By her own admission, Mary is an eccentric person, and that’s just fine with us. One of the best parts of working with a diverse group of writers is that we get to benefit from their wide range of talents, experiences and perspectives.
Like so many of the folks who help make Content BLVD great, writing is an important part of Mary’s life and she’d be doing it one way or another, even without the work and creative outlet that our assignments provide.
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
It depends on the type of writing we are talking about. Writing is an art form so it has a broad spectrum. In Jr. High and High School I wrote lots of silly stories just because, to amuse my family. Later as an educator I wrote academically, created stories for lessons, and non-fiction items for teachers for 13 years. I have been writing pieces for the internet for almost three years and I find those most exciting and engaging.
Becoming a writer full time happened because of a string of stressful life events in a two year period that radically changed how I thought, worked and played. A divorce, a change of job (which was not suited for me but put my son through college), working on an administrator degree and the discovery of an underlying disability, caused me to make decisions that best took care of me.
I have Irlen Syndrome, a rare condition that affects brain processing which explains many of my eccentricities. The immense amount of stress I was under caused it to come raging forth and basically my creative side overcame my linear math/science side and said, “It is my turn and I am taking it.” 🙂
Writing was a way to change and to heal my brain.
What in your background/daily life/interests helps to inform your writing and make you good at what you do?
Well for years we as a family we read books, went to the city library, and hung out at book stores. We would read large novels and series such as Tolkien, Asimov, Orson Scott Card and many others. We would have these intense discussions about stories, characters, what ifs, and why. So both my sons write.
Morgan does it creatively and as a hobby and has a piece about Hurricane Ike in a New Orleans museum dedicated to that. Jake works in telecommunications and writes technical manuals. So writing and reading are a natural part of life for us. My parents constantly read and discuss books. Coming from Missouri it is a tradition to sit around as a family and tell stories about each other and all your relatives, and of course embellish them to make everyone roar with laughter.
What do you consider your writing specialty?
I am quite eclectic. I rotate writings around. I love a good SEO piece of high quality writing and I find sharebait [aka linkbait] fascinating as well. It lets me write everyday on a variety of topics in a way that is interesting and engaging. I think it is one of the best things the internet has allowed to flourish.
We get to share across cultures and economic levels ideas, concepts and opinions and learn something at the same time. I love how the internet writing companies let you experiment, evaluate your writing pieces and place them on the market for clients to buy. What a great creative outlet for those who write.
Creative writing is like a bubble bath; it soothes my savage soul and lets me transition to an easier person to get along with. : )
I have a children’s book at Guardian Angel Publishing in process “Ways to Say Zero” and a novel in process of being published by Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency for young adults “The Grand New Delhi Escapade”.
To put food on my table and gas in my car I also write state assessment items for math and science according to standards from K to 8th grade. For years, I wrote model lesson plans, curriculum guides, and scope and sequences though that has faded somewhat. (I like the SEO and creative writing the best.)
What do you do to get your creative juices flowing?
I have lots of ways to do that. I am an artist and I draw, oil paint and water color. I put them on my Facebook page for ogling. I play basic piano, rhythm guitar, and sing in a chorus which sets me in the mood to write. I have Facebook friends from all over the world, all walks of life that have diverse and opposing opinions from mine. I have several who love to debate me on religion, politics and life in general especially in India.
Sometimes reading books, news, and blogs makes it flow but many times just ordinary life and observing does that. I people watch often, have conversations with my parents or sons, watch TV or movies and things will store up in my memory for when the time comes to write. When I write it pours out in sentences and paragraphs like a rushing spring river almost faster than what I can type. Then I go back and shape it. For SEO writing I like to go do research and find a new angle or humorous way of displaying a technical or legal topic, or the teacher in me comes out and likes defining and explaining things so anyone can understand.
Truthfully, sometimes I just sit and scribble squiggly lines on paper and then write whatever is in my stream of consciousness at the time. Then it will settle and I sit down and write.
What do you think makes a really good article?
As a reader, I love articles that entertain me, tell me something interesting or inform me. It can be on a subject or controversy or telling one about a product or service in an interesting or educational way. I try to do that when I write. I try to mix it up if I am writing several articles for a campaign.
I will write something educational, something humorous, something with an interesting angle, or something telling of what may happen after something develops or is implemented. My writing has a distinct voice but my style and language level varies according to what I think the needs of the readers are. To me, the point of writing is a two fold system of communication. You express your ideas or perspective on something but at the same time you have to keep the reception of the receiver in mind in any type of communication.
We have levels of writing and communication such as static which is Latin or certain religious litanies, formal which includes laws, academic which is for school and research, business which conveys information creatively on a product or service, informal which is what you do with friends and family and then intimate which is the language between lovers. The internet is the only entity I know of that displays all the language levels at the same time and the only boundary is whether or not the viewer decides to go there and look. Otherwise, most of the rest of the writing venues are compartmentalized with hidden rules that we fuss over.
That is why I love the internet–it is your choice to read what you please at the level you please in the form of communication you want at the time, whether that is text, graphics, audio, or video and now some esoteric and interactive items.
What do you like about writing for Content BLVD?
Freedom as a writer. I love how you all give the general gist and direction of the article but you leave it open. I decide the approach, the format and focus. You let the client decide if they like it. I do not think there is anything wrong with constraints, like those that are needed in high level advertising writing or assessment writing. It is good to have a place such as this that goes by the other concept. I get to try some things and write on topics I choose. I have written basic pieces, high level thinking pieces, humorous pieces and just totally from-the-other-side-of-the-universe thinking pieces which to my delight sold!
Getting credited with by lines is good, but there is something to be said for ghost writing. I can try some things with ghost writing that in other venues would not be suited. There is an artist musician in me that has some unique ways of phrasing things so it is nice to have venue to practice that. I don’t have to worry about my personal brand– I can treat it as a type of artistry.
As the song says “what the world needs now is love sweet love, it’s the only thing there is just too little of” so I try to spread some JOY sometimes or at least make someone laugh who will then go home and kiss their significant other and be happy.