Friday, November 30, 2007

Five Resources to Enhance Your Grammar

Have you ever mistakenly written “their” in the place of “they’re?” How about “ad” instead of “add?” Do you sometimes use “beside” in place of “besides?” Perhaps you’ve made the error of creating the combo “could of” (which doesn’t exist), in place of “could have.”

This can be very frustrating for editors, and that means you might not have the opportunity to work with them again. How sad, especially since these mishaps could have been prevented by paying closer attention to proper usage of English. I’d hate for a simple homonym oversight to result in that oh-so-dreaded rejection letter.

There are several resources I refer to so I can keep my grammar sparkling and my editors smiling.

  • Alan Cooper’s homonym list is a very handy site. Starting with the letter “a”, he goes through the alphabet listing homonyms that are commonly misused. This list will definitely refresh your memory and aid in writing grammatically correct articles.

It is cram packed with examples and exercises to tickle your brain and sharpen your English skills. I keep it in my writer’s reference library and reach for it anytime a word is in question.

Why is English grammar becoming such an issue? Have parents failed to teach their children the correct way? Do teachers get the blame? Are youth just too preoccupied with PDAs, cell phones, and game boys to even give grammar a second thought?

Is it a regional concern? Perhaps we just pick up on certain writing/speaking styles and just can’t pry ourselves away from that comfort of habit. Who knows? There are so many people/circumstances we could blame. The main thing is that we need to embrace our lovely language and study until our words glisten with perfection! is another place where you and/or your child can brush up on English grammar. There are several quizzes, word games, and sentence exercises to choose from. This Website can be a fun learning tool and a sneaky way to share in your child’s learning.

I’m also fond of The Elements of Style: The Original Edition.

Freelance writers I know have kept this small goldmine on their desks for years.

Regardless of which reference book you prefer, how many years you’ve been a freelance writer/author, or which writer’s sites you frequent, never become “grammar lazy.” No matter how old we are, we’re never too old to learn something new or remind our tired memories of something we once knew but forgot somewhere along the way.

Keep writing, keep submitting, and keep that grammar glistening!

Remember: The less an editor has to edit, the greater the odds that you’ll begin a flourishing editor/writer relationship that may last for decades to come. Good luck!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

All Work and No Play...

... makes for a burnt out writer who never has any fun! If you're feeling stressed and exhausted from trying to meet all your deadlines--writing, rewriting, editing, and polishing all those articles-- then you need to pull over to the edge of the cyber highway right now.

Take a deep breath and get ready to have some fun playing a very user-friendly game where you can win a Free gifts Sweepstake Cash prize.

You'll really get into playing this awesome game! Among the amazing prizes you can win are:

  • Apple I-phones
  • HDTV's
  • Designer bags
  • Cash
New winners take away something wonderful every single day. All you have to do to start winning Free gifts Sweepstakes Cash prize is:

  1. Click one of the links in this post, which will take you to the website.
  2. Guess the lowest unique number of the prize and type in your answer in and click "Go."
  3. Check back and if your bid is no longer the lowest unique number, bid again!
You can also play via your mobile phone no matter where you are.

It really is as easy as 123 to take home a Free gifts Sweepstakes Cash prize!

This fun game is a text based reverse-auction game and the lowest unique bid will win the prize. There is even a flash video to walk you through all the details.

Enjoy your break from writing the cyber highway--have fun and good luck!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Plagiarism Debate

Melissa A. Donivan
has asked us to play judge. She wants to know our opinions of the plagiarism debate concerning This is a very interesting topic and if you're a writer you'll most definitely want to speed the cyber highway and read all about it yourself. Melissa makes excellent points but allows us to come to our own conclusion.

She also mentions how John Hewitt over at The Writer's Resource Center is taking a stand for his rights as a writer whose work is obviously being taken advantage of and that she has taken action as well.

I commend both Melissa and John for being bold and not backing down. Our words, our writing, our thoughts and our very souls should not be swiped by other people who aren't creative enough to write their own content. Writing is, after all, work and should be respected as such (although I know a lot of times it isn't).

Writers, we need to be aware of splogging and what other people feel they can do with our RSS feed.

I urge you to follow the above links and discover what's been happening while writing the cyber highway. And... be sure to drop by Writing Forward and The Writer's Resource Center often. They are both excellent sites!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chicken Soup Seeks Stories!

Over the weekend I was blog surfing and stopped by a few of my favorites. Heather Strang posted about her friend Christine Hassler, who is co-authoring Chicken Soup for the Twenty-Something Soul. You can learn more about the specific details at Christine's blog.

Now, you don't have to be in your twenties to submit a story. Just tell about a wonderful, inspiring event you experienced when you were in your twenties. Reflect, write, submit--it's that easy!

Guidelines for a Chicken Soup for the Soul Story

1. Tell an exciting, sad or funny story about something that has happened to you or someone you know. Make sure that you introduce the character(s).

2. Tell your story in a way that will make the reader cry, laugh or get goose bumps (the good kind!) Don’t leave anything out — how did you feel?

3. The story should start with action; it should include a problem, issue or situation. It should include dialogue and the character should express their feelings though the conflict or situation. It should end in a result, such as a lesson learned, a positive change or pay-off.

4. Above all, let it come from your HEART! Your story is important!

What a Chicken Soup for the Soul story IS NOT:

1. A sermon, an essay or eulogy.

2. A term paper, thesis, letter or journal entry.

3. About politics or controversial issues.

4. A “My Grandma Just Died, and Let Me Tell You What A Wonderful Person She Was” or “Let Me Tell You About My Disease or Operation” or “I Gave a Bum Some Money, Aren’t I Incredible?” or “Why My Mother Is the Best Mother” or a personal testimony that may mean nothing to the reader.

Story Specifications

1. It is preferred that all submissions are sent via our website by clicking here. If you don’t have access to the Internet, please submit your stories preferably typed on plain white 8 1/2” x 11” paper, in 12-point Times New Roman font.

2. Please be sure to type the author’s name and contact information on the first page of each and every story.

3. Stories should be non-fiction, ranging in length between 300-1200 words.

4. Mail your submissions in a flat, 9x12 envelope if possible.

5. No anonymous or author unknown submissions please.

6. Send only one copy of each submission.

7. We do not return submissions, so please don’t send the original.

If the story you wrote is published, you will be paid upon publication of the story. Payment amount will be determined at that time.

The only way to receive an acknowledgment of your submission at this time is by submitting through our website, by clicking here . By submitting through the website, you will be taken to an acknowledgment screen on our website directly after hitting “send”. This screen will inform you that the story has been accepted into our submission process. We strongly encourage you to submit stories online as it is both the fastest and easiest way to process and review your submission. If you do not have Internet access at home, you can always visit a local library.

It can take up to three or four years for Chicken Soup for the Soul books to develop. Please be patient, as this is an important, yet time-consuming process. If your story is chosen for a future edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul or any other projects, you will be notified and your permission to print it will be requested.

Feel free to submit more than one story.

You can submit your story 3 different ways:


Mail: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Attn: Story Submissions
PO Box 30880
Santa Barbara, CA 93130

Fax: 805-563-2945

Please contact Christine directly at with any questions.

Good luck with your story submissions and I wish you a successful week writing the cyber highway!

A little news...

For any of you tracking my writing, you can read Passion for Patchouli over at Her Natural Beauty. I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday! Perhaps some of you took a break from writing the cyber highway...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More Weekend Fun

Since everyone is loving the "weekend fun" posts, I thought I'd do it again this weekend. This test lets you know just how good of a friend you really are.

You Are a Good Friend Because You're Loyal

You stick with your friends no matter what, even if you feel like they're doing the wrong thing.
You believe in letting people figure out their own path in life. It's not your place to interfere.

And part of your loyalty means that you'll do a lot for your friends. You definitely go the extra mile.
You'll even do great things for friends without them asking. After all, that's what friendship is all about.

You are truly a friend for life. And you have friends you've known since you were a kid.
Your friends can count on you to do a favor, remember a birthday, or just be there to listen.

Your friends need you most when: They can't turn to anyone else

You really can't be friends with: Fickle people who change friends quickly

Your friendship quote: "Friendship doubles your joys, and divides your sorrows."

What Makes You a Good Friend?

So, now you know what kind of a friend I am ;-) After you find out what kind of friend you are, be sure to scroll down and check out the previous posts. There's an anthology call for submissions and a blogging job opportunity. Hope everyone had a fantabulous Thanksgiving (those who celebrated) and a wonderful weekend. I wish you much success writing the cyber highway!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Anthology Call for Submissions

Today, I received a most devastating and sad email. A wonderful Editor friend of mine, Candace Carteen, has lost her dear husband, George Blakeslee. This is a tragedy that happened out of the blue right here at the holidays.

As a writer herself, Candace knows the power of healing that comes from pouring our hearts and souls onto paper. Realizing the lifetime of coping that lays ahead, she has chosen to cultivate beauty and hope from her painful loss and is asking you to as well.

In an anthology, I Know Why the Widow Cries, you will have the opportunity to share your story with other grieving widows. This is your time to help others face the very heartache you've endured. By reading your words, other widows will find strength, courage, and inspiration for a new life--a life without their beloved husbands.

If you are a widow, I urge you to write down your story and submit it for inclusion in what I know will be a compelling anthology--a powerful tool for widows in all stages of this unreal loss.

Visit Candace Carteen's website to learn more. She doesn't have the information posted about this anthology just yet. Give her time and she will. In the meantime, check out the other upcoming titles for the "I Know Why" series. Perhaps you have a story (or two) for those as well.

Candace is an awesome lady and you will most definitely enjoy working with her! Stay tuned for more information regarding I Know Why the Widow Cries anthology...

And... anyone who believes in prayer, Candace and son, Keefer, need massive amounts of prayers and blessings right now. I know my own heart aches for them and they'll remain in my prayers for a very long time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Job Opportunity-Blogging

Do you love juice fasting? Do you know SEO? Are you familiar with You Tube video uploading? Are you passionate about your health, yoga, and drinking live, raw juices? Can you write a Press release? Do you love to write/blog? Do you have an Editor's eye? If so, this may be the job for you!

Get ready to write at least 6 blog entries a month to begin with. Upload You Tube videos, write a fresh Press release, and possibly edit/share ideas for a newsletter.

You'd be working with Mary McGuire-Wien. You'll be contributing to the American Yogini blog.

Mary's request:

We're looking for writers for the following:

  • Press releases – ( writing and submitting to PR web and RSS)
  • And blogs – two or three per week would be fantastic. We could start with just one a week just to see how it goes maybe? The most important thing of course is to stay fresh and create the maximum exposure to internet viewers looking for what we are talking about. Maximum marketing muscle. So it has to be blogging with good optimization skills. You know, using the keywords, becoming an enormous resource on the topic of yoga and eco-sustainable-green lifestyle.
So I want someone AMAZING: passionate about our subject, our planet, and who really understands the marketing tricks(meme's) Also will have you tube videos to upload...
Pay? You tell me :)


If you have all of the above talents and the time to devote to this writing job, email Mary at:

mary (at) americanyogini (dot) com.

Writers, please respect Mary's time and only apply if you really are qualified.

I wish you a most fantastic Thanksgiving filled with warmth, love, and lots of pecan pie (my favorite!)

Enjoy your holiday break from writing the cyber highway!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Are you envied?

People Envy Your Ingenuity

You're a person with unique ideas, big plans, and a zany outlook on life. Many people look to you for inspiration.
People envy your creativity and "who cares?" attitude. They feel very ordinary next to you - and they usually are!

I just love these little things Grandy does over at Functional Shmunctional! I thought it would be nice to have a little more weekend fun like last weekend. It's odd how the answers always seem to match my personality to a T (except for my "who cares" attitude. I sometimes care what others think.) If you want to play along, be sure to come back and leave the link to yours or at least copy and paste the results in the comments.

Grandy also tagged me for a meme.Well, if you've read my Random 8 Meme, Crazy 8s Meme, or even Random 7 Meme, I don't know if there's much left to share ;-) But I'll try and hopefully this won't be like an old black and white rerun...

"Five Things About Me That You May Not Know"

1. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Some days or worse than others. There are some things I can't do, but life is good and I make the best of it ;-)

2. When I was a teen, I just had to wear hats and shoes with big wide ribbons and polka dots and stripes--together! Yes, I was weird ;-)

3. Every time I go to a store, I keep my eyes open for anyone that might need help. If an elderly, bowed over person drops a few can goods or can't reach an item, I run to the rescue. There's been times someone couldn't read and asked me which product said what and I'll stop and read the labels so they can compare and make their purchase. What's an extra few minutes out of the day to help someone, right?

4. Although I don't watch it, I still love that show Reading Rainbow. Don't ask me why, I just do ;0)

5. Ah yes, finally number five. Hmmm... I sing. Yes, I sing... at churches, reunions, etc. And as you may have guessed, I love to sing the slow songs, the ones that are calming and really touch people's hearts....

Hope you enjoyed my meme!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and relax, unless you're like me: still writing the cyber highway!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

You can now find me...

For any of my readers wanting to follow me, you can now catch a glimpse of me each week blogging at Her Natural Beauty. This week's post is Juice Recipes for Beautiful Skin.

I'll see you there! That is... if you take a break from writing the cyber highway!


Since there's been a little confusion, I'm going to clarify that Her Natural Beauty is NOT my site--it's Amy Derby's. I'm merely blogging there once a week ;-)


Friday, November 16, 2007

Mini Series, Part Two

I previously shared where freelance writing began for me. Today, I'm going to share a few tips that have helped me develop relationships with editors and get published (a writer's dream!) numerous times.

I've really adhered to this list.

1. Get organized. There are many writers lost in stacks and piles of papers and chaos. I just personally feel that organization is the way to go. When I first started writing, I went to the store and purchased a 3-ring binder and plastic sleeves. I created log sheets and since my first submission/query, I've been keeping up with each and every detail. I know when I received rejections and and what date my work was published. I love going back through my log sheets and seeing what I've accomplished! Seeing my writing accomplishments grow, change, and increase has really helped keep me motivated.

2. Learn to wait. Dig deep and find all the strength you have. You might get lucky (or blessed) and have an article/poem/feature story published the first time you submit, but chances are that you won't. You must have persistence, dedication, and get ready to wait. Editors are busy people and it's not a personal issue when they don't return your email/phone call within 5 minutes or even 5 months. Be confident, be patient. I'm only human. Sometimes I want to cry when my work is rejected. Sometimes I almost can't resist the urge to email an editor and ask, "Have you received my submission? Do you liked it? Are you going to publish it?" But we can't do that. So, I wait. I'm getting use to it, actually. An easy way to wait is forget you're actually waiting by working on new projects and submitting them. You'll get so busy doing this, you'll be pleasantly surprised when an acceptance email comes!

3. Learn how not to make editors your enemies. If you're rude, an editor won't want to work with you--who would? But there are other tips, too. Read the link to find out more. I try very hard to be kind and accept any criticism with a good attitude. I know everyone of us are different. Some aren't as patient. I'm sure others are more patient than me. But each of us has the potential to be nice and professional and civil. If we search our hearts, we'll find it's there.

4. Keep writing (obviously) and don't lose sight of your dream. Don't submit one article that you just whipped up and didn't even rewrite/polish and think because it came from your heart that editors and publishers and the whole world are going to think it's the greatest piece of writing on the planet. Write. Rewrite. Polish. Edit. Wait. Proofread. Do your best, keep writing, keep submitting like a mad man/woman. Query, submit, query, submit, query, submit... Don't give up! I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Yeah, right!" How are we suppose to do that. It's not as easy as it sounds (thanks for reminding me, Rebecca.) You're right. It's not as easy as it sounds. Sit down, make a list of the pros and cons of writing. How important is it to you? How badly do you want to be published? Could you be searching for markets and submitting instead of watching reruns of your favorite television show? Could you sneak in an hour of writing after the house goes to sleep? The reason I have been able to keep writing, submitting, and querying is because I've made it a top priority. Nothing worth having is easy, is it?

5. Learn how to uncover hidden writer's guidelines. One thing that was really frustrating to me when I first started looking for places to submit my work to was the inability to find the writer's guidelines. I'd notice other folks were published at a certain website or magazine, but when I tried to find out how to submit it seemed impossible. So, I started digging. As you'll read at the above link (which is an article I had published at, I became a cyber detective. If you can't find a particular market's guidelines, be a snoop and dig them up!

6. Blog! I've found new inspiration, met loads of blogger/writer buds that are an encouragement, inspiration, and have wisdom I can glean from. I love receiving feedback. Just like Rebecca's comment on the original version of this post which urged me to add a more personal touch to my tips (which I should have done to begin with to keep with the theme of this mini series, but as we all know most times there are a million and one other things going on in our offices/homes and I failed to recognize that.)

7. Take criticism. Of course, sometimes some people have negative opinions. This hurts as a writer that a reader wouldn't feel the same was we do about something we've just poured our heart into. We need to stop and listen to what they're saying. After all, if our readers feel something is missing or an element is left unanswered, we can hone our craft by embellishing or clarifying. I've had all sorts of criticism and judgment from various people since I've really been writing and getting published more often. There's even been the occasional jealous one, but things like this happen and we'll grow stronger with each learning process. It just takes time.

8. Unlock your heart. This is carrying me far. It's always easier to write about a product or someone else, but when we open our heart and share our emotions, fears, joys, uncertainties, and raw, gut-wrenching feelings, our readers will laugh, cry, and/or shake their head in amazement--and they'll come back to read more. Don't be afraid to reveal the depths of your soul. Dust the cobwebs and bring them to the surface and stir the memories. Allow them to cascade from the place you've been keeping them hidden away all this time. The power of writing is in unleashing the very things you're petrified to share....

9. Pray. I've saved the best for last. This, I feel, is the most important and significant of all the reasons I'm being successful in accomplishing my writing goals. Although I am a Christian gal, I know many of my readers may not be or may be of another faith or religion so I personally choose to represent my faith without forcing everyone to read about it in every post. I am touching on it in this post because I was asked to share what I've done so far as I strive to become a successful freelance writer--and prayer is a major part of that process. I do have a strong faith and a most treasured walk with God. Throughout each day (and night), I talk to God. I pray as I hit the send button or pray over the manila envelope before I mail it via snail mail. Try it sometime ;-) God is the ultimate inspiration for all of my writing and He's the reason my heart has been healed enough so that I can share all of my pain, blessings, and victories with you!

And... it's the times I really just let go and get it all out, that my readers are the most satisfied.

Thanks, Rebecca, for urging me to dig a little deeper. You certainly were right!

I am finding continuous success with these tips. Be determined, don't give up and you, too, will succeed writing the cyber highway!

*Last part of this mini series coming soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Smorty: A Blogger's Dream

You may have noticed a little sentence at the end of some of my posts that says something like this: ... brought to you by Smorty. That's because I recently signed up for Smorty, a blog advertising service.

Although I'm a freelance writer, I've really fallen in love with blogging so I signed up with this easy-to-use service. Smorty allows business owners the awesome opportunity to advertise on blogs. And as bloggers, that gives us the opportunity to do what we love-blog while getting paid!

Using Smorty is much easier than I could have imagined. You'll definitely agree! Are you ready to get paid to blog?

If you are, you'll want to be sure to follow these simple steps to getting started with Smorty.

  • Go to their homepage.
  • To the left is information for advertisers. You'll follow instruction from the right side, which is for bloggers.
  • You'll see "Get paid for blogging" in the first sentence. You can click on that link.
  • This link will take you to the process page and lead you through the steps of joining.
  • When you finish reading the steps, you'll see "Get paid for blogging" again. Click here.
  • This will take you to the FAQ page. Once you've read and fully understand everything, you'll come to the question, "How do I become a publisher?" Click that link.
  • Fill out the registration form and you'll receive a confirmation email, which comes relatively quick.
  • When the email comes with your blog's approval, you'll login to Smorty. Be sure to choose Blogger as your Account Type.
  • When you're logged in, you'll see opportunities to blog about. You can either accept or decline them.
  • Follow the instructions from each advertiser and you're blogging for Smorty!
Smorty makes it so easy to sign up and get started. They really know how to make blogging even more fun yet profitable at the same time. I'm extremely pleased with my experience of Smorty and I'm sure you will be, too!

Blog Advertising - Get Paid to Blog

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beauty...on the weblog--Today's Selection

This morning, I found the following comment from Sheila Cason:


As anspiring writer it's nice to have encouragement. You're my selection today for Beauty...on the weblog. You were nominated by a fellow blogger fan!

Thank you, Sheila, and "fellow blogger fan" that was kind enough to nominate me.

Between all the friendship, encouragement, and awards I'm all fueled up for writing the cyber highway!

100th Post!

I was just reading a comment over at another blog that mentioned a 100th post. I just realized THIS WAS MY 100th POST--no, not this one. Click the link. I carelessly overlooked the fact it had happened. *Winces*

I realized I had a 100th post coming up the other day, but then quickly forgot ;'( I can't believe I made it to 100 posts!

Have you written 100 posts yet? What was your 100th post about? Do you remember? Have you passed 200 or even 300 posts yet? If so, let us know what it was by leaving the link in the comments.

Wishing you hundreds and thousands of posts and continued success while writing the cyber highway!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Rewarding friends

November 9th, Mary at Mary's Writing Nook was truly giving and presented me with this award I appreciate your kindness, Mary! (Sorry it took so long for me to post about it.) Mary has become a cherished friend of mine.

Grandy over at Functional Shmuntional gave me an "award" via her recent comment:

If I could create an award for the first person to actually make me physically cry, it goes to you!! Thank you!! What a beautiful post, and I can't wait to read the rest!! You truly are awesome!!

(As we writers know most times no photo is needed for we paint the picture with our words.) Need I say more? And what a picture her words created! Thank you, Grandy, I'm touched.

And... Renie from Renie Burghardt's World, who is a dear friend and has been for a while now. She recently passed this wonderful award on to me.

Wow, what have I done to deserve all this friendship, awards, and so many (((cyber hugs))) ??

Thank you, each of you, for brightening my days (and nights) and for inspiring me to keep writing, keep blogging, keep persisting no matter what!

As for passing on these awards, some may not want to post them on your own blog so if you've been here before, commented, and/or count yourself as my writer/blogger bud then I present you with The Colors of Friendship and Your Blog of the Month Awards. As for Grandy's "Word Award", I'm keeping that one all to myself! *Giggles*

I also want to take this time to thank any and every one of you for stopping by, for all your heartfelt, beautiful comments, and for always making me smile ;0) Each time you stop by and show your support, I feel so very blessed.

Keep smiling, keep shining, and keep writing the cyber highway!

*Ok, back to writing for me (as soon as I watch The Biggest Loser!)

Writer's Resources & Advice

*If you're following my personal writing journey, stay tuned. I'll have another post on that topic soon.

For the time being, I wanted to go ahead and share this awesome resource I came across today. 23 Places to find freelance writing jobs and freelance blogging jobs compliments of Deborah Ng of Freelance Writing Gigs. It will take quite a while to read through these job ads! Thanks, Deborah!

Be sure to stop by Write-from-Home also and check out Amy Derby's post How a Positive Attitude Produces Positive Results.

She has a no nonsense approach to life and writing we can all easily relate to. Through great advice, she instructs us how to increase our writing success--it's all in the attitude! As always, we appreciate your leadership, Amy!

Have a great Tuesday, Writing the Cyber Highway!

I wish you much writing success!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Great Snacks for Writers to Stash

Admit it, most of you freelance writers have some type of snack stashed in your desk drawer.
Am I right? Do you secretly indulge in goodies? Nuts? Hard candy? How about chocolate? Yum-o! Oh come on, you know you LOVE chocolate. It's ok, your secret is safe with me!

If you love to snack but don't enjoy the hassle of battling traffic and crowded store aisles, do I have the solution for you! Oh Nuts Bulk Candy offers a variety of snack options and surely has a huge selection for all those different taste buds out there in the writing world. What do they offer you ask?

Here's an idea:

  • Bubble gum
  • Licorice
  • Hard candy
  • Dried fruit
  • Taffy
  • Lollipops
  • Gummies
  • Jelly beans
  • Rock candy
  • Swizzle sugar sticks
  • and much, much more
If you don't eat candy or sweet snacks but know someone who does, this online treat store offers awesome Kosher gift baskets-at wholesale prices! Yes, that's right. Quality candy in bulk at quality prices!

So, even if you're worried about your figure show someone how sweet you can be and send some delicious goodness their way. Come on, it's the holidays!

I almost forgot (there's so much to choose from!) Are you by chance planning a winter wonderland wedding or know someone who is? Be sure to check out the Jordan almonds. They're available in any color!

Okay, you can get back to writing the cyber highway now. Did I hear a tummy growl?

This yummy post is presented by Smorty.

Where freelance writing began for me...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Julia recently left a comment that prompted this post. She said:

"Any tips for getting those articles sold? Let us know what you're doing to be soooooooo successful! (Please!)"

So that you can better understand how I arrived where I'm at today in my writing adventures, I'm going to share where this freelance journey began for me.

In the next part of this "mini series", I'll try to give a few tips as to how you can find at least as much success as I have found (which isn't all that great compared to MOST freelance writers!)

In 2005, my Mom saw an ad in the local newspaper for a writer's meeting. "You're going to this meeting, Michele!" She said.

"But Mom, I can't go to that meeting! I'm not ready to write!" I whined.

"You're going and that's that!" She said. If you knew my Mom, you'd know she meant it (can you tell she was right?)

You see, I hesitated in even leaving the house. I hesitated in trying to follow my oh-so-faded dream of being a real writer. I had given up hope of writing. Ever.

After barely surviving domestic violence, I had neurological problems that stemmed from all the times my head was bashed into walls and beams. I couldn't remember half of my childhood or what happened the day before, much less English grammar's ins and outs.

Excruciating pain from the injured discs and vertebrae in my back and neck left me in agonizing pain that is simply indescribable. My nights were tortured with nightmares and my days were taunted with bad memories.

"You'll never amount to anything." I could hear my ex put me down. He really wasn't there, but the psychological damage was etched deep into my brain and soul.

I ballooned up to near 300 pounds. Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, debilitating migraines, anxiety attacks... These were but a few of the illnesses that plagued me day in and day out. My hand and eye coordination and dexterity had failed me. I couldn't hold a glass anymore. I couldn't hold anything, much less a pen. My body was slowly shutting down until I woke up one morning and couldn't get out of bed at all. That's right. I couldn't do anything. My Mother took care of me, nursed me... The whole works. She never gave up on me. Not once! (Thank God for an awesome Mom!)

But I gave up on myself. How on earth was I going to write when I couldn't use my hands? Sure, I had kept diaries most of my life. But write? Now? Attend a real writer's meeting? Nah. But I went. (By the time I attended that first meeting, I'd lost 100 pounds and some of the horrid health issues had improved.)

That day, the president surprised us with a little pop writing assignment. She asked us to write about an experience we'd had that we originally never thought we'd be glad we had. One that we could honestly say, I'm glad I went through this. She also asked us to share what we took away from that event.

I was so scared to share my heart, my raw emotions, with these people I didn't know. When it came my turn to read what I had written, I looked up after I finished reading my last sentence and there were tears welled up in every person's eyes. I had touched their hearts with my words. I was stunned at the reaction.

"Where have you been keeping all your writing?" An older lady said.

"In my desk drawers at home." I answered.

"Well, you need to dig those manuscripts out and start submitting! Do you think editors and publishers are going to come knocking at your door asking for your work?" She scolded me. "And before you ever submit, I'm going to tell you it will probably be rejected. Now, you listen. You had better get use it. You'll be rejected countless times in your writing career. It's just part of being a writer. The sooner you learn to accept rejection and move on, the sooner you'll find success."

Very wise advice. And, I have followed it.

Between that lady and my Mom encouraging me, I began to write, write, write, and submit, submit, submit.

I am going to pass on that elder writer's advice. "Accept rejection and move on." But I'm also going to add my own little piece of advice. Write from your heart. Shake that feeling we all battle that you can't be vulnerable, that you can't share your heart, your fears, your mistakes, your battles with your readers. Be yourself. Be real. Some reader somewhere will relate. And another. And another. And another. Open your heart so you can touch someone elses. It works!


To be continued....

Tips, markets, and advice are coming soon. Dream big and don't forget to come back!

Ashop Commerce For Writers (or anyone) in the U.S.

If you enjoyed my previous post about the Australian version of this awesome e commerce software opportunity, but you're one of my readers that live in the United States, this is the post for you!

Why? The reasons are simple. You may or may not be bringing in enough income with your writing. Perhaps you could use another source of income that will not only help you pay the bills, but allow you to keep pursuing your dream-writing.

With Ashop's Award Winning shopping cart software, all of these possibilities are a reality. Let's review the positives:

  • Enjoy a free test drive via the demo store.
  • Start making money online instantly.
  • Benefit from a free store design offer.
  • Feel more confident with the tech support and customer support that will "bend over backwards" to help you succeed.
  • Reach the top of the search engines as the search engine optimization has been done for you!
Start accepting secured payments from your customers via this awesome shopping cart that accepts Paypal, credit cards, and transactions from all major banks. What a great way to make your bank account grow-enjoy the extra cash!

* This business opportunity is sponsored by Smorty.

Supplement Your Writing Income with E-Commerce

Is your writing income sufficient? Could you use a few extra dollars to help you sleep better at night? Keep reading to find out how to make that happen.

If you've been a freelance writer for any amount of time, you know that you might be booked through next summer with writing gigs and then one day, all those jobs you've felt secure with just vanish and you're left with little or no income and don't know where to turn. Will you have to give up on your writing dreams? Not if you supplement with an E-Commerce business!

A good place to start is with Ashop Commerce, a shopping cart software program. A few reasons to try this affordable e commerce software, are:

  • You can create an online store easily.
  • You will be able to accept credit cards online.
  • You can start selling online right away.
  • Try it all out first with the free 10 day trial first.
  • Enjoy the selection of thousands of amazing features.
  • There's no need to download anything.
With this Award Winning Australian Shopping Cart Software you can take advantage of the free store design offer and start earning money right away! Use the demo, compare features, and choose the right package for you. It's that simple, writers!

The next time someone makes you feel like your writing dreams are disappearing right before your eyes, tell them you're an entrepreneur and have income coming in from several directions! Keep writing and keep earning, even when the Editors aren't calling.

The Ashop Commerce shopping cart is integrated with all major banks as well as third party processors such as our beloved PayPal. Customers will be able to pay confidently and safely with their credit cards.

So, what are you waiting for? Speed the cyber highway and check it out. Get started earning those dollars in time for Christmas shopping!

*This amazing information is brought to you by Smorty.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Insurance Coverage & Freelance Writers

Let me ask you a question:

Have you thought about insurance coverage today?

As a freelance writer "going it on your own", you may or may not have suitable insurance. Sometimes in the frantic rush of trying to maintain your home, search the job ads to keep a steady flow of freelance work coming in, worrying about the bills and taking care of children and/or any other responsibilities that rest on your tired shoulders, the thought of an insurance plan just gets pushed to the back burner. If this is the case, continue reading to learn how you can save money and be covered at the same time.

A couple of different types of insurance to consider are term and whole life policies. At Advantage Term Life, you can find these options and much more. Take a break from writing for a second. Lean back in your chair and ponder the disadvantages of not being covered by insurance. Not pretty thoughts? I assumed as much.

Term coverage is one of the most basic forms of life insurance. It expires after a certain amount of time, whether you have died or not. One may even feel as if money spent here is "wasted." If you do pass away while you're still covered, your beneficiary will receive the benefit that policy is set to pay out.

Whole coverage, on the other hand, is the better of the two. With this option, you are provided with coverage your entire life. Unlike the term plan, with whole coverage you can cash in if you have a sudden emergency that requires funds you can't obtain from another source.

Advantage Term Life
offers insurance across the United States. Whether you're a smoker searching for lower rates or just want to plan for your future today, stop by for your free online quote. A variety of plans are available and hey, it will only take a few minutes.

*This post was brought to you by Advantage Term Life Insurance.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Little Weekend "Fun"

My blogger friend "Grandy", over at Functional Shmunctional, shared a little Colorific and I thought I'd join in the fun. My favorite color is pink. What's yours? Go ahead and try this out. It's pretty neat!

What Your Favorite Color Pink Says About You:

Blissful --- Content --- Romantic
Idealistic --- Expressive --- Artistic
Funny --- Quirky --- Individualistic

Have a "colorful" weekend, writing the cyber highway!

Click Here! To learn how to get your website up and running like the professionals!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Writing and Selling: Constantly

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Ever thought, What are all these articles doing sitting in my folder/flash drive/floppy disc? It's like dead words, words that are "hushed", so to speak. We wait for the Editors to send us a "good news email", and we wait to hear a reply from our queries. We wait... and wait... and wait. Us writers are very patient creatures, I believe. The poor Editors are overwhelmed with submissions and all their daily tasks, but sometimes I wonder how I keep from pulling my hair out. Still,I wait respectfully. Don't you?

Here's the thing. While we're waiting why not have a few of those articles "parked" someplace where someone just might happen across a description of our article and think Aha! I have to buy this! And that can happen--at Constant-Content.

I've thought about this for awhile now and received confirmation about it yesterday, so I've taken the plunge and signed up. What will it hurt to try it out? It's a user-friendly service and people are having success with it, right? RIGHT!

You can choose to write about topics that interest you and submit those, or you can write for a request.
Simple enough. You can take an author tutorial, read their submission guidelines, study their FAQs, and much more. If you still have questions, zip an email to them with any of your concerns.

Once you sign up, you'll begin to submit your articles. Just follow their submission guidelines as you would for any market you're submitting to. Use the font, spacing format they ask you to use--very easy.

You'll also choose how you're going to sell your article, known as various licenses. There are three ways to do this.

Here's the basics on rights/licenses:

  • You can sell your article as a Usage, meaning reprint. It can stay on Constant-Content to be sold over and over. This means more money! (I'm leaning towards this one.)
  • You can sell your article as a Unique, which is basically "all rights." This kind of sale means you're agreeing NOT to sell this particular piece anywhere else, print or online. It cannot be changed in any way, and you can ask more for this type of license.
  • The third option is Full Rights. This license allows the buyer of your article to alter the content, take credit for the writing, and sell/use it multiple times. In essence, this is "ghost writing." You can hike your asking price up even more on this one, if you choose to go this route.
There are other opportunities as well:
  • Photography
  • Illustrations
  • Videos
Just go to the website and check out the specific guidelines for these categories.

So, there you have it. It's pretty simple and easy to understand. Currently, Constant-Content (as an aid in selling your writing) gets a percentage of your sale. You come out with 65% of that sale, though, and considering the articles you'll be selling would have probably been gathering dust (not earning you anything at all), that's not too shabby! Just take the percentages into consideration when pricing your articles.

It gets even better! As a bonus, you'll receive additional income by earning a generous 5% on sales made by the folks that sign up through your affiliate link. Nice, huh?

With Thanksgiving, Christmas, AND the New Year coming (maybe there's even some birthdays in the mix),
I do hope you'll consider this awesome opportunity for generating steadily growing cash for your pocket and increased sales for your freelance writing ego. What? Who doesn't love another sale?

Don't forget to click the pull down menu when you're filling out your author form and select yes to receive emails notifying you of your sales and upcoming article requests. There are three there. Just choose yes for each of them.

I've already submitted my first article. It's a very simple, straightforward process. I'm awaiting approval and then it can be sold (again and again because I chose the Usage license.)

Also, there is a price list to consider when using the submission form. That will help you choose a sale price, but it's just estimates. You can ask less or more. You'll be asked to write a short description for the buyer to see and also include approximately one third of your content so the buyer gets a good idea of what he/she is paying for. Lastly, you'll upload your file attachment and that's it. Wait for approval and you're in business.

Best wishes on your successful sales at Constant-Content while writing the cyber highway!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Top Ten Writing Blogs-Get Voting!

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So, who likes to vote? Anyone love to pitch in and show their opinions on things by voting? Is that important to you? Well, if it is you might be interested in getting involved.

Michael Stelzner's Blog is having a contest for the Top 10 Blogs For Writers. He's looking for nominations for the BEST blogs for writers.

Michael asks that each voter make a SINGLE nomination. Anonymous voters will be ignored. And the blog must be nominated more than once.

This is simple everyone. So, what blog do you consider to be the BEST blog for writers to gain advice, resources, tools, inspiration, and encouragement?

Ponder this question while you speed the cyber highway and ADD YOUR VOTE to the quickly growing list.

Again, all you have to do is:

  • Click on the above link.
  • Comment, giving your name, the name of the writer's blog you want to nominate (and the link to it), the reasons you think it should be considered one of the Top 10 Blogs for writers and submit.
  • Stick around a second to make sure your comment went through.
And, that's it. You've voted!

I personally nominated Amy Derby's Write-from-Home Blog. Before I knew you could only make a SINGLE nomination, I also *blushes* nominated Writing the Cyber Highway. But I quickly commented again, saying to ignore my shameless self-nomination and that I wanted my nomination to go for the Write-from-Home blog.

As always, I wish you the best success writing the cyber highway!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Blogsvertise: Blogging Pays!

Picture It:

I was "blog surfing" yesterday when I happened upon a most interesting post by Jeanne Dininni
at Writer's Notes. She was talking about the wonderful world of Blogsvertise.

Hmmm... very interesting, I thought to myself. Should I join? I must have read her post three or four times and checked out the site a few times, too, trying to make up my mind. I finally decided to take the plunge and go for it. What do I have to lose? I thought. Nothing!

So, I signed up.

Here's What Did It For Me:

  • Jeanne was very convincing! (Thank you, Jeanne!)
  • A few dollars for writing a post is more than I've been receiving since I've just been blogging because I want to so far.
  • Blogging for money has been one of my goals since I learned it was really a possibility and will add to the content here at Writing the Cyber Highway.
  • I don't have to endorse anything, just mention it. SO easy!

You Can Make Money, Too!

Yes, that's right. Chances are, if you're reading this you, too, have a blog. Maybe you're thinking, Hey, I could do this! And... you can. Simply follow the link, learn all about it and sign up.

Getting Approved:

After you've decided to sign up with Blogsvertise, simply submit your blog (or online journal). It will go through a process for approval. Once you've submitted your blog's url, an email will come (rather quickly, I might add!) explaining how to go about activating your account. You'll be informed that your first post about Blogsvertise (much like you're reading here), should be written and posted soon since your blog's approval depends on it. Considering most blogs are viewed within 24 hours, you'll want to write your post on Blogsvertise right away! This is to let Blogsvertise know that you understand the process since there'll be rules to follow if you're approved as a Blogsvertise blogger.

What Comes After Your Blog Has Made It:

Once approved, you'll be well on your way to receiving Blogsvertise assignments.
Your blog will go into the assignment queue and you'll receive emails with information about the website, product, or service you'll be blogging about. Mind you, there's no obligation to endorse anything. Simply mention the site/product/service in your entry, including a link back to their site three times. How easy is that?

You're then asked to submit the url of your completed post. Your entry will be reviewed and once it's approved, you'll be paid 30 days later with PayPal. It's also required that you archive your Blogsvertise posts, indefinitely.

Ah, Yes. The Money:

Finally, a mention of the green stuff! If you're new, you'll receive anywhere from
$4 - $25 per entry. Not bad, eh? On average, you'll make between $5 and $15. For example, if you complete 10 assigned posts that are approved, you could earn anywhere from $50 - $150. Payout rates are frequently based on blog traffic/popularity. Keep in mind, though, after you've successfully completed, and been approved for 5 tasks, you can ask for an increase in pay. Sounds good to me!

Overall, Blogsvertise appears to be fun, easy to use, and a great way to add cash to your wallet by doing something you already love doing. I can't wait to make money blogging, just like so many others we read about each day. So, what are you waiting for? Click that link and get started writing for Blogsvertise, too! After all, Christmas is coming and who couldn't use some extra cash?

Sunday, November 4, 2007


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Let's face it, I may be a writer, but all this "tech stuff" can give me a headache sometimes ;0) I can write an inspiring post. I can encourage someone who is down. I can write an inspirational essay. I'm beginning to have success with my devotionals. I can make a fellow writer chuckle, snicker, or blush (by bragging on their accomplishments), but I've had difficulty in understanding html, SEO, etc.

So many times as I've read blogs and comments, I've noticed folks leaving a link in the comments. It's a long thing you have to copy and paste into the address bar and click the green arrow/send. I've also noticed the people that were leaving that long, "dead" url say things like, "I don't know how to hyperlink.", including myself ;'(

Thanks to my great friend, Amy, I no longer have to say that and neither do you! I recently left such a comment at her blog and she sweetly gave a little Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket. She said:

"You can hyperlink by using html like this: [a href="link here"]text here[/a] But replace the [] with <>"

So, I tried it:

and it worked!

How about that? Just click the above link to see for yourself!

Thanks, Amy!

Now I can hyperlink all along the cyber highway :0)


I failed to define "hyperlink" for my readers (my apologies, you all). I jumped ahead of myself I was so excited I could do this, he he!

I traveled the cyber highway and found a definition for you at Webopedia. According to them, a hyperlink is:

"An element in an electronic document that links to another place in the same document or to an entirely different document. Typically, you click on the hyperlink to follow the link. Hyperlinks are the most essential ingredient of all hypertext systems, including the World Wide Web."

And... in my words? A hyperlink is the thing you click on that takes you to a new website/blog. (Easy enough?)

Hope this helps!


Saturday, November 3, 2007

If I Had An Extra Hour...

Amy has tagged me for a meme she created: "What would I write if I had an extra hour every day?"

Well, let's see:

If I had an extra hour every day, I'd....

1). Finish and publish the book I'm writing on how I lost over 100 pounds (without surgery) and how you can, too.

2). I'd finish a fictional piece I started but am not quite sure if it's going to be a short story or turn into a novel!

3). I'd write verse for greeting cards (I've always wanted to do that, but just never have).

4). Like Amy, I'd compile a book of my poetry and self-publish it ;0)

5). I'd visit more blogs and make more blogger buds.

6). I'd lead a writer's group for teens to show them they can see their writing dreams come true and that they can turn their excess energy into a positive experience and see their name in print (many times).

7). I'd visit nursing homes and read my inspirational stories to the residents.

8). I'm sure I'm way over my hour... Argh.. there's just NEVER enough time, is there?

What would you write if you were presented with an extra hour while writing the cyber highway?

For this meme, I tag:




And... anyone else who'd love to share what they'd do with their extra hour.

Thanks, Amy, it's been fun!

Seven Random Facts Meme

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Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful Saturday!

Tina over at Tina's Odds & Ends has tagged me for a "Seven Random Facts Meme." I'll try to share seven things I haven't shared before. Hmm... Let's see...

1). I love the color pink. All things pink-clothes, flowers, pens, sweaters, socks... (Well, I did say ALL things pink!) he he ;0)

2). I've mentioned this one before, but it's very important to me. I love to help people. It makes me happy.

3). I love caramel. As Rachael Ray (one of my favorite people) says, "Yum-o!).

4). I love the smell of cedar and pine right after the rain.

5). I'm stubborn as a mule, but sweet as honey ;-)

6). I make lists of what to buy, then I make lists of where I'm going to make the purchases. Gotta love lists!

7). Last, but most certainly not least, I believe Saturday is the Sabbath. No, I'm not Seventh Day or Jewish (and I don't mean that in a bad way, so please no one get offended, ok?). But I do believe Saturday is the true Sabbath. Anyone ever notice that Sunday is listed as the first day of the week on all the calendars? Hmmm.... That leaves Saturday as the last day of the week, therefore the Sabbath, the day of rest...

There you go! Seven Random Facts about me. And, you just have to love the kitty cat picture!!

Hope you enjoyed discovering seven fun and/or interesting things about me while taking a weekend break from writing the cyber highway!

Oops! Almost forgot to tag someone else. Let's see. I think I'll tag






(If you have time and want to participate). Also, anyone else feel free to do this meme. Drop a link in the comments if you do, ok?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Learning to Learn...

For whatever reason, I've been thinking about the word "learning" a lot lately. It seems some people have a lot of trouble with this word. Why? They think they know everything. They think they're better than we are, or that they know more than we do. They have no interest in learning something from someone younger than them, or perhaps they're just like an old dog and refuse to learn a new trick. Who knows?

So, I braved the cyber highway and pulled over at Merriam-Webster to see what they had to say on the matter.

They state:

Main Entry: learning


Date:before 12th century
1 : the act or experience of one that learns
2 : knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study
: modification of a behavioral tendency by experience (as exposure to conditioning)

see knowledge

I adore the experience of learning new things! I feel exhilarated when I'm in the act of studying and learning. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm ever learning and I hope I always keep this attitude. I'm amazed every day with new things I learn.

For instance, since I've been blogging, I've learned:

  • to write more consistently
  • great tips for writing/blogging
  • that cyber friends are great!
  • I've been missing a lot all these years by not blogging
  • that there's a lot to learn on not only the web, but specifically at blogs
  • writing is about more than words, it's about marketing, networking, and so much more
  • that I really do want to be a writer "when I grow up" *smile*
  • I have what it takes to actually blog every day (sometimes every other day)...
  • what SEO means
  • lots more but I'll shut up for now, ha!
I always begin each day wondering what I'll learn before the sun sets. Will I learn about a new market to submit my writing to? Will I find a great book that will lead me further down the writer's path? Will I learn a new way of doing something, perhaps an even better way? Will I find a new recipe at a friend's blog that I can try out for dinner?

Are you willing to learn? Are you willing to gain knowledge you can carry with you forever?

The world is a vast, expansive space filled with learning opportunities of all kinds. Open your eyes, and your heart, and maybe you'll learn something new, too.

As Gandhi said, I hope you "learn as if you'll live forever" while writing the cyber highway!