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It’s always important to have a positive attitude. It’s hard to find an upside to being laid off, but until its time to pay the bills it’s pretty easy to find a silver lining in being unemployed.

Despite being home all day, I have managed to find productive ways to spend my time that with activities that I would otherwise have a difficult time doing. For example, this blog. I have exercised nearly every day this week, eaten healthier and found time for writing. I’ve been able to enjoy coffee with friends before beginning my search for work. I’ve begun teaching myself and practicing skills that will hopefully help me with my next job.

The danger of this view, on the other hand, is that it’s easy to become complacent. While I enjoy the freedom of unemployment and have been taking advantage of it, I have to continue to strive to create and reach goals for myself each day. Hopefully with a bit of hard work and dilligence I’ll find a job that will allow me to do what I love.

I just read an interesting (and rather humorous) article about Angry Birds and SEO (Search English Optimization/making your website come up higher on Google). I have recently become interested in learning about SEO and the intricacies of online marketing (as you may have picked up from my earlier posts). Between job hunting and blogging (and a bit of freelance work which I am happy to get more of if you know of anything), I have been reading up on SEO. This article compares lessons learned from Angry Birds that can also apply to SEO. For example, “Different problems require different specialists”. Each type of bird has its own “specialty” such as exploding or flying extra fast. So too, SEO tactics must be varied depending on the challenge at hand.

For those of who you don’t know, Angry Birds is a game which involves slinging angry-looking birds in the general direction of pigs which are hiding under various obstacles. The aim is to get rid of the pigs by either hitting them directly or causing something to hit them. When my husband first got the game on his iphone, I thought it seemed ridiculous. Slinging birds to destroy pig? What is that? What really baffled me though was his addiction to the game. Everyone I’ve ever seen with the game on their phone can’t seem to stop playing. It didn’t take me long to figure it out once he let me play a level. I couldn’t put it down! The game is so simple, but some levels are deceptively difficult, and you feel like you can’t quit until you beat the whole game. It only takes a short time to complete a level, so time flies and you don’t realize how long it’s been since you last ate or slept or bathed. If I ever learn to program, I would model my game after Angry Birds. Everyone loves cartoon animals and a challenge they can master. Additionally, I would try and somehow work into the game lessons on how to use apostrophes, because misplaced apostrophes really irk me.

Aside from enjoying writing, I also like being right. (I would also like to demonstrate that I am, in fact, aware of the correct usages of the words rite, right, write and wright, despite the pun in the title of this blog.)

I love English. I didn’t appreciate the language, truly, until I moved to Israel. There are few things as gratifying as being able to communicate fluently. Growing up, I was always taught to vary my word choice and use synonyms to prevent repetitiveness. In Hebrew, my vocabulary is so limited that I was really unable to do that. When I was studying in Ulpan to improve my Hebrew language skills (and because it was required by University) I sat down with my teacher to go over a paper I had written. In each case I had attempted to use a synonym, she told me to change it to the original word. I did not understand. “I already used that word twice in the previous paragraph. Isn’t there another word I can use that means the same thing?” Apparently there isn’t. I love that English is such a flexible, diverse language. There are several words for nearly everything, each with its own, nuanced meaning.

In addition to being able to choose the right words for myself, I enjoy being able to do it for others. For this reason, I get pleasure out of editing other peoples’ work. I like correcting people and being right, and I also relish in knowing the best word to use to express the desired point.

In the title of this blog, I changed the word “right” (as in the direction) for the word “write” (meaning to represent language with text). Not that I feel judged by you, I just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page…

When I was young I very much enjoyed reading Louise Fitzhugh’s “Harriet the Spy”. Harriet used to walk around with a notebook, spying on people and writing down her thoughts. (Spoiler alert!) She is eventually caught when her friends find her notebook and are offended by the things she wrote about them. Although they were her private thoughts, she was punished by her parents and social group.

Harriet taught me two lessons. The first was never to write anything down that you wouldn’t mind someone seeing. Nothing is sacred, not even notebooks or journals, and especially not diaries. I know that wasn’t the point of the book, it’s just something I very much feared. The second was that one should always carry a notebook and pen. Like Harriet, I used to write down my thoughts and impressions of people, but I was smart enough to never write about people I actually knew. I would see people on the street and make up their stories; who they were, what they were like, where they came from and where they were going. Mostly these stories were based on the clothing of the person and the location in which they were spotted. I still do that, but not in a notebook. Today I saw a grown-man with a Gryffindor backpack. Instead of writing in my notebook, I text-messaged a friend.

Today I have so many notebooks scattered around my apartment and at least one with me at all times, each with a purpose. These notebooks are used for everything. I keep recipes, to-do lists, information, plans and ideas. When I’m on my way to a job interview and an idea pops into my head for a blog post, for example, I write it down. Every morning I write down the things I want to get done throughout the day ahead, and it feels great to check them off as I accomplish my goals. My notebooks are a great way to stay organized and focused (and spy on people).

A friend recently introduced me to something called “spoken word poetry”. He recommended I check out a young woman named Sarah Kay. Spoken word poems are preformed as opposed to being just simply read. While Sarah Kay’s spoken poetry is really quite lovely and moving, I can’t imagine getting so into the genre.

I always had a difficult time with poetry. If you want to say something, just say it! Why bother with metaphors and similes? Why force the reader to read between the lines? That is, of course, the whole beauty of poetry. It means something different to the author and to each individual reader. Speaking the poetry takes away a lot of the subtleties of it. The challenge of poetry is to convey meaning and tone using words, but when reading it aloud this becomes the simplest aspect.

Written text is given no such opportunity to explain or defend itself with tone and clarifications. The author does not get to see the audiences’ reactions and improve with each performance. When a writer publishes text, that is the end. The writer must be perfectly clear in everything in order to convey the message intended, and the reader always has free reign to misinterpret as desired.

That is why, as delightful as spoken word poetry is, I will stick with the written word and the power of the pen.

I recently began trying to learn about Twitter. While social media networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn were fairly easy for me to pick up on, it took me a while to understand the purpose of Twitter.

My initial assumption was that Twitter was Facebook statuses only, used to update the world on the mundane activities of Joe Shmoe. No offense, Joe, but I am just not interested in a play-by-play of your boring life. After a bit of research, I learned that I was very much mistaken in my underestimation of the power of Tweeting.

The sharing of links has become an extremely popular method of spreading information, whether it is personal, news or business-related. When used properly, Twitter can be an amazing marketing and networking tool.

My favorite thing about Twitter is that it encourages brevity. As Shakespeare (and Mr. Kaufman, my high-school history teacher) said, “brevity is the soul of wit”. My absolute least favorite thing, on the other hand, is the obscene butchering of English grammar people use to stay within the character limit. I don’t think that’s what Shakespeare had in mind.

Hopefully I’ll get the hang of it and you’ll be able to follow me on Twitter in the near future…

Today is my first day unemployed in a long time, and I’ve decided to take advantage of it.

After going for a run in the rain, I came home to apply for jobs and write a bit. I’m looking for a job in writing. I don’t care so much what kind of writing; marketing materials, correspondence, blogs or articles. Anything involving writing or editing will do. If you hear of something, message me, please!

There is really nothing as inspiring or exhilarating as running in the rain. It’s quite beautiful. As I dried off and sipped my hot chocolate, it occurred to me that I can use this time to write about whatever I want, to explore WordPress and learn HTML. These are things that I have wanted to do for a while, and I’m excited to have the opportunity. Suggestions are, of course, welcome. I figure I will start with Google and see where it takes me.

I also decided to pay a visit to my former Boss (some of you may have heard of her). My old office is fairly close to home, and when I left about a year ago I promised I would come visit. She was thrilled to see me, and after showing me some pictures from her daughter’s wedding, informed me that she does not know of any openings in the university but she will let me know if she hears of anything.

My lesson of the day is that a good place to start looking for work is through connections from previous jobs, and in the meantime I can work on my skills and improve my marketability. Hopefully something will come of any of the friends and former coworkers who offered to pass on my resume. If you keep reading, you may find out…

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April 2011
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