Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dream to Reality

In order to make a reality my dream of a blog about New Hampshire history, reflecting some of the topics I wrote about in my newspaper column, New Hampshire of Yesteryear, I MUST get to work. I'd like to have it as a reference for teachers who teach this topic in elementary and high school, as well as home schools.

For many years I wrote this column (under a couple of names) for New Hampshire newspapers and tourist publications. It seemed popular, based on the responses I received from readers.

I've even been invited to give talks on the topic, another way I enjoy sharing my research and writing.

From this blog and those columns, I'm also contemplating a book.

(NH State House; sxc.hu image)

Farming Heritage Memory Book

One of my latest projects...at least one I'm contemplating...consists of compiling a book of my farming heritage memories for my daughter, grandchildren and other descendants.  I grew up on a farm and am the daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter of farming people.

Since my daughter and grandchildren, nieces and nephews have never been involved in farming, I want them to have a sense of their heritage.  Perhaps others will be interested in such a book, too.  I've written about this project, and other farming memories on my Farm Girl Heritage blog.


(sxc.hu image)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Reconnecting with Friend & Colleague Clara Gillow Clark

This morning I reconnected with children's author, Clara Gillow Clark on Facebook and discovered her web site and blog as well.  I met Clara when we taught workshops at the Highlights/Glens Falls School District multigenerational conference at Lake George, NY.  I participated in four or five of these conferences before they were discontinued.  Clara was there as well.

I particularly related to Clara because she began writing stories based on her family history, something that has fascinated me since I've found many interesting ancestors in my family, too.  Annie's Choice was Clara's first book and somewhat reminded me of my mom's story and a short story I'd written in 8th grade (a copy of which I still have).

Then Clara followed these with Nellie Bishop  and Willie and the Rattlesnake King, all of which I have in my library.  Now I've discovered Clara has written Hill Hawk Hattie, Hattie On Her Way and Secrets of Greymoor.  I must read these, too.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Has Blogging Made Us Sloppy Writers?

It bugs me!!

I just read a post by a highly respected and profitable blogger in which he gave hints on how to improve your blog writing.  It contained grammatical errors, non-sentences, and repetitive phrases.  All of these were "no-no's" when I was in school.  Miss Auchmoody and Mrs. Brooks (two of my English/grammar teachers) would have turned over while reading that post as published work.

Yet in the comments section of the blog, readers were full of praise for the post.  Yes, it did have good hints for making one's posts more exciting.  Nevertheless, I found it difficult to wade through the information because of the poor grammar.  (Perhaps that's the editor in me, although today's editors in print and online publishing often don't seem to consider grammar either.)

However, this person, whose work I read today,  is considered a very, very successful blogger who makes extremely good money at it.

So....do we need to forget the rules of grammar in today's world?  With blogging, text messaging, and social media abbreviations, correct spelling and sentence structure seem to have been forgotten. 

Do I need to loosen up and forget all I've been taught in order to be a successful, and profitable blogger/writer?  Something to think about. But I find it difficult to let go and become part of the group that's perpetuating poor grammar for future generations.

Does anyone use Strunk and White's Elements of Style any more? 
Or William Zinsser's On Writing Well?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Do Our Writing Niches Change with the Times?

Do our writing niches change with the times or simply adjust as we expand our horizons? 

Although I've written my "Country Kitchen" cooking column for more than 40 years, I've branched out into other areas:

  • Due to the necessity of earning a living
  • Markets available
  • My changing interests
  • New technology that introduces new subjects
  • Living in different parts of the country
I've discovered that I must adapt, whether it's writing about the same topic and tweaking it or writing about something new.

For instance, when I started writing for publication, we hardly ever heard of Alzheimer's disease.  However, both my mom and aunt developed this illness and I became their main caregiver.  Through this experience, I've been able to write, blog and speak about this illness and help others cope. 

At another point in my life, after requests for quilts from customers, I turned my sewing business into a quiltmaking business and then began writing on that topic for magazines and online publishers.

You will find new niches cropping up in your life as new opportunities open up.  You'll leave some niches or come back to them.  You'll develop a style and audience that will begin to be recognized as yours.

What niches have you found?

You Can Write for Niche Markets
Niche Marketing for Writers, Speakers, and Entrepreneurs
Awesome Article Marketing: Dominate Your Niche and Get Rich
Blog Profits: Insider Secrets to Making Money with Powerful Niche Blogs

Friday, August 20, 2010

Finding Your Writing Niche as Feather Schwartz Foster Does

"Find your niche, Mary," a writer/PR friend advised me.  I've been writing for years in whatever field brought in income, and have wide experience in many areas.  However, nowadays, we're encouraged to find a niche and capitalize on it.

Feather Schwartz Foster has done just this with her research, writing, teaching and speaking about various Presidents' wives and their eras in history.  She has turned a hobby into a career.  And written books on the topic, such asLadies: a Conjecture of Personalities .

Even more interesting, she now lives in Williamsburg, VA, right in the midst of history and teaches classes there.

By checking out her web  site and signing up for her e-newsletter, perhaps you'll gain ideas for promoting a niche of your own.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Shelf of Your Own Books

During a discussion on Facebook with another author, the topic came up concerning a shelf of books that are written by you.  She said this was her goal and she was on her way.

Then I looked at the shelf in my library where I keep copies of my books and realized, "I'm on the way!"

If I consider the anthologies in which I have one or two stories, as well as books entirely written by me, I have accumulated quite a collection of "my" books.

Sometimes we look at the books we haven't written instead of those we have completed, or at least have participated in.  Look at your accomplishments instead of failures or haven't done yets!

What have you accomplished on the way to reaching your dreams?

Tales of Adventure & Discovery

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Book Review - Explore Rocks and Minerals!

My daughter was fascinated with collecting rocks and minerals. Her children have been, too. When my husband and I travel, we try to find rocks of the area and unusual natural items as souvenirs for the children.

A new book came to my attention recently - Explore Rocks and Minerals! by Cynthia Light Brown & Nick Brown, published by Nomad Press. It contains a great deal of information with projects, activities and experiments that youngsters can undertake. This would make a great resource book for teachers and home schooling parents, too.

In addition to projects and experiments, you learn about the various types of rocks found inside and outside the earth. You'll also discover where to locate them.

Did you know you can make your own basalt columns?
Did you realize that some islands are made up completely of volcanic rocks? Which ones?
Fossils are so fascinating. Learn about them and how to make your own.
Become a "rock hound," discover facts about rocks and minerals as you collect your own.

An easy-to-read book, Explore Rocks and Minerals! offers information that children and adults will find fascinating.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Appreciating & Writing Poetry Workshops

Do it now! Do it now! Don't delay!

These words ran through my mind after reading Shai Coggins' description of her new blogging network, Kidoosh, for which I write two blogs and co-author another. Shai said she didn't consider her network as complete as she'd like, and it needed some design changes.

However, if she kept putting off the launch until everything was perfect, she might never introduce it and her bloggers to the world.

So....I decided I'd better start putting together my book of poetry and my workshops. I've been teaching poetry in many of the classes when substitute teaching and enjoying it as much as the youngsters. I've developed lesson plans that children and adults can use.

Today, I began writing the outline for my workshops, which can be adjusted for each audience.
Onward I go!
(Image: sxc.hu)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

New Vagabond Traveler & Potluck Columns at American Roads

My latest Vagabond Traveler article, Visiting Presidential Homes & Libraries, is up at American Roads Travel Magazine.

It was fun reminiscing and researching and writing this.

I also write a cooking column, Potluck, at American Roads, about foods and finds in my travels. The current one is Collecting Recipe Cards While You Travel.

I hope you enjoy these!
(Monticello Image: sxc.hu)

Kyra E. Hicks Discovers Her Niche

I've discussed previously that branding, or discovering one's niche, has become one of the popular ways of publicizing one's business or writing. We try to find common threads among our various interests so we can link them together.

Kyra E. Hicks has discovered a niche researching and writing about quilters and quiltmaking, especially as it applies to Sistah quilters and their work. She writes the blog, Black Threads, and most recently the book about slave quilter Harriet Powers.
presents the fascinating story of Harriet Powers and Kyra's interesting search for the quilts and the stories behind them.
Now, in her search, it would be such fun if Kyra could locate other fabric art done by Harriet Powers, because there are indications that the two known ones weren't her only quilts.
In your writing, have you found an area in which you can specialize? Have you found your niche or brand?
If not, begin to see if you have any threads that tie together, threads of common interest that can pull your work together for promotion and reader interest?