Archive for October, 2009

Writer’s Wisdom 35

“Mind your own writing – put a lid on it.”

Many writers fall into the trap of airing their dirty laundry on their blog or articles; their writing turns into wining.  Many writing sites allow the publishing of these types of writing – turning more into social sites, than writing sites.  If you are serious about a career in writing, mind your own writing, put a lid on it, and filter it so it doesn’t become too personal or trashy.

A simple rule to go by is – If it doesn’t help the writing or your image as a serious writer, as a professional, then trash it.”  Once it is written and published, might as well be on stone.  Down the road, if you are fortunate to land a serious writing assignment or a book contract, you don’t want those writing skeletons to come out.

If writing is your passion, take it serious, mind it and give your best.

Writer’s Wisdom 34

Stepping out of your comfort zone

There is always a genre or style where you feel “at home.”  Let’s call it your comfort zone.  Sometimes, we get too complacent and comfortable with our writing at the expense of new material, or fresh inspiration.  When our writing starts lacking freshness or feels dormant, it is time to wake it up by stepping out of our comfort zone.

By trying a different approach to a story, a different genre, or simply by reading a totally opposed subject, we give a jolt to our pen, and the gates of inspiration open.  It is easy to fall in a writing rut, but as with any routine, change it, and it will start flowing.  If you don’t, you may be opening the door to writer’s block.

Writer’s Wisdom 33

Inspiration throughout the seasons

Using the season’s for inspiration is a writer’s best tool.  What happens during the change of seasons?  Visiting places during the different seasons will spark a story, a poem, or give you the inspiration  you need to put your pen to work on your next piece.  Observing people’s behavior and interactions, the upcoming holidays or simply the colors around you, can start a brain storm.  Take advantage of nature’s way, to call in your muse.

Writer’s Wisdom 32

Social networking and chatting

Social networking sites are an excellent vehicle to promote your writing, but they can also hinder it.  The time spent on these sites, when not well spent, can cut into your writing time and schedule.  It is easy to get sidetracked by the pictures and latest adventures of family and friends.  Hours go by and your empty page is waiting, and hopefully, you will have gathered some inspiration while chatting away.  If your bread and butter is the written word, then you will have to apply some old fashion bossing to yourself:  “No personal business during working hours, and stick to the schedule.”

Freelancer’s struggle with time management is something that if not addressed seriously, can hinder your writing and your pocket.  Using writing sites to vent personal feelings is not recommended if you are planning to take your writing to a higher level.  Learn to separate your writing from your wining and you will recuperate valuable writing time, and become more productive.   

Writer’s Wisdom 30

Writing for the Long Run

A writer’s road is long, and sometimes, full of many obstacles and rejections.  For the love of writing, you are willing to submit yourself to the long lonely hours, the cash shortage, the many trials, the not so glamorous life, and for some, carpal tunnel syndrome.

A true writer realizes that he/she is in it for the long run.  Writing is not for the impatient soul, or those who long for the quick and easy buck.  Writing takes much trial and error, a lot of editing and learning, taking criticism (and surviving your ego) – a lot of work and dedication.

In your obsession for the written word (and its long awaited rewards), you forego many things and luxuries, and money becomes a long lost goal – secondary to being published.  The writer becomes like the starving artist – hypnotized by the craft.

But suddenly he/she realizes that the path becomes sweeter, with each written piece – eternal bliss.

Writer’s Wisdom 29

Character Strength

The story line is important, but characters have to drive it; they have to make it alive, real – the pages have to keep turning.  If you have watched the popular TV series 24, you understand what I mean.  In the series, the basic premise is pretty much the same – Jack Bauer has to prevent a terrorist attack, which is usually a nuke or bio threat; and a big part of the government is corrupted, making the task almost impossible.  This is basically it, but how is it that we  want to keep watching, over and over, can’t get enough of 24 and Jack Bauer, or can’t wait for the next season to come?  Why is it that this simple story that repeats itself in every season, manages to capture us with such force? 

It is because of the characters.  The characters in these series are strong, unpredictable, forceful, and full of mystery and deceit.  The characters drive the series, and keep us in our seat – watching and wanting more.  If you notice, every season new characters appear, old ones die or disappear for a while; sometimes they are brought back.  This is how the series is kept fresh, no matter if the story line is almost the same – the terrorist attack and the corrupted government.

No better example than this one to show you how important character strength is in any story.  Weak characters make for a boring read.

Email Scams Keep Getting Ridiculous

I have gotten many email scams in my inbox.  Some very creative, some pitiful, but this one caught my attention, and I had to share its ridiculous appeal with all of you.  Here’s what I got in my inbox:


My name is Mrs. Elena Tan. I am a dying woman who has decided to
donate what I have to you. for charitable goals.

I am 59 years old and was diagnosed for cancer about 2 years ago,
kindly Contact my lawyer through this email address or you can call
his private Lin 😦 +855976826769) ( if you
are interested in carrying out this task, so that he can arrange the
release of the funds ($10,500,000.00)to you.

My lawyer’s name is Barrister Richard Lee. I know I have never met you
but instincts tells me to do this, and i hope you act sincerely. Thank
you and God bless you.

Mrs. Elena Tan.

As you can see the grammatical and spelling errors are abundant, which is always a tell sign; but the sad story details, and the names, is what I got a kick out of.  So, I decided to google some of the details.  I discovered that I had gotten a short version of the scam, a shortened letter.  In the longest version, her husband had died 2 years ago, leaving her everything he worked hard for.  It also added that she was touched by God to donate the money …. Immediately, I felt offended.  How could they send me the short version?  Does that mean I am gullible, naive, stupid, or an easy prey?  Was there no need for an explanation, more detail to reel me in?  Plus, I know the meaning of the word barrister. 

I kept googling and came across the website of a lawyer in England (a barrister) with the name of Richard Lee.  His firm, called BLS for British Expatriate Services, offices in Malta.  Their clientele is the expatriate.  The services range from legal to banking, and other.  I found this very curious.

Then, I decided to google Mrs. Elena Tan.  Of course, many Elena Tan came up, but I also found more versions of the scam, every time more detailed and …. long – unlike my short version.

All this left me with one thought, that inspiration for writing comes from everywhere.  I can certainly think of a story, utilizing the above letter as writing material.  So next time you receive an email scam, view it in a different light – as writing material.  *But don’t forget to mark it as a scam, and delete it from your box.