Writing & Photography
For travelers, history buffs, readers, writers, and even the health conscious
Consulting Services & Tips on Writing
While technology has made the physical act of communication
faster and easier, it has not solved the universal problem we all
grapple with: how to make the message better -- clearer and
more concise so that maximum understanding is achieved.
That's where I come in. Thirty five years as a writer, editor, and
business person have given me specific skills that can improve
any communication vehicle or message. (See Experience section
for details of my background.)
For Individuals: I help beginning writers improve their
stories, novels, synopses and queries so they have a greater
chance of becoming published. Hourly rates and per-project estimates upon request.
For businesses: I help companies improve reports, studies, business plans and web site content to better reach targeted audiences. Hourly rates and per-project estimates upon request.
Contact: To discuss your specific needs and how I can help, email me at [email protected]
Throughout my career, I've been blessed by those who have helped me for no good reason other than out of the kindness of their hearts.
This has led me to believe that I need to give back as much as I can to those who are just starting out. With that thought in mind, I'd like to offer some writing tips for beginners -- those who want to try their hand at non-fiction articles. I hope you find the following useful. And good luck!
Initial creativity/finding ideas
Probably every writing teacher in the universe has at one time or another told students: "Write what you know." No matter how cliched the expression gets, it is still a basic truism for beginning writers.
(A notable exception to this "rule" is Steven Crane who wrote The Red Badge of Courage about a solider's struggles during the Civil War. Considered by most to be the definitive book on what war is truly like, it should be noted that Crane never saw battle, never raised a gun against another human being, never was fired upon by others.)
To me, the way around this seeming contradiction is to replace the initial cliche of "write what you know," with another expression equally cliched but equally valid: "Follow your heart, follow your passion."
Joseph Campbell (the philosopher) said it best when he told people to follow your bliss and doors will open up where you never thought they existed.
An interesting example of following your bliss is the story of William
Bentley. He lived on a farm in Vermont in the 1800s. In the 1860s,
when he was a teenager, he became passionate about a burgeoning
new technology, photography. He pleaded and begged his parents to
buy him a camera. They finally relented and sold his life savings (10
cows) to buy their son a camera.
Bentley promptly married the camera to another passion --
snowflakes. Despite the fact that he was in a snow-filled land renowned for down-to-earth pragmatists, Bentley spent decades studying and researching snowflakes. Finally he found a way to preserve individual snowflakes and photograph them.
At the age of 66 -- 50 years after he started following his passion -- his first book of snowflake photos was published. Two weeks later, he died after walking home in a snowstorm.
Distilling his life down to dollars: Bentley spent around $15,000 on his snowflakes and photography, while making only $2,000 in return.
His legacy to the world?
He is known as the man who proved that no two s nowflakes are
Some snippets on finding a topic
- Look to your own life - inspect what your interests are and what you get passionate about. Follow those ideas and thoughts.
- Do NOT look for marketing first and topic second. Find the topic and then search out its market. There's a market for EVERYTHING -- you just have to find it.
- When I'm travel writing, I follow my interests and they always lead me to a story. I follow mycuriosity and it usually leads me to a good story.
- Go have experiences -- immerse yourself in a topic -- and trust that your inner muse will reveal the story.
- Take copious notes about everything that you see, feel and experience. These will become invaluable later on.
- Many times the topic or angle of my story doesn't appear until I've gotten home and am reviewing my notes and reviewing my slides. That's when it will come to me.
New Online Magazine Consulting
I've taken my 35 years of publishing experience and teamed up with an experienced website
design and development company, Crown Point Solutions (CPS), to offer online