Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Fun: 26 Telltale Signs that You're a Writer

You know you're a writer when you read Jessica Lawlor's funny "26 Telltale Signs" post, and you're guilty of 24 of them. Oy. And enjoy!

Thanks to Mark B. for the link!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Creativity Tips: Vanity Fair, Time and Glass Houses

Have you ever made a mistake? Congrats! You're a human being.

Unfortunately, human beings in my field get publicly called on the carpet when our mistakes show up in print. For example, Vanity Fair delighted in pointing out the editing error in a recent Time Inc. ad for Motto.

Yeah, yeah. We all see it. There's an apostrophe in the subhead: "editor's" shouldn't be possessive. Damn. An ad with a typo. Did the world end? Did anyone die? I hope not.

Along those same lines, I doubt that anyone at Vanity Fair will roll over dead when I point out, without glee, that there's a different kind of typo in their snarky story:

In addition to Motto, the company has been experimenting with other new ventures, such as a collaboration with Kobe Bryant, entitled “Dear Basketball,” to be distributed on Sports Illustrated digital properties.

As I understand the rules of the road*, the collaboration isn't entitled to anything. It's titled. And yet the world rolls on.

I'm highlighting the Vanity Fair error to make a point -- not point a finger. We all make mistakes. The question is: Do we learn from them?

P.S. Thanks to Vanessa for this and a zillion other blog ideas!

*Writing about typos makes a writer twitch. I did double-check this rule in the AP Stylebook, in case you wondered. And I proofread this post about a million times and I'm still terrified you're going to find a typo.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Creativity Tips: Make Your Away Message Memorable

One of the best clients in the world is currently in a different part of the world on vacation. When I sent him an email yesterday, I received this delightful -- and useful -- automatic response:

The beach called. I answered. Have gone for a visit.

I'm out of the office on vacation through June 3. If you need to reach someone while I'm away, please connect with (deleted, for privacy's sake). 

I'll be recharged and back on Monday, June 6!

Isn't that wonderful? No longer than most of the standard auto-responses I receive, but it's creative and fun. And it's accurate -- he will come back recharged. 

So, two creativity lessons for the price of one: Don't settle for routine on your away messages. And go away. Vacate. Recharge. You'll be glad you did -- and so will we! (Rested people are nicer, don't you find?)

P.S. I will give credit where credit is due when my client is back in town. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Fun: #Readathon2016

What are you doing tomorrow? Here's a fun idea -- join your fellow readers in support of National Readathon Day! I'll be reading, appropriately enough, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.

Here's to a great, reading-filled weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Creativity Tips: Track Your Time

In my line of work, I bill by the hour -- and I bill in quarter-hour segments. To do that accurately, I keep a precise running track of time spent on every project. Let's say: 7:55 - 8:35.

Oftentimes, after making a note of the start time, I get distracted. So, I write 7:55, but then I send an email to a friend or check Facebook. And when I actually get to work on the project, I glance at the clock again and see that it is now 8:05.

And I can't bill a client for those 10 minutes.

For me, time really is money. But the principle applies to all of us. Do you know how much time you redirect or squander during the day? Track it! For one day, pretend you're like me. (Ooooh. I just felt a disturbance in the Force. A huge collective shudder.)

Track your time. Then, consider if there's a more productive, or more creative, way to spend it.

FYI, if I were billing you for this post, you'd be paying for 30 minutes. (Writing it took about 10 minutes. It took another 15 minutes to find the silly Homer gif. This is what I'm talking about ...)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Creativity Tips: Don't Have Children

Hey! I didn't write the headline. Well, I did, but it's a direct quote from Richard Ford. And it's included in this fun article On Terrible Writing Advice from Famous Writers. Enjoy!

(And why have I never heard of the Literary Hub?)

Monday, May 16, 2016

#MondayMotivation -- What are you waiting for?

Yesterday, Mom had the delight of a visit with this wonderful family. The parents live in Nebraska, one daughter in D.C., the other in L.A. But they came together in Kansas City and one of the big reasons why was to see Mom.

Their connection goes back 29 years; Mom babysat for both girls. Yesterday's visit was pure joy for everyone -- the room was filled with laughter and love and happy memories.

Mom's 95. Time is precious.But you know what? Time is precious for all of us -- regardless of our age.

How are you spending your time today? Who should you visit? Who should you call? What should you create?

And what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Creativity Tips: Skimm? Or NY Times?

How do you like your news? A lot of my friends have told me they love The Skimm, with its attitude: 

and insights:

I tried it. I didn't like it. Oh, the attitude is fine. But, old journalist that I am, I prefer my news more newsy. I'd rather start the day with The Daily Briefing from The New York Times:
We all have creative preferences. My preference isn't right. Your preference isn't right. Our opinions all have value. 

So how do you decide who is right, if a creative decision must be made? Consider the audience. It's all about them. And it's all too easy to forget that. 

By the by, feel free to share this sh*t on Facebook or Twitter or wherever. I'm still trying to build my marketing numbers for the book proposal. :-) 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday Fun: Capture the Moment with Mom

I treasure this photo for many reasons -- including the fact that it's rare. Unposed. Unplanned. And definitely not a selfie.

If you're celebrating Mother's Day this weekend, look up. Look around. See the itsy-bitsy* moments and savor them. The moments don't last, but the memories can.

And for all of you who aren't celebrating, your Jewish momma is sending a really big virtual hug.

*Tom caught me and Mary doing the itsy-bitsy spider. Out comes the sun ... 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Creativity Tips: Advice for Old Writers

Maybe it's a sign that I've worked alone for too long, but I love social media. Why? Well, last week, I posted something on Facebook about Tell a Story Day. To my delight, a few friends then proceeded to write a story in the comments, each one adding on to the story line. Such fun!

Then, yesterday, I posted a link on Twitter to a terrific article in The New Yorker by Andrew Solomon re: Advice for Young Writers. My friend Frank promptly responded with: No advice for old writers? 

And we were off and running. Bud joined the party, and we began tweeting advice for old writers. Here's the mid-afternoon, still-in-progress list -- and we'd love for you to add to it! (No matter what your age.)

Advice for Old Writers from Three Old Writers
1. Spend time with young writers.
2. Read.
3. Take advantage of all those losses. Write about people you wouldn't write about while they were living.
4. Find an editor you trust.
5. Stop procrastinating. If you have something to say, say it. Now.
6. Turn off your filters. Then refer back to number 4.
7. Don't rely on smell chek.

And your advice would be????