Wednesday, May 2, 2018

You Asked, I Answer (Photo Book, U.S. Travel and Writing)

Wednesday means it’s time for another round of answers to your questions.

Let’s get right to it...

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Kay asked:
Would you ever think of making a photo book of your trip to Cuba? You are a great photographer but those shots that you took in Cuba, I just keep thinking about them.

First, thank you for the wonderful compliment! You are awesome, Kay!

Now, to answer your question:

Yes and no. I would not consider making a photo book exclusively of our trip to Cuba, but I would consider making a photo book of our travels, which would include our trip to Cuba.

Most of all, I would consider creating a book that is all about tropical vacations that would include beach scenes and sunsets and flora and fauna. Makes sense?

White sand and warm, turquoise water. Cuba is a spectacular place to visit.
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Nancy asked:
How often (if ever) do you come to the U.S.? What do you do here?

The last real trip I took to your country was in the summer of 2008 when the most amazing man in the world and I, along with the two girls, visited three different areas:

1) Pennsylvania (Hershey and Lancaster) where we stuffed our faces with chocolate and learned about the Amish culture.

2) Washington, D.C., where we exhausted ourselves visiting an abundance of attractions and memorable places.

3) Virginia, Beach, where we were total beach bums.

As a family we’ve also traveled to Maine, which was a lot of fun, but definitely not a place I’d choose again if I wanted to swim. The water was freezing cold!

Earlier in my life I’ve been to different areas in Massachusetts and New York, some of them as extended vacations, some of them as weekend getaways.

I don’t have a specific thing I like to do when I’m in the U.S. because each area has something unique to offer, so I plan according to that. From sightseeing to hiking to visiting museums to hanging around by the beach...I’m open to many different experiences.

We don’t travel very often to the U.S. because the currency exchange is not always appealing and because there are so many other countries I’m eager to visit. There’s a traveling bucket list to fulfill!


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Red asked:
Well, here goes. I look at your writing and how structured and logical it is and I wonder where that came from. What is your background that gives you such an efficient way with words. You have an opinion and then you communicate it so that it makes perfect sense. I envy your writing ability.

Well, thank you for that! With all the compliments today, my head is going to swell up.

I never think of writing as ‘good’ as much as I think of it as ‘effective’; the ability to clearly communicate a message to a particular audience. And I do believe that most of us can develop a writing style that comes naturally over a period of time.

The greatest contributor to my writing is reading. Writers read. Regularly. There’s no way around this. When you read you absorb valuable lessons: sentence and paragraph structure, the combination of words, ideas, good grammar, etc. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of reading.

I’ve also done a lot of reading about writing. There are a lot of really good books on the market that can help you learn how to write, and an endless amount of articles to be found on the internet. In this digital age, there is a wealth of information available to us!

Reading is followed by writing regularly. Almost every day. You can’t improve your writing if you don’t practice it. I’ve been doing this since I was a child. From compositions for school to poetry to journaling to blogging...I’ve been working on something my entire life.

I also rewrite. A lot. I’ll put something together, read it, read it again...and again...and then rewrite it. Sometimes I overhaul an entire piece and start all over again. The end result has to flow well and make sense. Be effective.

Spelling and grammar! It is always more appealing when words are spelled and used properly, and sentences flow well. And relying on spell check to do this job for you all the time is a mistake. Although it is extremely helpful, it’s not perfect and your writing will include errors. Sometimes I write in Notebook first and then transfer it to Word to practice my spelling and grammar.

And finally, one of the best things I’ve ever done is take creative writing classes. This was not only fun but also invaluable. You learn important techniques, practice regularly and receive constructive criticism (hopefully without taking it personally), all of which help improve your skills.

Now, I’m not a professional writer, so I don’t go the extra mile. But for those who are interested in doing it for a living, hooking up with a good editor, someone who will give an objective point of view and clean up some of the messes, goes a long way.

I hope this answers your question!


And that’s it for today. I believe there are only two questions left that I will get to next week.

A happy day to all!

26 comments:

  1. Okay then, I am ready for your tropical beach travel book! And then, when you make lots of money, take me back to Cuba with you? I do love your photos!

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    1. You're on, Kay :) And you would love Cuba! The beaches there are out of this world.

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  2. Wonderful answers to some great questions today!

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  3. Many thanks for the questions and many thanks for the answers.
    Great stuff!

    All the best Jan

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  4. Excellent answers. You are a wonderful writer and photographer. Thank you for the helpful tips on becoming a better writer. And thank you for the condolences you left on my blog, they are greatly appreciated. XO

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    1. No need to thank me! Again, I'm sorry for the loss in your family. xo

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  5. I learned something from your answer to my question. Look on line for pointers on better writing. I never thought of that. I appreciate reading good writing so it's one of many things I like about your blog.

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    1. I always enjoy your posts and I think you have a really great writing style!

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  6. Great questions and answers!

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  7. We are thinking of going to Hershey this year when we are back in the Washington DC area for a family wedding. I'll have to lose 10 pounds (more) if we do since chocolate is my weakness. I totally do agree with the blogger who asked the question about your photos. I've always enjoyed looking at them when you share them. I too agree about writing; takes practice if one wants to be relatively good at it. And punctuation and spelling definitely are essential for meaning and content (and who can stand seeing a typo or several typos in articles, etc.)

    betty

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    1. I'm only bothered by typos when it's a professional who has written an article or book, or someone who should be setting an example, like a teacher. I also think that with all this spell check going on, we don't practice punctuation and spelling enough. We seem to be losing that skill!

      You will really like Hershey. We had such a lovely time there. I'm glad we stopped there before we headed to D.C.

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  8. i LOVED the idea of making book of photos of personal travels and your's will be so popular i bet because you are wonderful capturer !!!

    i learn when i read your answers
    i wish i could ever read how to write as beautifully
    still i believe it is you natural ability Martha!

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    1. Thank you, Baili! I do enjoy writing. But more than that, I enjoy reading!

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  9. Hi Martha, loved the questions and answers. It was very helpful. Reading plenty of good book definitely helps you become more literate. Practice makes perfect. I hope you are okay. I told my mate, recently, that i’d had a dream which featured him (but wasn’t about him). It wasn’t a gay dream. I’m married ffs. Anyway, he hasn’t spoken to me since. He even showed me pictures of women that want to live with him. He was the best man at my wedding. Please be guided by this information. I wasn’t. I’m still trying to work out what the information was. Ps i’ve been mates with him for 37 years.

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    1. That's an extensive friendship. Hopefully he speaks to you again soon. I can't imagine throwing away a friendship that has been around for so long that easily!

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  10. Hi Martha! I love reading your responses. I also think you are an excellent writer. I journaled my whole life, too. Now I just see blogging as journaling, but not as private. -Jenn

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    1. I couldn't agree more, Jenn! Blogging does feel like journaling :)

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  11. Hubby has always wanted to travel to Cuba, but we here in States are pretty restricted against going there. The headway made during the previous Administration has been undone with the current one. About the only way one can go their now is on an educational tour, or through a tour company; but even those are restricted and quite expensive. I compared a few trips a few weeks ago and it's most costly to go to Cuba for 4 or 5 days than 12 or 13 elsewhere. So, maybe after we have another election things will improve. I have a Canadian friend who loves traveling there. She says we can beat the system by traveling to her country and then onto Cuba; but even that is apparently problematic.

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    1. It's too bad you can't travel there, Sandy. It is such a beautiful place. The beaches are out of this world! And such a safe place, too. You can walk around freely without worrying. This was my second time visiting and I loved it as much as I loved it the first time!

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  12. LOL about the punctuation! Though my fingers work faster than I want at times, I usually am a stickler for grammar and spelling. Even when I send the rare text message, I write FULL sentences! No "Hw R U" business lol...oh, I do use lol...writing "laughing out loud" somehow doesn't cut the mustard. I just don't have that travel bug in me anymore, nor does Alex, so we make a good pair of homebodies!

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    1. I'm exactly the same way, Rain! I do make mistakes because I type very quickly and press 'send' before I take a moment to proof read but for the most part I pay attention to spelling and punctuation. It's a habit I can't seem to shake!

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  13. DC certainly has an abyss of things to do, luckily a lot of them are free to enjoy. Socialized tourism is what the Republicans call it.

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    1. Why not just call it a wonderful way to promote your country! We were so grateful for a lot of the places being free to visit and we sang praises about it. It seems ridiculous to label it that way. We might not have spent money on those places but we did spend it on meals and hotels and souvenirs and other things, so at the end of the day, the country is better off for it!

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