Today I’m pondering the 10 hours of reading I must do each week for my Bachelor of Arts degree at Bendigo’s La Trobe University and it’s got me thinking about the gift of reading.
Yes reading can be a chore, when not done for pleasure, but it is a gift and unfortunately one that not everyone receives.
It is a gift I try not to take for granted and I cherish every book I have – there’s a few. We also place enormous emphasis on regular reading in our house as well as story telling, which my husband shares with our children every night.
I often hear people (adults and some children) moan about reading or claim they simply don’t read anything at all. Those who complain about reading clearly don’t have a clue what it would be like not to be able to read at all.
Sadly this is the case for many people around the world, and for far too many children.
Here in Australia a staggering 40-60% of Indigenous children in remote communities are achieving below standard reading in year 3 and less than 36% have access to a library. This is just not good enough.
Imagine all the things you would not know if you couldn’t read? The knowledge, the stories, and the lost worlds where fiction takes us.
It’s true that many people love to read and, if they had a choice, would happily spend an entire week curled up with a good book – I’m one of them.
But, I’ve a suspicion that reading and education are two things many of us take for granted, so this week we’re dedicating our #spreadingthegoodstuff post to the importance and appreciation of reading.
I urge you to consider reading as a gift and try not and take it for granted. Also, think about how you can encourage others, particularly children, to share the joy of reading – and learning!
It doesn’t have to be War and Peace or Homer’s Odyssey. Just grab a good book, the newspaper even, and dedicate 15 minutes a day to reading.
Hopefully it might encourage you to slow you down a bit, put the ‘screens’ away for a while and… you might even find yourself enjoying it.
Christy for TSW
Do blogs freak you out?
We know blogs freak people out as many of our clients tell us they’re overwhelmed by fear that they don’t have the content or ability to tackle writing one.
Let’s start at the beginning…
What is a blog?
Put simply, a blog is a story about your business, your project or just your ‘thing’. So if you’re knowledgeable about your stuff then you should have plenty of fodder to consider for a regular blog. And remember, it’s not an advertisement but a conversation about what you do.
Content is king!
The content of your blog is super important and should always serve a purpose: an interesting story about you, intimate background knowledge about your product, relevant industry information, profiling your people, or sharing your thoughts on the subject. You must tap into the heart and soul of your business for genuine content and don’t be fooled into doing what’s trending. Write about who you are and what you’re doing. This stuff will always stack up against the bullshit metre.
How long should it be and what about SEO?
It’s important to keep your blogs punchy, to the point, and around 500 words. Who has time to sit and read 2000 words on anything?
Also, ensure your headline is a good one – clever and grabby (aka click bait) – and consider how this heading works with your SEO (search engine optimisation). There’s no point writing a smashing blog if your tribe can’t find the story you’re trying to share. We’ll talk more about SEO, key words, readability and the dreaded Google algorithm another day – there’s another blog waiting to be written!
Some tips to get you started:
Finally, before you hold your breath and upload your blog, promise you’ll always read through your words thoroughly. Don’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best or rely on any old Americanised spell check. If you’re really worried about the content of your blog have someone read over your work to pick up any mistakes.
Good luck and happy blogging!
Sources: These are my words, however I did some research while preparing them and would like to acknowledge the following sources: James Debono, Big Thinking Online – facilitator of small business growth, internet marketing, SEO and great customer service.
Aaron Aders is co-founder and chief strategy officer of Indianapolis-based Slingshot SEO, a national leader in online marketing, planning, and execution. The image pictured was sourced from: blog.locomote.com
State finalists were announced by ClubsNSW this week, with MBC named one of three contenders representing the Riverina and South West region of the state.
The club will vie for award honors in two categories including education, and health and wellbeing.
The first nomination honor is in recognition of MBC’s lead role in launching the region’s first female-focused business conference, Imagine The Possibilities, which was staged at the club last September.
The club has also been recognised for its support and major sponsorship of a community forum held in June 2015 on the dangers of illicit drug use.
The Splendid Word has worked hand in hand with MBC over the past five years to assist in crafting submissions for these prestigious awards, and it’s fair to say we’re pretty darn excited to see the club’s name up in lights again this year.
And there is double joy this time around because one of the nominations is for Imagine The Possibilities – a project very near to our hearts.
ITP was a full day professional development event staged at MBC in 2015 that explored the challenges women in regional communities face in their work, home and community lives.
TSW was fortunate to play a pivotal role in the conference, both as MC of the event and through hosting a communications workshop for attendees.
ITP was an outstanding success – raising $10,000 for the Girls Night Out Oncology Department Supportive Care Fund – and will return to Echuca Moama bigger and better in 2016 .
The NSW Clubs & Community Awards finalists will be announced at the official awards ceremony on Friday 6 May at the Royal Hall of Industries in Sydney’s Moore Park.
Good luck MBC!
Presented by The Splendid Word and Junction, #spreadingthegoodstuff events will examine the lives of extraordinary individuals in our region who are making a positive impact in their patch.
The conversation series builds on The Splendid Word’s crusade to promote positive communication and the power of kind language across our regional communities.
Each event will include a live conversation hour where we will explore some of the big issues, challenges and opportunities of our time – leaving you enriched, enlarged and inspired to spread more of your own good in the world.
We’ll be going deep beneath the surface to shine some positive light on thought-provoking issues including mental health, rural suicide, disability and inclusiveness, multiculturalism and refugees, health and wellbeing, community engagement, creating purpose-driven businesses, and much, much more.
#spreadingthegoodstuff Conversation Series will launch at the region’s most revered gathering place Junction Moama on Thursday June 9, featuring special guest Katrina Myers in the conversation spotlight.
Ms Myers is a member of the Ripple Effect steering committee – an initiative designed to provide a platform for farmers to help other farmers beat suicide.
Having lost her own father to suicide at just 15, she has a first-hand experience of the stigma surrounding mental illness, and hopes the Ripple Effect project will start the conversation and build an online community for those directly, and indirectly, affected by suicide.
Ms Myers is also managing director of Barham Avocados – an award winning family farm she runs with husband Tim on the outskirts of nearby Barham. With three young children in tow, Katrina and Tim take a hands-on approach to farming, are team players in their local food community and are strong believers in supporting the region that supports them.
Join us for this insightful evening at Junction as we kick off the first event in our live conversation and networking series.
You’re going to love it!
#spreadingthegoodstuff events will be staged in an intimate setting in Junction’s stunning circular lounge and wine room area so tickets are strictly limited.
It was an honour to support the event with more than 300 other locals who raised a whopping $80,000 for this incredible organisation doing life-changing work across the Echuca Moama region. This mammoth fundraising effort is testament to the work CLRS does and to the generosity of the community we live in.
CLRS has been providing much-needed services for people with disability, carers and the aged since 1979 and continually strives to make a lasting difference in our community.
We recently shared CLRS’s story in the Riverboats Music Festival program (as the official community partner) and highlighted many of their initiatives including the recently announced Opening Doors Project.
The Opening Doors Project will provide a mix of accommodation catering for clients who require assistance 24 hours a day or those who can use assistive technology to live a more independent life. This type of technology can be used through iPads and phones to operate appliances, heating and cooling, turn on taps and watering systems and open doors.
I’m among a group of locals identified as an ambassador for this project and would love you to support CLRS by visiting https://www.clrs.org.au/openingdoors to find out more.
Not surprisingly our #spreadingthegoodstuff post for this week is dedicated to CLRS for an inspiring night where community and business came together to give generously to those who need our support.
What a bloody fantastic community we live in!
News flash: Instagram now allows you to switch between accounts inside its application – bloody fantastic news we reckon!
No big deal I hear you say? Well, for those working across the fastest growing platform that is Instagram, it’s a godsend.
Insta started the testing process for multi-account support late last year on Android while the iOS world (iPhone and the like) waited patiently for its turn.
The process of switching between accounts is now as simple as a tap (once you’ve added all your accounts) and uses your profile image or logo as a guide – so cool.
This support has been available on Twitter for quite a while, and on Facebook, and it was only a matter of time before Insta also shared the love.
So no more logging out of one profile to plug into another – yippee!
We particularly love Insta for its gorgeous images and its penchant for positiveness, which can sometimes be tough to find in the world of social media.
It also allows businesses to sharpen their image in a professional, efficient and consistent manner, which can be shared across other platforms at the click of a button.
So thanks Instagram for sharing the love and for making our job just that little bit easier.
Christy and Lee
But just because we took a lovely little hiatus from the world wide web over the summer break, doesn’t mean it’s been all sunshine and lollypops for we splendid wordsters. There’s been a smidge of that, of course, but for the most part it’s been pretty much the opposite.
We’ve been head down, bum up crafting words for some sensational clients, rad projects and all round clever business types, working right through the Christmas break and into the new year. It’s been a hot, messy juggle at times, with our little folk home and under our feet, but it’s also highlighted the many wonderful benefits we often take for granted as freelancers.
We’ve been able to spend precious time making holiday memories with our tribe of kids through beach and riverside camping expeditions, day trips to the cricket and zoo, bike rides, play dates, tennis matches, movie nights, pool parties, sleepovers and the like – all while punching out the words on our laptops to create content for our hard-working clients. The juggle hasn’t been pretty at times, but that’s all part of the adventure, and we’re certain many of you can relate.
Our body of work over the past few months has included content writing for websites, magazine articles, media releases and corporate style guides as well as media training, award submission writing and copy editing. We’ve been collaborating with one of our most admired clients, developing an exciting new initiative to be rolled out in EM in the coming months (more about that later but it has lots to do with #spreadingthegoodstuff) and we’ve signed off on some sensational writing projects for the Riverboats Music Festival.
And speaking of Riverboats, if you haven’t yet got your hands on a ticket to the hottest event in town, get to it! And if you’re feeling lucky, be sure to sign up to our monthly e-news (which you can do by leaving your deets in the far right column here on our website) to be in the running for one of two full weekend passes which we will be giving away to some charmed subscribers next week.
Until then, be kind with your words.
As our spirited Arley Bob contemplates his first brave steps in the school yard this morning – it has me thinking about all the other ‘middle’ children out there taking this giant leap alongside him.
If those children are anything like our Arley – they, more than anyone – deserve to be celebrated today.
Because if we’re brutally honest, it doesn’t happen very often.
From what I’ve learned in eight years of parenting our three boys and through sharing the privileged journey with many beautiful friends, the middle child syndrome is a real and living thing.
Middle children (I’m looking at you Arley boy) often feel as though they have nothing special that is just ‘theirs’ to cherish. They fit right where their birth order consigns them and at times can feel invisible and left out.
Older children typically get the glory of all of the ‘firsts’ a child accomplishes (hello Dhara). And younger children – well they clearly benefit from the emotional impact of being the baby of the family (you know it Geddy).
By the time our ‘middlies’ lose their first tooth, run their first race or play their first game of footy, the shine has already been buffed back a layer or two courtesy of their older siblings.
And when they’re not being left behind by sibling #1, or harassed by #3, they’re sandwiched right in the middle.
They’re never old enough to hang with the big kids, and they’re called out for acting like babies.
If they’re anything like our ‘middlie’, who at the grand old age of 20 months was kicked out of his cot by his baby brother, they were asked to grow up when they were but babes themselves.
And as little Arley well knows, the middle child syndrome is particularly heavy-handed in same-gender sibling families like ours. Generally speaking, when middle children are of a different gender, they’re treated almost like a firstborn, because they have different characteristics and are involved in many activities that will be ‘firsts’ for a family.
Not so for us.
In just five short years of life, Arley has learned to live in the shadows of a big and little brother whom he adores with every inch of his enormous heart – and he’s totally cool with it.
This joyful, energetic, dogged, loyal, affectionate, bat-shit crazy little boy has already learned that life is not all about him.
But here’s the thing Arley Bob – today, as you morph into a school boy, it is.
You’re more special and unique than you could possibly imagine – and don’t you forget it.
Fly high darling middle child – today and for all the days to come.
We’re signing off for 2015 with this week’s #spreadingthegoodstuff post and wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy festive season.
In a time when there’s little goods news to hold on to, particularly on a global scale, it’s important to focus on the good and always remember, that even in the most horrific of circumstances, there’s always someone helping and caring for those suffering. This is something we encourage our children to do if they see the ever-present images of war and destruction: “Look out for the people helping – there’s always someone helping.”
It’s with this advice we look upon the world at this time and take comfort in the fact there are always people willing to help those less fortunate and those who do not take for granted the annual sharing of (too many) gifts and an abundance of food with family and friends.
Yes, be merry, but remember to also be grateful and herald in the New Year with a promise to practise more peace, gratitude and forgiveness and spread a little love around – especially in our own backyards.
Because these are things we need this Christmas – wherever we are in this world – peace, love, thanks and forgiveness.
See you all in 2016,
Christy and Lee
This week’s #spreadingthegoodstuff is all about our fabulous township of Echuca Moama (EM).
We feel very blessed to live here and during the time of all things ‘festive’ understand the importance of counting our blessings.
In a town described as ‘physically gorgeous’ by legendary Australian rocker Tim Rogers just this week, many of us can get too caught up in the busyness of life here to stop and look around – it is bloody beautiful!
And whether you’re playing in the mighty Murray, chilling out under some towering gums, or sitting at one of our outstanding cafes, you are truly lucky to live in such eye-catching surrounds.
With Christmas nipping at our heels there’s an abundance of activities and festive gatherings to attend: dance concerts, work break-ups, hospital openings, markets, and the ‘last’ of everything for the year!
Summer is finally here and there is much to look forward to – even after the man in the big red suit has come and gone.
Come Boxing Day EM bursts into a hive of activity. Attracting so many tourists here is something our economy depends on and probably calls for a little more gratitude from us local folk – even when we’re stuck in traffic on the bridge!
And there is much to anticipate in the new year: triathlon and swim events, the world’s largest ski race – no less, and one of regional Australia’s fastest growing and increasingly popular music festivals.
This week we’ve been lucky enough to chat to just a few of the stellar artists coming for Riverboats in February and they helped turned a light on how others perceive EM. Their generous descriptions of our town made me realise how lucky we are to live in such a stunning and ‘chilled out’ part of the world.
And we all need a little reminder every now and then to stop, take a breath, lift your head from your work (or your mobile phone) and enjoy the vista.
Our side project loveEM – which uses stunning images and splendid words to spruik about all things Echuca Moama – allows us to pay homage to our vibrant twin-towns.
Feel free to pop past and like our Facebook page, share the love and sprinkle a little #loveEM around the place this summer
And remember to enjoy and be thankful for all our town has to offer – now and throughout 2016.