Sunday, December 29, 2013

This Blog Has Moved


Thanks for stopping by to visit The Word Of Jeff Blogger blog. This blog has moved to its own domain and can now be found at:

The Word Of Jeff Blog

Hope to see you at the new home of The Word Of Jeff Blog!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Douglas Adams would have turned 60 years old today if he had not sadly passed away 11 years ago at the too-early age of 49.

Reading his well-known "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and other not so well-known works such as "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency", one cannot help but be curious about what the pen of Adams might have written were he still with us these past 11 years.

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish” indeed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Mac is Back! (In a manner of speaking)

I'm enjoying my new MacBook Pro. This is the first time I have owned an Apple computer, though I used them a decade ago when I was doing graphic art work for Hard Rock Cafe. This MacBook Pro is lightyears beyond the Apple desktops I used back then.

The only problem I'm running into is getting used to the Mac OS commands and key strokes. They are much more intuitive than the Windows OS and, because of that, quickly become the default for your mind and fingers. I use Windows XP at work each day (no choice there) so now I have found myself trying to scroll down a page using the "2-finger" stroke on the touchpad, clicking the touchpad once to activate a link and other various Mac OS commands that just won't work on Windows. Sometimes it can be amusing, sometimes it can be frustrating.

But after work, when I'm on my MacBook, it is pure enjoyment.

Any of my fellow writers have Apple/Mac OS tips they can offer to smooth out the workflow, or programs they might recommend as especially helpful to writers? I'd love to give them a try.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Writers and Kitties

Are you a writer? Do you have a kitty? Then you will feel at home perusing this photoblog titled, appropriately enough, Writers and Kitties.  Famous writers photographed with their beloved feline friends.

I am torn between Raymond Chandler and his jet black kitty and Mark Twain and his striped kitty, but who could ignore Hemingway and one of his kitties?

Go take a look and decide which is your favorite.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bookshelf Porn

My brother sent me the link to Bookshelf Porn because, as he put it, "Why I figured you would like this site?? It only has your two favorite words in one site name!" Well, he's right. "Book" and "Shelf" are my two favorite words, lol.

Anyway, people who love books tend to love shelves full of books and this site is, "A photo blog collection of all the best bookshelf photos from around the world for people who *heart* bookshelves."

Since I thought that would be most of you, I decided to share it here with you. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

10 Great U.S. Libraries

We're still observing National Library Week 2011. Whenever I travel, whether for work or pleasure,  I love to visit the local library of whatever town or city I am staying. Here's an article from USAToday in which Rebecca Miller of Library Journal magazine shares ten of her favorite library locations.

I am sad to say that I have only visited one of these ten; the New York Public Library. I have always wanted to visit the Library of Congress, but on my one and only trip to Washington, D.C. I passed on a couple of places I hoped to visit in deference to  wanting my children to see other historical sites and the Library of Congress was one of those places on which I passed. I'm sure that some day I will get back there and if so I plan to spend as much time as I am able wandering through the Thomas Jefferson Building.

But I can see that I would love to visit ALL of the other libraries on Ms. Miller's list and hopefully my personal or work-related travels will take me to each of them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

National Library Week 2011

It's the middle of National Library Week 2011, so I thought I'd post how important libraries have been and are in my own life.

The first library in my life was my elementary school library. When I started in first grade there, I was already reading thanks to a mom who encouraged reading in her little word-sponge son. Even though the school library was perhaps twenty feet wide and seventy feet long, to a six-year old it looked huge. But by the time I was in third grade, I had finished reading just about every book in the school library, some of them more than once.

Fortuitous timing saw the opening of a brand new public library in our neighborhood the summer between fourth and fifth grades when the John F. Kennedy Library opened its doors in July of 1965. Until this time, I had consumed the previously mentioned school library books, any and all books my mom would buy for me or let me buy (including comic books, a subscription to the Time-Life Science and Nature Library, Encyclopedia Brittanica and paperback novels from the local drugstore) as well as books on my mom's own bookshelf (my dad, having left school after the eighth grade, was not much of a reader, comparatively speaking). But I had not yet been in a public library for, I think, two reasons. The first was that there was no public library in our area of town, at least that I can recall, and I believe that was why the new library was opened so close to us, so that there would be a library to serve that area's citizens. The second was that, at that time, the library required you to be ten years old to have a library card. I turned ten just before the library opened.

If I remember correctly, my mom took me to the brand new library on a Saturday morning. What I DO remember, without any doubt, is the feelings that coursed through my heart and mind when we stepped into that two-story building for the first time. It was as if someone had created a place just for me! A place full of books! Books of all kinds! Two full floors in a building the size of half a city block and full of books!

Those books represented worlds, places, people and times that I could explore or escape to as I was reading them. They represented entertainment and education. They represented the opportunity to expand my mind through the words of others, and they represented ideas, beliefs and feelings that I could examine, investigate and absorb or discard as I determined,

They had a children's section that held twice as many books as my school library, and that section was only a small corner portion of the entire building. The best part, though, was that with my mom's signature on my library card, I could check out books from EVERY section of the library (with the exception, of course, of the reference section where books were not typically allowed to leave the building), which opened vast vistas for exploration that my school library could not offer, since its borders stopped at a sixth-grade level.

Through the 45 years since that first visit, I have held library cards in every community in which I have resided and have continuously taken advantage of the opportunities their contents and services offered. This week I'll be visiting the public library in my new community, as I have already done several times since we arrived here almost a year ago. I hope you will visit yours as well.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

E-Reader Guide to Devices, Formats and Bookstores

We're halfway through Read an E-Book Week and it occurred to me that some who are new to E-Books might find it helpful to know more about the different kinds of E-Readers and E-Books that are available in order to make an informed decision based on what and how YOU read.

For instance, if you get most of your reading books from your local library, you'll want an E-Reader that can access and display the E-Books your library provides, something that Kindle, for instance, can't do. But if you order all of your books from Amazon, then the Kindle would be a natural for you.

Ben Richter has created an excellent slide display showing the most popular E-Readers, the formats they can display and where you can access E-Books for each particular E-Reader. Below is a screenshot of one of the slides. Surf on over to the full slide show.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Read an E-Book Week, March 6 - 12, 2011

This week is Read an E-Book Week. E-Books have become immensely popular in the past 3-4 years, but did you know that e-books have been around for 40 years?

Dedicated e-readers such as Kindle, Nook, and others have exploded in sales and tablets like the iPad, which can also be used to read e-books, have practically gone nova is the amount of their sales.

A report made last October from the Association of American Publishers stated that eBooks sales grew 193% between January and August 2010, and a recent report from Amazon indicated that e-book sales have outstripped paperback book sales.

I have my wife's old Kindle reader that I inherited after I gave her a new one for her birthday last year. Even though I had been reading e-books on my desktop computer, laptop computer and iPhone for years and had used the Kindle Reader App on my laptop and iPhone, I had never had a dedicated e-reader and wanted to see if I liked it well enough to add another device to my collection.

I like the ease of downloading books immediately from Amazon, but that is perhaps the only thing I REALLY like about the Kindle. I feel limited by it's proprietary book format and it gets old having to email .pdf format documents to them so they will convert them to Kindle format so I can read them on the Kindle.

I LOVE the idea of an e-reader though! I travel a great deal and it is so much easier to load books (TEXT books. Anything with a lot of illustrations or graphics or color is a waste on the Kindle) on the e-reader and take one item instead of a multitude of books. E-books are economical, though they have been rising in price over the past several months, and I enjoy the ability to search them quickly and to make notes.

So I probably will eventually buy a more up to date e-reader to replace this first generation Kindle I'm currently using. I just haven't decided which one it will be, except that I'm reasonably sure it won't be a Kindle.

Do you read e-books? Which e-reader do you use?

Happy "Read an E-Book Week"!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

National Grammar Day 2011

Do you wince when someone uses poor grammar, whether writing or speaking? Does it make you cringe when someone writes "it's" (a contraction of the two words "it is") when they mean or are referring to "its" (the possessive form)? Does it pain you to hear someone say "I should of taken the train" instead of "I should have take taken the train"? Do your eyes narrow in displeasure when you see a sign that reads: "Patrons must wipe there (or they're) feet before entering" instead of "Patrons must wipe their feet before entering"?

Then National Grammar Day is a day made for you, my friend.

Grammar, simply put, is the system of a language. Many like to think of it as the "rules" of a language.

I was fortunate to have teachers who were strong when it came to English Grammar during my elementary and junior high school years. They provided a solid foundation of the rules and system of correctly writing and speaking. I did not particularly care for diagramming sentences or identifying split infinitives, but learning grammar was not as difficult as math for me. I suspect it is one of those "right brain/left brain" issues. In any case, English Grammar came easier to me than other learning subjects. Though some have referred to me at times as a "Grammar Nazi", the truth is that I am constantly learning and re-learning English Grammar.

And I hope you will too.

Happy National Grammar Day! Treat our language well.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Top 10 Blogs For Freelance Writers

When it comes to freelance writing, there are a multitude of blogs on the Internet that deal with the subject matter of being a writer. Some are good, some are bad, but a select few are great. Below is my list of the Top 10 Blogs For Freelance Writers.

Please keep in mind that though I have sought to be objective, in reality lists like this are very subjective as their inclusion is based on the mindset of the person listing them. In other words, how the chosen blogs speak to the wants and needs of the reader. You may agree or disagree based on YOUR mindset, but I believe that in any case you will find excellent advice, wisdom, guidance and resources from these Top 10 Blogs For Freelance Writers.

10. Quips and Tips for Successful Writers - Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen is a freelance writer whose blog is full of great advice married with quotes that tie in with each post. She also has some extensive sections dealing with Articles and Query Writing, Newspapers and Magazines that I've found extremely helpful.

9. Procrastinating Writers - Jennifer Blanchard is a Writing and Creative Coach who launched Procrastinating Writers in 2008 to help her overcome her own writing procrastination, Her ultimate goal in the community that has developed through her site? To get writing done. As a lifelong procrastinator, I find her blog very relevant and helpful.

8. Writing From My Mountain - Kathryn Magendie's site is one of those rare gems you stumble across by kismet. I freely admit that the only reason I first started reading this blog is because the author is a writer who lives on a mountain in Maggie Valley, NC, where I just moved last June. But it wasn't long before I came to enjoy her sense of humor about life in general and writing in particular. Oh, and her photos. My goal, like the title of her blog, is to be writing from my mountain some day.

7. WordCount: Freelancing in the Digital Age - Michelle Rafter's blog about writing and the business of being a freelance writer. Has a great advice column with realistic questions and sensible answers.

6. Write To Done - Leo Babauta, a journalist and publisher, writes this blog centering on the craft and art of writing.

5. Dollars and Deadlines - Kelly James-Enger is a regular contributor to The Writer magazine (one of my favorites) and a freelance writer who has written articles for more than 55 magazines and blogs here about freelancers and money. I've enjoyed and learned a great deal from her book, "Six-Figure Freelancing" and she always offers common-sense advice in her blog posts that is based on her 14 years of writing experience.

4. Writer Unboxed - Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton write this blog which specializes in helping genre-fiction writers by discussing the writing craft and interviewing writers who, as they say, "Have done it with style." They have also conducted and posted interviews with a number of authors, including some of my favorites such as J.C. Hutchins, Joe Abercrombie and Audrey Niffenegger.

3. The Renegade Writer - Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell are published magazine writers who offer great advice and tips. There is a fantastic resource of 10 Free Query Letters (I downloaded these long ago) that were written by  professional writers who landed freelance assignments with the included query letters. Linda also offers teleclasses for writers.

2. The Urban Muse - Susan Johnston covers a wide range of excellent topics that all writers will enjoy. An eclectic mix of pertinent subject matter that is real and down to earth, written by Ms. Johnston and guest bloggers. After discovering her site 2 1/2 years ago, I quickly added both the blog feed to my reader and the monthly e-mail newsletter to my mailbox, as well as purchasing her excellent e-book "Guide to Online Writing Markets" late last year. Great stuff here!

1. Make A Living Writing - Carol Tice and her blog have become my "go-to" place these past few months for guidance in mapping out my freelance writing career hopes. Real-world advice from a writer who has been there and still is, offering information that will aid you in the pursuit of your dream. Her e-book, "Make a Living Writing: The 21st Century Guide" is full of excellent, usable material (I've read it 3 times since purchasing it late last year) and on this blog she regularly gives out free advice about how to improve your own blog and web presence. In addition, Ms. Tice has begun conducting webinars for freelance writers on subjects such as "How to Break In and Earn Big as a Freelance Writer" and "40 Ways to Market Your Writing."

Those are my current Top 10 Blogs For Freelance Writers. As I mentioned above, your mileage may vary but I believe everyone will learn or gain something from reading these blogs.

And I'm always searching for more good blogs on being a freelance writer, so if you have a freelance writing blog of your own or read one that you think is always helpful to you as a writer, please leave a link in the comments so we can all enjoy the goodness.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where To Find The Word of Jeff Work Online

Thank you to all of you who have "Liked" The Word of Jeff Facebook Page.  I just thought I'd take this opportunity to welcome those who have connected recently and provide a list of where else you can find my work online.

The Word of Jeff blog - My writing blog (those posts, like this one, are automatically posted to the Facebook Page)

The Verbal Vagabond - My travel blog

Postcards From Maggie Valley - My Maggie Valley, NC photography blog

The Masked Blogger - My comic book industry blog

My articles on Suite101 - I'm formerly a feature writer and currently a contributing writer to Suite101

If you haven't already, I invite you to visit these other sites and again, thank you for liking The Word of Jeff Facebook Page.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Writer's Knowledge Base

When it comes to search engines, Google is pretty much the king for most people. They are, after all, the 800 pound gorilla of online searching.

But for specialized search results, say for writers, Google does not always provide useful, relevant or meaningful results. That's where the Writer's Knowledge Base steps in.

The Writer's Knowledge Base is the brainchild of mystery writer Elizabeth Spann Craig and software engineer Mike Fleming. Elizabeth had begun collecting a massive amount of writing tips, writing articles, writing blogs and anything else she could locate on the Internet that addressed subjects that were pertinent to writers. She would share these links in her own blog and in her Tweets, but she worried that the information was not readily available unless a reader, like her, amassed a huge amount of bookmarks for later perusal.

Elizabeth wondered aloud on her blog if there wasn't some better way to make this writer specific information available and that's where Mike Fleming entered the picture. Mike created a searchable collection of Elizabeth's ever-growing writing links and thus The Writer's Knowledge Base was born. WKB, as Mike states on his own blog, is especially helpful in being writer-centric because...

"The search is done instantly over thousands of writing-related articles ranging from character development to author promotion on social media. Unlike Google, all of the results are relevant to you as a writer. They may not all interest you, of course, but at least searching for "plot" will bring back articles on how to plot your story and not news articles on terrorist plots."

I did a few cursory searches for myself and found the links and information to be extremely relevant, informative and helpful. I'm excited that Elizabeth and Mike have put this resource out there for writers to make use of in our daily writing work and I've placed a box link to WKB on my sidebar to make it easier for visitors here to access.

Give it a look and see what you think.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Memories of the Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion

There are certain dates in our history and in our lives that we never forget. Like most people in my age range, I remember where I was when I heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated, what I was doing when I saw the second plane crash into the Twin Towers on 9/11 and where I was and what I was doing 25 years ago today when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, in front of my own eyes in the sky above me.

I was working as the head of an advertising agency whose office was on Lee Road in Orlando, which is about 45-50 miles west of the Kennedy Space Center. It had become habit for many in Central Florida to stop what they were doing (even motorists driving on roads and expressways would pull over, stop their cars and exit their vehicles to stand and gaze skyward), step outside and watch the launches that produced bright, white trails of exhaust as the mighty rockets propelled NASA's various space shuttles into the air and into orbit around Earth.

That January morning was cold and the air was dry. I sat listening in my office to the radio on my desk as I worked, with the volume turned down low, to coverage of launch preparation and the countdown to liftoff. At approximately 11:38am, after a two hour delay from the originally schedule launch time, Challenger roared skyward from the launch pad and I left my office to walk outside to the parking lot so I could watch the ascent of the shuttle with my own eyes.

Standing in the parking lot I looked eastward and up. There were some trees that blocked the view of the lower portion of the sky, but within a few seconds the white and light gray rocket exhaust trail appeared, cutting a swath across the clear blue sky of that crisp, cold morning and I silently cheered as the shuttle lifted higher. From the distance I was viewing, the shuttle itself could not be seen and only the trail of exhaust that it's booster rockets left behind it gave evidence of its existence.

Suddenly, there was a larger puff and a smaller exhaust trail that appeared, shooting out almost perpendicular to the larger plume, and for a second I thought to myself, "I've never seen that happen before." That thought was barely finished when the gently arcing exhaust trail grew larger at it's source, as if someone had put their finger on the plume's end and smudged it across the azure sky. The exhaust trail immediately stopped its normally easy rising curve and began to uncontrollably wriggle, presenting a view that was not unlike a child scribbling white against a blue piece of paper.

My mind was screaming the obvious in my head, "Something's wrong! That's not right!" and I raced back into my office to the radio and turned it up to hear some word of what had happened and if the astronauts were safe.

Today, we know that they were not. At 73 seconds and 48,000 feet into the liftoff, just as mission control gave Challenger the "throttle up" command that would push the shuttle out of earth's gravitational pull and Commander Scobee responded with, "Roger, go with throttle up", "O rings" that sealed the fuel tanks failed  and the huge tanks exploded, sending 7 brave astronauts to their deaths. It would later be determined that, due to the cold temperatures before liftoff, the "O rings" had failed to perform.

This morning, at 11:39, I'll spend a few moments in silence, honoring Commander, Francis R. "Dick" Scobee, its pilot, Michael J. Smith, and its crew, Christa McAuliffe (the first 'Teacher in Space'), Mission Specialists Ellison S. Onizuka, Judith A. Resnick and Ronald E. McNair, along with Payload Specialist Gregory B. Jarvis. And I'll never forget where I was and what I was doing when they made the ultimate sacrifice in our quest to explore the unknown.

Rest In Peace...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Portland, OR Bookstore Will Take Your Kindle as Trade

The Microcosm zine and book store in Portland Oregon is offering to take unwanted Kindles in exchange for books.

Their offer is simple; if you received or bought a Kindle and have a real preference for books over the eReader, bring it in and they will trade you the value of the Kindle for like value in paper books and magazines. Consider bringing a friend to help haul your exchanges out because, as they state, "...most of the store's books are priced in the $2-$6 range so with a $139-$189 trade-in (note: going retail for the Kindle at Amazon's site) you might be carrying your books out in a fleet of wheelbarrows!"

As I explained to two of my friends on Facebook the other day, I read both "real" books, newspapers and magazines as well as eReader versions. I don't believe anyone could accuse me of not loving "real" books. If you come to my cabin you will find that my library overflows out of my office and onto bookshelves throughout the home. Hallways, stair landings, and bedrooms show ample evidence of my love for books made of paper.

On the other hand, the convenience of an eReader is hard to beat in a couple of categories. I can take multiple books with me when I travel, which works out well for someone who is typically reading at least 2 books (sometimes 3 or 4) and various magazines and newspapers at the same time. If there is a book I want to read and I am not near a bookstore, I can download an eBook version immediately and start reading; instant gratification (or information availability).

Last night I wanted to read the next book in a series I have been enjoying, but the paper version was not available. I found a .pdf version, converted it to my eReader format and now am enjoying the continuation of the series without interruption. I might have waited months for a paper version but can now enjoy the rest of the author's storyline immediately.

But if you, for whatever reasons, don't want your Kindle, then Microcosm zine and book store is waiting to give you a real deal and get you back into "real" books.

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition

Whooo Hoooo! The mailman delivered my copy of the 2011 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition today!!

This is the version that includes access to an online database of more than 7,000 listings that is updated daily. And, in addition to the market listings of more than 3,000 book, newspaper and magazine publishers, literary agents, greeting card companies and production companies found within the pages of this edition, there are also interviews and articles by successful writers, such as Charlaine Harris, as well as a completely updated "How Much Should I Charge?" rate chart for freelancers. But that's not all! There are also new articles on topics such as how to use social media and online freelance writing.

But, for most freelancer writers, the reason to own this book is the market listings and I'm looking forward to seeing just how much use I can get out of it during the next few months.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Only 12 1/2 Writing Rules You'll Ever Need

Poster available at

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I recently posted all of my contact information (email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr), a short bio and where my writing appears, on About.Me, a personal profile page that points users to my content around the web.

I'd be grateful if you would take a look at it and let me know your thoughts. If you think this might be useful for your personal or professional web presence and decide to create your own About.Me page, please let me know so I can take a look at yours.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New York Times Best Sellers the Week You Were Born

Here's a fun little site that will show you the Fiction and Non-Fiction books on the New York Times Best Sellers list for the week of the year you were born or, if you were born before 1950, it will show the best sellers for that year.

Here's the list for the week I was born. Of these I have only read "A Man Called Peter" (number 3 on the non-fiction list) and as I recall it's because my mom had the book and it was lying around the house when I was 9 or 10.

NYT Best Sellers for Week Ending 03/07/1955

Category    Rank    Title    Author

Fiction 1 SOMETHING OF VALUE Robert Ruark  
Fiction 2 BONJOUR TRISTESSE Francoise Sagan  
Fiction 3 NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS Mac Hyman  
Fiction 4 SINCERELY WILLIS WAYDE, John Phillips Marquand  
Fiction 5 AUNTIE MAME Patrick Dennis  
Fiction 6 THE GOOD SHEPHERD C.S. Forester  
Fiction 7 THE DINNER PARTY Gretchen Finletter  
Fiction 8 RUN SILENT RUN DEEP, Edward L. Beach  
Fiction 9 THE BREAKING WAVE Nevil Shute  
Fiction 10 THE SCOTSWOMAN Inglis Clark Fletcher  
Fiction 11 THE VIEW FROM POMPEY'S HEAD Hamilton Basso  
Fiction 12 THE WINE OF YOUTH Robert Wilder  
Fiction 13 DUTCH Theodore Bonnet  
Fiction 14 NOT AS A STRANGER Morton Thompson  
Fiction 15 THE VIRGINIA EXILES Elizabeth Gray Vining  
Fiction 16 ADVENTURES IN THE SKIN TRADE Dylan Thomas  
Non-Fiction 1 GIFT FROM THE SEA Anne Morrow Lindbergh  
Non-Fiction 2 THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING Norman Vincent Peale  
Non-Fiction 3 A MAN CALLED PETER Catherine Marshall  
Non-Fiction 4 HOW TO LIVE 365 DAYS A YEAR John A. Schindler  
Non-Fiction 5 WHY JOHNNY CAN'T READ Rudolf Franz Flesch  
Non-Fiction 6 ONIONS IN THE STEW Betty MacDonald  
Non-Fiction 7 GERTRUDE LAWRENCE AS MRS. A. Richard Stoddard Aldrich  
Non-Fiction 8 BOSWELL ON THE GRAND TOUR Frank Brady and Frederick A. Pottle  
Non-Fiction 9 THE FAMILY OF MAN Edward Steichen  
Non-Fiction 10 MEMORIES Ethel Barrymore  
Non-Fiction 11 ESSAYS IN THE PUBLIC PHILOSOPHY Walter Lippmann  
Non-Fiction 12 FROM MY EXPERIENCE Louis Bromfield  
Non-Fiction 13 MY PHILADELPHIA FATHER Cordelia Drexel Biddle and Kyle Crichton  
Non-Fiction 14 TIGER OF THE SNOWS Tenzing of Everest and James Ramsey Ullman  
Non-Fiction 15 LAURETTE Marguerite Courtney  
Non-Fiction 16 BOTTOMS UP! Cornelia Otis Skinner  

I'd be interested in learning what the best sellers were the week (or year) you were born and whether or not you have read any of them in the comments below.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Writing Goals For 2011

There is nothing quite like giving your hopes and aspirations some substance by writing them down in black and white.

Like most people, I can say, "I'm going to do this" or "I'm planning on doing that" and really mean it, yet never accomplish what I said I was going to do. Sometimes, as it is with ideas for articles or stories, I will actually forget what I said I was going to do. Sometimes, if it is something that is uncomfortable for me to do, I can easily ignore my unwritten intention.

But when you write it down, make a list, type it out and commit it to reality in this world, then those hopes and aspirations become goals; concrete, substantial goals that look back at you as you look at them, reminding you that you gave life to them and are responsible for them and to them.

I've never been one for making New Year's Resolutions as I consider them to, in reality, be short-term, wishful-thinking exercises that seldom, if ever, bear any lasting fruit. But I do endorse setting realistic, reachable goals that will result in long-term growth in your personal and professional life.

These are my writing goals for 2011:

1. Write at least one article for at least two different local print publications.  - There are a few, not a lot but a few print publications in the surrounding areas of where I live and, while I have lots of web writing samples, I need print clips to give some weight to my writing resume.

2. Write at least one article for at least one regional print publication.

3. Write at least three guest blog posts.  - As a way of getting your work out in front of the blogosphere, guest posts are a great way to spread your name and abilities. They also tend to help bring visitors back to your own website and blog, if they are interested in what you write and how you write it.

4. Write at least one article for at least three different online publications, apart from the guest blog posts.  - The web is full of online publishers that need content to fill their web pages and even though I write for 5 of my own pages or blogs, I'd love to extend myself even further to readers around the Internet.

5. Write at least one e-book to give away and one e-book to sell.  - In that order so that I can gain some personal experience in producing an e-book with some helpful and/or needed information before marketing a larger e-book with more substantial information and content that will make it worth a fair price. I've been working on some ideas and need to focus even more sharply on final subject matters for both of these projects.
2011 will be the year that I immerse myself even further in a freelance writing career designed to allow me to write on a variety of subjects while earning a comfortable living and expanding my own knowledge and experience.

Have you made any similar writing goals? Or have you already met those goals and are moving on to new writing peaks? If so, I'd love to hear of your current writing goals or how you met these goals in the past. Please feel free to leave a comment below.
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