The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. -Norbet Platt
Everyone knows to proofread their own work. After all, spellcheck won't catch everything. But here's another reason it's important to read things back to yourself: when you receive a proof of your work, carefully re-reading may help you reword something to provide clearer understanding.

For example, I recently received an article proof from a magazine designer. My part of the job was done -- I had researched, interviewed, written and submitted the article. Now I was proofing for typos and adding photo captions. But when I saw the finished product and re-read it aloud, I suddenly found a better way to say something I had already said. A cleaner, more succinct sentence never hurt anyone. And this was my chance to change it and make the article better.
Okay, so I'm selling some items on eBay, and this interesting ad shows up on my dashboard: "Alicia Keys is Hiring." Yeah right, sure she is. I think I'll just pack my family up and move to LA to be a personal assistant for her and her new baby daddy. But wait, it seems that Miss Keys is actually looking for a blogger ... and she's posted her needs on Monster ... who knew?

Of course when you click through, you get the "This job is no longer available" schtick. Wonder if it ever was? (Monster then wants me to look at other job openings. I need to know how they automatically know what area I live in, but can't provide me with a list of jobs that are actually in my field? But I digress...)

Would you blog for a celebrity? I'm guessing people like Britney Spears and Kate Gosselin don't really do their own blogging or website posts (read them sometime and you'll see what I mean). So they must have somebody to do it for them. Why not you or me?
Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards
Deadline: 11/1/2010
Writer's Digest is accepting entries in the Popular Fiction Awards. Compete and Win in All 5 Categories! The Grand Prize Winner will receive a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City, $2,500 cash, $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books and the 2011 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market.


Writer's Digest 11th Annual Short Short Story Writing Competition
Deadline: 12/1/2010
Writer's Digest is now accepting entries in the 11th Annual Short Short Story Competition. First prize is $3,000 and a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City! Winners will appear in our June 2011 issue.


Writer's Digest 6th Annual Poetry Awards Competition
Deadline: 12/15/2010
The 6th Annual Writer's Digest Poetry Awards is now accepting entries. First place wins $500 and a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City, plus exposure in our August 2011 issue.

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials. -Lin Yu Tang
Every moment of each day counts. Our best recourse is to live life with intensity and exhilaration - in thought, experience, action, and deed. -Paul Kurtz
Story call out for a potential Christmas book - short deadline:

Here's a potential new title from the folks at Chicken Soup for the Soul, a potential add-on to Christmas Magic being released in October 2010. All submissions must be "Santa Safe," and the deadline is July 13. Visit this link for more:

Garden & Gun, a magazine with a circulation of 200,000, is soliciting entries for their “Made in the South” contest:

Searching for entrepreneurs whose products use local ingredients or the touch of their own hands to create something special in small batches, the pub wants to discover the product that the world doesn’t know exists – and to tell the story of the people behind it.

The five entry categories include Food (think pickled okra or artisanal cheese), Home (fabrics, furniture or lighting with a different point of view), Style (editors see a huge new movement in the world of fashion as it relates to Southern couture), Sporting (like bamboo fly rods or handmade boats), and Etc. (luthiers, letterpress stationary or birdhouses – it’s a deliberately vague category that scoops up what doesn’t fall into the others).

Five winning entries in each category will be published in the Dec/Jan issue of the magazine, and one overall winner will receive a trip to Charleston, SC, for a business consultation with Leapfrog Public Relations Co. and Stitch Graphic Design. Deadline is August 1.

Yes friends, I've fallen off the blogging wagon. It's been a while since I've posted here, so allow me to catch you up. Here are some recent works and things currently in print (special thanks to the graphic designers who make me look so good):

Second Time Around: Get the inside scoop on the consignment and resale of everything from clothing to home furnishings and jewelry
Midtown Magazine version
Cary Living Magazine version

Oh So Charming: Taking a look back at the history of the charm bracelet and its resurgence in today's jewelry market

Exciting Changes for the Village of Pinehurst: Razook's Building embraces new look

Doctoring By The Decades: Preventative care for optimum women's health

In addition, I have a reunion piece coming out in the summer edition of Triangle Style. And I'm currently working on new stories about private schools and couponing! A big thanks to those of you who worked with me on these assignments ... watch for more on these soon.

This is too funny:


Triangle Area Freelancers
Donald Vaughan 919.873.9833

WRAL’s Amanda Lamb to be Keynote at
Triangle Area Freelancers’ Annual Nonfiction Conference

RALEIGH, NC—February 1, 2010—Triangle Area Freelancers announces Write Now! 2010, its third annual nonfiction writing symposium, to be held at Wake Technical Community College’s Main Campus on Saturday, March 27, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Local television personality Amanda Lamb, WRAL crime beat reporter and author of several books, will deliver the keynote address. Her latest true-crime book, Evil Next Door, scheduled for release April 6, 2010, chronicles the efforts of a dedicated team of detectives to track down a suspected serial killer. Lamb’s previous books include Smotherhood, a humorous look at parenting, and Deadly Dose, about the inner workings of a murder investigation.

Triangle Area Freelancers (TAF) is an organization of professional writers located primarily in North Carolina’s Triangle region. TAF members have been published in numerous local and national magazines and newspapers, including The News & Observer, The Cary News, Our State, North Carolina Signature, Midtown magazine, Parade, Good Housekeeping, Reader’s Digest, Mad Magazine, Military Officer, and others. Many TAF members have also published or contributed to an eclectic array of books, including the group’s 2008 anthology A Taste of TAFFY and the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

The theme for Write Now! 2010 is “Making Your Freelance Dreams Come True.” The classes, which are taught by nationally published writers and journalists, will be presented in two tracks. Track A, for novice writers, will include topics such as Crafting the Perfect Query Letter, Nurturing the Writer/Editor Relationship, Technology for Beginning Freelancers, and Five-Minute Mentoring. Track B, for more experienced writers, will focus on Podcasting For Success, Moving Up to the Major Markets, Chasing the Human Interest Story, and Niche Writing.

In response to feedback from previous conferences, a new inclusion, Five-minute Mentoring, will offer beginning writers a chance to briefly discuss their career goals with an experienced freelancer. The mentoring session, along with the always-popular panel discussion “Ask the Freelancers!”, will allow participants to experience the support and exchange of ideas that is characteristic of TAF’s monthly meetings.

Molly Wyman, the managing editor of Military Officer magazine, a monthly publication which reaches more than 360,000 members of the Military Officers Association of America (, will be one of this year’s presenters. Mark Cantrell, a conference planner, says he is “excited about offering attendees the opportunity to interact with the editor of a national publication, particularly one as well-respected as Military Officer.”

Registration information is available on the TAF website: Again this year the organization is holding advance registration to just $59 ($49 for students with a valid ID and seniors 65 and over). Walk-in registration will be $69. Only 100 seats are available. The registration fee includes a continental breakfast, catered box lunch, and beverages.

Donald Vaughan
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