Posted by: ArtisrRJ19 | January 23, 2014

The Sucking Sound of Slipping Friendships

After all, what are friendships? Do we really need them, or are they just nuisances? Are people too busy with their own lives and careers to appreciate and nurture friendships? Or has the need for actual friends been usurped by the ever-expanding demands on our lives by today’s technological advances?

I have always believed that friendships ought to be nourished and, if needed, repaired immediately. Of course, sometimes they can’t be repaired, in which case one should just cut losses and end the damn thing. But that’s extreme, and I believe that every effort should be made to preserve a friendship before it is cast aside.

I want to examine one aspect of what it is to be a friend. While there are others, of course, I question whether or not our communication technology has shifted the emphasis to a different paradigm of behaviors associated with being a friend. My mother used to call them “fair weather” friends: those individuals who professed to be friends as long as it served their selfish needs. They expected you to be there for them whenever they needed you; whether to chat, help them out, listen to them, advise them, or lend them money. But they were nowhere to be found when you needed them!

Back in the day, before communication technology exploded onto the scene, it was easy to stay in touch with a friend. You simply called him on a phone (a land line because cell phones had not yet been born). He, she or a family member would answer, insuring that you would talk with them enthusiastically, sometimes for hours. This was especially true for girls. Or, you would trot a few doors down the street and just walk into their house; back then, there was no need to lock doors. Once there, the two of you would play games in the yard, or watch shows on one of the few TV channels that existed at the time. Since your parents knew where you were, there was no need for them to be overly concerned about your whereabouts. And when it started to get late, you simply walked home, remembering to call your friend to let him know that you made it back okay. And this call could also develop into another long conversation.

Indeed, a variation on this scenario continued throughout high school. Wow! What a wonderful era that was. Friendship at its best. Not so these days. Recently, I became aware that I have several of these so-called friends in my circle. With one of them, a colleague whom I have known for thirty years, I have made futile attempts to reach her for over six months now. I left telephone, email and Social Media messages at least once a month during this period, but she still has not yet responded. Another example is a dear friend I’ve known for more than seven years. We used to hang out together regularly, and mentor each other professionally and spiritually. True, she keeps a busy schedule now, and has messaged me back twice in the past two months, promising to meet me for coffee. I keep trying to reach her, but it has not happened yet, and no further efforts to reach me have been made.

There are other examples, but you get the picture. I have to ask myself, “Is there something about me that is keeping my (so-called) friends from staying in touch with me?” My inquiring mind wants to know. I value friendships and keeping them healthy. And I value my friends especially. Admittedly, I’m pretty discriminating about who I embrace as a friend, so if I call you “friend,” be assured that this is a high honor for me to bestow on a person. Similarly, if you regard me as your friend, that’s a blessing, for which I remain grateful.

I’m a pretty busy fellow myself; what with caring for my family, pursuing my career goals and building an online business presence. I realize that other people also are busy, but I can always find a couple of minutes in my daily schedule to return phone calls; or to respond to their text, email or Social Media messages. If I can do this, I submit that others, including my friends, can do the same. After all, nobody is busy every minute of every day; otherwise, he would not be able to get any sleep!

I live by the adage, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” I admit that my standards are generally high, but I hold myself to the same lofty standards to which I hold others. So if I can stay in communication with my friends, especially in responding to their attempts to contact me, then my friends can at least attempt to duplicate my example. After all, actions do speak louder than words.

I would regret deleting any contact information of my friends, but I would do so if he or she persisted in not responding to my attempts to stay in communication with them. Because if I make time to nurture my relationship with friends, and they don’t return the gesture, I must conclude that I am not as important to him as he (or she) is to me. It then becomes a one-way relationship that needs an adjustment, which I would be forced to make. Simply, you may consider me your friend, but under these circumstances, I must conclude that I am not YOUR friend; in which case, cutting the strings that bind us seems the best course of action for me to take.

And concerning the two so-called friends I mentioned above, I have since removed them from my contact lists, and have stopped trying to reach them. And that sucks.

Please enjoy this guest post by author Caroline Jones.

Keeping a journal is a great way to keep track of your life’s events and your deepest thoughts. It’s something that you can keep all to yourself, or it’s something that you can pass down to your children or grandchildren so that they can learn about how the world really was during your lifetime.

Many people are very interested in starting a journal, but they have questions as to how to begin and how to keep up with it. The following information will guide you through the questions you have about journaling.

How do I keep a journal?

The first thing you need to understand about journaling is that you have control over how you journal. You can choose to go out and buy an actual journal, or you can simply pick up a notebook and use that instead. If you are more computer savvy, you may even want to keep an electronic journal in the form of a blog or website, or even keep your journal entries in the form of word processor documents.

There is no time frame for journaling, so you can decide if you want to keep a daily journal or if you only want to write in your journal once a week or on special occasions.

What do I write about in my journal?

The best thing about journals is that you can write about anything you want to. Some people use their journal to write about the day’s events, and the journal serves as a document record of their life. Others use their journal to write about their thoughts and beliefs, whether on generic topics or on events or occurrences that are popular at the given moment. Some people use their journal to tell stories about their families and friends, and some even use their journal to be creative and write down poems, stories, song lyrics or anything else that may come into their mind. It’s important to know that you can write whatever you want in your journal, so don’t be afraid to let your feelings and thoughts run wild.

What do I do with my journal when it’s full?

If you write on a consistent basis, you’ll realize that you’ll eventually fill up your journal. There are different things you can do when this happens. If you want to continue writing, you can label your journal with dates and put it in a safe place. Then, start another journal. If this one becomes full too, make sure to date it and put it with the other journal so they’re all together.

If you don’t want to continue journaling once your book is full, you can always label your journal and put it somewhere safe. You can keep this as documentation of your thoughts, feelings and experiences, and you will have it to look back on for the rest of your life.

Journaling can be a fun way to organize your thoughts and keep track of what’s going on in your life. Just remember that you can write in your journal whenever you want, and that you can use it for any type of writing that you wish.

Caroline Jones works as a journalist in Boston.  Her favorite subjects to write about are animals, cooking, journaling, and sewing.

Posted by: ArtisrRJ19 | December 20, 2012

The Most Important Thing to Remember When Proofreading

This is a Guest Post by the author Harry Boyd.

No matter how much experience you have in writing essays, you are not immune to making mistakes or structural errors. This is why it is highly important for you to proofread your essay at least twice before you send it over to the recipient. But why is it that a lot of people proofread their work but still come out with a bad result? Simple, they lack proper knowledge of proofreading.  To help you perform better here are very important proofreading tips you can employ to eliminate errors from your essay just like the pros

Leave It For A While

The golden rule of proofreading is to leave the essay for a while after completing it, and come back to it later. Letting the essay rest for around 24 hours before you attempt corrections will give you the space to see your essay from the angle of imperfection that needs to be corrected. It’s hard for you to see errors when you’ve just finished writing your essay.

Concentrate

There is no way you’re going to do a good job proofreading your essay in the living room where people are watching TV or playing video games. You need concentration and lots of it. This is necessary in order to focus your mind on the words, sentences and tiny details that can make your essay come out with the least amount of errors when removed. So look for a quiet place without noise or disturbances to make have errors even after proofreading.

One Correction At Time

Looking for grammar, punctuation, spelling and structure errors at the same time can be frustrating and distracting. To avoid getting completely overwhelmed it is better you make your corrections one problem at a time. You can first look out for homonyms, then move to apostrophes and contractions. After that, you can then fight grammar and then spelling before you finish up on punctuation.

Read It To Your Ears

Reading silently is okay but reading aloud your essay when proofreading is the perfect thing to do. Reading aloud will make you detect problems faster because you’re not only using your mind, but your speaking and listening sense. It’s also a great idea if you ask a colleague of yours to read out the essay to you; two read aloud are better than one.

Print Out

You are definitely going to fish out more errors when you make your proofreading from a print out copy than making corrections on your computer screen. So make sure you print out the essay, read it aloud and have a colored pen handy to mark out the errors in order to make them distinctive.

Read Backwards

Mistakes appear more in writing because the brain works in a way that it automatically corrects errors right there inside the sentence. The best way to eliminate this kind of error is to read the essay backwards word by word. Might sound like a lot of work but it is worth it if you want to get rid of errors as much as possible.

Use Spell Checkers & Dictionaries

Spell checkers are software that helps you correct mistakes in your draft automatically and more efficiently. Spell checkers will help you catch errors like repeat words, reverse letters and many other hard to detect errors. A word or spelling error that your spellchecker can not perfectly correct can be found out in the dictionary. This is highly important because many spell checkers correct individual words and not placement of words in the sentences.

Try creating your personal proofreading checklist containing your most common mistakes and ensure that you make corrections more than once to eliminate additional errors. You can invite a friend to help you out if things are getting out of hand.

Harry Boyd is an online tutor who teaches students great essay and report writing techniques and he believes that proofreading is a vital part of this.

Posted by: ArtisrRJ19 | December 17, 2012

Five Easy Steps on How to Succeed as a Writer

This guest post is by the author Ian Arnison-Phillips

Have you always dreamed of being a writer? Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a compelling novel or maybe you just enjoy playing with words and becoming an online copywriter may be the choice for you.

If you love writing then you are probably itching to get going, to write and write all day every day. Maybe you’ve decided to work from home, like myself, working for a choice of companies, writing on different subjects and enhancing their business visibility. It’s a rewarding job, but it does require dedication, a lot of hard work and sometimes very long hours.

Be Confident

If you doubt your abilities as a writer in any way, now is the time to stop. If you are a confident writer it will spill over into your writing. You cannot afford to doubt yourself. If you love writing and feel you have something to offer through words, then let the confidence ooze out of you.

Be sure about what you write: know your topic. Knowing your topic is easy, you can write on exciting travel locations that you have never visited or on the most boring of subjects such as flower arranging, but with the right amount of research you will enjoy the confidence to write the piece in both an informative way with an authoritative tone.

Believe in What You Write

I have found it very difficult to write about something I don’t believe in, if you don’t believe in something writing in a positive way is as impossible as trying to make someone believe you on a certain topic when speaking to them face to face.

Choose your assignments carefully, if you have any doubt in your belief, don’t take it on. This is the simplest solution to ensuring your work is always full of interesting information and you can interest the readers, captivating them with your enthusiasm and knowledge.

Always Offer Exceptional Service

My first few jobs were customer service based from working in a sales department of a computer supplies company to managing successful international real estate companies. These I did before I started writing.

From the minute I eventually started my own writing business working from home, I didn’t lose the customer service value that was such a big part of my life up to then. I think exceptional service is essential in any business but when you are writing and starting your business this can go a long way, helping to build great business relationships and ensuring you receive on-going work.

Exceptional service starts by ensuring you meet every deadline, if you can, do what I do and always ensure the work is submitted before the due date. There are of course times I am slightly behind, only my own fault, I cannot blame anyone else for this, but by contacting the client straight away and informing them that you need an extra day, this still ensures you are offering them the service that they would expect.

Don’t Take On Too Much

I believe we are all guilty of this when we are starting out as a new business, you are too scared to turn down any work in the fear that you lose a customer. At the same time taking on too much work will reduce your ability to offer exceptional service and superior writing. You may be tempted to write as quickly as possible, without doing your research or making silly mistakes you wouldn’t normally make in a desperate attempt to meet deadlines.

Proofread, Proofread and Then Proofread Again

The most annoying thing when reading anything online is seeing silly grammatical and spelling errors. Yes I am as guilty as the next writer when I write. That is why I proofread everything three times; the more you proofread the fewer mistakes there will be. Then use the spellchecker and just for good measure, proofread the piece again before submitting it.

You can start your writing career with guest blogging, write on subjects that interest you, subject where you can offer information and value for businesses helping them achieve online success.

Posted by: ArtisrRJ19 | December 3, 2012

How To Make Your Written Communication More Efficient

This is a guest post by eugie831

In an age where text messaging, tweets, Facebook messages, and email are the predominant forms of written communication it is very easy to fall into the trap of forgetting how to write properly. Some people will argue that it is no longer necessary to know how to write. They are wrong. Written communication is still an essential part of any successful life. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you are getting your message across as effectively and correctly as possible.

Think about who you are writing to: Not all written communication is the same, that is clear. But before every piece of text that you write, you should ask yourself who it is that you are writing to. An introductory email or typed letter to a new client should never be set about in the same way you would send a message to a colleague you see every day. The problem here may not be that what you say is wrong, but the way in which you are saying it. Effective written communication speaks directly to the person you have sent it to. There should be no grey areas in the communication, no assumptions made on the part of the writer. So, think about your audience, ask yourself exactly what it is you would like to tell them, and always write a first draft before you send the final piece.

Do you really know your ABCs?: It is a tough question to ask, embarrassing even, but how many people out there really know their own language. Aside from a few academics and teachers, most people do not have a great grasp of basic spelling, grammar, correct word order, etc. For this reason it is not a hanging offence for you to face up to the face that your grammatical skills could do with a little bit of brushing up. Bounce your written pieces of work of a close friend or colleague. It is amazing how a new set of eyes can spot a glaring error that you had become blind to. And friends will also not be afraid to suggest small alterations where necessary.

Read: If you don’t read on a regular basis it is highly likely that your written communication skills have declined since you last studied. Reading is an excellent way to improve your written communication skills as doing so puts you in constant contact with well-written pieces of work. You may not realise it at the time, but by reading you are automatically going back to school in terms of grammar, sentence structure, and spelling. And it can be enjoyable too, really!

Go Back to School!: If you can’t be bothered to read. If you are too embarrassed to show your friends or colleagues the mistakes you are making in your written work, then perhaps the only solution is for you to take up a written communication course. These courses are easy to find, can be done in a classroom or by distance learning, and they will definitely help you to make your written communication more effective.

It’s a worn out phrase that nothing is easier than ABC, but the truth is that it is not all that easy to be an effective writer. Practice, revision, and a slice of humble pie are probably needed for you to be communicating as well as you should be. And when you are, don’t forget to dot that i and cross that t!

Featured images:

Gust post by Phoenix Training – Sales, Leadership and Management training courses.

Posted by: ArtisrRJ19 | November 13, 2012

4 Ways You May Be Damaging Your Writing

This guest post is by the Author, Micah Abraham

Writing may be a skill you learn at a young age, but in many ways writing is also an art form. Like painting or sculpting, anyone can pretend to be a writer, but very few learn how to develop the talent that will actually get their work noticed. Millions of people may refer to themselves as writers, but only a small percentage actually has the talent to create quality works.

Yet most people can learn to become writers, because writing is about learning to share your creativity and your passion on paper. The problem is not that writing is necessarily difficult. The problem is that too many people are either caught up in how they believe writing is supposed to sound, or they’re not practicing in a way that is beneficial for their success.

Below are five ways that you may be damaging your own writing. By stopping these writing mistakes, you can develop not only higher quality writing, but also a skill that you can utilize in your personal and business life.

Common Writing Mistakes

·         Trying to Sound Smart

Easily the greatest mistake that people make when they try to become a writer is the desire to sound intelligent. Writing does take intelligence, but it also needs to flow naturally. If you try to “sound smart” with your writing, it will instantly become dry, uncreative, and often grammatically incorrect. Read any generic college personal statements and you’ll see the way each of them makes the same mistake – trying to sound like they deserve college, instead of trying to sound like themselves.

·         Facebook Statuses

No, Facebook itself doesn’t kill writing, but the way you write on your Facebook statuses, your text messages, your emails, and your Tweets all affect your ability to write well. If you are constantly writing grammatically incorrect, poorly constructed, poorly capitalized sentences in these media, you’re going to find that your writing outside of these media suffers. Writing requires practice, but poor quality social media writing is anti-practice.

·         Word Counting

Word counting is also a huge mistake that people make with their writing. Far too many people care about how long their content is, instead of whether or not it actually tells the story they need it to tell. Whether you’re writing for a client or you’re writing for yourself, you can’t care about word count, and instead need to care about providing information or a story that other people want to read.

·         Believing People Care

Finally, another common issue that affects many young writers is this egotistical belief that their writing is important; that others care about what they write and value every word. Those that hold this belief write without the requisite humility that allows them to become better writers. You can’t assume the words you write matter to anyone. Instead, you need to make sure they matter to yourself, and then re-read it under the belief that it won’t matter to anyone else.

Creating Quality Writing

In the end, though, it may not matter. While those writing content for others need to avoid these mistakes in order to improve their careers, many people simply write for themselves, and those that do don’t necessarily have to worry about the quality of their content. Nevertheless, those that are planning on crafting content that is going to be read by others need to make sure that they avoid the above common mistakes, otherwise your content will never get off the ground.

About the Author: Micah Abraham is a writer, that owns a content writing company based in Brooklyn called Great Leap Studios. He can be contacted at www.greatleapstudios.com.

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