Friday, September 28, 2007


Hello blogger buds! Sorry I missed a post today. I've been "unplugged." Well, not literally. I've unplugged myself.

I have "writer burnout", to say the least! I feel uninspired, for sure. Check out Amy Derby's post from yesterday: Freelance Writers - Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

Better yet, check out Amy's post today: Freelance Writing Burnout.

I have family from out of town coming in and I'm going to try to enjoy tomorrow away from the computer, writing, blogging, sitting (all the good stuff!). Is that possible? To enjoy being unplugged from my cyber neighbors and friends? Hmmm...

Hopefully, I'll get some good photos, and I might even sneak a notebook and pen so I can jot down interesting stories and/or inspiration, ideas, good quotes from wise elders....

Enjoy the weekend, I know I'll enjoy mine as I take a detour off the cyber highway and onto a real one to spend time with special family members I haven't seen in a couple of years. I look forward to writing the cyber highway Monday, refreshed and full of endless inspiration!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Books of Interest....

As I've skipped down the cyber highway visiting my favorite writer-related blogs, I've noticed a theme amongst a few of them in their recent posts of book recommendations. I thought I'd bring a couple of those here so you can check them out as well.

Rebecca Laffar-Smith wrote about Seven Steps on the Writer's Path: The Journey from Frustration to Fulfillment by Lynn Lott and Nancy Pickard, on her blog The Writer's Round-About. She makes excellent points as to why a writer needs this book. Check out her post!

NOTE: Rebecca has posted Part Two of The Writer's Round-About Quiz for writers to have a little fun with. Run over and take the quiz, it's pretty neat!

As I continued to make my way down the cyber highway, making pit stops at my blogs of choice, I dropped by Becca's Byline.

In her Write On Wednesday-Coming Alive post, Becca shared about her new copy of Foolsgold: Making Something from Nothing and Freeing Your Creative Process by Susan G. Woolridge.

Hurry over to Becca's Byline for a breath of fresh air and her thoughts on a book you may decide you just must have!

It seemed there was another writer/blogger friend that had posted about a book of interest, but I don't remember who/where that was... Hmmm... If I remember, I'll add it later ;-)

Now, for my own small contribution. Grammatically Correct by Anne Stilman is a little book I love to keep around. Follow the link to my own post, and you may decide to add it to your writer's reference library as well!

Adding these three books to your bookshelf will help you be more successful and confident as you write the cyber highway!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why Do You Write?

Have you ever asked yourself why you write? Why, as a child, you waded through diary after diary?

I write because:

  • It makes me happy
  • The inspiration has to go somewhere. Why not words on paper?
  • It's who I am. Michele = Writer. Writer=Michele.
  • I can't NOT write.
  • It calms me.
  • It fulfills me.
  • It validates my life.
  • It's my calling.
  • It's my passion.
  • My stories inspire and encourage others.
  • I want to help people find hope as the storms of life rage in their lives.
  • I LOVE to write.
  • It's healing for me.
  • It's healing for others to read where I've come from.
  • It's what I was born to do.

For me, it's always been a compulsion. When I'm mad, I need to write. If I get upset I need to write. I find even when my nerves are fried to a crisp, I need to write.

After releasing that tension through words, I feel calmer, better somehow. It's like medicine for me. Whether I'm celebrating making a sale or breaking into a new market, I find inspiration for yet another poem or article.

I can't imagine a life where I couldn't write, didn't have access to paper and pen or heaven forbid, a computer with high speed internet!

Who needs a therapist when you could write? Okay, perhaps writing wouldn't exactly help in many cases where a professional therapist was needed. But for me, writing keeps me levelheaded. It's my "calm in the raging storms of life", especially when I write in the still of the night. It keeps me focused.

Say you're angry with your spouse or best friend. Write about it. Grab a notebook and plop down in a comfy chair and get it all out. Not only will you feel better, but you'll be healthier for getting those pent up frustrations out. Holding them in could possibly cause blood pressure problems--or worse.

You may even find as you read what you've written, that it was silly to get angry in the first place. And that now that you're in a better state of mind, it's easier to confront that person and apologize, or try to resolve the issue in an adult manner.

Sometimes at night, it's hard for me to fall asleep. I'm thinking, "I could add such and such to that article I've been working on." Or I think of a jazzy title I can't allow myself to forget so I'm scrambling around in the dark, stubbing my poor toe, and knocking off the lamp from my dresser.

There are times I just have to go ahead and turn the light on and turn my computer back on and let all those burning words out of my system. It's like an inferno deep in my soul, fighting to escape!

So, why is it that you write? Ask yourself. You may come up with a few crazy answers of your own and you may even be inspired to write something new as you travel the cyber highway!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Mini Walking Writer Update"

Just a quick little note to let everyone know that I DID get my 30 minutes of walking in today (and it was sprinkling rain on my head!), ha ha!

I took the digital camera, but not only was it a gray day, the batteries were dead! So, sunny pics of the river next to our walking track will have to wait until another day ;'-(

Hope you're busy writing the cyber highway!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Old School, New Students

A writer/blogger friend, gave me a head's up on a "hinky" affiliate, so I've deleted that widget and the post about it (I know you wondered how it vanished!).

In keeping with the theme of writing as another writer/blogger friend, Becca, advises (and my other writer/blogger friend, Julia, so graciously reminded me), I have decided to share an essay that was published in last year's Progress Edition of my hometown Newspaper.

Ok, here's the essay:

(Don't critique me too harshly! This was my first published piece ;-) smile)

"Old School, New Students" *


Michele L. Tune

When I think of (my hometown) and the surrounding Ozark area, I envision clear rivers and streams freely flowing--Children wading in the shallow water’s edge, inner tubes and boats filled with families and pets taking in the picturesque scene as the river carries them out of view.

Closing my eyes, I can almost smell the cedar and pine trees after a rain and oh, the abundant wild life scampering in the forest, as well as in plain sight, is the icing on the cake!

But, I also see a way of life that is dying, an old-fashioned path of yesteryear--of days gone by--the simple things in life like honesty, integrity, humility, true friendship, neighbors helping neighbors, a hard, faithful work ethic, a youthful zest for life, joy for a new day at the breaking of dawn... Watching the sun come up as a sweat breaks on the brow, but smiling because of the heart-filled pride of having a job and supporting or contributing to the family. The old school… Almost extinct, sadly endangered like so many rare species of animals and wild life. What to do?

Looking around I see fine folks like Ms. Garnet Hunt White. What a beautiful lady! A retired schoolteacher, well-known published author, strong pillar in our community, resilient, wise--so full of knowledge!

With so much to teach and share and such a youthful energy to experience what each new day has to bring, she is a role model to me as well as anyone who wishes to take a moment to study her life. Taking each day by storm, she lives life to the fullest never wasting a moment.

As she sat at my dining room table recently, her advice to me was, “Michele, write down the stories your mother and father tell you. They’ll be gone one day and you’ll wish you had taken the time to document what they know. I wish I had written down more of what my mother told me; I’ve now forgotten some of what she said.”

“The tradition and wealth of knowledge that can be passed on is a priceless treasure that money can’t buy”, Ms. White shared.

I will forever treasure her advice and most definitely, I will follow it!

Time is slipping through our fingers like sand in an hourglass. So precious is the time we have on earth, the opportunities that we have to make a difference, to love, share, give, and learn…

So many people today feel that they know it all, that there’s nothing they can learn. But they are so wrong. The reason Ms. White is such a remarkable lady is because she’s open to learning something new each and every day! And though she is a retired schoolteacher, she still desires to be taught and that is a valuable trait to have.

As father time presses on, tick.. tock.. tick.. tock.. I desire to fill the “old school” to capacity with a classroom of new students.

The generation that is leaving us is priceless and rare and in order to keep the Ozarks and the world the way we love them, we need to forge on and instill in this younger generation lessons that will not only withstand the test of time but also make our time here more valuable and enjoyable.

Broken homes, families, lost children, shattered dreams… It’s everywhere. But it’s not too late to try and rebuild what has been torn down because our teachers are still present; it’s the class that has been “playing hooky”.

I challenge our community to raise its standards in all aspects. I challenge our elders to “give it all you’ve got” to instruct the younger generation. And I challenge our youth to surrender your will and open your heart and mind to learning, while taking notes.

The Ozarks are beautiful and ever changing; life is even more beautiful. And with the magnificent country and unique individuals like Ms. White as my inspiration, I know I’ve yet to experience all the great things life and (my hometown) have to offer me.

Several months ago, as my mother read the Writer’s Guild meeting announcement in the Prospect News she said, “Michele, you’re going to that meeting.”

Of course, I laughed but as always, “Mother knows best…”

Gratitude doesn’t begin to describe my appreciation to her. From nursing me during years of sickness, surgeries, and depression to the encouragement and support she has given me daily, my mother is the reason I’m alive and pursuing my dreams today.

You see my dreams were once shattered. I am a survivor of domestic violence and my past is filled with violent pain and bad memories.

But as I sit here at the computer with tears filling my eyes, I am overwhelmed with a sense of hope as my pain transforms into strength and my once forgotten dreams rise from deep within.

My dream since childhood was to be a published author. And as I type this article for the newspaper, I realize that dreams do come true--even lost and shattered ones.

Ms. White and all the ladies of the local Writer’s Guild have forged ahead of me, accumulating educational knowledge of life and I now have the great opportunity to draw from their experiences. Through their writing, I have come to know them personally. Their words are so vivid, it’s as if I’ve always always known them. Retired schoolteachers, inspiration, and cherished friends, I love and appreciate them each and every one.

Ecclesiastes chapter three verse one says, “To every thing there is a Season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...”

With the changing seasons, nature takes winter and gives us spring. An entire generation is leaving us. The question is, “Will we glean from them and pass along those past treasures to the coming generations?”

Let us walk this path behind them with pride. Fresh dreams and goals are there for the taking, new memories, new lessons to be learned from the old school, and the new…

* First appeared in The Prospect-News, Progress Edition, November, 2006

And, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my first published piece! Do you remember your first published piece? What was the title? What was it about? Do you want to share it on your own blog?

Happy writing/blogging the cyber highway!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

iPod, Anyone?

I came across an interesting contest sponsored by a fellow blogger. It's Write Now is celebrating their 3 month anniversary and they're encouraging everyone to participate in their contest for an iPod. The contest ends October 31st, so hurry! You'll be winning a red iPod!!

Speed the cyber highway and enter today!

7 Ways to Send Fellow Bloggers Speeding Off Down the Cyber Highway, Never to Return!!!

Wow, this is a first for me! I've been tagged by Misti Sandefur , over at Life of a Writer to write a post sharing 7 blogging tips on how to make your readers cringe and not want to come back, so here goes...

Here Are 7 Ways to Send Fellow Bloggers Speeding Off Down the Cyber Highway, Never to Return:

1. Include links that go nowhere (am I the only person driven bonkers by this mistake?). After all, who wants to be reading and come across an interesting link, only to click and be taken to a cyber nowhere zone. "Error!" (And if I do this--SOWWY!)

2. Boast rudeness. Never follow fellow bloggers' comments over to their own blogs. Never show courtesy by just leaving your little cyber stamp and saying hi and NEVER leave a few kind words relevant to their post (just to show you're sweet and caring ;-) Wouldn't want to do that! After all, you're making your readers cringe and not want to come back--Ever! (My traffic is increasing tremendously by visiting fellow bloggers' blogs and leaving a kind comment).

3. Make your blog feel like a cold waiting room--no warm/cheerful colors, no pictures to admire,just a non-friendly atmosphere.

4. Be B-O-R-I-N-G! Write blandly. Don't act like yourself. Don't let your colorful personality make a peep! In other words, act like a wilted leaf-limp and lifeless to all cyber neighbors!

5. Write like a child. Don't use proper sentences, forget about spelling and grammar, don't even try to capitalize or anything of the such. Just be lazy and sloppy and have an "I don't care" attitude.

6. Make your readers have to "break in" to leave a comment. I'll admit, I'm guilty. I did enable that little feature that makes you try a few times reading those fuzzy little letters before you can leave your comment. By then, your readers won't care anymore and they'll just leave frustrated. Don't worry, they won't be back to bother you anymore! (By the way, I disabled that comment feature).

7. Whew, I didn't think I'd make it to 7 (smile). Be obnoxious. Just act like you are the greatest blogger, the best at everything, you don't have time for comments or polishing your post into something interesting to show your readers you want them to have something awesome to read each time they come to visit you. Just abhor your readers' very existence--that should do it! You'll have zero readers, zero comments, and zero cyber neighbors. Oh yeah, that's what you wanted!

So there, take these 7 Tips and Send Fellow Bloggers Speeding Off Down the Cyber Highway, Never to Return!!!!

It's been fun (thanks Misti!), but now it's your turn. I tag:

Amy Derby at Write-from-home.

Rebecca Laffar-Smith at The Writer's Round-About.

Becca at Moving Write Along.

Anyone else like to join in? Hop on board!

If I make horrid blogging mistakes, I'll humbly take the criticism and try to improve :-)

Hopefully, these tips will help you think twice before you make blogging mistakes and allow you to successfully keep blogging the cyber highway!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Market Update

I just discovered that Parade has "ceased payment" for Your Space essays, effective September 14, 2007.

Since it's the weekend, I had the notion to write an essay and submit it to Your Space at Parade. Of course, that notion faded as soon as I read that update, found here. Oh, I'm still going to write an essay. I just won't submit it to them.

"They may not have even bought your essay!" You might be thinking. True. BUT if they did I'd want to be paid for it, wouldn't you?

Are they working for free? I seriously doubt it!

Writing the cyber highway (for a fee!)....

Walking Writer--Just sitting!

I received an email that I hadn't updated about my walking adventures. So, here it is:

Yesterday, I didn't walk because there just wasn't time (horrible excuse, I know), but there wasn't. I suppose I could have walked in the dark... Oh well...

Anyways, I'm not sure if I'll fit in walking today either. There's a lot going on around here. I'm trying to work on an article about a man and his business. I interviewed him and pretty much have all of my information, so I need to just finish up, polish, and get it sent off.

Also, the dryer is not doing such a great job of actually drying today. The towels are still damp, so.... I'm hoping it isn't breaking down on me!

Sadly, on this beautiful Saturday, this "walking writer" is just sitting (well, part of the time anyway).

I sit down and try to clear my head and find inspiration and then I have to get up and go tend to something that needs tending to. So, I'm up and down, zoned into writing and then zoned out...

That's my update ;)

Enjoy your weekend and hopefully you'll be speeding down the cyber highway!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Enhance Knowledge/Increase Traffic flow...

I came across the following article at while traipsing around the web, trying to stay "Ever Learning" as one of my previous posts touches on.

I'm NO computer genius, but I'm always open to learning something new. I thought I'd pass on this information. I'm sure lots of folks will be bored and may not even read it, but for those interested, here it is.

Oh, the reason I'm trying to learn more about SEO is because I'm currently working on my own Website. I'm not quite sure when I'll have it ready for the world to see. It is taking me longer than I had planned! (Doesn't everything?)...

If you're looking to enhance your knowledge of SEO, and increase traffic flow to your website, the following article is for you.


(Permission statement follows)

The 52 Top SEO Tips - Here Are 10 of Them

By David Leonhardt

From the obvious to the "Hey-I-never-thought-of-that-great-idea-before", here are 10 of the top 52 tips on how to optimize your website for its turbo-charge rocket ride up the search engine rankings.

Be bold. Use the tags around some of your keywords on each page. Do NOT use them everywhere the keyword appears. Once or twice is plenty.

Deep linking. Make sure you have links coming in to as many pages as possible. What does it tell a search engine when other web sites are linking to different pages on your site? That you obviously have lots of worthwhile content. What does it tell a search engine that all your links are coming in to the home page? That you have a shallow site of little value, or that your links were generated by automation rather than by the value of your site. Here is an example of deep linking, in this case to my personal happiness workbook.

Become a foreigner. Canada and the UK have many directories for websites of companies based in those countries. Can you get a business address in one of those countries?

Newsletters. Offer articles to ezine publishers that archive their ezines. The links stay live often for many years in their archives.

First come, first served. If you must have image links in your navigation bar, include also text links. However, make sure the text links show up first in the source code, because search engine robots will follow the first link they find to any particular page. They won't follow additional links to the same page. You can see this in action at the link to the home page on this web site monitoring page

Multiple domains. If you have several topics that could each support their own website, it might be worth having multiple domains. Why? First, search engines usually list only one page per domain for any given search, and you might warrant two. Second, directories usually accept only home pages, so you can get more directory listings this way. Why not a site dedicated to gumbo pudding pops?

Article exchanges. You've heard of link exchanges, useless as they generally are. Article exchanges are like link exchanges, only much more useful. You publish someone else's article on the history of pudding pops with a link back to their site. They publish your article on the top ten pudding pop flavors in Viet Nam, with a link back to your site. You both have content. You both get high quality links. (More on high quality links in other tips.)

Titles for links. Links can get titles, too. Not only does this help visually impaired surfers know where you are sending them, but some search engines figure this into their relevancy for a page.

Not anchor text. Don't overdo the anchor text. You don't want all your inbound links looking the same, because that looks like automation - something Google frowns upon. Use your URL sometimes, your company name other times, "Gumbo Pudding Pop" occasionally, "Get gumbo pudding pops" as well, "Gumbo-flavored pudding pops" some other times, etc.

Site map. A big site needs a site map, which should be linked to from every page on the site. This will help the search engine robots find every page with just two clicks. A small site needs a site map, too. It's called the navigation bar. See how the second navigation bar at the bottom of Last Minute Florida Villas is like a mini-site map?

There you have it: 10 of the 52 Top SEO Tips, a free tip sheet that comes with Don't Get Banned By the Search Engines:

There is a lot more to search engine optimization, and there are always more details when looking at an individual site. But these tips should help any website significantly improve its rankings.

For more free seo-related articles for reprint, please see our article directory.

Permission is granted to republish this article on your website on condition that you include the following byline with all hyperlinks intact:

David Leonhardt is an effective, professional seo consultant and a website marketing consultant. For a free quote, call 613-448-3931, or send us an email.

Good luck writing the cyber highway!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Progress Edition--It's that time!!

Have you ever noticed a "Progress Edition/Issue" in your local newspaper? Well, this is an avenue to pursue your writing!

Granted, it probably won't pay. BUT if you're looking to create a list of clips and just get SOMETHING published, this is a wonderful opportunity! And, who doesn't love seeing their name in print?!

The Progress Edition in my newspaper comes out in November. Another newspaper, runs theirs in Spring.

Progress issues usually have a theme of some sort. Last year, our newspaper chose the theme: "Old & New." I had several pieces published in that issue. One of my articles was longer and wouldn't fit within the boundaries of the inserted Progress issue, so the newspaper chose to print it on page 3-A!! So, right when I opened the paper, there was my article!! Such a blessing, considering I had never had anything published at that time.

That article happened to be about the night Mom and I were stuck out in the harsh elements of the tornado that came through our town. We were trying to get home from church, but couldn't get to our house because of fallen trees and power lines. Of course, we eventually made it home.

The anniversary of that tornado happened to be the very month the Progress Edition came out. I think that's one of the reasons that piece was chosen for publication. The editor even had photos of tornado damage from the previous year when they first reported on it, and they added those photos to my story--those photos and the cut line were the icing on the cake!

My Mother was published as well in last years' Progress issue. She had previously been published in a newspaper before, though, so she wasn't quite as ecstatic as I was (smile).

One of her poems was chosen because it touched on family and weaved the "Old & New" theme throughout. She also had a few articles in that issue.

So, what are you waiting for? Do a little digging and see if you can figure out when your newspaper publishes a Progress Edition. Most newspapers even run ads asking for writers to contribute their stories/photos. They especially love local information/old photos, etc.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Unfortunate News....

As I've mentioned before, I subscribe to a variety of e-zines. One of them is Writers Weekly. The newest issue arrived today. I've been so busy with other things, I was just now able to take the time to read it.

"News from the Home Office" caught my eye. This week it's called "The Best Gift Ever." It was a very sweet story.

As I came to the end of that sweet story, though, something else caught my eye. In Angela's Post Script, she tells of Writers Weekly reader, Vinnie Sorce's unfortunate news.: Last month, his fiance was killed in an accident that very well could have been prevented. A teenager was driving while text- messaging, and it ended badly. It is a very sad incident. You can read the article here.

Angela requests that everyone print and share the article with teenagers you know. Please pass this information on...

Our prayers are with Vinnie and the family who lost this lady they loved. Her name was Stacy....


I was able to walk around the track 6 times today, fulfilling my goal of walking for 30 minutes each day. My legs weren't quite as sore, but I still wasn't as fast as I'd like to be.

I don't know for sure, but I'd almost bet (if I were a gambler, ha ha!) that a smart alec bird chuckled from a branch as I chugged along trying to keep up with my Mom!!! I know that sarcastic bird got a kick out of me today....

Overall, it was a great walk. I can really tell that I'm walking the soreness out (my Grandmother always told me: "Michele, don't lay around. Walk the soreness out, work it out."). Anyways, I believe that's true. It always works for me!

The sun was really shining too. The gentle breeze was so pleasant--the icing on the cake!!

Mom and I decided to break away from the same ole routine of going around and around the flat track today. We veered off and walked down by the river (magnificent view! I can't believe I forgot my camera!! I'll have to try and remember to take it in the morning and share those photos tomorrow).

We looked at the river as we walked by, not slowing down too much. We had to walk uphill along the edge of the woods to make our way back around. Of course, that's when the bird laughed at me! Walking back uphill was something else, whew! Now I get to look forward to the back of my legs (and who knows what else) being sore. Maybe I'll forget about the soreness in the front of my legs, though... Hmmm...

Oh well, that's my update. I'm alive and I can still move. It's getting easier every day! Hey, what's that old saying?

"Nothing worth having comes easy!"

Boy, is that ever true??!! Skinny Michele is working really hard to make her appearance!!

Oh, and get this: A lady told me I look 20! Since I'm in my 30's, her words fueled my walk today!!! Can't have too many compliments like that, huh?



Amy Derby, Editor/Owner of, posted some vital information for freelance writers on the Write-from-Home blog yesterday. Take a peak at her advice, it's very important! After all, we want to write and get paid and Amy gives sensible tips for keeping our expectations real, and keeping our freelance writing moving in the right direction.

Also, is a great market for freelance writers. Amy Derby is an excellent editor to work with and pays promptly. Stop by the site and review the Writers' Guidelines. Perhaps you have an article or will find inspiration for a new article by taking note of the types of articles she's already published. It's such a blessing to find Websites such as this, because this market pays well, maintains a blog with excellent tips, especially for new freelance writers that have a lot of questions, and the Editor is so nice!

Moving on, I know you're wondering about this "Walking Writer's" adventure on the track today. I'm running late this morning, but I'm headed out the door as soon as I log off to squeeze my walk in. I'll update later ;)

Hurry, follow the links above and good luck writing the cyber highway!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Walking Writer...

My Mother came up with the bright idea that we would jump up early every morning, drive over to the local park, and walk around the track for our health and additional weight loss. I agreed to go with her and so yesterday morning began our "healthy exercise routine."

I have to admit, although I was walking with barely one eye open, it wasn't all that bad. The sun was shining; it was a beautiful day, but I'm not necessarily an "early bird."

The soreness began not long after we got back home yesterday morning. As the day progressed, the soreness increased. When I sat down in a chair, I could barely get up! It was like I'd stiffened into that position and my body cried when I tried to pry myself out of the chair.

Today was even worse!Imagine my humiliation when not one, but TWO old men passed us up, keeping a fast pace around and around the track! Oh, the sad thing is that my Mom could have very easily walked faster and longer, without even getting winded. (I know you think this is funny, ha ha!).

I, on the other hand, am not in as good of shape. I envisioned myself running at full speed, just trying to catch up to the old folk (I know, I'm shamed...)! Then it hit me: I'd probably have fallen flat of my face on that paved track and had to crawl over to the edge for first aid treatment! Otherwise, I'd have been stampeded by those old speed walkers!

Well, I guess I can't complain too much. I've lost over 100 pounds, but these last 20-30 pounds are sticking to me like glue on construction paper!

It wouldn't have taken me nearly as long to get in shape. But I was extremely ill for several years and required surgeries, medication, and all sorts of physical therapy and treatments. My health really declined after escaping domestic violence.

Anyways, as most writers know, we aren't always that physical. We mostly sit at a desk and write. Oh, there are some that may run every morning before they log onto cyber world....

Back to the story:
We were bound and determined to get our walking in, but the longer Mom and I walked around that track today, the more my legs felt like concrete. I could barely put one foot in front of the other by the time we were finished with our original goal of walking for 30 minutes. I could barely throw my legs and hobble to the vehicle. It was heaven to sit down!

Tomorrow is day three. If I don't post, you'll know I've been trampled by the oncoming elderly!

So, I guess it's official: I'm a "walking writer."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ever Learning

As freelance writers, we should never become so "experienced and wise" that we fail to see opportunities to learn something new. So many people these days believe they are so genius that there's nothing left for them to learn.

This theory/opinion couldn't be further from the truth! We can always learn something new, no matter how old we are, how long we've been writing (or whatever you do for a living/hobby), or how much we've studied a topic--keyword "study."

Writing for Dollars newsletter is one of the resources I use to enhance my writing. One such instance is the article that was just published in today's issue, written by Denise Vitola. It is titled "It's The VoiceThat Sells."

I took away a feeling that I can improve upon my own writer's voice. We can always improve. I know that some of my articles are "flat" as she mentions, because I've failed to put my "voice" out there.

Writing for Dollars also has paying markets listed in the high, medium, and low-paying range.

I subscribe to other newsletters, e-zines, and magazines as well. I buy writer's reference books and study study study. I read anthologies, magazine articles, other writer-related blogs, and articles online. I study English and grammar and spelling and I glean from "this and that and the other." I rejoice when the advice I've taken and the enormous amounts of time spent studying results in yet another (paid) sale!

So, by refusing to have an "I'm so smart" or "I'm not willing to learn" attitude, I'm growing as a writer. I'm ever learning and I'm finding continued success as I write the cyber highway!

Friday, September 14, 2007

How Not To Make Editors Your Enemies

If you've been a freelance writer any time at all, you're trying very hard to please the editors. At least, we hope you are! (Smile).

While cyber surfing, I came across a very helpful article on,

10 Ways to Make Editors Hate You Before They Even Know You.

If you want to learn what NOT to do, then follow the link above and learn from it.

Things I personally try TO do are:

1. Always speak (or type) kindly to editors. They deserve the respect. If you feel they don't deserve respect, don't work with them.

2. Spell check, proofread, double check, print out and/or have a friend or someone read your article (if possible) to see if your eye has missed anything--BEFORE hitting send or sliding your manuscript into that manila envelope.

3. By all means, follow the guidelines. If they ask for 12 point Times New Roman font, than that's what you use. If they ask for 1 inch margins, comply! If they ask you to include your telephone number, etc., include it. (Which, if you've been writing for a while, you know to use standard formatting anyway, right?).

4. If at all possible, don't wait until the last minute to submit your essay/article for a contest or call for submissions. There may be times that you just won't find out until right near that deadline date, but a lot of times, we find out in plenty of time--don't procrastinate.

5. Search the website or magazine/newsletter, etc., until you can find an editor's correct name. If you are wanting to submit to a certain section of that publication, see if there is a list of editors listed in the masthead/about us page. DON'T say "Mr." or "Mrs." because Gene could be a man or woman. Caroll could be a man or woman. If you find the editor's name and it happened to be "Gene Smith", for instance, just type: Dear Gene Smith.

6. Always use a colon when greeting the editor in your query/cover letter. This will show your respect and professionalism. The comma represents friendliness--and the editors aren't your friend, they're your editor. Once they refer to you by first name only and a comma, then you can feel free to use the comma.

7. Brush up on your grammar. Grammatically CORRECT by Anne Stilman, is a book I refer to as well as various sites/blogs like the ones listed at the right. The less the editors have to edit, the more they'll love you--and that means a flourishing writer's life for you!

These tips are bringing me writing success, follow them, and write the cyber highway!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Awesome Find!

By accident, I came upon Alan Cooper's Homonym List. It is an awesome find! From A-Z, it looks like all possible homonym situations are listed for studying or just checking a specific word. I'm definitely adding this one to my favorites.

Alan Cooper also provides this information:


I'd like to point out that the word "homonym" is actually a misnomer. I learned this only recently from my son, and by rights I should call this a list of homophones, but old habits die hard, and that smudged, yellow, lined pad didn't say "homophones," it said "homonyms," and that's how I think of them. For those of you who care, here are the pertinent terms and their definitions:

  • Homonym: One of two or more words spelled and pronounced alike but different in meaning (as cleave meaning "to cut" and cleave meaning "to adhere" (coincidentally, also antonyms!))
  • Homophone: One of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or spelling (as the words to, too, and two)
  • Homograph: One of two or more words spelled alike but different in meaning or pronunciation (as the bow of a ship, a bow and arrow)
Other Fun with Word Resources

If you like to play with words, you'll really like Judi Wolinsky's wonderful Word Play website. It contains pointers to many websites--at least as interesting as this one--that let you have fun with words (and the occasional number, too).

Tracy Finifter has her own excellent list of homonyms on the Web.

David K. Mellinger at Cornell has one of the most interesting lists of word stuff around."

NOTE: In parentheses is exactly what Alan Cooper says on his site. Please click here, to read more great information on his "All About Homonyms" page.

So, now that you're more informed concerning homonyms, take this new knowledge and write the cyber highway!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Blogger Silence, In Memory...

I've decided to join blogger friend, Deborah Wilson ,in a day of "Blogger silence" effective Tuesday, September 11, to honor fallen Americans and those who loved them.

I will not be posting on 9/11. This blog will remain silent until 9/12 to show my respect.

In silence, in memory.....

God bless the USA!

Anybody Sew?

I'm not a seamstress, I can barely sew a button that's fallen off a shirt! But, I came across the guidelines for Sew News Magazine. You can study them here.

If you sew or interview someone who does, the pay is pretty nice if you're query is accepted:

"from $50 to $500, new writers generally $50 to $150, depending on the length and complexity of the subject, and the garment(s), samples, photography, illustrations or sources to be supplied." --(Sew News magazine's guidelines state).

Sew, if you're interested in thread and needle, or just love to write about new things, you may want to shoot for publication in this magazine!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Sew long, I'm off to write the cyber highway....

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Exciting News!

A dear (very talented) writer friend of mine, Renie Burghardt, was featured in our local newspaper today. I was nicely surprised when I noticed it. It's a piece about Renie's story "Too Cute to Be a Boy", chosen for inclusion in Chicken Soup for the Brothers and Sisters Soul. What an honor!

Visit Renie Burghardts World to learn about more upcoming stories of hers.

Congratulations, Renie!


With the anniversary of September 11th just around the corner, there will be articles all about it. If you haven't done so already, you don't have time now, but you could begin working on a poem or story idea about this tragic event for next year. Edit and polish it and keep your eyes open for a market for it. Query a magazine you think would be interested, or approach your local newspaper about publishing it, etc.

If you come upon a holiday or event that isn't time sensitive, you could always keep it in mind for the upcoming year. You'll have plenty of time to prepare!

Good luck writing (ahead of time) the cyber highway!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Passing on the Warning....

I always drop by the Write-from-Home blog and in today's entry, Amy Derby warns writers about a new "scam." Ok, it might not be a scam (as Amy admits), but we have to be safe, right?

I haven't had time today to check out my favorite blogs, so I had yet to drop in at the Writer Beware blog. So, when I saw Amy's Freelance Writer's Beware entry, I quickly read that entry as well as followed her link to Writer Beware.

Rather than me trying to explain it all in full detail, just follow the above links and learn about this "scam" for yourself. It will be well worth your time, that's for sure. At least you'll be aware, and as freelance writers, that's a must!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Gone in a flash....

I'm writing, typing, with a surge of inspiration. The piece is coming together wonderfully. I typed in my title, pleased. I was about to do a word count and include my bio. The electricity went off. Yes, for whatever reason, the power snapped off, then right back on.

Since college, I've saved my work at various times as I'm typing. That's what I was taught, that's what I do. Then, at least if there's a crazy instance like this, you have most of your work saved.

I felt like crying! My computer restarted itself, and I waited anxiously. I opened my file, I had saved it by title and was going to continue to save as I went. But guess what? I was in such a cascading inspirational moment, I just typed quickly and forgot to hit save.

The whole piece is gone, gone in a flash, and now I'm blank....