Archive | February, 2011

Words, Wine, Waves! “Message in A Bottle” Writing Workshop

28 Feb

For current information and to register, please visit (more…)

Tuesday Tips: More Heads are Better Than One on Skype

22 Feb

As I was working on getting information together for the Ojai WordFest writing workshops “Message in a Bottle: Ocean to Ojai” that I am leading with Danika Dinsmore, author of Brigitta of the White Forest, I realized that even though all the details weren’t set, I needed a flyer so I set to work. I thought it was all right, and when I showed it to my husband he thought it was great.

But since more heads are always better than one, I used Skype to see what Danika thought. I emailed her the draft and we talked about it on Skype.

As a writer, I am used to using email as a tool for getting feedback. But about a month ago, Danika walked me through using Skype and I LOVE IT! We skype all the time now; it’s a wonderful tool for communicating with someone–especially someone like Danika who lives in another country. While sometimes we use the video component, we mostly just talk.

Then last night, Tod McCoy of en theos press, Danika and I were working on an en theos ad for the Ojai WordFest Book Fair program Saturday March 19 from 10-4pm. We all got on a Skype group chat and in no time we had that ad figured out.

The take away lesson here: more heads are better than one! Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback or to brainstorm with other people. And if you need more than a little bit of help, or if you don’t have other writers or readers to turn to who can give you substantial constructive criticism, contact me for coaching. We can work on video skype, skype chat, in person, by phone or by email.

See you at WordFest March 19-27, 2011!

Message in a Bottle Writing Workshop Set for Th. March 24

18 Feb

What will your message be?

Arouse your senses
& awaken your imagination!

Join writing teachers
Gwendolyn Alley & Danika Dinsmore
on a creative journey from the ocean to Ojai (more…)

Tuesday Tips: 5 ways to improve your comment etiquette

15 Feb

Leaving comments on other blogs is a great way to develop relationships with readers and other bloggers and to increase your SEO (search engine optimization) via links.

But there are good comments and there are comments that get trashed, spammed, deleted or ignored.

The following 5 Tips from WordPress tell you how to leave a comment that’s a keeper by practicing good comment etiquette.

Are you well-versed in comment etiquette? Which comment would you rather receive? “Great post! Check out my blog at” or “Well said! I know exactly what you mean about X, and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thinks so. I would even say that A, B, C! Your candor is greatly appreciated.” The second one, of course. Why? For one thing, it follows the etiquette guidelines below. But even more importantly, it was written with the intent to forge a relationship, not … Read More

via News

Happy Valentine’s Day!

14 Feb

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, full of love and appreciation, and yes, kisses too!

This broadside poem was published in ArtLife Limited Editions February 1997. Double click on it to make it bigger and be able to read it easier. If you’d like one, let me know! I made an edition of 216; 150 went to ArtLife so I have others to sell.

I will be offering broadsides, poetry collections, and more at the Ojai WordFest Book Fair Saturday March 19 from 10am-4pm. During other days of WordFest, I may be presenting workshops on blogging and social media as well as a writing workshop “Ocean to Ojai: Message in a Bottle.” More details on these workshops and how to register for them soon!

See you at Ojai WordFest March 19-27!

Ojai’s Literary Conference “WordFest” Starts March 19

10 Feb

I went to Egypt with Sequoia Hamilton, one of the founders of WordFest, so it probably comes as no surprise that I’m getting deeply involved in this nine day literary extravaganza taking place in the cozy town of Ojai, California from March 19-27, 2011. Registration will begin soon!

In fact, once I caught up with my jet lag, when I haven’t been catching up on blogging, I’ve been thinking about, writing about, and discussing both online and in person various ideas for WordFest!

I’ve attended a number of writers and poetry conferences over the years from the Taos Poetry Circus to Squaw Valley Writers Conference to Seattle Poetry Festival, and I’ve organized my fair share of writerly events too, including hosting Spoken Word Salon for five years. I really enjoy meeting and talking with writers and attending workshops and panels. I also love being a part of events like this–from volunteering to hosting to organizing to presenting.

For Ojai Wordfest 2011, I’ve proposed several different ideas including writing workshops to be held on a whale watching cruise and writing workshops at a winery to an introduction to social media for writers and an advanced blogging workshop for writers who are also bloggers.

I’ll also be doing some readings from my new 3:15 experiment poetry collection, participating in the book, hosting open mics, and helping fellow en theos press writer Danika Dinsmore with her poetry boot camp.

So stay tuned for more news about Ojai’s WordFest 2011! It’s going to be HUGE!

Advice for Entrepreneurs

9 Feb

Last night I spoke to the Women’s Economic Venture’s Self Employment Training Class about my experience last spring taking the class. I used my notes from speaking to the fall 2010 class; last night I was joined by three graduates of that class who clearly remembered me when I walked in.

In addition to what I mentioned last time, I added a bit about participating in the Women’s Conference in October and how that spurred me to publish my 3:15 experiment poetry collection as well as the value of saying “yes” as I also learned on my recent trip to Egypt. Before I left, I handed out business cards and bookmarks and invited them all to subscribe to this blog!

Below are the notes I used for my talk; the advice applies to taking many classes!

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) asked me to be on a panel tonight to talk with the new students in the Self-Employment Training (SET)  … Read More

via The Write Alley

How To Be A Part of A Creative Community

2 Feb

Eric Wallner sent me an email about a new project the City of Ventura is embarking on where seven community members bring in slides to show about one idea or another; the presentations are followed by conversation. The first community building event is being held tonight in downtown Ventura; it starts with food and networking and features several architects as well as ArtBarn founder Lynne Okun; I will be involved in a future event. Learn more about 20×20 below.

Contribute to A Creative Community What kind of a creative community do YOU want to live in? On Wednesday, head to downtown Ventura to see the vision of seven individuals and to participate in conversations to make these visions become reality! Ventura’s 20×20 event this Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 offers food and good times.  Take this as an opportunity to mix with the community and push forward fresh dialogue on what’s happening in Ventura! Time:    6-9pm Where:  230 E. Main S … Read More

via art predator

Tuesday Tips: 7 Ways to Success With Twitter

1 Feb

Are you using Twitter for yourself or for your business? Are you getting anything out of it?

What I hear from folks (all the time!) is that they don’t get Twitter or they’re on it and they’re not getting anything out of it.

So when I read this email from @Biz, @Ev, and @Jack co-founders of Twitter, and saw these four basic tips for you to improve your experience on Twitter in 2011, I knew I should pass them on.

1) Follow your interests.

The Twitter founders say they’ve found that the people who enjoy Twitter most tend to follow a variety of accounts: friends, family, people in their profession, local shops and events, and most importantly, people who share their passions.

That’s true for me, too! I follow about 1200 people, many of them social media savvy and from the wine industry, but I also follow poets, and travelers, and artists…  a wide range of people who share content of interest to me.

2) Get specific. Like sports? Follow your favorite leagues, teams, players, coaches, commentators, writers and fellow fans. Love food? Follow chefs, restaurants, critics, bloggers, specialty shops and respected foodies.

As I said above, I follow a number of my interests, but a lot of it is related to wine and social media. My husband, who does not have a Twitter account, went to Twitter first to see if I was posting anything on it while I was in Egypt (and yes, he did find a tweet or two and a link to a some photos!) From there, he went to various hashtags (#) on topics of his interest. He’s gone back to Twitter to find out about specific events or people and he’s surprised to find out how useful it is.

3) Don’t panic. People turn to Twitter during emergencies. Snowstorms, power outages and fires are just a few emergencies where Twitter may be helpful. Search for #hashtags and follow local civic accounts to stay informed.

This is similar to my husband’s approach–turning to Twitter for specific information. You don’t have to have an account or follow anyone or be followed in order to use Twitter.

4) Return to Twitter. There are about 200 million accounts on Twitter now – that means new interests, new voices, and new ideas every day. Twitter offers services in seven languages, apps for most devices, and SMS worldwide.

The truth is, while there may be 200 million accounts on Twitter (according to Twitter), but most of them are barely active or they fall into the “This is what I had for lunch” and “I’m bored” and “I’m at the gym” etc type tweets. Just ignore the content that doesn’t interest you. It’s not necessary to judge a whole social media platform based on how some people use it.

Curious if you have any Twitter “clout”? Want to know how to get more? (more…)


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