Saturday, March 14, 2015

On Road Trips

"Road trips sound great until you're actually on one," said Alissa.

Jason and I were sitting across from our friends Alissa and Jesse at a pub in Eugene. It was nearing 9:00 p.m., and we'd been driving since noon. Dinner was the result of a spur-of-the-moment phone call about a hundred miles earlier, and we were glad we'd made it. We still had another four or so hours of driving to go, but for now we could pretend like we didn't have to return to the car soon.

Even though my heart cried, "No, I love road trips!", the more practical, tired, and coughing side of me said, "Yeah, that's actually true. Road trips are awful."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Mental To Do List

You know that thing that's always lingering in the back of your mental to do list?

  • Go to gym.
  • Go to bank.
  • Go grocery shopping.
  • Do this thing that you'll never get around to doing.
It's in italics, a thought within a thought. It's last, because everything else seems more manageable.

Maybe the gym is that last item for you. (It often makes that spot on my list.) Maybe it's calling a relative you don't talk to very often. Maybe it's reading your Bible, or reading in general.

As long as we're being honest about our last items, I should confess something. Writing has been that item for me for more than ten years. It's evolved over time and in different circumstances, but it's more or less been the same.
  • Finish homework.
  • Go to gym.
  • Write thank-you letter.
  • Write.
It's not even that I don't enjoy writing. But, just like going to the gym, sometimes it can be the initial push that's the hard, insurmountable hill between you and accomplishment and even joy. 

This blog has been no exception. I'll often think, "That would be a good blog post idea." But then I think, "Well, it's been so long, I don't think anyone would read it anyway," or, "But I think my blog needs a better purpose before I write more." I even contemplated scrapping this blog altogether and writing a completely new one. I didn't, but I did renovate this one to make myself feel better.

Yet it's even more than this. If this blog is about my life, it's been quiet because my life has been quiet. It's been, well, boring this past year or so. And I'm okay with that. Lord knows we could use some quiet!

I don't think this next year will be as boring as last year. I'm also okay with that, and I'll try and share some of the adventures with anyone who cares to read. And, with time and persistence, I think my last item will no longer be in italics, then it will slowly creep up the list, until the day that I stop making it a part of my mental chore list and start joyfully making it a part of living.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Process of Writing Thank-You Cards

The Process of Writing Thank-You Cards

Months 1-3 after wedding: Time is spent recovering from wedding, returning/exchanging items, using gift cards, and putting together wedding album. The bride's mind keeps pushing the thank-you cards to a dark corner, remembering that etiquette allows an entire year. The groom has most likely learned to tag along on shopping trips and say yes to bride's decisions, but may or may not even realize that thank-you cards are necessary ever.

Month 4: The bride has started to plan her thank-you cards, the groom listening patiently. She imagines cute, hand-cut cards with calligraphy and perfectly matched wedding colors. She may have found the perfect example on Pinterest.

Month 5: The bride has turned to Shutterfly or Costco for photo cards. She's played with designs for hours, wrote and rewrote the basic text, and looked enviously at different bloggers' cards. The groom has offered very strong emotional support.

Month 6: After seeing the cost of ordering dozens of photo cards, the bride has either a) Gone into mourning, complete with sackcloth and ashes, b) started to eat Ramen for every meal in an attempt to save money, or c) decided to revert back to Months 1-3, constantly reminding her conscience that she still has 6 months of leeway (after all, people could still send gifts!). At this point the groom has either a) provided cookie dough and chocolate for his mourning bride, b) secretly eaten at Subway every day because he's sick of Ramen, or c) decided to go on an extended (and well-justified) camping trip.

Month 7: The bride has found cheap thank-you cards that, under some lighting, may be near one of her wedding colors. She buys them in desperation, with the full support of her groom. She now spends the next week handwriting carefully formed thank-yous, addressing envelopes, cutting her tongue on the seals, and trying to figure out what else to write besides "Thank you for the wonderful turkey statue." The groom has dutifully signed every note.

Month 8: After developing carpal tunnel and having the taste of glue in her mouth for days, the bride has successfully completed her thank-you cards. Until she remembers the $25 check from the groom's great-uncle Melvin. Sighing deeply, she looks at her guest list again--she's forgotten five gifts. The cards came in multiples of 50, and she has none leftover. At this point the groom becomes the most helpful person in the entire process, as he calmly talks the bride out of jumping off the nearest cliff.

Month 12: The deadline has come and gone. The bride has stepped away from the cards long enough to remember why she is writing them--she is a blessed woman who has many friends. The groom is relieved, until he finds out that the process will be repeated with the birth of their first child.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hannah Comerford ~ Freelance Writer and Editor

When do we start to feel grown up? I can think of a few times when I felt like I had become an adult--when I first got my own car insurance, when I first had a full-time job, when I flew to another country on my own, when I got engaged . . .

But there's something different about graduating from college. When you actually have a degree, and you realize that you could become a professional. You could do the things you actually wanted to do. There's nobody looking over your shoulder giving you a grade--this is the real thing!

I'm feeling it.

I have my own business license now. My name, Hannah Comerford, is now a business. Weird, huh? It means that I have my own business, I am a freelance writer and editor, and the IRS can now take all my income. Seriously, though, it means that I AM a writer and editor.

Is this scary? Heck yes. Is it exciting? Definitely. Did I think I would actually get to do this right out of college? Nope!

It still feels strange. I had a panic moment the other day when I realized that I was actually doing this. It feels a bit like the first time you drive a car by yourself. "Really, Mom? You actually trust me with your vehicle? And this is legal? What?!" Good thing I really enjoy driving, and I am a very competent driver.

I don't plan on trying to make my business full time, or even investing in advertising any time soon. After all the work we've been doing for Jason Comerford Photography, I don't want to get heavily involved in the administrative and marketing sides of small business. That said, my first choice is to contract for The Scribe Source. I love my "boss," I love the work I get to do, I love the organization, I love not having to deal with the logistics. However, I would certainly not deny someone the pleasure of hiring me to edit or write for them.

If you would like some language help yourself, or know someone who might be interested in hiring an editor or writer, email me at

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Purpose of Grammar

In the past month or two Jason has started watching the Vlog Brothers' years of video blogs. I usually am at my computer listening, and I've come to highly appreciate them and their wonderfully nerdy topics. This is probably my favorite one so far, though. It's very funny and makes a great point about the purpose of grammar and correcting it. It's a great reminder. So watch!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

How to Correct

My gracious husband can attest to the fact that I can't always turn off my editor's eye. Maybe that's why I need to proofread, so I can let off some of my steam. This is also why occasional conversations with fellow grammarians about little style issues is essential for my well-being. (Did you know it's now considered standard practice to leave out the hyphen in email?)

One of the things I learned in my Publishing Procedures class was how to edit tactfully. We were given practice assignments where we had to, as gracefully as possible, point out to a pretend writer the atrocious errors in his manuscript. I think I could still use work on this, but I'm very glad Professor Solveig Robinson drilled into me the importance of tactfulness.

Because tactfulness is so important, I wanted to share this blog post I found today. It's written by a business writing expert whom I admire and concerns the right way to correct someone's typos. It's short, so please take the time to read it and let me know what you think. Are there any other tips you can think of for being tactful? Should someone respond to correction emails? If so, what's the most graceful way to thank the reader?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Value (and a Cute Dog)

This isn't our dog. We don't have a dog, unfortunately. This dog, Roxy, belongs to our friends the Menas. Now that I hooked you with a photo of a super cute dog, I'm going to talk about what I really wanted to talk about. Gotcha! But seriously, please read. 

Most people who know me know that I love finding a good deal. Whenever I come home from Target or a particularly good grocery store trip, I make Jason patiently listen to me explain all the sales and clearance items I found and the grand total of savings. He's a good sport.

But being on this side of the business now, I'm getting a different perspective. When Jason is hired to shoot a wedding, they're paying for his education, his camera and computer equipment, hours of not just shooting but also processing work, his experience, and more. And he's trying to support a family, just like any other professional photographer. In the long run, it's not as expensive as it seemed. His work has a high value.

Now, how does value work in my everyday life? I don't like spending $12 or more to see a movie. I just don't. However, I'd probably be upset if I saw a movie and it had horrible acting, poor writing, and cheesy special effects, even if I only paid $4 to see it. Yet if I'm going to ask filmmakers to produce high quality films, I'm going to have to pay them what it's worth. So, if a director is spending millions of dollars to make a great movie, maybe I shouldn't complain about spending $12 to see it on a huge screen with surround sound while sitting in plush chairs with friends.

I'm trying to not complain about prices anymore. I still love sales, and I still am a bit of a cheapskate (I blame my Scottish genes), but I am beginning to understand value better. Also, in the end, I know that God is going to supply all my needs. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so I think He can handle my finances. I don't need to worry about what I'll eat or wear, because He will take care of me.