Posts Tagged With: communication

Slang – USA vs Australia

My partner in Australia once challenged me to a slang smack down. Slang is the early indicator of word changes and language evolution.  On many levels slang is academically interesting and worthy of serious study.  For a writer and poet, slang can give your writing color and interest, but only in  small doses.

But for Newbie Writers Podcast, we just wanted to be funny.

While Damien had a wealth of Australian slang at his disposal, indeed, I once listened to a young Aussie deliver a paragraph of instructions and I did not understand a word she said, I am from a slang free zone – Sonoma County.  I was in big trouble.

barrier reef beachSo I appealed to the students in my Oakland class.  Give me your inner city slang, I pleaded.

And they did.

And I won the smack down.

Here are a few examples from our show –  Newbie Writers Podcast – Episode 11

Catharine’s Slang contribution:

  • Beat –  Stereo system in a car
  • Get your Issue –  Death Sentence
  • Hood – neighborhood
  • Ratchet –  Girl from the Ghetto
  • Tight – flash or cool
  • What’s up with it? –  What’s up, what’s good?
  • Shawty – girlfriend
  • Get it in –  Sex, hours of work
  • Ya Feel me?  – Do you understand?
  • Jump off – mistress
  • Swag – personal Style, confidence
  • Slap –  Cool song or loud music
  • Hater –  Slander, heinous deed against you,  contempt
  • It’s a wrap –  it’s over
  • Kiss the baby –  it’s over
  • Go hard or go home –  make the effort
  • Paper –  Money
  • Bopper – whore
  • Pop off –  Drama, fight is brewing
  • Fire on you – punch you

Damien’s slang contribution:

  • Ankle biter –   child
  • Berko –  angry
  • Big bikkies – money
  • On the Blower – telephone
  • Bonzer – terrific
  • Boofhead – idiot – football
  • Chock a block or Chocker’s –  full
  • G’day Cobber –  mate
  • Crack-a-Coldie –   beer
  • Cozzie – bathing suits
  • Daks – shorts or underpants
  • Dero – tramp homeless
  • Dog’s breakfast – messy
  • Dunny –  toilet, loo
  • Durry -cirgarettes
  • Fair dinkum –  genuine
  • Grouse (adj.) –  terrific surfer speak
  • Flat out like a Lizard drinking –  busy
  • Ridgy-didge –  orignial
  • Yobbo –  uncouth person

So don’t be a boofhead, go hard, or go home.

I am migrating this blog to be part of  Until we have complete lift off, both blogs will publish simultaneously.  Sorry Panda.

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The Reluctant Twitter

Twitter for AuthorsSometimes I  cannot ignore the signs, even if you work really, really hard.

The first sign was my friend Beth Barany just published her  excellent book Twitter for Authors and she asked me to review it.

Then my client Julia Stege, who is on the verge of launching her first book, pinned me down (and oh lord that’s something else to manage) and offered to help me with whatever social media eludes me.

And that was, again, Twitter. As if a little bird told them.

For good information, reference Beth’s book and Julia’s Web site.

If you’re flummoxed about how to approach the damn thing, stay here, it won’t take long.

Once I realized that Twitter was really just a very  large cocktail party juiced by illegal steroids, it made it easier to answer one of the first questions in Twitter for Authors: What kind of relationship do you want with Twitter?

Up until now, I’ve treated Twitter as a seething noise of one night stands. Then I thought it was only for other people because the music was too loud.  Finally, with the party idea to help, I realized that what I wanted now was connection  – even a few minutes connecting and conversing is  valuable and worth the time  spent.  How many times do we leave a party satisfied because of a few marvelous one on one conversations?

To find those connection Julia told me to find and follow people I find interesting and who,  therefore, would be interested in what I have to offer.  And go ahead and have some fun (this was recommended by both these experts).  Just as you have more fun discussing Renaissance Art instead of networking for your insurance business, a Twitter conversation about your favorite show or film  may be just the connection you need.

Share the love. When we introduce people at a party we often say – hey, I think you’ll like Sue, she quilts just like you –  we are part of the connections and will benefit even as we hook up our pals.

Like every advice column we’ve ever read, Twitter follows the age old trope of be interested in other people and they in turn, will find you flipp’n fascinating.

So limit how much you talk about yourself   (As soon as you start over promoting your products, you web site and yourself, everyone else will  stampede  for the stuffed mushrooms).  Share something, quote your friends, promote their books, it will make you look that much better.

I love a party, but if you don’t, then (staying with the party metaphor) Twitter maybe exactly the thing for you.  You can take your time, respond when you want, and join conversations on your own terms. You don’t even need to worry about your hair.

Okay, one more question  from Twitter for Authors; What does winning the social media game look like to you?

What does wining at a party or networking event look like?  Is winning walking away with a date for the next night?  Finding the perfect mate?  Finding the perfect job or employee?

I think Beth makes a good point, if we don’t know what we’re after, it’s hard to get terribly involved or enthusiastic about the game.

So get Twitter for Authors, figure out what you want from Twitter and join the conversation.  Talk to me, I’ll be looking for you.


Beth will discuss her book and how to Tweet Better –  on Newbie Writers Podcast  Friday August 23rd.  I can never keep track of what episode number it is.  Just head to Newbie Writers.

I am migrating this blog to be part of  Until we have complete lift off, both blogs will publish simultaneously.  Sorry Panda.

You are welcome to re-post this article in your own blog or newsletter – please include this entire statement, “Catharine Bramkamp is a Writing Coach and podcaster, find out if you’re ready to go from  Newbie to Known visit or for a complimentary consultation.”

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Five Key Book Publishing Paths

This helpful chart  from Jane Freidman came across my email and I pass it along to you.

This is an easy way to compare the different options for book publishing.  My caution is that publishing is a moving target, and what is true right now won’t be true in two years, or even in two months.  But for now, I have Jane’s permission to forward this onto my readers.  It should help!

5 Key publishing models

Visit Jane’s Blog for a larger image if necessary.

Now that you know where you want to publish, how’s the book coming?

Drop me a line (bramkamp(at) for a free 1/2 consultation, I promise I’ll put you on the right track.

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Don’t Do This!

Books out doorsWhat we don’t read  can be as instructive as what we do.

I found this Linked In post in my in box:

This is Interesting

“Hmm, where do I even begin? There is so much to share. I am so blessed every day and I just hope I can remember everything that has happened!  When so much awesomeness happens I am compelled to immediately share with with you all here, as it is most fitting and want to share my good news with you all!  This month my recovery…”

– from a real linked-in post but I altered the details 

In this Linked- In post, the headline is the best part.  But the opening narrative is ineffective and a turn off.  We are not, on any level, compelled to read anything more.  So the writer could be announcing the end of the world, and we’d miss it, because she didn’t start her post well.

A long time ago writers commanded  enough page space to be able to “clear our throats” , we had time to set up a comment or explain all the points necessary for an essay to really sing.

But now we don’t.

Those opening lines cannot be wasted, they are the critical and arguably the most important part of a post or a blog. They must   grab the reader’s attention. And with this post, by the time I read to the third line – I was out, I  did not have the time to listen to the writer’s thinking process.

The solution is easy.  Do clear your throat.  Write all that introductory material because it helps focus the work and gets you really into your subject.  But before you post the work, delete those opening sentences and just start with something interesting like zombies invaded my home last night!  It’s the end of the world.

I guarantee  you I will continue to read.

Do you have a novel in you?

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Possibly Not Really Productive

Cologne TypewriterWhen I’ve been spending more time reading blogs and newsletters than  writing my material, I feel like my son who used to sit very still and quietly in class.  The teacher was thrilled he wasn’t making trouble, and he wasn’t.  Of course, he wasn’t learning anything either.

For weeks I’ve been sitting quietly at the computer – typing, reading and generally looking very engaged and busy. And I am thrilled with all the work I’ve been doing.  But I haven’t really accomplished a damn thing.

Writers and creatives are at risk for miserable failure if we don’t  understand the difference between being busy and being productive.

Because distinguishing between the two can be tricky.

Sometimes an afternoon of reading was spent  gathering ideas,  researching and catching up with industry trends.   Ot it’s a  colossal waste of time.

Conversely, in a traditional job, taking a walk in the middle of the afternoon, chatting in the break room, standing around in the hallway, is considered goofing off.  For a writer, those exchanges, especially the walks, are critical to real production.

Day dreaming is productive

Checking Facebook is not.

Lunch with a friend, or better, lunch with a fellow writer, is productive.

Eating at your desk, compulsively answering every email is just exhausting and will give you heartburn.

Since Just sitting at the computer does not necessarily mean you are accomplishing anything, how do you know you have been productive?

The increasing word count on the novel is a big indicator.

Another indicator is how tired you are.  Not emotionally exhausted, or frustrated but tired.

Writing is a full body activity; we lean in, we tense up.  We hurt ourselves because we’ve held a crouching tiger position for hours as we bang on the keyboard or scratch with our pens.  We get carpal tunnel and bursitis and leg cramps.  And paper cuts, but I never get any sympathy for those.

Are you exhausted  because you’ve spent the morning in the zone?

Or are you just emotionally exhausted from a project  that has been over thought to death?

Did you finish up your work at exactly 5:00 and think, GOD I need a drink, I’m so finished with this.

Or did you finish for the day because a power failure killed the computer and stopped you cold?  But you unearthed a flashlight and notebook and continued?

Set this idea of  being busy aside, and tap into your passion;  allow it to drive the process instead of over  thinking it.  Put  away the to do list, turn off the alerts for email and Facebook and just focus on the book, even if only for   ten minutes.

It may be the most productive part of your day.

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Author Entrepreneurship Magazine

Author Entrepreneurship Magazine | Helping Authors Create Successful and Sustainable Careers.

The Spring Issue of Author Entrepreneurship Magazine is here!  Thank you to editor Beth Barany who has not only created a beautiful magazine, but is really committed to helping authors create the best careers and lives they can.

Check it out – and then subscribe!


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Feel – Think – Do: A New Way to Look at Goals

Thank you to our podcast guest Keith Abrams author of Discover Your Passion.

PhotoIn this book you list 8 areas of life we should feel passionate about

And you have fifty items for each heading,  I signed up and couldn’t think of 100 things nor did I have the time – so I asked Keith for help:

The first thing he said was:

  • Tell me the five things you are passionate about  (People usually say  “Family.”)
  • Tell me the second? (People usually say “cooking”)
  • Tell me a third
  • Tell me a fourth
  • And keep listing – one at time until you can drill down to what really matters.

How not to be overwhelmed  by 100 goals

Ask the right questions to get to the 100 goals

  • What would you do if the money was handled, what would you do with your time?
  • In your life, if you need to be the best you could be what you need to change?
  • If that’s what you need to change?  Then what do you need to differently?
  • You are 95 years old –  your achieved marvelous things, and someone at 50 asked you for advice, what would you say?
  • What are the things you dabble in?  That’s a great place for goals to be listed.
  • What do you like to do to give back to others?

How do you want to feel? Put that idea at the forefront of the goals?  What do you want to set  up to have those feelings?   One of the ways to look at goals is to ditch the SMART goals and consider how you want to feel.  Feel first, then Think about how to get that feeling, then do it.

For writers, think of what you loved to read, what did you love?  What book and style did you love? And what was your message to the world?

For more, check out Keith’s web site!

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My Favorite Addiction

Dublin writer museum

Book bub  is a email program courtesy of Amazon that delivers a choice of four or five books for ebook down load ranging in price from $3.99 to Free.

I love free the best.

And I love Amazon for assuming the role of my own personal drug dealer.  For a woman who considers books her crack cocaine, this daily email offering a free book download is like the  archetypal drug dealer lurking just on the other side of the playground chain link fence.

“Want to trip for free?”

And I reply, “SURE of COURSE I do.”

Since I missed doing drugs in college due to financial constraints,  this is my next best experience.

The  Amazon one click option is like main-lining in a meth lab.

If you are a real writer you are not book – free or novel-neutral.  So it’s not a question of  addiction, the question is,  how does your addiction manifest?  The local used book store?   The monthly Friends of the LIbrary sale?   The library itself?  Amazon?  A fabulous destination store  like (cue the god-clouds and heavenly chorus) Powells?

This is not an intervention, this is not a plea to just say no. On the contrary, don’t say no, say yes, and if you know your weakness, then you know that when you come across it in your in bo

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How to Create That Short Bio

We all know to create a short elevator speech right?  It’s also called the 30 second speech.  When someone asks you what you do – you respond with a practiced, brilliant, witty, concise biography that includes the big picture of what you do, something about what you love or your passion, and a call to action close.

Daffodils by MichaelAnd if that wasn’t enough pressure, we also should have a similar one for our quick bios at the end of our blog posts, linked in, tags to speeches and advice and of course, on our web sites.

If you have it down, all the brilliant and sparkly stuff that makes for a compelling introduction – good for you!  Send it to me as a stellar example and I’ll read it out on the podcast.

But maybe you do not have one of these handy autobiographies  at the ready.  If not, my friend Beth Barany created a nice outline for how to create a short bio.

Check it out!

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Word Press Advice

Newbie Writers Podcast guest Brett Bumeter is a WordPress expert, he gave us some good tips listed here –  for the whole interview, listen on Newbie

The Best Blog tool right now is WordPress,  18% of the world is using WordPress so that helps your Google ranking.

Free, you can start small.  Can move up to something larger if you want.

A good blog provides entertainment or information.


The look of your blog is obviously important.  Should you pay for themes?  Not necessarily, free themes are fine to use, but do check their age.  A good theme should stil be supported,  was the theme made in the last 3 to 6 months? Read the reviews, are they positive or negative, that matters for the health of your blog.

Do the theme developers respond to questions?  In English?

It the theme intuitive?

Should you change your theme often to keep it interesting?  Not necessarily but fans will want and expect you to improve and gain sophistication, so improving is great, change for just change may not be as necessary.

The easiest color scheme for text is black wording on white background

And remember, 40% of visitors on your site use mobile devices.

For more tips visit Brett’s blog   Petered Out

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