Quality

Quality

Some weeks, my mind gravitates towards one focus. Other weeks, a different niche grabs my attention. Recently, kindness was my focus, but this week the concept of quality has sat with me.

What is quality? It depends upon the context, but here’s some examples from my world. For me, it is proof-reading your work before hitting publish. It is making time for clients, but more importantly for friends. Quality can be seen in the way you give back to your community and to those less fortunate than yourself. A mark of someone who cares is in remembering special dates, big events, and important happenings that touch someone else. Just a few words asking after a person can mean so much.

Taking the time to put in your best effort is important. It might take longer, but in the grand scheme of things, is worth it. A half hazard attempt shows in so many ways and speaks volumes of the person behind them. Do you want to work with or be associated with someone who doesn’t put in their best effort? That is often questionable.

And as I cannot let it go, I reread my words before sending them out into the universe. I add thoughts here, take some away there. I reread the above paragraph three times and changed the wording to make the paragraph more succinct and less repetitive. And gosh darn it, I had to look up how to spell succinct, not to mention double-check the definition to make sure that was the correct word for my meaning. Took away another few words again…

It feels like I am getting away from that definition now, but it is all part of the process. What marks quality for you in a person or someone’s efforts? Is it in perfection or compassion? Thought or details? Brevity or depth of information?

succinct – marked by the use of few words to convey much information or meaning

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Ways to Keep Your Writing Alive

What ways can you keep active, even when you don’t have a specific writing project on the go? As I dodge responsibility left and right, I ponder how to keep viable as a writer. Solution? Write a new blog post!

Writing a blog post is just one tactic though. Even if you don’t have a bigger project on the go (or are stumped with what direction to take the one you are working on at present) what else can you do?

Ways to Keep Writing

Choosing a new place to write is a great idea, but leave trees out of it! Those inane scratches are permanent scars a tree has to carry forevermore. Make your words count!
  • review a book
  • comment on a book review
  • update your social media pages (Think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Add updates, refresh contact info and pictures, rewrite bio, etc)
  • start a new social media account (Haven’t tried Google+? Give it a gander. New to Pinterest? Pin on! Unsure about Snapchat? Get snapping.)
  • brainstorm for ideas for blog posts
  • edit an existing piece of writing (yours or someone else’s)
  • take a writing class
  • send out queries for new article ideas
  • write in a journal
  • write in a different place than you normally do
  • tackle a writing prompt (try writing microfiction, or write something from a photo or written prompt)

The important thing is not always what you write, but that you keep practicing your art. With time, comes comfort and ease in the process. Plus, the more you write, the better your writing will become! So get writing. I just did.

Tips to Kickstart Writing

Back to school. Back to work.

Sun is setting on another glorious summer

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t take the summer off. I might not have the same writing output during the summer months, but I’m still around. Anytime I slip away, I schedule posts to publish while I am gone, but places that require real-time presence slip a bit.

My established clients are okay with that, but ultimately will only stay my clients if I come home at some point. Their social media pages need to stay active.  If their pages aren’t active, then their presence diminishes. Which means a potential downturn in sales. Less money on hand means cutting costs, first up of which would be me. So yes, I still maintain their presence, even if the effort isn’t quite as thorough.

Now the kids are back in school though, leaving me with more time on my hands. Sure, that means that extracurriculars will be starting up, but that doesn’t fill the daytime hours. And it certainly doesn’t refill coffers spent on lazy days, road trips, and adventure. It’s time I looked at adding more writing to my days. How can I do that? More importantly, how can I do that and get paid?

Tips to Kickstart Writing

Time to get back into the swing of things and focus on writing again!
  • submit queries to journals, magazines, and newspapers
  • write poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction pieces to submit to contests
  • join a networking group to meet new people/potential clients
  • finish editing my book (or yours!) to get it ready for publication
  • take another writing class to finish my Creative Writing certificate program (check with your local library, community college, or city to see what writing courses might be out there for you)
  • contact old potential clients to see how their social media platforms are holding up
  • ask other writers if they have any connections they may be willing to share
  • advertise services;
    • via blog, Facebook page, on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc
    • create a website outlining services
    • once other social media links are updated and in place, share links to them on other platforms

Note that YOU can do any of these things as well. This is about motivating me today, but I hope to motivate any other writers out there who might need the kick in the pants that I do. Of course if you are looking for someone to write blog posts, magazine articles, schedule Facebook updates, tweet or any number of other tasks, contact me today! I’m sure we can figure something out. Until then…

Happy writing!

Memories

Memory: an image or impression of one that is remembered – Merriam Webster

I have spent the last week remembering. Ten years; a long time, but amazing how memories live on. Fresh and crisp, like they were just last week. Time dulls so many seconds, but some minutes last forever…

I can creep into some memories and feel the searing scars imprinted in frantic panic; screams, garbled words, indecision that didn’t really matter in the long run anyway. As awful as they were, they are a part of my fabric and stay tucked in my memory as close as any other. Nicer moments are the simple, quiet gifts of last days that I brush the feelings of—a swing hung, a friend’s visit, and a last ride in the old Olds with family.

Other memories speak of what we lived for and were denied in last months—the battles with food. You gave up in last days and returned to what we knew and loved. No more protein shakes, vegan meals, and holistic pills to work magic. Those magic elixirs were a crutch to clutch onto when hope begged for hope. As the light faded, so too did the future. We returned to what brought us together in the first place and I remember our last meals; Steak & seafood dinner with the in-laws—our last nice supper. Panzarotti—Sunday comfort food when there was no comfort left in the world. Curry—my mother’s gift to us, too harried to put any thought into sustaining a normal routine and world.

Curry was Brad’s last meal. My last meal with him. His last conscious moments before time pushed him into memory. Food had become an enforced regime, but I remember those dinners from the end of August 2007; the 25th, 26th, 27th. Any nutrients in those meals slipped away in the stress of the time period, but memories of them stay with me. A funny thing memory is.

The interesting thing about memories is that you get to pull them out and look at them whenever you want. They make me sad, but I would be lost without them and fiercely protect the space I hold for them. It has been ten years since my husband died, but I can breathe him into existence for my children to look at ten years later. That is a gift. Not the same, but all I have to offer my girls. I give them stories and pictures of a time that formed them and molded their world, but ultimately left them without any memories of their own to reflect back on.

And we all have those memories that sustain us. Protect yours.

2, 4, 6, 8 Who do We Appreciate—Teachers!

Last day of school! Who would have guessed the mixed blessing that is? I am happy and sad all together. And really should be preparing for vacation, but need to pause for a moment first.

With another school year come to an end, I can’t help but reflect. There have been field trips, assemblies, tests, projects, praise, and the occasional admonishment to classes that just can’t always control the moment. Incredible growth and learning has filled the days, not to mention a few challenges along the way. Maturity comes with a price and it isn’t always pretty. Fidget spinners, frenemies, and tween angst aside though, it is all good at the end of the year.

And as much as summer vacation is wonderful, the piece that makes me sad is saying goodbye to teachers and school admin. Some will not be returning and others will step out of my children’s lives from the role they played this year. Both my girls were blessed with some mighty fine teachers and I know that isn’t always the case people are dealt. Our school will be losing several upstanding teachers who have often gone far beyond the minimum mandate of what it is to be a teacher. Know that I see what you do, even when it feels like nobody else notices. Whichever role you get to play moving forward, I hope the people you meet on your path know and appreciate all you do.

Teachers

P1050623So an ode to the teachers
who take one step beyond.
Those who make it to school
and work hard on the bond.

You work hard each day
to learn from and to teach
with children so varied;
compliant, to those hard to reach.

The hours are long.
The effort is great,
from marking to coaching,
know that I appreciate.

Please keep stepping up.
Always offer the extra mile,
because the ones you inspire most
might be the ones most in need of a smile.

Thank you for all you do Teachers!