Vintage Office

So much is advancing, crowding out the old typewriters, file cabinets and even the lowly trashcan may now have evolved into a recycling bucket instead. What vintage treasure do you keep in your office? There must be something. I know I cling to a few things which remind me of times past and the people who worked and wrote there. I used to have a pencil sharpener which my Grandfather bought me when I was a kid. But someone took it. They claimed their children were going to use it but, I just never saw it again.

Flickr: Vintage Office

How to Start a Writer Blog: 8 Helpful Tips |

5. Ask Commenters to Contribute

This is very, very important. Whenever you make a list of things, end it by asking readers what you left out. This makes the inevitable “You left out xyz awesome thing!” comment a happy collaboration rather than an indictment of the blogger’s intelligence. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented: “I can’t believe you didn’t include [some obscure nerd thing], furthermore [you are an idiot] and [should be fired].” But when I invite people to contribute, they do so gladly.

Such a simple lesson. Worth so much. Do it. Also, you’ll often get people giving you links that lead to new posts down the road.

6. The Past: There’s Always More of It

Credit to John Hodgman for the headline here.

When I started blogging, I sat down and wrote a long list of interesting trivia: topics I knew something about, interesting historical tidbits, lots of computer nerd stuff. Literally a big long bulleted list, in a file on my desktop. I then proceeded to write a blog post for every single one of those items. When I ran out, I panicked. What would happen? How would I keep coming up with a new thing every day forever? I had run out of interesting stuff!

When it’s your job to find and highlight one interesting thing every day, you quickly become a specialist at spotting interesting things. If you have any human interaction, and you keep your eyes and ears open, you will constantly encounter topics. You just need to notice them, then write about them. Go to the post office and listen to people talking in the line, look around the room, look at what’s for sale — something about that experience is almost certainly bloggable. (Forever Stamps, anyone?) So my job as a blog writer changed when I ran out of ideas in my back catalog — I became a finder of interesting things, and worked to become good at briefly describing those things. The finding skill can be harder; you need to develop a clear sense not just of what’s interesting to you, but what’s interesting to your audience, and also what can be briefly described.

via How to Start a Writer Blog: 8 Helpful Tips |

Make your Writer Feel More like a Writer this Christmas

Writing is something we often do alone while we think we really are not very good. It’s so easy to compare yourself to so many other people who seem to do it all just a bit better than you can ever do it yourself. We all get days where we feel we could not write our way out of a wet paper bag. So, we need some inspiration and encouragement from those around us.

If you have a writer you want to encourage this Christmas, I have some ideas for you! These will also work as self-help if you are the writer you want to encourage and inspire.

  • Treat yourself to a creative writing inspiration type of book. Really treat yourself or your writer and buy one new, not second hand.
  • Look at software for organizing and keeping track of freelance writing submissions. If your writer doesn’t already have something like this, you can really encourage them by giving them a tool to help them do more and do it better.
  • A dictionary is an old stand by, maybe too much of a stand by. But, if you really don’t know what to get it’s something safe. Make sure you go the extra mile and sign the dictionary with encouraging words from you.
  • A writer needs a portfolio, not so different from other artists. Talk to your writer about the portfolio they have and ask about how it could be better. Listen for ideas and ways you could help them get from where they are to where they could be.
  • Look at home offices and see what tools and gadgets would suit a writer’s home office. You might get a gift card at a store which offers wallpaper, paint and etc and let them use it toward redecorating the home office space they have.
  • Sometimes a writer needs to get away and recharge the batteries. Give your writer a trip to a spa, a coupon for a weekend of babysitting their kids, or get them tickets to a creative workshop or writer convention coming to the area.
  • If your own budget is tight give your writer a Christmas card full of inspiring quotes geared to writing and creativity. You can find all kinds of great writer-like quotes online.

Get Some Inspiration from Jeannie in a Bottle

Jeannie in a Bottle writes posts with a unique slant:

How to Hunt for Ghosts at the Office During your Downtime

 How to Perform an Exorcism in your Spare Time

10 Signs you are Living in a Haunted House

A Bumbling Idiot’s Guide to Ghost Hunting

How to Battle the Closet Monster

Let’s Put an End to Zombie Prejudice

This is just a list of her posts with a paranormal slant. There are 270 posts, written in 16 months, on her HubPages account. That’s prolific!

Lily’s Friday Prediction

Lily’s Friday Prediction – The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. New word list each week. Submissions must be linked to the comments in the blog by the following Thursday. (If you’re later than that you may as well start wtih the new Friday Prediction). On Twitter use the #fridayflash hashtag.

Monday notch speed – The words for this week.

They call him Mister Manic Monday. He picked up the office new hires on their first day. Put a notch in his bedpost and came to work on Tuesday without knowing so much as her name. I guess that was his idea of speed dating.

The police came to the office, asking questions. Apparently one of the new hires was slightly psychotic and didn’t take well to being dumped. Mister Manic Monday was never going to see Tuesday, that week or any other week.

How sad and ironic; that was the day I actually learned his real name.

Afterwards for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is over for another year. How did you score? Isn’t that a bad way to think of it!

What could be all romance, cuddles and affection has become about retail, shopping and spending. No, I’m not going on a retail rant. I’ve worked retail enough to live and let live. People need to change, if they want to.

But, what did you really want for Valentine’s Day this year? Was it the traditional chocolate and flowers. Did you think about something pretty like jewels or something slinky like erotic lingerie? Maybe you’re more practical and what you really would have liked was a book of poetry? Or a dinner out, a time you can enjoy the meal without the cooking or the clean up.

I would have liked a dinner out. Nothing flashy or fancy. Just a nice meal, conversation and maybe a small surprise gift. I admit I look at the advertising sent out by the jewelry stores at this time of year. I do oogle the pretty, sparkly things. Now and then you see just the ‘right’ brooch. Why doesn’t he just know what you want? Does he need that ESP antennae adjusted again? Is it unfair to men to expect them to know what we want? I don’t really think so. If they listened they would hear us saying we want or need this and that. I don’t mean ordinary things like cooking gadgets or hair dryers or toasters. No, something nice, something that says “You really are my Valentine”.

Helping men shop for Valentine’s Day gift ideas

Of course, it goes both ways. What did you get him for Valentine’s Day? A tie you wish he would wear but know he won’t? A fresh new pair of socks? Undies? It is hard to know what to get a man for something kind of romantic. They pretend they aren’t romantic at all. But, ignore that. The smart woman has paid attention and knows what he needs and would really like to see wrapped up with a red bow….

No, not anything slutty (though we won’t try to pretend that isn’t on his list).

I’ve seen a grown man crack the biggest happy smile when his girlfriend sent him flowers, delivered to his office. Now, if she had asked him if he would like flowers… I’m sure he would have said no, in some nice way. But, actually having them made his day in a big way.

Each guy is different though. Just like we tell them, you have to listen, pay attention. It will come up in conversation, at one time or another.

It helps if you already know what he likes. My husband liked Batman and sort of dark horror like zombies, even before they became popular. So, if I noticed something that would stroke his Batman or zombie fetish, I knew I had something he would like. But, is it romantic to give your husband a T-shirt about brain eating zombies for Valentine’s Day? Well, romance is in the eye of the beholder.

Nowadays, as a single, divorced woman I have a new appreciation for slinky things. Just for myself. I like to look on sites like Ann Summers and window shop. It doesn’t cost me anything. If I were not single I might get the catalogue sent so I could suggestively leave my favourite selections for him to find on his computer keyboard and other places I know he won’t miss them.

I’d really be impressed if a man I was dating bought me a locket or a charm bracelet though. For him to know how much I like traditional, romantic, pretty things – that would be a great Valentine’s Day.

Think about a Valentine gift for a character you have written of the opposite gender. What would your character love for Valentine’s Day, something they would never actually admit for fear of sounding overly mushy, sappy and sensitive?

What Writing Related Life Hack do you Use?

Curvy Girl Guide asked: “We want to know what items make your life easier. Not counting your phone what life hacks do you use?”

I thought about it for a while and then wrote:

My old TV tray. I use it to sort out the mail in the morning. I use it to sort through stuff that would otherwise clutter my home office desk. I can bring my mini laptop to it and work on small stuff or catch up with family. I like not having to be in the home office for personal computer time. At night I will sometimes set my coffee on the TV tray while I make dinner in the kitchen, keeps it out of my way and yet within reach. I even eat on the TV tray some nights. It’s almost a mini home office, but far more casual and I don’t get crumbs on my desktop computer!

The old TV tray is kind of neat really. I use it more than I realized. It’s just simple, a small flat tray with legs that fold underneath it and then the top falls down to the side. Mine is wood, a secondhand/ thrift store find. I spray painted it with silver colour a few years ago. It could use another round of paint as the wear and tear are showing. But, it’s sturdy and reliable. Not something I’d want to use my desktop computer on but it’s perfect for the mini laptop and whatever accessories (like my scanner or the digital camera) I want to use with it.

Do You Remember Erma Bombeck?

“Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.” ― Erma Bombeck

We build trust gradually. But, when there isn’t time for it to build we have to decide based on what we can find and understand in the moment. What other signals might you find in a doctor’s office which would give you an opinion about the type of doctor he/ she would be? If not a doctor, think of other professions and examples.

Don’t take your car to a mechanic with a bus pass.

Don’t listen to a weatherman who never carries an umbrella.

Never borrow books from someone who only looks at the pictures.

Try a few yourself.

Desk Rage?

Lilit Marcus writes about desk rage in her blog: Save the Assistants. Have you heard the term, desk rage, before? It was new to me. But I’ve seen it happen. Like road rage, desk rage is all about frustration, impatience and losing your temper. (Or your sanity, temporarily). People who work closely together or share some facilities like a kitchen, coffee maker, washroom, etc are bound to become irritated by what are small things.

I think the main problem isn’t a lack of space but a lack of knowing the people you are working with. You are more likely to spew and rant at someone if you don’t know them, don’t have any interest in them. Once you talk to them, get to know them, find out some likes and dislikes and realize how much you have in common with them, it changes your perspective. Instead of being the enemy they become the co-worker.

This was my comment in the blog:

It might help if people weren’t all so anonymous these days. When I worked in an office we couldn’t take breaks at the same time. At lunch I was happy to be “free” so I usually left the building or hid somewhere so I couldn’t be called back to do someone a favour. When I worked in a factory job it was very different. Everyone knew each other by name, knew what her kids were up to, etc. We took lunch and breaks at the same time so had that social time I never had in an office or retail environment.

What do you think? What causes road rage or desk rage or any other type that may come out in the future and how can people fix this so we can all drive, walk and work safely together?

Dangly Chandelier Earrings

Imagine a great pair of dangly earrings, those fancy ones they call chandeliers. You inherit them from your Great Grandmother or maybe an admirer gifts them to you in all his high esteem and admiration. However they come to you they become an extension of your head almost. Only getting removed from your head when you have a shower or go to bed.

Write about the adventures of the dangly earrings. How they get caught in your hair. How you were visiting a friend and her cat went bonkers over your sparkling, shining, dangly earrings. Or that time your boss said they were too glamorous for the office but didn’t actually say you shouldn’t wear them.