Thursday, October 22, 2009

A little Self Improvement

So I want to be a better writer, and am exploring ways to do so. I went to the library today to see about a book that had been suggested to me. Of course they didn't have a copy on hand, so I reserved one. But in the meantime I found several others on writing styles for a few different genres, including my current one.

One of my dreams is to be published more broadly or to write a book. The longest thing I've ever written was a term paper way back in high school and it was just about eight pages long. Writing a longer format would be a whole new adventure for me.

I wouldn't mind looking into freelance writing but I realize that I likely need more practice and insight on different writing formats, as well as trying to finally defeat the run on sentence monster. One thing writing a weekly column has done has taught me to be a better self editor and to work at thinking a bit more creatively when putting sentences or phrases together. I am learning, albeit slowly, to find new ways to say something, without having to use the same sort of phrasing in every piece I write. I have looked back at some of my earlier writings before I started Miss Mom and in the year since Miss Mom's debut and I have seen improvement, but I can always do better.

One thing I find a fun challenge is to use a word that I haven't used before, or don't use that often and have it relevant to the topic. It isn't always possible to do so, but I can try.

Taking a class on writing isn't in my financial or time budget right now, but I'd like to find more input somewhere to gaining stronger writing skills. I'll start with these books by my bed and work from there.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When Continuing Ed Doesn't Suck

As is true for many professions I have to earn continuing ed hours in order to keep my cosmetology license. When I lived in North Carolina, I could either go to some approved individual classes or attend a large hair show where a variety of classes we offered along with trend classes and shows and displays. We could earn all our hours at a show in a single weekend, but not all the classes offered at a show were qualified for state board hours.

I was warned that when I moved to South Carolina that what I was used to for earning those all important hours would not be near the same. How true that was.

In South Carolina, State Board requires 6 hours a year for keeping your professional license in my field. Classes are offered throughout the year so that we hairdressers can earn hours. They are always one day events, at least in my experience. The first two years lived up to billing.

I personally do not like my time wasted. If I have to sit in a class for six hours I would really like to walk way with something besides a bad mood and a lingering headache. At the first year, I felt that we were being patronized as the presenter figured she was so gifted and that it was an honor for us to be basking in her presence. Now granted the lady knows her craft, at least in doing hair, it was in presentation skills that she had no talent. However she didn't have a clue. The planned curriculum barely made it to the halfway point by the end of the day.

The second year, new location, same presenter. A new snag to suffer through. Too many people stuffed into a too small room. The presenter couldn't stay on the topic of hair longer then about 10 minutes before she is running down a rabbit trail of some personal little snippet of her life. I had wised up and snuck in a paper back to read. After lunch, they posted, and I am not making this up, shushers to keep us all quiet. The moment a feed back question was asked, naturally people started discussing amongst themselves, and then the shushers would start. They also had made it clear that no "outside" reading was allowed, like my book. We were supposed to pay attention. I felt like we were being treated like third graders. I still read whenever I was sure the shushers weren't looking. The planned curriculum maintained its not quite to halfway status like the previous year.

After that class, a couple of us decided that no more, we had to find another presenter to get our ed. hours. And thankfully we did, in the form of one Mary Rock. Mrs. Rock did such a good job of staying on target, giving clear concise explanations, used power point presentations, and we even managed a bit of hands on time with volunteer models. My friend Ted and I were thrilled and vowed to return this year.

This year was even better. Mary had brought models from Greenville Tech where she teaches and did hair cuts and color on both, she had great power point presentations, and also showed us several websites that offered tutorials, videos and other tools. She got through the entire agenda on time, and her two young models got to go home with some cool new looks.

We had a few ladies there that were there only to get in their time. They openly flipped through a magazine or talked a bit amongst themselves now and then. Our presenter didn't mind. She was there to teach us who were interested, and to allow others just to get in their time if that is what they chose. I still believe that everyone in the room went home with something new that they hadn't thought of before.

Guess where who's class I'm going to next year? Thanks Mary, you Rock!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stuff! Stuff! Gimme!

Ah the latest chapter in the saga of freebies to Sylvie that began innocuously enough with a product brand name being mentioned in my weekly column over at the To catch you guys up, here is what has happened thus far.

I mentioned that product, a famous brand of toilet paper, one time in a story I had written about toilet paper and the fact that I suspect my kids of using it for nefarious reasons. Why did I think that? Because it disappeared from my house so quickly. Several months later I was contacted by a marketing firm representing this particular product asking me if I would be interested in test trying a new version of the brand. Sure, I replied, its free tp.

So I get the free stuff, test it, generally like it, and sent my responses back including the asked for blog review. I also got a bonus product as a "gift" for trying. Part of that gift was a room freshener thingie that my daughter Megan really liked. It too got a mention in that review blog.

So a couple of weeks ago, I am yet again contacted from a marketing firm asking if I would like to test out a new version of the freshener stuff. More free stuff for me. Today it came via the people in brown shorts. Inside the box was a bottle of the product with a nifty gym bag and water bottle. Yeah this stuff is sports/exercise related. I guess they haven't seen the dust gathering on my pilates DVD.

So...this got me to thinking. If by a random mention of a certain product in a blog that has, that I know of NINE regular readers, what can happen if I mention stuff I'd really like to try, like Godiva chocolate? Prada? MAC make-up? Tiffany's? BMW? OOO...think of the possibilities.

Now to find some really smelly sneakers. That should be a challenge since I have no sense of smell.

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's pajama day!!!

Yep, I have declared it pajama day! I am really really tired, have been fighting a losing battle with fall allergies and just want to vegetate for a day or a year. I may or may not get anything useful accomplished except the next declaration.

Today is officially pajama day. That means I plan on staying in mine all day long no matter what. So sorry mailman if you need to deliver something to my door, sorry youngest child's boyfriend who will likely be at my house for dinner, sorry nice Jehovah's witness lady if you decide to knock on my door. My hair is uncombed, I only brushed my teeth once so far, I'm wearing over-sized sweats and a coffee stained tank top, and slightly smelly slippers, and I don't really care.