Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spell check.


Here's a fun fact about me:  when I was in the fifth grade, I won my elementary school's spelling bee and got to go the regional spelling bee downtown. When you're 10 years old and a nerd for all things school, this is a big deal.

As former spelling bee champ and current professional writer, I cringed when I read a recent article from the BBC News about how spell check and other technology are ruining entire generations when it comes to spelling, or, as the writer phrases it, how technology has given birth to an "auto-correct generation."

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming that I don't use spell check. In fact, I was recently complaining to my husband about how I don't like the way spell check has affected my own writing by making me rely less on my own abilities and more on the red or green squiggly line that pops up on my computer screen when I've made a mistake.

The problem isn't necessarily the use of spell check -- it's our (collective "our") growing inability to spell correctly or proof our own work without it.

I think these few sentences really hit the point home:
"Today's tough economic climate means that poor spelling on a CV is fatal, as it says that an individual cannot produce work to a given standard, no matter how highly qualified they might be. Language used by a company or person is a reflection of their attitude, capabilities and skill."
Poor spelling has superficial ramifications as well as personal and professional ramifications. It's one thing to misspell a word in a text message to your friend, but can anyone really afford to make an error on a resume or cover letter these days?

I don't think so. But is that just because I'm a bit of a writing/spelling/grammar snob? What do you think about this "auto-correct generation"?

(image credit: cartoonstock)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Update.

So, who would have thought that this whole getting-back-on-the-blogging-bandwagon thing would take some discipline? (Tongue-in-cheek question, by the way.)

I guess that like any other hobby, blogging takes some practice before it becomes habitual.

As such, today, the day after my birthday, I'm publicly declaring my intention to put in the extra effort required to do this thing. I already have several topics in mind for upcoming posts. And that's a start, right?

So now my not-so-tongue-in-cheek question to my bloggy friends is this:  how do you stay disciplined? Do you blog as thoughts/topics come to you, or do you schedule posts in advance? In general, what's your blogging strategy?

There is so much I can learn from you all. Note-taking starts now!

(image credit: geeky gadgets)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Unplugged.

On Friday, I posted about how my husband and I were jetting off for a little getaway weekend in the mountains. Well, we had an amazing weekend of perfect weather (78 and sunny), beautiful mountains, and making memories together. And even better, our amazing weekend was uninterrupted by emails and phone calls.


Being "unplugged" from our devices for the weekend really reminded me of how major a distraction they are in our daily lives. For example, when was the last time you pulled out your smartphone to send a text, check your email, or look something up on the Web in the middle of dinner with your family or friends? I'm trying to break this bad habit myself.

We get so few opportunities these days to truly disconnect from the rest of the world. Cell phones mean that you can be reached anywhere, anytime. Smartphones, iPads, and laptops mean you can hop online anywhere, anytime.

And we do. Because we can.

But when I was disconnected from these things all weekend, I didn't miss them. I didn't miss Facebook, Twitter, or blogging (no offense). I didn't miss checking my email or keeping up with the latest news.

And instead, I got to enjoy talking, laughing, experiencing things, and making memories with my husband. By disconnecting myself from those distractions, I was able to feel much more connected to him. And isn't that what really matters?

(image credit: techcomet)

Friday, April 27, 2012

A getaway, of sorts.

My husband and I are going on a little getaway to the mountains of Tennessee this weekend. I'm taking Monday off work, which will make Monday the first day I've had off in almost four months, as well as the first PTO day I've taken since starting my current job.

I am so excited. Just getting out of town and getting away from routine can be so refreshing and relaxing. We usually turn our phones off while we're in the mountains, and we don't have laptops or iPads (gosh, who are we?), so we'll really be disconnected from the rest of the world. And it will be glorious.

Tuesday -- the day after we get home -- however, will be a totally different story. I expect to be completely married to my email inbox at work that day in order to catch up on what I missed during what will ultimately be only eight working hours.

Isn't that that the way it always goes?


How do you handle work-life balance? Do you take your work home with you, or do you leave it in the office? And how do you stay on top of things when it's your turn to get away?

(image credit: someecards)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The reason we write.


Yesterday, I was visiting the blogs of some old friends, and I came across a post in which one friend was explaining why she needed some time away from blogging. From writing.

As I was responding to her, telling her that we all need a break sometimes, I reminded myself that life is the reason we write -- not the other way around.

Why do you write? Does living inspire you to write, or does writing inspire you to live?

(image credit: squidoo)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Social Media: A Balancing Act


Forbes.com says that your social media profile can make or break your next job opportunity. As if there weren't enough obstacles already out there in today's job market?

Social media is huge. And unavoidable. I might not go so far as to call it a "necessary" evil, but it's not going away, and professionals and professionals-to-be need to learn how to navigate the terrain.

The tricky thing about social media is its dual nature, how it jockeys back and forth between our professional lives to our personal lives.

For example, are you Facebook friends with any of your coworkers, past or present? (I am.) Do you have personal connections on LinkedIn? (I'm connected to my mom, among others.)

In these seemingly innocuous ways, social media blends together the personal and the professional -- two areas we are so often encouraged to keep separate. And for social media users, that can make things uncomfortable.

Recently, I've seen friends creating secondary Facebook accounts for their "business" persona to combat this very overlap. I guess that's one solution. But does anyone else find the concept of keeping up dual personal and professional social media profiles somewhat completely exhausting? I have trouble keeping up with all of my profiles as it is.

The whole dilemma is even more confusing for those in my field, communications. Social media is often part of our jobs -- I'm on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and more daily for my job. For those of us in this position, it's a balancing act of using the media in such a way to develop marketable skills, while not using it in a way that could be professionally damaging.

I've always been very careful about what I post online just as a matter of common sense. And probably a little bit of paranoia. But that's hardly helpful as far as advice goes.

What's your "rule" for your social media profiles? How do you balance the professional and the personal when it comes to interacting online?


(image credit: onbile)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Welcome back, blogger.


I think I'm going to get back into blogging.

And what do I mean by "back into," you ask? (See non-existent post count to right.)

I started blogging a couple of years ago, actually. I felt constrained by the 140-word limit on Twitter. Also, a friend had started a blog, and naturally, I wanted to be just like her. ;)

But back in the summer of 2009, I was a different person. I was in a weird "in between" phase -- no longer in college, but preparing for grad school. I was working part-time, with an end-date in sight (completion of my master's degree). I was recently engaged, so not married, but also not "just" dating. Life was swirling and whirling around me, and my blog was my outlet.

Despite the ephemeral nature of my days at the time, I managed to cultivate content (and readers) on the topics of wedding planning, personal relationships, and my own daily antics. Deep, I know.

But then I found that working and going to grad school and planning a wedding and looking for an apartment and job searching actually didn't leave much time for blogging. Who would have guessed?

So, I fell off the blogging bandwagon.

And today, I'm gingerly climbing back on board. Today, as a newlywed wife and professional writer, I'm rediscovering my outlet. I hope you'll join me.

(image credit: retail blogging)

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