Treat #1

A few years ago, I did a presentation on creativity tips to the Torchlighters Toastmasters group in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had the entire presentation written out. It lasted less than 10 minutes, so the accompanying notes/article isn’t very long.

But here it is. One of the promised treats for your Trick-Or-Treating Halloween pleasure.

Four Tips for Overcoming Creative Roadblocks

Look for a Treat

Photo used under Creative Commons from wwarby
Photo used under Creative Commons from wwarby

Friday is Halloween. In my town, trick-or-treat night is Thursday. Why? Football games on Friday. There is concern for the traffic before and after the games and kids not exactly paying attention running to and fro.

I’m not blaming the kids. It’s hard to avoid getting excited. So I agree that it should be changed for the safety of the kids getting their treats.

Speaking of treats…

Starting tomorrow and going through Friday, I will have a “treat” for you on this blog. Each one will be up for a limited time. Keep on the lookout so you won’t get tricked when they get taken down.

Until then….


Creative Commons via
Creative Commons via

In a conversation with my mother earlier, I mentioned that when I think about everything I have to do tomorrow, I feel overwhelmed.

She said I’ll get over it. And she’s right.

I’ve decided that when you take on anything new, there is always a learning curve (or a RElearning curve, as the case may be). I’m in that now. Yes, I know how to use AP style. I know the format for news stories. I’m having to relearn part of it though. This goes along with “The Wheels Are Turning” post from the other day.

Today was more…intense, I guess, than I expected. The assistant editor was back from vacation and trained me on how to do area briefs and obituaries. I worked on an article that I did the research and interview for on Friday. I learned the proper form for submitting my invoices to AR. I want to go over the article I was working on one more time before I call it done. I’m actually pretty happy with it.

Tomorrow, I need to come up with some interview questions for an entirely different subject, do the interview, type my notes, and finish a Halloween round-up article that I’ve been collecting information for.

Can I do it all tomorrow? I think so. Part of it, I have to.

I guess the point of all of this is to say that with my calendar, notebook, and revamped skill set, I’ve got this.

What are you working on that causes you to feel overwhelmed from time to time? I can pretty well guarantee you’ve got it — whatever “it” is — too.

The Wheels Are Turning

Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.
Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

It is easy to get lulled into the belief that writing is writing is writing. Today, I was reminded that is not necessarily the case.

Researching articles for news writing is a different ballgame than researching for magazine articles. True, some of the basics are the same, but the process itself is different. You have to ask different questions of yourself and of your sources for news writing (reporting) than you do for magazine writing.

This is not a complaint. It is a statement of what is.

I also realized the power of flattery in getting a potential source to be more amenable to meeting for an interview. This was an unexpected realization. Yes, I know people like to be complemented, but I underestimated how valuable a tool it could be.

For example, a potential interviewee seemed rather reluctant to agree to talk to me. Then I mentioned the research I have already done on his work and how I think it looks like A Very Good Thing.


He asked when I wanted to meet for the interview.

I think flattery is probably a tool that is best used sparingly, otherwise it could seem insincere. I think, too, though, that it is a valuable tool and should not be ignored.

When it comes to the actual writing, I am having to retrain myself about such things as when to abbreviate and when to use the full word/term and whether or not to use the Oxford comma.

Yes. The wheels are turning. And I swear I can feel the rust of unuse falling off as they move.

The Best-Laid Plans

Used under a Creative Commons license.
Used under a Creative Commons license.

Sometimes plans change and drive us nuts. Other times, they change and we know it will be so much for the better.

This is one of those times. The better one, that is. Though I have no doubt it will drive me nuts sometimes, too. (That’s easy to do when you’re already more than halfway there.)

A few weeks ago, I had applied for a job I really wanted. Then I went to Eureka Springs for two weeks. I thought I’d get the call for an interview while I was gone. Instead, the call came two days after I got back.

I went to the interview and it went great. To fast forward a little bit, I didn’t get the full-time job I wanted. Instead, I got offered a long-term contract position.

That will actually work out for the better. And it will also allow me to pursue other ideas and personal projects I thought of while I was in Eureka Springs.

Yes, plans changed, but so much for the better. I’m excited about the possibilities. I’ll keep you posted on how this all goes.


Conference Session Handouts

Photo (c) 2013 Joyce Nipps
Photo (c) 2013 Joyce Nipps

As promised, here are the two handouts I provided during my session at the Ozark Creative Writers’ conference earlier this month.

The first includes a list of places you can get your business cards, brochures, etc. The second is an article listing seven networking opportunities for freelancers.

There’s a bonus for you, too.

I had typed the real-world applications section of the session. I’ve converted that to a PDF as well and loaded that for you here also.

(Yes, there is a typo in the title of the 7 Networking Opportunities for Writers. It’s only in the link and would result in a broken link if I were to fix it now.)

7 Netowrking Opportunities for Freelancers
Networking handout
networking speech

I hope you can get some benefit from them. Feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email if you have any questions. My email address is in both the Networking handout and networking speech.