Start Writing Again

No Age Limit on Road Rage

Toy Truck

© Scott Rothstein | Dreamstime

While attempting to enter a freeway from the service lane, a friend of mine experienced a most surprising incident of road rage.

Only after he told me his story did I realize that I am probably guilty of gauging the possibility of irritating the drivers near me to the point of danger purely by age. The younger they are, the less likely I am to honk my horn or wave my hands in the air wildly as a sign that I think they just pulled a really, stupid move.

Apparently, my thinking is a bit naive.

The service lane my friend was on merges with the entrance ramp to the freeway. He made all the right moves to signal his intent to merge but could see a minivan coming up behind him. It was obvious the minivan had no intention of letting my friend merge – at least not easily. He kept the nose of his bumper just at the tail end of my friend’s car. (I won’t say where, exactly, this incident occurred but suffice it to say that drivers there are not known for passive and friendly driving.)

In a split-second decision, my friend chose to merge anyway, stepping on the gas to gain that extra foot or so needed to clear the nose of the minivan. He must have misjudged because he ended up clipping the minivan’s front head-light.

I can hear my friend now. “Crap.” (my parents read this blog)

Not wanting to block the on ramp, he continued to enter the freeway and then pulled over on the shoulder expecting Minivan Man to pull up behind him.

More >

Making Friends Online

There’s a lot of value in writing online.   One of the best benefits, though?  Making friends online.  I have friends all over the world.  Amazing, since the only country I’ve ever been to outside the United States is Canada.  (In itself, that’s odd considering I live only a few short hours from Mexico…)

If you’re trying to make your way as an internet marketer, it’s easy to come across people online who are going through the same things you are.  Reading, learning, creating, writing….struggling.  There’s a lot of research that goes into putting quality work online.  Then – you find one with whom you just click.  You think alike, share ideas, coach each other, pull each other, and push at each other to keep moving.

Emails whiz across the ether, over oceans, across deserts from one end of the world to another.   Sometimes the emails are bits of info – a new idea, a new website, a new tool we can use in our work.  Sometimes, they’re just funny because we’re tired, can’t think straight or really need a break.

My online IM partner is a man in Spain I have never met.  I know him only through his words.  I know he is funny, intelligent and creative.  I’ve often thought our emails back and forth would make a great blog all in their own.  There are lots of internet marketing lessons in those emails.  Life lessons, too- valuable, pull-yourself-apart, put-yourself-back-together lessons.

More >

80 Books for Free? A Writing Contest You Should Try

I’ll admit, I browse my email. I get so much throughout the day between work and home that it’s nearly impossible to read every word. I need to come up with a better method because…I even browse email from my own family. That’s how I missed the note about a great, little writing contest being put on by one of my mother’s favorite blogs, Dear Reader.

More >

Sharpen Your Pencils

That term came up in a call today and it got me thinking.  I started looking around my office and there wasn’t a single pencil in sight.  I haven’t written with a pencil in ages.  I have pens…lots of pens.  My kids have pencils (it’s a standard elementary school supply list item), but not me.  I have no pencils.  More importantly, I don’t really have a need for a pencil.

More >

Spina Bifida – Do Good Work in This World

I’ve been working on a writing project that will help (I hope) the Spina Bifida Association of Western Pennsylvania.  In order to gather as much information as possible, I’ve been poking around the web looking for material to help highlight the cause.  Twice now, I’ve come across folks whose stories really touched me.  I reached out to both of these individuals to make sure they were okay with my using their information or sharing their stories.  Both times, I received the sweetest, most favorable replies almost immediately.

When you’re doing good work in this world (my Dad’s motto), people are so willing to share and help that it makes the work that much more enjoyable.  In fact, it makes it feel like it’s not really work at all.

Do something good today: Leave a nice comment for a friend, Twitter a happy message to the world, write an article to highlight your own good cause.

Donate some time or money to a worthy organization.


Erin Solange blogs about her life with spina bifida in a heartfelt journal of life in general and the challenges she faces – emotional and physical.  Thanks, Erin for your quick email responses!

I want to also thank Tyler Genest who took time out of his busy life – and without immediate access to the internet – to find a way to contact me to let me know he was absolutely fine with my sharing his story.   You can learn more about Tyler in the following video.

Bless you, both!


Lower Electric Bills – Trick is Twofold

I’ve been researching electricity usage, reviewing electric bills, and reading up on the cost per kilowatt hour nationally and state-wide for a current project. I’m always on the hunt for ways to lower my electric bills and have been writing about this online recently. Then a light bulb went off (it’s okay, it was solar powered). The problem needs to be tackled in at least two ways.

Light Bulb by Caveman 92223

Light Bulb by Caveman 92223

First, rate – the cost you pay for your electricity. This is usually referred to as your cost per kilowatt hour (or kWh). You can lower this amount if your electric company offers what’s called an Off-Peak or Non-Peak plan which charges less per kWh for those kilowatts used during the time of the day when overall demand is lower. If you sign up for these plans and shift as much of your usage as possible to the off-peak times, you’ll lower your overall cost per kWh. Your electric company may offer other reduced-charge plans.


1000 kWh used at $.09/kWh would be a charge of $90
1000 kWh used at $.08/kWh would be a charge of $80

Second, total usage – the total kWh used in a month. This shows up on your bill and can vary month-to-month but is usually driven by changes in season and weather. If your home uses electric air conditioning, for instance, but gas heat like mine, your electricity bill is often higher in the summer and lower in the winter only because you’ve switched sources of energy used to set your home’s temperature.
Making your home more energy efficient also helps reduce your total usage and has an impact on your electric bill. Even a reduction in usage of 10% makes a difference.


1000 kWh used at $.09/kWh would be a charge of $90
900 kWh used at $.09/kWh would be a charge of $81

Now, put the two techniques together. Lower your rate and your usage:


1000 kWh used at $.09/kWh would be a charge of $90

900 kWh used at $.08/kWh would be a charge of $72 ?

For information on the exact methods you can use to lower your electric bills, see my other online articles:

Cutting Electric Bill
How to Lower Electricity Bills
Compare Electricity Bills
Reducing Electricity Bills
Solar Electricity for Your Home

Good luck!

Writer’s Bump

I have writer’s bump. Yes, I said “bump” not “block”. I might actually have bumps, now that I think about it. First, there’s a bump – a callous, really – developing at the base of my right hand from where my wrist tends to sit on the keyboard as I type or on the desktop when I use the mouse. Maybe it’s my badge of courage for having taken on so many writing projects I can’t see straight. Which leads me to my second bump – a big hill of writing in front of me that I climb and climb but seems to be growing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll take bumps over blocks any day.

Spitting Out Posts

I haven’t posted to my blog in so long I nearly forgot I even had a blog. I’ve seen some very nice, simple but effective blog posts lately on other sites and I think it’s time I squeeze in a few of those. Can’t guarantee they’ll be effective – or even entertaining – but if I focus on just writing and not word count, I’ll at least get back to blogging.

You’ll notice my previous posts are a bit lengthy. I don’t think of myself as a talker, but when it comes to writing, I can go on and on. In fact, you should see some of the posts I’ve left in forum threads. I’ve nearly taken up the page which must frustrate a few folks. Today’s message: there’s nothing wrong with short and sweet. I suppose that’s what Twitter is trying to tell us.

I Heart New York City

Today, after only 3 and one half hours of sleep, I climbed aboard a plane in Phoenix and dozed my way to NYC’s JFK International Airport. Tomorrow, I’ll be attending an all day meeting, but tonight I have nothing to do but keep myself occupied. After grabbing a cab at the airport and strapping on my seatbelt (a tip I’ve learned when being in a cab in NYC to keep from sliding left to right and right to left when the cabbie takes a sudden, jarring turn to fling the cab from one lane of the freeway to another), I watch, amazed, out the window at the buzzing mass that is New York City.

More >

Writing Contests Worth Your Time

Yesterday, while doing some additional research on how to further develop a career in writing, I came across a question about a writing competition in a forum.  Competitions?  They have writing competitions?  I guess I should have realized that, but truly it hadn’t crossed my mind.  I ran off to my favorite search engine (hello Google!) and found several interesting, high quality competitions worth considering.

More >