Real-World Experience for my University Students

This semester, my Rider University COM341 Publicity Methods students have the opportunity to gain real-world PR, marketing and business experience by working directly with Bryan Evans of Greater Trenton. We are all so excited! (And thank you, Bryan, for allowing us to work with you again!) Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here’s the link to the Trenton Daily article about our collaboration.

Bring on Your Writing Mojo in 2020

We’re off to a great start in my Spring 2020 classes at Kean University and Rider University! This semester, I’ll be sharing this post with my Kean COMM4620 Public Relations Writing students and my Rider COM341 Publicity Methods students as part of an assignment — it’s a repost (including updates) of a previous post from my blog. 

How do you get ready to write? Whatever I’m writing, these are the steps I take to motivate myself and to get the “creative juices” flowing. Sometimes, I only need to do one or two of the steps to get ready… Other times, I need to do it all!

1. Clear Your Head — and Your Workspace — to Get Organized

To get started on any writing project, I need to focus on the project — not on everything else going on in my life. First, I make a handwritten list of things I need to do that aren’t related to the writing project and tuck the list away to be looked at later. (I believe that when I put a pen in my hand and write on a piece paper the activity “triggers” some creative juices in my brain…) Then I make another list — or an outline — for the project I need to do right then and there. In my workspace, I move piles of work out of my view so they don’t distract me, which brings us to the next step…

2. Shut Down Distractions
I turn off my phone or put it on vibrate. I sign off all social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Then I  close the browser window for my email account on my laptop. If it’s on, I turn off the news/talk radio (sometimes music is okay — it depends on my mood…) and I turn off the TV, if it’s on. I can’t be distracted if I really want to focus on my writing.

3. Do Something Else First — Something You Enjoy Doing
For me, a walk on the beach (in warmer months, but sometimes in winter) or preparing a favorite recipe can inspire me to “tackle” a writing project. What do you enjoy doing?… What inspires you? Do that first, then sit down and write, write, write!

4. Time Yourself — and Don’t Forget to Give Yourself a Break (or Two)
Sometimes I actually set a real timer and write for 20 or 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, I get up and “reward” myself by getting a snack or taking a short break. If I’m really on a writing streak, I’ll reset the timer and keep on writing… I think doing this makes me feel better because it’s a way to “control” the process.

5. Focus on Your Readers/Your Audience and Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Think about your readers or audience. Who will be reading or hearing the words you’re writing? What do they like or dislike? How can you grab — and keep — their attention? Successful writing projects are written for specific audiences. I sometimes pretend I’m having a conversation with my readers, like I’m doing right now.

Well, these steps are the ones I take when I’m getting ready to write. However, we all have different ways of doing things… I hope you’ll tell me what you think by responding to this blog post so we can continue the conversation!

What do YOU do to get ready to write? Please share your tips and ideas here.

Until next time, take care, and thanks for reading (and hopefully responding)!

— Kathy Magrino

Learning By Doing: Rider University Students Take Over Social Media at #HMHWomenRock Event

I’ve always been a big believer in the concept of “learning by doing”! myLIpost WOMENROCK

This semester (Fall 2017), my “COM341 Publicity Methods” class at Rider University has had the wonderful opportunity to work with, and learn from, Meghan Higgins, Online Conversation Starter for Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH), and Margaret Fontana, HMH Digital Information Officer. Meghan and Margaret are our class’ “real-world” clients, and they’ve been helping us to learn everything we can about communications, social media, digital media, event planning, promotion, publicity, business, and more!

After weeks of planning during our class meetings and Skype sessions with Meghan and Margaret, on Saturday, October 21, we accomplished a “social media takeover” at the HMH Women Rock event in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Throughout the afternoon event, which was attended by hundreds of people, we expertly handled the social media coverage. We also were fortunate to have the assistance of a few photographers from my class and from Professor Jessi Oliano’s photography class at Rider. It was a great day – and an awesome experience for everyone involved!

A big “thank you” to these special people:

  • Thank you to my Rider students and Prof. Oliano’s photography students for doing such an amazing job! You make me so proud to be associated with you and Rider University. 🙂
  • Thank you to everyone at the #HMHWomenRock event who participated with us in real life (IRL) and on social media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest!
  • And, most of all, a BIG “THANK YOU” to Meghan Higgins, Margaret Fontana, and the folks at Hackensack Meridian Health who made this learning experience possible!

 

‘Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm…’

syllabi fall 2017American Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” I agree 100%! That’s why I’m so excited to be starting another semester working with my students at Rider University. This semester, I’m teaching “COM107 Writing for the Media” and “COM341 Publicity Methods.” I couldn’t be any more enthusiastic about meeting my students (although I’ve met a few before) and about moving ahead with the activities planned for Fall 2017.

It’s go time! Classes start this week, and my syllabi are complete and already shared on Canvas (Rider’s learning management system online). Enthusiastically, I anticipate Fall 2017 will be a GREAT semester! Bring it on!

Introducing a new feature on this blog: WriteOn!

Each week, I’ll be posting a “WriteOn!” mini-post here on my blog where you’ll find two or three links to blogs, articles and academic research paper posts that I’ve discovered online during the previous week. WriteOn3-carrotHonestly, I’m not sure what the specific topics will be – I’m open to learning about anything and everything that can help keep us positive, focused, motivated and moving forward in today’s sometimes-crazy, often-distracting world.

I’ll be looking for writing that somehow catches my attention. (For those of you who already follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn, you know my interests are wide-ranging and somewhat scattered: business, writing, teaching, learning, entrepreneurship, social media, communicating, etc.) In determining my picks for each week, I’ll be focused on sharing writing that’s somehow eye-opening, thought-provoking or just plain interesting – something that makes me (and hopefully you) think or react or take action.

Let’s face it: There’s so much good writing that’s going on right now, it’s impossible to read it all. Today, it seems we’re all writers – and we’re writing more than ever before: texting, emailing, blogging and expressing ourselves on social and online media… The reality is that humanity, as a whole, is communicating on a global scale and we’re linked together now more than we’ve ever been before.

This new blog feature – WriteOn! – will be my attempt to simplify and filter through all the writing and communicating that’s going on online today. I’m doing this for myself and for my like-minded friends and followers. Hope it helps us all! Look for my first WriteOn! post this Monday, January 5, 2015. Let me know what you think by commenting or tweeting to me. Thanks!

Inspiration From Everyone, Everywhere

Inspiration is a funny thing: You never know where it’s going to come from, or when it’s going to happen.

The last few weeks have been challenging for everyone impacted by a storm named Sandy, with its wild winds and overwhelming surge. My family was very fortunate. Yes, we were displaced for a few weeks, but that’s nothing compared to what was experienced by the people whose homes were flooded or washed away. I can only imagine how they’re feeling. Over the past few weeks, as I’ve driven by giant mounds of debris on the roads around me, and I’ve watched the news reports on TV, I’ve been inspired by the strength and bravery of people, in general. I’m inspired by their ability to look ahead to the future, their capacity to hold onto dreams. Everyone seems to have the determination to push forward and rebuild, despite the challenges they’re facing.

I’ve also been inspired by my students this semester. This week, they presented their final projects: “Zen-like” presentations of their plans for the future. Together, we looked ahead to 2022 and talked about our hopes and dreams. (I’m smiling as I’m writing this, remembering the wide variety of scenarios they envision… Most predictions are very positive and happy, except for the “zombie apocalypse” outlined by one student! 🙂 )

This semester was also the first semester where I asked my students to create their own WordPress blogs. (See my previous blog post.) Yes, I was truly inspired by the way many of my students dedicated so much time and effort in creating and writing their blogs. But, I was also inspired by their overall enthusiasm for the project and the messages they conveyed. I’m inspired by their plans and dreams — and their determination to make these dreams come true.

So, on that note, I’m linking you to Crissy Glasser’s blog (with her permission). Listen to the song Crissy shares at the end of her post: “Dream Catcher” by the band Set It Off. I’m inspired by the messages in the song’s lyrics… I hope you’re inspired by the song’s messages too! “Cast your net… cast it out…”

Until next time, as Set It Off says, “Please believe you’ll be a dream catcher!” 🙂

Photo credit: Jack Newton – jdn – via Flickr/Creative Commons

Different ways we get ready to write (and writing is a creative process)

This week, my writing classes are exploring the different ways we get ready to write. I’ve written my thoughts about this in previous blog posts, including this blog post from earlier this year: Getting Ready to Write (in 2012). But, I’d like to reinforce this additional message: Whatever you’re writing, whether it’s an advertising campaign, poem, fiction, research paper, blog post, etc., writing is a CREATIVE PROCESS. Business writing and creative writing both require the “creative juices” in our bodies to be flowing in abundance. So, whenever we’re getting ready to write, it’s important to stir up our creativity!

One way to do this is through mind mapping. Here’s an infographic I found on Pinterest that shows how mind mapping can work:

 

Have you tried mind mapping? Or maybe you prefer other ways to get your creative juices flowing and to get ready to write? Please share the ways you get ready to write by commenting on this post. Thanks for reading and sharing! — KM