Lowell, MI- Three things prompted me to think about the writing business: 101 Challenge by WordPress, 100 Posts & beyond that I have achieved in a year and my worsening eyesight.
Sometimes people ask me what would I be if I wasn’t a writer.
“I’d be a queen,” I answer laughing. “The queen of hearts.”
First of all writing is a business and it should be approached as such. I never quite got the idea of some of the Internet writers’ magazines screaming out loud on Facebook:
“Writers, do you want to get paid for writing?”
How is writing any different than going to get your groceries and paying for them? Or gas at the local station? Air ticket?
Actually it should be paid higher than your average retail position because the fact of the matter remains that minority entertains the majority.
“People would die of boredom if it wasn’t for writers and artists,” I always say. “What would you do without us?”
But, there does come a time when you feel like giving up after all the ups and downs, the encouragements and the discouragements.
It is that time when you’re bombarded by self-publishing houses that want your credit card number for your book on demand; by your spouses who want you to make money rather than use it on print cartridges, your aging parents who want to hold that long dreamt about book.
Then, kicks in the thing about driving traffic to your Internet sites and likes, which somehow magically will transfer into sales.
Not to forget about traditional publishers who want everything by snail mail, and 10 months later they still haven’t responded to you.
I don’t know how to change things to get different results or more likes and followers.
I like to encourage others to keep on trying doing the things they want along with the wanted outcomes.
My wanted outcomes are the publishing of my memoir and a book, but I seem to be lost in a sea of unexpected results on winding paths. This is not always bad, it’s just something else than you wanted.
It’s like going into the woods to get morels, and instead you bring back blackberries.
“It leads to new discoveries,” I say.
Like in this typical example of having a blog to increase your online presence and publishing capabilities while writing your memoir.
Well, accidentally you pick out WordPress, the best of the bunch. You are a perfect match, and you’re on your way.
“I love doing the blog more than writing my memoir,” I told my husband the other day.
There’s better and instant feedback, the constant challenge of maintaining the blog and coming up with new things, new challenges.
Then in turn you get picked up by other Internet giants and you’re headed into the unknown, like on a spaceship.
Lowell, MI- As I write this I am probably on my 107th post or more between my rolling portfolio of Emma’s Blogs.
I get my ideas from nature, from other people, art and sometimes from press releases.
“Get out of the office, go and talk to people, shoot some bull,” a presenter said at a writing conference in 1998 at Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mount Pleasant. In a million years, I could not have received better advice. I live by it. I swear by it.
A story is not going to walk into your office or into your space whatever or wherever that may be. You have to seek it out. If it does walk in, excellent. But, you still have to explore it in 3D. Otherwise you have a dry piece without juice and atmosphere. In sales, it’s called “drumming up business.”
My second editor Dave Trinka of Allegan County News, awesome photographer, told me that I should just do a drive around and get some photos. Well, with the photos usually comes a story idea, and you get a bonus break from the screen, the keyboard, and the editor. Sorry, Dave, Valerie and Jeanne.
“Ask yourself questions,” the presenter encouraged in that pivotal CMU conference.
Go to your local coffee shop and listen to what people are talking about. What is the talk of the town? Is it you? Or why has that coffee shop changed hands so many times? Why is it doing so well now? Once a co-pastor of a local church owned the coffee shop under the name Kava Klatch.
What happened to the pastor who just wanted to try it out for the sake of trying, used a fancy foreign name, and three month later went out of business?
Well, he’s a successful pastor at a successful growing church. Does that warrant a story about the evolution from church to coffee shop and back to church?
Interesting, isn’t it?
My second favorite stories are enterprising stories. They’re up for grabs, they’re that low-hanging fruit.
“What would Big Rapids or Mount Pleasant be without their sacred cows? Or better, what would Rome be without the Vatican? What would WordPress be without its users?
Can anyone guess what those sacred cows are?
They’re the anchor institutions or businesses in communities. Every community around the world has them.
“Find your sacred cow. What has she been up to lately?”
No. 1 HUMAN INTEREST STORIES
Everybody loves them. They are about people for the people. The subject of these does not necessarily have to be George Clooney or Brad Pitt. That’s been done million times all over the planet. You can get that anywhere. You probably see it on my site http://emmapalova.com
It does not have to be about your local habitual offender. That’s too easy. The news organizations got that from a massive press release from the police department. You don’t even have to change anything. The police chief probably sweated long hours over it.
“The easiest beat you can get is the police,” said former editor of the Ionia Sentinel-Standard Roger Harnack.
It does not have to be about the NBA franchise owner Donald Sterling who got into trouble for his racial comments. The TV and the Internet have us covered for the next 100 years on this one.
Look deeper inside your own community. Again ask yourself questions. Follow through and study your subject of interest.
Who is the woman behind the successful events drawing people into the community? What kind of a difference has she made? What is her impact on the community? Why does she care?
“She keeps reinventing herself,” said owner of Ace Hardware Charlie Bernard about the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce director.
That warrants a story on many different levels in spite of the fact that she is on every press release and in photos sitting on Santa’s lap promoting Christmas picture taking.
Why? Because she is different. She boldly stands apart from the crowd.
What happened to the former editor who got canned from two newspapers? Well, today, as we speak, he is walking the aisle to accept his doctoral diploma in communications.
“I’ll be walking tomorrow,” he posted on LinkedIn. “I still have to make a few corrections to my dissertation.”
What is the active ingredient in the Tazo tea that makes you go to sleep? Among the proprietary blend of 13 ingredients, the Valerian Root stands out. So, you pick it and write about it.
Prague, the capital of Czech Republic and a favorite tourist destination, will be hosting the first WordPress Camp on Feb. 22. The conference will put Prague among 172 other cities across six continents that have already hosted WordCamp.
As a WordPress writer of Czech origin, I am very proud that the camp will take place in the “Heart of Europe,” as Prague is often dubbed. The conference will be divided into two presentations; one for users and one for developers.
The lectures will be in Czech with the exception of two in English.
Among the lecturers, who all are big fans of WordPress, will be Vladislav Musilek, Jan Kvasnicka, Pavel Ungr, Vlastimil Ott, Peter Gramantik, Agnes Bury, Jan Bocinec, Richard Bonk, David Binovec, Tomas Cirkl, Martin Michalek, Tomas Poner, Tom Eagles, Marek Prokop a Radek Kucera.
“I started working with WordPress a few years ago, when I built my blog on it,” Kucera said. “Today, I build simple web pages for firms, and I like to learn something new. I am interested in everything around the Internet and I work in Telco& ICT.”
Agnes Bury in a lecture “Going global” will talk about how to make a WordPress site multilingual. She is the marketing and community manager for the company behind the WordPress Multilingual Plugin-the plugin that lets you make your e-commerce site multilingual, as well as plugins which let WP web developers build their sites faster without php coding.
Before joining the company, she was working as a WP freelancer. Bury also publishes a popular WordPress blog where she shares her passion and experience in WP with other fans.
The event, with platinum sponsor Wedos, reasonably priced at 390 crowns has almost sold out.
Other upcoming WordCamps, organized by communities and volunteers, will be held in major cities across USA. They’re informal forums used to share information.
For more information go to central.wordcamp.org/schedule/ or 2014.prague.wordcamp.org
Copyright (c) 2014 story by Emma Palova, photo of Prague courtesy of Ceske Narodni Listy
Mr. Greg Canfield has been named the person of the year 2014 by the Lowell Area Chamber.
“I thought only old people get this title,” he laughed.
In the past, Greg along with his wife Deb were awarded the Brick Award 2011 for bringing back to life the three buildings owned by the Reedy’s and what is now the Main Street Inn. And of course the Canfield Plumbing & Heating business running fast for the last two decades.
“Our main focus is on the plumbing business,” said Canfield.
The rough winter has been a boom for the plumbing business. “We had to pick which customer needs our help the most,” he said. “We got 100 home calls.” The biggest problem was when people were gone, and the home got flooded or the pipes froze.
The plumbing business employs 15 full-time employees, while the Main Street Inn has eight part-time employees. However, the elegant Inn nestled on the Flat River is the talk of the town, and a lifeline to downtown businesses. The lobby has new additions that are rarities today,, an old red coke machine and a phone booth.
The favorite rooms are the ones overlooking the Flat River and the Showboat. One room is dedicated to prominent late citizen Ivan Blough for his love of the Showboat, the other one is the honeymoon suite. The 1880s building has no problems with plumbing, because it’s all new. During the remodel, Canfield moved the plumbing into the walls, and found out about the second story that was on the original building.
“It was a major undertaking,” Canfield said. “We had to pour new foundations on the river bottom. The building is 98 percent new.” There are seven guest rooms, three rooms are upstairs with a spacious community room. Four rooms are on the main level, along with the lobby and a conference room. The conference room is used by various groups such as the Flat River Watershed group as well as for bridal or baby showers, and wedding rehearsals.
“The plumbing business carries us,” Canfield said. “You can’t outsource that to China. The Inn brings people to downtown area. They can walk to Backwater Cafe. People love the art shops and the antiques.”
It is one of Canfield’s many goals to make Lowell a destination town like it used to be when the Flat River Antique Mall was still operating. This will include improving parking and handicap accessibility. As a member of the Downtown Development Authority, Canfield said the DDA is looking at developers seeking assistance.
Future plans include purchasing the 12,000 square-footMoose building and turning it into a pub, a banquet hall and a hotel on the third floor.
“It will be like an extension to the Inn.”
Canfield, now for his involvement in the historic district commission and Lowell Light & Power, the Downtown District Authority, and the construction board of appeals, is the man of the year.
“I am so humbled to be along the people who preceded me.” he said.
Canfield attributes his success to being surrounded by great people. “I am surrounded by my family, my wife, co-workers and neighbors. Lowell is a wonderful community.”
Canfield said he would do it all over again.
“It’s very rewarding helping people solve their problems,” he said.
Canfield has a handful of stories about cool people who had stayed at the Inn. A lady who was suffering from terminal cancer rented the entire building for the family to enjoy and celebrate her life.
“It’s a fun way to remember her,” he said.
At a different time, Canfield saw his guests from Las Vegas walking around Lowell and skyping from computers.
“It’s very humbling to be put along other people who have received this award,” he said. “I want to dabble in other things than plumbing.
Canfield, a history buff, likes to bring people to the Lowell historic district.
” I do it for the downtown, to bring people in,” he said in a recent interview. “I care for the community.”
I am looking forward to 2014 in spite of its rocky & freezing start. My goals include exponential growth of followers of my online journal. I plan on diversifying the content with other writers’ and bloggers’ work.
So far, it has been a one –woman show as far as articles, photography and design.
I am using this opportunity to invite other writers and artists to display their work in my journal. I would like to add fiction and poetry. I am a firm believer in creative partnerships.I want to add more advertising, both local and national, as well as a store page in an effort to monetize the site. And tie everything close with social media.
I am also happy about completing career profiles on Google+ and Elance in search of freelance work.
I will continue writing the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” which is the principal reason behind the journal. The family immigration saga is evolving as we speak and taking its own course.
My parents Ella&Vaclav Konecny, who started the saga in mid 60s are spending the winters in Venice,Fl. Dad will be celebrating his 80th birthday this July. My daughter Emma appears to be staying in France for a while. My brother Vas lives in Paris, Michigan and my son Jake lives in Kalamazoo.
I am targeting the book for next year’s publication before Mother’s Day since it is dedicated to mom. I am aiming for traditional publication as of right now.
I also have plenty of short stories awaiting publication collected in “Glass Flowers” anthology. I wrote most of these when I was working at the Meijer store in the nineties in Grand Rapids.
So, it will be a busy new year. I celebrated my one-year anniversary with WordPress on Jan.15. Looking forward to another one.