Howdy, OMmies, and Happy March to ya!

The month is now more than half over and the year at the end of its first quarter, so it is a good time for an update. We have the honor and pleasure to welcome a BUNCH of newer members (deep bow to you), and our veterans can also use a few reminders on how things are going on the writing front. Let us start and stop with gratitude, shall we?

First and foremost a big, huge "THANK YOU" to Regina Chouza and Lisa Shaw, for stepping up as editors for Metaphysics and Spirituality. It is great to have their keen eyes and welcoming hearts, and they have been such a big help that gratitude cannot be expressed enough. A big round of applause goes to both of you! If any writer would like to start designating their work for either of these categories so that Regina and Lisa especially know you want them to read it, please do! Just put the category right in the title (we can edit it later), or, send them a message so they know to look.

1. Channeling: If you do it, take it elsewhere, please. Do not even bother placing it here. It seems to be a growing industry for 'awakened' people to channel, but there is no, "absolutely no" room for these types of messages here at OMTimes. That is what they are--messages--not articles. It is far too easy to get into the "I" voice and totally lose not only the message but the audience as well. Buh-bye, these are no longer acceptable form for OM Times.

2. Voice: While on the subject of voice, a friendly reminder for us all to use the third person and inclusive voice of "we/our" in our work. While "I" messages work best in direct communication, they can also be interpreted by sensitive people as ego, so it does not make sense to turn off a majority of our readers. "You" messages may be great for giving direction, but as a writer offering a view from personal experience or plethora of possibilities, "you" or "you should" need not cross from our hands to the readership. No "first person" submissions...we will look upon these as blog posts and not use them or offer feedback.

3. Consciousness/OM Living: By now, if you did not already know, the lion's share of submissions cover, in some way, shape, or form, the category of OM Living. So, what we need everyone to do is find your way to stand out from the crowd. There is nothing worse than finding a nice article, only to discover the key words that are used in your article have been used multiple times already. Even the Internet gets bored! On the creative side, hello, maybe it is your first time writing about 'awakening' but it has flooded the marketplace for years now. Our dear audience yearns for something fresh and different. Conscious, of course--but with an edge. Who does not like a somewhat sharp, savvy, competitive edge, or catchy hook to get and keep attention? We are not looking for outrageous or scandalous, but we need not shy away from controversy. It is our job to get people to think and become even more (ahem!) conscious. Consider conscious politics... environmental issues..."real life" scenarios that get everyone to see how much better life could be, if only.... These are more than welcome; the other, older/tired catch-phrases are likely to be rejected.

4. Article Size: People actually worry about this stuff? Well, yes...we ask for at least a 700-word article. No, it does not have to be "exactly" 700. We have some wiggle room. We cannot take teeny tiny 300-word pieces and consider them articles, no. But if you absolutely cannot think of anything more to say and your article is "only" 600 words, we will not penalize you. Likewise, if you happen to get a little wind in your sails and fingers are flying up to 1200 words--? Well, put on the brakes, please. We cannot take articles much larger than than that, so please keep an eye. No "double-size" articles, either, nothing huge and multi-part (I used to be good for those...sigh). I feel your pain, but please be mindful of the upper-end number, too!!

5. Capital Letters: When writing about Divine Mindfulness and all things Conscious and Creative, we Do have to keep in Mind the Source of All Things. God help us, if you do not see anything incorrect with the previous sentence. All of the editors encounter words and terms made even more superlative and stressed by the use of capital letters. Words related to the higher or spiritual realms, angels, and more get the 'capital treatment' when they do not need it. If you are unsure, look up the term. Proof your work. If our editors cannot make a simple global change of a word or words to remove capitals--and let us be generous and say no more than five--your article will not be considered. This is something every writer can check before placing work into the community. Be kind to your fellow writers and readers both. Save the capitals for God, and other specific entities who shall be named with appropriate capitalization.

6. Titles: Most important to our work is the title that will draw the Internet to our words. Every article title published on our website also has "omtimes.com" attached to it, so titles must consist of only about 40-50 characters (and spaces, combined). Keep this in mind when finding those perfect title words...which also have to relate to the article and appeal to the audience. Save the extended title to use as a subtitle in your piece. Those can be 65 to 70 characters and spaces. I will share this free headline analyzer tool with you and ask that you please use actively it to judge your own titles and subtitles before submitting them to us: http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer. Have fun with it, mix things around until you find the best score. We like titles that score yellow and above 60 best. If you choose to not use the analyzer, at least place the title into a 22-point font on your word processor. If the title runs past the first line, it is too long. Key words are important. If the article mentions 'starfish' 20 times but the title word is 'sunshine,' the Google-bots will never discover the 'starfish' article. Yes, this does happen. Make each word count, and count each one.

7. Contributions: Last, and certainly not least, is the membership requirement to contribute at least one article per month. This is especially true for Spotlight writers, who must maintain this example and quality for us all. We are reminded of Liane's words in our last conference that those of us who do not provide a monthly article will be removed from the spotlight. Did you get yours in? Non-contributors will be removed from the community completely. The deletion of members is still going on, so if you want to maintain or achieve spotlight status, please keep your interesting articles coming.

Well, it's been fun, hasn't it, finding out all this nifty stuff here at OMTimes? We are actively looking into the spring and summer months ahead, so I hope everyone puts on their sunscreen, sunglasses, shady hat, pulls out their gardening gloves and gets a little schmutz on their nose or cheek to remind us all we are only as human as our hOMebase. Love to your mother (Earth Day is coming up!), and we are looking to reading your snazzy stuff in the brighter light of daylight savings. We are grateful to have you with us--write on! ~ Blessings! 

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P.S., If anyone has any questions or concerns, this is a 'discussion' so please ask. Thank you ~ Blessings! 

Great forum Kathy... You can tell what a great writer you are!!! Thanks! 

*blush* Thank you so much! 


Baba Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari said:

Great forum Kathy... You can tell what a great writer you are!!! Thanks! 

Hi Kathy! Its been a pleasure to join the team as an editor. Thank you and Liane for giving us (writers) the opportunity to share our thoughts and our voice with such a lovely community of people =) 

Those are some great points, too! Thanks for the update 


Blessings, 

Regina

Thank you very, very much! <3 ~ Blessings! 

Regina Chouza said:

Hi Kathy! Its been a pleasure to join the team as an editor. Thank you and Liane for giving us (writers) the opportunity to share our thoughts and our voice with such a lovely community of people =) 

Those are some great points, too! Thanks for the update 


Blessings, 

Regina

That was really eyeopener for a new OM writer like me, especially the capitals part(where to use or not).

My recently posted article definitely need amendment in that area(though I wrote in context of getting it highlighted).

Thank you custren

I submitted my first article last night.

After reading this, I went back and moved from 2nd person to 3rd :)

Questions:

  1. How do I edit the slug (URL) before publishing?
  2. Is second person never a good idea?
  3. How do I select a category for editorial consideration?
  4. What are the guidelines concerning illustrations (to avoid copyright troubles)

Your advice is appreciated,

Don

Hi, Don - to answer your questions...

(1) Contributing writers do not have the ability to edit URLs or slugs or meta descriptions at the time of submission. We do ask for original contributions, so in publishing we generate the URLs, etc. If you have important terms (keywords) that are featured in your article, you can designate that they be used, as it will save us a little time.

(2) Using a third-person frame of reference makes our articles more approachable, when speaking from the broader/more inclusive voice. Using "you" too often can come across as sounding too directive or confrontational, depending on who is reading it. Remember that our reading audience hugs the globe. We need to be sparing in our directives...articles are informational at best, directive at...least resort?

(3) If your article may best suit a category, please offer it to the editor or include the category when you post your article. This can change, and some articles may pertain to multiple categories. We try our best to be flexible.

(4) We do not include illustrations/photos as this does present copyright issues. Our designers do have innovative photography and royalty-free images, so that is not something most writers need to worry about when providing material. If you should happen to have anything out of the ordinary, please let us know. 

Thank you! ~ Blessings! 

Don Sturgill said:

I submitted my first article last night.

After reading this, I went back and moved from 2nd person to 3rd :)

Questions:

  1. How do I edit the slug (URL) before publishing?
  2. Is second person never a good idea?
  3. How do I select a category for editorial consideration?
  4. What are the guidelines concerning illustrations (to avoid copyright troubles)

Your advice is appreciated,

Don

Thank you, Kathy.

To be sure I understand how to work with you and your team:

  • How do I make suggestions, highlight keywords, etc.?
  • How do I tag a particular category or editor?
  • I first posted without graphics (figuring you have what you need), then added graphics after looking around to see what others are doing... if an article is "published," does it move from profiles/blogs and get re-done/edited/dressed up elsewhere? Does the original URL end up 404?

I did look around to find guidelines, but missed these specific instructions somehow.

Thank you,

Don

Don, you can highlight keywords, word count, and even category/ies right at the top of your submission. Our editors visit the community regularly and will select worthy articles, or you may choose to notify them (Lisa Shaw has been reviewing Spirituality and Health; Regina Chouza does Metaphysics). Just placing your work on your page in the community is sufficient, though.

There are no specific instructions or guidelines related to URLs because the writers community is used for contributions only. For example, embedded links that may come within many submissions are not always included/carried over to the wider audience, for a variety of reasons. The original URL here in the community remains but is not the final version that is eventually published, either in the eZine or the website. The editors and publishers all may have revisions to make either grammatically or to help optimize the material for publishing. We ask our contributors to refrain from sharing material until it is published, so it can be distributed in its final form. 

Hope this helps ~ Blessings! 

Much appreciated, Kathy. Going back in one more time :)

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