Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Copious Drivel

You simply must read Anya Werner's thoughts on writing copius drivel:

    I saw an ad posted today - man, i love craigslist - for someone to write copious drivel. They sure nailed it. So much of what I write these days is just filler, intended to support the keywords that will attract the search engines that will in turn attract the people. I think of it as jello holding up the fruit. The fruit is the good part; the jello is just a suspension. It may be enjoyable (cherry), or it may be innocuous (lemon), but it really isn't the point.

    Of course, my thoughts now go to the jello salad recipe and jello mold ads that will invariably appear in my blogads...

So very, very true. I've found that some of my own ventures into content writing have been a bit too "literary," and I've had to tone them down a bit, sprinkling the paragraphs with keywords (or is that key words? Does it even matter in content writing?).

I love writing with style, using flowing phrases, intricate details, vivid imagery, and descriptive words. Oh, the lovely words! So much more than basic keywords.

Content writing often provides for quicker responses as well as more immediate payments. That's always nice while playing the waiting game with print publications. It is possible to write for both ends of the spectrum, but it takes a bit of learned skill to juggle without dropping the balls. I'll continue writing content to help pay the monthly bills (my husband loves that I can help), and query/write the more fascinating stuff to build dreams for the future.

After all, I do believe that Jell-O and fruit can co-exist. In fact, I'm not afraid to add some Cool Whip into the mix! Why not? (The descriptive words are the Cool Whip.)

In the real world, beyond the world of keywords, is a place where people love Jell-O and Cool Whip. Drop of dollup of Cool Whip on top, and Mmmm --- you've got a sweet dessert. Use some descriptive words; you'll be sure to hook them and reel them in. :o)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Vast Sea of Article Writing

I've been writing quite a few articles lately, many for various content writing sites. One of them is closing shop for a while, though, so I'll be writing a bit less keyword-based content, and that's prodded me to put a few queries out there to some magazines and websites that are not all about keywords & search engine optimization content. Don't get me wrong, writing that sort of content can be fast and fun, but I would like to get more of my writing out beyond those places. No limits!

Last night (Monday) I wrote a creative piece. I was SO happy as I poured my heart into it, and to see that I ended up at just around 500 words without even trying. I looked to the writing guidelines of the magazine where I wish to submit it. They have two options: a daily inspiration, and a weekly inspiration. For the daily one they require a word count of 150-250 words long; for the weekly one they require 350-500 words.

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. With content writing I usually find myself at a loss for words, and attempt to create a 600 word article out of 300 words, stretching it with minor details and lots of keywords. Last night I did the opposite. I tried to shape 500 words into 250.

Originally I had intended my piece for the daily inspiration, so I edited and edited, and managed to get it down to 400 words. I thought "This would be good for the weekly inspiration," but then decided to try and see just how short and concise I could get it. I managed to edit it down to 249 words, perfect for the daily inspiration. In fact, I now realize that the first version was quite wordy. The second one, well, I'm going to try for the weekly inspiration first, and if that spot has been filled, I will submit the shorter version for the daily inspiration.

Ah, the vast sea of differences between content writing and other-article writing! I think I'll swim out a little further. :o)

Friday, May 20, 2005

My Name is Julia, and I'm a Procrastinator

Procrastination seems to be the word of choice lately. I've found several writer-friends discussing it on their blogs.

In an amusing true-to-life post (the whole of which is worth taking a look at) Deb said:

    Sometimes, I wonder how much more money I can make at my craft if I weren’t prone to procrastination. I’ve always had a wandering mind, but lately it seems as if so many other things are distracting me. Working from home does that to a girl. In addition to the child, there’s the refrigerator, books, television, and the worst offender of them all, the Internet.

    How am I to overcome procrastination when life is beckoning? Am I meant to stay inside and work on a beautiful day? Should I starve when there’s a freshly baked chocolate cake in the pantry? Should I ignore email because I have to write 500 words or more about cleaning pet urine off the carpet?

    I think perhaps I’m being trusted with too much responsibility. Why, working without going off on distracting tangents is un-American! Procrastination is my civic duty, and by-golly, I’m going to comply!

    God Bless America!

Go read the rest...


Ray said:

    I tend to push everything to the last minute. I strive for deadlines. I find that I work better and more efficiently when I'm on a deadline. Why spend 50 hours doing the same thing when I can do it in 2 under pressure, right?


Procrastination seems to be part of the territory of a writer. And what am I doing but writing a post while doing it myself. ;o)

Go read that entry I recommended -- you will be amused. I'm off to clean and write.

Procrastination will have to wait for another day. *grin*


Thanks for everyone's prayers and positive thoughts -- please keep them up! (A special round of thanks to my best friends, and the folks at AbsoluteWrite.) My mom stayed in the hospital for 2 nights, and all tests were inconclusive.

Meanwhile, Dana has recommended that I go ahead and have the lump biopsied as well, even if I have surgery. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 22, and her initial mammogram (which they won't do for me) and needle biopsy both showed her lump as benign. So, even though she says the odds are in my favor, it's still very important to be absolutely sure. Thanks, Dana!

I've got a lot stirring in my heart right now, and have been working on a blog about it. I'll be sharing it later. :o)

And I've got more good news to share (about a new writing assignment!), but I need to fix up a few things first! It'll be unveiled soon!

Meanwhile, my in-laws might be coming for a visit this weekend (not sure yet), so I need to straighten up the house a bit (it's not that bad), and work on a few articles for publication.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Vote for Best Musical!

What's your pick for Best Musical for the 2005 Tony Awards? Vote now in the All Info About Musicals "Best Musical" Poll! Read more...

The winner will be announced on June 5th, Tony Awards night, and we'll compare your choices with the actual Tony Award-winner.

-- Julia
All Info About Musicals

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Test & Trials (and even a flood)

Please pray for my mom. She's being admitted to the hospital for some tests. Everything is very vague, but she had been to see her doctor today, and he decided to have her admitted for tests.

Speaking of tests, I'll be having some medical tests done tomorrow, as well. I'll be going for my ultrasound tomorrow, and then back to see the breast surgeon to (probably) make an appointment for surgery. Not sure if I'll have a biopsy, especially since I'm most likely going to have the lump removed anyway. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Positive thoughts are appreciated. :o)

I'm pretty sore today. I've been working out lately, but these aches feel like I may be coming down with something. Blah.

In good news, my musical site and update on the 2005 Tony Award Nominations made the front page of All Info About today! Go check it out!

ETA at 7:30pm: Lovely. Absolutely lovely. Our plumbing is messed up AGAIN.

I never did get to blog about it, but last Thursday our toilet backed up, and well...here's what I had written about it elsewhere:


"We had quite a busy evening, between my doctor visit, going out for dinner, and then right when we were getting ready for bed, around 10:30/11pm, I had put a load of wash in the washing machine, and was going to stay up long enough to put it in the dryer. Hubby and I were chatting before he went to sleep, and all of a sudden, we heard this "glup glup glup" sound. We looked in our bathroom, and there was water everywhere! Something in the drainage was wrong! By now it's after 11:30pm, and we're mopping it up, trying to stop it. We couldn't flush the toilet, and we had to stop the washing machine. Hubby went to Wal*Mart at midnight to get some wire thingy to dry to fix it, but that didn't work. So, this morning we both slept in, and he called the plumber. The joys of being a home-owner. The guy got everything fixed, and it turns out the pipe has moved over time (this house was built in 1970, but we bought it last year), so it's going to have to be replaced, because instead of being on a downward slope, it's flat, and the stuff doesn't get pushed enough, I guess. It's all really technical."

SO...this is what has happened, again. We were under the impression that it would be all right for quite a while, and in the meantime we could figure out what to do about getting the whole pipe replaced, either by someone else (costing more money) or doing it ourselves (costing less, but being difficult).

Now we're stuck, and it's evening, so no one can really come and do anything to help us. No toilet, no dishwasher, no shower (I had just gotten out a few minutes before), no washing machine, etc. Absolutely lovely. My poor hubby had just gotten out of the shower when he noticed the water stopped up in the shower, and then flowing from under the toilet, which does not have a good seal, apparently.


I am just SO incredibly tired of this. I mean, if we were in Ghana, Africa, it would be fine. I could live without a shower or whatnot for a few days, because that's the way of life. (I spent a month there, so I'm speaking from experience.) Here, though -- I've got a doctor's appointment tomorrow. We can't flush the toilet. Yada yada yada.

And then there's the money. We aren't wealthy. This will be a costly endeavor to have fixed. And then there's my upcoming medical procedures and the bills that follow.

And the vacation days that my hubby was saving up. Now he's having to take them here and there to be here when they fix things.

Please, please pray and think positive (even happy!) thoughts for us. It's very discouraging when everything seems to happen at once. And we don't have anybody close to us, family-wise or even close friends. It's just the two of us.

When it rains, it pours.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

2005 Tony Awards Nominations!

The 2005 Tony Awards nominations are up at All Info About Musicals, as well as at my musicals blog!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

All About Musicals BLOG!

My Musicals blog is now live! Check it out for frequent updates -- it is a supplement to my All About Musicals site!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My visit to the surgeon

If you are concerned about breast issues, such as a fibroadenoma, please join the breast health group for more information and to talk with others.

My husband and I just got home a little bit ago. After my doctor's appointment, we came home to get a restaurant coupon, and then went right back out to eat at a local pizza joint. Yum! I got a cannoli, too, but it's currently in the fridge. Maybe I'll have it in a little while. Then we had to stop by Wal*Mart for a few things, and we just got home not too long ago.

My visit to the surgeon went well. First we had to stop by the radiology office to pick up my ultrasound films (from last year). After we were shown to the room where I had to change and wait for my doctor, I got so nervous that I had to use the restroom, but after that I was a lot calmer. He had me lie down on the examination table, and did a breast exam. I grimaced a few times, because this little lump is very tender! He hadn't yet looked over the films, and after feeling my lump, he said it definitely felt like a fibroadenoma, and had the characteristics, such as its marble-like movement, and its smooth shape. He told me of my options, and we all (me, hubby, and doctor) discussed. Some women live with them all their lives, and if I choose to do the same, I'd just come in every so often for another ultrasound, to check up on it. Yes, they do grow during pregnancy, but they also usually diminish a bit as time goes on, after the pregnancy. Removal would just be for my own assurance, but it's not necessary.


1. He could do a needle biopsy right there in the office.

2. I could have another ultrasound, since it's been almost a year. After the ultrasound, I'd go back to his office, compare the films, and then have a biopsy if I choose.

3. I could go ahead and schedule surgery, without the ultrasound or biopsy.

The biopsy isn't extremely necessary, though as apprehensive as I am about it, I'd almost like to just do it and get it over with, so it'd be another no longer unknown fear.

So, I cried a little, just because I'm emotional like that. I discussed how it'd almost be reassuring to just have the surgery and have it removed. He assured me that he's never lost a patient while doing this procedure, so I'd "better not be his first." LOL!

We went into another room and looked over my ultrasounds. He showed me where the blood flow was normal, and explained that if it was different (I don't remember how) they could predict that it might have a greater chance at growing, even without pregnancy. However, mine has hardly changed in the last 2 years, and he said that the blood flow in the ultrasound indicated that it's remained the same. I hope that made sense. ;o)

So, we left them with times of day that are good for us to go back for another ultrasound. I debated having the needle biopsy, but he also said that if he did that, and then we went for an ultrasound, there was a chance that he would get something into the fibroadenoma which could taint the visual on the ultrasound, so it would be better to wait to do the biopsy until after the ultrasound (if I want it done, for the extra reassurance that yes, this is a fibroadenoma -- even though he's dealt with these for years).

I'm praying and thinking about having the surgery. It'd be outpatient, but I'd be completely out. He said that if he just did a local anesthetic, it would end up hurting me more.

Michael thinks if I want the surgery, I should just call and schedule it. My mom thinks having another ultrasound would be good, whether or not I want the surgery, because I'd have a look at how it's grown or stayed the same (hubby thinks it's gotten smaller, too!), and it would also be a good record for me to have on my breast issues, especially since it's been a year since I've had the ultrasound.

So, I'm thinking about all of this. It's a lot to think about and consider. Part of me wants to just have it removed, because then I wouldn't have to think about it, or worry about it, or deal with it anymore. He said that cancer can grow in fibroadenomas, but the chances of that are just as likely as getting cancer in the rest of the breast tissue. Still, I could live with it, and be "comfortable," thinking that I don't have to worry about it, and then what if something did grow in it? I don't want to be too comfortable. Hmmm. Well, they won't be getting back to me before Friday about the ultrasound schedule, and maybe not until Monday or Tuesday, so I've got some time to think it all over.

Thanks so much everyone, for your concerns, thoughts, and prayers. :o)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Going to the surgeon...

If you are concerned about breast issues, such as a fibroadenoma, please join the breast health group for more information and to talk with others.

Well, the appointment has been made. I'm going tomorrow to see the breast surgeon. There was a cancellation, so that got me in right away, as the appointment was made today. I've been putting it off for too long, and only delaying the inevitable.

I had an ultrasound done last summer, and it was found to (most likely) be a fibroadenoma.
Sometimes it hurts. It's uncomfortable. It can possibly grow and protrude through skin, should I get pregnant, as it feeds on estrogen. The radiologist recommended that I either come back 6-12 months later, or see a breast surgeon. My gynecologist recommended that I go ahead and see the surgeon. Well, I put it off for almost a year, so I'll probably have the ultrasounds done again, as well as seeing the surgeon tomorrow at 3pm central time.

I'm nervous and scared about the possibility of needing to have a biopsy or fine needle aspiration cytology.

I've noticed more tenderness around the area. Not sure if it's another lump, or what. I get really queasy when it comes to doing my monthly breast check. I get scared that it could be something more.

I'm trying to quiet my nerves and anxiety, stay calm, and not cry too much. I'm having difficulty staying on task with my daily writing goals. I need calm, peace, healing. So, prayers and positive

In other news, I've been updating my Musicals site almost every day, adding some news or a tidbit of information. I'd love for you all out there to share your memories and favorites, and I can share them with the world through the website! You can contact me through the website, if you'd like.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Busy bee!

I've been meaning to update here, but I've been so incredibly busy!

Lots of new updates at my Musicals site! I've been updating the site with new stuff pretty much every few days, so there's always something new and fresh! I'll be creating:

a newsletter (that you can sign up for in order to receive updates),
a forum (to boost chit-chat about musical stuff), and
a blog (to use for frequent updates about musical stuff)

...very, very soon, so check in often!

I've been approved for a site at Garden and Hearth, and will be writing on the topic of marriage, and how to keep your marriage alive. The site won't be live for a few weeks, but I'll be updating as it progresses.

A few recent circumstances in my life have inspired me to write about them. It's interesting how that happens. One minute you're going through something (good or not-so-good) and the next thing you know, you're inspired to write about it. I figure that we go through things for a reason, and maybe my experiences will help someone else someday.

Que sera, sera.