Key-phrasing Content and Consistency. #mondayblogs #amwriting

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I am fortunate.

When I started to look at scheduling work back into my regular rotation I was able to pick up where I left off with a client project that was started earlier in the year. The work is service descriptions for a company that offers a tremendous range of multimedia options for clients.

These kinds of jobs can be found in plentiful numbers as part of the everyday freelance market. If you are fortunate to find these kinds of projects, they can be welcome  courses on the very basic elements of writing.

Writing service descriptions will highlight the importance of using key-phrasing to capture search engine traffic to those pages. In one of my earlier writing assignments, the client was very specific about the importance of just getting those key words into the content even if the quality of the writing needed to be bent a little bit below my own personal standard. I understood completely what they meant.

At some point, you may have been asked to use a certain word or phrase in a sentence. Using key-words and key-phrasing is very much the same way. It becomes a test of determining how much content can you generate with use of these words? How will you connect it with the services the client wants to describe? In this same previous assignment the client actually went a step further and made a specific requirement for the number of times the key-words and key-phrases were to be used in the content.

I view these kinds of detailed opportunities as a great challenge to any working writer. Writing any content whether it is straight-forward words or search engine optimized content may force you to return to the very basics of constructing sentences in order to provide the best product for your clients. This creates a further opportunity to learn.

And learning in this business should always be a constant. Even if you are nowhere near a computer screen or notepad, look for those moments. They are everywhere.

Q & A from Laura Carroll #childfree #books

 

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Recently, I had the privilege to talk further about Planned UnParenthood and the writing business in general by answering a few questions from Laura Carroll. Laura is a Writer, Editor and the Author of several books. Most recently, “The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World.”  .  Please visit her home on the web at http://lauracarroll.com   

 

What inspired you to write Planned UnParenthood?

Planned UnParenthood was my first workable book idea. For so long I had wanted to write a book.  Many ideas just did not seem to fit what I wanted to achieve at the time. It was at a busy family gathering that I realized perhaps something written from a male perspective about not having children would be really great. I started the outline notes the very next day and spent over a year writing and revising it. I was long into working on the revisions when I realized that my book would be the first about living childfree written from the male perspective.

What are childfree guys saying about your book?

Childfree men and childfree people who have read the book are saying “thank you.” They say I am saying what they want to say. It’s giving a voice to the cause.

What is your next writing project?

My next writing project is determining my next writing project! Seriously, there is always something on the go. I am actively pursuing new opportunities in the freelance business. I enjoy every aspect of it and the constant amount of learning that is involved with it.

I have another book out which is a collection of short satirical fiction called Throwing Dice.  It was a great writing outlet for humour while I was editing Planned UnParenthood.  There is also a novel script on my desktop and I hope to finish it one day, as it is an interesting story that will appeal to many people. So there is lots of content creation going on.

What kind of freelance work do you do?

In my freelance business, I have written and edited content for various client websites on a variety of topics. I had the pleasure of writing material for a stand-up comedian and motivational speaker, which was a great experience. I would do that again! Working with clients who want good content, or who need someone to revise and edit something is enjoyable. The word business is wonderful.

Twitter @WriterDann

Why Labour on Labour Day? #mondayblogs

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Stop. Right now.

No more planning anything physically strenuous on this Labour Day Monday. Sure I suppose if you want to exercise that is all fine and good. Strongly encourage that if it helps clear your head, as it does mine. Refresh. Recharge. Relax. Refocus.

Perhaps I should be listening to my own advice for a change.

September is a refreshing start. Once I left high school in 1997, I began to appreciate how much I enjoy September. The cooler weather and the calming colours in among the trees.

It’s great to enjoy this kind of season in Atlantic Canada. The September scenery paints vivid live photography right before the eyes of what nature has to offer. Sure, summer is great. Sunshine is superb. After a while I find that any excess heat with humidity is maddeningly trying on the nerves. Or what little I have left of them. Maybe it’s me, but the heat has always slowed me down. I feel less drive to move about outdoors and do anything involving yard work. I would call it not so much fun when you start to sweat bullets within a few seconds of standing outside. In fairness, we have not had that hot of a summer here. I recognize though that many parts of North America have had to deal with hellfire heatwaves. Hopefully those are coming to an end for most.

There is a different heat I do enjoy and will look forward to more of it in the coming months. The great heat from the fireplace and the wood stove. The peacefulness of a roaring flame. Reading, writing, movies and meals by fireside. For me it is one of the most peaceful things in life.

 

The fresher air tends to keep me going. Any outdoor work seems easier and even more enjoyable to work through. There are a few things I wanted to get to this weekend. Minor work outdoors involving clearing up a few more branches on the various trees and shrubs.

Decided to back off. Do what was necessary and then close the door behind me. It can wait a few more days, or weeks. Perhaps it is time to use this Labour Day restfully by doing little to no Labour as part of it

Sounds inviting? Consider it as an option for yourself. If you are free, consider making the day for yourself. If it can wait, leave it for another day.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

The Tape Traders. #mondayblogs

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Great songs on cassette required serious work if you wanted to hear them again.

Rewind, then Play.

Or if you owned a Walkman that was lacking in a Rewind button, you flipped the tape over, hit Fast-Forward, flipped the tape back and hope you managed to get far enough to get to the beginning of that great song.

I still have most of my cassette collection. Occasionally I might find something to add to it courtesy of a unique eBay listing or a rare find in a store where I might otherwise be shopping for vinyl.

My own interest in heavy music allowed me to be part of a massive global underground tape trading network. Certain sub-genres of heavy metal were just not available through the normal channels of record stores unless you traveled at least 2-3 hours by car. In those instances you saved up as much as you can in order to acquire what you could on those trips.

Friends of friends, or in some instances, relatives of friends who lived in major centres had greater access to the underground. They would often mail dubbed tapes of the music to those of us who were looking to access it. If a relative of a friend was back in the home land for a few days, they would bring their collections with them so the younger crowd could make copies of those much coveted recordings. I recall many days where an entire evening during a weekend would be spent in a “recording session” where tapes were “engineered” and “mastered” by multiple users who would gather around the stereo to listen while the tapes were being made.

We did not know any better that what was happening was illegal. To our credit even if many of us had those dubbed tapes we would still purchase the originals when and if we could find them. It was not just about having the music. It was also about being able to unfold the liner notes of the cassette. To read along with the lyrics, review the often massive thank-you lists, or get information on ordering from one of the great labels.

The metal and punk rock scenes owe much of the success to the underground tape traders. It was buoyed by the strong musical product these acts were putting out.

Regardless of your taste in music, if you still have a working player but perhaps your collection is long gone, you can still find many shops that sell cassettes for a very reasonable price. Rare gems and entire collection lots can be found on eBay. Do the research and you will be very surprised at what you will find.

Just pop in, and push play.

International Childfree Day 2014 #mondayblogs

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This past Friday August 1, another International Childfree Day presented and passed. Certainly a humbling day for me personally having won “International Childfree Man of The Year”.

I am grateful to the selection panel for their consideration, my family, colleagues, friends and to the Childfree community as a whole for their kind words of support. I want to also acknowledge and congratulate Quebec’s Magenta Baribeau, winner of International Childfree Woman of The Year”.

I recently explained why I did not want to read any of my books again. My drive to revise might overtake me and I would have to resist the temptation to upload a newer version. During International Childfree Day, it was tempting to want to revisit Planned UnParenthood to refresh myself with some of the content.

It was unnecessary to do so. Thankfully I have enough of a memory of the book that I have smoothly been able to answer many questions about each chapter and explain the whole premise of why the book was written in the first place.

During a brief break in the day Friday, I had a nice chat with reporter Priya Sam from CTV Atlantic about International Childfree Day and spoke a bit about the book and a few matters connected to the Childfree community. The piece was connected to Halifax-based “We’re Not Kidding”, a fairly new social group of childfree couples.

http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/maritime-couples-not-kidding-around-1.1943050

The last few days I have been reflecting on the great success of Planned UnParenthood. Because of International Childfree Day, the book is set to connect with an even wider global audience. Truly an honour and humbling for myself. People have told me that I have said things for them that they have wanted to say. In one instance a reader commented that she felt like she could deal more easily with her parents who were constantly putting pressure on her to have children.

Parents have contacted me to tell me they understand more now. One reader apologized to me for ever commenting negatively towards anyone who made the choice of being Childfree.

I must be doing something right.  

Hopefully I can reach more through my writings on this site and connecting with readers through feedback on the book. Because the book contents are a great topic the content has the potential to read fresh for a very long-time before it ever were to become stale. Sure there are a few books on the market about not having children and more will emerge over time. The topic is still fresh and keeps being refreshed by many media outlets several times per year.

It is in those moments of refreshed stories that more people may feel better about the decision not to have children. More Childfree persons can and will connect with common causes and concerns.

The Childfree community is an incredible demographic. People of different occupations from different parts of the world, with different political perspectives and different interests. I have found significant common ground with Childfree persons who have a drive to promote animal rescue. Through many of these people I have learned about different animal rescue organizations and what those groups are accomplishing.

In another 2 years, or even 20 years from now, I will reflect fondly on this recognition and hopefully will have contributed something to inspire future winners. 

Planned UnParenthood – Creating A Life Without Procreating is avaialble at Amazon Worldwide and many other online book retailers across the globe.

 

 

 

 

 

Revisiting Revising #mondayblogs #amwriting

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I just sent another revised version of my first book to the distribution network. The revision is a simple one where I just amended website information. My domain is long gone for now but I am planning to set up a new one in the next year or so which will again connect readers directly to this site.

You may think that because I have ample opportunities to revisit the script for Planned UnParenthood that I would want to maybe add some things, perhaps do up a new chapter, but I will pass.

One thing about the word business that I enjoy the most is the process of revising. I’m fairly certain that I could spend hours just revising 4 or 5 pages once I had them down. Part of this I can connect to obsessive-compulsiveness.

This is the reason why I have never read both of my books again after completing them for release. I know that I would find things in them that I would want to amend. In the creative process, one can safely reach a point where a script is complete and realistically requires no revision. Even with Planned UnParenthood I ended up working through 4 or 5 actual revisions after a handful of copies were sold. This was more for optics in order to correct a few formatting errors which turned up in the book copy but were missed in the script file.

In freelance work, revising comes down to a matter of time. If there is a deadline to meet then one cannot spend significant amounts of minutes editing everything just for the fun of it, or because it is an obsessive-compulsive behaviour. On most of my freelance assignments I will polish things up to a satisfactory point and ask the client if they want to make further edits.  In most of the assignments, a rewrite is rare.

Most of my colleagues will post reasons why having an editor is a positive thing. It is easy for me to agree with 99% of their reasons. I may be a rare instance of wanting to stray away from that purely on the basis of the process. A second set of eyes is truly helpful. However, the first set of eyes can learn from errors by going through the revising process multiple times on one project.

In writing, the plan sometimes evolves during the actual process. Whether you choose to edit something yourself or pass it off to someone for their perspective, whatever works. I suggest allowing yourself to spend more time on revising so the end product still remains closely associated with your personal writing voice. If you want to pass along product to a second set of eyes for revising then perhaps ask that editor to keep the words within the realm of how you want them to read off the page.

Many editors will properly narrow their focus on to the role of assisting with simple revising of the end result, where needed.

Charlie Haden #Bass #Mondayblogs #jazz

As a teen I would spend hours on end reading different articles in Bass Player Magazine. I was spending more time playing regularly just in the neighborhood with a few others. Others who would be doing the same thing some evenings. Sitting in their rooms listening to music and reading the publication of their chosen instrument.

Much of what I was playing was rock and metal. Metal is the very core of my musical background. It is still the music I enjoy listening to the most.

Bass Player Magazine opened my mind to putting names and faces to musicians of different genres. While I always liked hearing the occasional jazz piece on CBC Radio, I never thought much to put names to the musicians. I was playing electric bass guitar and had hoped to branch into playing upright eventually. Through Bass Player Magazine I began to read about upright players who would become influences. Charles Mingus, Christian MacBride, Eberhard Weber, just to name a few. Then there was Charlie Haden. Haden recently passed away last week. His life and career are being celebrated by the bass community and the music community in general.

While I no longer have a copy of the interview I remember it so very well just from the photo header and some of the things that were written. The cover page was Haden relaxing in a chair reading something. Reading his thoughts on music and life were fascinating. Before I would even hear him play I figured out that this was an incredible talent who was a key figure in the change of direction for the instrument.

It was not too long after reading this interview that I found a concert of his group “Quartet West” on a Bravo Television edition of the Montreal Jazz Festival. The concert was a terrific display of musicianship and creativity. Haden’s phrasing and tone became easily recognizable. Over the years I was able to obtain a few of his recordings on Compact Disc. Worth mentioning is his masterpiece duet record with guitarist Pat Metheny “Beyond The Missouri Sky”. This record is a marvelous display of bass and guitar with minimal extra accompaniment set against the backdrop themes of living and growing up in the mid-western U.S.

The opening track “Waltz For Ruth” (written by Haden for his wife Ruth Cameron), is something worthy of being called a standard. This piece remains one of my favourite compositions to this day. The melody was something I would start to just play as part of warm up exercises and just jamming at home. Literally almost every time I pick up a bass, I end up playing the melody from this track. It is a song that I have wanted to record just with 2 basses. My electric upright for the bass line and perhaps a six-string bass guitar to play the main melody.

It is time to dig out this record and the Quartet West CD’s again. I owe it to myself to seek out and find some earlier recordings of his work. Especially with the Liberation Music Orchestra and Ornette Coleman.

I encourage others to do the same.