Saturday, September 19, 2015

Understanding yourself as a writer

(c) 2015 public domain image
Topics. Research. Content.  Deadlines. Payment.  These are all things that make up a post, an article, a story, or a document.  They may even summon a poem or two.  One thing for sure, it should be interesting, educate, and bring a call to action (even if it was stupid to begin with).  
These are all the things I have been contemplating with since I started MDN Creates (now called P.Lynne Designs) in January 2009. Is it interesting? Do I educate enough in my posts? Finally, do I bring a call to action?  I always feel that there is something missing in my posts.  In fact, I can be my own worst critic.  Now that I have 5 (soon to be 4) blogs, I have to be extra careful with things, such as:  Have I covered (this topic) before, and if so, when?  How much do I actually know about a topic before diving in?  Is it interesting enough to invite comments from readers, who may have the same interest in the topic?  
I call these type of questions, teaching moment questions.  I have been writing a lot lately about teachable moments:  Recouping after an accident, learning how to follow up, and how to deal with mothers when you are not a mother yourself.  There is one more teachable moment that I feel I need to teach you, and that is not known and understand yourself as a writer.  This lesson goes beyond topics, goes deeper than researching your subject, providing great content, and dealing with deadlines and how you are being paid.   I can’t tell you how many times I have failed on a post, by trying to get my point across to my readers, only to not know who I am as a writer, and if the topic I wanted to cover was interesting enough for me. There is also knowing your audience, but I will cover that in a later post. I can tell the difference.  My failed thought process goes like this:
I come up with a subject.  I love it in the very beginning, and I type feverishly to get my point across at first, then about midway through the process, I stop.   I start pacing, I find other things to do, and then I close the document, thinking that I could just pick it up in the next few hours or the next day.  If I happen to think about it a little the next time I open the word document, I may go to Google first to research it, but that rarely happens.  Then I finally forget about it, and the post is in my “potential post” folder.   The only way I get back to it is when I finally succumb to the idea of just deleting the file. That is one example on how to understand yourself as a writer and that is your work ethic and how you move on from a failed writing gig for yourself.  
Another way is when you start accepting writing assignments to write for others.  Know what niches or topics you will accept as a writer.  As a blogger, you pretty much know what your blog is all about, but this for when someone as you to submit a post or article for their blog or website.  For me, I will not write for or about the occult (Wicca, Pagan religion), anything that does harm to a person unless it is a teachable moment, adult subjects (again it has to be a teachable moment), speak badly about another race, gender, or religion, and anything that speak bad and horrible things about God.   All other subjects are at my discretion.  Sometimes I may not accept a gig because I do not know enough about the subject to give a good, solid document for the client.  I am also constantly learning that the subject matter is not about what I want as a writer, but what my client wants for a document.  For that reason, I often do Ghost Writing.  
So get to know yourself as a writer, all of it.  Take the time to spell your terms and rates out to your new client.  If they want to work with you, that is great, congrats, if not, move on.  There are plenty of people who need writers, and what I love about this industry is the reward after you are finished with the project, which is priceless, but the monetary rewards help pay the bills.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mom. Mommy. Mama. Mother

I was watching The View yesterday
, when the ladies, who were Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Paula Faris, Michelle Collins, and Raven-Symone, was discussing the topic of motherhood and what to call women who are unable to have children, including those who choose not to have them for whatever reason.
It made me think about the post I wrote back in 2012 called “Monday Morning being single and childless” (May 7. 2012).  In that post, I talked about what my life would be like, if I had done all the things I wanted to do, if God had allowed me to get married and have a baby or two.  I also talked about reasons why going the 9-month mommy route was not available to me after age 29, as well as not getting married at a young age.  I still hope the find that husband, and I hope I will enjoy whatever family God presents to me, and that I do not feel like an outsider of that family.  It is very important to me that my future step-children accept me as part of their father’s life.  If not, that is the way it has to be.  I am marrying their father, if asked, not them.  I am also praying that my own father will still get to walk me down the aisle.
OK at this point I am getting off track, you can read the post by clicking on the link….
Back to the topic…
This is to the mothers reading this; “Never assume that just because a woman does not have children that she does not know what she is talking about.  I am an aunt with no kids.  There are also teachers, pediatricians, nurses, and other concerned women, and well-meaning women who have the mothering instinct.  Just because we did not carry YOUR CHILD in our belly for nine months or do not have adoption papers, that does not mean we cannot offer advice, or correct your child when the time comes.  We are trying to keep your child out of harm’s way, and at that time we have your child, they are our child.  Once we release your child back into your custody for the day or week, then we have no say so in the discipline part, but we still reserve the right to interact with your child.”
To the Women who feel bullied by mothers….
“Please live your life and do not pay attention to what they have to say.  You have advice and want to give it, give it.  If the mom (or dad) accepts the advice without question, great, you have won the battle.  If the child needs to be disciplined, do it, but please tell the parent the problem and how it was solved, especially if you are a teacher.  I know we all might want to smack the child, but please refrain from doing so.  Offer other corrective measures.  There is nothing worse than miscommunication between your version and the child in question’s version.  Children will exaggerate to avoid being on punishment with their parent. Stand your ground.  If they (the parent) says you do not know what you are talking about, just move on.  It not that serious.  I am sure that person does it to everyone.  I feel your pain.”
I am still looking into adoption, I was given some advice on the age of the child by everyone who I talked to.  When I first looked into it, I was told that I was better off not being a mother by more people, especially family.  The only reason I can give was they are mothers themselves, and some had wished that they did not embark on such a task.   If they had to do it all over again, they would not have done it.  That does not mean they do not love their children they have now, it is just that they wish they would have been given more time to think about it, before getting pregnant. I also feel like that the women who gave me this advice, wanted to know why I want to give up the freedom I have now, for someone who would not appreciate the time that I would be spending with them.
To them, I would say:  “One of the reasons why I went into business for myself is so I would have the time to spend with my potential child.  I am preparing for that time.  It is a time that any employer would and could not let me have once a child comes into the picture.  I would not or could not ask an employer to allow me that privilege because that would mean that everyone in that company would have to be given that same right.   It would not be fair to them or me. Believe me, I could not have it any other way, although I do miss getting a weekly paycheck.  I still get plenty of interaction from my church family, my biological family, my women groups, and customers.  One of the things that still hold true is when it comes time to adjusting my schedule, and I had to do that a lot lately by taking off a month to recoup, and revamping my business and my personal life.  It should not be any different when I apply for adoption.” Also, some family members have changed their tune since advising me on going the mommy route.
Look, everyone should be called a mother or a father.  What is the difference, besides seeing a child 24/7/365?  You should be prepared to care for a person younger than 18 (21 if special needs).  You are the provider of that person’s food, clothing, shelter, health, and they should depend on you for comfort, advice, and to teach them from right or wrong.   You should be able to go from zero to 60 in 2.2 seconds when that child cries out in the middle of the night or when they are in trouble.  You should be able to defend your child in any situation.  There is some emotional attachment to all that I mentioned above, and you shall not harm them.  Anyone can give birth, but it takes a lot to be a mother (or a father).
As mention in both my public and private writings (yes, I keep a personal journal) I am so ready for the challenge with or without a man.  I would love to have a father figure in my future child’s life.  I would have some requirements for that man to fulfill, such as being on the same page with me in the care and well-being of my child.  None of that funny stuff.  Both the child and I need to trust that person, and I will get more into detail when the time comes.  That is why ladies, you cannot have just any old man, who loves and calls you baby, but hates YOUR baby.  That is another subject for a different day.

So back to The View topic; when a woman with no children wants to say something about your child or has advice for you, please do not dismiss it, we are only exercising our maternal nature that God has given all of us.  Take or leave it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Get the Job Done Right the first time

(c) 2015 P. Lynne Designs
Today’s post is somewhat of a bittersweet moment.  I am not going to always post things like this, because, for one, it is not in my DNA to upset my readers.  I want the post to be a teachable moment for all, including myself.  The second reason is to inform, not put down, which leads back to the upset part. 
I have mentioned for some time how I was going to switch up my blogs.  Not so much with the format, I am pretty happy with that, even though the format could use a little updating every now and then.  I was going to change from Blogger to WordPress, mainly because I will have more control with a WordPress blog (self-hosting) then with Blogger or the other WordPress platform (yes there are two WordPress formats).  Do not get me wrong, I love Blogger, and it is great for those who are just starting a blog, but it is being controlled by Google.  Google has this tendency of being a bully, and if they feel that you are not following their rules, they can delete your blog in an instant, without so much as an email on why they feel that your wisdom is not worth their time anymore.  Besides that, Google feels like they can change the Algorithm (fancy word for code) any time they feel the wind blow.  It frustrates many a blogger who happens to have the blog on Blogger.  I will explain later in another post.
The point I am trying to make is, when I started out on this blogging journey, I thought I could just create a blog, and that was it. All I had to do was to keep it up, and for the most part I did, but again I was getting restless with the format and Blogger, and I was hearing horror stories about blogs and whole account being deleted by Google, until I had to do something, before I would not have a blog.  So I started creating the format with Host Gator, but I was not getting anywhere because I did not know how to code.  I still do not know how to code very well with HTML, and Joomla is just a foreign language to me, so I started inquiring for some help.  
I am not going to mention any names on here, because they could be reading, and I do not want their rep to be totally ruined, but there is something called integrity and doing the job right the first time.  The first person I asked was actually the results of a contest I won locally.  The person emailed me to congratulate on winning her giveaway, and that she will create for me a custom website.  A $200 package that she was giving away.  I told her what I needed, and she said that she would get back to me.  She never did.  A few months later, I had her as a Facebook friend, and I explain in my status that I was having an issue that needed solving in regards to the website I was creating, and she chimed in that she could help.  I explained that it had to be for free, and she actually explained that she owed me for the contest, so I agreed.   I took to email and explained the situation, and once again she said that she would get back to me, and she never did.  I was devastated and moved on.
Next, this came at the beginning of this year, and with the same blog, which is my Simply Organized Crafts blog, and I donated $10 for an international charity that the blog creator was contributing to.  I found this out by the emails I was already getting from her.  In turn, she was supposed to create this blog for me through Web Hosting Hub.   I gave her the information, and I was not sure of my password on my Google account to access Blogger.  She needed it to transfer files onto the new site.   It is now September, and I have not heard from her since my accident.  I went on Web hosting hub and I cannot get into the account.
My point in all of this, and this is my takeaway for the day is:
·         If you are in any kind of business, make it a point to spell out from the very beginning what your products and services are.
·         If you are in service for someone else, make sure that you do the best job you can possible for that customer or even that friend.
·         Follow through and follow up with everything. 
·         If you cannot do it, tell them you cannot, explain why.  You do not have to make up the why.  Tell the truth.
·         Know your resources.  Is there a business person who owes you a favor or has a service that you do not offer?  Point your client in that direction.  That client may actually come back to you for a service that you DO offer.
·         Finally, if you make a mistake, own up to it.  Correct it by making it right.  Offer to fix it, or if you cannot, offer some sort of compensation (example; a discount, an extra product, refund).
I am sure that to these two people I talked about in this post, what they had to offer me was a drop in the bucket to them, but to me, it was a delay at the start of or continuation of my business.  I could have given them a note of thanks for helping me with my situations, and without them, my business would not have gotten started the way that it should.  Now, if they ever ask me to review their services, I may not give them a fair feedback.  So if you are looking for some sort of feedback on your products and services, do all you can to win over that customer or of it is personal, keep a friend.