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May 15, 2010


on writing & blogging; training for real life

by Andrea O'Connell

As a writer, I am constantly humbled by the depth of thought and experience that  my Casey Anthony case readers/bloggers share here.  Frankly, some of the writing blows me away because I see such talent – talent that I only dream will one day show up in my own writing (I have only been blogging for a few months an have much to learn).  I hope that as I become a more experienced blogger, what is inside my head will make it to the page with increased depth of thought and with passionate clarity.  Thank you for coming along with me on this journey of mine.

I would love nothing more than to make this blog my full-time job….lately I’ve been dreaming about doing just that – but I’m only dreamin’ for now.  Someday. Maybe.

I have a full time job that is pressure-filled.  I write and teach for a living.  The technical term for what I do is called “Instructional Design” which means I analyze what Learners need to learn and I put it down on paper for trainers to use to train others in a classroom setting.  I develope elearning, too – it’s my favorite venue. Most of the work I do involves writing for a classroom setting.  However, in my job, I am also the trainer.  What I write, I also train.  It’s two jobs in one.

I have been an Instructional Designer for over ten years now, prior to that, I worked as an actor (that’s another story for another day).  I loved working as an actor and miss it terribly but I couldn’t keep up with the bills with any consistency (some months the pay was plentiful, other months not so much).  I miss the theatre terribly, but I’m on stage in the classroom, too.  So it’s all good.

I currently work in a university setting.  The people I train are university employees who need to learn new systems, new procedures, etc.   On Monday, I am training new employees “New Hires” we call them.  I’ll be in the classroom with them for three weeks.

So, right now (write now!) I don’t have the time to police this blog and I never dreamed that I’d have to.  But, when people are disrespectful to my readers, insulting their intelligence, demeaning their efforts to express themselves, then I have to take action and I did last evening.  I was forced to ban a person from continuing to write here.  I gave this person fair warning, but they wouldn’t stop blasting away at the people I admire – my friends who post here.

I am told this person also uses other email alias’s to post and disturb others.  Please accept my apologies if this happens, I will do my best to monitor this situation during the day.

So, what’s this post all about, you may be asking!  Well, it’s about writing and blogging, and training myself as as writer, using this blog as my laboratory.   I am passionate about the law and justice and would like to follow every missing person case in the news, write about all the injustices that I see such as the great horror we’re experiencing right now with the oil spill… I wonder if words can really express the enormity of what the environment is ultimately facing via this travesty in our glorious sea?  The wildlife that will be destroyed is too much for me to think about because when I do think about it, I want to scream in anger and rage against BP.  All I can really do is drive right by their Gas Station when I need gas.  That’s my punishment.  But, then I think – well that won’t work, really, BP needs to keep working and earning money to fix this mess they caused.  And THEY caused it.  Haliburtin and others have blame, don’t get me wrong, but BP’s name is blazed on the brand that makes the money, so I hold them accountable.

I’m all over the place here!   Let me close this by telling you how in awe I am of your writing – I am talking to the people who write here.

After reading what you share here, I find my self constantly saying: “Oh, I want to write like that!”

You have taught me so much and I thank you for investing your time here.  And, you know, judging by the consistent rise in readership here (I see the stats and more people are visiting every day), it’s not just me they are coming to read, it’s you.   So, thank you for what you give.

Thanks for putting up with the occasional mean commentator.  I won’t let them come here and destroy the good camaraderie that we have built and that we enjoy here.

I love blogging…. If I could afford to, this would be my full time job…. Maybe that will happen one day!

Dreams do come true every now and again.

Thank you again.

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. henfre
    May 15 2010

    Blogging is a great way to improve your writing skills and styles, but nothing quite compares to being humbled in the wake of an incredible piece of writing.

    I feel blogging is about both content and expressing yourself. They can differ in amounts from post to post, but it’s not a zero-sum game either.

    Anyway, good luck with your blogging =).

  2. Andrea
    May 15 2010

    Hi Henfre,

    Well, thanks so much for your comments! Yes, I love it when a piece of writing takes my breath away…what a great thing that is…and I am so lucky to have people who share a great deal of their deepest feelings about everything from life and death; God and religion, law and justice, and so much more… I am constantly humbled by them.

    I can tell you’re probably a writer yourself. 🙂 Best of everything to you, too.

  3. shelly
    May 15 2010

    Andrea, Since this is your dream have you thought about taking classes to become a journalist? I would think that the University you work for would allow you to take classes free or at a reduced price. Most of them do have that as a benefit for working there.

    Good Luck with it. I think that would be a great way to go. Your blog could provide you with some training along with getting the formal education and degree that you will need. Again Good Luck!!

    • Andrea
      May 15 2010

      Thank you Shelly, Yes I get full tuition waiver at my university and I’ve just finished a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management, as it tied in with the work I do as an Instructional Designer. I have another Master’s degree from Purdue University. The university I work for currently offers a writing degree, but is not specialized re: journalism. My other hobby is photography… I’d like to experiment with photo journalism, too. The trouble for me, there are only so many hours in the day!

      I make my living as a writer now, so I’ll just have to plug along and continue to learn as I go….. Thanks for your suggestions and your well wishes.

  4. Andrea
    May 15 2010

    To: Michelle from Madison aka what ever alias you are using:

    I gave you ample opportunity to tone down your rhetoric and stop attacking the people who post here but you refused to do it.

    You have not said anything derogatory to me, but I will not stand for your bizarre attacks on other writers who come here to post. I will not allow them to be attacked in such a sophomoric fashion. It’s not fair and its totally uncalled for.

  5. Venice
    May 15 2010

    Bravo Andrea!

    He is very sick, and his rhetoric posts are a cancer. Jasen/Michelle is TROUBLE, and is looking for NOTHING BUT TROUBLE.

    Nancy Grace ROCKS!

  6. Hilde
    May 15 2010

    Andrea~~whatever You decide to do in Life You will be just fine.
    I wish You only the Best in All You do now and what You will decide to do in the Future. It seems to me You have already accomplished quite a bit in Your Life.
    I enjoy coming in here and reading Your Posts. They are informative and polite, I appreciate that.
    Life can get kind of upsetting sometimes and the last thing one wants to do is visiting a Blog where there is constant conflict between some of the Bloggers and name calling. Myself I stay away from such Sites.
    Keep up the good Work Andrea with Your Blog here, we appreciate Your Thoughtfulness and all the Information You share with us. 😉

    • Andrea
      May 15 2010

      Hi Hilde! It’s always so nice to see your posts. Thank you for your good wishes, I wish the same to you!

      I agree, Hilde, it’s bad enough that we constantly remind ourselves of the tragedy of Caylee Anthony, but to have to read comments that are hurtful to others, is too unpleasant and upsetting.

      I can’t have it here…we have too many important things to talk about!

      all the best, Hilde… hope you’re having a fine weekend!

  7. Kitt
    May 15 2010

    Hi Andrea,
    What you have written today, and everything you’ve written previously, is exactly why I come here, and why yours is my favorite blog.

    I deeply admire your writing style and skill. Many times you have put into words exactly what I’ve been thinking; I don’t have the skill and eloquence to put it down in writing as you do.

    You are always fair, always insightful, and always so open to others’ comments, ideas, and thoughts. I’ve found this to not be the case on some blogs.

    I was reading comments the other day here, when a bit of ugliness crept in. I was impressed and proud with the way you handled the situation. I had seen the same commentor on other sites, and s/he was not dealt with in the same manner as yours. You were/are so much more than fair!

    It was sad to see that that kind of posting had made its way to your place. But again, you dealt with it so well, and after fair warning, did what needed to be done.

    You have the utmost class, Andrea! From being a regular at your site, I know that you are a gentle, gracious, informed and learned lady with many accomplishments, and I know there will be many more to come for you!

    I wish you the very best in all your endeavors, and I know you will make all your dreams come true!!

    • Andrea
      May 15 2010

      from the bottom of my heart I thank you… what a great big hug you’ve just given me…. I really am trying, but honestly, when I see writing like yours and the others that blog here, I am pretty humbled because I can hear everyone’s writing voice pretty well, and I like the sound I hear. It seems that folks are hearing my voice, too… I love it…what a great feeling it is!

      I just came across this quote today that has such meaning for me. Tom Stoppard said:

      “Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

      I’m going to put that quote on the top of my page here…..

      Now, I wouldn’t be so bold to dream that as big as that – i.e. to “nudge the world” but I like to nudge my friends here and I love being nudged right back!

      Thanks for your feedback regarding how to handle that person who was so nasty to everyone… I’m glad you saw that I really gave him a chance to stop, but he wouldn’t stop pretending he was some kind of expert and we all were fools without an education! What he fails to realize that life’s experience is what makes us wise, not education. Education is a wonderful thing… there’s nothing better, but education is the cherry on top, experience is what’s underneath it.

      Anyway…. thanks for your kind comments, Kitt. I am so glad that people know that I won’t allow any kind of hate or negativity to flourish here…. Differing opinions, yes, but no hate.

  8. Ideas
    May 15 2010

    OK, so I’m trying to figure out how you have time to write and monitor your site!!

    I’ve never heard of an Instructional Designer, but it is a good title for what you do. Your job would require insight, lots of energy, and creativity. There are so many types of learners out there and what works for some, doesn’t work for others. You are much needed in your field.

    I’ve also appreciated your upbeat and fair blog. You welcome quite the variety of people.

    It’s interesting that Casey has always enjoyed writing quite a bit via text, journal, and letters. I’m sure she would be completely strange if she didn’t have that venue. Her writing has exposed her, but has it helped her any beyond a way to vent?

    • Andrea
      May 15 2010

      LOL Ideas….

      Well, I come home at night and write. And during the day I think of what I want to say, and I have an iPhone so I can see what’s cookin’ in this kitchen and I can even comment here from my phone, and I can even delete something that’s nasty via email on the phone (I think!)

      Not many people have heard of Instructional Design. It’s also referred to as Curriculum Design or Development. Basically the Instructional Designers are the writers of the classroom experience…. Very much like how the playwright is the creator of the action that you see on the stage that the actors deliver.

      There’s usually a distinction between the trainer and the Instructional Designer (writer) and they are usually two different jobs, like the actor and the playwright. But in my case, because I work for a university, where there’s understaffing, I wear both hats. It’s not easy to do both because I prefer to be in the background, writing versus having to talk all day in the classroom!

      Anyway, you know, I often wonder what would Casey have become under different circumstances? If her parents had gotten her the psychological help she needed early on…… it’s silly to speculate, but it does sadden me, because she’s not a stupid girl… she could have had it all and look what she’s done with her life.

      As she’s fond of saying: “What a waste. What a huge waste.”

  9. auntdeedee
    May 15 2010

    Hi, Andrea!

    You do write well! I’ve read a number of your posts and love the way you express yourself and say what needs to be said in an understandable way for us.

    I love being here at your site. You and the commentors here make it a pleasant, educational and humorous time well spent for me. Thanks for not putting up with those who come in just to disrupt instead of discussing the topic at hand.

    May all your dreams come true, friend!

    • Andrea
      May 15 2010

      awww, thanks dee. that’s so kind of you to say and coming from you, it makes me very proud.

      You’ve long been someone I’d looked up to way back when you commented to me when I started this blog and had no clue what I was doing! You were so kind then and it meant a lot to me. 🙂

      Now that I can call you friend, it’s even better!!! Now, I can ask for your advice and you can not whitewash it but give me the low-down like a good friend does!

      Thanks for dreamin with me…

  10. jon
    May 17 2010

    Hi Andrea: I’m an English teacher and one thing about blogs that always amazes me is the manner in which people write. I can’t believe the grammatical and spelling errors that are coming into regular use and it has nothing to do with “tech” writing, such as “r”, “ur”, etc. Things like “your” instead of “you’re”, etc. drive me nuts. I just want to figure out how to correct them and send them back to bloggers.

    • Andrea
      May 17 2010

      Hey Jon!

      Things like that drive me nuts, too. I will use shorthand occasionally but generally only when I’m using my iPhone to comment. I am not very practiced at text-ing so ur comes in handy then. 🙂

      Some of my pet peeves are: “went” when the word should be gone. “Here” when the word is hear. “There” for their. “There” for they’re is always misused.

      If you catch some of my goofs, I would love your feedback. I’m one of those bloggers that looks at feedback as a gift (when it’s constructive). LOL! There’s another one: using “it’s” for its. Drives me bonkers……….


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