Sunday, February 07, 2010


Talk to Your Readers

With freelance we tend to find ourselves writing informational pieces quite regularly. It can be a piece on how to repair something (DIY), or maybe in the creation of a craft item.

I was reading some information about a craft project that I wanted to try and I actually got bored with the way the article was written. To be honest, it was rather dry and I felt like the writer was telling me what to do. Hello, that's not nice!

Then I remembered one of my favorite authors and how she always talks to you and helps literally kick you in the butt, Natalie Goldberg. If you've read her books you know exactly what I am talking about. Just like standing in one of her mini-writing workshops, she talks to you with her writing.

Recently, I gave her techniques a try while doing a how-to piece on making a memory quilt. I must admit, it was at least a start and I am finding that more people have been interested in reading it. It has actually led to some readers asking additional questions and for ideas. This has helped me then construct my answers for each of them as if I'm sitting across the table from them having a conversation and enjoying the project that we are working on.

It's difficult to do considering that you don't have the person right there in front of you. But, I have found that if you sit there and think about your friends and how you would try to help explain to them how to do something or by visualizing and wanting to show them, it can help you to write a better piece.

Yes, like all of us, I am still learning the technique and still have a ton of kinks to work out. But, by talking to our readers, it gives them a sense that you care and want to help. As our society has changed a great deal in the last 15 years with the onset of this wonderful internet, many of us are now home-bodies and social butterflies of a different nature. We don't leave our homes like we did to socialize. Many of us only socialize through the internet. With this in mind, we need to find ways to humanize what we are writing, to make our readers feel that they matter and are in many aspects a part of our lives as well.

If you are interested in finding out how to write and speak to your readers, check out some of Natalie Goldberg's work. Her most recent release is Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir; or check out one of her older books called Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Each of these will help give you an idea of how to speak to or with your readers rather than at them or telling them.

Happy Writing!

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Friday, September 05, 2008


10 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down. - Natalie Goldberg

My husband suffers from migraines and his neurologist once gave him, along with a prescription for Topomax, a brochure called Headache Help. Inside, there’s a section with a list of “proven stress reducers.”

Now, for a women’s magazine junkie like myself, there were plenty of things on the list that made me go, “Duh!” Like: prepare for the morning the evening before; get enough sleep; take a hot bath to relieve tension. But the list had some surprisingly interesting ideas as well. Here are ten that I liked:

1. Relax your standards. The world will not end if the grass doesn’t get mowed this weekend. [my note: substitute vacuuming, laundry, or whatever for lawn mowing.]

2. For every one thing that goes wrong, there are probably 10, 50 or 100 blessings. Count them!

3. Everyday, do something that you really enjoy.

4. Focus on understanding rather than on being understood; on loving rather than being loved.

5. Do something that will improve your appearance. Looking better can help you feel better.

6. Become more flexible. Some things are worth not doing perfectly and some issues are well to compromise on.

7. If an especially unpleasant task faces you, do it early in the day and get it over with; then the rest of the day will be free of anxiety.

8. Have a forgiving view of events and people. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world.

9. Have an optimistic view of the world. Believe that most people are doing the best that they can.

10. Do one thing at a time. When you are with someone, be with that person and with no one or nothing else. When you are busy with a project, concentrate on doing that project and forget about everything else that you have to do.

Do any of those hit home for you?


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