Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Writing for Dollars

Invoicing is part of my monthly ritual as a freelance writer. Typically, I do my billing on the last day of the month. Seeing as the 31st is Halloween, this month should be extra scary. Scary may be a little strong, but, truth be told, I still am not comfortable putting a price tag on my services. 

That's why I found this month's Writer Magazine so helpful. Lola Augustine Brown's article "Show me the money" highlighted common arguments for for writing for free and debunked them.

In a nutshell: "Professionals do not work for free. Period."

I like that. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Remember this word - Mnemonic

One of my sharpest skills is juggling, sorting, and retaining information. For a writer, it may be more important than stringing sentences together to make a paragraph. (After all, there are editors. LOL.)

To keep this skill sharp, I frequently use mnemonic, a kind of memory aid. Been doing so ever since grade school when I was taught to remember the names of the Great Lakes by HOMES - Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.

One of the best birthday gifts I received last Aug. 18 was a follow-up birthday wish from my older brother. A school teacher, he was prepping his classroom for the new academic year and while updating his "This Day in History" desk calendar, he saw that the Women's Suffrage Amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920. So, he sent me the calendar page along with a nice note telling me how fitting it is that I was born on such a milestone date. Our mother would agree.

I used to be embarrassed because I could never remember what Constitutional Amendment Women's Suffrage was, but today I devised a mnemonic. The Women's Suffrage Amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, it is the 19th amendment, and the year was 1920. Easy to remember - 18, 19, 20.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Another kind of Love Letter, uh, er, Love Song

Topaz Abbott wrote "How We Love Carpinteria." It's a love song to Carpinteria, where she lives. The YouTube video she created has a beautiful slide show highlighting some of the town's scenic spots.

"How We Love Carpinteria" is an excellent example of a paean. A paean is defined as a song of praise or triumph. Something that expresses enthusiastic praise. Paean is one of those literary terms that doesn't get much coverage. It's one of those obscure words that would show up on Final Jeopardy, maybe one of the contestants would get it right. Most definitely Alex Trebek would give it some foreign, and incorrect, accent.

Topaz's song is an homage. (And you know Trebek is going to lay a thick accent on homage!) Homage is defined as a special honor or respect shown publicly.

Do yourself a favor and listen to Topaz's YouTube video.

Sunset at a Carpinteria beach. 

Word of the day: paean. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

“The Very Early, Super Silly, Uber Cheesy, Huggable, Lovable, Wonderfully Tacky Christmas Show & Holiday Pageant”

It's funny, and not in the funny ha-ha way, how some writers find improv so helpful with their writing. After all, improv is unscripted. For me, it's the mental gymnastics and nonstop thinking on my feet. 

I love it. 

Improv really inspires my writing. Check out the blurb I wrote for the upcoming show at the Plaza Playhouse Theater on Nov. 7. I'm rather proud of it. 

Get ready for the holidays and batten down the hatches!
Join the Plaza Improv Players for “The Very Early, Super Silly, Uber Cheesy, Huggable, Lovable, Wonderfully Tacky Christmas Show & Holiday Pageant” at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7. For short we’re calling it “The Uber Cheesy Improv Show,” but there won’t be any shortage of merrymaking or displays of comedic genius.

Skits, games, audience participation, and general mayhem. They’re all included in “The Uber Cheesy Improv Show.” Start the most wonderful time of the year with a bang. No, not that kind of bang, though that does remind us to remind you that adult content is part of the fun. Always gets a rise out of the audience. Parental guidance is suggested. Heck! Bring the kids – imagine all those teachable moment opportunities.

Remember it’s never too early for the holidays. Just ask America’s retailers. So, start making that list. And, remember this, too, tickets to “The Uber Cheesy Improv Show,” or any other Plaza Playhouse Theater production, make the perfect gift. And a donation to the Plaza Playhouse Theater is a gift that lasts a lifetime. The bigger the donation, the longer your lifetime. (Get our drift?)

Act now! Tickets are $10 before Nov. 7, and $15 the day of the show – should there be tickets available … Buy your ticket right here