Blogs by J. Kukuruza

When it comes to blogs, have you ever thought about how many different blogs you may read? What topics they cover? Do some inspire you to want to respond? To offer a comment at the end? If so, then great! Blogs are actually as important and even more often read than op-ed offerings in a small town newspaper. If you choose to blog, they can be offered as your opinion, or about facts you have on a topic or issue–IF you blog.

There really are no restrictions when you blog. You are not confined to a word count or paragraph count because these are irrelevant in a blog. Of course, if you go on for several pages or thousands of words, you may lose your reader’s interest 🙁 Many aspiring writers appreciate the freedom blogging offers. As your blog gains an audience, there are responses or helpful criticisms from the readers, allowing you to polish and work on your writing and gain the pointers you may be seeking. Remember–the better your writing, the bigger your audience and it becomes a win/win for you and your readers /followers.

There are several advantages to blogging. Of course the first is getting your writing “out there.” You are sharing your thoughts and your voice. Another is adding your blogs to your writing resume so that when you submit your work to a publisher, that publisher sees your efforts to keep writing and getting your work before the public. Last, but certainly important, you could be read by people willing to pay you for your work. Publishers and website perusers scan blogs because they are easy to scroll through, and show what kind of writer you are. A short sample of your writing, style, and thought processes are apparent in a blog without them having to labor through a much longer work.

So how do you get started? There are several sites you can google to show you how to create and get a blog site going. A few are: wix.com and WordPress.com. Both are free and there are directions to help you get started. Another thing you can do is browse different websites that you are interested in and see if they offer you a place to post or share. This could lead to your having a blog connected to their site. There are also writer’s groups you can join that will have blog challenges or contests that you can participate in. Some may have you follow a prescribed theme while others allow creative freedom. We are participating in a blog challenge presently that was offered by Writers of Kern. It is a 26 day challenge that we write for every day for 26 days. Our fellow members read and offer comments which are usually quite helpful each day or soon after our blog is posted. There is one more we would offer that is great for challenging your writing skills called–creativecopychallenge. wordpress.com This particular challenge gives you a certain amount of words to incorporate into your writing to see if you can weave a tale with all the words given.

Blogging helps you in the ways mentioned above and also helps you use self-discipline to keep you writing. If, for instance, you are participating in a challenge, you have to submit every day for a certain amount of time. That means whether you “feel” like it or not, you have to write. For us, that is good. Self-discipline is not one of our strong suits 🙂

We hope this helps and you will use it. Writing a blog is good so you stay on top of your writing skills, get your material to an audience, and one of your random readers could wind up being your employer, paying you to do what you love.

Happy writing.


Judy Kukuruza’s book “One Body, Many Souls” can be found on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2FuA241; Their website is at https://onebodymanysouls.com/. Their blog is at https://storywritersthoughts.wordpress.com/.

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Still not quite sure about branding?

Okay – you’re still scratching your head about your brand?

You’re not alone. A lot of writers are stymied about what they should “brand” as…and some just resist the concept entirely.

If you want to write, are writing, then perhaps you should come at this from a different angle.

There are many different niches of writing. Don’t believe me? Do a search on Freelancer for jobs that include article writing/content writing/article rewriting projects and you come up with a load of interesting options, for example – I’ve put the skills in parentheses after the job title:

  • Create content for education, sports, entertainment and health related for a website (content writing)
  • Technical Product Manager eCommerce project (technical writing)
  • Civil Engineering Article Editing (editing, proofreading, research, technical writing)
  • Content for a gambling website (article rewriting, article writing, content writing, copywriting, ghostwriting)
  • Formal neutralarticle writing on various companies (article rewriting, article writing, content writing, ghostwriting, research)
  • Website content writing about tean, coffee and spices from Nepal (article writing, content writing, copywriting, ghostwriting)
  • Proofreader and Editor in English (article rewriting, editing, proofreading).

The list goes on and on and changes daily.

You can also check out Craigslist.org under Jobs – Writing/Editing and under Gigs – Writing, for some more ideas.

Go to job boards and search for writing, copywriting, proofreading and editing to get more ideas.

The point is, even if you don’t have a “brand” identified, if you write, you can make money writing. You just have to search for the jobs, and apply. Once you’ve had a few paying gigs, you will have a better idea of what you enjoy writing and what you can make money at by writing – then you can always revisit the “branding” question.

So go out there and WRITE!

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Part 2–Your Voice and Passion by J. Kukuruza

Your Voice and Passion may seem to be contradictory to the advice/guideline in Part 1 that tells you to limit emotionalism. But it isn’t. Honest truth. All writers should have passion for what they are writing or they probably will not write after awhile. But how to have passion as you establish your Voice? Maybe the following will help:

1. Personal experience is very often a passionate item. You remember your feelings, your sensations of what was around you, your immediate reaction to the experience. Rarely are you thinking that someday you will write the experience down–especially at the time it is happening. You cannot be asking for pity or playing to emotionalism when you are IN an experience. Acknowledge that. Record, later, what happened, and your take on it now. It can be full of passion, as an afterthought. Just distinguish between the occurring experience and the later thoughts and reactions.
2. Seek universalities. There are universal truths we are all subject to. Again, these cross all genres. Children’s fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, memoir, journalism, mysteries, suspense and horror–all will contain universal truths, embedded into the writing. Use your Voice to reach your reader and woo them to believe what you have written and become involved. An example we would like to share is this:Never having read Stephen King, but trying the novel, “The Shining,” we realized we were reading a great author when we read how the shrubs outside the hotel there in Colorado took on animal shapes and stalked the young boy living there with his insane father. Why? Because we never faltered in believing that this was not even questionable in our mind! We believed it with no hesitation. To evoke that kind of acceptance in a reader without any hesitancy on the reader’s part speaks to wonderful authorship! And passion? Oh, yes, there was passion! Fear was prevalent, suspense without question, and yet King maintained his Voice by teasing the reader along, terrified to stop reading but not wanting to go on. The Universal was fear of the unknown, the conflict of what should be done, the fervent hope the reader had for the young boy to survive.
We are not all Stephen Kings. Some may not care for him at all. But his ability to reach people and pull them into a world where Passion is everywhere, and his calm Voice leading the readers through it, is something to be envied.
3. Voice means finding your Passion. As you’re reading others’ works inspires you, pleases you, entertains you, you will see and hear passions. You will begin to hear certain voices relating these passions. Some you will quickly forget, others never. You will find some authors/writers that tug at your very soul and some you will dismiss easily because they do not interest you at all. But if the writers you read inspire you, they will enhance your passion. If that passion grows, so will your Voice. You will add to what has inspired you and then strike out more and more on your own.
4. Share your Voice. To share your Voice is the most daring of all. We all read our favorites, tell others how great we think they are and encourage them to read them, too, and at best, try to imitate the ones we consider great. But one day, you have to have the courage to not simply imitate, but speak out in your writing Voice. It is yours, not another author’s. It is your story, your screenplay, your journalism, your own suspense and horror, your children’s story. IT IS YOUR VOICE. Share it.
5. Keep writing and keep learning and keep polishing your Voice. As your write, in your Voice, you will become stronger in conveying what you want to. You will also keep learning as you see where you wandered away from your Voice. You will see what happened, figure it out, avoid it happening again. Then Polish your Voice. Nothing survives that cannot be improved upon. Adjust, adapt, but retain the original as it will always be yours.

We are passionate about a number of things, mainly because we are empathetic and have had enough experiences in life that we can relate to numerous people. We continually struggle to maintain our voice as we voice our passions via writing. We truly “let go” in our one blog-storywritersthoughts on Word Press. Keep a journal or set up a blog where you can do the same. Writing can earn you a living–and also save your soul and sanity–as is our case.

Enjoy writing!


Judy Kukuruza’s book “One Body, Many Souls” can be found on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2FuA241; Their website is at https://onebodymanysouls.com/. Their blog is at https://storywritersthoughts.wordpress.com/.

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Mechanics Of Voice Part 1 by Judy Kukuruza

This is actually a two parter for establishing your “Voice” in your writing–learned from other writers and esteemed published professors of creative writing. We hope to help you learn as quickly as possible if you are struggling to find your “voice” in you writing.

1. Avoid cliches and being trite–a good writer is one who will avoid cliches as much as possible and use the original cliche as a jumping off point to reword, recreate some thing both trite and stale by stating the same in a creative and intriguing way. Readers become bored easily and a creative look at something everyone has heard over and over will pull them in and you are not simply repeating the same old things.
2. Try to avoid emotionally laden adjectives. Come up with new ones that can relate your passion without becoming a plea for sympathy. Few people desire to be pitied, but emotionalism may only elicit pity without the deeper thinking you, as a writer, wish to evoke. This applies to all genres. If your reader only surface reads, that same reader will pity the object, and quickly forget what you were writing about.
3. Succinctness. Make your reader work a little. Readers become more intrigued when they must think to understand what you are presenting. Sometimes it will keep a reader going on and on when the suspense is wondering what is TRULY happening that you are leaving for them to determine. You need to decide if you want an audience that wants pablum or thinking on their own.
4. Coining words is not a sin. Often, when there is no specific word to convey what you mean or want to say, to coin a word makes the reader an intimate part of your writing. It is “your word” and now they share. It is also “your unique voice.” Dare to use it.

Each of the above helps each writer to be an individual with an individual voice. Using just these 4 guidelines made us thinking writers. At first, it was hard! Especially with the trite sayings and cliches. It is a common malady and we used them just as so many do. But to have to stop and realize there could be a better, more creative way to state something helped so much. Maybe you don’t have any problems with any of the above. Congratulations! But it wasn’t until these four items were presented to us as we struggled, that we found our voice.

Hope this helps and the second part is coming about finding your voice in writing. It is PASSION.

We hope you will read it.


Judy Kukuruza’s book “One Body, Many Souls” can be found on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2FuA241; Their website is at https://onebodymanysouls.com/. Their blog is at https://storywritersthoughts.wordpress.com/.

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A little more about Branding

You think you’ve found your “niche”, now what?

How do you make a living writing about your particular passion?

First you are going to get a couple of items published…how?

Get out your notebook, or set up a “Favorites” folder for your subject matter, and go to your favorite browser – and start searching.

Research is half the battle!

What search terms do you use when YOU are looking for information or articles on your passion subject?

For example, I’m in love with fairy houses. Love making them, love reading about making them, love looking at what others have made…you get the picture.

So I would search on Fairy Houses, and the alternate spelling “Faerie” houses…to start out with. There I might find blogs where people like me have written about their love for fairy houses…those blogs might want a guest post at some point, right? So I save the ones I like and relate to, in my favorites folder.

I keep searching until I have more than a dozen saved links in my folder – I make sure they are completely different websites or blogs so when I send a query I am not going to repeat to anyone.

I don’t expect to get paid for the first one or two, although that would be a bonus! I do want to be sure I get a byline, so I can refer people to my published article in my portfolio of work.

The point is to get something good out there on someone elses’ blog or website. Then you can begin to search for paying gigs. And as I said, if you happened to get paid for your first attempts, all the better. But set your sights realistically and work in baby steps.

Keep track of what you have sent (query, submission) and the date, so if you need to followup you can. And don’t stop, keep going.

You’ll get there. Slow and steady!

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Your “Voice” and the editor by Judy Kukuruza

Each writer should aspire to find their own “Voice” as they write. This gives your writing a uniqueness that belongs to you. When you read noted authors, you often recognize their writings by the Voice you have become familiar with. Some favorites of ours are Stephen King, the poets Wordsworth and Yeats, Lord Byron, Auden, and acclaimed authors Woolf, Joyce, Atwood, and Stegner. We can pick up their works and immediately recognize their distinctive voices as we read. And so it should be as you write more and more, become more known. But it is not easy, nor should it be. We took every creative writing class we could, striving to find our voice. We took college classes, community offered classes–anything that could help us on our way to finding that voice that spoke our words, in our way. We were never more proud or more pleased than to have a learned professor tell us, “You have found your Voice. Now write.” Realizing the significance of one’s writing voice needs to be something you diligently maintain, and especially with an editor you submit writings to.
In our personal submissions to an editor, we were told at one point, “I made some changes, but since I have read so much of your writing, I felt confident I could step into your voice.” Not until the final publication, reading the hard copy, did I realize my voice had been lost and the writing was not mine. Yes, it covered what I wanted to convey, but it lacked my passion, MY VOICE, in its final press copy. I was disappointed, then angry, then embarrassed that it was being read by others who would not really know the substance of what was written in MY VOICE.
There are ways to avoid this and that do not need to be learned the hard way through such an experience as I had. We would suggest the following:
1. Do not merely skim through an email copy or computer copy of the editor’s revisions and changes. Ask/require a hard copy so that you can read it aloud to yourself and see if your voice has been maintained with integrity.
2. Remember that it is your work, your writing, and again, your voice, that you want to come through.
3. Do not allow revisions/editing that downplay or exaggerate your voice in any way.
4. Be diligent in your final reading to make sure it is your voice, and not your editor’s, that will be read by the public audience.

It takes writing and rewriting to find your own, personal voice–don’t sacrifice what you have worked for in order to get published. Ask yourself if you can be proud of the final work, or if you are simply giving in to an editor in order to get your work “out there.”
If you keep writing, keep submitting, keep having writings published, your voice will become recognizable by readers. They will look for more to read. If you are writing to make a living, this is what will push you forward and help you succeed. So, don’t learn the hard way! Always stay with YOUR VOICE. You can always find an editor who will work with you. You cannot always rewrite and re-publish a book, poem, or article once it is out.
Good writing to you!


Judy Kukuruza’s book “One Body, Many Souls” can be found on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2FuA241; Their website is at https://onebodymanysouls.com/.

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A little about branding by N. Corres

You’ve heard the term. Branding. And you probably know what it means…after all you know that popular brands make the most money, but how do you apply it to what YOU do?

Let’s start by first doing a little SAT-style analogy: branding is to freelance writers as genre is to creative writing.

Another way to look at it is “niche”, but that isn’t all that branding is – it is an abbreviated way to tell the world what you do and what value you bring.

“Ahhh” you say, “but what if I don’t want to be stuck in a single niche?”

Good question! And I would answer: 1. you need to start somewhere in order to build your portfolio (and it should be with something you are passionate about); and 2. your brand will evolve as you evolve (so you can add the other niches in as you become established AND comfortable in your “brand”.

One way to try to define your brand, is to write a mission statement about the writing that you do. Answer the question – what specific, tangible value do you bring to your readers, clients, and/or editors?

Another approach is to write out what makes you unique? Do you have 35 years experience in boat building in your basement that you will be drawing from; or perhaps you’ve been in love with dollhouses since you can remember and have done an exhaustive study of the best materials to use; or maybe you’ve made pencil collecting a hobby after years of travelling the world. Most people have multiple ways they are unique…figure out yours so you can capitalize on what you have to say!

Why is it important to “Brand” yourself? (And by the way, I know how that sounds when reading it aloud – lol). It is important because it will help you zero in on the demographics (for example: age, gender, income) and psychographics (for example: adventurous, active, or sedentary) of your target audience – in other words, it helps you find the places to submit your work to that have the greatest probability of success for you.

If your “brand” is business writing for artists, you have a better chance of finding those markets (and of them finding YOU) if you have branded yourself that way.

Your business cards, your website, your blog – would all reflect the image of a business writer for artists, which would look and feel very different from someone who writes about food and recipes and fine dining.

That doesn’t mean you absolutely have to limit yourself, but in order to begin making a living or a reasonable side hustle of writing, it means you must consider the image you are projecting as much as the actual quality of the writing that you produce.

It isn’t an exact science, and you may have to experiment a little before finding a niche that “clicks” and is comfortable for you. Try not to invest too much into your branding until you feel good about what it looks like and what it says about you to others – that way you can evolve it more easily.

In otherwords, test it out and make sure it reflects your value and your values in a way that works FOR YOU.

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Real Life—My Experience Choosing an Editor, Publisher, and Agent by J. Kukuruza

Real Life—My Experience Choosing an Editor, Publisher, and Agent

            Navigating the labyrinth of getting works of writing out to the public can be a frustrating experience.  Today, there are several venues to use but my experience was through the traditional  method, which I did not find helpful.  I will not list any names, but rather fictional initials to refer to the traditional people encountered.  Here’s hoping this helps!

            The editor we had, “K”, read some of the writing I wished to publish to see if she wanted to take it on.  She was referred by another client of hers that we knew and trusted.  “K” thought the writing would require minimal editing and agreed to work on our manuscript.  This process started seven (7) years prior to the memoir coming out to the public.  With emails being abundant between her and us to add, delete, approve, etc., along with time being taken for the editor’s other projects and personal things to be attended to, “K” just happened to have a friend who could help publish the work as the editing, she felt, was almost done.

            “K” knew a small publisher as both friend and business associate and who agreed to work with her to publish the book.  The publisher, “R”, required a deposit of $5,000.00 to go forward.  He was quite amenable to promoting and getting the book published but continually wanted changes and more money, which we did not have access to, to go forward.  The publisher worked hand in hand with “K” from right after the seven year stint began.  Monies were needed for a professionally written synopsis of the book for promotion purposes.  A professional was hired to write a short paragraph for $250.00.  A short paragraph.  ( by short—5-6 sentences) This took place roughly around year two or three of the process.  (The professional paragraph was never used.)  “K” was now editing as the publisher/friend had bigger ideas to promote.

            Conference calls between the publisher, the editor, and myself ensued, about every six months as time moved on.  Because it was becoming more and more complicated, and publication delayed again and again, we always had someone on our end of the conference calls to help us navigate and ask questions.  We also recorded every conference call to review later if need be.  Visions of a top-seller were offered.  All we wanted was the memoir to be published so that the MESSAGE was made public.  Unable to deliver on promises, now two YEARS into the project, the publisher found us an agent and another conference call ensued that also involved her.  She shall be known as “Z”.  A contract was signed with her, the publisher very nearly disappeared, and “Z” and  “K” communicated with changes to be made to the manuscript, again, and two traditional publishers were given copies of our work by agent “Z”.  She forwarded comments made by the recipients  of the manuscript  and nothing else. Once the contract was signed, two publishing companies contacted, that was it.  “Z” did nothing, including communicate with us, the authors, after that.  It seemed all she wanted was the contract and her 15% if the manuscript was published.   After a year and a half, we terminated “Z” from our employ.  “K” again did revisions, as per the feedback from the publishers the work was submitted to by “Z”, and she turned once more to “R” who was now willing to work again.

            Video interviews were made at “R”’s request.  Questions with written answers were needed, as per “R”, and never used.  “R” wanted to make our work into a documentary through “contacts” he knew.  Nothing ever came about.  No contacts were named or results of any contacts reported.  The publisher had to merge with another small publisher and everything stalled, again.  Numerous promises but nothing ever concrete and time rolled on.  In fact, “R” wanted to promote our manuscript though he admittedly had never read it in its entirety.  No-name contacts, no progress, only more promises and pep talks.  In the meantime, frustration to the point of physical problems we suffered due to being strung along.

            Finally, after a friend, who was a professional in management and who had devised many business projects successfully for large companies both in the U.S. and abroad, offered to help, we gladly accepted.  She outlined for the publisher and editor what needed to be done, with a timeline, and set a date for all to be accomplished.  She was in on conference calls, stating the time already elapsed and asking why and pertinent questions.  Our friend did her research with notes from past phone conferences, and what would be considered reasonable expectations.  Through her, we found out this was not the norm, nor was it acceptable, and businesses cannot be run this way for clients.  We had to make a decision but “K” readily worked toward the finality of all, had trial readers of the manuscript, and secured a foreword for the book by a renowned professional and best-selling writer.  Things were temporarily  looking more favorable.  This was all offered to the publisher.  Nothing happened.  Only bigger and better ideas of a movie, documentary, and adulation for the work done.  But no action.  “R” still had not read the entire manuscript.  We voiced dissatisfaction, diplomatically, and pushed for a culmination of what we had finally realized was professional gas-lighting—in our personal opinion.  We kept stating we just wanted the memoir published—nothing more at this point! 

            Finally, seven years after the submission and commitments to see the book published and in the public eye, we abandoned the professional publisher and editor, and published through Amazon.  Both “K” and “R” felt we were unfair and regretted time working with us.  They felt we had blind-sided them and all their efforts to help.  No mention was ever made of where the $5000 dollars were spent or on what.  Seven years is a long time waiting to see your writing published.  The close friendship between the editor and publisher proved to be detrimental to the whole process.  “K” pointed out “R”s struggles, limitations, etc., and was afraid we had hurt their relationship professionally.  After seven long years of nothing being done, we felt little compassion for the status of their relationship—business or otherwise.

            So what was learned?  BE CAREFUL when trying to navigate the maze of professionals.  Promises, with money expended, can be deflating and discouraging.  Insofar as editing—be sure it does not wind up with your writing voice edited right out of your manuscript/submission.  The finished product was not truly ours at the end of all of it.  Others who knew us, had read previous writings of ours, felt that the memoir was flat, lacking in feeling, simply a report of facts with no passion or feeling.  We, too, felt our voice was lost and many things that would have profound meaning for readers was deleted without our consent.  Frustration in dealing with people who are dealing with each other unbeknownst to you and only giving you limited information can be even more frustrating and drive you crazy as you see little happening and more and more of your work being manipulated and violated.  The Editor and Publisher were communicating, but not with we, the authors.  Instead, we were accused of blind-siding these people by feeling seven years and $5000 was enough time and money spent with no end in sight.  Suddenly we were supposed to feel guilty for being assertive enough to want to see the end of it?  Not very professional.

            Also, BE CAREFUL of who knows who and what the actual goal is.  I do not think these people intentionally dragged this out over the years.  But I also feel that if they are in the business of marketing your writing, they too, should be business like.  Your hard work should not depend on the editor and publisher being good buddies and not hurting their feelings.  Writing is a business.  Writing should not be left to haphazard actions, promises, time delays.  Submit on your own.  A rejection slip does not take years to receive.  Once received, another submission can be made.  IF you can go traditionally to be published, that is wonderful.  But see the red flags if things drag on, excuses are continually made, your patience and understanding required repeatedly— take another route.  It is not worth it to be in constant emotional and mental turmoil from “professionals” that cannot do their jobs.

            (To emphasize the way we were suckered—they needed more money for a cover for the book in order to publish it.  We could not afford it.  We submitted a painting we had done.  They loved it and wanted to use it.  But even having all that, they could not publish.)

            Again, our experience was horrid.  Yours may not be.  But be aware and don’t repeat our mistakes.   

            Here’s hoping you can learn from our experience.  Keep writing and submitting.

____________________________________________

Judy Kukuruza’s book “One Body, Many Souls” can be found on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2FuA241; Their website is at https://onebodymanysouls.com/.

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