What Stories Will You Leave Behind?

51cEm2e4iWL._AA160_This movie was on the other night, and I caught the end. Although I have seen it before and didn’t even see it from the beginning, I still found myself tearing up and searching for Kleenex during these final scenes.

After I had got myself together, I ran the DVR back three or four times to get these final thoughts written down from lyrical and poignant storyteller, Daniel Wallace.

So when you are working today, ask yourself:

What stories will I leave behind?

From Big Fish:

“Have you ever heard a joke so many times you have forgotten why it is funny. Then you hear it again and suddenly, it’s new. You remember why you loved it in the first place.

That was my father’s final joke, I guess. The man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him…and in that way he becomes immortal.”

Big Fish,  by Daniel Wallace

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I Don’t Understand Google Authorship…Do You?

A tired woman in front of a laptop

By Terri Lively

I have a confession to make. I cannot understand Google Authorship at all.

I want very much to be that cool writer who is so on top of her content that it is all linked to her Google+ profile, etc. On several attempts, I have tried to set it up for myself. I keep getting to the point where I have verified my email address with the program, which is pretty simple. But then I fall into an abyss of instructions that make no sense whatsoever.

This all started many months ago when the online discussion forum I participate in brought up the subject with all of us fellow content providers. The query was simple, “Do you use Google Authorship?” So I answered yes, not really knowing what it was or how it works. I think at the time I thought it was sharing a post on Google+.

Then as I audited the ensuing discussion from writers who were far more in the know than me, I learned that Google Authorship is something else entirely. The term I just used, something else, has been the sum total of my understanding of the blessed thing to this day.

Now I am no Silent Generation technophobe. I am not some Baby Boomer desperately trying to keep up with technology. I am Generation X, not quite as tech savvy as a Millennial but not too shabby for someone who recently made the trek over the proverbial hill.

In some ways I am a tech pioneer. I programmed a Radio Shack TRS 80 to do a simple math problem in DOS at computer camp:

trs80-i

I owned the turtle program on the Apple IIgs in the sixth grade:

This early work served me well in today’s technology. I built my own website for goodness sakes. If I’m being honest, though, it took me forever to do so. I had real issues with Meta Tags (another concept I have a hard time with) and I used a template provided by my host. Despite these challenges to my technology knowledge, however, I did it!

Once you verify your email address with Google Authorship, however, that’s when it goes sideways for me. Because the next step (if your email isn’t on the page where the post is) is uploading HTML code to your websites and then my eyes begin to cross and panic surges from my belly all the way to my reluctant fingertips. Once moment passes, I think, “No problem. I’ll just Google how to do it.”

That’s how I muddle through everything these days. And I do mean everything. For example:

  • Do you have to bring a broccoli salad to the family potluck this weekend and haven’t the faintest idea what that is or how to make it? No problem, Google the recipe: Broccoli Salad on Allrecipies.com.
  • Did your dishwasher start leaving a salty film all over the dishes? No problem, Google “Salty Film on Dishes” to look for solutions, which is: run the empty dishwasher with a cup of Vinegar.
  • Did someone add the comment to one of your Facebook posts about whether you should use the tandem jump skydiving Groupon your mother-in-law sent you with the ubiquitous acronym “YOLO”? Then Google it so you don’t embarrass yourself later. Fellow oldish farts: It means, “You only live once.

But my go to source, my savior in all things that don’t make any sense to me as I approach official old fart status failed me. I just keep getting this page:

Preview of “Google Authorship”

Look! I can’t even make the PDF of the Google Authorship page for this post look right! That square in the middle is no where on the screen when I make the pdf. It’s like Google Authorship hates me. I am in an endless loop of confusion and frustration with this confounded program. Or is an App? Maybe I should just call it a feature.

In the faint hopes that anyone at Google will ever read this I say, Google Authorship…seriously? You know that we are writers, right? As in high on the verbal side…low on the math side of the SATs? We are not coders, or IT experts, or 24 years old. Please make it a little more clear what this program does and how to make it work without requiring the letters H,T,M, or L.

Chances are the Googlers aren’t going to answer me. So I ask you, writers: Can any of you explain Google Authorship to me? What is it and how do I make it work? I’d appreciate your help in the comments below.

Terri Lively is a career marketing professional that has unique experience in the areas of messaging and client relations. She writes for her clients that want to enhance their content. For the past 15 years, she helps create effective marketing materials that communicate their message and get results, across all types of media. More about Terri can be discovered at www.terrilively.com or email me at terri@terrilively.com.

Typ0s

I updated this post for LinkedIn and just did a radio interview about it for LocalJobNetwork.com. Stay tuned for airing details! Also, please post your best tips and tricks for catching Typ0s.

Lively Copywriting

Image

You work hard on a post for hours. You choose your words very carefully. You make sure that the rhythm of the words is just so to deliver that emotional punch or punch line depending on the tone of the piece. You revise it. Then you revise it again.

Finally you are ready. You take a deep breath, you swallow back your insecurity, and you hit the publish button. The world can see what you have poured your time and energy into, the masterpiece that you are now sharing with them.

Unfortunately, they can also see your typo.

This happens to me all the time. Here’s an example from last week’s post on LinkedIn.com. When I originally posted it the second sentence read:

I have never met Stephen King and likely never will. But I am certain that I know what his least favorite Schoolhouse Rock Video. It’s this one:”

View original post 756 more words

Stephen King Hates This Schoolhouse Rock Video

I have never met Stephen King and likely never will. But I am certain that I know  his least favorite Schoolhouse Rock Video. It’s this one:

I read a fantastic book by Stephen King called On Writing. If you haven’t read this book and want to be a writer, you should read it tomorrow. It’s better than a weekend long writing conference. Plus, with paperback prices being what they are, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper.

There are so many things that surprise you when you read the book. For instance, he read and recommended the first three Harry Potter books. He played in a band with other writers, including Amy Tan. He was so drugged out in the eighties that he doesn’t remember one moment of writing Cujo. He also thinks that plots weaken your story and that your characters should write your stories for you (really). Those are just the ones I can think of right now.

But perhaps the most controversial thing that I heard him say from a writing standpoint is that he HATES adverbs. You read that right: he hates the “-ly” words.

King talks about the toolbox that every writer should have in the book. One of the important tools he recommends is grammar (here’s another surprising thing I learned, he used to teach a class on grammar for High School called “Business English” before he was a world-famous writer of fiction). But even though adverbs are part of the language and are perfectly grammatically acceptable, he thinks writers should never use them. Why? Because King says that adverbs are the tools of a timid writer.

Adverbs are “a word or phrase that qualifies an adjective, verb or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (source: Google). But, King compares adverbs to dandelions in the lawn. Sure one of them here or there is not big deal, but sooner or later you will have an infestation that wrecks your writing’s lawn.

Adverbs are the tools of a timid writer. King says that when you use them “the writer usually tells us he or she is afraid he/she isn’t expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or picture across.” He says that if you did a sufficient job with telling your story and describing the situation then you don’t need them. So do that (meaning, tell your story sufficiently) instead.

In the past, I use adverbs and adverbial phrases, frequently (ahem…). Up until recently, I used them unrepentantly. While I respect King’s opinion and believe unquestionably and inarguably that he is an expert on writing, I am not sure I agree completely with his point.

My writer’s lawn needs work apparently.

But despite my respect of the body of work and success that King has to back his claim, am I ready to throw out a whole type of word just because he thinks it’s “timid writing”? Honestly (GAH!), I am not sure. I sure as heck want him (and even more importantly, his publisher) to think I am a good writer, not a timid one, but I kind of like adverbs. It’s a real writing dilemma for me and since I read that part of the book I think about it… constantly!

So I ask you writers: are adverbs weak writing or are they useful descriptive tools? * I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

* Don’t worry, Stephen King is WAY too famous to read my posts and will likely never know what you say here, so be honest!

cropped-2013_0109_006-1.jpgTerri Lively is a career marketing professional that has unique experience in the areas of messaging and client relations. She helps professionals that want to grow their influence and enhance their content for publication. For the past 15 years, she has been helping her clients create marketing materials that effectively communicate their message and get results, across all types of media. More about Terri can be discovered at http://www.terrilively.com.

 

Being Alive is a Grand Thing

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to BE alive is a grand thing.”

 

— Agatha Christie, from “An Autobiography”

 

 

5 Days: An Interesting Fact about Novels from Real Simple Magazine

5 Days: An Interesting Fact about Novels from Real Simple Magazine

Reading my favorite magazine, contemplating whether I am going to enter the Life Lessons Essay Contest (again), when I found this interesting fact on The Simple List, page 6 of the July issue:

5 Days

[is] How long the effects of reading a novel linger in the average person’s mind, according to a December 2013 study from Emory University in Atlanta. For 19 days, researchers took MRIs of undergraduates before, during and after reading Robert Harris’ 2003 thriller, Pompeii. Interestingly, the area of the brain linked to movement and physical sensation, which showed persistent changes throughout the reading, continued to do so almost a week after the students had finished. After that, the experience may have faded. Ciao, Pompeii. Hello, library.

Of course, we all know that there are some books that change your life. But it’s good to know that at the very least, you can change a reader for almost a week!