Unlucky in #Love, Lucky by Circumstance

Redux

Melanie V. Logan

WeddingGameIdeas

The employee area in the casino sat quiet though littered with staff on break. Each stayed in their own bubble until the resident bartender and sometime funnyman entered.

“Ralphie!!!” The greeting sounded like an episode of Cheers.

“Hey guys…Larry, Jim.”

Ralphie grabbed a snack from the vending machine, then sat at a wood laminate table.

The employees circled around him.

“Whatcha got for us today?” It was hard to tell who asked due to the number of people.

“Oddest thing.” He paused to eat and swallow. “Five chicks walk into a bar.”

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Walking Down #Memory Lane on the 4th of July (Well almost…)

Redux

Melanie V. Logan

I’ve always been a fan of colorful light effects like creative Christmas displays or fireworks on Independence Day.  With the latter, the loud boom can be distracting and somewhat scary – especially to a small child.

One 4th of July around ’81 or ’82, my parents packed me and my brother up in the family car, headed to the local high school parking lot.  Mama passed around the sandwich bags full of

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#Journaling for Peace of Mind and #Writing Success

There are moments in my life when I have so much clutter in my brain that it’s hard to think straight. Then there are other times a recent event reminds me of a fond memory, and I want to capture it. That’s when the mighty paper and pen come in handy.

Journaling has a variety of benefits:

  • Helps clear the mind
  • Serves as a visual reminder of things accomplished/lessons learned
  • Strengthens the brain
  • Keepsake for family members after we’re long gone

In Ruth Folit’s article Why Good Writers Keep Journals, journaling helps writers find their voice.  It opens a world through introspection and insight to people and things around them.  This peek into life can be beneficial for creating realistic characters and storylines.

The piece below from Writer’s Relief expounds on the above concepts in more detail, and provides a guide for effective journaling.

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Many of us keep journals to reduce stress or to record life’s events for posterity, and writers especially should make use of this creative outlet. Journaling can be a great tool for writers—the journal becomes a repository for fresh ideas and a safe place to write. Whether it’s a spiral notebook or a leather-bound book with a beautiful cover, a writer’s journal should be a source of inspiration.

There is an endless variety of journals to choose from. Select something that inspires you, that makes you eager to crack your journal open and turn to a fresh page. A beautiful diary with fun pockets or an elegant cover will make writing a pleasure. Invest in a fun or really fancy pen to use just for your journaling. Then, you are always ready to write!

Keep your journal handy for jotting down those whimsical ideas or brilliant first sentences that pop into your head at the oddest moments. If your journal is large or bulky, keep a spiral-bound pocket-sized notebook around. You can then transfer your ideas to the larger journal.

Write regularly and on a schedule. Get into the habit of writing each day, and you’ll be perfecting your craft at the same time.

A journal is meant for no one’s eyes but your own, so let those ideas flow unfettered. A little stream of consciousness is good for the soul, and no one will be looking over your shoulder, judging you on punctuation issues or your choice of simile. Sometimes when we let ourselves go and just write, we gain priceless personal insights—and these insights can help us to be better writers.

Later on, you can use your journal entries to write a memoir of your life before you became a famous writer!

If the ideas aren’t flowing, try some writing prompts and power your way through writer’s block. Sometimes the very act of writing will clear the path for new ideas and recharge your sagging muse. A Poet’s Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux includes writing prompts applicable to either prose or poetry at the end of many chapters.

Some writers add newspaper clippings, sketches, or magazine articles to their journals—anything that inspires them. Others keep pictures or make lists. That’s the beauty of a journal—there are no rules, and this freedom is the catalyst that can unleash your creativity.

We can also go paper-free and buy journaling software, keeping a record of our thoughts and ideas on our personal computers. These programs have the standard word-processing capabilities, and most allow the user to add graphics, sound bites, and charts. If you’re thinking of buying, try the 30-day free trial period available with most of the software. If a trial period is not available, make the most of user-review sites like www.epinions.com. A few to check out:

Alpha Journal (www.alpharealms.com/journal/index.htm)

Digital Diary (www.ajebe.com)

The Journal (www.davidrm.com)

This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.</span?

The Benefits of #Handwriting vs. #Typing: Why the Pen May Be Mightier Than the Keyboard

For awhile now, I’ve been using a combination of keyboard and handwriting.  Most recently, I purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro to make it more convenient when I want to switch back and forth between the two.

When I’m ready to handwrite, I use apps like OneNote or Myscript Nebo.  The beauty of both is the ability to convert the handwriting to text.  The former is the primary one I use because of how well I can organize my thoughts and writings into notebooks, sections, and pages.  I can also share the pages via email or the entire notebook via invitation.

Another perk of OneNote is the clipping tool (downloaded separately and installed as a browser extension).  If I find something on the web I want to save, all I have to do is click the icon in the browser bar and viola!  It’s saved to the location I choose.

Myscript Nebo is a great tool as well.  However, the sharing option is limited, and I can’t clip and save like OneNote.  A positive for this app is the bar that shows your writing as text and auto-corrects.  So even when my handwriting isn’t the most legible, Myscript figures it out.

Which do you prefer, handwriting or typing?  What devices and tools do you use?

Melanie V. Logan

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I LOVE infographics.  They offer a quick snippet of information in a visually pleasant manner.  So imagine my awe and delight when I ran across the one below.

Personally, I have noticed more fluidity of ideas when using my tablet and stylus to write compared to my laptop.

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Resources for #Writers…And Other Helpful Stuff

One of the things I love about the writing community is info sharing.  No matter where a writer may be in the journal, there are resources for everyone from beginner to advanced.

Below are a few of my previous posts about writing resources, and Nancy J’s helpful tip for Authors Publish Magazine.

AuthorToolboxBlogHub – monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors
5 Online Resources Every Writer Should Consider – think-outside-of-the-box list of resources to help the writing juices kick in
Vocabulary and Readability – vocabulary lists, emotion definitions, and readability checkers to assist in writing process

6 Tips for Making a Workspace Conducive to Writing From the Pen of Jade Anderson

I didn’t realize how important it was to delegate a space or the use of natural light for writing until a few years ago. Both make a very important difference in how well the creativity flows.

For example, there’s a park I like around the corner from my house. Being outdoors and in the space that’s comfortable gave me such inspiration. It’s where I wrote Comfortable in My Own Skin which is still one of my top reviewed posts.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Jade Anderson | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookThis is a guest post by Jade Anderson is an experienced In-house Editor at Upskilled. With a background in online marketing, Jade runs some successful websites of her own. Her passion for the education industry and content is displayed through the quality of work she offers.

6 Tips for Making a Workspace Conducive to Writing

Workspace | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book Image: Pixabay

No matter what type of content you’re writing, whether it’s fiction, investigative journalism, feature pieces or academic articles, the environment that you write in has a big impact on how well you put that piece together. Writing takes skill, for sure, but where you write can affect how you write because if there are distractions in your workplace, your writing is likely to reflect that. As a writer, your workspace should be inspiring and comfortable in equal measure. It should be somewhere you can focus and reflect. Here are five tips for creating…

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In remembrance…

About a month ago, I visited the family cemetery mentioned below.  The grass had been cut, but a lot of “settling” caused several headstones to topple over and others to sink in.

I stopped at the area where my mother, grandmother, and uncles are buried.  I reminisced about the time one of my uncles promised to buy me a Wanda Wee-wee doll for Christmas, and the time my grandmother tried beer but added sugar because it tasted “awful” on it’s own.

And then there was Mama.

I thought about how she taught me a lot of life skills at a young age.  They’ve proven quite effective in my decision-making as an adult.  And I remembered the time I begged for a Knit-Wit kit to make quilts and crafts with a rainbow of colors.  When it rained, she’d put on records we’d borrowed from the library while we twisted yarn around the Knit-Wit tools.  At best, I made the pom-pon tassels for the corners of the quilt my mom finished.

I attempted to locate my great-aunt’s plot, but wasn’t able to.  As I walked around, I felt a sadness.  Not just because my loved ones are gone.  Rather, the cemetery was empty.  There were no flowers -no weather-battered artificial bouquets or anything.

It made me think about how we remember our loved ones after they leave this earth.  Should it matter that we leave flowers or are the memories enough?

Melanie V. Logan

Memorial Day is a time to remember the men and women in the armed forces who have served our country and lost their lives defending it. Cemeteries are adorned with flags and flowers to not only celebrate these lives, but also honor them.

But for me, Memorial Day has additional meanings. One, it’s a day my family and friends come together to barbecue and fellowship. Sometimes this is the only quality time we have together. We talk about days of ole and catch up on the latest happenings in each others’ lives. It’s a joyous occasion.

Two, I’m reminded of the diligence of my great-aunt Dollie who made it her mission to

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