Sandra Miller-Louden's

Greeting Card Writing Dot Com

HUG A GREETING CARD WRITER DAY!

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Word For Word—8/27/06.

 

Last spring, one of my online students told me she was a pastry chef by profession and decided she wanted to write greeting cards as a sideline in order to stay at home with her child.  She also went on to relate how she was blessed to be living in Lawrence Kansas because it had many creative gift and card shops.  She was able to find many of the small and mid-size company offerings I mentioned in my lectures and address list.

 

I marveled at the fact that Lawrence Kansas, population 82,000, would have such a great selection of cards.  Students in cities much larger would often comment how difficult it was to find cards other than from the large, well-known companies.  As I did my usual search of mid-size company store locations, one name kept popping up above all others.  Ligonier Pennsylvania. 

 

Ligonier is even smaller than Lawrence; its population is approximately 1,700.  About an hour from Pittsburgh, I decided to take a road trip and see if all these fabulous shops and bookstores existed.  I drove into town with the historic Fort Ligonier on my right and entered a quaint collection of shops, stores and cobbled side streets all positioned around a round-about (at least that’s what they call those traffic circles in the U.K...the ones where you could ride around indefinitely if the spirit so moved you).  I parked, dropped money in a meter and began my browsing adventure.

 

With quaint, pleasing names such as Persnickety Home & Gifts and Second Chapter Books, I honed in on these businesses and their greeting card displays with precision radar.  I’d definitely dropped into a rarified atmosphere of creativity and companies whose booths I’d visited at the Show now, once again, had their cards in front of me in a retail setting.  Laughing Elephant, Bottman Designs, Pumpernickel Press, The Gifted Line, Peaceable Kingdom, Great Arrow, Clay Boys, just to name a few, were the treasures lined up neatly in their holders.  I chatted with the owners, introduced myself and my website and talked industry.  When I finally made it back to my car, I had colorful lime, raspberry and orange bags filled with greeting goodies; I’d also promised to return periodically to see what new imaginative jewels awaited.

 

I took away something else that day as well.  Once again I was reminded of how, with a bit of ingenuity and a tiny amount of adventure, creative people can seek out those small and mid-size companies.  We can become familiar with their products, their designs and their artistic vision.  To succeed in any endeavor you must immerse yourself, not only with those cards that are easy to find, but those you may have to travel and seek out to discover.  Just as I had several months prior to my Ligonier trip in finding a Card$mart in Latrobe Pennsylvania—where I had expected to find ho hum offerings due to the price discounts—I came away from these fact-finding excursions wiser, richer and certainly more creatively aware.

 

As I’ve said a thousand times before, meander through gift shops, bookstores, antique shops—anywhere there may be a collection of greeting cards.  Take time at the displays; read the cards, enjoy them, appreciate the creativity behind them.  Take pride in the fact you’ve chosen an industry that helps others communicate with family and friends at all life’s vital occasions.

 

Whether it’s Lawrence, Latrobe, Ligonier or a town close to you, revel in the discovery of it all.

 

And that’s my Word for Word.

 

I’m having quite a busy summer—and fall doesn’t look too much better.  I’m immersed in several greeting card projects at the moment, both on a writing and consultation level.  I continue getting new students at my online teaching locations.  And the emails keep coming.

 

One constant thread through many of them asks when the long-awaited second edition of my greeting card book is going to debut.  The book will be out this fall—with a new cover, new publisher, new title.  It builds on my classic Write Well & Sell: Greeting Cards and even though it’s work, I’m having a ball writing it.  I’ve added some new features I know you’ll enjoy and some updated perspectives, especially in the way some companies “hold” freelance submissions.  There will be a new, expanded section on emailed submissions and how ecards factor into the freelance equation.  I’m also adding a special, specific section on how to find new companies.

 

I’m particularly looking forward to a relatively new speaking venue coming up on September 12th.  I’ll be addressing home-schooled children at the Grantsville Public Library in Grantsville Maryland on communication through greeting cards.  While I’ve done school programs in the past—grade school, high school and college and certainly have done my share of library programs as well—I’ve never specifically talked to home-schooled children—especially those in the Mennonite and Amish Communities.   I’m looking forward to exchanging insights and as usual, I’m confident I’ll come away learning as much as I’ve imparted.

 

We’re working on streamlining my home page and I’ve found a few models that have crisp, clean lines—something we want to emulate.  We’re also working on consolidating some pages on the site and overall, making it that much easier for you to download and navigate.  Several years ago I entertained the idea of doing a workbook, so that all the people emailing me about extra exercises and new ways to stretch their brains and imagination would be fulfilled.  Once the second edition comes out, I’ll be starting the workbook.  I envision it to have plastic spiral binding so it can lay flat and become very much a hands-on workbook.  I think that’s how all of you envision it as well.

 

Please continue to check out our affiliates.  You’ll see we’re constantly adding new ones all over the site.  If any of their products interest you, click the icon on greetingcardwriting.com.  While this site is free to you, it is not without cost to me—not only monetarily, but time and energy wise.  Everything helps and anything I derive from the posted affiliates is plowed right back into the site.

 

August is winding down big time and September is peeking its head around the corner.  September is somewhat of a poignant month for a variety of reasons.  Fall is upon us.  During September I turn another year older.  As if that weren’t enough, the achingly blue skies of September remind us how innocence was snatched away almost five years ago.  I, for one, prefer to remember the heroes—and there were so many—on that day.  God keep them all.

 

Take good care.

 

Sandra

 

 
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