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Archive | June, 2011

Tuesday Tips: More On “It’s” & “Its” — what about “Its’”?

28 Jun

For last week’s Tuesday Tips, I discussed how to use it’s and its. In an email today from a PR firm, I came across this sentence:

“VOGA Italia hails from Italy, the country best known for producing some of the world’s best wine as well as its’ keen sense of style.”

which reminded me I didn’t even mention the third its’: this one is ALWAYS wrong. Just like hers and his, its is a possessive that doesn’t require an apostrophe. Its’ is not a word.

It is tempting to also question the sentence further (can a country make wine or have style?) but I’m not. At least not today!

Remember if you have copy that needs work, or if you need some coaching for your writing, let me know! I’m happy to help you.

Tuesday Tips: On "It's" & "Its" Here are two wonderful and important concepts from a blog post I was reading and which inspired me to write this morning: Social Networking at it’s very foundation is building relationships with people… Social networking at it’s finest: making friends and helping each other at the same time. Do you know the difference between “it’s” and “its”? Chances are that you don’t. There’s even a Facebook page about it’s and its (that’s where I found the gr … Read More

via The Write Alley

Reading & Workshop Ventura College Monday June 27

24 Jun

On Monday June 27 I will be reading my poetry and discussing my writing process, writing practice and The 3:15 Experiment with two classes of Ventura College writing students. I will be speaking with the first class at 10:50am in Trailer 5 for about an hour; I will meet with the second class at 1:50pm in J-1. I’ll also be selling and signing my new book, Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son (en theos press 2011).

You are welcome to join us! Ventura College is located at 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA 93003. It costs $1 to park and there are maps around campus to guide you to the classroom.

If you can’t make the reading but want to buy a copy of Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son, it’s available in print and ebook editions at www.entheospress.com and in Ojai at Barts Books, in Camarillo at Mrs Figgs Bookworm and in Ventura at Kama Sutra Closet.

Tuesday Tips: On “It’s” & “Its”

21 Jun

Here are two wonderful and important concepts from a blog post I was reading and which inspired me to write this morning:

Social Networking at it’s very foundation is building relationships with people…

Social networking at it’s finest: making friends and helping each other at the same time.

Do you know the difference between “it’s” and “its”? Chances are that you don’t. There’s even a facebook page about it’s and its (that’s where I found the graphic).

Using it is when you mean its and its when you mean it is ranks up there as the most common mistake I see in online and offline writing. My undergrad college students get it wrong and my graduate students in education got it wrong too.

This is the most common spelling, punctuation or grammar mistake that I find online. And I find at least a few examples of it every day in online publishing. In fact, as I mentioned above, this post itself is inspired by a blog post where “it’s” was used wrong more than once and both times in a headline as shown above.

(The second most common mistake? Using semi-colons–I’ll get to that next!)

Most of the time the writer who uses its/it’s wrong has strong content and writing skills (like in this case), but doesn’t know when to use “it’s” or to use “its”; these writers tend to use one or the other all the time, possibly on the false assumption they’d be correct 50% of the time. (If I was to take this strategy, I’d use “its” not “it’s,” by the way…)

Learning how to use “its” or “it’s” is one of the first orders of business when I am working with someone on writing.

So when do you use “it’s” and when do you use “its”? (more…)

Tuesday Tips from Kathy Sierra on How To Kick *, Create Passion, Do It All Better

14 Jun

Last week, Kathy Sierra wrote a guest post for Hugh McLeod’s “gaping void” blog about some current trends in social media which included this graphic. (FYI, Hugh McLeod is famous for some outrageous marketing ideas for wine and tweed as well as drawing insightful cartoons which he also uses in his best-selling book Ignore Everybody.)

In her guest post, Kathy Sierra asks, “why are people still so convinced that social media and all related buzzwords are The Answer?” when, if the product is truly crap, “your social media strategy won’t save you.”

“You want to use social media not because you *must*,” continues Kathy Sierra, “but because you can add even more value for your users by doing so.”

In conclusion, Kathy Sierra says, “There is a world of difference between helping someone *appear* more awesome and helping them actually BE more awesome.”

Reading this article reminded me of how insightful she is and it made me look up a blog post I wrote following hearing her speak in August 2008 at my first WordPress conference. Continue on to read her 20 ways to kick ass and create passion without resorting to the “gamification” she decries in her article on Hugh McLeod’s blog last week.

Kathy Sierra's WordCamp Waterfall of Words: How To Kick Ass, Create Passion, Do Everything Better (even sex!) What do you do to help people kick ass? In a waterfall of words, Kathy Sierra swam us through 20 ways in the final presentation at WordCamp 2008. While she was speaking primarily to and for software programmers and developers, and not just WordPress uses, I could see where much of what she had to say applied to me as a poet, and as a blogger, and in other ways as well. (Heck, a lot of it even applies to having great sex!) This is what I got out o … Read More

via art predator

Tuesday Tips: Know Your Rights! Workshop for Creatives

7 Jun

This is a public service announcement–with guitars! Are you an Artist, Writer or Creator? Do you want to know what COPYRIGHT means and what it protects? Would you like to understand what infringement is? What is fair use? Or whether you have international protection?

Ventura lawyer Kate Brolan promises an informative and interesting presentation “Copyright for Artists, Writers and Creators” on these subjects at the Bell Arts Factory  Weds June 15th at 6PM. And it’s free!

Bell Arts Factory is located at 432 N. Ventura Blvd. in Ventura. Please RSVP by email to k8brolanlawATgmailDOTcom or call her at 805-308-0858 and leave your name and how many will attend.

I met Kate last fall when we were in a WEV mastermind group together. We also discussed some copyright questions I had about my book, Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son (in print or as an e-book from en theos press). Kate is very knowledgeable and helpful, and I am sure this event will be worth your while.

In closing, here’s a brilliant video which combines Pearl Jam cover of Clash classic “Know Your Rights” with cartoon of Donald Duck as a Nazi http://t.co/uvuAUVD

TLVC Online Mag Features Gwendolyn Alley & ArtRides

3 Jun

This month’s Totally Local VC online magazine features an article about the ArtRides! Written by James Scolari, it’s based on an interview with me the other day.

Here I am, the leader of the pack, during last month’s ArtRide. Our theme was “Greaser Bicycle Ball.” Photo by Daniel Boggs.

As a writing coach who desires to work with artists and other creative folk, doing the ArtRides gets me out into the community every month to meet people and see what’s going on in our community. Yes, you could see it as networking but instead of attending an event with networkers for the sake of networking, I am participating and creating an event in my community that draws the community together to make various connections. And it’s fun! You should join us sometime–if not this month for the Seersucker Social, maybe next month for “Flower Power”! If you’re interested in learning more about the ArtRides and other fun cycling events, check out and subscribe to my blog “Bikergo Gal”.

Summer Solstice SantaCon & Seersucker Social ArtRide Tonight! Have you figured out what to wear to tonight’s Summer Solstice Seersucker Social & SantaCon ArtRide? Here are some of the seersucker separates I found: from our closets–a Betsey Johnson dress I got at a thrift store many years ago (now too small and up for borrowing!), three pairs of shorts (one pair from Patagonia–they have lots of seersucker this season!), a coat I bought on sale for my son a few years ago for a summer wedding and other d … Read More

via Bikergo Gal

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