow writer from whom I gain a great deal of inspiration is the leader of Clermont Christian Writer's Group, a many times published author at Chicken Soup for the Soul is Terri Tiffany. She always posts great questions to get you thinking as well as sharing her down to earth tales of her life as an author.

Another new Facebook friend wrote a wonderful Psalm on her blog. It's the sort of thing that Leaders in Learning likes to post on Sundays. But Cindy Holman posts them at random which is a blessing to her readers. You can read her poems and other cute stories at:

Well enough of a goose chase. I love to write and I love my writing friends. I like to let them have the stage once in a while. They are inspirational to me.

Come back tomorrow as Dr. Word Wielder brings you his next message in an unusual way. I can't wait to see him soon and I'm sure you can't either. See you tomorrow night.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Karen Kingsbury

Tomorrow being Sunday, I thought I would post an article from the CBN website about Christian Fiction Writer, Karen Kingsbury. Several of my writer friends claim her as their favorite authoress and I happen to like her too. I can relate to some things she says about life and her experiences.
There's a great story about her journey in writing, weight loss, and more. Also, you can watch a video of the interview here:
Let me know what you think. Oh, see if you can find the strange request her wannabe date suggested doing before a movie. Also, what is the life decision(s) Ms. Kingsbury shares with the author of Rather Be Writing? Come back and leave the answers here in a comment.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Writing from a Bubble

You know those little bubbles that comic strip characters have popping up from their heads to describe their thoughts? Well, I feel like I'm caught in one this week. Every time, except for once, that I tried to write anything, I either had an interruption or a semi-tragic event occur. (Bread burning in the kitchen, spilled food or drink by the kids, a knock at the door by someone who needed me to come right away, a phone call, and numerous other things.)


I've tried to write about something but had too many thoughts that were taking different directions and


I had yesterday's calamity. Read about it here:

To quote a song, "so I'll let my words be few". Come back after I find my way out of the comic strip bubble. I will have something more intelligent to say.

Until then, maybe I could just be comic relief in the story of life.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rejection Rejection Letters

Rejection, rejection. It's a writer's worst enemy or is it? What can you do about rejection?
When I was an awkward teenager and the brunt of many children's sarcasm, my heart wore a sign that said "kick me for a reaction". Words of wisdom from my mother were, "Consider the source and forget it." If I could only have done that through my life, I might have done more good in the world. But these words to the yet unwise did not sink in until my adulthood after much pain and suffering.
While it's important to have your work critiqued, writers also need to view rejection through grace-colored glasses. What are the cardinal rules of criticism?
1. Consider the source. Is the source qualified to give counsel on the piece? How does this source's perspective affect his or her opinion?
2. If the source is qualified to critique and has a valid suggestion, open your ears and listen. Don't be stuck on your ideas and words so much that you elevate yourself as a diva or divo and relegate all others as inferior.
3. If your source is not qualified or has a world view that conflicts with yours, then take their criticism with a grain of salt. Apply any truth that you see (often when mud is flung, some will stick) and then bind your wounds and keep moving toward your goal. Don't wallow in the quagmire of self-pity. Redeem whatever you can and make it work. Otherwise move on to another idea.
4. Remember that God-ordained things have a destiny. Sometimes it is just not the season for the words you write or speak. When the time is right, if you are open to the possibilities and led by faith, the piece that was rejected will find it's way to the forefront. "Be not weary in well doing for in due season, you shall reap if you faint not." Galatians 6:9
5. Guard your attitude toward rejection. "You can please some of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time." It is inevitable that rejection will come but we can't take it to heart too much. It will only defeat us. The other day after hearing about someone who applied for a car loan and received multiple rejections from banks, I decided to do reflect on what he did. He wrote rejection letters to those who rejected him. ) Caution. These letters ought never to be sent but to be shredded upon writing. They are done for the express purpose of catharsis only.
Here is what I would imagine a writer to put down on paper.
Dear Publisher,
You are only the 25th company to reject my submission in the last three months and I want you to know that I reject your rejection letter because published authors in the past have suffered hundreds of rejection letters before anyone with any sense had discovered that their words were gold. Surely, my manuscript is what you and every other editor wants to publish and you have somehow sent this letter in error.
Signed, My Circular File is Now a Boomerang. Thank you.
Dear Readers,
Perhaps you mistook me for my writing double, the hate mongerer, for surely if you listened to what I have posted, you will understand that my intent was to encourage and inspire and that I season my speech and writings with grace on purpose. Therefore, the rejection you are sending me in this complaint letter is to be placed under the "Complaint Department button", the trigger of a baited mouse trap, in Christian love of course.
Sincerely, Wounded Writer.
Of course, this is not really the attitude of a grace-filled Christian writer but there is an element of truth in my sarcasm. We must learn to look at rejection through the eyes of faith.
Here is the attitude Christians need in regards to both receiving and giving criticism whether it be it a rejection letter or personal rejection :
Be open and humble.
James 3:17, "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."
Be kind.
1 Peter 4:9 "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing".
Be willing to learn.
Proverbs 1:5, "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels..."
Seek discernment and discretion.
Proverbs 2:9-11, "Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee."
Don't be afraid of mankind. Remember Who is pleased and Who is with you. Hebrews 13:6 "So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
Don't give up. "Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord..."
I can't leave the page without discussing Forgiveness. When you are offended, whether through the rejection of others or the perception that you've been wronged, you cannot hold grudges and be successful. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Yes, you need to forgive an editor or publisher who rejects you. In your rejection of their rejection, add a note of forgiveness-make a choice. You'll feel much better about it, too and your interaction with the next editor/publisher will not be so harried. Keep in mind that God's mercies are new every morning. Do you want to follow His example?
Last but not least, DO NOT MAIL THAT REJECTION REJECTION LETTER. Discuss it with God and then shred it or burn it. Wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Tomorrow is another day.

Answers to Dr. Wordwielder's Exam

Thank you to all who exercised your brains this past week in reading and taking my examination. I am certain that many of you did take the time to ascertain the answers but for some reason, you are recording your answers off the record. I'm sure you are anxious to compare your findings with the final answers so I, Dr. Word Wielder do hearby declare the following answers to be the verifiable and reliable answers:

1. Hectic or Helpful Homonyms. The Egyptians were ruled by a (farrow, pharaoh) who sat on a (thrown, throne) chair. The correct answers are pharaoh and throne. A farrow is a group of wild pigs and the word thrown is past tense for throw.
2. Ideal or Idiotic Idioms. The musician who won the national finals at the Gospel Music Association (A. forgot himself OR B. went off the deep end) when he heard his name announced over the public address system. Choose the correct idiom. The correct answer is went off the deep end. Though many think that the term may only apply to becoming angry rapidly, Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary assigns it also the following possible definitions: — go off the deep end
1: to enter recklessly on a course

2: to become very much excited

To forget oneself is to forget one's manners or training by belching, making rude noises or being loud and obnoxious. In children, it can also mean to wet one's britches. Though this might be the case for some contest and competition winners, the correct definition was not to forget oneself.

3. Wise or Wacky Words. Automaton. Is it: A. Automatic matching OR B. a robot or mechanical person? Select the proper definition. If you have chosen a robot or mechanical person, then you have made the wise selection. The term may also be applied to anything that moves on it's own.

4. Comical or Cute Coinage. Editoreyesis. When one's eyes insist on noticing grammatical errors almost everywhere his or her eyes look, making general reading more like an editing experience. People with this condition tend to be hardest on themselves. ( Your blog hostess possesses a severe case of this condition. ) Now it is your turn to coin a phrase or leave your copy of a coined phrase that you love hearing or using. Place your answer in the comment box at the bottom of this post.

Once again, I bid you audiue and anticipate with great joy, our future salutations and communications. Until next Wednesday in the wee hours of the night, Good Bye, my students and acquaintances. Be certain to read a dictionary page whilst await my return and send me your favorite idioms just for the stimulation of the mental capacities, which I crave like a bee craves pectin. Good night.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dr. Wordwielder's Word Smithing 101

Dr. Wordwielder: Ladies and Gentlemen, it is once again my priviledge to join you here at Rather Be Writing for my excellent excercises on which I elaborate in my courses at the Elite Educational Institute for English Acceleration (or EEIEA, pronounced "Ayuh"). But first, I must tell you that I've been browsing Ms. BeckyJoie's blogroll focused on finding fascinating fodder to feed my fancy for delightful dialect. I do declare with mesmirizing merriment that her marvelous mates measure up as magniloquent masterminds.So before I deliver my dissertation on communication, let me refer you to their weblogs. Do I have your permission, Ms. Oakes? I do? Of course, Why thank you, Maa'm. She is always such a gracious hostess. I shall leave you the links. However...
Please, do not forget, my friends, to return safely here to Rather Be Writing after your journey into the blogosphere. I have labored to attend to our weekly wordsmithing for Ms. Oakes, and despite the late hours I keep, she has accommodated my schedule because she is aware that the information which I share with you is vital ventilation of the verbiage you need to voraciously voice and value. So vacate this site ever so briefly and visit the following: You will find Ms. Tabares' post here: and the original post which sparked it here:
Now that you have had your cognitive quadrants quickened, you should have no qualms or queries about my quick quiz questions. The quandary can be quelled by calculating the qualifying answers and inserting them into a post in your que of blog entries. Then the readers shall reappear here to respond with a link to the web address wherein you have posted your response to these questions. Return again and read the Exam Explanations and Answers which I shall record on this page in a day or so.
1. Hectic or Helpful Homonyms. The Egyptians were ruled by a (farrow or pharaoh) who sat on a (thrown, throne) chair. Pick the correct homonym for the sentence to make sense.
2. Ideal or Idiotic Idioms. The musician who won the national finals at the Gospel Music Association (A. forgot himself OR B. went off the deep end) when he heard his name announced over the public address system. Choose the correct idiom.
3. Wise or Wacky Words. Automaton. Is it: A. Automatic matching OR B. a robot or mechanical person? Select the proper definition.
4. Comical or Cute Coinage. Editoreyesis. When one's eyes insist on noticing grammatical errors almost everywhere his or her eyes look, making general reading more like an editing experience. People with this condition tend to be hardest on themselves. ( Your blog hostess possesses a severe case of this condition. )
The time has come for me to retire for the evening and to say goodnight to your blog hostess. Ms. Oakes, thank you so much for the invitation to interact with your audience. I shan't take it for granted. May you have a word wise Wednesday and a winsome week as well.
BeckyJoie: Thank you, Dr. Wordwielder for coming as our weekly guest blogger. You're a great inspiration to me and I'm sure to our readers as well. Readers, please show your appreciation for the Dr.'s time and dedication to us by doing as he suggested and posting your answers to the Exam questions on your blog. Then come back and leave us a link to your answers. We'll post the correct answers some time in the next few days.
Until next time, Happy Writing and Wordsmithing!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Christian Writers, Listen Up

Here's some inspiration from the WORD of God for my fellow Christian writers:

"Whatever you do, in WORD or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." Colossians 3:14.

"My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King;My tongue is like the pen of a ready writer." Psalm 45:1.

"And let the beauty and delightfulness and favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm and establish the work of our hands. Yes, the work of our hands, confirm and establish it." Psalm 90:17 (Amplified).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Welcome, Dr. William Wordwielder!

Today, we are blessed to have a guest author, Dr. William Wordwielder, an editor and multi-genre writer who also teaches university students excellence in articulation and publication.
Ever since I've met him when he appeared on a previous late night blog of mine, he has become like a grandfather figure to me even though he is known by his students as a bit of an eccentric etymologist. His reputation was established when his peers discovered that rather than to socialize with the staff of the university where he works, he prefers perusing Webster's Dictionary, Roget's Thesaurus and rhyming dictionaries. He is so enamored with writing that even his impending retirement can't keep him from picking up a pen-which he does when he thinks no one is looking--shhh-but most always I've seen him at a computer, pecking away at the keys with two fingers. I suspect he will always find time to pen prose, but for now, he has decided to visit Rather Be Writing. I will allow him to introduce himself and his work further.
Why, thank you, Ms. Oakes, I appreciate that you presented such a powerful prologue of my presence and purpose, My Dear. I shall be forever at your mercy. However, you've been gracious to allow me time for discourse here at Rather Be Writing so I shall waste no further time in introducing myself to your readers.
Although my authorship is already publicized abroad, I did not begin 'web-logging' until April of 2005, when I became aware of the necessity in order to stay abreast of the modern era of publishing. Of course, journals existed for eons before this, but we shan't bicker about it, shall we now? A writer must not lament departure from the pen and page, though it discomforts him to be displaced of a dear soul mate who hath tarried with him through childhood woes and joys. Of course, there is a great distinction between the manuscripts of yesteryear and the mode of cognitive transcription that trickles from our fingertips onto a board with keys, but that, my friends, is an immutable evil with which we must acquiesce in order to survive this brutal metamorphosis of the craft. But I digress. You have not come to console a codger such as this professor who has not a bone of contention to bear. No, you have arrived at this sacred site to acquire an apprenticeship to elocution. I shall now acquaint you with my notoriety which I maintain by keen study and perseverance.
Contracted in 1978 to be the Professor of Puns, Prose and Poetry at the Elite Educational Institute for English Acceleration (or EEIEA, pronounced "Ayuh"), my competence in composition has earned me exceptional accolades in associations of writers and English Professors. My work has been published in three additional languages: Greek, Latin and French. My Alma mater presented me with an honorary doctorate for many years of language instruction to my students at the Institute. I continue to be retained there until a suitable replacement shall be employed to discharge the duties which I have responsibly executed for the past 22 years.
Lest I lose sight of the time allotted, please allow me, ladies and gentlemen, to present the lesson for which my services have been procured.
Each week's educational exercises shall consist of the following:
1. Hectic or Helpful Homonyms?
2. Ideal or Idiotic Idioms?
3. Wise or Wacky Words?
4. Comical or Cute Coinage?
I shall type them in numerical order. Your assignment shall be to reply with either the correct response or an original creation of a word according to what the questions require. When you are prepared to answer, select the icon in the window that is labeled, "Comments" and insert your text. After the passage of time, I will deliver the answers to Ms. Becky Joie for her to post after your comments.
Here are the examination questions for the week:
1. Hectic or Helpful Homonym. Which homonym is it?
Gladly the cross ___bear. A. eyed OR B. I'd
2. Ideal or Idiotic Idiom? Which one will you choose?
When the author received his royalty check in the mail, he _________________.
A. was as happy as a clam in the mud OR B. judged a book by it's cover
3. Wise or Wacky Word? Balderdash. Does it mean: A. making a mad dash to recover a dropped hairpiece OR B. nonsense speech or writing?
4. Comical or Cute Coinage. Invent a new word and define it. Here is one that Ms. Becky Joie has utilized on her web logs. "Bloglinkwent". This word is used to describe a blog owner who has been delinquent in posting and thus has no current links to share with his or her readers.
Well, I have fulfilled my obligations for the evening. Your blog hostess has given me ample time to complete the task. I shall retire for the evening and await the call to alert me that it is time to post the answers to this examination. Thank you, Ms. Oakes for the opportunity.
You are quite welcome, sir. Thank you for joining us this evening.
Editorial. Late each Wednesday night, Dr. William Wordwielder will visit us here at Rather Be Writing. Come back again soon as his test answers are revealed. It is a tough challenge. I know. He ran me through the ringer before posting them on this evening's page. Oops, he even has me using idioms.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How to Make a Living as a Writer

Over the course of time, I've had people ask me how they can make a living with their writing. I know several self-published and traditionally published authors who successfully make writing their career. When I have asked them for the keys to success, they often say, "diligence". They also say "time". This would be both time spent writing and periods of time building a "platform".
Novelist Nora Roberts has one cardinal rule for writers who want to make a living. Here is my paraphrase of it: Seat your daire aire in the chair.
As one growing into the professional writer role with much yet to learn, I am not without opinion on the topic.
As for me, I think you have to be humble enough to try every kind of writing--even the genres that don't appeal to you initially. I never thought magazine writing would interest me until I gave it a shot. Now I love it. I have other goals and dreams as a writer and I know that in the "write" time, I will make a living with my art. Because I'm not an expert and there are many who are, I will defer to someone else for more proven advice.
Here are a few tips from Laura Turner.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Magazine Mush

I LOVE magazines. I write for the Lake Family Magazine but writers always wish to expand their audience. I'm dipping my feet in the water wherever I can these days.

I've said it before and I say it again, I love magazines. I read several: Reader's Digest, health magazines, Homeschool Enrichment, Homeschool Heartbeat, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, No Greater Joy, parenting, educational, devotional and various writing magazines as well as e-zines.

What is so great about reading magazines? They offer a quick, easy way to learn about a variety of things and also reveal the writers' unique personalities. When you have so many authors coming together in one place, there is bound to be some fascinating reading going on. To top those reasons, I believe that reading and writing are a never-ending circle.

I read many genres besides this, but magazines go with me everywhere. I usually have one or two kinds in my car or briefcase. I can read them anywhere when I have a free moment. I really don't know why I like them above other types of reading but I do and you might find me in corner of the Sunday School room reading one or in the parking lot after church or even in the waiting line at the grocery or doctor's office. I just love magazines-at least wholesome ones and those that contain helpful information.

I was talking to one magazine editor today and she informed me that I am about to become involved in the magazine in a much more significant way. I'm very excited and nervous. We will meet soon to discuss details. Pray for me. As my brother is fond of saying, "This is pivotal".

Meanwhile, I am reading copies and analyzing them to learn about the writing process and how the different styles fit each section. Bodie Thoene talks about this in her Writer to Writer book and so did the Writer's Digest course I began years ago. You can learn from just about any genre of writing if you read carefully, dissect and analyze. So, on my agenda for the week (after Monday), magazine reading and writing may take a higher priority. (Don't worry, I haven't given up the other writing. I have many irons in the fire.)

How about you? What magazines do you read? Do you like to write for magazines? Have you even tried it or considered it? It might be a good fit.

Give it a try. Google "Magazine markets" and see what you discover. I will do the same-though I have a list already in mind to market. Then we can compare notes.

Who knows? Maybe you will, like me, become all mush for magazines.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Night Writer

Yes, I'm up late again writing when I should be sleeping but I can't sleep. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow that I must keep and it is scheduled for early morning. Why couldn't I be an early riser by nature? I'm not a morning person.
So I stay up and write. I'm wide awake anyway. Tomorrow I will be "wide asleep", as my husband puts it.
Yesterday was not bad writing-wise. I wrote two poems and a short story. I now have to edit and send them off to a contest by the fourth. I may hand-deliver since I live close.
I still have a stack of things at which I plug away--quite cheerfully. I think I've gotten past the idea that writing is play and I don't have time to do it till my work is complete. I've made writing my work and yet I still play with it. I love writing. I can't help it. It was instilled within me by my Creator. It had to be. I was writing as a little girl, making up poems while I sat at the mill pond watching the water fall over the rocks and trickle over the moss which grew in abundance in my New England neighborhood.
A weird child, I would write in a graveyard because it was silent, or in the van with ear muffs, at the library or bookstore and alas to my mother's chagrin, I would hide under the covers at night with a flashlight reading a book or writing on a notepad. Some things never change. I hope this doesn't. I love writing. I don't intentionally choose to stay up all night but once in a while, I must because the words are there and the silence is golden.
I do need sleep though and must catch some zzzz's. So I leave you...with questions as always.
When do you write best? Where is the best setting? What images inspire you? Write soon. I'm dying to know. Are you a night owl too?