Aug
28
2014

How to Write a Bio That Stands Out

Your bio should include most of the 5 Ws

How to Write a Bio That Stands Out

writing a stand out bio

Writing a stand-out bio can be difficult for even the most seasoned writer because many people have a hard time talking about themselves, especially in a positive light.  In order for your bio to be effective and professional it has to contain a few primary things: First, it must have impeccable grammar and spelling. It must also be short — but not too short — and it has to make the reader want to know more about you and what you do. You’ll also need to decide whether or not to write your bio in first or third person format. Second person will not work, not even if you’re avant garde and had an angle bob hair cut before anyone else did, so cut that shit out immediately. Which brings us to the cardinal rule: do not swear in your bio, even if it’s part of your regular vernacular. 

When it comes to putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, or blood to quill (I don’t judge), remember that this is no time to be modest.

One caveat: if you are a humour writer — maybe you’ve even been called “funny” and have on several occasions caused people to laugh and not just at your fashion sense — please do not tell us how funny you are. Proclaiming “I’m funny!” is tacky and if you tell me that you are hysterical you’re going to have to prove it continuously before I stop thinking you’re a windbag. Telling someone you’re funny is like going on a blind date and mentioning to your prospective partner in an offhand manner that you have a gigantic wiener. Even if it’s true, I am never going to see it because while you’re in the bathroom I am asking the waiter to a rush order my steak to go and I’ve got one foot in a cab.

If you’re saying “But Jeni, I really am funny!” then that’s great. Let’s meet up and have a good guffaw. But, just like a date with a big penis, this is best if discovered organically and in my own time.

You should also try to incorporate some interesting personal background. You are more than the domestic or societal role you play. Nothing drives me as crazy as the “Just a Mom” bios I read. You may be a parent and a partner, but your bio should be more 3 dimensional. Mention being a mom if it’s a point of pride and relevant to your profession, but remember that even if you fought tooth and nail and nature and biology and a lawyer and a complicated and complex legal system to become a parent, you are more than “just a mom.”

Tell me about what makes you interesting outside of what happens with your sex parts. New rule: no mention of your underpants area in any capacity.

You’ll also want to hit all “5 Ws”:

Who you are. Make sure your bio includes your name. I once forgot to wear shoes to a parent teacher meeting so don’t tell me important things can’t be overlooked.

What you do. You can list some places you’ve worked, but it may be better to leave them out unless they’re spectacular. Companies and publications go out of business all the time and most of the time “freelance” writer will suffice, unless of course your main gig is a permanent job. The something like “Editor-in-Chief at Most Awesome Publication” is cool.

Where they can find you doing what you do. Twitter and your blog are good places to start, and then go check that those pages show an additional contact channel and/or an email address. If you make it hard — or impossible — for people to find you, chances are they won’t keep looking.

When you did the stuff you do. This point is more complex and could involve a brief history or perhaps what brought you to the place you are now. People like background, but keep it brief.  

Why you do what you do. Don’t get all existentialist, but give us an idea of your purpose. Are you currently on a work-release program or enjoying the new freedoms of parole?  Great! But maybe don’t mention it. Did you organize a start-up to provide reading materials and corrective lenses to under-privileged orphans after visiting a third-world country? Forge ahead. 

 

To recap; this is not a good bio:  

            I am Jeni. I do writing good. Got me some kids; like ‘em most of the time. Sometimes    I’m a real bitch, but seriously; I’m totes profesh at work. You can hire me by finding me          on the Googler. Peace out; mofos!

A stand-out bio will encompass all or most of the 5 Ws and perhaps a few of your choicest career highlights, or awards and accolades. (Sorry, “World’s Best Mom” as voted by two out of two kids in your house don’t count, despite your dried macaroni plaque stating so.)

Have a few sets of eyes look at your bio before you go public and compare it to others in your field to make sure it doesn’t seem fresh off a bio-template app. Try to keep it under 250 words, otherwise you’re getting into long form bio territory and that’s a whole new ballgame.

Because I understand that humans are primarily visual creatures who don’t always follow directions even though they’re laid out right here I’ve also provided an easy to understand infographic below on Writing a Stand Out Bio.

 

 

 

 

For more articles, tips, and tricks to help you get organized and make the most of your blog and business visit our BlissDom Canada 2014: How Do You Find Your Bliss? page.

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Aug
21
2014

Teaching Kids Independent Sleep Habits

It's Never Going to Happen, Is it?

Teaching Kids Independent Sleep Habits

getting kids to sleep on their own

My teenager sleeps until noon or later on a regular basis. It’s a point of contention in our relationship but I’m learning to let it go because I’ve realized that more sleep = less fighting and I’m all about less eye-rolls these days. Fifteen-and-a-half is kicking my ass 100 times harder than two or four or seven-and-three-quarters, but I can honestly say that sleep and sleep issues have never been an issue for my daughter.

The boy, however, is another story. He’s almost sleeping through the night on his own and at 100-and-something months old he’s right on track, yes?

The problem stems from my need to be on nightly vampire look-out duty  for almost the past year. It's now at the point where neither of us even remembers exactly why or when it started, only that it's the way it is now.  When my son spends the night at his dad's house and I get to sleep in my own bed my back hurts because my muscle memory is gone in regards to that mattress. I no longer recall what it’s like to snooze atop a Sealy "Comfort Sleep Pillow Top" queen. Nope; my spine now only recognizes the lumps of an Ikea "Who Cares If It Gets Pissed On" twin. I lay down with him at bedtime (to guard against vampires) and inevitably fall asleep. I then either: a.) wake up at midnight, thoroughly refreshed from a three-hour "nap," only to crash at 6am when normal people's days begin; or, b.) wake up at 9am cuddled up to a snuggly fleece-clad child, well-rested but covered in elbow-size bruises from nocturnal jabbing.

I have to start sleeping in my own bed again. Otherwise how will I get used to being alone forever? Really, I'm just spoiling myself. So I've consulted experts in the field (a lady at the liquor store) and experienced veterans (my Gramma,) considered their sage advice and come up with the following list for getting your child to sleep at a decent hour, in their own bed.

Good luck. I'll be having an afternoon exhaustion nap on the couch if you need me.

  1. If your child says they're afraid of, say, vampires, make sure to tell them there is no cause to be afraid. Explain that a vampire won't actually kill you, but rather that they would merely bite you on the neck causing you to become a vampire yourself. This ought to lay their minds to rest immediately.
     
  2. The best bedtime snacks are nutrient dense and highly caloric. Smoothies are a great night-time snack option.  I like to purée a pound of butter with some turkey gravy. Add a splash of chamomile for resistant sleepers.
     
  3. Wine. Just keep drinking until you don't care anymore. Heads up: This tip will appear in many future columns.
     
  4. Avoid television before bed. No media means no scary images for your child to worry about in the dark. Last week my son caught the tail end of an American political debate about women’s reproductive rights and I was up until the wee hours explaining that a.) we're Canadian and b.) my son doesn't have a uterus, and even if he did, he could do whatever he wanted with it.
     
  5. Wear that kid out. Sometimes a simple trip to the playground will be enough exercise for a child. If your son or daughter is particularly high-spirited, you may need to go beyond that. Does your roof need to be re-shingled?
     
  6. Change the clocks. You’re already going “no media,” so they won't know what time it is. As long as the sun isn't high in the sky, they will probably fall for it. Start yawning at 5pm. around 6, makes offhand comments about how tired you are, and how "fast this day has flown by." Don't worry about the antique clock in the hallway you lost the key for; no kid has known how to tell analog time since 1978.
     
  7. Make your bedroom as unappealing as possible to night-time travellers. Mouse traps under newspaper as effective and don’t hurt for long.
     
  8. A hot bath followed by a lavender oil foot rub is conducive to sleep. Just make sure your child rubs your feet for long enough to really wear themselves out.
     
  9. Start the bedtime routine early. Most children dislike abrupt transitions, so try to make “awake to sleep” times seamless. I like to give my children ample warning when bedtime is approaching. When you send them more to school in the morning, say something like, "Have a great day! It's bedtime in 9 hours!"
     
  10. Host a sleepover. Chances are your child won't want his friends knowing he still sleeps with his mom. Peer pressure is a strong force, and it’s going to bite you on the ass later when your kids want every gadget Apple pumps out of China, $200 running shoes and tickets to One Direction concerts. Peer pressure OWES you. Sure, sleepovers mean you'll have extra kids in your house, but as long as they flush the toilet and don't tell anyone how often you say "shit" in an evening, then who gives a shit? At least you'll be getting some sleep in your own bed.

If you've tried these tips and nothing seems to be working, rest assured: Your child will not sleep with you forever. Once they're married, their spouse will probably put an end to it.

Image Source


Read more from Jeni Marinucci about Teens:

Teenagers Don't Know HIV is an STD

Your Teens and Their Friends: A Whole New Ballgame

Aug
13
2014

Teenagers Don't Know HIV Is An STD

I Don't Care if You've Got a "Good Kid," Kids Are Horny and Need to be Informed

Teenagers Don't Know HIV Is An STD

Teenage_Sex_HIV

Too many teenagers don’t know that HIV is an STD.

They can tell you the middle name of each member of One Direction, how to defrag your hard drive, where to buy beer underage, and the steps necessary to dissect angles in AP math, but they don’t know that HIV is a disease transmittable through sexual activity. Vox.com recently reported findings of a sex survey culled from answers provided by American youth, and frankly, it’s all sorts of appalling.

Vox says that according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, those aged 13 to 24 account for almost one quarter of new HIV infections in the US. Wait; it gets worse. Almost 60 percent of those infected aren’t even aware they carry the virus.

Don't stop reading this because you’re against the idea teenagers having sex. You know who is NOT against the idea of teenagers having sex? TEENAGERS.

I am telling you right here, right now, that teenagers all over the United States and Canada are banging it out as we speak and some of them don’t even know that they can get HIV by not using condoms. I don’t care if your teenager is a “nice boy,” or “a good girl,” or “knows how we feel about pre-marital sex.” Quite simply, I don’t care if your child is an upstanding member of the community who keeps abandoned dumpster kitties alive with his own body heat — he’s still going to get boners and seek a place to put them so make your peace with it right now. Teenage girls are no less horny, and I know this because I was one. I am sorry, parents of “but we didn’t raise that kind of kid,” but hormones and biology and straight-up horniness trump good manners in almost all cases, especially in the back seat of a Dodge Caravan on a hot summer nights with an Ed Sheeran CD playing.

Most of the people who have teenagers today were teenagers themselves in 80s when news of “AIDS” started appearing in non-medical media circles. We didn’t really understand it — and to be fair, even science didn’t fully grasp all the implications of HIV — and maybe it and they still don’t. The extent of my medical training is the two hours of first-aid I took in Grade 11 health class, so I admit to knowing not too much. (The first-aid class was supposed to be a day-long event but my boyfriend and I skipped it to go have sex on his waterbed.)

I know you probably don’t want your teenagers having sex, and if you find out they did have sex you’ll probably be pretty upset and maybe even disappointed. What if you had to add some meaty chunks of “devastated” to your feeling stew because they caught an STD, maybe even HIV? If you have a gay son you need to be even more concerned because the demographic of males between the ages of 13–24 who have sex with other males has had a massive surge in new diagnoses.  

The MAC AIDS Fund conducted a survey which drew the following conclusions after speaking with over 1000 teenagers. Sit down.

  • About one in three don't realize HIV is a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Less than four in 10 "would talk or spend time with an HIV-positive friend or classmate to make them feel better."
  • Almost a quarter "wouldn't want to share a drink with someone who is HIV-positive, and 13 percent wouldn't want to touch an HIV-positive person."

This is also a problem unless we’re looking to raise a generation of jerks.

Teenagers are notorious for their illusions of immortality and often they cannot look beyond the immediate and pressing future. Their brains are wired for now because of some biological bullshit that prevented them from being eaten by dinosaurs in the Triassic era. There are no dinosaurs today, except those who don’t think we should talk to our kids about condoms or sexually transmitted diseases or how the earth is actually spherical in shape. Those people need to fall in giant holes or be eaten by bears.

Have we become lax in our attitude towards HIV because it appears we are close to a “cure” of sorts, with current anti and retro viral cocktails keeping people alive? For crying out loud, does no one remember the AIDS Quilt or Pedro from Real World San Francisco? People worked hard and gave their lives to educate others, and now? No one would even have a coffee with them.

I was 18 years old the night Magic Johnson appeared on television to tell the world he was retiring and that he had HIV. The news cut into an episode of the Simpsons I was watching and I was all, whaaat? But I was heartbroken for Magic and his family because from the little I knew about AIDS and HIV, it seemed likely he would be dead very soon. He is — thankfully! — still here because of medical advances and his ability to fund his treatment. Not everyone has that opportunity or privilege and while I would never begrudge Mr. Johnson his personal wealth. After watching him I made extra sure that condoms were an absolute given in any sexual encounter I had until I was married and even after.

The cold hard truth is that HIV is still super scary shit and contracting HIV is not like catching a fucking cold.

If you find it hard to talk to your kids about sex because — heehee giggles penis vagina — print this out and leave it under their pillow.


Read More from Jeni Marinucci about Teens:

Getting Their ZZZZs: Why It's (Probably) Okay to Let Your Teens Sleep Their Youth Away

82 Things My Teenager Thinks Are Bullshit