Category: Writing

On Writing Bios

Bio Writing, I'm Writing Your Story in 500 Words or Less

Bio Writing, I’m Writing Your Story in 500 Words or Less

Recently, I was asked to write a few professional bios for a local real estate broker. He’s got new agents coming on board and they’re doing some pretty awesome marketing pieces for each one of them. One piece of that puzzle is a professional bio. So here I am, knee deep in bios. Sounds like fun, huh? Like the kind of fun you might have slogging through a bog with holey wellies. It just doesn’t seem too glamorous, really. Well, that’s what I thought, but it has surprised me, delightfully enough.

It helps quite a bit that I’m naturally nosy. No, make that, I’m naturally inquisitive. Everyone has a story, and I love pulling those little nuggets out of people. Most folks don’t realize how interesting their lives really are. It’s fascinating to me to learn that someone’s dad was friends with Stevie Ray Vaughan, or that they once lived in a tee-pee, but ran the debutante circuit from Houston to New York. Or, that someone has three advanced degrees from a foreign university, or invented a product, or has recorded an album. These things, all so different from my own story, are so cool. These amazing things you wouldn’t know by looking. This is where I wanted my journalism degree to go. I love the human part of news, the feature writing part, the stories. I didn’t want to write about city hall, or politics or violence, so I opted out of that life. People’s stories are so like fiction when they’re not yours. It’s like hearing things your imagination just wouldn’t come up with on its own. For real! And someone is living that life.

Oh, and it’s stressful! I didn’t think of it this way, but holy macaroons, I get so nervous when I send that bio over. In fact, I have to force myself to hit the send button. Yes, I’ve procrastinated because I was scared. I didn’t know it would be so hard to write about someone and then send it to them directly. If I were writing a feature piece on someone for a magazine, it would be much easier. Much. Here, I’m writing a feature piece, and only get 500 words to write the interesting bits. These bits that I write might make someone want to hire them for, likely, the biggest transaction of their lives, or not. Gulp. There’s no doubt that I enjoy it, but wow. I sweat buckets over what to include, and all of the interesting things that have to drop out. I’ve heard from them that they’re really nervous to read it. They’re wondering how I perceived them and what things from our interview I chose to include. So, it’s awkward all around.

Awkward. Yep, I just didn’t anticipate that feeling, but it is, a bit. Luckily, I’m the kind of person who gets past “awkward” moments pretty quickly. I’m not much of a judger, and I think people know it. I do genuinely find their stories interesting, and have a knack for giving their stories life on paper that represent their personalities pretty well. That’s the best part. One client wrote back,

“I love it! Even I want to work with me!”

Rewarding. I love it when people see themselves from the outside. They get to see how interesting they are. They get to see that they’ve got a great story! Yes, the rewarding part. That was the biggest surprise of all!

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Just Call Me Pantsing Posy

Panster or Planner?

Panster or Planner?

I’m a pantser. Yep, I know. Typical. Me. Hell, two weeks ago, I had no idea my writing style had a name!

Like life, I tend to write by the seat of my pants. Outlines? Ideas? Good luck with getting me to think something out beforehand. Anything! NaNoWriMo is a crazy subculture of writers and I’m honestly not even sure how I got here. A whim, of course, that’s really how I got here. Dang my whimsy! Now I’m a card carrying, signed up, donating member of NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month) It’s an organized attempt to enrich the world with more books. The tagline is, “The World Needs Your Novel.” Obviously it’s a noble, or maybe a Nobel, cause. What the world needs now is definitely more books! Well, that and a cure for … well, books, that’s a great start.
So here I sit at The Departure Lounge in downtown Austin. It’s a new-to-me place, and a damned cool concept. A coffee and wine bar and full service travel agency. Why, oh why didn’t I think of that?
Out of the 8285 Austin NaNo participants, there are three of us participating in the write-in tonight.  One woman is working on revising her novel. What? She already has one? Is that cheating? No, as long as you’re writing, I think it counts. The lovely woman across from me is working on a crazy sounding sci-fi fantasy piece with some erotica thrown in. Now, that sounds way more entertaining than my half-baked, crime-type fiction, that I still have no idea what is going on in. I’ve written 3 chapters, (that sounds pretty awesome, I’ll admit) I’ve got two characters and so far, there are no mythical creatures or crazy sex scenes, I mean, who would want to read this? How bout a Grizzly bear though? Yeah, I need a bear.
I’ve read a ton of fiction, across many, many genres, but I’ve never even attempted to write fiction. I was a Journalism major for Cripe’s sake, I’m way more comfortable writing about real life. So, right now, I’m counting these words. I’m sort of getting words under my belt and out onto the blogsphere. Yes, I’ve actually started a fiction piece, but honestly, “fiction” is not a requirement. Words, words are the real requirement. According to my NaNoWriMo dashboard, I’m behind schedule. Really behind schedule.
The ultimate goal is to get at least 50,000 words written toward a project or projects in the month of November. I don’t really know or understand all the details, but some folks get way far into real novels!! AND, there’s evidently a winner who will get a publishing deal. It definitely won’t be me. Pantsing Posy over here, I’m the princess of … SQUIRREL!

Books for Creatives?

Buzzfeed published this list of 37 Books Every Creative Person Should Be Reading. I’ve read several… thinking I need to read the “Orbiting the Giant Hairball” book. What do you think of this list? I’ve read, “The War of Art” and loved it. Bossypants made me laugh out loud! Of course the Strunk and White book, I’ve used as a reference. What about the others?

Any you’d add?

 

Have Some Guts! Just Write It!

You've Got Guts!

You’ve Got Guts!

In the past year or so, I’ve begun sharing my blogs with friends and family. Because I am surrounded by very intelligent, successful and talented people I was, frankly, intimidated. Things I write aren’t just words. I don’t write fiction, and I can’t peak out from behind my characters to see reactions and create distance. I’m out there on display, and though I don’t do it solely for my audience, I still want to touch them.

My goal to make people feel something, anything, and to write these words that bounce around inside me and poke at my bones until I put them out there where they’re intended keeps me tapping these keys. They feel good under my fingers and seeing the words arrive on my screen fulfills something inside me. Whether what I write is good or bad, better or worse, something — anything, is better than nothing. Guts.

Apologies!

I hope that if you are follower, you are still here! When I first started my quest to read 52 books this year, I wrote reviews and faithfully posted them every week. However, I was goofing up on how I posted them. Rather than posts, they were pages and blah, blah, blah…

Anyway, it seems like I’ve posted a thousand things today, but in truth, I was fixing my previous posts.

If you have been pinged a million times, I am so sorry! If you’ve seen something you missed that you liked, then, I am so happy! 🙂 I’m sorted now, thanks for hanging with me.

2014 Books Start soon!

Coffeeshop = Creative Boost?

Ambient Noise Boosts Creativity

Coffee Shops and Creativity

Flipping through my tweets this morning, I found an interesting article on creativity and music. I listen to music when I write, but for me, it has to have no words or my brain tunes in. I tend to listen to a blues guitar Pandora station. Surprisingly, music may not be the best boost for your creative brainwaves. This article says that studies show that the ambient level of coffee shop background noise, which happens to be about 70 decibels, “is the perfect noise level for reaching optimum levels of creativity and professional production.” My guess is that the caffeine you tend to mainline while sitting there can’t hurt either!

So, if setting up office in your local coffee shop is unrealistic, log on to Coffitivity to stream coffee shop sounds to your office! I’m streaming as I type, and it’s actually quite nice to hear those sounds in the background. I thought they’d be distracting, but they’re really not. This might be a new tool, watch out Pandora! Oh, and I’m brewing a cuppa Joe right now. It just seemed right. 

How To Write a Book in a Month

Write a Novel in a Month, Go Ahead, Sign Up

Write a Novel in a Month, Go Ahead, Sign Up

Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month? (NaNoWriMo) I had no idea that there was such a thing, and I’m digesting it. I guess I should sign up and jump right in, but  I have no clue. I’ve thought about writing a novel, but I haven’t really thought about writing a novel. There’s an idea percolating for a wee book, however, a novel it is not.

Kevin Hearne, one of my favorite authors, talked about it a bit on Facebook this morning. He had a link to a “pep talk” from Chuck Wendig. Kevin posted the link with this warning, “HOWEVER: I should warn those of you who have an aversion to strong language that Chuck is a wizard of the profane. If his language was salsa, it’d be habanero.” So I clicked, of course, how could you not want to read that? There’s some really good stuff there, and it’s funny! Will you sign up to write a novel?

WordPress Austin MeetUp: Popcorn Heads Unite!

Tonight I attended the WordPress Austin MeetUp group and <NEWSFLASH> I’ve discovered I am technically termed a “popcorn head.” This is no surprise to anyone who knows me, and I’m frankly thrilled that I’ve got a new amusing way to describe myself. I love the image! It made me doodle.

Sarah Rooney, Adverb Creative, PopCorn Head

My Notes From the WP MeetUp

The term came up when talking about blogs and audience. They asked, “Who is reading your blog?” I shrugged. “What do you write about?” Whatever pops into my head, I thought. “Or are you a popcorn head…” I immediately stopped listening and identified closely with that term. Oh, you can stop right there, I have found myself! I just never thought of myself in those precise terms, however, it is stunningly accurate.

I realize that in blogging, you are supposed to have a purpose. You are supposed to have a target audience. You are supposed to be focused and organized. I know, I know, and I’m confident that with the right help and the right classes, I will get there.

So, for now, if you’re reading this, who are you and why are you here?

More importantly, salt? Butter?