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Why Play Golf?

Golf is one of the most widespread, popular sports in the world. Easy to begin, yet always challenging, it has a lot to offer everyone of any age, degree of fitness and level of skill. If you have never tried the game and wonder why it attracts so many others, consider some of the benefits it offers you and your community.

A drive through most colonized regions of the developed world will testify to the popularity of the sport of golf. Vast tracts of prime parkland in urban, suburban and rural communities are dedicated and meticulously maintained as fairways, greens and clubhouses. Devotees to the links will work their careers, domestic responsibilities and social life around their tee times. Weather will not daunt them and they will take advantage of every hour of daylight to fit in another round.

If you’ve never tried golf, this obsession may seem a bit baffling. Not everyone sees the attraction. Mark Twain, for one, defined golf as “a good walk spoiled.” Another has quipped “Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle.” So what is it about golf that continues to entice players?

The Benefits of Golf

The many facets of the game of golf combine to offer you a wide range of physical, mental, emotional and social benefits.

Physical Fitness

The average walking circuit for a round of golf is about four miles, or six kilometres, which is an ideal distance done weekly to maintain relatively good physical fitness. If you walk briskly, you will increase your cardio-vascular and lung capacity. Normally, a person’s heart rate while playing golf does not elevate above 120 beats per minute, so the exercise does not qualify as a “cardio” or aerobic workout, but it is perfect for steadily burning fat. If you pull your clubs or carry them, you’ll burn even more calories each round. Swinging the club conditions your upper body and back while bending down to handle the ball helps keep all your joints and muscles supple.

A round of golf burns about 300 calories in a 150 pound individual who plays for 1 hour while carrying clubs. If you choose to ride in a cart, the same round of golf will burn 230 calories. The driving range burns about 200 calories per hour.

The fact that golf involves hours outside can also be a benefit. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, regulating the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. It also helps regulate the growth of skin cells. While you can eat some foods that are high in vitamin D, your body can actually produce its own vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. What more enjoyable way to do that than an afternoon on the course? Don’t forget to use sunscreen with the right UV protection.

Mental Acuity

Golf offers a challenge to your mind. You are always thinking when you play golf, whether it’s counting shots, working out your score or calculating yardages and club selection. Strategy, decision making, visualization and intense concentration are natural aspects of the play and the cerebral exercise will benefit your mental performance even off the course.

Skill Development

Golf develops our complex motor skills and dexterity. Since the game is based on finesse rather than brute force, it hones our control, muscle memory, balance and hand-eye coordination.

Stress Relief

There’s a fine line here. Scenes of golfers throwing or breaking their clubs after a flubbed shot are standard comedy fare. Obsessed competitors can send their blood pressure soaring in the quest for perfection on the course. Like any sport, golf can be an excellent stress reliever or it can become a nemesis to peace of mind; it all depends on your reason for playing.

By nature, though, golf is suited for stress relief. A quiet stroll in the open air with friends, unhurried play, mild exercise and the reward of a shot well placed goes a long way to dissipate the irritations of the work-a-day world at the office. Studies have shown that golf can trigger the release of powerful, natural, mood enhancing endorphins and hormones such as serotonin into the bloodstream. Their calming euphoric effect lasts for hours after the game.

Social Interaction

Golf is a social game; a chance to get to know your golf partners better. The etiquette and rules of golf encourage care and respect of others and the course. A round of golf can take up to four hours where individual differences disappear as playing the game becomes the common focus. Most often golf isplayed in pairs or foursomes, and even if you have come to the course alone, it is common to be invited to join others you have never met before.

One reason golfing creates a sense of social harmony is that it is a great leveller; the handicapping system of golf is designed to enable the beginner to play competitively against the highly skilled. There are not many sports where you can compete fairly against the super star.

Interaction on the course is usually marked by the telling of jokes, sharing stories, conducting business and simply getting to know one another. All of this is conducted in a non-threatening environment of friendly competition.

Appreciation of Nature

One of the best things about playing golf is you have the opportunity to walk on some beautiful courses, enjoying the scenery and fresh air. Manicured grass, lush trees, water features, birds and even small animals contribute to the pastoral atmosphere. In many urban settings, the only green space found for miles are the golf courses and they are often paired with parkland and recreational trails, so even those who do not venture onto to course still benefit from the grounds.

Community Service

Increasingly, golf is making a wider contribution to the community. Golf and country clubs host many tournaments in support of charities. This not only raises thousands of dollars to meet community needs but is also raises awareness of important issues and worthy causes.

No matter what your age, degree of fitness or skill level, it is hard to beat golf as an excellent way to spend leisure time. If you have never tried it, you owe it to yourself to give it a go.

 

Avoiding Email Disasters

face palm

A few years ago I promised myself I would never send another email with a typo or spelling error. The story begins when I was applying for a new job. I carefully constructed my resume and was ready to apply for this new position. My decision was to use the body of the email as my cover letter and so I wrote a very nice paragraph, attached my resume, and pressed “send.” I was certain that my cover letter and resume was so well crafted that I would certainly get a phone interview. A few days passed and I had not heard from my potential employer and so I looked back at the email.

Horror. Embarrassment. Shock. My face turned red, my pulse quickened, and I almost wanted to cry. There in the letter were at least two mistakes. In one case I meant to write the word “from” and somehow typed “form.” In another sentence I wrote the word “manger” and of course wanted to use the proper spelling of “manager,” but failed to catch that mistake.

So the sentences read like this: “My skill sets have been honed form quality education and project success. With my qualifications, I am certain that I have the skills for the position of manger.”

This was an email sent for a professional reason and, in less than 100 words, I had two typos. No wonder I never heard from the potential employer. At that moment in time, I devised a system for making sure I never sent another professional email with errors again. Sure, if I am writing to a friend or Aunt Ruth, an occasional typo is not a problem.

Here are the three surefire methods I use to keep those typos from torpedoing my professional emails:

  1. Change the color of the text. Our eyes are very accustomed to reading black text. Change to green, blue, or some other color and it will make you pay attention.

 

    1. Change the font type. Use a font type that is more difficult to read. This will force you to read more slowly and pay attention to each word. With more attention to each word, it gives you a chance to catch those errors.

 

    1. Change the font size. If you increase the font size, it puts fewer words per line and, most often, you read more slowly. By reading more slowly, your brain has time to look for those errors on the page and it keeps you from skimming your own emails.

 

Be safe when emailing and follow the three suggestions I have shared with you above. These help me keep my sanity so that I avoid sending poorly written emails. As you all know, spell check does not catch every typo. I hope these above suggestions save you from email disaster and embarrassment.
Safe emailing friends!

Time Out for Camping

Cooking outdoors over a campfire

Are you attracted to the thought of stargazing on a quiet, cool night while sitting beside a crackling bonfire? Are you tired of concrete, traffic and streetlights? Then consider camping. This vacation alternative has a lot to offer and can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of experience or budget.

Life can get complicated, sometimes to the point that we lose perspective on its priorities. When that happens, it’s often best to take a step back to regain perspective and re-evaluate. There is probably no better way to do that than to go camping. At the campsite, we return to basic routines that meet essential needs and satisfy simple pleasures. For this reason alone, for generations in countries around the world, camping remains one of the most widespread vacation pastimes.

The countless amount of choices and distractions we encounter everyday can sometimes prove exhausting. Camping not only simplifies life, it fosters relationships. With all the demands on our busy schedules at home and in the office, it can be very difficult to spend quality time with those that we love most. At the campsite, away from the computer and television, conversations come naturally over the bonfire, barbecue, board games, and even while sharing daily chores like chopping wood and washing dishes.

Couple lying in a hammock in the woods

While temporarily shutting the door on our workday world, camping also opens the door to other worlds of adventure. If you’ve ever wanted to drop a line into the water and test your luck with the fish, camping provides the perfect opportunity. You will find base camps for just about any outdoor activity, whether it be mountain-biking, hiking, boating, rock climbing, beach combing, or golf. Camping can be the first step to jumping in with both feet into many of these outdoor recreation activities.

Types of Camping

There is a style of camping that suits everyone’s taste, experience and budget. Whether you want to sleep on a plush mattress in an air-conditioned bedroom or under the stars in a sleeping bag, tailoring the environment to your desires is an easy fix in the woods.

Recreational Vehicle Camping

  • If your idea of roughing it means going without cable television, there’s Recreational Vehicle camping. RVs and campers are basically homes on wheels. They can offer all the amenities of home or hotel, but have the value-added dimension of location and mobility. You can travel the country whenever and wherever you want, stopping at well-appointed camp sites all along your route.
  • By simply hooking up your RV at the serviced campsite, you are set to sleep, cook, shower, watch television and even check your email, depending on the level of luxury you seek. If you are not sure if you are ready to invest in an expensive motorhome, why not look into renting one? Many dealers rent them by the week or season.
  • For many people, especially retirees, “RVing” has become a permanent lifestyle. They have sold their homes and live nomadically in their recreational vehicles, moving with the seasons and following the sun. “Caravan clubs” have sprung up around the world to facilitate groups who wish to explore the country together.

RV camping

Car Camping

  • “Car camping” is a less expensive, more accessible and flexible option. You may opt to tow a trailer or pack a tent. Trailers come in all shapes and sizes and many of them can be towed safely by mid-size vehicles. Hard-sided holiday trailers resemble motorhomes in their amenities, but even most tent trailers come equipped with fridges, stoves and hook-ups for water, sewage and electricity. Most campsites offer sites serviced with utilities as well as fire rings, barbecue grills, bathrooms, picnic shelters and laundry facilities.

Tenting

  • More primitive campsites cater to the tenting crowd. They have sites that are not serviced with utilities and are limited to a fire pit and picnic table. You will have to haul water from a few pumps or taps situated centrally at the camp site and outhouses are usually the order of the day, although some locations offer central washroom facilities.
  • The beauty of these campsites is that they are usually located in quieter, more picturesque wilderness settings. They are rugged, inexpensive and bring campers closer to nature. It is as close to “getting away from it all” as most city-dwellers will ever experience and many camping purists makes this their style of choice.

Camping in the mountains out of a tent

Backpacking

  • Backpacking is one of the most exciting ways to experience nature, wildlife, and independence. In this setting, campers brave the elements, test their limits, and discover a world almost untouched by the modern society. Campers have nothing but solitude, time and space to enjoy life apart from the interruptions and distractions of urban life. By exploring on foot, you choose when you stop, where you pitch your tent, how long you stay and where you go next.
  • Backpackers use lightweight equipment that can be carried long distances on foot. The gear is more specialized and typically costs more than that for car camping, but it is possible to pack everything you need for a week in the backwoods in a comfortable, sturdy backpack. The cost, if anything, for staying overnight on backpack routes is far less than in developed campsites. Many national parks and managed trails offer information packages to get you started.

Other Speciality Camping

  • In addition to these basic camping styles, there are other unique modes of camping that may interest the intrepid explorer. Canoe camping is similar to backpacking, but uses canoes for transportation; much more weight and bulk can be carried in a canoe or kayak than in a backpack, although the possibility of having to portage will limit the weight you may want to pack. Bicycle camping combines camping with cycling. The bicycle is used to carry the gear and as the primary means of transportation, allowing greater distances to be covered than backpacking although less capacity for storage.
  • Motorcycle camping is more comparable to bicycle camping than car camping, due to the limited storage capacity of the motorbike. Motorcycle camping riders, as well as bicycle touring riders, often use some of the same equipment as backpackers, due to the lighter weights and compact dimensions associated with backpacking equipment.
  • Hammock camping in the woods

  • Among the extreme adventurers, such as those who prefer their nest in hammocks, survivalist campers learn the skills needed to survive out-of-doors in any situation. This activity may require skills in obtaining food from the wild, emergency medical treatments and orienteering, although with today’s GPS technology, this has become less of a challenge.
  • Camping needn’t be limited to the summer season. Winter campers and “snow cavers” head outdoors once the snow has fallen enough to provide shelter. They have adapted forms of camping and survival to suit extremely cold nights and limited mobility or evacuation. This involves building snow shelters, dressing in “layers,” staying dry, using low-temperature sleeping bags, and fueling the body with appropriate food.

So whether you want to start slowly and comfortably, or test your resourcefulness to its limits, camping offers the change that’s better than a rest when it comes to getting a break from the normal routines of your daily career and home life. Free yourself in its simplicity.

Writing a Quality Book Review

Have you read some great….and maybe some not so great books recently on your eReader or Tablet device? Congratulations, you are part of a group of people known as “bibliophiles” who are reading more books each month using a variety of electronic devices. In the past, you relied on a friend, librarian, book club, or the book bestseller list in a newspaper to help you choose books. Today, you might be influenced to select a book for reading because of a good online review or a catchy book cover.

No doubt you have noticed that about two weeks after you purchased a book electronically, a request for a review appears in your email. Do some reviews help you make a choice to read that book? Do you wish you could write a fabulous review? Do you avoid doing a review because you do not know where to start? Well, you are in luck because this blog shares the key elements of a great review that will help you be a person of influence in the book-reading world.
 

Writer and editor duties

What is a book review?

A review is a description of the book and your experience with reading this particular treasure. It can be as basic as a few impressions to as detailed and critical as a scholarly analysis. Reviewers provide a sense of the quality, meaning, and impact of a book. Book reviews are very personal creations because they share your opinion.

A review is not a retelling of the story. If you retell the story then you will spoil it for others. The review should instead focus on the purpose of the book, what the book is about, how you enjoyed the book, and in the case of non-fiction — does the book and author provide information that has merit. The review is a record of your emotional and intellectual response, an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses, and how the book made you feel or think. A review may be as short as 50 words or longer – just remember that your review needs to get to the point quickly because the goal of a reader is not to spend hours reading reviews…his or her goal is to find that next book to read.

As readers, we are experts on how we want the story to develop and end or how much information a book should give to us… when it works or does not work, we can certainly share our opinion with others. You do not have to be an excellent writer to craft a good book review. Your goal is to assist customers in deciding whether to buy or borrow a book to read.

Are all reviews the same?

The answer is – NO – all reviews are not the same. The content and how you approach a review will depend on your intention and the requirements of your target audience.

The Descriptive Review

This type of book review gives the essential information about a book (style, subject, audience, plot, and character). This is usually done by sharing your interpretation of the work and by sometimes quoting particular passages from the text that you felt were especially strong or weak.

The Critical review

This type of review describes and compares the book to others of a similar genre. You do not always need to cite a specific book in the comparison but you most certainly can refer to similar works so that the reader of your review might be able to use this as a comparison.

The Parts of a Review

Both types of reviews, descriptive and critical, benefit from including the following pieces in your review.

Introduction

This is where you capture the reader’s attention, hopefully with your opening sentence. The introduction should state your main conclusion and set the tone of the review. This can be 10 to 15 words.

Body

This should be sufficient so that the reader of your review will have some understanding of the author’s thoughts. This is not a story summary of the story; instead, it describes the elements or pieces that the author uses to bring the story to life. This has an overall appraisal of the book. Describe and evaluate what you think was the intent of the author and explain how well you think the author did in giving you a good book to read. You can provide quotations supporting your analysis. Your review is considered an opinion based on your reading. Share how you think the author succeeded (or failed) in his/her goal. Use examples to support your thoughts. This can have 50 to 250 words in this section.

Conclusion

Wrap up your review with some final thoughts and remind the reader of why you did or did not like the book. This can be 10 to 50 words.

Writing a review to thank an author

How to Write that Perfect Book Review

Sit down and write all out thoughts out about the book. If the book was good and you feel positive about this work and want others to know about your great find — simply write that out with the Introduction, then write the Body, and end with a Conclusion as described above.

What about those times when you did not like the book? Certainly you want to “warn” others not to spend good money on this book. This is the most difficult review to write because it is negative. Many authors actually appreciate these reviews when they are well written because a negative review will help the author learn where he/she can improve. Other readers really appreciate knowing why you did not like the book because it helps them make an informed decision about whether or not the book might be good for him/her.

We can all admit it is more difficult to write a negative review. Simply writing “I hated this book” does not tell the next potential reader why. For a book that you consider to be of lower quality, it is a good idea to use the “sandwich” review approach. With this method, you write something positive about the book, then give the details of how this book failed (the negative part) and then find something nice to say in your conclusion. This will help the next potential reader understand why you gave the book a low rating. It also helps you “ease the pain to the author for receiving a negative review” by putting the bad parts inside of two good parts.

The Final Parts to your Excellent Book Review

Carefully read what you have written and make sure it is easy to understand. Check for grammar and spelling errors. Make sure your review is honest and avoids any personal attacks.

When you are ready, submit your review, and know that you have possibly helped 100’s or 1000’s of other bibliophiles find the next treasure or avoid spending money on a bad book.

Get the Most from Your Editor by Being a Good Client

Get the Most from Your Editor by Being a Good Client

Showing your writing to a stranger for editing is nerve wracking for most people. Maybe all people. So is going to the dentist. In both instances, you’re vulnerable and you’re paying money for something that isn’t entirely pleasant.

Let me stretch the analogy just a bit to point out that patients get the most out of their dentist when they cooperate. They answer questions honestly (e.g., How often do you floss?), they continue the work on their own (e.g., by doing the above-mentioned flossing), they ask questions (e.g., How long will this temporary last?), and they recognize the dentist is cleaning their teeth because it’s good for the teeth, not because they have fun making people’s gums bleed.

The same is true with your manuscript. You’ll get the most out of your editor by cooperating, actively working with this stranger so you’re happy with the results.

Be Honest with Your Editor

An editor can only do such much, so tell the editor about anything you want them to focus on. An editor will comment on characterization, but that doesn’t mean they’ll comment on a specific character or on a specific aspect of your characters. If you’re worried your love interest is boring, tell the editor that when you give them the manuscript. If you’re nervous the ending of your whodunit is obvious, direct your editor to evaluate it.

And tell your editor if there’s something you don’t want commented on. If you’re writing a book based on your faith and don’t want the editor to pick apart your logic, tell them so.

Little story. I once had a client give what he called an erotic novel, but the sex was just boring as anything. I spent time carefully explaining just why it was boring and why having boring sex in an erotic novel was a problem. About two-thirds through the book, I realized the book was actually a parable about why having sex is a bad thing and that the sex was supposed to be boring. I had to go back and take out hours of work and re-evaluate everything. A little honesty from the client would have saved me hours of work and allowed me to do a better job.

There’s no need for a checklist. Editors know to look at grammar and style and plot and so on. But if you’ve got specific concerns, let us know!

Continue the Work on Your Own

Writing is a life-long process of learning and criticism and trying again and revising and rewriting and more feedback and trying again forever in an endless cycle. Getting better at writing means doing more writing. Only by writing do we learn how to write.

Indeed, I’m not sure an editor can “teach” a writer anything. Certainly, editors cannot tell authors how to change things to be “correct” (except for grammar). We can only point to things and say that we think they are great or need to be improved and try to explain why. If an editor actually goes in there and tries to fix such things, they become a co-author.

Ask Questions

An editing job ends when the client is satisfied, not just when the manuscript comes back with its edits and comments. If a client isn’t sure what a comment means, they should (and they are expected to by any reputable business) ask the editor to explain.

All questions about the manuscript are welcome. Perhaps something the editor said contradicts what you heard in a creative writing class and you want their opinion. A problem with writing is that it involves thousands of things, and fictional writing is so much a matter of taste. I recently had a client say they’d been told “backstory is the kiss of death.” Several of my favorite (and highly successful) novels open with backstory.

Good questions I’ve been asked include whether a character who worked as a poet had to recite some of their poetry to give them credibility. (I said I didn’t see the need.) Another asked me to elaborate on why I said all the characters sounded the same when they talked. (I pointed out more instances of when different characters used the same phrases, showed the same level of education, and used similar imagery.) Another great question was why I liked a minor character so much. (She had a great sense of humor, and she was never cruel.)

I’ll tell you the truth. Sometimes writing comments on manuscripts feels a lot like talking to yourself in an empty room. A little Q&A conversation makes for a lovely change of pace.

Sorry About the Bleeding Gums

I have a friend who says she loves getting criticism. I know she’s lying. She might value it, might appreciate it, but love getting it? No way.

Yet when you hire an editor it’s criticism you’re paying for. If an editor doesn’t say something negative (or at least not so positive) at some point in the process, they’re just not doing their job.

But one thing can help you read through an edit, even a very strict one, with a minimum of pain.

Always bear in mind that being an editor takes quite a bit of dedication, and it’s not the sort of job that’s going to appeal to someone who doesn’t like authors. I personally have enormous respect for anyone who takes the time needed to write either fiction or nonfiction. I spend my days reading, and I enjoy it.

It can be tempting to think the editor is sneering at you or is getting tired of your misuse of the semi-colon. It’s hard not to wince they tell you your main character isn’t convincing or not to feel pecked at when a comment seems a little short.

But trust me, nobody I know who edits enjoys the knowledge that we might hurt feelings. We work under deadlines, but we get nothing from being glib. And editors are paid to fix grammar, or we’re pretty useless as a species.

What’s most important here is not hurt feelings but what happens when a client no longer feels they can trust their editor. How can anyone get anything of value from someone they feel is making fun of them? If you’re starting to hear sarcasm when you read your editor’s comments, take a break and re-set yourself. When you’re feeling defensive, even “Do you mean for this period to be here?” can sound like some snipe from a snob.

And if, after that, you still think a comment is offensive, write to the editor and ask what’s going on. Learning how to edit is also a life-long process of learning and criticism and trying again and revising and rewriting and more feedback and trying again forever in an endless cycle.


Your turn! In what ways do you think you can be a better client for your editor?

Deciding Where to Publish Your Scientific Article

You and your colleagues have spent months, maybe even years, conducting experiments to either prove or disprove your hypothesis. You spend weeks writing up the results into a publication with your Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion. Then you spend more time self-editing, re-writing, having your collaborators read and edit. You may have even employed a professional academic editor. Finally ready to submit your manuscript for publication.

Throughout this process, it is important that you take time to consider where it is best to publish this research manuscript.

Most research results are published in academic journals. An academic journal is a peer-reviewed periodical that presents articles relating to a particular academic discipline or methodology. Academic journals serve as forums for the introduction and scrutiny of new research and the critique of existing research. To maximize your chances of impact, it is important to pick the right one.

Here are five things to consider when deciding where to publish your manuscript:

1) Do you want to target specific readers?

Thousands of journals have monthly or quarterly publication schedules. Some are for specific disciplines and others are for general, but highly noteworthy, science. Learn what journals your preferred audience looks to for important publications. Do the people that you want to reach tend to reference certain journals? You will want to publish in journals that will engage those in your field of science because this may increase your chances at gaining new funding, setting up collaborations, or finding that new career position.

2) Will the impact factor of the journal have an effect on your career?

Just for review, the impact factor of an academic journal is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to recent articles published in the journal. This number helps readers determine the relative importance of a journal within its field. Journals with higher impact factor numbers are deemed to be more important than those with lower ones.

In some academic and professional circles, the more publications you have with a high impact factor, the better your chance of promotion.

3) Journal standards and efficiency with respect to the quality and timeliness of publications

The quality of the journal content is critical. When we speak about quality content, we mean both visual and language aspects. Items to consider when reviewing the visual quality include text format and sharpness of images. Language quality includes ease of reading and correct grammar. If you read articles in the journal and find that the grammar is subpar, consider selecting an alternate journal.

Good science and writing takes time and each scientist wants to be the first to publish new findings and ideas. One of the keys to success is publication of your article as soon as your work is completed. You want to publish in a journal that people look to for current scientific topics.

To have timely publication of your data, make sure the journal is organized in overseeing the article review process. Efficient journals can have your article reviewed in three months or less, whereas inefficient journals may require you to be relentless in your efforts acquiring deals with them. It is important that the journal you select can publish the article as quickly as possible after acceptance of your article.


The journal you choose reflects on your skill and status as a scientist. If you select a journal that allows poor grammar, takes months to finally review and consider your work, has low quality text and graphics, and is publishing articles on topics that are no longer relevant, then this has a negative impact on your work, possible promotions, and future funding status.

4) Cost of publishing

Many journals do require a per-page charge and even have more fees for color images (graphs, photos, etc.). Part of your decision as to where you will publish your research may depend on cost related issues. Can you afford to publish in a particular journal of interest? Unfortunately, this is the question you must ask if you are publishing in journals that charge for publication.

5) Financial stability and leadership of the journal

At first thought, the financial stability and leadership of the journal do not seem to be of much importance. However, journal publication, like most other areas of activity, is a competitive business. If the journal is not financially stable, it may go out of business, lose coverage (both online and in libraries), and possibly become inaccessible thereby making your article difficult to access.

The leadership of the journal includes the editors and management. If the editors are not devoted to turning out a quality product then people may lose interest in reading articles in that journal. If the management does not ensure timely editorial reviews of manuscripts and rapid publication of those accepted, readership declines and the number of people who may read your work could drop precipitously.

So after you have taken the time to complete excellent research, carry out numerous document edits and revisions, and spend considerable time formatting data, the journal you choose needs to reflect your efforts and those of your research collaborators.
What factors do you feel are most important in deciding where to publish your manuscript?

7 Sure-Fire Ways to Find Time to Write

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So you want to be a writer but can’t find time to write? First, look at your motivation. Are you sure you really want to be a writer? Writers find the time to write. Then, once you’ve determined that writing is your passion and you are willing to do what it takes to write, consider these ways to carve out time to do so:

  1. Get up earlier. If you are already a morning person, getting up an hour earlier gives you prime time for writing. If you’re not a morning person, getting up earlier will allow you to wake up sooner and to start writing sooner in your day.

  1. Go to bed later. If you are a night person, the result is obvious. If not, write during the day and use the extra time at night to take care of those chores around the house you normally do during the day.

  1. Schedule it. You schedule everything else to make sure it gets done—doctors’ appointments, lunches with friends, get-togethers with family, shopping, oil changes, tire rotations—so schedule blocks of time during each day/week to write. Scheduling time to write makes it a higher priority than just putting it on a to-do list. And, when someone wants you to do something else during that time, you can legitimately say you already have an appointment that you can’t break.

  1. Just say no! Is your time being eaten by agreeing to participate in too many other activities? Keep writing your focus and decline invitations to be on committees, chair organizations, bake goodies for the soccer team, chaperone the junior high dance, or whatever other worthy cause is being touted. Ask yourself, does this event align with the steps towards my future personal goals?

  1. Keep regular office hours. Treat wherever you normally write as your office and go to work each day at a set time. Don’t leave the office until you have achieved your goal for that day or have worked diligently for the entire length of your “normal work” day.

  1. Forego one hour of television a day. Consider recording it to skip through commercials, which can save up to 20 minutes an hour. Use services like Netflix so you can watch whenever you wish without commercial interruptions, and really try to stick to just a couple of episodes. You may enjoy relaxing in the evening, but often watching one program leads to sitting there watching several hours’ worth without even realizing it.

  1. Write wherever you are. Keep a notebook with you (paper or electronic) to record thoughts, ideas, character sketches, solutions to plot dilemmas that suddenly pop into your head. The jottings you make at these odd moments may lead to a better in-depth writing session later. Snippets of time add up unexpectedly, so these daily insights can help keep you on pace.

Four Keys to Writing the Best Elevator Speech

Every entrepreneur, sales person, policy-maker, and project manager knows the importance of having a well-written elevator speech. This elevator speech has two major components. First, this speech, also known as an elevator pitch, is a short summary used to describe a person, profession, product, service, organization, or event. Often, the second component is the most important part of the elevator speech since it discusses the monetary value or need relating to the topic. Over time, the elevator speech was refined to require no more than thirty seconds to two minutes for delivery.

Some people confuse the elevator speech with a sales pitch. A sales pitch has props (the product or item being sold) and can take up to 30 minutes to deliver. The elevator speech is all about using a brief amount of conversation time to deliver an interesting idea that will add value to the business of the person with whom you are speaking. It is in those few seconds that you want to get the person hooked on your idea so that you can continue the conversation, exchange business cards, or schedule a meeting.

Here are four keys for writing success related to your Elevator Speech:

  1. Keep it Simple.

Select each word carefully. Time with your thesaurus is critical for success in writing your elevator speech. Choose words that are well known. The elevator speech is not the time to try to wow the listener with big words. You want to write a speech that everyone with an eighth grade education or higher can understand. Realistically you are pitching to people who have a higher level of education but in this quick delivery, you may not have their full attention so you want something that they can listen to, understand, and get excited about without deep thought.

  1. Keep it Flexible.

Have three to five elevator speeches prepared. You may need one that speaks to the technical level of the project, idea, or product. This version is best delivered to people with a higher appreciation of technology. In my experience, you need the following types of speeches ready: 1) technical, 2) earnings/income potential related, 3) amount of time it will take to deliver on the concept or product, 4) who you need on the team to help make this idea a success, and finally, 5) what resources you need. Once you have delivered the speech and captured your targets attention, you need to be ready to speak with others who will be brought into the conversation and you need to seize their attention quickly.

  1. Have it written out so you can practice the delivery.

Use a 3 x 5 index card and have your speech typed out and ready for you to review and practice for delivery. You may be standing in line at a coffee shop and see a person that you want to walk up to and deliver your elevator speech. Having a 3 x 5 card with your speech written out lets you have a quick review and gets you prepared for your delivery. In addition, it is critical that you practice the delivery aloud.

  1. Grammar matters, but Flow is critical.

Grammar is important but our speech patterns can sometimes be different from what we write on paper. Do not focus on the comma or semicolon in writing out your elevator speech. Most importantly you need to make sure it is easy to say/recite and that you are completely comfortable sharing your idea. One additional idea is to have a friend or family member deliver your elevator speech. If they have trouble with the delivery, your flow is not yet right.

Follow these four keys and you will be able to have success in delivering your elevator speech. When in doubt, seek professional help from speechwriters, editors, others because a great elevator speech might help you get your idea across and lead to your next promotion.

Top 10 Best Female Outfits in Movies & TV

There are a lot of these lists, so let’s separate this one out a bit by excluding sheer fashion moments or times the actresses just look fabulous. Here are only complete outfits that reflect something inside the character and truly highlight the dramatic moment. Some of these are icons, some aren’t. But they are all perfect for the scene in which they appear.

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10. Eliza Doolittle’s Ascot Dress, My Fair Lady (1964)

OK, yes, this is a fashion moment and she looks fabulous, but this sheath of froth (done up in exactly the same style as the other dresses at the Ascot race track) is not only delicate but fragile. Eliza is pretending to be something she’s not, and the black-and-white couture enhances how easily she fails. She looks and has an accent like a proper lady, but she opens her mouth to her downfall, talking of murder and telling the racehorse to move its bloody ass.

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9. Angela Bassett and the Camisole of Fury, Waiting to Exhale (1995)

The white-and-black outfit here ties her to the burning car while a faithful wife expresses her displeasure at her husband’s treatment. The contrast is all opposites. She’s sexy and powerful, and her heart is broken. She takes no shit, and her innocence has been lost. She’s truly upper crust, but he can seriously go screw himself.

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8. Abby’s Goth Cute With Boots, NCIS (2003–)

Fighting the battle against the stereotypes that smart women have to be prim or just plain ugly and that not dressing like a lady will turn people off, Abby helps get the bad guys in clothes she actually wants to wear and is the darling of the team. You go, girl!

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7. Hermione’s Yule Ball Dress, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

I love the way this fantastical movie offers up such a realistic, almost routine moment in the life of a young woman. It’s her first fancy party and her first fancy party dress (and her first fancy party arm candy). She looks like a fairy princess, and, of course, the evening ends up being a total disappointment.

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6. Julia Roberts’ Red Cinderella Gown, Pretty Woman (1990)

The transformation from hooker to lady is complete (or is it?) with this stunning, modest, and yet bright red dress worn to an opera about a prostitute who falls in love with a wealthy man. (Subtle.) To complete the outfit, instead of glass slippers, Prince Charming with a gold card offers up a ruby necklace (which later spurs him to find her when the ball is done).

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5. Marlene Dietrich’s Tuxedo of Lesbianism, Morocco (1930)

This risqué, gender-bending cabaret “costume” lets us know immediately that all is not what it seems. No, the character isn’t gay (despite a woman-on-woman kiss done for shock value), but she’s not going to toe the sexual line, and she’s definitely going to go after what she wants no matter what the world thinks.

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4. Maria’s Wedding Dress, The Sound of Music (1965)

After dressing in some pretty awful clothes (“The poor didn’t want this one.”), Maria is finally both marrying the man she loves and embracing a major elevation of her tax bracket. The wedding dress (doubtlessly sewed by nuns and singing creatures of the forest) is adorned with flowers instead of jewels. It manages to look expensive and simple, modest and body-flattering, virginal and OMG, did you see that veil?

3. Grace Kelly’s Dior of Wealth, Rear Window (1954)

The approach here seems straight-forward, but Hitchcock’s got a twist. Kelly is in love with Jimmy Stewart, so she dresses up nicely for him and shows off how lovely she is. But Stewart objects to marrying her precisely because she’s so fancy and high-class.

2. Elsa’s Dress of Power, Frozen (2013)

Having finally had enough of hiding herself and her abilities, Elsa dresses don’t-mess-with-me style in hip-swaying, slit-leg womanhood and icy cape of power. (I love that some parents actually protested that the look was too sexual for their kids to look at. My goodness! She’s showing almost an entire knee there. Talk about needing to let something go.)

1. Scarlet O’Hara’s Curtain Dress, Gone with the Wind (1939)

I’d love to have some big surprise at the end of this list, but how can I not acknowledge that this is the ultimate? A symbol of both womanhood and the South after the war, Scarlet presents herself in the finery of a great lady when, in fact, she’s wearing something she’s sewn herself from the last bit of wealth in her life: a set of velvet green curtains from her fallen plantation home’s front window. Will she pull it off? Or will the man she’s trying to impress see through the act? Maybe she should ask Eliza how well things will turn out.

5 Tips for Managing Unruly References

As authors research information to help support the work in their paper, they spend a great deal of time reading references. All too often we wind up with a stack of papers or computer files full of references. These references are important so that authors can cite the information from other sources that they wish to use to either support, acknowledge, or contradict their research. How do we organize and choose the correct references? In this blog we share five easy steps for managing references.

 

1. Sort your references into categories.

 


Most papers have an introduction, materials and methods, results, and conclusion/discussion section. It is best if you sort your references into those categories. The introduction should use references that provide historical information relevant to the paper topic. References used in the materials and methods should help the reader know why the author decided to use particular methods and how those methods are best utilized. When we select references for the results, they can be sub-categorized into those that support or contradict the data. The conclusion/discussion section draws once again on references that support the historical context necessary to understand the work and these references must also aid in the discussion of the relevant data.

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2. Use quality references.

It is important to use the most original reference possible. Additionally, authors need to use up-to-date and reliable references. The authors want to use references that have been peer-reviewed by leaders in the topic field. Peer-reviewed references have been checked for errors by knowledgeable reviewers well-versed in the field being studied.

3. Select references that are easy for people to access.

As our ever-expanding world of technology makes more information available, this is an easier step to manage. Still, we most often should select references that are in the same language as the paper being presented and easy to access by everyone with either access to the internet or a library.

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4. Keep the references to a manageable number.

Unless you are writing a review article and need to tie in the information you are sharing with an extensive number of other papers, select only the most pertinent sources. If a point needs to be validated by external references, this is most often accomplished by referring to three or four sources from unique author sets. Using a few select but widely accepted references that trace back to experts in the field will help readers of the paper being presented better understand the importance of this new work to the field of study.

5. Have all your references printed or in electronic format and easy to access.

In this new day and age there are multiple electronic programs that can be used to sort, catalog, and manage references. All too often people focus on getting the references into these bibliography programs and forget that it is the content of the reference that is critical. Authors need to have the abstract and a few notes about the paper easily accessible and a copy (printed or electronic) of the complete paper should be available. By having the information readily available, it alleviates improper citations and the possibility of plagiarism.

Follow these five suggestions and you will find that managing your references becomes less of a chore!