Tips for Writing Thank You Cards

Whether you just got married and you have 100 thank-you cards to write or you just had a new baby and have to send thank-you notes to your friends and family, here are some great tips to help get you through the writing process of writing the thank-you cards.

Keep them short and to the point. Thank-you cards are not the time to let people in on your life story at the moment. You should not brag about your new job or complain about anything going on in your life. They are a note to say thank you to the person. You should express your gratitude, let them know how you will use the gift or how the gift has helped you and them close the note up.

Make sure that you send a thank-you note for every gift that you receive. Even if it is a small gift, it still deserves a thank you. If you have trouble keeping track, make a spreadsheet or a list that you can write them down as soon as you receive the gift. At most parties, like bridal showers, someone will write down all the gifts down for you with the names of the gift givers. Make sure that you follow that list and are checking off the people you have sent thank-you cards to. You want to make sure everyone receives a thank-you card and also that someone does not receive two thank-you cards.

Mailing a thank-you card is a lot more personal than emailing the person a . Actually handwriting a letter shows the person that you took the time out of your day to write a letter and mail it, were as an email sort of looks like an afterthought. I know most people like receiving friendly letters in the mail and this is an excellent way to make a person’s day.

If you have a lot of thank-you cards to write out, set up a place in your house that you can have a station set up to write all of them out. Choose a spare bedroom or a spot in your office that does not have clutter. Gather up the stationary or cards with the envelopes, pens, stamps, and your address book and you can quickly put together the cards when you have the time and they will be there and organized so it can go much quicker.

Even if you do not like the present that was given, you still need to write a thank-you card to the person. Everyone likes to be appreciated and just because they got you something that you may not like, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t like it or thought it was special. Focus on the positive, such as the thought of the gift.… Read the rest

Enter Serenity: WordPlay Welcomes a New Mentor Writer

Baton Rouge's WordPlay Teen Writing Project traffics in safe spaces and scorching syntax. For a year and a half WordPlay staff have worked hard to empower young people in Baton Rouge by supplying them with the knowledge and resources they need to create art, community, and social change through literacy. The frenzy of activity and work constantly happening in the WordPlay office space at the Big Buddy Program is tiring just to watch. We are all thankful – young people and adults – once a month, to find some release, some pat on the back, some right word on the mic, some snatch of applause, some new voice to carry us forward.

When the feature poet took the stage at the January Freshhhh Heat open mic, she came with a certain calm. Latasha Weatherspoon, member of the Baton Rouge Poetry Alliance, took the stage with a slow gate and handed out two hot poems. Before leaving the stage she treated the audience to one last piece, a collaborative freestyle. She asked the young people to lift an object into the air so that she could work each object into her poem. The poem became a story of moving, carrying on, not stopping or letting up, with each new object a twist in the road, a talisman, a forebear of the journey. Each bag and each cap, each comb and each pen, each potato chip and each soda can, mine! and mine too! and don't forget that one sitting over there! every head and every shoulder, every young voice in the room willing to raise their hand, considered and engaged, accounted for and counted. The beauty of the poem rested in the poet's ability to work with the audience rather than speaking at the audience alone. By the end of the sometimes tangential narrative, the mood of the room was, well, serene.

A week after the open mic, WordPlay introduced Tasha to WordCrew, Baton Rouge's teen poetry council, and the staff of WordPlay welcomed Ms. Weatherspoon into their office, their classrooms, and their programs. Tasha, already a Project Rise mentor, was hired by WordPlay to teach workshops and tutor teens after school.

Since her first day with WordPlay, students have been lining up to work with Ms. Weatherspoon, and I'm happy to say I have the chance to do so too. Sitting in the library at Glen Oaks High School, I watch Tasha conduct a handful of students – an orchestra of youthful angst – like a master. She tells one student to "hush up and concentrate" on her work. But lurking behind the strong directive is a smile and a pile of compassion. She leans back in her chair and begins softly to herself, almost laughing, "God grant me the serenity…" Before I can wonder about the meaning, the usefulness of this Christian prayer, and its looped ending, the phrase has already stuck. I look around and see young people studying and working together and I figure something is going … Read the rest

Handling an Overseas Writing Business

The great thing about being a freelance writer is that you can live virtually anywhere in the world and still do the same exact job while enjoying the benefits of becoming a world traveler. If you want to start an overseas writing business, here are a few tips.

Tip #1: Use the Buddy System

If you are planning to move for a brief period of time — one year, for example — then you will want to retain the comforts of certain things from home while still handling your writing business overseas. You can accomplish this much more effectively by using the buddy system. Find a friend or a relative who can receive your mail, deposit important checks and maintain correspondence with your “home country” clients. This will cut down on your need to send IRC’s with every letter you write and will also many it easier to maintain your finances.

Tip #2: Maintain a Local Bank Account

There are a few benefits to opening a foreign bank account when managing a writing business overseas, but it is usually much easier to have a local bank account, instead. This allows you to deposit checks in your “home country” currency and prevents you from having to incur large fees for cashing a check in a foreign country. This also works out will if you’re using the aforementioned buddy system; your friend or relative can simply deposit your checks in your local bank and you can use online banking to pay your bills.

Tip #3: Get American Express

When handling a writing business overseas, it is almost always helpful to have an American Express card at your disposal. You can hang on to the Visa and MasterCard if you’d like, but American Express is accepted in most foreign countries and is actually the preferred method of payment for Americans when traveling (or moving) internationally.

Tip #4: Sign Up for Internet Faxing

Many Internet faxing services, such as eFax (efax.com) are much easier to maintain when handling a writing business overseas than using a LAN line for your faxing needs. For one thing, international lines often interrupt facsimile transmissions; for another, you’ll probably need to fax a great deal of documents to clients and editors and the fees can be enormous.

Tip #5: Get a Local Phone Number

With the advent of telephone services like Vonage, you can make telephone calls from just about anywhere in the country but maintain a local phone number, which cuts down on the fees for international calls and will enable you to itemize your bill so that you can separate business telephone expenses from personal ones. Maintaining a writing business overseas probably will mean calling your editor(s) and clients on a weekly (if not daily) basis, and telephone calls are expensive when dialed internationally.

Tip #6: Research Tax Requirements

Maintaining a writing business overseas does not exempt you from paying U.S. taxes and may require that you pay taxes to the country in which you are living, … Read the rest

Writing Ideas: Events in June and July

Summer officially starts in the month of June and is going strong in July. News publications and writers across the country have many options when planning coverage for special sections and more traditional news items in June and July.

The first day of June is Marilyn Monroe's birthday. The controversies of her life, career, romances and death are still popular interests for people across the nation.

June 21, 2009, marks the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer. Though many people's summer fun started with the passage of Memorial Day, others are still making vacation plans. Summer festivals and events in communities across the country are items of interest for many readers. Avoiding sunburns, beach safety and summer fashions are also of interest.

Independence Day, July 4, is our nation's most popular day of national pride.

The second Saturday of June is the final event in thoroughbred racing's "Triple Crown." The Belmont follows The Kentucky Derby and The Preakness, both of which took place in May. Though odds are established and gambling is popular, the sport of horse racing remains unpredictable.

June 14 marks Flag Day in the United States. Readers can be taught how to properly display and dispose of the American flag. The flag's appearance changed several times through the nation's history, and many traditions are associated with it.

The third Sunday of June is time for fathers to be recognized. Father's Day coverage ideas include gifts dads want compared to what they actually receive, and good gifts for kids to give their fathers.

Students graduate in early June or late May and head off on senior trips or start summer jobs before heading to college in the fall. June and July are also popular months for weddings, which can open up an array of possible story ideas, from dresses to cakes and flowers.

The summer hurricane season also starts in June. People can be informed on staying safe and how to protect their homes from storms if they live near the coast. In other parts of the country, hurricanes send heavy rain across the states. Hurricane history, especially since the tragic storms in the Gulf Coast and Louisiana, are also of interest.

In sports Major League Baseball is well underway. Traditional stories about players and statistics can be paired with other feature stories on items like hosting a baseball party. The All-Star Game takes place July 14.

George H. W. Bush was born on June 12, 1924; Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872; George W. Bush was born on July 6, 1946; John Quincy Adams was born on July 11, 1767; and Gerald Ford was born on July 14, 1913.… Read the rest

Musicovery: Interactive Web Radio

One of the never-dying fads among music lovers is online music. They'll get their doses from any source – online radio stations, band Web sites, free MP3 sites, online radio sites, MySpace musician profiles and more. These are all great ways to listen to music. However, if music lovers want to discover new music, they are quite limiting.

Music lovers need to know what artists they like or at least what style of music they like. It makes it hard to discover new music as exploring completely new content is almost impossible.

A great site on the Internet is Musicovery. The name is a play on the words "Music Discovery." The site allows users to choose from a variety of music types. It also allows users to choose music in two different range. Those ranges are "dark to positive" and "calm to energetic." Users can choose any area that rank between both of these ranges. Users are allowed to choose these ranges by themselves with a selection of certain music types (or all of them) or just from one certain music type.

Musicovery will then play different songs that fit that description. It lists the song title and the artist. Users will always know what songs they are hearing. If users absolutely fall in love with a song they are hearing, musicovery provides links to Amazon, iTunes, and Ebay where they can find the song.

If users don't like a certain song, they are not forced to listen to it. Musicovery allows users to pause and play songs. They can also just play a song and then browse others in the same category by following the flow of songs shown on the screen. If users want to hear a song they see on the screen, all they have to do is click on the song.

There is a big enough library that users will not easily get bored with the site. Unlike hearing the same song on the radio with in the same day, Musicovery has enough songs that not a single song would be heard in the same day if they all were to be played.

Musicovery brings the comfort of listening to different music before buying into the home. Gone are the days of browsing library shelves for a certain genre or going to the music store to listen to a certain genre of music through the headphones that so many others have worn on their heads.

Musicovery is found at http://www.musicovery.com… Read the rest

Improving Your Global Image as a Freelance Writer

Many U.S.-based freelance writers have come to realize that working with foreign markets can easily triple their income without having to learn a new trade. If you want to deal with editors and clients in foreign countries, you'll need to improve your global image. This means that all methods of correspondence must be globally friendly without being too obvious.

Improving Your Global Image: Telephone

Your telephone is one of your most valuable tools as a freelance writer, so you'll want to use it to improve your global image. For one thing, you'll want to include your full phone number on all correspondence, including your international dialing code. This will help editors and clients enormously because they won't have to look up the information just to ask you a question. It's an expected courtesy when dealing with international clients and editors.

Improving Your Global Image: Voice Mail

When you are only working with U.S.-based clients and editors, your voice mail message can be pretty standard. However, when you're working with foreign individuals, you'll want to make it as friendly as possible. For one thing, you can't expect everyone to get the time zone differences right on every try, so you'll definitely need voice mail for clients and editors who accidentally call you at three o'clock in the morning. For another, you might want to include a message in English as well as in the language of whatever countries in which you have clients.

Improving Your Global Image: E-Mail

When sending e-mail to foreign clients and editors, make sure that they're globally friendly. For example, if you're communicating with a client from Spain and you want to write in Spanish, make sure that your e-mail won't automatically change words that are correct in Spanish but not in English. Furthermore, you'll want to use an e-mail account that offers web-based mail in case you wind up traveling. That way, you can access your e-mail from any browser in the world.

Improving Your Global Image: Spelling

You will have to communicate in writing with editors and clients from foreign countries (obviously, since you're a freelance writer), so you'll want to make sure that you have a spell check system that allows settings to different languages. Even if you're corresponding with someone in England, the spelling will be different for many words (i.e. recognize; recognise) and you'll need to show that you can communicate using both versions of the written word.

Improving Your Global Image: Language

Even in English, you'll find that some words have different meanings when translating across oceans, so familiarize yourself with those differences. For example, if you were writing an article about fashion for a UK magazine, you wouldn't want to refer to "pants" as the things you wear over your boxers. Instead, you'd call them "trousers" as "pants" in the UK go underneath trousers. Make sense?

Improving Your Global Image: Query Letters

I hate to tell you this, but even if you've mastered the art of writing query letters in … Read the rest

Writing is My Favorite Addiction Ever

Life is so rich when every moment is an article waiting to happen. I will leap out of bed to jot down ideas, and pull into parking lots to scribble down ideas that popped in my head on the way there. As a result I have ideas written down and stashed in just about every corner of my house, evidence pointing to my addiction to this site.

I get a thrill out of submitting each article and seeing the "Thank You! Your content has been submitted" message that appears. This is one of the subtle things that gives me a feeling of accomplishment for the day, and has made writing for Content addictive. It's kind of a gateway drug. I know that I have a lot of opinions and stories, but it always comes as a shock that someone might find them to be of interest.

Checking on my articles to see what offers I got is the highlight of my day. In fact, I hate to let a day go by without submitting something, because then I might have a day with no offers. Going to my Content page and seeing that my articles have been reviewed is such fun. It's like Christmas morning, winning at the slot machine, and getting your tax refund in the mail all at once.

Having the stream of income into my paypal account is one of the best parts, of course. I have other addictions that cost money, and I am able to pay for them with my Content addiction.

Writing for this site has changed how I communicate. In conversations, a topic will come up and I'll say "Oh yes, I just wrote an article on that". It's like I'm instantly branding myself as an expert. I try to strike a delicate balance between getting the word out about new articles, and actually quoting myself in the third person like some kind of know-it-all. I don't, after all, want anyone to stage an intervention.

Writing for this site has given me a reason to start writing again. I do a variety of small part-time things for extra money, and it's been great to add "freelance writer" to my list of gigs. Having had formal art training, I am painfully aware of how challenging it can be to find compensation for your work. I had looked at my interest in writing as something that was of little benefit, kind of a parlor trick. Writing for this site elevates it to something that is valuable both financially and intellectually. It's a habit worth picking up.… Read the rest