Tuesday, March 31, 2020

I am OK


Disclaimer: P. Lynne Designs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Today is a random day of writing.  I have never had a day like this in quite a while.  Most of us have never had a day like this.  It is called social distancing. 
In many cultures that make up the human race, it is a necessity to gather together as a community.   In the United States, we must gather for:
Photo by Pixaby
  • Social events, such as sports, concerts and to worship
  • Family events.  Family is important to some people and it does not matter if they are biological or adopted.
  • Work.  We work for food, clothing, shelter, and enough money to buy the entertainment tickets, pay our tithes and offerings, and help out with family and friends. Note:  you do not need a car in most cases, but you do need to get some mode of transportation, such as a subway/train, bus, or Uber/Lyft/taxi services. Unless you manage to become an entrepreneur or work remotely from home through your job, chances are that you will be working with a co-worker or two.
Before I begin with today’s topic of discussion
I had originally titled this piece, “Corona, Corona” (those people of the baby boomer generation know exactly where the title was taken from, I am slightly younger than you). I wanted to take it in another direction.  I am not an expert on all things disease-wise and I do not want to get into a debate with anyone who is dealing with this strain (doctors, nurses, the CDC), so I am leaving out the details of this strain.  You already have heard what to do, and you know what your limitations are in terms of temporary restrictions and such. Each country is different, as well as each area of that country is different. Please be diligent and mindful of the rules and regulations that are given to you by the people who are in charge. In other words, be safe.
Now on to today’s blog post….
Like everyone, this virus has me on edge.  This virus is not good for the elderly and those with a compromised immune system, so I have a concern for my parents.
The world as we knew it.
On top of that, I temporary have a cat.  My nephew and his girlfriend are temporarily staying with my parents because they just had a baby and they are finding an apartment.  Gizmo is their cat, so they will get her when the time comes. 
I have two dates that I feel will be canceled due to this virus.   I am sure that everyone had that one place which was canceled due to Covid-19.  The first one happens every first Tuesday of each month.  It is a woman’s business group that I belong to.  I hope the meetings will resume in May.  The second date is a date I could not get out of in the first place.  It is jury duty.  I have to go unless the courts decide to delay jury duty, which I hope they do.  I avoided it twice in my life.  I also had planned on going to a scrapbooking event scheduled for this weekend, but it ended up being an online event anyway.
Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, has issued a “Shelter in Place” ordinance as of 11:59pm last week.  I have said this about Longaberger’s deadlines for shipping and sales campaigns before, and I will say again for those in the back, “who stops or starts anything at 11:59 pm it makes no sense?”  It is like any price with $.99 tacked at the end of a whole price.  You might as well put zeros at the end of the price ($5.00 instead of $4.99).  You might as well say 12 am instead of 11:59pm. What does that curfew allow me to do and not do? The same thing that I have not been able to do in the first place:  Eat in restaurants, go to movies, worship at church, shop at all hours of the night (oops, I thought that was the reason for online shopping, LOL), drive (unless you have a job to go to), and social mingling.  I think that is most of the country. 
The governor, as well as The president, does encourage everyone to work at home.  The problem is that most minority groups as a whole cannot afford to work from home.  This includes taking online classes that university students have to finish by the end of the semester.  Once done, they are officially on break until further notice.
The Walt Disney Company, which had originally closed its Asian parks, now has closed the North American and European parks as well.  This gives me time to properly plan my next vacation, which is making up for the one I had to cancel in October 2019 for travel to Disney World in Florida in December.  I will put up a report in my new Disney blog in May or sooner, so I will not bog down this blog or Home Prep (formally known as At Home with Tricia's Baskets). Meanwhile, Shanghai Disney is slowly getting back to normal, by reopening the market area, Disneytown first, the parks and resorts second. Disney has slated the reopening of both The Disneyland Resorts and Walt Disney World Resorts as of April 1st, but that all depends on Florida’s governor and the president, and the rule that governs this country at the time of the reopening.
(Update:  Even as I write this post, things have changed.  Everything is canceled at the Disney American parks until further notice.  The earliest booking you can make is for June 1st.  I am understanding that this is the time that the Reservation line for both resorts will be staffed.  Cast members (employees) will be paid until April 18th).
Most schools are closed at least until April 13.  Some are even out for the summer.  I know that Columbus Public, one of the largest school districts in the state of Ohio are out until April 13.  If extended, this could mean that they will be out for the rest of the school year.  Until then, most school districts, including Columbus are providing home school assistance.  
There is so much more that we do not know about this virus.  If I happen to sell something during this crisis, I am wondering how I am going to deliver it. Am I going to be able to go to the post office?  Of course, there is the Disney event that I would like to attend in May.  I just found out that they opened up another date for it.  It is now a day date of May 12, which is actually the day before the date of May 13, which is still sold out.  May 14 is still available as well.
Things to do if reading books, watching television, and using social media get you down:
  • Organize.  Now it the time for spring cleaning.  “You have junk.  I have junk.  All of God’s children got junk.  Before this virus is over, we going to get rid of our junk, and then we going to walk around a clean house.  A clean house.  A clean house.  We going to walk around a clean house.”  Shout out to that verse based on the Negro Spiritual, “I Got Shoes.”  I hope I do not get kicked out of heaven for that.   But seriously, get rid of the junk, open up the window, and clean.  Get rid of the cobwebs while you are at it.
  • Take up a new hobby.  Have you always wanted to learn something new?  Now is the time to learn how to get yourself promoted if you have a job or think that drawing Mickey Mouse is cool.  There are free and paid courses online that will teach you. 
  • Side hustle.  Do you have that drive to start a business?  You may not be able to go out and look at spaces to rent. (Now is not the time anyway and it is not the first thing you do when starting one).  You can start a babysitting service for people who have to work during that time (even though my lovely governor is trying to poo-poo that plan that states you have to apply for a crisis license to keep children during this time).  How about a virtual assistant?  Freelance writer or graphic designer?  Offer your expertise with an online course.
  • Catch up on sleep.  OK, this is a stretch, especially if you have kids.  I am speaking from the experience of a single woman with no kids, I can do this.  I am also speaking from a person who has a business I work from home. I may not be able to see clients (unless I do video conferencing, which I have not set up yet), but at present, I can catch up with sleep.
  • Update something on your computer.  One of the things I am tackling while I am in a sort of downtime, is updating my blogs.  As I have explained before this pandemic, I want to switch platforms.  I am now officially in a love/hate relationship with Blogger, and I have read another blogger website, and I want off this train called Blogger.   I have said that Blogger is good for the person who is starting their blog, but you do not have to stay there.  Hopefully, this will be completed by the end of next week.  I started last night, looking at WordPress themes, and I think I will be using the same theme that I have used for my P. Lynne Designs website (which is almost completed), and it is a paid theme, that uses Elementor and I think it is a go on that.  I saw some that I might use for my ATWTB/Home Prep blog, and my newly decided Disney blog.  But one blog at a time, when you have to finish your website.
  • Home and Business Projects.  This is not to be confused with the home organization, though it could contain organizing with the project, depending on how you will use it.   I would start off with this:  Name your project and ask yourself “if money was no objection, what would that project look like”?  Is it a big or little project?  Big as in it will cost over $350 or whatever budget over your minimum projected cost, little as under $350 or below your minimum.  I used $350 because that is my minimum for a big project.  Minimum looks good on paper to me because I can always get $350 from my personal, personal bankers, my parents if strapped for cash and it is an emergency.  Why not $500?  Because this is the amount that if I had an emergency, my father would pay, but would get mad at me for not having in reserves.
There are really a whole host of other things you can do while you are stuck inside.  I have a cousin whose daughter is learning how to tap dance.  She takes it anyway (FINALLY, I am not the ONLY tap dancer in the family), but while she is away from her dance teacher, she is still learning.  Speaking of learning, many schools have home school for their students, this is the time for you to learn what your child is learning (remember CORE math, anyone?).  Learn a new skill.  There are plenty of online courses to take at little to no cost. Take a drive.  Yes, you can go outdoors without coming into contact with people.  It depends on your government's curfew.
Summary/conclusion
As for me, again, I am doing my part. I had to get a couple of items from the grocery store today.  Nothing major, some tomatoes and a favorite black bean and corn salsa that I use as a sauce for spaghetti/ramen noodles.  The Starbucks in that store was open, so I used my rewards card to score some major points on my Cookie Crumble Frap.  I will be online shopping.
I hope you take some lessons from this self-quarantine situation.  Learn how to appreciate all that was given to you before this time, like freedom, perseverance, and a job.  Survivor, the television show needs to go off the air after this because we would have all survived Quarantine 2020 like nobody’s business, and Phil needs to find a new job.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Brand new blog, Maybe?



H
ello, my name is Patricia.  I am a single person with 2 nieces, 3 nephews,  and love for Disney. I aspire to work with any company that I (1) believe has most of the values that I cherish, and (2) I have had a good rapport with now and in the past.  These qualities fit Disney for me.  I am a little bit Disney crazy.
So, when I tell you that I am going to start my second blog about going to Disney when you only have nieces and nephews, you might think that I am a little crazy to do that.  My first blog closed, not by the web host's hand or Disney’s but mine. 
The first blog was named cutely, but long-winded “Travelling to the Mouse’s House”.  Yes, Travelling was spelled with two “Ls” in it because I could not decide if I was misspelling the word or trying to be funny about this spelling. 
What was it all about?
Photo by Pixabay
It was at first about the misadventures of an Ohio woman and her family trying to get to Disney World. When I was a child, I lived 2 hours from Disneyland in California, and I loved it when the family came to visit, and we would make that track up to Anaheim, and visit Mickey, Minnie, The princesses, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, You know the rest, and had a ball.  Then we moved to the East coast and New Jersey.  If you want some non-Disney fun, this was the place to do it.  Finally, when I was 12, we moved to Ohio, and I have been here since that time, and I have been to Disney World a couple of times.  I was also part of Disney Vacation Club, which was a treat in itself, but I had to let it go due to financial reasons.
So that is what the blog was all about.
If I were to start another blog….
…. It would be something like that.  A woman and her family trying to get to Disney World, but it would not stop there.  I would talk about Disney, my views on Disney, and I would even take you along on my Disney trips.
Finding a name.
If I were to start another blog about Disney, the first thing I would have is a name without the name Disney or any of its trademarks in it.   Disney frowns on that sort of stuff.  In fact, unless you are approved by a company, rather is a big company like Disney or Amazon, or a small home business like mine, P. Lynne Designs, you would have to get permission to use the name.  So, since I have a business, I am not going to bother about the step I have to take in order to have something like “Tricia’s Wonderful Disney Blog”, or “Tricia’s Mickey Trip”.  I will revile the name at the end of this blog post.
Finding a purpose.
If I were to find a purpose about this blog, it would be all things, Disney, right?  Yes, but I have to present it like, professional and stuff.  I cannot be selfish about this blog either.   I cannot talk about my family all the time, nor they would want me to either.  Since almost everyone at one point or another want to at least visit Disney World once, I have to make it that way.  So here is a rundown of some of the things I want to talk about:

  • The parks
  • The resorts
  • The food
  • The special events in the park
  • Other theme parks.  Disney is not the only one with the theme parks in the Central Florida area.
  • The merchandise.
  • Disney Plus
  • What’s showing in the Theater
  • Disney Cruise Line.  You know they have one
  • Disney Vacation Club.  Not too many people know about this, but it is a good investment if you visit Disney World Resorts often
  • Other Disney Parks.

OK, that is a few of some of the things worth mentioning.  Of course, I can talk about any and all of them, and I will at some point.
I do not want to be a repeater.
One of the problems with my last blog about Disney was I live up north, while Disney World is down south, and I felt that since I was not going to the parks much, I was only repeating what was in the news.  Yes, I want to report them, especially since I do not live in the Central Florida area, but at what point do I want to sound like I grabbed the news from the internet and run with it.  I am determined not to let that get in my way again.
When you feel like you are in a place in your blog that sounds like you are repeating old news and things of the past, remember that not everyone is seeing it for the 1000th time, report it like it is your audience’s first time hearing about it. In other words, put your spin on the news.   To give an example, unless you are not a Disney fan, everyone is going to report on the rise of ticket prices in the Disney parks.  Report that, but put your own spins, such as your summary, good or bad, talk about your budget as you plan your next trip as a Disney fan, or a parent with 2.5 kids and a dog who needs boarding. I have grown as a writer since my days as the owner of Travelling to the Mouse’s House.
Finding an audience.
One of my other problems is when you live as “an introvert with extrovert tendencies”, as my pastor says, is marketing this blog, and this should not be a problem, but it is.  The point is not to make it a problem.  Disney has its fans, and fans for not take lightly when you belittle their happy place.  No one does, when someone talks bad about that thing they love.
For me, that is no problem.  I will report the good, bad, and ugly about Disney, but I will exercise more on the side of good things.  I do not like hearing about the Walt Disney Company’s greediness, being expensive, and trying to monopolize the world.  Do you think that we as fans don’t know about it?  The difference between a fan and a hater is we are willing to look past the company’s faults and failures, and little ticks, while finding the good in that little tick.  In Disney’s case, it is that little tick that might mean a new ride, a new resort, or even better service.
As you explore whatever you are willing to devote your new blog too, help your reader become a forever friend of your blog.  You may have to report some bad news, such as your new crafting tool having some first-time flaws issues, your favorite Harley Motorcycle has a recall, a new rule that demonetizes your blog and takes away some of your devoted readers, but at the same time, report that   Overall, you want your reader to be informed of a profitable solution that does not cost them a lot of money for the fix.  After all, you are here to help, inform, and to educate.
workaround instruction how to call customer service, or that minor little discover you have made yourself that hopefully does not violate EULA (End User License Agreement).
Monetization
This is by far the hardest part of owning a blog, and although I am not an expert in this, I would like to educate and do research on how I can fund my blog.  This is what I am working on with the other three blogs, and I can say that it is not easy.  I will post a longer post on the monetization of blog posting, but there are the ways I am doing so:
            Affiliate Marketing- this is promoting business and its products.  The biggest affiliate is Amazon, but there are others, such as Sale-a-share, CJ Affiliate, Clickbank, and many others if you do not want to get into Amazon.  You can also go to a company to see if they have an affiliate program.   One example is I am a marketer of the Amazon Affiliate program, which has many facets, including being a seller.  I have a seller’s account.  Whenever you see this notation on a blog post,
“Disclaimer: P. Lynne Designs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. “
Photo by Pixabay
On my blog post, it means that there is a product that I am promoting on that blog post.  It also means that I get a commission from your purchase, but you do not have to buy the product.  I have to by Amazon and the FTC that governs all affiliate programs, including Amazon’s. 
            Freelancing:  I am a freelancer is both writing and graphic work.  My specialties are Blog post, ghostwriting and regular document writing, and resume writing in the writing industry. Logo, stationery, cards (Both Business and Greeting Cards), invitations, and copywriting for Graphic Design.  This does not mean that I do not like a challenge.
The key is to learn how to set your own prices.  Setting them too high means no customers, but setting the prices too low also means no customers.  Set your ground rules, but offer something unique makes a returning customer, and they will bring new customers to you.
            Sponsorships and advertising:  I find that this is the oldest way to monetize your blog, and it is done by marketing another person’s product or concept. 
            Create a course:  People love to know how you made a buck or two, why not sell in the form of a course. You have something that is very valuable to the general public and plus it is a tried and true concept.  For example, I am always intrigued on the notion of getting to a million-dollar business while in my underwear.  This was the first course I bought in the early 2000s.  The concept is sound, and it was the same marketing concept I paid thousands of dollars for at the university I graduated from in 2003 (thank you Dr. Otte and Franklin University- I will be back for my master’s degree).   Anyway, I paid for this course, and I did not see any value in it because I had already learned it some months earlier, but that does not mean that another person who did not know this marketing concept could not benefit from this man’s teachings.
Today, I do not know how many emails I have gotten of people selling their concept of making a few extra monies for the bank account.  I also have taken 3 courses from a woman, named Renae Christine, who have some of the same principles as my former university, but the difference is she throws in a different teaching technique than any of my instructors did at the school.  There is also Freelance University, that I am attended right now, and it too teaches you how to freelance. 
The point is how to market the course and what to charge,
Selling a book or a product:  This my last point on the subject.   You can publish an e-book or a regular book, which is very easy if you go through sites like Amazon.  It used to take months to write down a concept, edit, and send it to a publisher. You can now email it or send it through Amazon’s vast website.  I briefly touched on products earlier.
So, to put it together:
To recap:
  1. The concept of your blog
  2. The approach or plan for the blog
  3. You know your audience
  4. You have the name of your blog, and
  5. You know what topics you are going to cover.
Your blog is only halfway there.  If you are going to make some money with the blog, then you need to find ways to do that, and it varies from person to person. 
Let me know what you think about this concept of starting a new blog.  Is it something you are interested in the comments section.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

How to Keep on Writing when you have writer’s block?

Disclaimer: P. Lynne Designs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Hello, today I want to continue with this sort of, kind of series on starting a blog. 

Back in January, I started, sort of backward, the topic on “How to start a blog?” I went over the basics of picking a topic, a name for your blog, customizing it for you and your readers, and publishing your first blog.  In the next post, titled cutely, “What the heck is Well-nigh and other ponderings”.  I covered the dirty subject of using re-write software and another website that allows you to reuse a post over and over again without getting into trouble with the “copyright police” or Google with your own post.  This title came about when I was not pleased with the “How to write a Blog” post, tried to re-write the post using a program online, and confused when the software suggested that I use the word, “Well-nigh” throughout the piece.

Side-Note:  I found out from an article, “The First Blog Posts you Should be Writing as a new Blogger, by Beautiful Dawn, which she talks about deciding on what topics you cover in your new blog.  In the article, she suggests that “cover multiple topics.  The example she uses is that you can cover travel, organization, and cooking if that is what you want to talk about.  Do not start a string of travel blog post, then switch to a bunch of organizational posts, then finally to cooking posts.  You have to create a map to tie-in each little nugget of information for the reader. Another way is to have a common theme within your traveling, organization, and cooking themes.  For example:  If you are traveling to India, you can map out a plan to write about the trip and your travels, follow it by having an “Indian-inspired” organization container in your “Indian-inspired” bedroom, and conclude the trio of blog posts by cooking a posting your version of a Indian dish you had on the trip.  The point is in 2020 it is okay to have a blog, especially a lifestyle blog with multiple subjects in it.
I have more on these and other subjects as I try to prepare my blog for “move out of Blogger’s backyard and into the world of WordPress” day.  I figured that this whole process, which I am letting you come for the journey when be completed around May.  Yes, I am taking it slow and steady.  I will let you know of the official move out/in date soon. 

Today’s Topic:  I am stuck so I cannot write today (writer's block).

This happens to the best of writers. You get to the computer, you open up your word processing program, and WHAM! Nothing comes out.  No magical moment where the brain instructs the hands to form the words to a beautifully mastered blog post. Everything you had hoped for dreamed of writing and the message you want to give to the masses is stuck at point zero.  I am not talking about the computer.  It’s fine.  What I am talking about is that moment when you have everything planned to say, and you cannot think of a thing to say.
This is typical of me. I start writing on a subject, let’s say Disney trips since I have not used that in a while.  I have been talking about subjects, such as planning a trip, buying your tickets, making your reservations, and scheduling dining times.  Everything is looking good, and I am working up a sweat.  I want to keep this Disney trip thing going, but now I have run out of ideas.  What do I write about next?  Where does my thought process point to?  Another example:  You have a blog about owning your self-worth because you see that lacking in today’s society.  You have been at it for a while, having Motivational Mondays, devotionals (it is a Christian blog), affirmations, and dedications to name a few.  One day, a subject comes to mind that you really feel like it needs to be addressed, but you are not sure how to approach it with your audience.
What to do when that happens?
I am a believer in the art of “always have something to say”. Most of the time, it is a matter of knowing what to say.  When that happens, try these techniques to get your creative juices started…

1.       Freewriting
Rebecca Talley of her self-titled blog, Rebecca Talley says to just write.  Before you write, you must plan.  By planning, you are mapping out how the story must begin and how it must end.  This technique works best for those who are writing a book or a script, but points are taken from this technique also apply to the blog post and non-fictional writing as well.  She goes on to talk about, “Think about the scene. Who is in it? What is the goal of the scene? What is the conflict? Where is it set?”  I will further that sentiment by saying, “write it down in a notebook”.  That way, if something or someone takes you away from the moment, you can return back to that notebook, and pick up where you left off.
She also says to write anything, even if it has nothing to do with the story or in this case, the concept of an idea.  Sometimes it takes me two days to write one blog post.  It is not that I am conflicted about what I want to say, but more on I might change my mind and take the concept in a different direction. She further suggests that you use a timer and write about anything that comes to mind for about 5 minutes.  You would be surprised at the ideas you come up with for 5 minutes.

  1. Change of scenery
Maybe a Change of Scenery-Pixabay
One other suggestion is to change your scenery.   By that, you are getting out of your comfort zone, that place where solitude and tranquility meet as one big pool of peacefulness, but every once in a while, the two do not go together.  To return to that space, consider writing somewhere different.  For example, if you like to write cuddled with a blanket and your feet up on your lounge in your bedroom, try the kitchen or the family room (make sure family members do not disturb you), or go to the library.  I do not suggest a place like Starbucks unless you can drown out the noise. 

  1. Keep a notebook of ideas
This is a different type of notebook than the one I mentioned under Freewriting.  This is also more for the blogger who needs to come up with a topic for future references.  Keep this notebook with you at all times for when those creative juices emerge.  Yes, this includes keeping it by your nightstand.  You can keep a traditional notebook or a digital notebook.

  1. Quora
Quora Website-
I love Quora. In case you are not familiar with the website, Quora is a place where people can ask questions and the general public answers them.  The way I use this little nugget of a website is I answer the question provided to me.  They are often to me through my email.  I can choose to answer because I am an expert in that area, or I have experienced it at one
time or another.  I will answer enough to give a good answer.  If I think that it is blog post-worthy, I will copy the answer before submitting it to the database, then in MS Word, I will pull up a blank document and copy the answer onto it.  This blog post I am writing, and you are reading now came from a Quora question.  I will sometimes omit the answer.  The original concept of this blog post had my answer to the question on it, but sometimes the answer does not fit the blog post.

  1. Writing prompts
They are in the same category as Quora, where you are given a question to answer, and you provide the answer. My one example was a post I wrote in 2012 about my summer vacation.   I forgot where I found the prompt, it has been a while since I wrote.  Please excuse the typos. 
There is an online event for writers every year in November called National Novel Writer’s Month or NaNoWriMo for short.  It is for people who write novels, and in the past, they used to have writing prompts.  Now you can easily look them up on search engines, Pinterest, and Facebook even has some groups that allow you to get you thinking about writing.

Well, that’s the end.  Not by a long shot. I want you to have a successful writing career if that is your choice.  Writer’s block happens to all of us, from novelists to bloggers, journal writers, and journalists.  It is what you choose to do with that writer’s block when it comes, and I have given you 5 ways to conquer it.  The point is to recognize it when it comes. 

Call to Action Prompt:  Comment below if you have ever had this experience of writer’s block and how you solved your situation. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Preparing for your next journey


Hello, and welcome today’s blog.  I want to talk to you about something that we, as humans are always looking and striving for.  This is a series, but I want to let you know that I am going through something.
Pixabay
I am preparing to be a great aunt. My nephew and hopefully my niece in law to be (a nicer way of saying that they are not married) are expecting a little girl in March.  For privacy reasons, I will not disclose the baby’s name, but I love the name, in part because it has my middle name in it, and the mother’s middle name for her middle name.  This is a trend.  I kind of wish the name was after one or both their mothers’ or after my mother, or something like that, but this is their baby, and as long as I can spell and pronounce the name, I am okay with it.
My brother, who lives in the next city is the grandfather, and he, of all people, is the one who suggested that we throw a baby shower.   I want to throw in what makes a good baby shower in preparation for anything we do in life.  Yes, this is
also the way that you can set a goal as well.

  1. The project.
Now, this is the easy part.  You have to know what you will be working on or the end goal.  In this case, it is to have at least a decent baby shower without no fussing or fighting among the host(s) or guests.   For my task, it is a baby girl shower.
  1. The date.
Finding a date is hard.  By hard, I mean finding a date that works for at least half of the people you want to invite.  The best way I found that works are to ask the guest of honor (my nephew and niece) what day works for them.  They both work jobs that do require the weekend and long hours.  My nephew works primarily in the afternoon to around 6 pm, while my niece works most weekends.  Her hours have been cut due to the pregnancy, which also means flexibility. From there, schedule a date far enough in advance so that if a person is working, they can ask for time off.   This is what it means to RSVP a date.  It is to let the host know if this is a good date to come or a bad date.
  1. The list.
Not everyone is suitable to be in attendance.  I suggest inviting people who are close.  I choose close church members and family who live in town for my part of the list, while my niece chooses the people she works closest too.  her parents do not live here.  I am not sure who my nephew's choice, and I will find out today. 
  1. The food.
This is equally as hard.  Why?  Because everyone has different tastes.  I will advise on one thing:  finger foods.  Do not stress over a big pot of Chicken and dumplings.  We are having the following:  meatballs, subs, fruit tray, veggie tray, cupcakes, and a candy bar.  What is a candy bar?  Well, you will have to come over to At Home with Tricia's Baskets to read about it.  Speaking of which, by now, you are probably wondering why I would have “How to Host a Baby Shower” in this blog.  No, I have not lost it, and there is an analogy between hosting a baby shower to writing and preparing for a journey.  Keep reading….
  1. The Decorations and games.
In order to entice a person to come to future parties, there must be some fun.  After all, this is a celebration of a birth to come (or in the case of a friend of mine, a birth that arrived before the shower).  The decorations make the place look festive and inviting.  Since we have a theme (baby girl), the color is pink (the mother’s choice).  If this was a gender reveal party (which is gaining in popularity due to advancements in technology), then the colors would be both pink and blue (or green and red-oops wrong celebration).  I bought and printed this little cutie, and I have a table with the words, “Sweet Baby” on it.  I had one mishap which is the baby will not stay on the sign.
Games are another feature.  “So what do you want to talk about” does not work in this setting.  In order to engage a person, you must have something to do that is interesting.  We played games such as ”What is in your purse/wallet (yes there were some men-my father, brother, and nephew at the time), The clothespin game (you cannot say “baby” or you will lose your clothes pin), the right/left game (you pass a prize around every time the reader says some form of left or right), and my personal favorite, the baby food game (guess the flavor of the baby food).
  1. Presents for the baby
This is self-explanatory.  The new parents open up gifts that the guests brought for the baby.  They got mostly diapers and other practical things for her, but they also got the love and the support from all who attended.  A friend of mine could not make it, so she gave me a present at church today.

Now, all of this is for preparation for the birth of my niece.  Once she is here, the new parents cannot say, “we need diapers” or “we need a crib”.  Nope, not at all. 
What does all of this have to do with writing or creating a blog?  I will show you, but first here is a hint:  most of it was highlighted in my last two posts, “How to start a Blog” and “What the heck is Well-nigh and other ponderings”.  Here are the steps once again to prepare for the task at hand:
  1. The project
Instead of preparing for a baby shower, you are preparing to become a freelance writer or a blog writer.  It may not be this particular project, it may be started a podcast.  Whatever this project, you name it and claim it, as they say at my church.  Get yourself a notebook or binder, and write it down.  Name your project (My Ambiance Life Blog), and say that you are going t do it.  Let me give you this little tip:
Tip:  You have to commit to this project.  You cannot start a project than stop it anytime you, please.  You may go at your own pace and you may have moments that you are stuck, but stick to it.  Do not give up or give in to insecurity.  Have an accountability partner if you must, which is a trusted person who is going to keep you on task, but do not give up.
The key to your journey is preparation-Pixabay

During this time, you must plan out your project.  What steps are you going to take with this project?  I am currently working on my craftroom makeover project.  The first thing I did was the name that this is a craftroom project.  Next, I did some research on the project.  What is the point of this project if I did not look into the furniture to hold my supplies and project areas, work areas, and labeling system?  It would look a mess.  This included looking at crafter blog posts, vlog channels from YouTube, and planning out my budget. Also, look at where this craftroom is going.  I want it in the second bedroom, but it is occupied by my nephew and niece, so I have to keep it in its current position, in the dining room area.  I also have to get one piece at a time because the area is small, and I may have to wait until they move out.
  1. The date
Yes, you will need a start and end date for your project.  Do not say “ongoing” or you will never see the end of your project.  If you must say ongoing, divide your project up into smaller pieces, like this:
·         Organizing the embossing folders and dies- January 20, 2020 end date.
·         Organizing the stamps and inks-January 25, 2020 end date.
·         Organizing the 8.5 x 11 paper and 12 x 12 paper pad- February 3, 2020 end date.
Do not hold to that date if you are behind.  If you need to stop that section on that date and get back to it.  There are all sorts of ways to do it without beating yourself up for not finishing the mini-task.
  1. The list.
In this case, list everything you have to do in order to complete the task.  Again, you may have to divide and conquer because you may not be able to do everything in order.
  1.  Decorations
Now we are in the fun part, you are going shopping if the project calls for that. 
For example:  In my case, I do two types of shopping: Online virtual shopping and online/offline actual shopping. With virtual shopping, you will need an online store with a wish list.  Use this to your advantage.  Take the items from your list and look them up in the store.  If the online store has a wish list or allows you to leave things in your cart, place the items in the wish list or shopping cart.  I do this to Ikea and Amazon all the time. DO NOT CHECK OUT! REPEAT, DO NOT CHECK OUT! If your bank has online banking, check your balance.  Why?  If you have automatic payments, the bill payment department may have taken the amount of your bill out of your account, and when you go to pay for your stuff, the money may not be there.  If your bank in the United States like I do, that charge may go through, even if you do not have the money in the bank, and this would mean an overdraft fee.  Not only that, the second reason is you may not like it, and now it is coming to your house. Some stores may make it impossible to return it.
“what if I am just writing a book”?  You do not have to worry about this step, unless you are shopping for new software or a new journal to write your notes in it, then it applies, but not as detailed.
  1.  Presents
I like to call them rewards for your labor.  You get a published book or blog, or in my case, I get a complete craftroom or I get to go to Disney.  Whatever you are preparing for and you are persistent with your task, you will get to see the end results.



Friday, January 31, 2020

What the Heck is Well-nigh and Other Ponderings


                       Subtitle-how to use rewrite software

I want to interrupt your normal reading of this blog for a very important message:


THIS BLOG IS MOVING SOON!!
No, I mean it this time.  I have been meaning to move it to a WordPress platform for some time, made several announcements only to not do it, and frankly for even me, it is getting quite annoying.  This is one of the reasons why I do not have traffic on this blog anymore.  I am working on that.  Later on this blog post.  I promise…..
         
                        That is not why this post is being interrupted

Disclaimer: P. Lynne Designs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Today, I want to talk to you about one of the bad subjects in the writing world, and that is rewrites.  After all, the world is full of rewrites, redo, remakes, sequels, and so forth.  There is nothing so far that has been done that has not to be tested, tried, fried, dyed, laid to the side.  Oops, wrong subject and wrong blog (At Home with Tricia's Baskets needs to address this subject on hair).  But the point is that if it has not been on the market before now, THEN it is new.  Otherwise, it has been done before, EXCEPT in a different way.

I am currently working on a blog post called “How to write a 500-Word Blog Post” or “How to start a blog”, depending on which title I am going with.  It is my new, “I am not writing like I am mass-producing blog post” campaign challenge I am giving myself for 2020.  Here is the backstory:


    Image by skeeze from Pixabay
 (Pensive Female) 
I was feeling bored with this blog, all of my blogs.  One of the issues I am having is being honest with myself, and the honest truth is I was not liking my posts.  Some are great and I love them, it was the rest of the post from all three of my blogs that made me say, “ugh” to them.  It was a combo of things such as editing issues to I was not really feeling the subject I was writing about.  At times, I was feeling rushed, that “I got to make this deadline or else” feeling.  I did not like the links to a blog post, I did not like the photos, etc, and the low numbers from clicks proved it. So I decided to take the time to evaluate each blog and each blog post and main subjects. 

Tip:  If you are feeling bored with your blog, do a re-evaluation.  Do not beat yourself up about it, just find the places that need improving, even if it means to start over with a fresh blog. 

Now, before you start saying to yourself, “she is going in a different direction and talking about something else”, the answer is “no, I am not”.  I love all my subjects on all of my blogs.  From writing about “how to write a blog post” to “journaling” and now adding using planners with your writing with My Ambiance Life, Traveling to Disney to homelife and organizing with At Home with Tricia's Baskets, and finally crafting tutorials and product reviews with P. Lynne Designs, there will no change in that.  I was unhappy with my approach to these subjects.  If I change anything about the subjects it would be to split At Home with Tricia's Baskets to where the traveling would be separated from the homelife and organizing sections, making it two blogs again.
I decided that I did not like the flow of the “500-word blog post” post, so I turned to a blog post rewriting software program or site.  I must say that it was an eye-opener, and depending on how I feel, I may do it again.  Word has a feature now that allows you to rewrite a line or a whole post, but I do not think that is how this feature works, and I have to research it a little more.
This is when I came across the word, Well-nigh, which sounds like something that a British person would say, not an American, still wet behind the ears writer like me.  The word is an adverb, and it means “almost”.  So I am going to show you two sentences from my post that I am still working on to see how this word is being used.

This is the original sentence:

“Have you ever wanted to write something you are passionate about or have a unique skill that others crave they had?”

Now for the rewritten one:

“Have you overly wanted to write well-nigh something you are passionate well-nigh or have a unique skill that others require they had?”



 “Dear rewrite software maker:



I do not think that in my original sentence I did not have the word “almost” in it.  Why do I need to use the word, well-nigh”?”
This is what I would ask the website creators.   This is one of the sentences, and believe it or not, “well-nigh” is used a couple of times throughout the post.
Then I decided that I must replace the word.  Now, keep in mind that what I was about to use was Word’s synonym checker.  This was against the website’s rewrite copy of my post.  The words used were:
·         Nearly
·         Almost
·         Virtually
·         Just about

I am sorry to say this but just about every word in this word list does not match to what I was trying to convey in the original sentence or the entire post.

Tip:  The first sentence in a post after the title should set the tone for the rest of the piece.  It is not the means that ends it all, but it should give your reader some idea of what you are trying to arrive at.  Your title tells the reader about your subject matter.

So, what am I trying to say about rewrite software, websites, and all related items:
I have nothing again rewrites at all IF it is your original and YOU wrote it. What I have a problem with has to do with plagiarizing:  Those that do it are too lazy to come up with their own articles for their own blogs.  Now before I get any further, this is different from ghostwriting and guest posting.  


With Ghostwriting, the original author is willing to not take the credit for anything they produce for you or your company.  The only difference with the post, article, or book is the original author’s name is not on the byline, the individual or the individual’s company is on the byline.  This is not considered cheating at all, and in the contract, you draw up with the author, it states that the author is not allowed to use the copy on their blog o resell it if the post is in book form.  It is now considered the property of the individual and cannot be contested in court. 



Guest posting is when the author agrees to post an article for your site.  It works the same way as if the post was written on their blog.  It is not considered a rewrite, but the author can do a rewrite of that article for their own blog post.



Cons to rewriting a blog:



As I stated before, rewritten posts can be a problem if a person plagiarizes the original post. 
Say you want to write an article about cats and the benefits of being a cat mommy or daddy.  You have never owned a cat and you have not interviewed a person who owns a cat.  You just thought it was a good idea because cat ownership is a trending topic because everyone is doing it.   So, you decided to do some research on the subject of cat ownership, and in your research, you find this great article online about me loving being a cat aunt.  Gizmo is not mine, she belongs to my nephew and his girlfriend who both live with me. (True story) Instead of emailing me to as if I would give an interview on why Gizmo makes me happy (and I would be happy to do an interview, BTW), you take my article, use a rewrite software, and have it rewrite the whole article for your blog.  This is still considered stealing.  It may not look like the same post to the naked eye, but if I run across it, and it sounds like the same post I wrote, I could sue you.  This is one of the reasons why I do not like them.

So, use rewrite software and websites with a grain of salt.  Use them for your own posts to do a comparison on which version of your post you like better.  When you read the rewrite, make sure that the copy flows the same way that the original flows, if not, change it within the rewritten copy or be willing to combine the two. Never use it to copy someone’s idea and post. If you do, you could come off as a lazy writer, or you will be hearing from the original author’s lawyer.  If you are a writer, there are ways to check to see if someone is copying your work or if you have copied a passage that sounds like someone’s work. This will be the subject for this topic next time


That is all I have to say at this time.  Next subject….


Traffic and Promotion

This is one area that I have the most problems with.  It is not that I do not get it, it is… well…. Let me explain.
I am currently on Blogger, in reality, it does not matter what platform you are on, as long as you do the following:
1)       Write
2)      Write consistently, meaning GET A SCHEDULE!
3)     Promote what you write.  Meaning promoting your work on social media, groups of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram). Even YouTube and newsletter count.

OK, I get it.  What I do not get is how many subscribers, followers, viewers, or visitors you need to have on your blog visiting daily, weekly, and monthly in order for brands to even consider you to write a sponsored post.  For months, and sometimes even now, I am baffled to the number of clicks needed and so on.  On social media, you cannot lie about these numbers.  You can sometimes exaggerate the numbers on your actual blog, but not on social media.  The brand liaison can look at your profile and tell if you have over 1000 viewers or not.  My question is often, “why so many?” It is the same question I ask about my credit score, “why 800”, but that is another question for another day, and I am not a financial guru, so I will leave the question here.  But, if anyone knows to “why I need a score of 800 to have a chance to get a new home?”, comment below, and I will try to understand it.
 Image by Mary Pahlke from 
Pixabay (Marketing)


Tip 2:
Write
Write consistently, meaning get a schedule
Promote what you write

I want to go over this more in detail.
1)       Write
This is obvious.  Get into the practice of constantly writing something if you are not used to it.  It does not matter if it is digital (computer) or pen and paper, but write something.  This is where I suggest that you get a writing journal, and write down things such as goals you want to achieve in the year or in your life, a bucket list, decorating or organizing pieces in your home or office, even spiritual aspirations and affirmations. 
Write them in paragraph form, a proper paragraph form. This means correct spelling, grammar, and the whole nine yards.  The reason for this practice is one day you may have to write something for business, or you might get a promotion on your job.  Anyway, companies do not understand the need to write “Tyme” for “time” and other things like that.  It may be good for social media, but not good for business.  Plus, some readers do not like reading blogs that have mistakes in them.
2)      Write consistently, meaning get a schedule
One of the problems I do have is being consistent with my writing.  I get on a roll, and for a while, it seems like I have a habit of staying on that schedule.  Then I have a falling off period, and I do not write for a while.  This comes with discouragement. I want to have big numbers, but I also want to see the comments as well. One tip I find that helps with every time a person views a YouTube video in the comments.  The vlogger always asks viewers to like the video, comment, subscribe to the channel, and share the video.  Well, I am good at doing just that on my YouTube channel, but the same is not said on my blogs. 
For schedules, you do not have to write every day, which is what some bloggers strive for.  Do not kill yourself to try to get a blog post out every single day.  You also have a life as well.  For 2020, I am going to try to get both blogs and videos out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week.
3)     Promote what you write:
Promote your writing.  It goes back to what I said earlier in this piece.  It also does not matter if you are an established author, guest poster, or even if you are a ghostwriter.  Use your social media outlets as mentioned before to promote your work.  It is crucial, especially if you are looking for clients for freelance writing, or if you are trying to drum up sales.  If you an author, have book signings.  People love getting that first edition of your book.  If you are writing more than one book in the future (think Steven King or a Star Trek series of books), your first edition could be worth some money before and after you have died.  It may not mean much to you, but it may mean something to the person who owns a copy of your first written a book or your family.


Wow, this was a long post, the first of many, many long posts.  Let me know in the comments what you think of my 2000+ words per post. I will not get mad, I promise.

Afterthought: 

Before I was about to upload this post, I was looking for some further inspiration for the word and meaning of the word re-write.  I failed to issue a positive aspect of the word. I ran upon several books on Amazon that suggests a different look at this word.  Look at the word and meaning of the word to make a character stronger than before.  In other words, in fiction and creative writing, if you made the character seem week to the reader, the rewrite would make that same character stronger. so in this case, a rewrite is warranted.