There are a slew of free courses out there that can help you advance your writing skills, as well as enhance other subjects that interest you, and can help deepen your writing. They are MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and most are available to you for free from top universities and colleges. There are many platforms used to deliver these online classes to you, some may be familiar to you:
Centered on female authorial voices and female literary characters, this online course will be offered completely free to all participants and will welcome writers of all genders. The course is using the NovoEd platform
Other platforms in USA: Stanford Online, Canvas Network, Kadenze, POLHN
Platforms used in other countries: UK platform: Future Learn Australia platform: Open2Study, Open Learning India: NPTEL, WizTQ France: Open Classroom Finland: Eliademy
OCW (Open Course Ware) platforms:
There are also Open Course Ware providers ofcourselessons created at universities and published for free via theInternet. Here are some universities that share the OCW concepts and may have their own educational streams (some on You Tube) as well as using existing platforms sited above.
It was amazing to see well-kept botanical gardens, displaying multiple plant life, mingled with the arts of glass blowing and Origami. Nature and Art are always a great source of inspiration for our writing.
last July I took a trip to the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus Ohio with my husband, and daughter. It was amazing! I’d like to share some of the photos I took that day, before the weather changes completely. As the colder months draw near we can remember the warmth of summer through photography.
Tropical rooms, desert rooms and a butterfly conservatory –
Decorated with colored glass-work to emphasize the natural beauty of the plants and folded paper art. Origami is displayed beside nature. Small folded colorful cranes hang from the front ceiling. A room is designated to display more intricate folded pieces and mapped instructions hung on the wall for anyone ambitious enough to try the art of folding. Outside there are many paper masterpieces, as well, including three horses. The building is well kept inside and out and we enjoyed an entire day browsing inside and out.
The inside foliage ranged from tropical to desert . . .
A favorite of ours was the Butterfly Conservatory
I hope all my writer friends, and those who are curious, enjoy my pictures and are inspired to visit and support your local botanical gardens and wildlife conservatories. If you’re ever in the area stop by Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus Ohio
Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are done deals, maybe we can concentrate on the holiday ahead. Not the shopping, baking and gift buying. . .
Instead, I’d like to suggest that we take time to do a bit of self-reflection. Think about your life in whole and the finger print you are leaving on this planet.
Think of how you interact with others, and also how you view yourself. Most important, are you leaving a trail of wastefulness or planting a field of good measure.
In no way are we ever going to become saints, and perfection is not the issue. It’s our intentions – the motivation from the heart. It’s easy to become self-absorbed in an unhealthy way, especially during the holidays. Buying new gadgets to keep up, without thinking or caring about the electronic dump sites we help create, is one way we become wasteful. Think before buying a new phone.
Maybe with reflection we can change our intentions, and work toward loftier goals.
So instead of checking your list of material gifts to give or receive, think in terms of good wishes you have for others. You could give your time instead of material presents. Many lonely people would cherish your time spent with them, like the forgotten elderly or the hospitalized veterans.
Your fingerprint on other people’s lives is precious.
Spending your energy on others will not only cheer them, but will most likely make your day as well.
Happy holidays – I wish you life’s best.
Keep reading – Keep writing!
These pictures were from the Mind Unleashed site. For inspiration – Visit the TheMindUnleashed.org a conscious news dissemination organization that seeks to inspire… and follow the posts on the Facebook page
It has become the national holiday where children go house to house to get free candy. But that’s not how it began . . . Trick or Treat was referred to Beggars Night years ago, when children begged for food.
Walt Disney created the Skeleton Dance in 1929 and exploited the idea using classical music to his bony dancer characters.
Trick or Treat cartoons were brought into the forefront in the early 50’s and made going house to house an annual custom.
Mainstream cartoons became part of the culture and were distributed throughout North America and the UK, solidifying the customs and beginning the trend of costumes. Some still homemade costumes but others, now store bought. Trick or Treat became a lucrative business, and the real origins of Halloween were forgotten.
Trick or Treat may now be mainstream however the true roots of the man-made holiday originated from the old rituals practiced by religious groups who regard All Hallows’ Eve as a special religious day, also referred to as All Saints’ Eve.
All Saints’ Day is dedicated to the remembrance of the dead: saints, martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.
Scholars point out that the Christian All Saints’ day took it’s beginnings from a pagan holiday of Celtic origins, called Samhain, a harvest festival. Since the late 1900’s, Celtic neopagans (followers who try to keep to the old pagan customs) and Wiccans (Wicca was defined in the 1940’s but refers to those who worship the moon goddess and the horn god) have observed Samhain, or something based on it, as a religious holiday.
The festival marked the beginning of the dark half of the year. During Samhain,the practitioners believed that the spirits and fairies (some call them Aos Sí), needed offerings to survive the winter. They left out food and drink for them. The people also believed that the souls of the dead visited their homes looking for the same hospitality.
The Samhain holiday is considered a time of year when the boundary or veil between this world and the other-world can be easily crossed. This means the spirits or fairies can more easily come into our world. To celebrate their appearance on the earthly side, and to ensure prosperity for the coming year, propitiation rituals were often performed appeasing the gods for atonement. Many have used imaginative design to envision the secret rituals performed in a macabre nature.
Often, Divination is used – that’s insight by way of the supernatural, taking account random events, and merging the disorganized into one insightful prediction. Fortune-telling practiced told people about their future. People seek answers.
The Chinese have been practicing Kau Cim.
This method of fortune telling has been used for thousands of years, and is still practiced today. People seek out guidance before making major decisions. Although not a religion, they look for good luck.
Who knows what will evolve next? The most important take away is that people at their core have a tenancy to seek supernatural answers.
We believe there is something out there greater than ourselves and we want to communicate with the entity – to seek out our future, wanting to direct our destiny. Some call upon the word of God. Others call out to the goddess, others believe in the nature of science.
“We seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go . . . ” no wait that’s something else 🙂 We seek answers to life’s questions.
Halloween is a time of year when we look to the supernatural. We watch scary movies and read haunted tales, to try to find a reason. But is the other side of the veil, paranormal activity, and other supernatural events part of science?
There is a difference and a correlation between the two. Let’s begin with definitions, eliminating the useless words so we can concentrate on the true meanings intended:
DREAM : a series of thoughts, visions, or feelingsthat happen during sleep
: anidea or vision that is created in your imaginationand that is not real
: something that you havewanted very much to do, be, or havefor a long time
GOAL :something that you aretrying to do or achieve
: an area or object into which a ball or puck must be hit, kicked, etc., to score points in various games (such as soccer and hockey)
: the act of hitting, kicking, etc., a ball or puck into a goal or the score that results from doing this
You need to have a dream before you can define your goals.
We all have dreams . . .
things we envision that we want to happen in our lives, for our loved ones, and causes that we support.
Unfortunately, some people never stop to think beyond a daydream, which is defined as pleasant thoughts that distract one’s attention from the present.
A true dream is something you create in your imagination—that you want very much—it’s a vision. A dream is not a fleeting thought, but a real want that you desire from the deepest part of your soul.
How are they different from our goals?
I believe they are related. You need a solid dream—a vision you can name—before you can begin to set your goals.
Once you have the dream clear in your mind, then you can begin to create and write down your goals. By writing them down you are committing to the vision with steps you can take to achieve your desire.
Goals can be divided into 4 basic steps:
First you have to have a Mission Statement. Put your dream down in writing.
Just because you may be a business with one employee, yourself, doesn’t mean you can skip on a mission. It is a very crucial part of defining your goal.
‘I want to save homeless children’ or ‘I want to be a bestselling author’
Second you need to identify your Target Market, or better understood as zooming in on your customer, or audience.
Who do you intend to reach with your dream? Your dream and now your goals are personal, so shape them to match what you want to accomplish to attain your vision. Don’t worry whether they jive with what others do. It’s your dream after all.
‘I want to help children by assisting home shelter managers and workers’ or ‘I want to touch the lives of middle-aged women with my books and stories about murder’
We can’t please all of the people all of the time—as the saying goes.
Third you need Strategy which is nothing more than a plan on how you will execute—reach your audience.
For example, many people tweet out ‘buy me’ when the best way to utilize Twitter is to send out messages that connect you to others and support with things that benefit others. Many on Google + don’t realize that are many conversations going on, a sharing of minds, once you engage in Circles.
So research and use social media to your advantage in order to engage others, and share your dream. Also don’t disregard other ways to get out your message. Social clubs, universities, Meet Ups, festivals and many more places offer ways for you to share your message.
Strategy is your game plan.
Today with social media venues, there are many ways and means to reach people. Try to utilize the strengths of the medium you choose that best fits your own style and message.
Fourth a more detailed plan of the actual steps you will take to accomplish your strategy is called Tactics.
It sounds like a dirty word, but it’s quite harmless and very useful. It is the details of your strategy, or your action plan.
You may decide to use photography to reach out, or music, or a mixture of that along with articles and posts. This is where we can begin putting in place things we want to measure, to show us how we are progressing.
The tactics lead us to place we can gather the proof of our engagement, proof of our reaching our target audience, and thus proof if we are getting closer to reaching our goals, which have been defined by our dreams.
There are many tools to see the evidence of engagement to measure, check out Google analytics.