Tag Archives: Writing

The Greatest Country Music 5k Ever Created; But the Worst Email

by Lindy

Who else likes to proofread marketing emails at 6:00 a.m. just for fun? When trying to awake this morning, I scanned my email and stumbled on this gem – the ‘Greatest Country Music 5k Ever Created’. Of course I had to open it. And then, I was assaulted by spelling/punctuation/consistency/formatting issues.

Here is the email in question and my subsequent response to them. How many errors can you find?

“The Greatest Country Music 5k Ever Created!”
A new, unique 5k like nothing you’ve seen before! The event starts off with a new and exciting western themed 5k course. Then, the event turns into a big festival like atmosphere with great Country music, awesome games and activities like cornhole, line dancing, and our crazy cowboy hat contest! Of course we’ll have amazing country BBQ and ice cold beer to.

Like Our Facebook Page and Receive 20% Off
Use Promo Code “facebook” to receive a “early bird”
special of 20% off registration
DON’T WAIT!
This Event Will Sell Out!

 
Country Festival and 5k!

The Great Country Run So Cal! We have a deal for you! For a limited time registration is 20% off!  Don’t miss this offer!, here is a chance to capitalize on the ultimate “Ealry Bird” Special! You will not get a better deal than this! Like our Facebook page, Tell your family, friends, neighbors this deal will not last.  Promo code “Facebook” will get you 20% off registration! Promo Code Expires October 12th 2014.

The Great Country Run March 14th. 2015

The Great Country Run is for all ages. The course is 3.2 miles + western action (full 5K course), Celebrate at the The Great Country Run festival with family, friends, music, & beer where you can dance, listen to live music, enjoy BBQ, play games, and win contests!

Great Country Run video
The Great Country Run video

The Great Country Run | TheGreatCountryRun.Com

Copyright © 20XX. All Rights Reserved.

My email response:

There are several spelling errors in this email.
I can proofread it for you:

  • Country doesn’t need to be capitalized mid sentence (country music)
  • Too, not to. (Ice cold beer too)
  • Early, not ealry
  • March 15, 2015 (comma, not period)
  • Is the promo code facebook or Facebook? You have two versions listed; capitalized or lowercase?
  • No exclamation point before a comma
  • Comma after October 12 (not October 12 2014)
  • Copyright 20XX should be 2014

I like the concept of the race and I’m interested. Can I get a bigger discount for proofreading? ;) I know you are trying to appeal to country lovers, but spelling and punctuation, attention to detail is still important.

###

Would you run the Greatest Country Music 5k Ever Created? Would you run in cowboy boots? Of course I would; country costumes, beer, music, dancing…cornhole! Maybe there will even be moonshine! I can guarantee there won’t be any spelling bees, however, which is a shame, because you know I would totally win.

UPDATE: I received a response from the race promoter (after they sent out the same email again and I replied): “I am so sorry, we have been on the road for events. I know that’s not an excuse, but we will fix it before the next one, I promise!” Needless to say, I asked again for a race entry for compensation for my proofreading. I’m intrigued by this race!


Book Publicity: Midlife Opportunity

by Lindy

My friend and author, Barrett Clemmensen Powell, has written a book that is geared to people in the mid-life age bracket – Midlife Opportunity. My ‘Lit Chicks Anonymous’ book club is currently reading The Husband’s Secret, but Barrett’s book is on my reading list. (Although I’m in denial of this midlife phenomenon).

Please take a read of Barrett’s book and leave a review on Amazon and/or Good Reads.

Barrett Clemmensen Powell - Midlife Opportunity

Barrett Clemmensen Powell – Midlife Opportunity

Midlife Opportunity: Power, Money and Wellbeing in Your Late 30s & Early 40s

Early midlife (ages 37-44) is a time when we can go through midlife transition or have a midlife crisis. The attainment of money and power still looms large but the third “leg” that provides a stable, and good life is wellbeing.

This book examines the four “journeys” we take in early midlife and the generations of the 20th and 21st century at midlife. Wellbeing is within walking distance — it is attainable if you choose to journey well. As the author explains, you do not need to be a millionaire; you do need to plan for the future and handle your finances responsibly.

You do not need to be a CEO of a company; you do need to be an honorable, trustworthy person with integrity in your family, among your friends and at work. You do not need to be an Ironman or a fashion model; you do need to take good care of your body, mind and spirit.


Entertaining the Masses with Toastmasters

by Lindy

It is now the end of January and I’ve published no new blog posts or podcasts. This is evidence that resolutions don’t work and that I am not disciplined enough. Or that I’m just way too busy to stick to a writing/podcasting plan. I’ll blame the latter.

Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International – Based in Orange County, CA

What is new to my creative communications tool belt, however, is my involvement with a local Toastmasters group at my work. Toastmasters International helps people become better public speakers – which I could definitely benefit from. We’ve been meeting every two weeks to practice our speeches and then we are timed and evaluated by our peers. Sounds fun, right?

My overarching goal with Toastmasters is to treat it like stand up comedy and practice making people laugh. My nerdy, shy, business version of clown school. So far, I’ve gotten a solid number of laughs and positive feedback. Even though I rely heavily on my notes during my speech, I love my written words so much, I don’t want to veer too far from them.

My first speech was about me being a passionate communications professional who doesn’t prefer public speaking.  Today we met for our second official speech where we spoke for 3-5 minutes on a topic of our choice. My topic was ‘Ways to Enjoy Reading for the Chronically Busy’. I wrote this little beauty up in less than an hour right before the meeting, in true procrastinator fashion.

For the record, it was under the five minute time constraint. Some feedback I received was:

  • Very creative
  • Informative
  • I came across very relaxed
  • Loved the specifics
  • Great job tying it all together
  • Good writer
  • Got everyone’s attention with something they can all relate to
  • Humorous
  • Outlines within outlines (ways to get a book)
  • Nice ad hoc comments to other speaker topics
  • Negative: more than 20 ‘umms’ and too much reading of notes. (GUILTY)

For your reading pleasure, here is my speech. Forgive the funky numbering/bullets formatting issue.

Ways to Enjoy Reading for the Chronically Busy

Opening

I’m sure there are a lot of people here who love to read books, but claim they don’t have time to sit down and read.

I’m going to explain some ways you can find the time to read – and you don’t even have to sit down to do it.

If you have a library card and access to technology and some creative ingenuity, you can enjoy books while you’re on the go.

Body

  1. I’m a busy mom of three young children as well as juggling a full time job. So I understand how difficult it is to read a book in the traditional sense.
    1. I have very limited time to myself.
    2. With my already limited time, I recently co-founded a book club with some other moms we called “Lit Chicks Anonymous”. Anonymous because there is some drinking involved, and we all often read in secret.
    3. I’ve been able to read four books in the last few month for Lit Chicks Anonymous with various technology: The Boys in the Boat, Bossy Pants and Labor Day.
  1. Books I’ve read had different tech methods:
    1. Labor Day is the most recent book I read in less than two days over the weekend. It’s written by Joyce Maynard and is coming out as a movie this month.

i.    Our book club is going to see it together next month.

ii.    This book I read on my phone using the Kindle App.

iii.    I read it at the dinner table, at the gym, during homework, bathtime, in the car (as a passenger). I couldn’t put it down.

iv.    A little anti-social/bad parenting but necessary.

  1. Boys in the Boat was an audio book I got free from a free trial membership on Audible.com.
    1. I finished it in less than two weeks playing it at 1.5x regular speed.
    2. Bossy Pants I got at the OC Public Library as an audio book.
      1. It was narrated by the author/comedian Tina Feye and it was really good.
      2. Listening to the comedic points in her own voice wouldn’t have been captured in a physical book.
      3. But it was missing the fun visual references of the actual book.
      4. Secret Garden for my eight year old daughter who is having trouble in third grade.
        1. I downloaded it as an audio book from the public library for my iPad
        2. Played it for my girls at bedtime
        3. She loved the beautiful language and the British accent
        4. They continue to quote lines from the book
        5. My process for getting and reading books is:
          1. Check the OC Public Library and the Mission Viejo public library to see if it’s available as an audio book.
          2. If not available, I check for eBook options at the library.
          3. If not available, I check for the actual book I can check out.
          4. If not available, I go to Amazon.com to see the cost for an audio book on Audible.com (partner) or Kindle version.
          5. I compare and contrast the various options and decide which is the best one based on

i.    Price (free is always best)

ii.    Method (audio is preferred)

  1. The Benefits of my non-traditional reading methods are:
    1. Significant cost savings
    2. Low commitment to ownership
    3. Less household/bedside clutter
    4. Avoid accidental book injury when falling asleep with a book

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is my fervent belief that everyone here can go back to enjoying reading again, even if it’s not the method you prefer. I encourage you to get a library card, download the Overdrive Media App on your phone, tablet or PC and start searching for books. Maybe I’ll even let you join my book club. Shhh…

I know I have room for improvement in the speech writing/stand up comedy industry; I’m just glad my heart palpitations went away! Until next time…


Upgrade to a Typewriter 2.0 – Mad Men Style

by Lindy

I am love with USB Typewriters - here is my future ‘Typewriter 2.0′! I stumbled upon them online and I haven’t been the same since. Thank you for this ingenious invention, Jack Zylkin! I will have to kick my old electric typewriter to the proverbial curb when I get my hands on this one (sorry Beulah Hildegard Francis.)

USB Typewriter Computer Keyboard — Smith Corona Sterling — 1960s Mad Men Style

Smith Corona Sterling 1960s Mad Men Style USB Typewriter Computer Keyboard

You had me at Mad Men

I envision myself showing up to my marketing meetings with one of these beauties and clanging away on the keyboard. Of course I would be teased by some technology elitists, but I know at least one person in my office would admire it. We were both drooling when we first saw this most incredible invention. I MUST HAVE ONE!

This one that I am lusting after is steep at $599, but it’s so versatile and gorgeous, that I can (almost) justify the expense. It is adaptable to your PC and iPad, so I picture myself showing up at my neighborhood coffee shop, perhaps wearing an eccentric beret and smoking a long, skinny cigarette, and typing feverishly on this turquoise dream machine. (Kidding — I don’t smoke; or wear berets.)

USB Typewriter

Like a kid in a candy shop… more soon-to-be-released colors for USB typewriters.

About USB Typewriter (from USBtypewriter.com)

“A Groundbreaking Advancement in the Field of Obsolescence”

The idea for USB Typewriter all began in late 2009, when I found a clunky old Royal typewriter on the side of the road. After a little spit polish and elbow grease, I was really amazed by how pristine this machine was underneath its century’s worth of rust and dust. And even more amazing: it still worked!

Typewriters are just really beautiful and elegant pieces of technology, and it has always struck me as sad that they are now neglected and almost forgotten, especially considering that most computer stuff today is so disposable and utilitarian. People love typewriters, and lots of people have them on their mantlepiece or in their attic, but there is just no place for them on a modern computer desk. So, with the USB Typewriter project I am trying to help people rescue typewriters from garages and attics and put them to use again.

In my online store, I sell a do-it-yourself kit can add a USB port to any typewriter.  The kit can either be purchased pre-assembled and ready to install, or as a fun solder-it-yourself electronics kit.  I also sell a range of lovingly restored and USB-enabled typewriters, but they are frequently sold out, so if you don’t see one you like, just ask.

USB Typewriter has been in business since June 2010, and since then has helped to rescue almost 1,000 typewriters, while constantly improving the conversion process to make it as easy as possible. The USB Typewriter has been featured by NPR’s Morning Edition, The Martha Stewart Show, CNN HLN, WIRED, Gizmodo, and many others.  It was named one of the “Top 10 iPad Accessories” by PC Magazine.
Just as I was promoting this post on Twitter, I stumbled on a new film coming out featuring typewriters: The Typewriter in the 21st CenturyI want to work on getting a screening in Irvine; it looks so interesting! I love the quote mentioned on the site:
Manson Whitlock, at age 95 the oldest person in the film and likely the oldest working typewriter repairman in America, is blunt about it: “I think that something that was made to be thrown away ought never to have been made at all.”

Masterwriter for Creative Writers


Guest Post: Divya on Failing NaNoWriMo

by Lindy

Introducing Divya Breed, a friend of mine who I met several years ago through the Trail Angels, a women’s mountain biking club in South Orange County. We also attempted a writing group together briefly. Two years ago, she inspired me to participate in NaNoWriMo – an international writing challenge to write 50,000 words towards a novel each November. I went on to complete the challenge, but unfortunately Divya did not. Here is her story.

NaNoWriMo FTW - Or Not...

NaNoWriMo FTW – Or Not…

The Freedom to Fail: My Experience with NaNoWriMo

About once a year since my early teens, I have felt compelled to write a work of fiction. Sometimes I would finish it, but more often I would give up in despair, for the words rarely came out the way I dreamed them. Part of the blame rests on some inspired poetry and fiction that I wrote and won accolades for way back in my teens. That sets a good stage for overly high expectations, right? My inner critic was loud and harsh if the writing didn’t flow as it had on those occasions.

In spite of that, I couldn’t stop myself from writing. I wrote regularly after discovering LiveJournal, and I shared my words with a limited audience of friends since much of it was personal. I also kept scratching at that itch to write fiction and started whenever the muse took me or I had a few hours to spare. What I failed to do was persist, take it seriously, and finish what I’d started.

Then, in November of 2011, I attempted NaNoWriMo for the first time. I was juggling a full time job as an engineer, raising a two year old, and trying to make time for my husband and my home. November is always a full month for me. It encompasses my wedding anniversary, birthday, and two major family holidays (the Indian holiday of Deepavali and the American Thanksgiving). I had always found excuses in the past for why NaNoWriMo was impossible for me. 2011 was no different, but I decided I’d had enough of excuses. Besides, the itch to write a story was strong, and I hadn’t scratched it since having a baby.

Must. Write.

My pace was good at the start. The permission to write complete nonsense, or even just really bad prose, was what I needed to quiet my inner critic. After all, this challenge was not about writing a wonderful piece of literature. It was about proving that I could actually write in volume if I put my mind to it. I hit my allotted word count on most days, and I tried “to be zen about it and just appreciate the act of writing.” Those were my own words from my journal, about a week into November.

Let me digress for a minute to say that I am not a zen person by nature. I am a control freak. I am goal directed. I want to finish what I start. Always. Failure is a black hole of doom looming over me and threatening to swallow me whole. I hate it. You know where this is going, right?

Week 3: the two year old comes down with a stomach virus and becomes permanently attached to me. Several days later, I get sick too. My writing output drops precipitously, and I fall behind. Way behind. To use my own words from that time, “Actually hitting the 50k mark is highly unlikely unless I can sit and just write for an entire day.” That full day of writing? Did not materialize. I did not finish NaNoWriMo. I made it to roughly 37,000 words before the month ended, more than I had ever written for a single piece of fiction in my life. I should have been proud and elated, but I wasn’t.

I had failed. I fell into the pit of despair.

Some weeks later, Lindy invited me to submit a guest post about my NaNoWriMo experience. I said I would try to make time and write something, but the truth is I was too depressed about my incomplete novel to put fingers to keyboard. I was too busy lamenting my fate. Woe is me! This is a sign! I wasn’t meant to be a writer! You know, the usual stuff.

Months went by. I couldn’t bear to look at my draft, much less finish it. Making time to write in November had been a huge effort with significant sacrifices to sleep and family. It was too much to ask of my husband and child (and myself) to live like that forever. Besides, the writing was crap. That was part of the point, to write for volume and not quality. I’d need even more time to edit it into anything worthwhile. That time did not exist in my life.

Eventually, a year passed, and NaNoWriMo 2012 loomed. Would I try again? Not on your life. The now three year old had a very late bed time, and I was working only 30 hours a week with mothering taking up the rest of my day. The luxury of a “lunch hour” during which to write was gone. It reminded me, though, that I had a mostly written novel sitting on my hard drive. I opened up last year’s story and started reading it. For a first draft, and a rushed one at that, it wasn’t half bad. Huh. Maybe this whole “shut the inner critic up and just write” attitude really worked. Maybe it wasn’t a wasted effort after all.

The itch was back. 

This time, I decided, I was doing it on my terms. Sustainable terms. A few hours each week. Maybe a class to force me to share my work. I would dream the big dream and take the scary step of trying to be a professional writer. My current job was already a part time gig. The time seemed right to step into Career, Part Deux. Would it ever amount to anything? Not unless I tried. And perhaps failed. And tried again.

Yesterday, I finished writing a short story for an online workshop. That’s right, I finished it. It’s only the first draft, but it’s done from beginning to ending. Is it any good? Not really. I took a page from NaNoWriMo and just let myself write. It’s a terrible mess of words, but I’ll unleash my inner critic and edit the crap out of it (literally) before I submit it.

Thanks, NaNoWriMo, for showing me that it’s OK to fail; that it’s OK if the words aren’t magic the first time; that inspiration may come, but piling on the word count is equally valuable; that there is beauty in every effort. Maybe I’ll step into your crushing embrace again…someday.

Writers Store


I Haiku. Do You?

by Lindy

This Valentine’s Day season, I signed up to be a part of a Homemade Valentine’s Day Card Swap through The Stationery Place. This was yet another one of my social media stellar stumbles.

Last night, I discovered my inspiration and concept for my homemade beauties and created these four individual poems and cards.

Homemade Valentine Card Swap

Typewriter Poetry, written by moi

Love is in the air,
Cupid doesn’t care,
He will spear you,
So BEWARE!

L – Laughter
O – Over
V – Vain
E – Ego

To rhyme is not a crime,
If you are a poet, you should show it.
As well as share it with friends.

My haiku is the best though. There was a lot of consonant counting going on to develop this one:

Valentine’s Card Swap.
Love and Friendship are in Bloom.
Once Strangers, Now Friends.

Yes, I know the poems are corny; that’s what makes them so great. Plus, there is something odd about writing a romantic love poem to a female stranger. My pen pals included two separate women from West Virginia, one from Alabama and one from Australia. I hope they appreciate my attempt at poetry, comedy and paper crafting!

Valentine's Day Homemade Card Swap - Haiku

I haiku. Do you?


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