How Adding Voice & Having Fun Can Make the Mundane Entertaining

We asked one of our editors (Betsy Brooks) to provide an example of how a little bit of voice can drastically improve a potentially boring topic. “Sure thing,” she said. The topic she chose? McDonald’s ketchup.

datoneEveryone knows McDonald’s ketchup is fantastic. F a n t a s t i c. Don’t trust anyone who tells you otherwise. As a kid, I always assumed McDonald’s served Heinz, mostly because they really are the household name in ketchup, and also because I was a kid and didn’t yet know how to spot a Heinz imposter. Turns out, most people think that McDonald’s serves Heinz – to the layman condiment consumer, they taste virtually the same. As the years passed, though, I became a budding condimenteur, and I began to notice the subtle differences: the extra hint of vinegar in the Fancy Ketchup at McDonald’s; the smoother texture and richer red delivered by Heinz; the saltier aftertaste of the FK at McD’s…  Also, the label on the ketchup at McDonald’s says “Fancy Ketchup,” and not “Heinz.” That probably should have been the first clue. Continue reading

9 Powerful Writing Quotes

quotesAre you on the hunt for inspiration? Looking for a feel-good quote that’s all about writing? Well, look no further than the following 8 quotes. Hopefully one (or all) of these quotes will help place that pen back into your hand with renewed gusto.

1. Somerset Maugham

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Four Things You (and Your Kids) Should Know About Credit

By: Beverly Bird

Several months ago, my son wandered up to my desk as I was working and cleared his throat. A shiny piece of plastic stuck out from between his fingers, which he waved between my nose and the computer screen so I couldn’t possibly miss it.

A credit card. His credit card. His. Very. Own. Credit. Card. Continue reading

DMS Content: Enriching Lives, Ruining My Favorite Flicks

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Plot narratives – unless highly cerebral or well… boring, hinge upon conflict. Conflicts big and small are what entertain and watching characters resolve aforementioned conflicts is what bonds us to them. Some of my very favorite films and characters go through substantial messiness to conquer their unique breed of conflict: Harry and Sally realize that, despite their best efforts, men and women can’t be just friends – oh and that they love each other in When Harry Met Sally; Entrepreneur, John Hammond learns that bringing prehistoric creatures back to life, to live in a theme park was one of his less responsible business ventures in Jurassic Park; Jerry Lundegaard, poor guy, realizes that he not only can’t sell cars, but is unable to execute the fake kidnapping of his own wife in Fargo. Conflict – this is the stuff. It’s the same stuff that keeps sites like LIVESTRONG.COM and eHow in business. After all, we’re answering questions and providing solutions to life’s conflicts.

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7 Popular Sayings and What They Really Mean

7thingsThe Bee’s Knees, Pleased as Punch, Paint the Town Red … have you ever wondered why we say such odd expressions? What, exactly, do they mean, and where did they originate from?

Behold, seven of the more popular sayings/expressions/phrases, each with the most favorable explanation on their origins. You might be surprised to learn more about them, and you might even think twice before you say ‘em again. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Lainie Petersen

tealady3(2)School: Dominican University, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Degree: Masters degrees in library science, divinity and theological studies.
Approved Sections: Career, Real Estate, Business, Education.

What was the last thing you Tweeted? Yikes, I mostly share other people’s content on Twitter, but my last exchange was about a great tea company and its wonderful products!

Oh that’s right, according to your bio you’re a tea expert. Explain yourself. I got into tea back in 2008. For awhile, I tweeted the teas I was drinking and people began to ask me to start a tea blog. So I started Lainie Sips, a blog focused on tea and tea reviews. Eventually I even got work doing consulting for tea shops, writing for other tea blogs, and eventually even got a job working in a tea shop. I love tea and am constantly amazed at the diversity of the online (and offline) tea community. Continue reading

Moving Off the Block

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Sitting here, staring at a blank page, filled with dread, the switchblades slicing my innards. They’ve demanded a blog, and I have no idea what to write. Not a clue.

To help writers find inspiration, Gabriele Rico, author of “Writing the Natural Way,” recommends an exercise in which you compose a paragraph in the style of some famous author. Then, immediately afterward, you write your own original prose, and the creative start the exercise provides should free your head, heart and hand.

I like that idea. Merely reading a fine novel often spurs my creativity. Perhaps one of those writers, peering down from the bookcase shelves hovering above my desk, could assist me. Continue reading

8 Proverbs Every Writer Should Know

proverbEnglish proverbs have been around for ages; they teach us life lessons, steer us in the right direction and in some rare cases, even taunt us. With so many proverbs floating around out there, I decided to narrow ‘em down by selecting 8 that correlate well with the writer in all of us. When the going gets tough, these eight proverbs are meant to serve as gentle reminders that it’s up to you and your abilities to get the job done.

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Featured Contributor: Fred Decker

Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer who has written and blogged on food-related topics since 2007. Previously he sold computers, insurance and mutual funds.
FD02School: Memorial University of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia Community College, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Degree: Two-year culinary arts certification, no academic degree
Approved Sections: Food, Tech, Careers, Business/Personal Finance

instagramAs a Chef, do you cringe when you see people taking Instagram photos of their food? Not at all. I think it’s a compliment if people want to share/memorialize your food, or use it to make their friends jealous.

What are some of the ‘unusual’ things you’ve consumed/prepared as a Chef? I’m guessing things like testicles, eyeballsmonkey brains, feet

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6 Ways to Find Time to Write for Yourself

calvinI was 12-years-old when I decided I was going to be a writer. Once that decision was made, I wrote constantly. I scribbled lines of (truly terrible) poetry on scraps of paper and filled journals with short stories. I was going to be a writer and if my writing professors and Ernest Hemingway were to be believed, the best way to be a writer was to write every day. So I did. And it was good. It was satisfying just to put pen to paper, even if I was the only one who would ever read the words.

But then real life starts. And real life is busy. Who has the time and motivation to write for themselves when there’s the cooking and cleaning, the kids and the myriad of other tasks and relationships that fill up the free time in our days? Writing for yourself is especially hard if you spend all day writing or editing for a living. I miss it though. I have all sorts of ideas and I think about it all of the time, but actually sitting down and writing something completely for my own enjoyment doesn’t come easy. Continue reading