‘Bargainomics Lady’ Provides Wonderful Writing Wisdom For Aspiring Authors

Birmingham’s Bargainomics Lady Judy Woodward Bates shared some great tips for writers during a presentation this week.

judybatesViewers of her segments on Birmingham’s Fox 6 WBRC-TV probably don’t realize “The Bargainomics Lady,” who regular appears on the top-rated station, has experienced a lot of rejection in her life.

Judy Woodward Bates vividly remembers having a desk drawer full of rejection letters from places she attempted to publish her work.

But, from those experiences as a writer, Bates has ascended to mentor other writers, now based on having published three books.

I had the great fortune to sit in on one of her writing sessions this week as she recounted stories from the early days.

She started talking about ways to save money on television and radio segments in the Montgomery media market.  People started calling about her tips that she picked up living frugally and not relying on parents’ money.

“I became a real professional dollar squeezer before I really knew what that was,” Bates recalled.

Bates7book Her Biblically-based tips on budgeting and spending are detailed in two books, which I hope to obtain copies for myself soon.

The Bargainomics book, which she passed around during her presentation, seems like a good read for any of us looking for an accessible resource that presents Biblical money management wisdom in a way that’s easy-to-understand.

She is careful to remind those at her sessions that she is always looking for ways to share her faith as she shares tips on how to save.   After all, it was God who allowed her to be where she is today, now working on her fourth book.

“God just laid all this out,” Bates said.

As for those of us who want to publish our first books– she has a lot of great suggestions.

“You want to be the author of a well-written, well-put together book not just a book,” Bates said.

She says having three friends who will give you honest feedback on your writing is a must.    Additionally, we have to be willing to let the “baby” in our writing go and open ourselves up to constructive criticism about the way we tell a story and the words we use.

“Nothing can ruin a sentence worse than the wrong word,” she said.  “Use a thesaurus, but don’t rely on the thesaurus.”

Here are a few of her other tips:

  • Be wary of personal pet words
  • Words are so powerful if we’ll just put them in the right place
  • There’s more to good writing than using spell-check
  • Read your writing out loud
  • Record and listen to your writing the way one would an audio book.

Even before I read her books, Bates has captured my attention on multiple levels as an aspiring book author.

Photos Suggest Society of Professional Journalists Takes Its Toll on Executive Director

SPJ Executive Director Joe Skeel’s latest photo shows how much he has developed and even aged physically during his role leading the nation’s largest organization of journalists.

Those of us on the Society of Professional Journalists National Board of Directors have the pleasure of working directly with Joe Skeel, who leads our top-notch national staff.

The photo on the left dates back a few years ago when Skeel was the editor of the Society’s membership publication, QUILL Magazine. The photo on the right has been added more recently.

Recently, I noticed that even for the baby-faced executive director, working with the 20+ members of the Board (and a separate Board for the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation) and the nearly 8,000 members of the largest, most broad-based organization for journalists can take its toll, to use a cliche.

Skeel, who became our executive director in 2009,  updated his photo on the SPJ Web site  during the last year and we can see that the years and the stress are showing just a bit.

As one who is proud of the increasing number of gray hairs showing up on my head, I am the first to say — aging gracefully is good.

But, Joe,  don’t let the Society make you grow older before it’s time.

Those in the national media have made fun of President Barack Obama graying during the years of his first term.

I guess once in a while, we have to poke a little fun at ourselves– as journalists  (Joe worked as a journalist before joining the SPJ national staff in 2004) when the age starts to show.


Here’s Why I’m Sad About Missing Today’s Events This Sunday in Selma

Disappointed I couldn’t participate in the re-enactment of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. While I’ve been to Selma to see the bridge, I’ve never participated in the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, which has special meaning this year because of the case before the U.S. Supreme Court that asks that parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 be vacated.

This is the button I want. Maybe it will happen in March of 2014.

It’s call the Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

The annual commemoration of what became known as “Bloody Sunday” is taking place at this hour in a place not that far from here in Tuscaloosa.

But, as I prepare for a very busy travel week, I had to pass on today’s event.

So, why is it important?

On “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965, some 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80.   They got only as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge six blocks away, where state and local lawmen attacked them with billy clubs and tear gas and drove them back into Selma.

This is the Edmund Pettus Bridge where it all happened.

In a mid-day news report, the Rev. Jesse Jackson made the best argument:

According to the Associated Press, Jackson said today the South will see more gerrymandering and more at-large elections if the Supreme Court throws out a requirement for the Justice Department to review election law changes in states with a history of discrimination.

Bloody Sunday got the nation’s attention and set the tone for the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which is believed to be the most effective and successful civil rights legislation in American history.

As NPR and other media reported last week, the Voting Rights Act was upheld five times by the court.

However, as Section 5 is challenged by those here in Alabama  the law now appears to be on life support.

The 2014 commemoration of Bloody Sunday could be very different, if the high court decides to vacate part of the landmark law.