Thursday, June 28, 2007

1. Poetry

Does the urge to write poetry sometimes hit you when you least expect it? Don't worry about whether you produce good, bad or somewhere in between poetry. Pick up a pencil, grab a notebook and just write it. For the first draft, write whatever comes to you. You can polish it when the words are all out. Keep all your masterpieces in one notebook, something special if you can manage it and add favourite quotes and other poems. Make sure you sign and date your own work so you can look back over it later on and know exactly which words are yours.

Polishing your poetry can be as technical as you like it. If you really want to delve into the murky depths, obtain a copy of a book like Stephen Fry's "The Ode Less Travelled" and learn as much as you can. A step down from that is to simply read lots of poetry and copy the styles that you like best. On an even simpler level, go over your poem and, if it reads fine to you, leave it. If, on re-reading, you can think of better words or lines to use, use them and leave it.

If you want to publish your poetry, but don't feel skilled enough at writing, try either attending a poetry writing course or workshop, or search the web for online groups. You'll want one that welcomes beginners and offers critiques. Strict critiquing guidelines are okay as long as they also offer help with how to critique. If you're not sure of your ability to crit work, let the group moderator know and ask for help and/or flexibility in requirements.

Do I write poetry? Yes. I call it "bad poetry". I think it's fine, mainly because each piece reflects something about me at the time I wrote it. An inspiration, an idea, or just a feeling I absolutely had to get out. I call it "bad" because 1. I have no intention of ever publishing it and 2. On the off-chance that someone actually reads it, they can't say I didn't warn them. I have no pretensions. The poetry is written for me and me only. Of course, my "bad" is in comparison to people who I think write great poetry...

Somewhere, in all my writings about writing, I've said - don't compare yourself and your work to other writers, it's not good for you - or something along that line. I obviously have work to do on my poetry-writing confidence levels.

In the meantime, I keep it to myself.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Being a writer

If you have a secret desire to write stories or poems, if you feel the need to voice an opinion or share knowledge through the written medium, then that is enough to make you a writer. But, if you didn't go past highschool education, did not excel in English at school and aren't familiar with a lot of the technical aspects of writing, then you may be wondering where to start.

The World Wide Web is a wonderful tool for writers and prospective writers alike. Where else can you tap into writing groups full of like-minded people willing to help you out, for free, without leaving the comfort of your computer monitor and keyboard. Following are a bunch of tips on how to get started as a writer and a few pointers about what being a writer means.

Being a writer does not only mean being published in print. Writers are people that use the written word to express themselves either in journals, through poetry, stories, articles, essays or letter-writing. There are as many different forms of written expression as there are ways to paint a picture.

Coming up will be some posts that take a quick look at what the "really new to writing" writer can do to help themselves proceed down their chosen path.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Unite to Write

Unite to Write is a collection of reprintable articles on a variety of topics such as:

  • Herbs and plants

  • Grief and widowhood

  • Writing for Children

  • Coping with Insomnia

  • Freelance writing

  • business know-how

  • Do it yourself Home Repair

  • Dealing with Coworkers

  • Medical Articles

  • Marketing and Networking

and I'm in it! I had completely forgotten about this, but one of the outcomes of the Article Challenge I participated in last year was the ebook Unite to Write. I was wandering around the web earlier and reading some of the articles on Yvonne Perry's blog when I rediscovered it.

Hop on over to Writers in the Sky and pick up a free copy. All the articles are free to be used as web content so long as the individual author's bio/resource box is used as well.

Thanks for the help

It seems the subscription link is indeed working. Thank you for all those that responded. I'll have to resubscribe myself... perhaps it was all the bad weather we'd been having. Speaking of bad weather, it's batten down the hatches time here in Sydney. The latest weather reports have gale force winds, lots and lots of rain and even some hail expected later on tonight. The day started off quite pleasant, some sunshine making it through the rainclouds [it rained heavily all night last night] and not too cold. It all went down hill from there. By mid-morning the temperatures had dropped and the sun had snuck back behind the cloud cover. Lunchtime saw the return of the rain and now, dinnertime, it's raining and quite cold.

I am happy to report that some rain is at last falling over our dam catchment area. Warragamba Dam reported a 53mm fall over the past 24 hours. Sydney has not gone completely dry just yet! Just a few million more millilitres to go and I can finally go back to the long hot showers I prefer.

My neurotic dog is loving the weather. She spent last night on the lounge with "dad" who, grumbling true, vacated his snug warm bed so she would settle [and the rest of the family could sleep]. What a man! He didn't get much sleep though so it will be my turn tonight, I'm sure. Our pooch doesn't like the rain, or the wind, or thunder, or any sort of loud noise really, and has mastered the "pathetic" look to perfection. Imagine a skinny-looking whippet with her tail tickling her ribcage, shivering violently and one front paw lifted... it works nearly everytime.

I have just had a number of articles published at and am almost 1/2 way through the LK Spring Article Challenge. My daughter had a look at my article list and said, "Loofahing? You're writing about loofahing?"

"Yes," I replied. "I'll write about anything." [and I do love a good loofah, so why not share it with the world!]

I also have a couple of articles about PowerPoint presentations. As I'm immersed in producing advertising for big screen presentations [I'm talking big, big screen here] for work, why not share some of the ins and outs?

Enjoy your reading and why not drop a line or two in the comments section. I love to see who's been around...


Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I've just added a subscription button to my blog [over there on the left]. I'm not sure if it's working. Either I've done something wrong or my free subscription to Feedburner doesn't allow for blog subscriptions.

I would greatly appreciate someone other than myself clicking on the icon and letting me know what happens after they've filled in the form. I especially want to know if the form is the last you hear of the whole subscribe to Beginnings, Middles Ends blog thing.

Many thanks

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another word or two on common errors

I just wanted to add a few more words on the subject of misused words; pet peeves, if you will.


These are two different words with two different meanings. "Loose" refers to things like, "loose change" or, "the cows are loose in the back paddock again, Ma!". That sort of thing.

"Lose" is related to "lost", like when you lose an aeroplane full of hapless people somewhere over the Pacific Ocean and then later decide to make a neverending television series about it. Though that may refer more to "losing the plot" - or it could just be me.

A couple of others, which are more a change in style yet to catch on than peeves, are:

Adding "st" to the end of words, such as whilst, amongst, amidst. The "st" is on its way to meet the dinasaurs. Modern useage is to leave the words intact. Eg. while, among and amid.

Double quotation marks instead of single. That is, "dialogue" rather than 'dialogue'. Doubles are out. Singles are in. Why? Singles save space and, therefore, save paper. Kind of like using one space after a fullstop/period or colon, instead of two. Note that the whole single versus double rule does not include quotes.

By the same reasoning, you could also change useage of words such as, towards and backwards, to, toward and backward.

What do you think? Have any pet peeves?


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Winter has finally hit!

It has been raining for almost two days solid, wild winds to go with it. North of Sydney serious damage and deaths have occurred. Now, I'm told the real storm, as if what we've been experiencing isn't enough, is coming our way.

My in-laws lost their verandah roof at 1am this morning. My brother-in-law and family have been without electricity for nearly 24-hours. I'm just thankful that I live where I do in a relatively safe part of Sydney.

I drove down to the beach today. The beachside roads are buried under golden sand. The wind was too strong to allow a stroll over the dunes and to the beach, but surely the giant waves have cut a swathe along their lengths.

Take a look at the picture. Where the white sign is should be a wide bitumen path. Right next to that is the road. It's all still there, of course, just buried under a few inches of mushy sand.

I think I'll stay home the rest of this long weekend and enjoy the opportunity to catch up on critiques, articles and a bit of marketing. I've had enough of weather for now.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Misused and Abused

Here's a great article by freelance writer, Kendy Sproul. Drop in and visit her blog. She has some great words of advice and many other articles.


Misused and Abused

As a freelance writer and editor, the more I read, the greater my awareness of the confusion most of us experience over the correct use of English. And understandably so. You don't have to be uneducated to make mistakes that might make you seem less than the literate person you are.

In an attempt to clear up a small portion of this confusion, I have made a list of commonly abused words. Don't be ashamed if you see words on this list that you often misuse yourself, the abuse of these words can be commonly found in the correspondence of even the most prestigious offices in our country.

Learn their correct uses and you will hold your head high the next time you are asked to write a report or letter, knowing that no words will be abused in the process.


accept:to receive willingly.except: to exclude or leave out.I accepted payment from everyone there, except Ryan.


affect: when used as a noun it means to influence or stir the emotions of. It can only be applied to subjects that have emotions and can be influenced.effect: to bring about by a cause; result (hence the phrase; cause and effect).What we say as parents, greatly affects our children. The effect can be disastrous.


aggravate: to make worse; to annoy.irritate: to provoke to anger; to make inflamed or sore.Brian tried to irritate his little sister. The situation was aggravated by the barking dog.


anxious: worried or uneasy.eager: keenly desiring or impatient.I was eager to go, but anxious about the slick roads.


continually: repeated often.continuously: without interruption, unbroken.Ted has to put fuel in the generator continually to keep it running continuously.


i.e.: short for the Latin, id est, meaning, "that is."e.g.: short for the Latin, exempli gratia, meaning, "for example."I prefer neutral colors; i.e. beige, sand, brown, etc.The twins have several differences; e.g. Ellen is taller than Susan.


imply: to indicate indirectly; to suggest.infer: to conclude by reasoning; to draw meaning from something known or assumed."Wow, that's some hair color," she said, implying that my hair looked unnatural. "Your hair is Red!" he said, inferring to the color.

into/in to

into: to enter (Go into the kitchen.); to change form (He turned into a frog.); continue in the midst of (We danced into the night.); to make contact with or strike (She ran into the door. or, I ran into an old friend.).in to: used in most other instances.Patricia T. O'Conner simplifies things in her book, Woe is I, where she advises; If you can drop the in without losing the meaning, the term you want is in to. Bring the guests (in) to me, then we'll all go (in) to dinner.


it's: the contraction of "it is."its: the possessive form of "it."These two are commonly confused but not interchangeable.It’s so warm outside that the yard is beginning to lose its winter look.


lay: always applies to an object; to place an object somewhere.lie: to rest in a horizontal or reclined position.First, I will lay my book on the shelf, then I will lie down on the bed.


nauseated: caused to feel nausea; to be make sick.nauseous: an adjective referring to something causing nausea; something sickening.I’m nauseated by that nauseous odor.Got it? Good! Far too many of us go through life mistakenly (or not) admitting that we are sickening (nauseous).


sit: to rest oneself upon the buttocks; to be seated.set: always applies to an object; something is being placed.Set your cup on the counter, then sit in the chair.


than: use when comparing elements.One is bigger than the other.then: use when signifying a sequence of events or regarding time.We will go for a walk, then have lunch. I was younger then.

This is only a portion of my list of commonly misused words. But, by spreading the knowledge of their proper use, there just may be fewer cases of word abuse in the world.

by Kendy Sproul