Summer is a fun and busy time for us. For the most part we play at parks and splash pads, swim at the public school or my kids simply play with other kids in the neighbourhood. But we try to do day trips as well. If you live in and around the GTA, I have three places to take your kids that they'll love.
We've been going to the HCRR, or what we like to call "The Streetcar Museum", for the past four years. The boys love it and it's on our must-do list every summer. Located in Milton, HCRR has more than 75 old streetcars, buses, trains that you can view. But even cooler is the 2 km of tracks surrounded by forest where visitors can ride some of the historic streetcars dating back more than 100 years. This is a hands-on place where the kids can literally climb, touch and feel a piece of history.
Here's how I know this is a good place to visit. In all the times we've gone, my boys have never fought while we're there.
Be prepared to spend 3 to 4 hours riding the railway and investigating the old vehicles on display.
Coming Next: Castles and Kids
At least once a day I’ll get an email something along the lines of:
I’m a member of the Yummy Mummy Club and love the site. I write a blog called *insert blog name* and think it would be a great fit for the YMC. You can read it here. *blog url*
I wrote this article on my blog and think it would be great for the Yummy Mummy Club. You can read it here. *blog url*
And I get it, I really do. Because I was once in your shoes and would have done the exact same thing. You’re probably a phenomenal writer and if someone would just read your writing then they would see how talented you are and offer you a blogging position or snatch up your article in a nano-second.
I too was someone new to the world of writing who had no idea how to pitch an idea or a story. And quite frankly, I would have killed for someone to have taken me aside and say “Sharon, what you’re doing is completely wrong. Sending random emails with a link to a blog you wrote is like trying to win the Powerball lottery. Sure, it’s possible to win but the odds are stacked against you. *This* is what you need to do in order to have your pitch taken seriously.”
Sadly, I learned the hard way - by making mistakes which resulted in missed opportunities. The pitch process varies for every outlet whether it’s an online or print magazine. But there are some standard guidelines which everyone should follow.
Build Relationships: I once sat at a round table discussion on the do’s and don’ts of pitching your idea and was told straight out by an editor that unless she had a relationship with you, she wouldn’t even look at your pitch. While this might not necessarily be the case for all outlets, building relationships and networking is, essentially, one of the best things you can do for your writing career.
Do Your Research: It seems simple enough but really put thought into this question. Is what you’re pitching a good fit for the publication? Not only the idea itself, but your writing voice and style as well.
Do Your Research II: Most publications will have writing guidelines posted somewhere on their website and/or an editorial calendar. Read them and make sure you’re submitting properly and to the right person. Otherwise your email could go straight from someone’s inbox to trash without it ever being seen by the person for whom it was intended.
Be Concise: When you’re pitching an idea make your pitch concise and to the point. I used to get my knickers in a knot when Erica wouldn’t answer my emails but now that I get, on average, about 500 a day emails a day, I understand it. Your pitch should get your idea across clearly in no more than three to four sentences.
Ask Questions: If you’ve never pitched an article, you might be wondering how to even go about doing it. I know I did. This is where your networking comes in. Find people who’ve done a pitch and ask.
A few months ago, I met with Jen Reynolds who is Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Family magazine. She wanted me to write an article about speed skating (which is currently on stands now!). At the end of the meeting she said “Okay, so tomorrow can you send me an outline of what we discussed today.” And I was all “sure”. And then I went home and emailed Kathy Buckworth, who is a writer, friend, mentor and just an all-round good person and said “Jen Reynolds wants me to write an article for her magazine and said something about sending an outline and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE FUCK THAT IS. Can you please help me??”
And Kathy did. She wrote a long email detailing what an outline was and even generously offered to read mine over before I sent it off to Jen.
If you don’t know how to do something, never be afraid to ask.
Check and Re-check: Before you hit ‘Send’ go over your pitch with a fine tooth comb and if you are including a writing sample make sure there are no spelling errors and it’s grammatically correct. This is your chance to shine. If there are errors in your pitch, the person receiving it may assume your article will be full of errors too.
Every publication is different but these general guildelines are a good place to start. And if you ever have any questions, you can ask me. I've been in your shoes and know there's a plethora of talent out there. I'd love nothing more than to bring that talent to the light of day and help you shine."
It was my birthday on Monday and as always, my husband kids were spectacular, spoiling me rotten with thoughtful gifts and homemade cards. Son No. 1 and Son No. 2 have the amazing ability to pick out the perfect gift for someone. Both Paul and I have come to depend on them for gift ideas because *that's* how good they are. It was Son No. 1 and Son No. 2 who came up with the idea to get Paul a bike for his birthday so we could go on family rides together. And it was Son No. 1 who reminded me of my husband's affinity for dark chocolate which he found beside his stocking on Christmas morning.
This year Son No. 2 was super excited for me to open one card in particular because he had picked it out himself. He said it reminded him of me.