Smart Old Wives' (Remedies) - writercize #159

Tonight my energy levels are dipping and my throat is on its way to Scratchville. It seems despite life in sunny Southern California, winter's cold season is beckoning. Since I would rather encourage it to pass me by, I'm turning to you, my wonderful readers, to share your knowledge about fighting colds the non-medicine way, in your own words.

writercize: Please tell me what Old Wives' Tale works to stave off sickness! If you know the science behind it, please share.

I will read your answers in the comments section with my own Old Wives' trick, a piping hot cup of tea with honey and lemon, in hand. And thank you!

PS - I signed up yesterday for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, an annual blogging event the month of April. If you participated before, I'd love to see you there again! If you haven't, check it out - it is a great international blogging event and I highly recommend it. For more info or to sign up, click on the badge to the right, open the #AtoZChallenge page above, or visit this article on Technorati news about blogging challenges: Benefits of Blogging Challenges.


Name that Group - writercize #158

I am sort of addicted to working for free. I write considerably more often than I earn money for writing, I volunteer as an usher and religious ed instructor at my Unitarian Universalist church, I signed on as a volunteer usher for a community theater group, I just offered to help put together the yearbook for my daughters' preschool this year, and I am the President of our local "twins club," the Beach Cities Parents of Multiples Association. I do not complain about any of these activities; I love every one of them and I really like to be actively involved in my community, but I must admit I have this odd relationship with money. I like to have it, naturally, but it appears it somehow spoils the experience of giving for me. I thrive off the connections and feeling of service and a far more driven by doing something to serve my community than a paycheck.

These days I get to stay home with my young children, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be home and see then grow and foster my relationship with them. I cherish it because I know they will not be small forever and because I know that I have decades of career opportunities ahead of me when the time is right. However, I am not able to dedicate myself to staying home with them without also dedicating myself to the organizations that are important to me. In this way I hope to show them responsibility and the importance if community, and that true value is tied to what a person can give rather than what a person can earn.

So what does all this have to do with today's writercize? Remarkably little, as the post ended up quite tangential, but let me steer you back to the original concept. It all relates loosely to a writercize idea that stemmed from watching the SAG Awards and listening to the announcement that if members approve a merger, the group will be named SAG-AFTRA. Quite the mouthful.

The two parenting groups that I an involved in are called the Beach Cities Parents of Multiples Association and the Hip Mamas. The church preschoolers' class I teach is called the Pixies. Several of the twin groups around the country have cutesy names like Terrific Twosomes or Double Blessings, Act Two Moms, Gemini Crickets. When our club was founded 20 years ago, it seems they went practical over creative in the name, which certainly serves its purpose. I think a club name says a lot about the club's approach to policies and how it serves its members, so I want to name a few groups with you.

writercize: Create a name for each of the following clubs:
  • bowling team
  • professional networking association
  • actors troupe
  • mommy group
  • writing critique group

Leave your reply as a comment. This should be an easy writercize for some quick word play to loosen the verbal dam in your mind!

Click read more for writercizer sample response.

#WeekendWritercize 3 Winner: LupusAnthropos

It looks like this week's prompt stumped the lot of you, but there was one entry that was quite well executed and is absolutely deserving of the #WeekendWritercize winner badge.

Once again, here was the prompt:

writercize: Use the published poem of your choice to inspire original prose.

Congrats to Winner
LupusAnthropos (a #WeekendWritercize 1 Honorable Mention!)

LA chose a poem about fickle fortune and life's difficulties that I was previously unfamiliar with, called "Das Glück ist eine leichte Dirne," by Heinrich Heine and used it as the inspiration for a modern-day tale about a man who wins at gambling but loses in life along his drive home. 

The inspiration was clear, but the story was entirely new, which was exactly what I was looking for!

In the course of one night, Kevin Sanderson goes from winning $50,000 to getting served, while he steps out of a newly dented car and watches a tree limb being lifted from his crushed roof. That's a world of conflict in a mere 620 words! Read the entire story here.

Very well done. Please pick up your badge below.

I would also like to acknowledge November Rain who wrote a lovely story about an artist and his love, looking in through a wrinkle in time. It was for the Friday prompt, so ineligible for this week's badge, but a very nice entry into the writercize world and I look forward to more of her work in future #WeekendWritercizes!

Please come back Saturday morning at nine for another #WeekendWritercize with a slightly simpler premise. And of course check in throughout the week for lots of great non-competition writercizes to try!


#WeekendWritercize 3: Poem to Prose

Welcome to the third edition of the #WeekendWritercize competition!
Join in and spread the word to friends and family! 

(...and if you haven't had a chance to read entries from the last two weeks, check them out on the #WeekendWritercize tab - talent abounds)

writercize: Use the published poem of your choice to inspire original prose. 

You may select any poem you like or use the one below. There is no word limit and you are free to frame it as a short story, single scene or vignette.

If you do not use the poem below, please provide the title and author of the poem at the top of your entry so that I can reference it.

"I Died For Beauty" 
by Emily Dickinson

I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
"For beauty," I replied.
"And I for truth - the two are one;
We brethren are," he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a-night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names. 

Have someone else in mind or want to browse? Find more poems here: www.poemhunter.com

To enter the competition, leave your entry as a comment below. Be sure to include your Twitter handle and link to your blog or website. Tweet and Facebook fellow entries using the hashtag #WeekendWritercize.

Since this blog is used by teachers and students, I kindly request that you abstain from profanity and gratuitous violence. (In other words, keep it PG-13.) If your story can't be told without, just provide a link to your post on your own website along with a disclaimer.

Competition closes at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night (Pacific time) - no entries accepted after that. Winner announced Monday.

This week's winner and honorable mention(s) will receive a #WeekendWritercize Winner badge to proudly display on their website.

Thanks and good luck!


Wrinkling in Time - writercize #157

Whenever I hear or think about the concept of time, the book A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle pops into my head. I read it in sixth grade and honestly can't remember much of the story at all, but I know that I loved it, despite my otherwise lukewarm feelings towards Sci Fi, and should probably read it again very soon. I think of it when I watch movies in which perfect dads open the front door to a freshly manicured lawn and walk along a pathway to collect the morning paper, amid sprinklers. There is a scene in the book that has been permanently etched into my brain about this very scene, in a neighborhood where everyone walks out to get the paper together. The story may have vanished, but the images are strong and sound.

Moving on ... this post is inspired by the title, but as I can't remember the tale it's a different take on wrinkling time. (I think!) 

I want to spark your creative juices and give you the ability to travel into any period of time, past, present or future. Why present? Because you have full control over the topic and can give your younger or older self the possibility to visit your current self. Basically, you can wrinkle time any which way you like.

writercize: You can travel through time, either in your present day body to any point in history past or future, or in your younger or older body to current time. It is only a wrinkled effect, so you still exist in the present as yourself while you are simultaneously projected elsewhere, as though two points in time are touching briefly. 

Where do you go and what is the effect of the time travel? Do you relive a memory by watching it again, experience a period in history that you are intrigued by, look at future generations, observe or attempt to alter?

Leave your time wrinkled experience as a comment or link to your blog to share!

(Post inspired by GBE 2 prompt "Time." GBE 2, aka the Group Blogging Experience, is a Facebook blogging group that provides weekly prompts. There is always room and a welcoming vibe!)

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response.


Branded - writercize #156

Before I move along to today's post about branding, let me take a moment to brand this blog. Did you see that I am a Top Writing Blog nominee through eCollegeFinder and voting is open through February 3? Yay! Click on the button at the top of the column to your right to cast your vote. Just scroll down to writercize, check it and hit submit. Reload and repeat. I'd love it if you voted for writercize, but seriously check out the list, there are some awesome blogs on there.

Now, onto branding and today's writercize... 

Think for a moment about the conclusions you draw about a person based on material images. Is there a difference between a Ford person and a Chevy person? How about a Hummer and a Prius? Do you make a judgment about what a person is like whether they are wearing Oakleys or aviator sunglasses? How about Levi's versus Guess, Starbucks versus Dunkin' Donuts, Whole Foods versus Walmart? Are there fundamental differences in who we are based on the branding decisions we make every day?

Like it or not, as humans we do use images of these brands to determine a person's character and values. As writers, we can substitute brands for characteristics, if used sparingly. We can also draw on brands to identify location without spelling it outright, by using local chains in a story. I understand this is a technique that Steven King sometimes utilizes in his novels, although I have to admit I have yet to read anything that he has written. Again, I would not litter my prose with brands, knowing that it could date the story quickly or feel more like an infomercial than a novel, but the occasional drop helps the reader understand a character's circumstances.

For example, rather than say a person is concerned about safety on the road and is always thinking about how to make the family safer, you can say she pulled her Volvo out of the parking lot. If you want to make a country boy feel out of place in the big city, have him walk up to a Saks wearing Wranglers.

writercize: Pick three to five adjectives you would use to describe the user of each of the following brands:
  • Gatorade
  • FUBU
  • Pottery Barn
  • Northface (or REI if unfamiiar)
  • Toyota Prius
If you are up for an extra challenge, work at least one into a scene.

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response.


Word Shower - writercize #155

This writing prompt will literally make you want to sing out, "It's raining words!"

Well, maybe not quite, but it should shake a little brainstorm loose at the very least. I was inspired to post this exercise after a very rainy day in LA yesterday. It may not rain often here, but when it rains the skies open up and the water pours out of the sky. So, feeling the effects of the weather, I want you to take a word snd throw out a laundry list of word associations to go along with it. These could be adjectives, adverbs, associated memories, related nouns, whatever you see fit.

writercize: Pick one of the atmospheric words below, and write a list of 10-20 words or short phrases that you associate with the given word. When your list is complete, use a few of the to write a poem, short story or descriptive sentence.
  • cloud
  • rainbow
  • flood
  • sprinkle
  • sunny
The word associations do not need to be weather related, and references to homophones okay. I'd love to see what you came up with!

Share your result as a comment below, or if you post it to your blog please share the link!

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response - 20 words and a brief paragraph based on the prompt "flood."

Please vote: I'm an eCollegeFinder Top Writing Blog nominee!

I was selected by eCollegeFinder as one of the Top 75 Writing Blogs on the internet, which, suffice it to say, surprised and thrilled me! If you are reading this and you nominated me, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am honored.

Today I received the e-mail stating that I made it into the Top 75, and there is now a voting process to determine the top three vote-getters between now and February 3. You can vote for as many blogs as you like, as many times as you like between now and then. I would absolutely love it if at least one of those votes was sent my way.

To vote for me, click the button on the right side bar, or follow this link:

Then scroll down the alphabetical list to writercize, put a check mark next to it, and hit submit. If you're driven to vote multiple times, just reload the page and repeat. ;)

The top three blogs will receive an award in the form of a badge and recognition on the eCollegeFinder website.

Thank you!  Back to my regular programming later on tonight! 


#WeekendWritercize 2 Winner - Catherine Noble

Wow! What a group of entries!  I was floored last Monday poring over the entries, and am once again impressed by the quality and creativity that everyone exhibited.  You guys make me want to start the writing week off with a bang.

Before I move on to why I chose this week's winner, here was the challenge:

writercize: Put two people who you would not expect to see together in a room and see what happens. Write about where they are, their dialogue and body language.

See all the results here.

We ended up with quite the cast of characters and they were all so fun to read. 

Congratulations to the #WeekendWritercize 2 Winner:
Paris Hilton and the Dalai Lama

I chose this story because outlandish as the pairing was, the dialogue and circumstances felt very natural and true to their characters. I really enjoyed the humor and the light-hearted exchange.

Just look at the following dialogue between Paris' personal assistant and financial advisor.

Paris scowled at Meredith. She would try and change Daddy's mind about firing her when she got back.

“Never mind Mere-bitch,” François hissed, “I happen to know 100% that he performs miracles. There's absolutely nothing he cannot do. Face it honey,” he placed a hand on his hip, “do you think we'd even know who he was if he couldn't?”
Catherine, please pick up your badge below, and congratulations!  I look forward to reading more of your work.
Honorable Mention:
Taylor Swift and Rooney Mara

I selected Rossandra's entry as this week's honorable mention because her entry read so smoothly that I could picture the scene immediately in my head. If the format were altered just slightly, I would be reading a play or movie script, and the actors and director would have an easy job interpreting the scene. I also appreciate how the tension builds up and then gives way to mutual adoration in the end.
(Note: We had a couple fewer entries this week than last, so I have decided to vary the number of honorable mentions weekly, depending on the number of entries and other variables. I could hardly leave only one out or award everyone ... though you all deserve recognition for your hard work!)


Nicole (@MadlabPost) - Amy Chua and Jada Pinkett-Smith - I love how you interpret the ferocity of Amy and grace of Jada, both very powerful mothers who ultimately want the best for their children. I also found myself wondering who else might have been at that casting call!

Aurora Lee (@AuroraLee) - This entry is just a lot of fun! I like the nod to the partnership between Scully and Mulder that might have more than a few secrets hiding away, and Buffy's casual responses to being chased and faced with a weapon.

Christopher H Mitchell - Charles Dickens and Harry Chapin - I like the time travel element as a literary master meets a musician in a scene reminiscent of Midnight in Paris. My favorite line: He took the hand and squeezed it. It was surprisingly warm for a dead man. 

Thanks to all who played and read this second edition of #WeekendWritercize! Come again next week, and bring your friends! 


#WeekendWritercize 2: Different Folks

Welcome to the second edition of #WeekendWritercize! 
Join in and spread the word to friends and family!
writercize: Put two people who you would not expect to see together in a room and see what happens. Write about where they are, their dialogue and body language.

(examples: P Diddy and the Pope, Newt Gingrich and RuPaul, Lady Gaga and Mother Theresa, Andy Warhol and Betty Crocker)

To enter the competition, leave your entry as a comment below. Be sure to include your Twitter handle and link to your blog or website. Tweet and Facebook fellow entries using the hashtag #WeekendWritercize.

Since this blog is used by teachers and students, I kindly request that you abstain from profanity and gratuitous violence. (In other words, keep it PG-13.) If your story can't be told without, just provide a link to your post on your own website along with a disclaimer.

Competition closes at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night (Pacific time) - no entries accepted after that. Winner announced Monday.

This week's winner and honorable mention(s) will receive a #WeekendWritercize Winner badge to proudly display on their website.

Thanks and good luck!


Etta James Poetic Mash-Up - writercize #154

One of my absolute favorite singers, Etta James, died today. (photo courtesy wikipedia) She had one of those voices filled with soul and spirit that is just low enough a normal person can still hum along in the kitchen without feeling too self-conscious, and I could always count on her to put me in the writing mood.

Her life may not have been an easy one, born to fourteen year old mother, running away when she herself was fourteen, and falling into the trap of drugs and addiction, but somehow she was able to transcend everything with her music. Through her songs, she reached out and touched the hearts of people of all ages, socio-economic status and ethnicities, not only in the United States but throughout the world. Her vocal chords had the power to build bridges between humans.

In her honor, I am asking you to create a writercize poetry mash-up of her songs.

writercize: Incorporating words from at least three of the Etta James song titles below, create an original piece of poetry. 

It does not need to be a tribute; you can move words around and add as many of your own as you like. Any style of poetry is ok!

(song titles from album "My Greatest Songs" released 1992 by MCA)
  • "Something's Got a Hold On Me
  • "Sunday Kind of Love
  • "Pushover"
  • "Miss Pitiful"
  • "Trust in Me"
  • "Spoonful"
  • "Tell Mama"
  • "At Last"
  • "Payback"
  • "Security"
  • "I'd Rather Go Blind"
  • "I Just Want to Make Love to You"
  • "Stop the Wedding"
  • "Two Sides (To Every Story)"
  • "I Found Love"
  • "It's All Right"

Leave your take on the writercize as a comment or share a link to the answer in your blog!

Please click "read more" for writercizer sample response.


Six Word Debate Question - writercize #153

We are just days away from the third Republican primary in South Carolina, and debate season continues as the five remaining candidates vie for a chance to run for President of the United States. The Republican debates started a good year ago (ok, so it's only been since May - at any rate, almost long enough to have a baby), and at this point, it looks as though they could run on for another couple of months, at which time the nominee will begin a series of debates against incumbent President Obama and whatever third party candidates decide to duke it out as well.

In a few if the debates, as with a Presidential Town Hall meeting late last year, interested parties could submit their questions via Twitter, limiting any question to 140 letters. Rather than stick with the Twitter method, I am curious to match debate questions up with the Six Words method of expressing a thought hosted by Smith Mag.

writercize: Use exactly six words to phrase a presidential debate question on a matter that is important to you (or representative of the American people).

Please leave your response as a comment or link to your website post - I love to see your work!

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response.


26 Words - writercize #152

In honor of my guest post over at the April 2012 A to Z Challenge website today, which is, in my opinion, one of the greatest community experiences to hit the blogging world, I have the alphabet on my mind.

A few months ago, I invited readers to create a list of words A through Z within the theme of emotions, weather or colors, which was good for word play and expanding vocabulary, but tonight I have a slightly different challenge for you using the 26 letters of the alphabet, one in which you will use the letters to create a story that makes sense.

writercize: Write a 26 word glimpse of a story or poem in which each word begins with a different letter if the alphabet, in alphabetical order, from A through Z. 

Feel free to use the dictionary, thesaurus, foreign languages and an occasional Seussical invented word to assist you.

Leave your attempt as a comment, or link to your blog so I can see it!

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response about crocodiles and fairies.

#WeekendWritercize One Winner - Sarah Aisling

A hearty thank you to all those of you who participated in and tweeted about the debut #WeekendWritercize competition! The stories are a wonderful way to kick off the weekly contest.

Once again, here was the prompt:

writercize:  Enough with "they lived happily ever after" fairy tale endings. Pick a familiar fairy tale, throw out the happily ever after, and tell us what really happened!

You guys really know how to throw in a twist or two, and I am so very impressed by every one of the entries.  It was not an easy decision, but I've narrowed the playing field to one winner.  

(Please note that I did consider each and every entry. The bit about profanity and violence is more of a courtesy than a rule, and a link to your website if you're doubtful of the nature of your post is the perfect solution. I do appreciate how cognizant everyone was of the request.)

Congratulations to: 


SARAH AISLING (@SarahAisling) with her alternative ending to The Little Mermaid, "And To The Sea Return."  I chose Sarah's story as the winner because I am in love with the lyrical rhythm of her writing and the depth of her character development, slightly reminiscent of Kate Chopin.

Here is one of the final paragraphs from her entry:

"Her tears mixed with the salt of the sea as she lamented over her lost love. Worse than seeing his body come back wrapped in silk and carried on the shoulders of his men was having had to watch as the life had been gradually extinguished from his sparkling dark eyes. His exuberance, sense of humor, and desire for a better future all doused, the flame of hope snuffed out, never to burn again."

Sarah, please pick up your badge below, and congratulations!  I look forward to reading more of your work.  Message me your address (alanagwrites (at) gmail (dot) com) with a mailing address and your Target gift card will be on its way!

Honorable Mentions

"One Last Kiss"
I love the twist, both literal and figurative, of the case of mistaken identity in this alternative ending to the romance of Snow White with her Prince Charming.

"Belle and The Enchanted Castle"
This story is like the dark twin of Shrek, with fairy tale characters galore, connected in the most creative ways. There are talking frogs, vampires, witches, wolves, unbearable giants, teen angst and more.   It's definite YA meets the Brothers Grimm, and I was intrigued to turn every corner.

I selected this untitled story about a shoemaker as an honorable mention because of its relationship to current events in its parallel to the Occupy movement taking place in cities across the country. I am a big fan of relating news and current events to fictional stories.

I'll work up an honorable mention badge to award three contestants each week and tweet you all when it is ready!

Again, well done and congratulations to all the participants.  
Spread the word and I'd love to see you all here next weekend!

Guest Post at A to Z

Good morning writercizers!  

An early post today.  I'm guest posting over at the A to Z Challenge home page with some tips and tricks for the annual blogging challenge coming up in April.  Sign-ups begin January 30, and host Arlee Bird has been posting insight from previous years' participants since the beginning of December.  

If you are familiar with the challenge, I look forward to blogging with you again this year!  If you are not familiar with the challenge, try it out.

I'm posting the writercize from the guest post below; for the full entry and background visit the Challenge site today!

writercize:  Write down the letters A through Z in a notebook.  Fill in an idea for a word or image for each letter.


#WeekendWritercize 1: New Endings

Welcome to the first edition of #WeekendWritercize!  
Good luck to all the contestants!
writercize:  Enough with "they lived happily ever after" fairy tale endings. Pick a familiar fairy tale, throw out the happily ever after, and tell us what really happened!

To enter the competition, leave your entry as a comment below. Be sure to include your Twitter handle and link to your blog or website. Tweet and Facebook fellow entries using the hashtag #WeekendWritercize.

Please avoid violence and profanity since this blog is used by students as an educational tool.

Competition closes at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night (Pacific time) - no entries accepted after that. Winner announced Monday.

This week's winner will receive a Writercize Weekend Winner badge to proudly display on their website and a $5.00 Target gift card. Must be reachable to win!


Hey Students and New Writers! Writing Advice - writercize #151

I recently received an e-mail from eCollegeFinder, an onine source to assist students in finding accredited online educational institutions. The e-mail asked for two seemingly simple pieces of information: a blog description and advice for student writers. Each had to be summarized in a mere two to four sentences. Most writers and bloggers could probably go on for days to answer such a question, so it was a task to narrow it down. Talk about precision!

I'd like to share my answer to the second question with all of you, and challenge you to share your best advice for student writers as well! I will be a bit more lenient on the limitation, and expand on mine in the sample response below.

writercize: What advice can you offer students aiming to improve their writing acumen? (I am adding: what advice can you offer beginning writers and bloggers?) 

No worries about the 2-4 sentences; you may expand to a couple of paragraphs or a max of 15 bullet points.

Read "click more" for writercizer sample response, including those extra goodies not included in the original email, and remember to stop in this weekend for the first ever #WeekendWritercize challenge!


Bathing Penguins - writercize #150

Posts have been a bit heavy lately with real world applications and serious tones, so I want to lighten things up and give you the chance to tell a story. And what animal could be more fun to highlight than the dapper little waddler, our friend the penguin?

writercize:  Tell a story, any genre (non-fiction or journalism also perfectly acceptable), prompted by the two following words: penguin, bath.

I look forward to reading about your bathing penguins!

Click "read more" for writercizer fictional (children's) sample response.


#WeekendWritercize Coming Soon!

Get your hash tags ready and your keyboards prepped, because a new competition is coming to the blogosphere!

Please join me this weekend for the start of #WeekendWritercize, a weekly challenge of the writercize sort. 

The competition will consist of one writercize without any set-up or sample response. It will go up Saturday mornings and the last valid entry will be accepted at 11:59 p.m. Sunday nights.

Genres and themes will vary.

In generally, the prize will be recognition via tweets, facebook promotion and a winner badge for your blog, but there will be material goods for U.S. contestants occasionally!  Winners will be announced Mondays.

If you would like to submit a #WeekendWritercize question or serve as guest judge, please send me a message at alanagwrites (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thank you for allowing me this brief interruption - back to my regular programming tonight!


I Hereby Resolve - writercize #149

In the spirit of New Year's resolutions, I am pleased to announce that I have finally settled on what I plan to do for this year and I choose to hereby make it public knowledge.  I posted my best and worst of 2011 list after the first of January, so I figure I had a little extra time to pick a resolution as well.

It may be to my benefit that I did not choose hastily as the hours in 2011 wound down. According to a poll shared on January 2 during the Rose Bowl parade, over one third of the people who responded had already broken their New Year's Resolution. That's quick! 

With my resolution, I'm aiming for a gradual adjustment rather than a quick turn-around.

Why post a resolution online? According to a Daily Record article posted a couple of years ago on the topic of New Year's resolutions, one of the top six strategies to stick to your resolution is to tell people about it. In case you were interested, here a summary of the entire list:
  • Make sure the resolution is your own.
  • Plan it out – break it down into smaller, achievable goals.
  • Write it down and post it somewhere you will see everyday.
  • Make it specific.
  • Tell people about it.
  • Forgive yourself – if you slip up, start the next day with a fresh resolve and move forward! 

So, I'm giving you the chance to write it down in public and tell the world!  And even if you are not prepared to forgive yourself if you slip up, I promise to forgive and support you regardless.
writercize:  Create or share your 2012 New Year's Resolution.  Begin with the words "I hereby resolve" and identify at least two strategies towards achieving your goal.  End with "I am human and will forgive myself and try again when I have difficulty staying on track."

Click "read more" to see my writercizer sample response and learn what I plan to do to improve myself this year.


Product Review - writercize #148

Now that the holidays are over and the decorations are slowly making their way back into their storage homes, I expect that everyone has had a chance to fully experience all the new gifts of the season. 

I was a very lucky, very spoiled girl this season by my husband and parents, and rounded out the year with a slew of new technology, including the iPad 2 and the Kindle Fire. Needless to say, I'm enjoying world wide access at the tips of my fingers. 

I am also really enjoying a third piece of technology, a gift from my Mom, one that I would not expect to elicit such joy - a vacuum cleaner. Not just any vacuum cleaner, the Mercedes Benz of vacuum cleaners. After years of frustration over a complete lack of suction in my previous upright model purchased at Target, I am thrilled to watch the floor lighten before my eyes and hear the sweet sound of granules of sand from my daughters' preschool get sucked right up out of the carpet fibers. I went to a vacuum cleaner store that sells and services vacuums, and was able to try a couple of models before settling on the beauty you see to your right.

I love it so much, that I have decided to spotlight it in today's writercize, a simple task which allows you to share your product "expertise" with the world, put your voice into the world wide web, work on lingo for marketing or critiques and have the satisfaction of instant online publication.

writercize: Accolades or a scathing review, pick one of your gifts from Christmas or Hannukah and review it online.  

(Hint: Amazon is an easy site to submit a review since they seem to have almost every item known to mankind, but if you can't find the product there, google it and follow one of the links to purchase the product. You'll almost always be able to review a product on a site that sells it.)

Click "read more" for the writercizer sample review about the Miele Titan.


Best and Worst of 2011 - writercize #147

It's the time of year for, well, truly for New Year's Resolutions, but I'm a little bit behind as usual (darn procrastinating) so we'll fall back a week and work on lists of the best and worst of 2011.  

The challenge, beyond that insurmountable task of completing a superlative, is to come up with your own categories.  Use the news, or your personal life, or a list of pop culture, or whatever comes to you as inspiration, but pick at least three things for each of your lists.

writercize:  Create (at least) three "Best Of 2011" and three "Worst of 2011" categories and fill in your perspective to summarize the year just passed.

Good luck!  Please share as a comment, and I'll see what I can come up with you offer my personal perspective for each of your best and worst lists too!

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response for best and worst lists from technology to government to insensitivity.