It's all about the STORY!

Archive for the ‘About Writing’ Category

Links to Published Works

Updated: February 2014

Links to Published Works

 

Contact:Daphne Taylor Street

Phone: 727-565-5343 ▪ Email: daphne.streetmedia@gmail.com

Virtual Writing Portfolio

daphnepictureDaphne has been published in professional blogs, news sites and national magazines. She was contracted to write a syndicated weekly column that was increasing in reach until Patch.com put a halt on paying freelancers. Since then, she has written on retainer for several professional blogs, including Saint PetersBlog, which focuses on local and statewide politics; iLovetheBurg, writing about everything that’s awesome about St. Petersburg Fl and Patch.com where Daphne had a paid syndicated weekly column. Daphne also has written, ghost written and co-authored works in national magazines and professional journals. Daphne currently has three books under development, co-authored with a client. Links to many of Daphne’s published works are below.

 

Links to published works:

Most of the links below go directly to Daphne Street’s Blog, Saint PetersBlog or Forbes Riley’s Member Site, which may include a brief synopsis of the articles along with links directly to the published works.

Links to press releases:

Daphne has written countless press releases for myriad industries and events. Strategies for press release composition along with distribution strategies are integrated to foster the highest pick-ups from web and traditional new sources and to build SEO ranking. Daphne’s press release reach varies greatly depending on the popularity of the subject within media markets. For a national release, typical pick-ups range from 200 – 3,000+ while local releases tend to have a specialized distribution strategy and therefore may only receive 5-15 pick-ups in a mid-sized to large local media market. A small sampling of published press releases is listed here:

Book writing process: strengthened the book and me

magic-book

I’m squaring up the loose ends of setting the content for a nearly 200 pg research-based book. Sounds daunting? Well, after editing, it won’t be that long. I suspect I’ll have it cut back to about 150-125 by Monday. The experience is the point of this post, though. It has been nothing short of mind-blowing and life-altering. It all began with an idea and a fifteen minute interview, followed by another ten minute interview. Between that and some research, it all began taking shape, and I suspect, so did I.

What do you value?

This is perhaps the most important question that has been facing me since I started on this journey, and the shifting answers to this seemingly simple question have been shaping my life through this writing process. No, this question does not appear in the book anywhere, and it has very little to do with the content of the book on the surface. However, I promise you that this question became the driving force behind the book’s construct, and it literally changed my life as well.

What do you value? For me the answers shifted between many things until they whittled down to just two. No, it’s no coincidence that this question is strikingly similar to another question: What do you want? (for those of you who know the co-author of this book well 😉 ). What were these shifting values? They were all over the map from good physical health to strong financial health and from stability to freedom with adventure, notoriety, “success” – whatever the hell that means, and fun all tangled up together in one confusing mass. And frankly, the couple of false starts I had on this book were the tangled mess that my values were, too. Don’t get me wrong, the  content was strong, and the organization was okay, but it wasn’t great. The whole project lacked greatness, because it lacked focus. Guess what? So did I.

Driving home one day from a job that was paying me well but was eating away at the rest of my values, it became clear to me. Everything became clear to me. I discovered the real focus of the book and its values along with the real focus on my life and my values. The core of this book is heart-centered. It’s about relationships, one relationship in particular, and holistic health–health of mind, body and spirit and finding and maintaining that balance. I realized that if I used these values as the frame of the book–its skeleton–the rest would fall into place. I pitched the idea to the co-author, whom this book is about, and she loved it! It’s all been falling into place ever since.

My personal values came into focus, also. During that same car ride home, I found myself miserable again–living once more in a perpetual state of ennui–a horrible, foggy feeling that I shook a couple of years ago when I resigned from a long-term career as a grant writer and communications director and turned freelance full time. I swore that I would never return to that state of mind, where I was an owned employee, ever again, and here I was, trapped in a cubicle-littered, florescent-lighted hell. I shuddered, and I knew instantly that I needed to make drastic changes to align myself with my values. But what the hell were my values? Too many to count–too out of focus. A mess. A couple of minutes later it struck me–all of those thing that I thought mattered to me came in the form of two things: freedom and creation. <– Those were my values!

I abruptly quit my job.

Daring? Not really. This last horrible job at least taught me what I was worth monetarily–I had been undercharging like mad until I landed some private clients through new-found professional contacts. I also learned how invaluable my work truly is to a business–I’m arrogant enough to have thought this all along, but to see it in action and have it proven to me was something else. So, I took the leap, without a net, and here I am falling off of the proverbial cliff. It’s okay, though. I pieced enough small projects to pay most of my major bills immediately, and I’m still scrambling to figure out how to pay the rest–with no help coming from the United States Postal Service, which has decided that it will take more than a week to deliver one of my client’s checks to me… but, I digress. This decision allowed me to do three critically important things: 1) Return to being authentically me and happy without compromising my values; 2) Open up opportunities exponentially so that I can resume the work I was meant to do to realize my dreams; and 3) Complete this book!

Oh, wait, this book development process also had other unintended consequences… I’m getting healthier physically by eating better and exercising more while also linking like-minded people together, which is manifesting into a small grass-roots movement. Imagine a network of planet-loving, holistic wellness-minded small business owners banding together to share their resources, cross promote and support one another for the greater health and success of their community. Yep. It’s pretty cool, and I’m in the middle of it all.

Thank you, book. And thank you, Forbes Riley, who planted the seed for all of this to grow.

Do you want to travel for free (or at least really cheap)?

I think humans are in deep need of three things. These things are dangerously rare as we concentrate evermore on the everydayness of hectic lives and responsibilities–chaos, confusion and emergencies–chores, deadlines and all sorts of gadgets and media that serve as distractions from feeding our minds, bodies and spirits with all that keeps us craving more and more of the greatness around us and in us.

 

What are the three endangered things?

  1. Adventure
  2. Imagination
  3. Creating

I challenge you to find one thing a week–or even per month–for you to do alone or with a friend or with your family that offers you a sense of adventure or sparks your imagination or allows you to create something–anything.

This could be as simple as reading a book, visiting a museum, volunteering in an organization, planting a garden or taking an art class. You could travel locally to a neighboring community and be a tourist for a day. Try hiking or yoga or just daydreaming on the beach–maybe a late-night stroll. Skip the high-priced family reunion across the country this year, and instead book a room in a beachside Florida motel and reunite with your own family 1 on 1 (and you get to run home for that camera you forgot to pack).

Go out and explore your own back yard! Follow your cat around the neighborhood, if you can keep up. Invite your friends over for a seasonal fruit and veggie tasting party. Create a comic book using stick figues and a pencil or finger paints. Buy a hammock and daydream or write a short story. There’s so much to see right in front of you, you can be an adventurer for the cost of the mere courage it takes to dare see the world through a fresh set of eyes! You can be an artist with just the thoughts in your head and the skills of a 5-year-old.

Go do something right here. Right now. I dare you.

Melancholy in less than 500 words

(Photo credit: http://anxious-creative.blogspot.com/)

As a writer, I am concerned about words. They mean something to me. Also, I am concerned about stories. They mean something to me, too. 

I am concerned that contemporary culture may lack a love for words and written stories–that it is a love affair that is becoming more rare. Sometimes things that are rare are special, but in this case, I find it melancholy.

I am concerned that our culture is too distracted to have a love affair with words and stories any longer. They want one night stands and speed dating versus the relationship filled with deep attraction, love notes, commitment, harsh words, broken hearts and promises, redemption and the bliss of kindness, thoughtfulness and quirks that make these love affairs beautiful and worth living for.

More and more, 500 words or less is the formula for success in modern media, and I have no choice but to succumb to stay relevant. So, I promise to rise to the occasion and challenge myself to engage you in a deep love affair confined to brevity–to sweep you off your feet and enchant you into a friendship or more that hopefully will fill you until the next story, the next encounter, the next night in our favorite hotel above the busy street where words will take you onward to the next chapter in our relationship.

Maybe then you will be willing to take on more than 500 words. Maybe then you’ll long for the whole story not just the soundbite. If so, imagine this story (link below), of this life slashed into 500 words? What a tragedy that would be, indeed!

[Total: 270 words]

Not authored by me, though I wish it were: Shelagh Was Here: an ordinary magical life 

Daphne’s List of 7: Telling your company’s story

I have just spent hours researching the history of several Bay area nonprofits–learning about their stories. Specifically, their history.

Here are 7 tips on storytelling that would be helpful for all businesses, particularly nonprofits. These are 7 important points, what I have learned along the way as a professional writer for nonprofits and as a member of the media as I am currently…

  1. Make your audience “feel” your story. DO NOT give us facts and figures. We truly don’t care–we glaze over them, mostly. Tell us about the tears. Tell us about the victories. Tell us about the struggle. Tell us how your organization CHANGED things. Give me something to feel, to care about, to go out and tell my friends and family about. Here in Pinellas County PARC does a GREAT job of telling their story HERE.
  2. Get your FACTS straight and make sure your information is up-to-date. I will not mention the site, but it is one I know all too well–they have the date the company was founded, which is good, but then they also include how long the company has been operating. Not only is this information redundant, but the number of year operating is an evolving number that needs to be changed each year. If you insist on including it, you’d better be committed to updating it every single year. As it stands, you’ve been dormant for about 5 years. Okay, that’s just an example, but in a historical statement, STAY AWAY from figures that change. Also, if you include a blurb about where you are today, which is good–update that at least annually. Do it the same time you do your annual report–that’s a good reminder that all your company’s content should be reviewed, including your website
  3. Make sure your website looks good. Honestly, this is not an expensive or difficult thing to do. If you have a website, and you certainly should, make sure it’s attractive. Certainly, if it’s easy to navigate, lots of content, etc.–even better. But, first, make it visually pleasing. If your web page is hard to look at, no one will want to bother, and it reflects poorly on your company’s image.
  4. Less is more when it comes to text. WOW! So much verbose copy, laden with industry jargon–I’ve been working in the helping fields for over 20 friggin years, and if I wonder what you mean by what you’re trying to say, and I’m getting tired of reading wordy copy, I can’t begin to imagine what the public at large thinks when they see it. Tighten it up, and keep it simple. If that’s too hard for you pros in the field to do, get some clients and community members together to focus group your marketing copy for you. If you don’t believe me, listen to what they have to say…
  5. Include a link for media on your website. Please, think of us and throw us a little bone. Include your press releases there as a link. Include contact info. and brief bios of subject experts that we can contact for quotes and insight into issues–we are always looking for expert opinions. Make it easy for us to find. Give us your logo and other graphics that we have total permission to use as stock art for articles. And, tell us who your media contact is so that we can contact them directly. When a story is breaking, and we want to use your organization as an expert, we don’t have time to wait around or hunt to find “maybe” the right person. Get us linked to them straight away, and we’ll get you into print faster and more often as the experts in the field that you are.
  6. Be responsive to media. We matter. In a time when funding is tighter than ever, getting and keeping your company’s name in the community dialogue is critical when you are cultivating donors. If a development director has to spend too much time explaining to a potential donor what the organization is and why they care about it, it’s probably already too late to bother. Keeping your name in the media as noted experts in what you do is key to raising the value of your organization in the mind of your public. There’s no short cut. There are many creative ways to do this, and traditional media isn’t the only one… but it’s important to do in some fashion.
  7. Reach out to media. Don’t just send us a press release. Trust me, we often don’t “get” why your story is important. Talk to us. Get to know us. Take us to lunch (we really like that!). But, develop a relationship with us. And this is critical–don’t bother telling us why your story is important to you. Tell me why I, the media professional cares, and why it’s cool, interesting or important to the public. THAT’s the story. Don’t count on the fact that the media professional will be able to see why your story matters. Spoon feed THAT to them, because why your story matters IS the story.

Quick Note on Blogging: Thank you to my editors–YOU!

ImageIn the age of instant news, bloggeres tend to have an advantage on breaking what’s going on in the world. Editors don’t have to pour over grammar and punctuation, the fact-checking team is permanently out-to-lunch, and usually there’s just a sole blogger out there trying to get the story written down and posted rapidly to keep you, the reader, up to speed.

Oh, yes. There is a bit of danger inherent in this craft – missing a second pair of eyes editing and fact-checking means that errors, sometimes embarrassing errors, can get published. Can and do.

And I say – that’s okay. We admit guilt. Apologize. Make needed revisions and/or explanations and retractions if it was really aweful… Our editors? Well, most often, they are you!

This is great! Why? For many reasons–it provides that great dialogue, the reader/participant experience that is so awesome about blogging. You, the readers, the audience that we bleed our words out for, you are a part of our stories. We actively listen to you, learn from you and communicate with you. And I thank you and offer my sincere gratitude for all of your feedback and comments on every story. You make us better in every way.

Ethel the aardvark goes quantity surveying

This post is all about titles–so, it will be a brief post. Another list of 7:

Ethel the aardvark

  1. What’s in a name? Everything! It’s your first hook to your audience and potential audience. Get their attention! It also is a hyper-brief summary, description and perhaps a foreshadow of what’s to be found in the content.
  2. Creativity is good in a title, but what’s more important is its impact and accuracy. Sometimes getting too creative can destroy the objective–confusing people hardly ever makes a good title (there are very, very, very rare exceptions–like the title of this post… Ha!).
  3. Brevity: one word, two, three, four, five–powerful titles. Beyond that, you’re writing a tag-line or something else.
  4. Title as starting point: It’s okay to start your [article, story, novel, play, etc.] with a title and work from there. However, once the full work is created, and the full spirit of it is surging through every cell of your body, go back and examine your title again. Strengthen it, change it, tighten it… make it a necessary part of the whole.
  5. Examine other titles of things–all kinds of things: books, essays, headlines, short stories, movies–what made certain titles stronger than others? What did you like better about one over another? What can you learn and what knowledge can you apply from examining other titles?
  6. It’s a boy!!! Remember–you truly are giving your work its first name, similar to naming a child. Make sure you love it–that it means something to you for you to say it, repeat it, call it and scold it.
  7. “Ethel the aardvark goes quantity surveying” is a fictional title made up by the geniuses of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

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