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Times Herald

Career Change: A Year to Remember

Joan Koehne's career change from Times Herald to Writer to the Rescue
Advertising executive Tim Murphy and me at the Oconto County Times Herald in 2016.

I opened the Oconto County Times Herald yesterday to see the top news stories of 2017 and immediately had flashbacks of the seven years that I prepared the Top 10 list before I made my career change to Writer to the Rescue.

Chronicling life in Oconto County

Every December I would flip through months of front pages – first by hand with the stack of archived newspapers and later with digital files. I always felt a sense of accomplishment glancing at the photos and articles I created over the previous 12 months. I could easily say, “Look what I achieved this past year as editor.” Chronicling the life and times of people in Oconto County was a responsibility I took to heart.

So when I opened the Dec. 27 issue of the Times Herald and skimmed the 2017 Top 10 list, I felt a strange sense of detachment. These weren’t the assignments I covered or the photos I snapped. This time around, someone else was sitting in the editor’s chair. I left the newspaper on Jan. 25, 2017, and officially opened Writer to the Rescue a few days later.

Career change has positive effect

Leaving behind the weekly grind of publishing a community newspaper has been a good career change for me. My schedule is much more relaxed without the obligation of churning out 4-6 stories a week, attending night meetings, holiday and weekend events, and writing articles on Sundays in order to get a leg-up on the coming week.

I miss the weekly paychecks and I miss interacting with the staff, but otherwise I’m content with my career change and where I’m at today. I made the right decision a year ago when I turned in my resignation and took on the persona of my alter-ego, Wonder Writer. I remember the exhilarating feeling of new beginnings that accompanied my career change. The world was full of exciting opportunities. I remember my Facebook post saying, “This is the first day of the rest of my life!”

So as I look back at 2017, I’m thankful for the clients who trusted me to write for them, and I’m grateful for the unwavering support and guidance of my husband, Bill, owner of Packerland Websites. I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished at Writer to the Rescue, even if it doesn’t show up on the front page of the newspaper.

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Notebook showing Writing Mistake

6 Writing Mistakes You Might Be Making

Notebook showing Writing MistakesDo-it-yourself writing for websites sounds like an easy process, but it’s fraught with pitfalls. Here are some common writing mistakes I see:

Mistake #1: Misspell Names of People and Places

You instantly lose credibility with your audience when you misspell the name of a person, product, company, or city. When readers come across a misspelling or another writing mistake, they wonder what else is inaccurate in your website content.
Tip: Double check the spelling of names with a trusted source. First names can be as tricky as last names, so be sure to check these, also.

Mistake #2: Fail to get a second opinion

Writing and editing go hand-in-hand. A good writer uses a process of writing, proofreading, fact checking, and rewriting, until a final draft is ready. The process doesn’t end there, because no work is finished until someone reads it.
Tip: Before posting a final draft, ask colleagues to read your work and provide feedback. Their fresh perspective can make your content even better.

Mistake #3: Skip a final read-through

Slowly and carefully read through your final draft before uploading it to your website.
Tip: Read it aloud. This helps you find hidden errors. For example, I edited a professional bio that mentioned Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College. Did you notice the error in that sentence? I am a 2017 graduate of NWTC, and I didn’t notice the Northeastern (instead of Northeast) in the bio until I read it aloud.

Mistake #4: Misuse bullet points

Bullet points are great for quick lists. The reader’s eye is drawn to indented words and bold dots, so lists are ideal for engagement. Bulleted items let readers grasp tidbits of information at a glance.
Tip: For optimal comprehension, no more than 7 bullet points allowed. Also, bullet points should be brief: 1-4 words or one sentence each.

Mistake #5: Make grammatical errors

Improve the readability of your website content by using proper grammar. Here’s an example of a grammatical error I came across recently: “We can special order anything your looking for.” The word “your” should be “you’re.”
Tip: Microsoft Word provides a helpful tool; be sure to use the Spelling and Grammar check.

Mistake #6: Not contracting with Writer to the Rescue

Writing is my specialty! As the “Wonder Writer” I deliver a one-two punch: Strong writing skills and compelling marketing strategies. Writer to the Rescue produces professionally written magazine and newspaper articles, website content, ad copy, and more.
Tip: Avoid this common writing mistake. Contact me today at joan@writertotherescue.com or 920-639-1865 to get started on your next writing or marketing project.

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