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HUG A GREETING CARD WRITER DAY!

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Denice Stradlin  Northridge, CA  
e-mail: DENICE@peoplepc.com

2002 ©Greeting Card Writing DOT com/Sandralouden.com

Tell us a little about yourself and when you first started writing greeting cards.

  
I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN LOS ANGELES; NORTHRIDGE IS A SUBURB (AND ALSO FAMOUS NOW FOR BEING EARTHQUAKE COUNTRY!) I'VE LIVED HERE ALL MY LIFE, ALTHOUGH I HAVE TRAVELED QUITE A BIT.   MARRIED TO MY HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART WHO I MET IN MY DRAMA CLASS, PETER IS STILL A SWEETHEART.  I PRESENTLY PAY MY BILLS BY WORKING AS A LEGAL SECRETARY FOUR DAYS A WEEK.  I HAVE A CAT NAMED DINAH (AFTER ALICE'S CAT WHO HAPPILY SNOOZED WHILE SHE HAD HER ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND!) AND NO CHILDREN -- AFTER 27 YEARS OF MARRIAGE, PETER AND I HAVE ENOUGH ON OUR HANDS, TAKING CARE OF EACH OTHER!  RECENTLY, I'VE MADE A BID TO GO BACK TO COLLEGE AND GET MY DEGREE -- A DREAM I'VE ALWAYS CHERISHED - WE'LL SEE WHERE THAT GOES!
   AFTER REACHING INTO MY SOUL, AND DUSTING OFF A LOVE OF WRITING, I WONDERED INTO SANDRA'S GREETING CARD BULLETIN BOARD ON AOL.  I SENT AWAY FOR HER TIP SHEET -- THIS WAS BEFORE SHE OFFERED HER CLASS, AND STARTED FOLLOWING HER PRAGMATIC AND FABULOUS ADVICE, AND SOON STARTED SUBMITTING.  THEN, AS SOON AS IT WAS AVAILABLE, I TOOK HER ONLINE COURSE.  ABOUT SIX MONTHS AFTER MY FIRST SUBMISSION, I MADE MY FIRST SALE TO OATMEAL!  I SHOULD MENTION THAT I'VE DONE A LITTLE PROFESSIONAL ACTING THROUGHOUT THE YEARS, BUT NOTHING -- AND I MEAN THAT SINCERELY -- GAVE ME THE HIGH THAT RECEIVING THAT CHECK FROM OATMEAL DID.  TO BE ABLE TO SAY "I'M A PUBLISHED GREETING CARD WRITER!"  WELL, THERE WAS JUST NOTHING LIKE IT!


Why did you choose greeting card writing over other writing genres?  Do you write in other genres and if so, which ones?

I THINK MOSTLY BECAUSE IT WAS SO ACCESSIBLE AND SO "IN THE MOMENT" -- SANDRA'S BULLETIN BOARD ON AOL, HER CLASS -- ALL TAUGHT ME NOT ONLY HOW TO WRITE GREETING CARDS, BUT ALSO, HOW ON ANY GIVEN DAY, AT ANY GIVEN TIME, AN IDEA COULD POP INTO MY HEAD FOR ONE -- I JUST HAD TO BE THE CHANNEL TO WRITE IT DOWN AND GET IT OUT THERE!!  I WAS FOREVER SAYING TO FRIENDS AND CO-WORKERS, "OH, THAT'S SO FUNNY WHAT YOU JUST SAID -- WAIT, I HAVE TO WRITE IT DOWN SO I CAN TURN IT INTO A GREETING CARD!"  I LIKE THAT ASPECT OF IT.

YES, I DO WRITE IN OTHER GENRES: GREETING CARD WRITING -- AND SELLING -- GAVE ME THE INCENTIVE I NEEDED -- AND THE CONFIDENCE, ALSO -- TO BRANCH INTO OTHER AREAS.  SINCE I STARTED WRITING GREETING CARDS, BESIDES SELLING INDIVIDUAL CARDS, I'VE ALSO GOTTEN SPECIFIC ASSIGNMENTS, I'VE HAD TWO STORIES PUBLISHED IN WOMAN'S WORLD MAGAZINE, I'VE HAD A ONE ACT PLAY PRODUCED, AND I'M WORKING ON A ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL -- ALTHOUGH THAT HAS BEEN QUITE ON THE BACK BURNER LATELY!! (AS YOU CAN SEE, I TRULY DO OWE MY SUCCESS TO SANDRA!)

Tell us about how your writing day works.  Do you find a particular time of day more productive than others?

WOULD THAT I HAD A REAL 'WRITING DAY!"  UNFORTUNATELY, I'M A 'FIT IT IN WHEN I CAN' KIND OF WRITER.  BUT A GOOD DAY WOULD FIND ME DOING SOME WRITING ON MY LUNCH HOUR, AND ALSO FITTING IN ABOUT AN HOUR OR TWO IN THE EVENING.  SOMETIMES, IF MY WORK LOAD IS LIGHT, I MIGHT TRY TO DO SOME WRITING THEN.  BUT THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN TOO OFTEN.

Approximately how many greeting cards do you send each year?  What are your favorite occasions to send and to write for?

I WOULD SAY I SEND 30-40 CARDS PER YEAR.  I LIKE FINDING THE 'PERFECT' BIRTHDAY CARD.  BUT THERE'S ALSO THE PERFECT FRIENDSHIP, OR 'ANY TIME' CARD THAT GETS ME ALSO.  ACTUALLY, I LIKE WRITING THANKSGIVING CARDS -- I HAD AN ASSIGNMENT A WHILE BACK THAT PUT ME IN SUCH A 'GRATEFUL' MODE FOR THE TIME I WORKED ON THEM -- IT WAS WONDERFUL. 

Do you regard greeting cards differently now that you write them too?  Do you notice things about them that you never considered before?  If so, what?

ABSOLUTELY -- I LOOK AT THE OVERALL CARD FIRST -- HOW DOES IT CATCH MY EYE, AND THEN DOES IT KEEP ME READING AND INTERESTED?  NOT TO BE NEGATIVE, BUT I ALSO LOOK AT A CARD FOR WHY I DON'T LIKE IT -- MAYBE IT CATCHES MY ATTENTION, BUT THEN IT MIGHT NOT WORK -- AND I TRY TO REALLY FIGURE OUT WHY.

Are there any occasions or particular occasion slants you'd like to see on the racks that aren't currently there?

YES -- DURING MOTHER'S DAY, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE CARDS FOR WOMEN WHO ARE MORE THAN MOTHERS -- JUST INCREDIBLE WOMEN WHO HAVE FIGURED PROMINENTLY IN OUR LIVES -- OR MAYBE STEPMOTHER CARDS THAT ARE A LITTLE BIT MORE MEATY FOR A STEPMOTHER WHO IS REALLY IMPORTANT IN ONE'S LIFE. 

What do you find most interesting or fun about writing greeting cards?

I LIKE THE 'GETTING LOST' FEELING I GET -- IF YOU THINK OF SOMETHING THAT YOU KNOW WOULD MAKE A GOOD CARD CAPTION -- BUT YOU HAVE TO WORK IT AROUND A LOT --SOMETIMES IT JUST KIND OF TAKES OVER THE DAY!!  BUT THAT'S A GOOD THING!  I ALSO LIKE THE 'NOWNESS' OF IT -- HOW ONE REALLY NEEDS TO STAY ON TOP OF TRENDS IN LANGUAGE, STYLES, ETC. -- THAT CAN ALSO BE A GOOD THING -- AND IT HELPS TO KEEP ONE YOUNG!

I know you're quite active in theatre...do you ever get any card ideas from the theatre environment or the writing in the play itself?

DEFINITELY FROM WHAT PEOPLE SAY -- THEATRE PEOPLE, AS WONDERFUL AS THEY ARE, CAN BE A LITTLE AFFECTED, AND SOMETIMES THAT MAKES FOR FUN QUOTES THAT CAN BE TURNED INTO CAPTIONS.  FROM PLAYS THEMSELVES ?  I'LL HAVE TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THAT -- SEE?  YET ANOTHER AVENUE TO GET INPUT FROM!

Where would you like to be 5 years from now as far as your writing career?  Any particular goals or aspirations?

I'D LIKE TO CONTINUE WRITING GREETING CARDS; I'D LIKE TO BRANCH MORE INTO NON-FICTION; I'D LIKE TO BE MAKING A LIVING AS A FREELANCE WRITER, OR HAVE A FULL TIME JOB SOMEWHERE, ANYWHERE -- WHERE THE THRUST OF THE JOB IS WRITING.

And finally, what one piece of advice would you give to beginning writers?

TO KEEP ON, TO NOT GIVE UP, TO NOT LET ANYONE KEEP YOU FROM DOING WHAT BRINGS JOY TO YOU. 

 
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