How technical writing helped me write memoir and fiction

I fell in love with writing in grade school and took journalism and was on the newspaper staff in high school. I attended the University of Wisconsin as a journalism major, then transferred to UCLA my senior year to complete a degree in English. Because jobs for women journalists were few in the 1960s in Los Angeles, I began a long career as a technical writer and editor, proposal manager, web designer and content developer in the aerospace industry. And I must say that was a great choice because my job paid very well, and I’m still able to work from time to time as a consultant years after I officially retired (I’m just about to embark on a four-month job to help a group of engineers write a proposal to the U.S. Air Force). Plus, I’ve been able to transfer what I learned as a technical writer over to my memoir and fiction writing. Here are six things I learned: Plan before you write. I had an outline before I started my memoir and a list of scenes that guided my fiction b … [Read more...]

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Some old stories

In 2012 and 2013 I contributed to a website called Storylane. It inspired me to write very short pieces about a variety of subjects. Unfortunately, Storylane no longer exists, but packrat that I am I saved every piece I submitted. Here’s a few: How I Got My First Job Out of College I graduated from UCLA with a degree in English and had no idea what I would do professionally after getting it. I had wanted to work as a journalist and actually completed all the course work for a degree in journalism at the University of Wisconsin. But family illness caused me to transfer to UCLA for my senior year, and UCLA didn’t offer a BA degree in journalism. So I was stuck in a city I didn’t know, and hardly knowing anyone in it. I tried valiantly and unsuccessfully early on to get a writing job and then gave up. It was 1962. Not a lot of jobs for women writers in those days, especially in Los Angeles. Then someone suggested I try the growing aerospace business in southern California. And I … [Read more...]

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My Gutsy Story Anthology

I’ve been so proud to be a part of the group of sixty-four writers who participated in the 2013 edition of  the My Gutsy Story Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure from Around the World, conceived and edited by Sonia Marsh. The anthology has won three awards so far: 2014 ELIT Gold Award for Anthologies 2014 International Book Awards Finalist 2013 Benjamin Franklin Award Silver Honoree Winner at the Paris Book Festival Sonia is now taking submissions for the all-new 2015 anthology. I encourage you to submit your story now. Click here to find out how. Here’s the piece I wrote for the 2013 edition. And if you like my piece, I promise you, you won’t be disappointed in the sixty-three other stories in this wonderfully inspiring book. You can buy it here. My Gutsy Story When my older son Paul died by suicide in 1999 after a seven-year battle with bipolar disorder, I knew I had to find ways to keep myself busy and productive or else I would wallow away in my grief. At t … [Read more...]

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Happy retirement, Barbara Walters

I couldn’t let this day go by without a mention of Barbara Walters’ retirement after fifty years in the news, views, and television specials business. I don’t normally watch daytime television but I had to today, just to see her final appearance on The View, a show she created seventeen years ago. Barbara Walters was a huge role model for women in journalism, and on this day’s episode of The View, “Oprah Winfrey brought nearly every newswomen on the planet,” said TNZ, to thank her for it.  She looked around at the dozens of young women standing around her and said, “This is my legacy.” And what a great legacy that is. Unfortunately my desire to work as a journalist and my training in journalism came a decade too soon. Even so, I thank her for what she has accomplished. The news business has not been the same since Barbara Walters became the first woman co-news anchor of the nightly news in 1976. Though her co-anchor at that time (Harry Reasoner) did not respect her or want a c … [Read more...]

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A couple of stories from Storylane

I’m sorry to say Jonathan Gheller has closed down his Storylane site. It was a good place to post and share stories and to get a little feedback. Plus there were always a lot of great prompts to choose from. However, upon its demise, Jonathan generously sent me back the several stories I’ve posted, and now I can share them here. I’ll start with a couple. Please let me know if you like them, and if so, I’ll share a few more. I’ll also share my latest Buddha picture. I love it. How I Got My First Job Out of College I graduated from UCLA with a degree in English and had no idea what I would do professionally with it. I had wanted to work as a journalist and actually completed all the course work for a degree in journalism at the University of Wisconsin. But family illness caused me to transfer to UCLA for my senior year, and UCLA didn’t offer a BA degree in journalism.So I was stuck in a city I didn’t know and where I hardly knew anyone. I tried valiantly and unsuccessfully early o … [Read more...]

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