It’s official – time for a blog makeover and rebranding

Inspired by the ‘sock-it-to-you’ honesty of ‘Self-Printed, The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing’ (Third Edition) by the talented Catherine Ryan Howard of Catherine, Caffeinated, I meekly reviewed my online presence, and admitted that it was time for a blog makeover, and some serious rebranding.

Or rather, it was time to pull myself together (online) and actually HAVE a brand.

Watch this space as ‘PetticoatRebellion.com’, originally a book blog and semi-static online resumé for my filmmaking work, transforms into ‘OfficialSecrets.net’, the quirky blog about writing that I’ve always wanted to write, but never did…

Joining the Society for Editors and Proofreaders

Facebook is full of photos of ‘Ooh-er Matron!’ language slip-ups, and I have spent many a fun evening with a red pen and the local newspaper, circling special offers for pea’s and bean’s [sic], and Back to School ‘stationary’.

Little did I realise that this pedantry is a valuable skill. My Typo Radar has undoubtedly saved oodles of money – as well as time – when preparing materials for publication, for the many charities I have worked for over the years.

After a recent (and very satisfying) red-pen splurge, I decided to bite the bullet (rather than just the eraser on the end of my pencil) and apply to join the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. I was so pleased when they accepted me as an Associate Subscriber. I shall now happily while away the long winter evenings by the fire with lots of background reading, and online training. In spring, I plan to emerge, bleary-eyed and pale-skinned, as a nascent editor.

Link to Society for Editors and ProofreadersThese are some of the many reasons I have joined the SfEP:

The Society aims to uphold editorial excellence, and provides training, support and accreditation for proofreaders and editors. It produces a free online periodical for members ‘Editing Matters’, and hosts a number of valuable online services, not the least of which is the Members’ Area, full of helpful information and forums.

Their introductory publications are available to purchase in either hard copy or to download, which is super-useful for people living outside the UK, like myself. The local SfEP branch is in Belfast, chaired by the talented Averill Buchanan, who recently won the Judith Butcher Award for her services to the Society.

Who Do You Think You Are? – with Julie Walters

The phone call came out of the blue… “Hello, Patricia? This is ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ – yes, the BBC series.”

Sitting at my desk at work, in the middle of a project, on an ordinary day, I considered this for a moment. “Yes, of course you are,” I replied, absolutely certain that it wasn’t. I looked around to see if anyone was giggling in the office.

“No, really, it is,” insisted the voice. “And we’re looking for an expert on the Ladies Land League.”

Right, I thought, this is definitely someone at work pulling my leg. I decided to play along, and see how long the caller could keep it up. “I know of a few experts who could help,” I replied. “Have you spoken to Nancy Smyth or Myles Dungan?”

“Um, we want to talk to you,” said the voice. “We came across your book about the Ladies Land League, ‘Petticoat Rebellion’. Would you be free to meet with our director and researcher in Dublin? We’re planning to shoot part of this episode in the National Library of Ireland.”

Realising this was for real, the rest of the conversation felt surreal … and even more so when, in the summer of 2013*, I found myself in the National Library of Ireland with a documentary crew and Julie Walters. Having seen the show, I was determined not to say “Well, Julie, let me show you this document…”, and I am grateful to the editing team for cutting out the hundred times that I actually said it.

Julie was so much fun to work with – in between the serious bits about a potential famine in 1880s Ireland, and the tenants’ struggle for land rights, we scoured the small ads in the vintage newspapers. One ad which quite captured Julie’s imagination was for a mysterious ‘Hair Destroyer’. We asked the archivist, who was there to safeguard the massive bound volumes, which had been taken out of storage for the day, what this Hair Destroyer might be. She said that it was either an electrical device which you plugged in to make your hair fall out, or some kind of potion which did the same. Julie got a fit of the giggles at this. If you watch the episode, you can see that she was clearly having a LOT of fun that day in the Library.

There’s a photo and more information about Julie’s brave ancestor, a treasurer in a local Ladies Land League branch, Mrs Maria O’Brien, on the Who Do You Think You Are? magazine website.

 

*Saturday 10th August 2013, to be precise.

Google AdWords – It all makes sense

I could hardly sleep last night, thinking of Google AdWords. (Yes, Google Analytics sometimes keep me awake too…)

Yesterday evening at Griffith College Dublin, our lecturer Keith Feighery brought us through a lab on Advanced Google AdWords. Like a light switching on, it all suddenly made sense (at 2am), and I couldn’t wait to start designing campaigns.

This is remarkable, because last time I looked at AdWords (way back in early 2011), it made no sense to me at all. Google has really improved their online tutorials and help menu since then.

When I sat down this evening to complete my AdWords assignment for next week, the campaign grew organically and easily, and my draft ads received an average Quality Score of 7/10, which is not bad for a first attempt.

If Google AdWords has always had you stumped, take 3 minutes to watch this short animation. The audio isn’t great, but it might just give you that same ‘a-ha!’ moment.

Introducing ‘Just Write’ Ireland

Many moons ago, I registered the business name of Just Write, here in Ireland, as a channel for my writing work. Word of mouth and recommendations keep me busy, but with an expanding portfolio of video and print projects, I realized it was time to set up an integrated online presence.

Today, ‘Just Write Ireland’ has its own URL  – http://www.JustWriteIreland.com (which currently redirects back to this blog, if you click it and wonder what’s going on!) – and a LinkedIn Company page.

Visit again soon – well, maybe in a month or so – when the structure is in place.

In the meantime, you can reach me at trish[at]JustWriteIreland.com.

Trish

 

 

Tai Chi Chuan and Writing

Since April 2012, I’ve been learning Tai Chi in the Abbey Hall in Clane.

Tai Chi has not only improved my overall health significantly – plus my dodgy left ankle and knee are dodgy no more! – but it has also done wonders for my skin and hair. Goodbye cellulite, hello ‘inner glow’. A colleague even called me ‘sleek’ on Friday. I’m still smiling.

I believe this is because of the simple, but powerful benefits: improved circulation, deep relaxation, greater flexibility and balance, and ability to focus. A few deep breaths, head as if suspended from above, hollow the chest, sink the energy down … stress-busting, in an instant. And that’s before you’ve taken a single step.

What has this to do with writing, you ask? Everything! Imagine being able to become relaxed and focused, within seconds. Your mind pushes out the stresses of the day, and in the words of productivity guru David Allen, you achieve a state of ‘mind like water’. Just think what that will do for your concentration and creativity.

So, there’s no chance that any script I write will ever (again) go like this:

EXT: STREETSCAPE. NIGHT.

The SWAT team signals to the helicopter pilot that they are ready to storm the building.

The SERGEANT suddenly raises his hand, and halts the assault.

SERGEANT
(frantically)
Oh no, I forgot to buy toilet paper. And
the cat has just walked across the keyboard.

Yes, focus is everything when you’re writing!

My instructor, Brian Bergin, is opening a NEW Beginners Tai Chi Class starting in January just up the road from me in the bustling university town of Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Classes begin on Thursday evening, 9th January 2014, in The Leinster Clinic, on the Kilcock Road. Suitable for complete beginners, and those with some previous experience, these classes offer traditional Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung in comfortable surroundings with free parking. Classes last for an hour and a half, and a course of seven weeks costs €90.

Places are limited, so contact Brian Bergin on 087 2157231, or e-mail him at bpbergin@gmail.com for details and to book your place.

There is also a Tuesday class in Kilcock, but that’s full already.

Why not find out more about the academy on the Tai Chi Kildare website, or find the club on Facebook at Master Ding Academy North Kildare, for news, articles and Tai Chi videos from around the world.

Masterclass with director Neil Marshall

Kreeta Taponen enjoys the ambiance of The Light House Cinema, Dublin, as director Shannon Moncrief talks to Neil Marshall

“He was just a naked Geordie covered in KY Jelly.”

Director Neil Marshall’s description of that jump-out-of-your-seat scene from ‘The Descent’ when a ghostly ‘Crawler’ first lurks in the background behind the women trapped underground in a caving accident, sums up the less glamorous side of the film industry. Even this hilarious description could not overwrite the creepiness of the Crawler characters from what was perhaps the scariest movie of 2005.

Neil went on to outline his journey from rebellious film student to membership of the notorious ‘Splat Pack’, at this Directors’ Masterclass in the Light House Cinema, Dublin, in conversation with fellow director Stephen St Leger. Using movie clips as case studies from his horror films, including ‘The Descent’ and ‘Doomsday’, we learned the importance of tenacity, script management and a good sense of humour. Neil also discussed the creative challenges of being a writer/director, with the dual challenges of writing feature film scripts, and then finding the funds to make them.

With thanks to the Irish Film & Television Academy for organising this event, which took place on 28th September 2013.