Writing Creatively

Writing Creatively
Creative Writing Tips

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Haralee Sleepwear, Cool Garments for Hot Women – and Menopausal Entrepreneurial Freedom

Haralee Weintraub started her company, Haralee Sleepwear, Cool Garments for Hot Women, in the fall of 2004, as a way to help menopausal women feel relief from night sweats. 

As Haralee explains, “I had breast cancer at age 48 and it threw me into menopause with terrible drenching night sweats. I was familiar with wicking clothes but I could not find anything comfortable for sleeping. I made a sample night shirt out of old biking shorts and it worked. It helped with the night sweats not waking me up cold and wet.”

Haralee’s initial success led to even more promising ventures. “I found more sleep friendly fabric and made another nightshirt.” She sewed the nightshirt on her old sewing machine (which she bought from babysitting money she earned when she was 14). “I showed this nightshirt to my breast cancer support group and they went wild with enthusiasm. I then knew I was onto an idea, a market niche of a product line that could help other women get a better night’s sleep. We have been successful ever since, making beautiful moisture wicking sleepwear and helping women stay cool, look good, and get a better night's sleep.”

Haralee started her Menopausal Entrepreneurial Freedom blog in 2009-2010, because, she says, “cancer made me menopausal,” and menopause became the catalyst for her to become an entrepreneur. Her new company, Haralee continues, “afforded me freedom as my own boss in the second part of my life.” Knowing that many women were seeking life changes after the age of 50, Haralee wanted to inspire readers by letting them know that changes could be made.

Haralee started her blog because she thought her customers would like to learn about her company, read musings from a woman who belonged to the same demographics as her customers – women between the ages of 35-80 – and be informed about the latest breast cancer research.

Women who visit Haralee Sleepwear, Cool Garments for Hot Women find what Haralee calls, “a solution product.” And in 450 word or less, Haralee also offers humorous, sometimes emotional, and always relatable posts to readers of her blog, Menopausal Entrepreneurial Freedom

Life experiences often force us to move in directions we never thought we’d take, and life changed a positive into a negative for Haralee. “Never in a million years did I think a breast cancer diagnosis would lead to becoming an entrepreneur. Menopause is a part of life; it is not the end of life, and if I can take my menopausal experience and make fun of it and (build) a business, anybody can.”

If you’re going through menopause and experiencing hot flashes, take a look at Haralee Sleepwear, Cool Garments for Hot Women. And to read Haralee’s blog, please click Menopausal Entrepreneurial Freedom.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Heart-Mind-Soul with Carol Cassara

Before she changed the name of her blog from Middle-aged-diva, back in 2008, to Heart-Mind-Soul, Carol Cassara, who lives in the San Fransisco Bay area, began her blog as a means of self-expression. As Carol explains, “A writer all my life, I love having a venue to communicate my thoughts, feelings, and opinions unfiltered by outside editors.”

On her “About Me” page Carol further explains her reasons for writing – “As a lifelong writer, I’m driven to let readers into the Aladdin’s Cave that is my life. My world overflows with bright colors, laughter, and variety, and so does my brain. All that stuff has to go somewhere—and this is where.”

Carol’s Heart-Mind-Soul cave reveals mysteries that will intrigue many readers, including her story (which will eventually be a memoir) about how she and her first husband remarried 27 years after their divorce – “27 years during which we both had full other lives and never even saw each other.” Carol’s life now? “The life he and I have now is beyond my wildest imaginings.”

Heart-Mind-Soul, Carol explains, provides daily inspiration for creating our best lives.” Her posts cover a broad range of topics and include every thing from spirituality and style to dogs, travel, and books.

Carol’s “core readers are women mid-life and above, but,” Carol says, “I’ve got a loyal contingent of men who regularly read and some even comment. Readers tell me all the time that they love that my blog posts make them think and that I welcome their opinions, even if different from my own.”

Heart-Mind-Soul offers something different day to day, so Carol hopes readers will visit her blog to discover her topic du jour and participate in what she describes as, “often an interesting discussion in the Comments section.” Successful blogging often includes participation from readers. Carol’s readers, “are not shy and they don't hesitate to jump in with their thoughts. That's what I like best about them and about blogging. Few people just say ‘awesome post’ – they say why they think it's awesome OR why they disagree!”

Intrigued? Please click any of the links in this blog to read Carol Cassara’s Heart-Mind-Soul blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Suzi Hunn's Blue Car Painted Green

As the author of YBC, I’m always fascinated by what prompts bloggers to begin blogging. Suzi Hunn, author of Blue Car Painted Green: Crafting an Upcycled Life, (her About page tells where she got the name), explains her blog’s beginnings this way: 

On December 31, 2014, a girlfriend mentioned she'd signed up for a Blogging 101 class. We live in different cities, but we talk once a month to encourage each other to achieve our dreams. (In our younger days, she was always the dreamer, and I tended to be the practical one. "Let yourself dream," she said to me once, years ago, and I still think of her when I get stuck in over-analysis. Over time, though, she and I have both learned how to get better at the other role.)

I thought Blogging 101 sounded fun, and I'd had passing thoughts of trying blogging for awhile. I immediately signed up. The fact that the class started the very next day allowed me to avoid the usual hemming and hawing. 

Now, half a year into it, the blog has become my single-best avenue for personal growth. A surprise bonus was the supportive blogging community I suddenly found myself a part of. The people I've met never cease to inspire me with their spirit of exploration.

So, on January 1, 2015, Suzi Hunn wrote her first blog and placed it on Blue Car Painted Green. Of her readers Suzi says, “People who appreciate stories of personal growth, handmade objects, or trips to thrift stories tend to be kindred spirits.” Suzi admits that, “Women are by far the strongest supporters of my blog.”

When I asked Suzi why people might want to read her blog, she said, “All of us experience growth and change. I'm endlessly fascinated by upcycling, the process of taking something that's gotten a little worn around the edges, then doing what I can to make it better. I'd love for readers to join me on these explorations.”

Suzi adds the following incentives for readers curious about her blog:

If readers are in a hurry, but need a quick dose of encouragement, they might enjoy my handmade inspirational-quote series, Be Good To You Today. (Side note: This is a phrase my mom has told me many times over the years, when facing something hard. Often, she'll ask instead, "What's one thing you can do to be good to you today?") 

Someone who's facing divorce or another life change may find inspiration in my post, My Very Own (Life-Sized) Upcycling Project

Lovers of 80's TV–or someone wanting to comfort a friend–might like How I Found Hope Through Golden Girls Fashion

Someone who loves thrift stores or working with her hands might appreciate the story of a bag I designed: From Savers Suit to Bottomless Bag

Please click any of the links in this blog. They’ll take you directly to Blue Car Painted Green: Crafting an Upcycled Life.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Parent Tango, the Dance of a Husband and Wife Blogging Team

Approximately six or seven years ago, the blog, Parent Tango, arose. One of the authors, who wishes to remain anonymous, because she and her husband reveal some, “pretty gritty and personal stuff,” states, “My husband and I are parents of four kids who are now in their late teens and early 20’s. I was asked by a magazine I was freelancing for, to consider writing a parenting blog that would be featured on their site. Because my husband and I had a lot of years of marriage and parenting under our belts, and because we disagree A LOT, about everything, we thought a he said/she said format would be interesting and different. Sometimes the posts are just from me because well, I’m a woman and I like to talk more and my husband is, well, a man, and it’s hard to get him to communicate sometimes.”

Parent Tango readers are, “Anyone who is thinking about marriage and parenting, is in the midst of it or on the other side of it.” Parent Tango authors think readers can relate to – “or be informed about if they haven’t taken the plunge yet” the material they present in their blog. And they add, “just because our kids are older now, doesn’t mean we can’t relate to what it is to be a new couple or new parents. We remember it very clearly, have the perspective of having gotten past that but we’re still very much in the throes of it all – the work of marriage and parenting doesn’t end – it just changes.”

As far as what you, the readers, have to gain by reading this blog, the authors state, “We hope readers will feel like they are not alone in some of their struggles and in some of the feelings they have that they feel like they dare not say. We tell it like it is and don’t portray only the sunny, happy, we-have-it-all-together moments of marriage and parenting – because we sure as heck don’t. And neither do most other people. Our tagline is ‘you can totally relate’ and we feel that’s true.”

Because of the unique structuring of this blog, with husband and wife sharing male and female perspectives, readers will get a glimpse into both sides of a committed relationship between two parents. This Parent Tango husband and wife team, “will let people know they aren’t alone, that marriage and parenting are really hard sometimes, that they’ll maybe get a laugh, gain some insight into their own partner and kids and just know that when they may be feeling down or frustrated or alone, they really aren’t. We get it. We’re living it.”

Please visit Parent Tango by clicking any of the links in this blog.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Moxie-Dude's Mona Andrei

Mona Andrei loves to write and is, in her own written words, “passionate about engaging with readers…these are probably my favourite things in the entire world. Even more than wine :-).” 

Mona began her blog, Moxie-Dude, in February, 2010, for a couple of reasons: “I thought it would be a great opportunity to practice the craft of writing while enabling me to write about whatever I want. I was right!”

Moxie-Dude is geared toward women over the age of 35, but I think men would enjoy her blog, too. Just look at some of her titles:

Women analyze. Men are random. It’s a curse.

I am the anti-chef. And I blame Siri.

I dedicate this blog post to procrastination. Because procrastination lies.

Her titles, along with her writing style, are engaging!

Though Mona admits that in Moxie-Dude, she writes, “about nothing and everything,” her intent, “is to entertain and connect through words … stories … life experiences.”

Mona goes on to say, “I strive to always tell my stories with authenticity. I appreciate writing that is genuine and comes from a unique perspective and so am cognizant of providing the same to my readers. I realized that I had achieved this when I met a local TV personality here in Montreal and he said to me, ‘I checked out your blog and you’re just like your writing.’ (My soul smiled that day :-)”

If you would like to read about Kitchen Fails, Teenagers, Aging, Mom Adventures and more, please click any of the Moxie-Dude links in this blog.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Midlife at the Oasis with Lois Alter Mark

Lois Alter Mark, author of Midlife at the Oasis, has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, contributing to many women’s magazines throughout those 20 years and to Entertainment Weekly for more than a decade. Because she has a master’s degree in public relations and has worked for companies like Liz Claiborne, MGM/UA, and WBZ-TV Boston, Lois decided to blend her public relations expertise with her writing skills. 

“When blogging started to become popular,” Lois explains, “it seemed like a perfect blend of the two. I started a blog with two friends but then decided to go out on my own and focus on midlife women because 1) I am one! and 2) it was an under-served demographic which wasn’t receiving the attention it so deserved. I recognized that this was a very powerful audience – and one that I absolutely loved. I’ve met some of my closest friends – who started out as fellow bloggers and readers – since I started blogging. I never thought any of this would be happening at this stage of my life and I’m so grateful.”

Serendipitously, Lois started writing Midlife at the Oasis in “July, 2013, right in time for BlogHer!” (BlogHer is a blogging community committed to providing quality content written by some of the best talent on the web. BlogHer also holds conventions for bloggers.)

Because Midlife at the Oasis is obviously geared to mid-lifers, people most likely to read Midlife at the Oasis are, according to Lois, women over the age of 40 who grew up with the song, Midnight at the Oasis – women, “who want to embrace this stage of life and create a vibrant second chapter.” Lois Alter Mark’s tagline is,“Living an amazing life never gets old.” Lois goes on to say, “my readers are all about living their own amazing lives. I show them how I’m doing it and I love when they email me and leave comments about how they’re doing it. It’s a very interactive and supportive relationship.”

When asked why readers might be attracted to her blog, Lois responds, “Besides learning about great new products, places and experiences, I hope they’ll take away the realization that midlife can be a truly fun and liberating time of life. I hope my enthusiasm will be infectious and they’ll go out and try something they might not have before reading my blog.”

Privacy is very important to me when I interview subjects for Your Blog Connection, so I always ask people if they would mind if I shared their names. The response I got from Lois: “Not at all! Trust me, I’ve revealed way more personal things on my blog than my name. Just ask my readers about the incident with my husband’s sweater … I am an open book!”*

So what would inspire potential readers to visit Midlife at the Oasis? “Well, I could try to suck them in by telling them about the incredible giveaways I get to offer (Fitbit coming soon!),” Lois said, “but, to me, that’s the least important part. I hope they’ll visit because they want to become part of a community of women who have reached an age where we feel confident, we empower each other, we laugh at ourselves – but never at others – and we share our deepest concerns, dreams, hopes. Plus, I was named Humor Writer of the Month by Erma Bombeck Writing Workshop – although, sigh, I think I’m often funny unintentionally.”

To join Lois in Midlife at the Oasis, please click any of the links in this blog.

*Curious about the sweater incident? Here is the link to confessing a 35 year old lie

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Diana Raab, Poet, Writer, and Breast Cancer Survivor

Before Diana Raab wrote her current blog, DianaRaab.com, she wrote another blog, The Writer’s Notebook, which ran from 2007-2012. In that blog, where she had a huge following, she wrote about literary and creative issues. Because of her PhD in Psychology and the exposure she received from that blog and from other articles she had written, a number of publishers approached her to write for them. But because she found a lot of redundancy in the material she had previously covered in The Writer’s Notebook, she discontinued that blog. 

Diana Raab now has her own web site, and she also contributes regularly to Psychology Today, The Huffington Post (Huff50), PsychAlive, BrainSpeak, and BoomerCafe (links below).

The result of writing for those high-profile sites? As you might assume, Diana Raab’s readership increased! She kept her former articles, though, and readers can find them in the Archives on her website. 

The reason Diana Raab began her own web site and blog was because, she says, “People were always interested in my stories and what I was doing so I thought I would share. Also, I attended many writers’ conferences and met many friends and colleagues who wanted to be in touch. The blog was a way for people to keep abreast of all my literary projects.”

When asked who would most likely read her blogs, Diana Raab responds, “Anyone interested in the lust for life, writers, women, men, psychologists. I always try to weave the personal with the universal. In other words, my blogs are all tied into something going on in my life, but I like to teach my readers something so that the blog does not feel like random diary ramblings." She writes her blogs as she would her essays, each with a beginning, a middle, and an ending.

Meeting Diana through this Your Blog Connection promotional series has reminded me that I have met some very interesting writers here and I’ve been able to connect personally with them, not only because we are all mid-lifers, but also because many of us share personal histories. Because Diana knew I was a former breast cancer survivor, Diana sent me a copy of her book, Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey, a book she wrote about her own breast cancer diagnosis, surgery, and recovery. I, too, had written about my breast cancer journey (in one of my other blogs, My Heart Blogs to You on blogspot.com) and wanted to compare my experience with hers. 

Reading Healing with Words gave me an opportunity to read about another woman’s journey with breast cancer. In many ways similar, in many more ways completely different, I found myself wondering if I still would have chosen to go through chemo and radiation or if I would have chosen a mastectomy instead – had I read her book before I had my lumpectomy surgery. Either choice comes with its own consequences and Diana bravely shares her thoughts and emotions about her choices in that book. I highly recommend Healing with Words for anyone contemplating what to do following a breast cancer diagnosis.

Diana also sent me a copy of her poetry book, Lust, a steamy, provocative, and reflective collection of passion, emotion, life, love, and yes, lust.

As you might expect, with a blogger as open as is Diana Raab, Diana gets a lot of positive feedback about her blogs. Readers find her blogs, “inspiring and interesting,” and they tell Diana that, “they always learn something and feel good,” after reading one of her blogs. Diana’s blogs often serve as catalysts for readers to further investigate some of the subjects Diana mentions in her blog. 

“Also,” Diana says, “I put out a monthly newsletter through Constant Contact where I address an issue a month. It also includes my public appearances and 2 book reviews of books I recommend to my readers. I send this to about 500 individuals. Anyone interested in being on my mailing list can sign up for the monthly newsletter through my website, Diana Raab.

Diana blogs regularly for the following places:

If you would like to read Diana Raab, please click any of the links in this blog to find Diana’s blogs, books, and articles.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

E-Couch with Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life Coach

Have you ever wanted to seek the advice of a mental health professional without actually having to visit one in person? Welcome to E-Couch with psychologist, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life Coach. Dr. Nelson was, “the Clinical Manager of 36 staff members at the leading behavioral health hospital in the Chicago area” for ten years until 2012, when she noticed hand tremors. 

When she was diagnosed with Parkinsonism, “a form of PD that has not yet manifested fully, but contains the physical symptoms,” Dr. Nelson lost her ability to perform many activities associated with daily living, including handwriting. “But I can still use a keyboard and a mouse!” (Notice her triumphant spirit!)

So on October 30, 2014, with, “a longing to continue working in my field,” Dr. Sandy Nelson, wrote her first E-Couch blog, “as a means to help others and to help myself in the process.”

She wants to help her readers find better ways to manage their stress, control their emotions and succeed in life, especially if they’ve lost hope and enthusiasm for living. Dr. Sandy Nelson, through her E-Couch blog, wants to help people find their “inner light” and “provide information that helps and doesn't help in the pursuit of happiness.” As Dr. Sandy relates, “Some people have no encouragement in their life. I try to be that source.”

Dr. Sandy feels her calling is, “to reach as many people as I can who believe the worst about themselves, who think they're nothing and nobody and to tell them the truth. That the critical and demeaning crap they were told or learned about themselves isn't true. It's the biggest lie they tell themselves. They are love. Everyone is.”

Dr. Sandy hopes that by reading E-Couch, her readers will learn to live with, “a better mindset and attitude; to experience enthusiasm again, even in a stressful life; to learn better methods of communicating anger, hurt, and sadness, so it doesn't fester and implode; to ask for help when symptoms are becoming destructive as seen in addictions, depression, eating disorders, and paralyzing anxiety.”

If you’re looking for advice on how to better live your life, please click any of the links in this blog to visit Dr. Sandy’s blog.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kimberly “Kimba” Dalferes and The Middle-Aged Cheap Seats

In 2010, Kimberly “Kimba” Dalferes began publishing creative nonfiction. A former Justice Department official, Kimba originally focused her writings on criminal and juvenile justice but expanded her publications to include, “girls in the juvenile justice system, disproportionate minority confinement, community safety and mobilization, and law enforcement leadership.”

Two years later, in 2012, as a way to promote her work as a writer and to support her upcoming book release, Kimberly “Kimba” Dalferes, initiated her blog, The Middle-Aged Cheap Seats: Where midlifers come to sit, laugh, “occasionally” drink tequila.

As Kimba explains, “In The Middle-Aged Cheap Seats we discuss all things relevant to midlifers: marriages and relationships, kids, wrinkle cream, menopause, our favorite women, our favorite men, and anything else of interest to those with ‘Club Fifty’ status.” However, middle-aged women aren’t the only ones who visit her blog – “the occasional fella drops by – he’s usually drunk,” Kimba adds.

Kimba’s first book, I Was In Love With A Short Man Once was published in June, 2015, and her second book, Magic Fishing Panties: More Tales from a Crazy Southern Irish Gal, was released in August, 2015. You can purchase both copies by clicking the links. 

Featured in numerous publications over the years, in addition to writing books, Kimba still manages to maintain her The Middle-Aged Cheap Seats blog. So if you’re interested in reading her blog or her books, please click on any of the links in this blog.

I’ll leave you with this final quote from Kimba Dalferes: “I hope you enjoy your time in The Middle-Aged Cheap Seats and you come back often. Wondering what makes Kimba tick? This favorite quote from one of the grand dames of writing, Erma Bombeck, might help: Hook 'em with the lead. Hold 'em with laughter. Exit with a quip they won't forget. This seems to be a good overall life goal, don’t you think?”

Monday, August 3, 2015

Travel With Faith

After planning – and taking – a 6-month European vacation in 2013 – by herself – Faith Dugan decided to write a blog so friends and family could vicariously accompany her on her adventures. Her blog’s name is appropriately named, Travel With Faith!

Traveling alone can be scary for some people, but not for Faith. She enjoys traveling solo and wants her readers to overcome their fears of solo travel. In her blog, Travel With Faith, she motivates her readers to be courageous about traveling. This quote by Nelson Mandela appears on her blog’s masthead: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Faith encourages her readers to overcome their fears by equipping them with the tools necessary for traveling alone.

Though predominately from the United States, her readers also come from other countries – Russia, Ukraine, Spain, France, Romania, Poland, India, and Africa. Anyone interested in seeking travel destination information would be interested in reading her blog, but Faith admits that she gears her blog to the “solo mature” traveler. 

Faith considers herself to be a beginner blogger who works consistently to improve her blog in order to provide benefits to her readers. Travel With Faith provides photographs, historical background information, and practical information, such as tips on purchasing tickets.

Faith wants to, “inspire mature women to travel solo and see the world,” and she is currently revising her blog to reach more solo female travelers. As Faith puts it, “I am a single female over 65 who plans my own travel. I have completed two long term trips to Europe successfully. I will answer any question readers have.” 

To learn more about Faith’s travels, click any of the Travel With Faith links. You can also visit Faith’s Facebook Travel with Faith page