Welcome back to my monthly Ladies & Gentlemen, meet… feature.
This month we’re heading to sunny California to meet a blogger who a few months ago introduced me to the wonderful world of StumbleUpon. I’m still learning all about this latest social media platform and how it works but, thanks to Terri, StumbleUpon has now become my blog’s biggest referrer. More about that in another post.
I first met Terri when I participated in one of her leisure link-ups. She writes a lot about lifestyles and leisure and how we can all best enjoy and make time for leisure. She is a very keen Windsurfer and posts some wonderful photography on her blog and I love her appetite for enjoying life. We often bump into each other at various photography challenges around the blogosphere.
I’ve visited Califonia several times and love its climate, scenery, wine and people. Terri is a leisure educator and although she likes to spend a lot of time on or in the water she also loves to write. Today she’s sharing her life story of writing with us and it’s a real pleasure that she chose to share it here on Hugh’s Views And News.
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet…Terri Webster Schrandt.
How Writing Built My Blog, by Terri Webster Schrandt
Imagine my excitement when Hugh asked me to write a guest post and be his featured blogger for March. I stand in very good company with previous guest bloggers whom I have followed because of the nature of the content they share. If you’ve been a reader of Hugh’s blog long enough, not only does he share great blogging tips but he’s written a fabulous set of fiction stories and hosts the increasingly popular weekly photo challenge.
What can I share with Hugh’s readers?
For my guest post today, I’ve decided to approach this from a writing perspective. This a blog after all. Most bloggers write.
So, as they say…once upon a time…a writer was made.
The Making of a Writer
I started my “official” writing journey as a cub reporter for the high school newspaper in my senior year. By the second semester I was promoted to news page editor. Near the end of that senior year we entered San Diego county’s high school news competition. Not only did the newspaper win first place, I won first place as reporter for the news category. Totally unexpected given that this was my first year.
Sidebar: My writing journey really started at age five when I started reading…everything. I loved school because we were required to read.
Once in college I realized that I had decent writing skills and excelled in classes like organizational communication. It was much easier to write about facts in non-fiction than to write fiction.
I took those skills into my career in recreation and leisure services (yep—parks and recreation!). I wrote pages of public service announcements, developed and wrote and edited marketing content for publications and catalogue advertising recreation programs. I already had a great eye for proofreading and corrected many of my colleagues’ writing mistakes. I became so successful that I did this for the entire department for 15 years. I eventually managed and wrote website content for our ever-changing online aquatics pages.
The Making of an Editor
In the meantime, I looked for part-time side work to supplement my single-parent income. I knew that I was a good proofreader and copy editor because of those experiences I acquired. When I was introduced to the editor of a local monthly magazine, I asked her if she ever needed proofreading for the publication. She said that her proofreader had just quit and was looking for a new one. She gave me a stack of pages and said, “I pay $10 an hour, so log your hours and we’ll see how you do.” I ended up editing content for her magazine for eight years. She also referred me to other side work proofreading and copyediting books and other publications.
Eventually, most proofreaders were put out of work as computer technology increased. If you ask me, editing and proofreading programs and apps leave a lot to be desired. As writers and readers, how many typos do you see in published works?
The Making of an Educator
In 2007, I decided to enter the graduate program in Recreation Parks and Tourism Administration. My ultimate goal with a master’s degree was to be able to teach part-time at the university in the department. During grad school, I grew fascinated with the four generations in the workplace and how culture and historical events shaped the values and characteristics of each generation. There’s nothing like writing a 90-page thesis to hone your writing skills, not to mention learning to take criticism of your work. From this I learned a lot about my particular writing style and my continued love for non-fiction writing.
In January, 2011, six weeks after I completed the master’s program, I was hired as a lecturer for a university teaching in the recreation, parks and tourism program. Fast-forward to 2016, now retired after 35 years as a parks and recreation practitioner, I continue to write and create 4+ hours of lecture material each week. I then present them to Millennial students with somewhat short attention spans.
The Making of a Blog
Once I finished and published my thesis, which focused on the four generations in the leisure workplace, I used my research and literature review to construct and offer presentations for trainings and workshops. Soon after, I started a blog on WordPress. The blog was devoted mostly to generational training and information and was slow to progress because it was the equivalent of writing a research paper for each blog post… and even I got bored with it.
I continued to realize the importance of good writing once I started blogging. However, academic writing using references was tiring. I got discouraged and let it fall by the wayside. On a random day in September 2014, I logged into WordPress and saw the invitation for WordPress’ Blogging University 101 and 201, which helped me develop my blog to what it is today.
My blog became about the perspectives I had on life, work and leisure. I have come across very few blogs that focus on leisure, play and recreation. I’ve noticed some bloggers do blog about travel, lifestyle, and fitness, but they don’t introduce the broad concepts of leisure in the sense of the value it provides. I bring that perspective of how valuable leisure is in our lives from the points of view of practitioner and leisure educator.
The Making of a Published Author?
This summer, I hope to get started on writing and self-publishing an e-book about finding time for leisure.
My thanks to Terri for sharing her life history of how she became a writer. Please pay Terri a visit by visiting her blog, Perspectives On…Lifestyle and Leisure. I can guarantee she’ll shower you with sunshine and all things leisure whenever you visit.
You can view Terri’s ‘About Me’ page here. Please leave Terri any comments or questions and she’ll be delighted to answer them for you.
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