Category Archives: communication

Time – where does it go?

English: Alarm clock

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Palm Coast Neighbors: Tradition of giving | StAugustine.com.  January 7

Christine Speno: Christmas events continue | StAugustine.com.  December  17

Here we are again at the beginning of another new year.  Where has the time gone?  I’ve spent some time thinking about just that – time.  It moves way too fast, and it seems the older we get the faster the time goes. Take me for instance – I haven’t posted my columns from The Record here since early December, and I apologize to my readers if you’ve looked for them here.  I promise to do better in the coming months.  You will find links to the two most recent pieces above or at the end of this post.

Last week I wrote about the wonderful ways that my community gives back with time and resources to help others.  You’ll find a  story shared by Janet Kibrick of Palm Coast about a very special senior event that took place this past holiday season.  Through the colloborative efforts of Home Instead Senior Care® , local Walgreens locations and our giving residents,  many seniors had a brighter season.  The Walgreens stores in Palm Coast generously offered space for trees decorated with “wish lists” of senior residents that were then fulfilled by “Santas” in our community.  Read more in the January 7 column.

Now back to that time thing. 

Like most, a year ago I made some resolutions.  One resolution was to join the Florida Writers’ Association.  Well, it took me a year to do it, but finally on December 31, 2011, I fulfilled that resolution.  Last year I also committed to blogging more.  I did okay with the blogging part – not excellent, but okay.  According to the annual report I received from WordPress, I added 52 new posts to my blog in 2011.  Obviously that averages to a weekly post.  However, it’s been a month since my last post, and that just won’t do.  So once again, I’ll commit to be more devoted to this blog.  since 52 was the magic number last year, I’m going to try to increase that number by 50% to 78 new posts.  Wish me luck.

Time is a mysterious element of our lives.  We are surrounded by ways to track it, like apps, calendars, clocks, Smart Phones, Ipads, desktop or laptop computers, and even just plain old hand-written lists;  And yet, it still slips away.  So what are we to do?  My answer is just to make the most of it.  Surround yourself with as much positive energy as possible.  Whether it’s new goals at work or for your personal life, or spending time with family, reconnecting with old friends or just staying in touch, use each day to its fullest potential.  What are you going to do to make better use of your time in 2012?  I’d love to hear from you!!

Okay, let’s get started!  I’ve got 77 more blog posts to write.  See you next time!!

Palm Coast Neighbors: Tradition of giving | StAugustine.com.  January 7

Christine Speno: Christmas events continue | StAugustine.com.  December  17

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Art – How do you express yourself?

Creek and Bridge / Bach und Brücke (HDR)

Art can be found in anything....

Palm Coast Neighbors: Attic full of treasures | StAugustine.com.

We are surrounded by talent.  Humans express themselves in so many artistic ways.  We paint, sculpt, sing, play an instrument, write and more.  No matter how we express ourselves, it is our art.  I think it is so interesting to explore the ways that we find our way to our art.  When you think about it, just about anything we do can be perceived as an art.   People sew, cook, garden, design roads and bridges, develop web sites, just to name a few.  And the results of all of these endeavors can be considered that person’s art.   Even if we don’t all agree on what is beautiful, to the “doer” of these expressions, there is beauty.

My community is filled with beautiful talent.  Last week  I attended a critique group that is part of the Florida Writers Association/Palm Coast chapter, and what struck me most was that in a small group of people, we had talent in abundance.   Although the group members are all writers, both published and aspiring to be so, the one strength that came through was the variety of other skills that this group demonstrates.

For instance, one member is an ER trauma nurse and besides being part of The Rogues Gallery Writers, she also creates beautiful fabric panel wall  art by transforming photos with fabric, needle and thread.  See it at her FB business page here.  Another member has written a beautiful children’s book (yet  unpublished, but we keep encouraging her) that not only entertains young children, but teaches valuable lessons and provides tools for teachers.  And yet another member is a publisher, as well as a writer.  Check out his site here.   And the list goes on.  See many of their backgrounds at the FWA blog.

Recently I learned of yet another person in our community who took attic finds and family memories of his wife’s grandmother and uncle and using those tools, he discovered his own hidden talent for writing.  Mr. John Cordasci of Palm Coast is a delightful gentleman that I had the opportunity to sit down with recently.  The love he has developed for the craft of  writing is evident and the pride he takes in telling a family story is inspiring.  Cordasci’s first book is a novella entitled, Stalag17B and The Pete Skripka Story.    Go to buy books on the web to learn more.  The author is a retired senior systems analyst that relocated to Palm Coast, Florida with his wife Judy.  He was educated at City College of New York and New York University.  He served in the Korean Conflict and also spent time in Germany during his military career.  He and his wife have three children and four grandchildren.  He spends his retirement developing his unfolding writing talent.  Find out more in this week’s Palm Coast Neighbors feature  where you’ll also learn more about our local community events.

Thanks for reading!!

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2011 Good Housekeeping Fiction Contest deadline nears

write it


I ran across this contest on one of my favorite blogs, Sherry Zander’s  Writing4Effect.  This is a great opp for many of my writing buddies, but time is running out to enter.  The Good Housekeeping Short Story Fiction Contest deadline is September 1st!  Get your manuscript in.  Check out more about the content, including rules and potential prizes at the contest link on the Good Housekeeping website.

This is just one of many opportunities that are out there.  Check out the local writers’ associations where you live for more contests that may interest you.

Why participate in writing contests?  Aside from the potential monetary and publication benefits, you’ll develop your writing portfolio and it’s also a great exercise in tuning not only your writing skills, but also those of performing within guidelines.  Deadlines, word counts, focusing on a specific subject, accepting critique of your writing — all of these are important areas that will help you be a more polished professional.  So let’s talk about these ideas.

Deadlines – Sticking to deadlines is a valuable skill.  If you aspire to do freelance work, this is something you will have to learn to keep your clients!

Word Counts  – Many of us writers have a hard time saying what we need to say in a concise and “to the point” manner.  Again, this is an important skill.  And entering these contests that set guidelines for you to work within will help you improve your ability to adhere to word counts.  If you want to write for newspapers and/or magazines, you’ve got to pay attention to word counts.  And what’s more, you cannot let yourself get upset when parts of your writing gets cut.  It’s all part of the territory.  It’s okay to get upset, but get over it.  As someone who has been on the editor side of a publication, I understand the importance of balance copy with advertising space.  Now that I am more on the writer side, it helps me to keep things in perspective when I do find parts of my column getting cut.

Subject focus  –  staying on target with your writing is another challenge.  If you run off on  tangents when you write,  try practicing developing an outline for your writing project.  Sometimes if you “map it” you can see how ideas fit into each other and this will assure that you are staying on the path.

Criticism of Writing  –  Like I said above, it is important that you are willing to let your writing be edited and this includes accepting constructive criticism by others.  Think about joining a writing group that has a critique sector where you can practice both giving and accepting criticism.

Okay now you’re ready to start on those contest submissions.  It might be too late for you to get your manuscript ready for the 2011 Good Housekeeping Fiction Contest,  but there are plenty more opps out there (see the links below).   Talk to your fellow writers, look online and be sure to check with some of your favorite publications to explore some of their contests.

Check it out and happy writing and competing!!

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FWA Palm Coast spoke — and you listened! « FWA Palm Coast Chapter

107/365 Life isn't about finding yourself. Lif...

Image by ganesha.isis via Flickr

Check out the story of one of the members of Florida Writers Assn/Palm Coast.  It’s always great to hear about how others are taking steps to challenge themselves.  Try it, and you might just create a new you!

Click on the title above or here to learn how FWA member Lisa Martino is changing her life and reaching new heights!!

Thanks for reading and be sure to leave a comment.

 

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Freelancing Tips — some things you may not have thought about!

Guest post by Sherry Zander of Writing4Effect

 

Thanks to Sherry Zander for providing this guest post.  Sherry and I met through LinkedIn at The Blog Zone group and decided that exchanging  guest posts was a great way to expand our horizons in the world of blogging and helps us connect with more readers!  Find out more about Sherry in the bio at the end of her post.  Thanks for reading.

Essential Tools of the Freelance Writer

Freelance writers just starting off and those who are seasoned can benefit from a checklist that ensures they stay on track and grow their business once it’s established. Not only does it provide a head-start for those just beginning their journey, it also serves as a reminder along the way of things that may seem simple, but are easy to forget.

Build a Blog

If you want to showcase your talents, create a blog and begin writing posts. Do an Internet search for “free blog” and you’ll find a plethora of sites that offer them. The most popular are WordPress (WP) and Blogger. WP does not allow bloggers to sell anything from a free WP blog, but Blogger does. Both are easy to set up and use.

Talent, Spelling, Semantics and AP Style

Although there are many writers out there who have talent, not all of them have great spelling skills or understand the semantics of sentence structure and AP style – required by most journalism jobs and content mills. Most writers have blogs with the benefit of showcasing their talents. The downside for some, however, is that they don’t edit their articles sufficiently. If you’re going to have a blog, create posts in MS Word first, spell check them and use the Merriam-Webster online dictionary for words on which you are unclear. Some words sound the same, but have different meanings – e.g., piece vs. peace.

Office Setup

If you don’t have a private room separate from the living area for your office, set it up in a corner of your bedroom or some other area of the home with the most private surroundings – as much as possible, free from noise, distraction and family activity. It’s always more difficult to accomplish tasks with outside interruptions.

Your home office tools are essential for the support of a successful freelance writing career. Purchase a laptop with wi-fi, so that you have access to write for your customers no matter where you are each day. Many restaurants, libraries and airports offer free wi-fi. A printer with fax, scanner and copier capabilities prepares you for anything a client may need. For example, I’ve had to scan my university degree for some clients and fax, or scan and attach to an email, freelance contracts to others.

Freelance Job Sites

Primary to getting freelance writing jobs and finding others along the way is registering for jobsites that post freelance writing jobs. I’m registered for a number of them. I set up auto-alerts on a daily or weekly basis, depending on whether I need work right away, and skim the list to see if anything catches my eye. I spend around 15 minutes a day checking my alerts. Be creative as to how you set up the alerts. Use the words remote writer, freelance writer or similar terms. I have to say that Problogger, AmericanJobs and Craigslist are my favorites, because writing jobs are quite prominent on these sites.

Problogger often has some of the best freelance writing jobs available, but I don’t believe you can register for auto job alerts. Instead, you’ll have to check the site daily or at your discretion. You don’t have to register for AmericanJobs to access writing jobs. If you do, however, it costs $29.95 and the site posts your resume on 48 other sites for greater exposure. I am not registered, but I do check it every other day or so for new writing job posts. A fellow writer friend of mine, Sam Bangayan, also advises how to set up auto alerts for Craigslist ads via iGoogle, so that you receive writing job ads from all cities in which you’re interested. It takes a little time, but the benefit is huge.

Another strategy that I’ve used effectively is simply to contact web development companies to see if they might be interested in hiring a “resident” content writer. Web developers create/maintain websites for clients that need content. It’s a perfect match and eliminates the need to constantly be looking for work. This approach might work well, but just be cognizant to keep other jobs on the burner since the work may be ebb and flow.

Social Networking

Register for websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Join groups, gather a following and post regularly. Not only do you get the word out about your blog to gain subscribers, but you also advertise and showcase your writing expertise … if you have talent, can spell and understand sentence syntax.

Never Stop Learning

No matter how little or long you’ve been freelance writing, you must always be learning. Grow your understanding of SEO – search engine optimization. Google periodically adjusts its web crawler to capture or eliminate certain items when ranking sites – e.g., broken links, low ranking links, word stuffing, etc. Learn about SMO and SEM – social media optimization and search engine marketing, respectively. Use Google Ad Words to optimize your blog’s exposure when Internet users search the web, and learn the terms that gain the greatest exposure.

What experience or processes helped you establish and grow your freelance writing business?

Bio –

Sherry Zander completed her BA in Business and HR in 2004 and has been freelance writing since 2006, after years of technical and non-technical writing in project manager positions. She currently writes online copy for Fox News and other websites, and produces articles for her local city newspaper the Gardner News. Sherry has a passion to help and see other writers succeed. For more information about Sherry, visit her blog here — http://writing4effect.wordpress.com/.

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Finding your Inspiration.

inspiration

Image by peevee@ds via Flickr

How are you inspired?

Have you ever thought about it?

What drives you do get something done?  Does it take a person, an event, something you read, or maybe a personal experience?  It seems that ideas pop into this jumbled up brain of mine throughout the day.  I hear something or read something or sometimes just sit quietly on my patio in the early morning or the late evening and listen to the sounds around me and am inspired with an idea about something I’d like to write or get done.

I think the key is to listen to that little voice inside of you; be in touch with your senses, and you will be filled with inspiration.  Today we are so caught up in the hectic lives we lead, that we forget to just stop and listen, ponder, think and take it all in.

Try it and you may be surprised

Sometimes just flipping through an old photo album (yes, the old fashioned kind are nice, but even your digital pictures will do) will help you get in touch with a memory that is buried deep inside your brain and is now jolted free by that photo.  Then act on it.  Write that note to your aunt or uncle who doesn’t use email or call that friend from years back that you’ve been meaning to reconnect with.  Or launch a bigger project.  You’ll have to decide what the bigger project is.

For me, a few years back, I decided upon building a family cookbook/memoir to honor my family  — my dad and mom (now both gone), my brother, my in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins and the list goes on.  But more importantly for me, I felt it was something I needed to do to leave for our children, grandchildren and future generations so that they will always be able to connect with the past.

Now my challenge is to complete that seed of inspiration and see it to fruition.  You’ll note that up above, I said “a few years back,” and that cookbook is still not in print.  But it’s getting closer and I am determined to see it through soon!

What’s your inspiration and what are you going to do about it?

My suggestion is to write down those ideas that are jumpstarted by whatever inspires you.  But don’t just sit on them.  Make the time to complete your thoughts and record them into a journal so you can go back to them later or better yet right now.

Try it.

If you look around you, you may be surprised at where you’ll discover your inspiration.  The important thing is that you find it.

Have a great week of writing, thinking and communicating.  I’ll update you on that cookbook soon!

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Low Cost Pet Shot Clinic in Flagler County

Another shot of my pets hanging out, for my us...

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A community service announcement:

There will be a low cost pet shot clinic sponsored by the SPCA animal rescue  on Saturday June 25th from 9:00am till 11:30am in the parking lot of Flagler Playhouse, 301 E. Moody, Bunnell.

 

  • Rabies shots  $6.00
  • Dog 6 in 1 distemper/ parvo combo $10.00
  • Cat 4 Way distemper combo $10.00
  • Feline Leukemia $16.00
  • Bordatella $12.00
  • Heartworm Testing $16.00
  • Worming $5.00

 

Heartworm Prevention and Flea Products will be available for purchase.  All vaccinations administered by a licensed veterinarian.  The clinic is licensed and permitted.  Cash only for the shots.  Clinic is open to everyone, no appointment needed.

Call 386-748-8993 for more info.

 

 

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