Ray Cole reports:
"Mortgage underwriters occasionally request explanations for various situations. If a borrower has experiences that fall outside of a lender's general guidelines, an underwriter might request a written explanation for certain occurrences. If extenuating circumstances prevented a borrower from taking certain actions, written letters can provide details about the experiences. Generally, an underwriter wants documented evidence of a problem that's resolved and that possesses little impact toward future lending risks. If a borrower's wages were 10 percent less than previous years due to an injury, a letter that reflects time missed from work for about one month would appear logical to an underwriter...Review the underwriter's request. Determine the information that's needed for a clear explanation...Write a letter that reflects the exact date range that you were absent from work. Provide specific details for your letter of explanation. Attach a note from your doctor or from your employer to strengthen your documentation...Present your letter of explanation to your loan officer. Ask your loan officer whether your explanation is sufficient. Submit information as requested to satisfy the underwriting conditions...Well-documented letters of explanation could satisfy an underwriter's concerns. Maintaining organized financial records might enable you to access your information promptly...Insufficient explanations could result in an underwriting denial. If your car payment was late while you were in the hospital or if your appraisal reflects items that have been corrected, a thorough explanation might clear the underwriter's concern. Proof of your stay in the hospital or a photo that reflects property repairs could accompany your letter of explanation for a mortgage underwriter."
Lisa Rivero reports:
"Regardless of how often or even whether we are published or how much (if any) money we make from our writing, all of us have a love for written communication and at least some skill with words, and we can use that love and skill in valuable ways, big and small. Here are just seven ways to think about the writing you already do in a new way...Help a non-profit organization to write brochures or grant proposals, or offer to proofread...Write articles, edit, or design a newsletter for your favorite school or community organization. If your group doesn’t have a newsletter, start one, whether online or in print (or both)...Write short book reviews or reading lists (with or without a byline), and ask if you can make copies for distribution at your local library...For birthday or holiday gifts, write a story or poem or essay. Consider recording an audio version or formatting it in a special way...Spend some time writing a thoughtful thank-you comment to a blog post or article that has touched you, and publish it anonymously...Teach a teenager how to write effective and professional emails, complete with capital letters and salutations other than 'Hey!'...Write or re-write instructions to make them clearer and more effective for an elderly computer or technology user...Is it possible that, in the end, we will benefit financially from giving it away? Perhaps, and that’s great. Perhaps not, and that’s great, too, because we’ve already benefited in other ways. Of course, if we want to meet our professional writing goals, we can’t give away all of our writing. Knowing that our writing has value is important, and only when we realize that value can we use some of it in altruistic ways...A sure cure for the ego-driven blues is to write for (as a way to benefit) someone else. Not only do I get the satisfaction of helping someone, but I [also] often experience the creative flow state that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes about, when we become so involved in an activity that we lose track of time and, more importantly, forget ourselves...Creativity often thrives when we stop worrying about our own success. If that makes me a blockhead, then I’m happy to be one."
Fan Mail Etiquette
Lily Herman reports:
"Whether it’s a writer whose blog posts are always relatable, a public speaker whose workshops are always on-point, or a big name in your industry you’ve always looked up to, we all have people out there we admire and would like to reach out to just to say, 'Hey, you’re great.' Of course, sending 'fan mail' seems sort of outdated, and these types of emails can easily come across as creepy or self-serving...So, how do you show someone that you’re just reaching out to say you like his or her work without it coming off the wrong way? Here are four simple tips to keep in mind...If you’re reaching out to someone solely to say how much you admire his or her work, keep your email short; stick to four to six sentences tops. It’s a lot less intimidating (and much more likely to garner a response)...Just because your email is on the shorter side, doesn’t mean you have to slack on content. When emailing someone as a fan, get specific about what you loved...and why...The great thing about being short and specific is that your reader knows what in particular you liked and why you connected with it. This not only makes your message more genuine, [but] it [also] allows someone to craft a more unique response and opens up the chance for him or her to begin a natural dialogue with you...Don’t ask for anything from the person you’re reaching out to, no matter how tiny it is. In my experience...the less you ask for something from a total stranger, the more likely you are to get something back. Think of it from the perspective of the person receiving your email: He or she (like a lot of us) probably spends the day getting tons of requests to do all sorts of things; that’s generally what email is for in the first place. If anything, your email will stand out for being the only one that doesn’t ask for something. So why not be a little different?...One big mistake I’ve seen people make when sending fan mail is that they get anxious if they don’t receive an email back within a couple of days. Keep in mind that many people are incredibly busy...[I]f the point of your email is just to say how much you admire someone’s work, an email back shouldn’t be what you seek. Just think of a response as an added bonus. Whatever you do, don’t keep following up. It’s easy for a friendly push to come across as creepy or self-serving, so just let the email play out...Fan mail doesn’t have to be scary; it’s all about knowing how to harness your admiration in a simple email that doesn’t come across as trying to[o] hard to force a connection or ask for a favor. And let’s be real here: Who doesn’t love having fans?"
Charmayne Smith reports:
"The business plan is not just for business startups...Existing businesses use the business plan to monitor their expenses, define their strategies and benchmark their progress. Unlike new business startups, the business plan creation process is often simpler for the established business because the business’ operation information is more readily available...Create a cover page for your business plan. Include the name of your business, full address and all contact information, including fax number and email address...Complete a general business description for your business. Provide the company’s mission in 30 words or less. Include your business’ objectives, goals and philosophies here, as well. Provide a brief description of your business’ industry and include information on the industry’s growth trends and forecasts...Follow this information with your company’s legal business description...and expound on the company’s history, including its number of years in business, sales and profit history, and significant successes and failure. Include resolutions that your business implemented to correct any problems or failures...Define your business’ products and services. Explain the products in depth and highlight the competitive advantages and disadvantages of your products. Identify any strategies or steps that your business has taken to overcome disadvantages in your products...Complete a primary and secondary analysis of your industry, industry trends, target market, target market demands and competition. Use resources, such as demographic profiles and census data, to complete your secondary analysis. Refer to your own business data and analysis to complete your primary analysis...Use your research data and analysis to complete your business’ marketing plan. Provide detailed information, including statistics and sources, to support your findings and strategies. Identify and explain the demographics of your target market. Explain the features and benefits of your products, as well as why these features and benefits appeal to your target market...Identify your business’ major competitors, their products and locations. Compare your business’ strengths and weaknesses against those of your competitors. Identify your business['] competitive advantages and disadvantages and explain the strategies that your business will use to compete against the competition...Explain the advertisement methods that your business will use to capture its target market. Define the strategies that your business will use to retain its customers, as well as generate referral business. Include price points and expenses that will generate from these strategies...Describe your business’ operations. Include information on your business’ location and equipment. Include information on the expenses that pertain to each...Provide details about your business['] legal requirements...Explain how your business completes its operations, maintains quality, controls inventory, develop[s] products and services customers...Identify your personnel. List the responsibilities and functions of your executive and senior employees. List the number of employees that your company maintains and identify each department. Create an organizational chart for an easy visual reference. Identify the pay rates for each employee, along with the training methods and requirements for each employee. Identify any vacate[d] positions and include information on the pay ranges for those positions...Provide information on your business['] finances. List your business’ accounting method (cash or accrual). Explain your business’ credit terms and fees, and collection methods, if your business uses the accrual method...Complete a personal financial statement for each owner of your business. Provide a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement for your business. Analyze your business’ profits and losses, and complete a 12-month profit and loss sales forecast for your business. Include a five-year projection if your company seeks to include long-term goals and projections...Complete an executive summary for your business plan. Limit the summary to more than two pages, as recommended by SCORE. Highlight your business’ target market, specialty products and mission within the summary...Create a table of contents and an appendix for the plan. Generate the table of contents so that it references the exact pages to where each section begins. Include supporting documents in the appendix, such as receipts, tax returns and accounts payable schedules. Label each supporting document accordingly and organize the documents so that they are organized in the order in which they are referenced."
Julia Coblentz reports:
"Stories don’t always fall neatly under one genre’s umbrella...So, what’s an author who likes to write across genres to do?...Choose categories that make the cross-genre appeal clear: Romance and Mystery? If you believe your book is a true mix of genres, don’t be afraid to choose both!...If your romance features a suspenseful [storyline], check off the mystery category, too...When choosing categories, select from within Nonfiction or Fiction, but do not cross over between the two. If you do, you may find yourself with too much genre-crossing...After the title some authors include a description of their genre-crossing story in parentheses...The parenthetical description makes it easy for readers to grasp all the themes and genres that this book covers...Develop your own subgenre: If you write across genres consistently, consider creating a branded way of describing your genre-crossing."
Ally E. Machate reports:
"If fear of someone stealing your material is the reason you refuse to publish excerpts online or to even submit your work to editors and publishers, then you need to learn how to shake it off soon: Promoting your work through all mediums and/or trying to contact as many publishers and editors as possible is essential to your publishing process. Plagiarism is a valid concern, but as long as you know how to protect yourself and how to monitor your work in cyberspace, you should be fine. Here are a few simple ways to help safeguard your work from plagiarism...[M]ake sure that you save, date, and make copies of all of your original work. There are several different ways that you can go about this: [Y]ou can print out your work and get it notarized; you can mail your work to yourself so that it has a post mark date (also known as the 'poor man’s copyright'); or you can make sure that you save the most original version properly on your computer. These actions will help you if you ever do need to take someone to court, but on their own they will not likely be enough. That's because officially registering for a copyright is the only way to have enough evidence to stand in a court of law...Technically, according to U.S. law, the second you create a piece of work it belongs to you; therefore, if someone else takes it, that’s copyright infringement. However, extra protection is also needed. There are several different non-official sites that claim to grant copyright to your work. Avoid these and register directly with the U.S. Copyright Office. It costs $45 per submission...Once you've registered your work, it's best to use copyright notices on your websites or blogs—anywhere that you may publish your work. Similar to alarm system warnings, these notices won't scare all thieves, but will deter a majority of them...The only way you'll know if someone plagiarized your work is if you see it floating around (on another site, for example) without your permission. The faster you catch wind of this, the better. That's why it's important that you regularly check to see if your material pops up anywhere else...Smart Google Search: Simply typing in a random sentence or two from your work may be all you need to catch a thief. If you do find one, take action right away. Try contacting the person directly and request that he or she take it down, but if the person refuses to cooperate then it's best to contact and alert Google. Google has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to plagiarism. Other search engines have similar policies...Copyscape is a free checker that allows users to plug in a sentence or a domain name to see if specific material comes up anywhere else on the Web. However, in my experience sometimes the results can be misleading...Still, the site does catch some bad guys; just make sure to thoroughly investigate before you cry, 'Plagiarism!'...Similar to the service above, Plagiarism.org allows users to check more thoroughly for plagiarized work and get extensive reports in the mail regularly for a small fee. Results aren't as skittish as Copyscape...[I]t's always important to keep in mind that sometimes another author is going to have the same idea as you. If a theme or story sounds very similar to yours, the brutal truth is that your work may not be as original as you thought. So thoroughly investigate and compare works before you say that yours was stolen—you can end up wasting a lot of time and money arguing a case that a judge will ultimately rule against or even throw out."
Miranda Paquet reports:
"Writing a great subject line will ensure you attract your readers’ attention and convince them to open your message. But have you ever wondered if your subject lines could be more effective?...Your subject line is really important because it’s the first impression you’ll make on your readers. The goal of a subject line is to stand out in the inbox, grab your readers’ attention, and convince them to open your email...Remember that a lot of readers are going to be looking at your email from a mobile device, so you have a small space to work with. For best results, limit your subject line to about 40 characters (50 characters is the sweet spot on the desktop) so that nothing gets cut off. Think five to seven words...Certain language like ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Free,’ or loud punctuation like all caps or multiple exclamation points can send your email to the spam folder...Questions are great because they pique your audience’s interest. If a contact is scrolling through their inbox and they see a question, they’ll want to click on your message to get an answer from your business...By including a deadline, you’ll create a sense of urgency with your reader and you’ll show them that your message is timely and that they should open it...[P]eople love lists because it’s really easy to digest the information. They know when they open your email they’ll have a really clearly laid out set of points that they can scan through quickly. Think about what kind of lists or tips would be useful for your audience, and include it in your next email newsletter...Tweaking your subject line slightly can improve the impact of your next email newsletter."
Kristie Lorette reports:
"Whether your business is loaning money to someone or you are personally loaning money, when you write a binding promissory note, it is a legal contract between the lender and the borrower. Promissory notes are commonly written by banks, lenders and attorneys, but a promissory note written properly can be just as legal when entered into by two individuals...Write the date of the writing of the promissory note at the top of the page...Write the amount of the note. Add the amount of the loan, written in numeric value and long form (written out in words), similar to how you would write a check...Describe the note terms. Write out a description saying how the borrower is to repay the loan, such as with weekly, monthly or quarterly payments. Give the date the first payment is due by writing out the month, day and year. State the day and the months that subsequent loan payments are due as well. Finally, indicate the last day and month of the final payment on the note...Write the interest rate. Describe the interest rate of the loan in a numeric value with a percent sign and in long form. State if the interest rate is a fixed or variable rate...State if the note is secured or unsecured. If the borrower is using collateral to secure the loan, describe this on the promissory note...Include the names of both the lender and the borrower on the note, indicating which person is which...Write the complete mailing address where each payment is to be mailed...Each borrower should print and sign his name, as well as date the promissory note, to acknowledge the obligation to repay the loan...If there is more than one borrower, make sure each borrower prints, signs and dates the promissory note. Otherwise, if legal action is necessary, you can pursue it only with the borrower who signs the promissory note. The lender is not required to sign the promissory note for it to be legally binding."
Randolf Saint-Leger reports:
"Having debt hanging over your head is not [a] good feeling. But having part of your paycheck garnished because of default is an even worse feeling. Besides a poor credit score, a garnishment carries an additional stigma. The debt collector must notify your employer about the wage garnishment. Ideally, actions to stop the garnishment should occur well before it reaches that point...Assess your financial situation. This requires that you take account of all of your household income and expenses. Pull together any supporting documentation to substantiate your claim of hardship...Create a worksheet showing your sources of income minus all expenses to calculate your disposable income. This is the amount of money you have left after meeting your basic needs. A high disposable income gives a debt collector just cause to seek a wage garnishment. From a debt collector's perspective, if you're spending $100 on entertainment every month, that's $100 you can put toward your debt obligation. Remember, you have to show financial hardship...Find out the name of the person at the debt collection agency handling your case. Addressing a letter to a person rather than using a generic salutation such as 'To Whom It May Concern' adds a personal touch. Convey in your letter that you have low or no disposable income by producing specific details about your financial hardship and what caused you to default...Include with your letter all the supporting documentation you gathered, such as your household income, expenses and other pertinent information. For example, if your employer is cutting back hours, include this information. Obtain a letter from your boss attesting to this fact to bolster your claim of hardship. If you're the only person working in your household or are responsible for a dependent, include this fact in your letter...Include in your letter what steps you plan to take to address the default, such as making a reasonable effort at a payment plan. Mention any circumstances that have changed recently to make your ability to pay off the debt more likely. This conveys to the creditor your goodwill toward satisfying the debt."
"An analytical response paper, also called a critical response or a reader response, depending on the teacher and the context, is a paper written to tell your opinion about some topic or idea based on a written work, question or study of some kind. It requires critical thinking to form your ideas and find support for the ideas based on the question...Read the response directions from your instructor. The directions tell you what you are responding to and might even include a question to guide your answer...Write some short notes on your thoughts. An analytical response paper is not only your opinion about whether you agree with or like the material, but it also should include why you feel the way you do...Try to find at least two or three reasons to support your findings...Analyze the material and your thoughts on it. If you feel the information in the text is false, find points that support the falsities in the text or that make it seem false to you as a reader. Write the quotes with appropriate citation to use in your essay...Write an outline. Depending on the length requirements in the directions, you might need only two supporting paragraphs, or you might need more. The outline should point out your main ideas and provide at least two to three supporting ideas from the material...Write an essay rough draft. The format of an analytical essay is the same as a basic essay: introduction, two or three supporting paragraphs and a conclusion. Write as if the reader has not read or seen the material making up the topic of the essay and provide a little background into the topic. State your opinion clearly in the introduction, and use the body paragraphs to show how your opinion is justified. Conclude with a reminder of the support and any final thoughts before showing that you are, indeed, correct in your thinking. Include at least one paragraph that looks at the other side of the argument, and break down any hidden points that fit your topic, such as hidden hints of bias from the author...Read through the essay and ensure that it is well[-]written and logical. Make any necessary changes. Have a friend or family member read the essay as well to get a second opinion on how it came out...Rewrite the essay, making any necessary changes. Check that all the citations are correct and follow the proper format, which will vary depending on your class."
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.