Writing Creatively

Writing Creatively
Creative Writing Tips

Friday, July 31, 2015

Mimi Avocado

When Marion Delano Holtz, who goes by, "Mimi,” attended the BlogHer 2011 conference in San Diego, she became inspired to write her blog, Mimi Avocado. She had always wanted to write for a magazine, but had given up on having a writing career when she entered her 50s. However, that conference changed everything for Mimi.

As Mimi tells me, “When I discovered blogging, I knew I could start my own 'magazine' and develop my writing and photography skills there. I felt empowered and energized by the prospect of learning something new!” So in 2011, Mimi gave birth to her blog, Mimi Avocado.

Mimi doesn’t write just about avocados, though anybody interested in avocados is likely to find her blog. According to Mimi, “My readers are people who find me when they're looking for information about avocados. Young and old, male and female. Now that I'm writing about travel, sharing adventures, and expanding my recipes to include simple home-cooking that doesn't have to include avocado, I hope even more readers will connect with me.”

What sparked Mimi’s interest in avocados? “Living on an avocado farm in California is something I never dreamed of while growing up in Vermont,” Mimi admits. But that’s exactly what happened to Mimi. She now owns and operates an avocado ranch in Southern California! 

“Life is full of adventures,” Mimi says. “Even the everyday simple things can be seen as an adventure.” She hopes her readers, “will be uplifted and inspired to try new things themselves, whether it's a recipe, a new fruit or vegetable, or a new adventure!”

In addition to the recipes and travel information Mimi offers on her blog, one great perk about Mimi Avocado is her giveaways! Sponsors occasionally send products to her, and she passes along those offers to her readers. “It might be a cookbook, some cheese, coupons for pasteurized eggs, or even fresh avocados from our family farm! It's worth leaving a comment because it's fun to win something and have it show up at your doorstep!” 

If you’re interested in trying some tantalizing avocado – and other – recipes or if you want to read about Mimi’s travels, click on any of the Mimi Avocado links in this blog. And don’t forget to leave a comment – you might win a prize!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Only The Jodi

To give you an idea of what the blog, Only The Jodi, offers, let me explain it this way – I had asked Jodi to tell me when she started her blog. Jodi Sh. Doff (yes, Jodi’s middle initials are Sh.) responded, “So long ago I can't remember. All I remember is that I was still living in Brooklyn. Or maybe I was still in the East Village. So, at least 10 years ago. Or more.”

Jodi’s comment brought a smile to my face, because I, too, have had a difficult time remembering certain events that have taken place in my own life. And as a fellow middle-aged blogger, with a smile still on my face, I laughed out loud at the following comment, because when I asked Jodi what prompted her to begin writing her blog, she told me that a friend of hers said, "You like to talk about yourself. You should start a blog." 

And that’s all it took for Jodi to being writing two blogs, Only The Jodi and Dirty Girl Diaries, the second of which, according to Jodi, “sadly bit the dust when the host server went out of business with no notice.” She considered the host server’s disappearance to be a sign, so she let the blog go.

DGD (Dirty Girl Diaries) was a bit risqué and had a salacious bent. According to Jodi, “DGD had been solely focused on my years working in the topless bars and sex industry and eventually spawned a monthly column called 3 Naked Ladies – three Times Square strippers from different eras: the 70s, 80s, 90s, and someone who was currently still stripping. We had guest posts from Annie Sprinkle, Dr. Carol Queen, Candida Royalle and so on.”

Jodi admits that DGD, “was a lot of fun, and some of it can still be found on OTJ.” But Only The Jodi was the blog that helped Jodi find her voice as a writer. And in it, she speaks about issues that are important to her: feminism, aging, animals, humor, photography, and healing from trauma. “I figured it was time to stop segmenting my life,” Jodi said.

Jodi doesn’t give her readers just Only The Jodi, though; they also get Middle Aged Lazy and Tuesdays With Mommy!

Who are Jodi’s readers? Mostly women – “Grown-assed women. With a bit of a left lean, politically speaking. And writers.” Jodi reveals that her blog is, “mostly about finding a kindred soul, learning to laugh at yourself, that it's okay to think or feel anything and that you're not the only one who does. Insight into dealing with an aging parent and adult parent-child relations in general. You'll laugh. And you'll cry. Sometimes in the same moment. And there are pretty pictures. Well, not all so pretty, but good and interesting. And urban and gritty.”

Jodi Sh. Doff is a blogger who draws lines in the sand and then ignores them, but not intentionally. She joins gyms and then doesn’t go. She buys a FitBit and when the battery dies, she doesn’t replace it. She is very honest about who she is, where she wants to go, and how she intends to get there, all the while insisting that she’s too lazy to actually get wherever “there” is. 

She admits she has, “no internal editor,” because whatever is on her mind, “comes flying out my mouth. Sometimes that ends well, oft times it doesn't. But always, it's the truth. I'm that best friend you'd love to drink with if I drank, the one you'd want there when the shit hits the fan (because I can fix a shitty fan), and that friend that will answer the phone in the middle of the night when you're hysterical and say that thing that will make it all right until the sun comes up.” 

A quote that gives you some insight about Jodi appears on the Only The Jodi blog site – Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does. And some of her favorite hashtags include the following: #truthteller #funnybroad #standuptomato.

If you’re curious about this truth teller, funny broad, and stand-up tomato, visit Only The Jodi by clicking any of the links that appear in this blog.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Beauty Along the Road

Nature, symbolism, philosophy, travel, and Beauty Along the Road  join hands in a journey through mind and Earth in this aesthetically beautiful blog, filled with gorgeous photos and creative commentary. Ph.D. Psychologist, Annette, started writing Beauty Along the Road in January, 2013, and, through her words and pictures, inspires readers to wander through their own thoughts and reflections.

Even Annette’s descriptions are poetic, so in her own words, here is how Annette describes her blog: “I love combining my pictures with words, either as a poem, social commentary, or musings. I am mostly a nature photographer and live in a beautiful part of the US, the Allegheny Mountains in Virginia. Living in nature, there's always something going on – weather induced landscape changes as the morning mist rises up from the river valley, colorful birds at the feeder, hawks or eagles circling overhead, gorgeous wildflowers (including native orchids)...the beauty is endless.”

Annette, an international traveler, includes photographs and stories from her travels. Her inspiration to start blogging arose from a vacation she took to Bali, Indonesia, the summer before she started her blog. “I was so impressed with the daily rituals of placing flowers as offerings to the gods; the stunning flower mandalas created for the day in a bowl with water...when I returned, I made it a point to create beauty in my life and the idea of the blog fell in with that commitment. I am also interested in living off the land, growing my own food, and taking good care of the earth.”

Readers who follow Annette in her Beauty Along the Road  blog are, “people who appreciate nature, travel, symbolism, and a bit of social commentary sprinkled in. I've tapped into an international blogging community that ranges from deep thinkers about earth stewardship, intercultural and interracial relationships, to nature and travel enthusiasts.”

Annette believes, "that my readers appreciate the connections I make between Nature and our experience as humans. I often research the symbolic meanings of animals, for example, and interweave it with my pictures and story.”

Because of her credentials as a Ph.D. Psychologist, Annette has also, “formally studied and researched the human condition and cross-cultural relations in particular.” Annette brings a depth to her stories, “that often surprises people and opens up a deeper understanding for them.” And she adds, “Also, in my nature connections, I discover truths that we've mostly lost in our modern, mostly urbanized existence.”

If you’re interested in making a deeper connection to our earth and want to experience the poetry of nature and its relationship to all beings on Earth, join Annette in her Beauty Along the Road  blog. You’ll find some spectacular photographs there as well. Just click any of the links that appear in this blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Doreen McGettigan – Everyone Has a Story

They say everyone has a story…this is mine. So begins the blog written by Doreen McGettigan

Doreen McGettigan, a self-admitted “boomer,” started her blog in 2008, after she had written a book and realized that she wanted to connect with other writers and bloggers. She also wanted to meet other grandparents and moms.

Like many of us who struggle with the ins and outs of publishing, Doreen had to learn how to maneuver her way through the writing world. Fortunately for us, she shares with her readers everything she wish she’d known when she began her writing career, and on Wednesdays, she posts a, “Writers Wednesday series,” where she shares, “information on blogging, social media, writing, publishing and marketing” to help other writers and bloggers who may be struggling with the same issues. She invites readers to follow her “journey from writing to publication, marketing and writing and publishing again.”

Doreen McGettigan, a freelance journalist, award winning blogger, content writer, ghostwriter, and author, also writes posts on midlife health and caregiving. Her credentials are many – she is an active member of and sits on the board of The Press Club of Pa., (w/National Press Club affiliation), she is the chairperson and facilitator of the Press Club Professional Development Workshop Series, she is a member of the Military Writers Society of America, the Nonfiction Authors Association, Lower Bucks Creative Writers, Hot Penz (a pool of authors, speakers, experts for radio and T.V. appearances), and she speaks and instructs at Delaware County Community College (Marketing, Social Media, Writing, Publishing).  

But wait! There’s more! Doreen McGettigan also owns a marketing company, Intrepid Marketing, Inc., and she is an outspoken advocate for the elderly, “who are often victimized and too embarrassed to report the crime.” But she doesn't work on behalf of only the elderly. Doreen McGettigan works as an advocate for all victims of crime. She is a former board member for the Network of Victims Assistance (NOVA), Pennsylvania’s largest comprehensive victim service organization, and she works to raise awareness of and put an end to the stigma surrounding mental illness, suicide, and homelessness.

They say everyone has a story, and you’ll find the Doreen McGettigan story by clicking the links everywhere her name appears.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

It's Just Life - Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

It's Just Life - Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary started out as a journal in March, 2008. Known then as Beth Ann’s Musings, Beth Ann Brown Chiles wrote the blog to keep family and friends involved in her and her husband’s lives when they moved to Australia for her husband’s job.

Beth Ann writes mainly about, “life and travel sprinkled with inspiration and humor.” And she admits to being, “an upbeat glass half full to full type of person,” so she gears her blog toward “promoting others and positivity.” 

All that positivity is affecting Beth Ann in a positive way as well. She says, “I have the best followers and am always surprised at how often people are touched by something I have written and take the time to tell me.”

It's Just Life is not geared to any specific age group. Beth Ann thinks her readers range in age from 20 to 85 years old. Even Beth Ann’s mother enjoys reading her blog!

One exciting aspect of It's Just Life is Beth Ann’s monthly Comments for a Cause post. The way Beth Ann explains it, “On the first of each month I highlight a new cause and give some details about it. During the month for every comment that is made on any post on my blog, my husband and I donate 50 cents to that cause. I have been doing this since April 2011 and we have had an amazing response and several other bloggers are doing the same thing on their blogs. I love finding new charities and sharing them with others who can get excited about them as well.  This is by far the best thing that I do on the blog.”

And for those of you who are fascinated by collections, specifically teapot collections, Beth Ann posts a weekly, Teapot Tuesday where she highlights one of her teapots from her collection. 

So if you need a little help finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, please read, It's Just Life - Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary. It may be “just life,” but it’s your life, so you might as well enjoy it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Second Helping

Cute story about how the title for A Second Helping came about – according to Sandy Lingo, author of A Second Helping, “A writing friend came up with the name for my blog, A Second Helping. She says when she finishes reading one of my pieces, she is hungry for a second helping. The first helping makes her laugh; with the second helping, though, she tastes the seasonings.  Most of what you read on my blog is funny, but I hope you take the second helping which will offer something a bit more nourishing — some universal truth that will make you want to cook up your own thoughts and memories."

A Second Helping began in October, 2014, and I’m going to let Sandy tell you in her own words, what prompted her to being this blog, because I think a lot of you will relate to her words: 

“I had been writing for twenty years and calling myself a writer, but the only people who read my writing were those few in my writing circles and classes. Although I had published several pieces, I didn't receive any feedback, and it felt like my writing was just disappearing into a big black hole. I had always said I'd never write a blog – didn't want to give my writing away – but my thinking evolved after talking to bloggers at the 2014 Erma Bombeck Writers Conference. 

(forgive me – I must insert here that I am insanely jealous, because I wanted to attend that conference, but I’m happy for Sandy {and several others I know who attended the same conference} – back to Sandy’s comment)

I'm getting to an age that I have to think, if not now, when?  Within an hour of posting my first piece on ‘A Second Helping,’ a hundred people had read it, and I was hooked. I finally felt like a real writer! I've had several posts that got more than a thousand views, and I think more people read my writing than if I had published it in print journals. I have especially enjoyed the comments I've received from people I don't know who have connected with my writing. Writing is my art, and it's been gratifying sharing it.”

Sandy writes about a variety of topics – aging, health, travel, marriage, children, and money, and she writes her blogs in a humorous, yet reflective way.

Sandy feels that her writing appeals to mature women “of a certain age,” but she has many young readers, too, so don’t let that stop you from whetting your appetite with A Second Helping!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Grow Because You Know | Online With Charlene

Do you need an Internet marketing guru? I may have just the help you need! 

In 2008, Charlene Burke founded the online marketing agency, Search by Burke. She also provided consulting, classes, training, and research to the local professional business community. She held webinars for company teams and specific groups, and she provided in-person workshops at national conferences. 

Throughout the years between 2008 and 2014, Charlene received many requests for online training. She initially wanted to create e-courses, and as a matter of fact will be offering those classes later this year, but then she realized that she would need to invest months of time and effort to convert her in-person trainings to e-courses. Due to countless changes that always occur in the digital world, she reasoned that by the time some of them would have been launched, they would already have been outdated! 

So Search by Burke soon blossomed into Grow Because You Know, in November, 2014, after Charlene received repeated requests to offer training for individuals interested in online internet marketing. 

In her search for a quality system that included up-to-date training on internet marketing, Charlene purchased one system, along with the educational tools for that system and offered it for sale on her blog. She doesn’t just sell the system, though – she uses it! Because the Internet changes all the time, Charlene regularly reviews the training and shares that information with her readers.

What separates Grow Because You Know from other online marketing companies is Charlene’s focus on individuals and her desire for them, “to be successful in business (heart, mind, online tactics/techniques.” Through Grow Because You Know, Charlene provides training on all aspects of Internet marketing, and she keeps herself updated on new trends.

If you’re curious about starting your own online business and you want support, encouragement, and guidance from somebody who is already successful, if you are a professional who yearns to have your own online web site, and you want to make money from it, or if you are over 50, can’t find work, and are willing to learn, you may be able to find the security you need by checking out Grow Because You Know.

If you an introvert with social anxiety disorder, don’t let that stop you from exploring Grow Because You Know. Charlene believes that you can step out of your comfort zone and find a place for yourself on the Internet. So share your story!

You’ll learn from Grow Because You Know how to be successful using a variety of social media tactics in your online marketing campaigns. You’ll also learn about email marketing and what it means to have a “success mindset,” and you’ll learn how to overcome social anxiety.

Want to learn more? Visit Grow Because You Know!

According to Charlene, “The blog is based on the belief that once you Know, then you can put it into action and Grow.
Anyone who is willing to learn and grow their mind…can. 
Anyone willing to grow their heart…can. 
Anyone willing to step out and start their own internet business…can by joining my team and with my coaching and guidance.”