Quote of the Day

The real violence is committed in the writing of history, the records of the legal system, the reporting of news, through the manipulation of social contracts, and the control of information.
 
Bryant H. McGill

Word of the Day

Word of the Day: Gobbledygook
 
Definition: (n)
 
1) language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms; nonsense.
 
2) speech or writing that is complicated and difficult to understand
 
3) wordy and generally unintelligible jargon

To write or not to write?

Wow, I forgot what this site looked like.

I’m working on updating my actual website, so I don’t get to spend much time in here anymore. Hell, it’s been almost 10 months. Do I have anything new to say?

Wow, that’s a loaded question. Do I talk about work, school, or life?

Well, this is the series about writing, so that doesn’t help much. All 3 pertain to my series. I write for work and school, and my life is writing. It’s all I ever think about. That and getting my license back, but that’s for a different blog.

I have canceled out a lot of noise lately. I use to read anything and everything about what I do and I always seemed to get conflicting messages from each of them. So I unsubscribed from a lot of emails.

I have to admit, I enjoy reading my emails again.

I can see what I’ve been missing out since I have zoned in on the website and polishing up my portfolio. Great opportunities to blog.

You see, I unsubscribed months ago, but I didn’t tell anyone. Lately, with the emails I did decide to keep, I’ve been getting that exact same message. Unsubscribe from emails you saved but haven’t read, only pick 3 or 4 people to follow, and clean out those folders.

And this isn’t the first time I’ve noticed something I’ve done, not told anyone, and then a few months later, it’s the latest trend.

I need to start saying what I’m doing, before it hits the airwaves. I feel I’ve been missing out on making myself known in the world I’m trying to get into. I seem to be a few months ahead of the rest of them. I feel it’s slowing down my progress.

Why shouldn’t I start to let people know what I’m up to? Second guessing myself is costing me big time.

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

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So this website is being a royal pain in my ass. I’m pretty tech savvy, but the scope of this project is pretty daunting.

The layout, the design, the theme. The only thing I am really sure about is the content for my pages. Doh, I’m a writer. 

Widgets, plugins, and customization are enough to drive anyone to drink. 

I’m pretty sure I would have it completed by now, but I live in Illinois. My friends who are all union workers are now laid off. There is probably 14 inches of snow on the ground, and as I type this up, it is again snowing.

Most of my time has been spent shoveling and riding on my snowmobile. Finally a year I can use it more than 7 times. 

The only downfall to all of this, I have not spent much time on the computer or prospecting for clients. 

The time away from the computer does not bother me in the slightest. Not prospecting is killing me though. I am not far enough along in my career to be able to take the time off I have. 

However, I am a firm believer in taking sanity over money any day. Yes, it is nice to have money, but if you are constantly working and not enjoying it, are you really living?

NO!!!!

My days seem so much different from where they were a week ago. I still do my exercise routine, write in my journal, and do my school work, but it seems so much richer now.

Thank you friends.

I am not saying we don’t deserve time off, but I have a nagging sense I am not accomplishing anything. 

I know this in not true, as my journal is filled with ideas I want to try to gather clients. Maybe I have been looking at the situation to long, and this time off is actually recharging my batteries. 

I have mentioned before, since my block, I haven’t felt like writing much. I have, I just don’t put the kind of energy in it I once did. Now its more to refine my craft. 

I know it is working, because classmates have mentioned it in our discussion threads. They are also enjoying the ideas and tips I give. I am in an English class, and being a writer, I have a keener eye than most.

Even the teacher enjoys my suggestions. She will elaborate on something I mentioned to a classmate. Always pointing me out. 

This time around, I don’t think my classmates are upset with me, like in previous classes. I have always encouraged and given tips in my class discussions, but some people in prior terms did not appreciate the help. 

Personally, I love being ripped apart about my writing. If its all praise, I can never expect to improve. But when the red is there, its time to learn. 

I have decided to take a Marketing class. I have gotten advice from A LOT of different people. Now its time to take a class and see where it leads. 

I hope there is some internet marketing involved. The class had better be up to date. Computers and freelance work is the way of the future. 

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

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Wow, its been awhile since I’ve blogged. I have been really busy lately.

My research papers for school, getting the portfolio ready for the website, and working on the website. http://www.taowriting.com. It is FAR from being ready yet.

I have also had to shovel yet again, and again, and again. We have had some cold windy weather in my area. Just like the rest of the U.S.

I have to laugh at people. A lot of people I know are complaining about winter. They are all complaining they want spring and summer. They are saying how over winter they are. Well guess what? We’re only about half way thru it. Time to strap on the snowsuit and deal with it.

Even with the subzero weather, it still hasn’t stopped me from going about my daily routine. Well not all of it. I haven’t been able to walk or run.

I like the cold, but I am not stupid. -5 with wind chills of -20. Yeah, I’m gonna stay in the house.

There are benefits of being inside more. I get to write more. Get ahead on my homework. And I actually turned on the T.V. and got caught up on some shows in my DVR.

Lately, I have been working on my bait pieces. I never realized how hard it is to lure people in. When I go out, I usually just have to say hello to someone, and a conversation will start.

Now, I have to take in to consideration, I am asking people to hire me.

No one said this was going to be easy. Actually everyone has told me quite the opposite.

Spend hours doing everything. Research, writing, reading, marketing, updating, conversing, and promoting myself.

I am up for the challenge though. I thrive in a chaotic scenario. It gets my blood and creativity flowing. More so than my running.

I have been thinking about my blog lately, even though I have kind of avoided it.

I am using Word Press for my website, as well as my blog. For this blog, I think I am still going to focus on free writing. For the website blog, I think it will be more work focused. I will actually write it up a few days in advance and edit it.

I am still getting resistance from family and friends about my decision to become a writer. It is because lately, I have had to tell them no to extra activities. I am still an apprentice with my career. I am not a professional yet. It still does not stop me from trying though.

I have to watch the amount of money I spend. I have my bills paid until July, but I like to have some reserve just incase something happens. Everyone acts as if its the end of the world.

I shouldn’t be too bad off come the beginning of June. I will receive the first of my payments for the grants I have written which have been approved.

Well, I have 2 research papers, a website, and bait pieces to work on.

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

It has been a few days since I have posted a blog. Monday, I received a phone call about one of my bulk mailers. It was from an organization called AudioOut, at http://www.audioout.org.

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The owner Jeff Grubich contacted me about updating his website. I have know Jeff for about 7 years. We worked together at a warehouse, before we both left to pursue separate dreams of working for ourselves. Him as a music producer, me as a writer.

My mailers went out to some local business, and I must admit, Jeff’s was not one of them. I hadn’t even realized he was as far along with his business as he was.

I asked him how he had heard about what I was doing. He told me he was at his gym, speaking with the owner and asked him about his marketing. The owner told him he had just received something in the mail and asked Jeff if he wanted to see it.

(Gotta love word of mouth marketing.)

Jeff thanked the owner and informed him, he knew how to contact me. A few hours later, he called.

We spoke for a couple of hours. I asked the usually questions to a possible prospect and Jeff asking for the mailer.

My mailer consists of 3 things, an 8 GB zip drive, a pen, and a list of 12 marketing ideas for any company. I put in 12, because there is one for each month. Most have something to do with needing a writer. Me.

Since then, I have looked at his website.

A year ago, I would not have noticed the things I did. Not so much about the layout, but about the content. I have spent hours looking at other copywriter’s websites, and eventually, I will roll out my own.

After looking at the website, I realized, I hadn’t ask Jeff enough questions. This is what happens when you are ill prepared. So I called him and asked a few follow up questions. I am now ready to tackle his problems.

It is still early in the day, so I do not know how many people will respond to my mailers. I do know, not having my website is hurting me. I have been told, just get your website out there. It does not matter if its finished or not.

I have to disagree. To me a half finished website reflects your work. If your site is sloppy and incomplete, potential clients are going to think it reflects the work you will do for them.

I have a contact on Facebook and G+ who is helping me with my branding and logo. She is an acquaintance from the Copywriter Cafe, http://www.copywritercafe.com, Katherine Tattersfield. We’ve only had conversations over social media, but it seems like we have known each other for years. She has a good read on people.

We have a phone conversation tomorrow, where she will interview me to finish up my queries. I hope to have my website up by next month. I have my about, home, pricing, and portfolio pages ready to go.

The about and home pages are the pages from AudioOut I am going to work on. I have already rewritten one of his ads, and he has already seen an increase in responses from it.

My biggest fear is, I will create incredible pieces for my clients and fail to do so for myself. Helping my clients is my biggest priority, because I will fail if I do not help them first. Word of mouth advertising is more powerful than a website.

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

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The other day, I reread some of my blog posts. I am not one to do this. I find it counterproductive. But I was told sometimes if you want to improve, you have to see where you went wrong.

I started from the beginning and worked my way to newer posts. I have found my voice has changed. The style has changed. And my breakdown has changed.

I notice I sound a little more mature. Granted I am not giving the sage advice of Socrates, but I don’t sound as childish as when I started. It must have something to do with the fact I am letting people read my writing. I did the same thing with my journal and it sounds as boyish now as it did LONG ago.

Where I was once a little stiff, I now see, I am a little more relaxed. As I read some of them, I thought to myself, I can’t believe I wrote that. I see I am a little more open than when I began. I’m still not pouring my heart out or revealing too much of myself, but I can see the start of it.

My paragraphs are no longer mini novels. I see I am breaking them down to 2 to 3 manageable sentences. Getting the point across in as few words as possible. Making the reading quicker and easier.

While these new attributes are good for my writing in general, I am not sure how it will benefit my clients or career.

I know, I still need to work on my CTA (call to action). I have tried in my blog post, by asking questions, but its not strong enough to drive my followers to comment.

The change of subjects was beneficial to my blog too. Branching out to write about different things has also helped increase my followers. I’ve noticed that my running topics amasses more likes and a few comments here and there. Which makes me feel bad about my writing series.

Oh, well. You win some, you lose some.

I have veered away from my schedule though. I have not written on some of the topics I want to. I think its because I got so excited about having the followers increase from my running series.

I cannot believe how easier it is to free write on here now either. I use to struggle with what I wanted to say, and now, I just let my fingers do the typing.

Well, I am proud to say in the last 3 months and especially in the last month, my writing has changed. I feel it has improved. I can say I have hit my goal of 1,000 words a day. Hell, I would say its almost 5,000.

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

I haven’t been blogging much of late. Because lately, I have not been in the mood to write. Awhile back I got block, lately its been lack of motivation. I read write. If you have nothing to say, write. If you think you’ve written enough, write some more. 

Yeah, well fuck you. 

Since I got my block and took a few days off, my mind has kind of been on a downward spiral. I know a lot of it has to do with not acquiring clients as fast as I would like. This means I have to watch my pennies, or maybe even get a part time job. 

The part time job doesn’t bother me. Paying your bills and eating are a part of life. Plus I rather enjoy eating. Makes me feel good. 

Hell, even the lack of clients doesn’t bother me. Its the inactivity I am going through that’s killing me. Yes, I am writing to find my voice, improve my portfolio, and just to get some issues off my chest, but I am not as active as I once was. 

I run every other day, and on the off days I walk. I have to do ROM (range of motion) exercises everyday for my shoulders. I keep my house clean. But all of this does not compare to the 8 to 10 hours a day I use to spend working for someone else. 

I spend many hours doing research, homework, and working on the portfolio, which I use to spend working. Now, I am either sitting, or laying down during those times. Luckily, after a year of this, I have not started to gain any unwanted weight. 

I did have a mandatory writing assignment I had to complete today, my IceBreaker for my English class this semester.

Here it is:

My name is Troy. I am not on a dating site, so I don’t see the point in these things. I won’t read any of your profiles. 

Here is the response from my professor: 

Dear Troy,

Please do introduce yourself to me and your classmates, just as you would if we met in person.  It is helpful to building a community of learners!

I would also like to know how this course can best serve you, personally and professionally.

Cheers,

Dr. Manning

Here was my response:

I am an introvert, so our initial contact would go about how my first post sounds. Since I am being asked to elaborate, here you go.

I live in Illinois, I am 35 years old. I am a copywriter.

I have many hobbies, as do all of you. I like and dislike many things, as do all of you. I want to better myself, as do all of you. I want to do something that will have an impact on the community as a whole, as do all of you.

Do you see a pattern here?

We all complain, love, and think we are different or unique and we’re not. We were all made from the same mold. Some people just show more of a different aspect of something we all have.

Personally or professionally, I want to learn how to BREAK the rules of writing. I am sick and tired of hearing you have to write like this, you have to write like that. I am calling BS. If I want to write, no one should tell me how I should structure it.

I do know one thing. Writing like any other work of Art is all about getting a reaction. Whether good or bad, Art is about reactions.

The personally or professionally comment about “breaking” the rules has been on my mind a lot lately. I think I have mentioned it in a previous blog, but I am not sure. I believe we all need to break free from the restraints that weigh on us, and find our own way. Whether in writing, running, golf, or gardening. 

Happy writing everyone. 

Pen Pal

I want a pen pal.

Not knowing where to get an address from, I did what I usually do when I want to research something, I Googled it. 

Over 6 million hits. 

I refined my search to “hand written” pen pals. 3,125 hits. 

That’s all?

So over 6 million websites are geared towards pen pals online!? WTF????

There are varied reasons to start a penpalship, yes, I’m coining this term. But I never realized how many people would forgo the act of actually sitting down with pen and paper to write to someone. 

I won’t discredit an online pen pal, but how are you going to build any patience if you always gravitate towards the instant gratification of online technology. Having to wait for the “snail” mail to deliver the letter is part of the anticipation of a pen pal. 

Unplugging from all of this technology and getting in touch with yourself and with someone else is a great way to build up social skills. Also it is a great way to make another friend in another part of the world. 

One of the many perks of having a pen pal, it allows you to learn another culture. What’s do you have in common? What’s different? What do they eat? What’s their work day like?

Writing a letter, helps improve motor skills and increases brain pathways. It also helps hone reading and writing skills. This in turns leads to better communication skills. 

With better communication skills, it also helps with language skills. It helps to increase the thesaurus  that is already hardwired inside your head. If you don’t use it, you lose it. 

Also, if they are in another country, it maybe helpful in learning a new language. Its scientifically proven those that speak two or more languages and more intelligent. And what bette way to learn a new language than from a native friend from another country.

One of the best reasons to have a pen pal, is you will be able to talk about some things you do not feel comfortable telling anyone else. Most pen pals remain just that, a pen pal. 

Finally , getting a letter in the mail is the whole point of a pen pal. If you want to receive some mail in your inbox, why not subscribe to a few newsletters. 

Yes, most of the fore mentioned points can be done with a pen pal online, but some can’t. You will need to sit down with a pen and paper to achieve these. Nothing correcting your misspelled words, punctuation, and grammatical errors except your built in computer. 

I can see the merit in both types of pen pals, but to have a truly unique experience with them, try sitting down to pen and paper and writing it out. 

The last point I am going to mention is that it helps with your handwriting. As with anything, the more you practice, the more efficient you become. 

Happy writing everyone.