Writing Samples by Stacey J. Miller
You can see my latest two books on Amazon.
1. Getting Past Childhood Bullying: How Adults Can Recover From Trauma That Began at School (BPT Press, 2018)
2. Feline Operation Barfitty Blues: The College Emissions Scandal (BPT Press, 2019)
Writing Sample 1
The Truth About Root Canals
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal, which means removing an infected nerve, is a generally accepted way to relieve serious tooth pain. Since the tooth's nerve serves no vital function, you can eliminate it with impunity in the event of severe tooth decay, injury, or infection.
Most of the time, root canals are relatively safe and effective. There are few risks associated with having the procedure, while there are many potential drawbacks to avoiding it.
So how do you know whether you should take the step of having a root canal? If you're experiencing intolerable pain while you eat or otherwise put pressure on your tooth; feeling extreme sensitivity to hot or cold; seeing a protrusion or swelling /near the source of your pain; or finding that your tooth is darkening, it may be time to heed your dentist's advice and take action.
Stoicism is Vastly Overrated
Perhaps you believe that only weak, ineffectual people take their toothaches seriously. You, on the other hand, are tough enough to ignore your dentist's advice to see an endodontist.
However, you may be mistaken. Your ability to ignore pain doesn't necessarily mean that you are brave or heroic. Rather, it may be an indication that you are simply foolhardy enough to risk sacrificing your tooth. Ignoring your dentist's advice is nothing to brag about. You have nothing to gain by continuing to suffer from a toothache and far more to lose than you may imagine.
Avoiding a root canal that your dentist recommends can result in:
● Prolonged and unnecessary pain
● Worsening infection
● Exacerbating the problem and exposing yourself to serious health risks
● Losing a tooth which, ironically, could cost you far more than having a root canal
Scientific studies have found that, over the long term, a root canal can help you retain a tooth that might otherwise have to be extracted due to decay or bacterial infection. An untreated toothache may lead you to a lifetime of needless regret.
It's Easier Than You Think
While many people believe that having a root canal is the most painful imaginable dental procedure, that simply isn't true. In fact, endodontists and general dentists perform more than 25 million root canals annually, and only 17% of their patients describe it as "their most painful dental experience." Fully 89% of people who have had a root canal are satisfied with the results. Enduring the pain of a toothache may be far worse than undergoing the procedure to relieve it.
What Will You Pay for a Root Canal
If you're sold on the idea of having a root canal, you may want to prepare yourself for the costs associated with it. Having a root canal nearly always means having a crown, too. In rare cases, patients who have a root canal require only a filling afterward.
A root canal procedure can range in cost from $300-$2,000, while a crown can cost an additional $500-$3,000. A dental filling, of course, would cost hundreds of dollars less than a crown.
The actual costs, however, depend on the type and placement of the tooth involved. Incisors, molars, canines, and premolars present different challenges, and whether they are upper or lower teeth also matters.
The complexity of the root canal may differ from one patient to the next, even if the type of tooth is the same. For example, having fused roots or more than one root can complicate the procedure.
Another factor in the expense is the type of crown or fillings that the endodontist or dentist uses. For example, a crown may be made of ceramic, porcelain-fused to metal, gold alloys, or base metal alloys. Their durability may differ, depending upon the material. In other words, you may get what you pay for.
While having a root canal and crown can be expensive, there are ways to minimize the costs. Insurance, the government, and dental schools may help defray the expenses.
The Root Canal Procedure
Here's what to expect when you undergo a root canal. The endodontist or dentist will numb your tooth, and then he or she will remove the tooth's root or pulp from the root canal (which is the space inside the root). Depending on the amount of pain you experienced before the root canal, you will likely experience little, or no, further pain during the surgery.
The next steps vary according to patients' specific situations. However, endodontists or dentists may:
● Take X-rays of the tooth
● Place medicine inside the root canal to get rid of bacteria
● Seal the root canal with a rubber-like material
● Place a temporary filling inside the tooth
If the infection has spread, the endodontist or dentist may prescribe antibiotics. You should take the medication and return to your general dentist, as directed, to remove the temporary filling. Your dentist will either create a permanent dental filling or, more likely, provide you with a crown.
What to Expect After the Surgery
In the meantime, here's what to expect after you have had your root canal. Once the local anesthesia wears off, you may experience mild pain from the surgery itself and as a result of opening your jaw for an extended time period. The endodontist or dentist may prescribe over-the-counter or prescription painkillers.
Get back in touch with endodontist or dentist if:
● The pain lasts more than a few days
● Your temporary filling falls out
● You experience swelling
● The original toothache returns
● You have an allergic reaction to the medicine
● Your bite feels uneven
Don't bite down on the treated tooth until the root canal, and the follow up procedures, have been completed. Scrupulously floss, brush, and clean your teeth.
Myths About the Risks of Root Canals
You may be reluctant to get a root canal because you have heard the procedure can cause health problems. This misinformation was based on a dubious study that was conducted nearly a century ago.
Specifically, the 1920s study by Dr. Weston Price said that root canals can cause cancer and other diseases. However, the study was conducted in nonsterile environments under poorly controlled conditions. Other researchers have not been able to duplicate its results.
There is no reliable data that connects the procedure to cancer or any other diseases. On the other hand, there is evidence that failing to undergo a root canal can endanger your health. Losing your teeth due to decay, injury, or infection can threaten your ability to socialize, eat, and enjoy the high quality of life that you deserve.
Root Canals Failures
Even though Dr. Price's study lacks credibility, it is true that no surgery is entirely free of risks. The question to ask yourself is whether the benefits of the survey outweigh any potential risks. In the case of root canals, you will find that they do.
Millions of people safely undergo root canals each year. Endodontists and general dentists conduct multiple procedures each day that are successful and produce lasting results.
That said, a high number of those surgeries result in failure. This may be due to persistence of bacteria, inadequate root filling, improper coronal seal, complications of instruments, and overlooking a canal during treatment.
Patients who experience failed root canals require further treatment. This can increase the cost of the procedure and prolong the healing time. Even in those cases, however, dentists still would consider extracting a tooth to be a last resort.
It Still Beats the Alternative
Root canals have their risks, and few people would ever describe having a root canal as enjoyable. However, root canals do not deserve their negative reputation.
The hyperbole surrounding the pain associated with root canals may cause you to panic. Fear of paying for a root canal, and failure to understand that there may be ways to mitigate its costs, can persuade you to worry far too much for your own good.
Having a root canal certainly becomes an easier choice when you look at the facts. People may show far more enthusiasm for undergoing a root canal when they realize that the only other reasonable treatment option for unremitting pain is a tooth extraction. Pulling a tooth can be far more dangerous than a root canal, because it increases the risk of allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Since there is no perfect replacement for a tooth, we should all do whatever is required to keep our natural teeth for the duration of our lifetimes.
The Perks of Better Dental Health
Perhaps taking care of your teeth doesn't strike you as a priority. Your toothache may not strike you as a big deal. However, you must take attend to your dental problems to maximize your chances of maintaining your overall physical health.
Bacteria from an oral infection can metastisize. That can cause health problems that go far beyond your teeth. Ignoring an infection that begins in your mouth eventually can lead to cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, or even diabetes. Having a root canal can be a wise investment in your health and comfort, and it can provide you with many reasons to keep on smiling.
Kids Room Ideas - DIY Projects Your Child Can Help With!
Kids Room Matters
Your child won't be a child forever. Sure, your kid sleeps in a bedroom in your home now. But that won't always be true.
Someday, your kid will become a young adult. Then he or she will go to college and inhabit another space. First, your child will move into a dorm or an apartment. Then, your young adult will be ready to move into more permanent spaces. Perhaps your child will own a condo or a house.
In any case, it's never too soon to help your children learn to appreciate the bedrooms they inhabit. They are the first pieces of real estate over which your children have dominion.
Children's bedrooms are their sanctuaries. They are safe places where your children sleep, entertain their friends, do their homework, or enjoy some quiet time. You can help your children turn their bedrooms into so much more than just another set of walls. With your help, your kids can transform their rooms into the most spectacular places in your home.
You are the adult, and you will always be in charge of keeping your children safe. You can't grant your child jurisdiction over much, but you can let your children be in charge of turning their bedrooms into rooms that make them proud.
Work with your children to make their rooms as welcoming and comfortable as they can be. Do-it-yourself projects are great ways to let your kids turn their rooms into their castles. Let your children participate in making their dreams come true within their own walls. It's a simple way to provide your kids with a sense of accomplishment in a job well done.
Where to Find DIY Projects for Kids Rooms
You won't have a problem finding enough DIY projects for kids rooms. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks are full of exciting DIY projects for turning kids rooms into havens for children of all ages. Conduct an online search for "children's bedroom ideas," "kids room projects," and "arts and crafts."
Ask other parents for their suggestions. Keep an eye out for projects you've seen other children complete.
You'll find an endless supply of potential projects. The challenge will be to narrow down the possibilities. In the universe of kids room do-it-yourself projects, you'll find ideas to fit every situation.
Focus on Your Children
You may find DIY projects that look like fun and guarantee amazing results—for someone else's children or you. Remember that this isn't an exercise in pleasing anyone else besides your children. Resist the temptation to choose projects based on what appeals to other family members, friends, or even you. Focus on your children instead.
The point of working on DIY projects for kids rooms is to enrich your children's lives and make them happy. Find DIY projects that are most likely to turn ordinary rooms into extraordinary spaces in which your children can thrive.
Keep your children in mind as you select DIY projects, and focus on what your kids care about. Avoid the temptation to dictate the best ideas or the ways in which you will carry out your projects. Offer your advice and the benefit of your wisdom, but let your children lead the way. They will come away with rooms they helped create, and they will appreciate the fact that you let them take a leadership role in creating personalized spaces.
No two children are alike. The DIY projects that would be perfect for one child would be entirely inappropriate for another. Kids have their likes and dislikes, just as they have their strengths and weaknesses. Respect those preferences and differences.
Every child has a healthy obsession with something. Choosing a DIY project for kids rooms should begin there. What does your child love? Here are some starter ideas:
· animated movies starring princesses, superheroes, or robots
· horses, pandas, or other animals
Use your child's passions, talents, and interests as a launching pad. Together, you can turn your child's bedroom into a prehistoric world; a fairy tale; a board game; a laptop; a zoo; or a luxury car dealership.
Does your child want to be a performer? Perhaps his or her bedroom can become a television set. Is your child showing interest in working in the field of education? Then your child's bedroom might evolve into classroom. Does your child want to become an astronaut or astrologer? In that case, you might turn your child's bedroom into the solar system, a spaceship, or another planet. The possibilities are limited only by your child's imagination and your willingness to indulge it.
Types of Rooms
As you sort through possible DIY projects, keep in mind the things that make your project unique. For example, your child might have a bedroom that's smaller, or larger, than usual. You might be working with a boy's room or a girl's room. Your child may be physically challenged, or he or she may need to keep things as consistent as possible.
Maybe you have multiple children who share a room or one child who frequently entertains other kids. You might have older children and toddlers who share a bedroom. Perhaps your have young relatives of various ages who often camp out in your child's room.
List your goals, and decide which of the potential DIY projects best suit your needs. Let your children help you decide which projects would be the most likely to fit your space and lifestyle.
If your children are older, you can trust them to know which DIY projects they'd be most excited about launching. They may also have the skills, and talent, to help you get the job done right. Your teenagers may know their way around tools and crafts. In fact, you may well find them teaching you how to proceed. Therefore, if you're helping older children with DIY room projects, your may have more options.
Younger kids can still help you choose, and complete, room design projects. However, they may have to depend on safety scissors, tape, crayons, and washable paints rather than screwdrivers, hammers, wallpaper, or glitter.
Of course, make sure that anything you add to the room is safe for the children who occupy it. Anything that can be chewed, swallowed, or pulled can compromise a young child's safety. Avoid introducing objects with sharp edges or heavy items that can tip over.
Types of Rooms
As you discover possible DIY projects, keep in mind the things that make your project unique. For example, your child might have a bedroom that's smaller, or larger, than usual. You might be working with a boy's room or a girl's room.
Choose the Scope of the Project
If your child and you choose to embark upon a major room renovation project, then you might work together to overhaul the walls, floors, closets, and the like. On average, it costs $7,880 to overhaul a 10' x 12' bedroom. For many people, that's a large expense. If your child can contribute to the cost of redesigning the room, or if your child has earned a lavish gift in another way, then you might want to consider choosing a DIY project of that magnitude.
However, consider your mutual abilities, skill sets, and attention spans. Do you have the knowledge required to reconstruct your child's bedroom, or is it possible you will have to call in the professionals to help midway through the project?
If you begin an large and expensive project and find yourself unable to complete it, you might have to scramble to find another room where your child can temporarily sleep, funds to hire experts, or patience to see through a project for which you have lost interest. Even worse, you might find yourself having to break a promise you made and disappointing your child.
To avoid that possibility, you may want to choose smaller, more affordable projects. Here are some options to consider:
· crates to store toys
· an indoor tree house
· customized bookshelves
· wall hangings
· pegboards and corkboards
Choose a mixture of projects, including some that will require ongoing effort and others that will provide instant gratification. Let your child experience the rewards of working hard. At the same time, orchestrate some successes. The revolving bookcase may not work as you had hoped, and that may be a letdown. But you can make up for it by creating the best poster, dollhouse, or reading tent in the neighborhood!
All Benefits Count
You may not always get the results you were seeking, but all benefits count. A DIY Kids Room project can be a bonding experience.
You might have to buy three times as much wallpaper to complete your project with your child as you would need to do it alone. But your child's joy in helping, and the skills he or she gains, will be worth far more than the cost of the supplies. Also, you'll create shared memories that you can treasure together.
How to Write Catchy Product Descriptions
Meta: Your product descriptions have to be more than accurate and
informative. They must also engage visitors and turn them into customers.
Why Product Descriptions Matter
You know what you're selling. As long as you put those items and the product descriptions on your web site, people will buy them. Right? Unfortunately, that is not the way it works.
Product descriptions must do more than inform visitors. They must hit responsive chords with the people who read them.
Writing product descriptions that work are a key component of solid copywriting. That's a skill with which some people are born. However, the rest of us can develop it.
Catchy product descriptions should relay more than the bare facts. They should engage potential buyers at a visceral level. They have to hook your visitors, but that isn't enough. They must keep your visitors emotionally involved. Catchy product descriptions retain potential customers' interest until, finally, they put the item into their shopping carts and check out.
Do You Define Great Copy?
You might be a terrific writer. Perhaps you have even turned your great writing into a sales tool. Content writing can help your SEO ranking. Blogging consistently and authoritatively can bring new customers to your web site. Writing and publishing articles can help you build credibility and expand your client base. Your writing skills may be helping you increase your visibility and your selling potential.
However, writing great product descriptions is a different beast. Using the voice that is perfect for, say, writing a guest blog will probably not help your customers decide they must buy your product. Excellent copywriting is a separate art from writing almost anything else. The good news is that you can transfer your writing skills from what format to another. You can learn the technique of writing copy that sells.
What Not to Do When You Write Copy
Some people assume that the only point of writing product descriptions is to sell. They figuratively beat their customers over the head with a hard sales pitch.
They capitalize letters to shout at their customers. They use boldfaced and underlined type to make their words scream even more loudly. They use hyperbolic language and make impossible promises. Those literary devices turn off readers and encourage them to disregard everything you have told them.
Perhaps they are copying the techniques they have seen other people use when they're writing sales letters. Unfortunately, their techniques probably won't work most of the time. Using a hard sales technique can turn off the very people you want to attract.
What to Do Instead
The purpose of copywriting isn't to beat your visitors over the head and harass them into buying the products you're selling. Instead, it is to connect with your potential customers emotionally and motivate them to buy your products.
However, to create a bond with a customer, you have to reach the right type of person. That means getting to know who will buy your product or service.
Your product or service may be perfect for some people. However, everyone has different needs and preferences. There is no product or service that fits the bill for every person. Some people will love what you are selling and will recommend it to everyone they know. Other people won't understand the point of spending money on that product or service.
Therefore, your job is to understand the differences between the people who need what you have to sell and those who do not. You begin that process by getting to know your ideal customers. Find out:
· where they live
· how they make buying decisions
· what motivates them
· what they lack
· what they'll pay
· when they'll buy
Envision the people who are most likely to buy your products speedily and who will find the items you sell indispensable. For example, maybe your ideal customer is a young woman who is single. Perhaps her pets are her pride and joy, and she doesn't yet have children. During the holiday season, she might be willing to indulge the furry members of her family in extravagant toys, treats. If she lives in a part of the country where winters are cold, she might also be in the market for clothing, blankets, and furniture that can help keep her pets warm and cozy. You might be able to sell the portraits of her pets, or products such as calendars, mugs, and greeting cards that incorporate her dogs' or cats' images.
If you catch the same potential customer in June, she might not be willing to spend the same amount of money on extras for her pets. She might, however, be in the market for more practical products such as brushes, nail clippers, collars, leashes, bowls, toothpaste, and water fountains.
Once you've defined your ideal customer and learned everything you can about that person, move on. You can find customers who fit into a secondary category. The more customers you can identify and understand, the greater your chances of writing product descriptions that answer their needs.
Elements of Great Copywriting
Everyone sells everything online. You might be selling knitting patterns for a three-eyed llama with a purple tail. No one else is selling anything like that, right? Check it out in your favorite search engine. You might be surprised.
Anything you can imagine, find, or create is probably not unique. Somewhere, some other person or company is probably selling it. If you want customers, you have to let them know why your product or service is unique.
A winning product description differentiates your brand from others. It explains, from the customer's point of view, why your product or service is better than others. In fact, it drives home the message that your product or service is exactly what they need now.
You must do more than let visitors know what you're selling. You have to let them know why your product or service matters. You'll need to find an angle that your competitors have missed.
Perhaps other home cleaning services focus on their years of experience, reliability, and budget. Those assets might be tough to match. Instead, you have to figure out where you add value. Perhaps you are available on short notice. Your copy might read: "Did you just find out the in-laws are coming for the weekend? That's not a problem. ABC cleaners can get your home ready before your visitors have finished packing."
If you only convey the facts, you will miss an opportunity to connect with your potential customers. Your goal is to help them understand more than your product or service. You have to share with them an experience.
That is why commercials for luxury cars feature well-heeled drivers in exotic locations; soft drink ads depict carefree friends cavorting around at the beach; big box stores show high-energy families who are piling their carriages high, and vacation spots show beautiful people with perfect bodies relaxing on the beach.
You're not selling only a product or service. You are packing an experience that people feel they are lacking. In a sense, you are exploiting a need you see in your ideal customers. You are selling them the possibility of feeling joyful and better about themselves.
The Rules of Good Writing
Even though composing catchy product descriptions is different from other types of writing, the same rules apply. Remember the rules of good writing. Use the active, rather than passive, voice. Avoid redundancies. Vary your sentence structures so that the rhythm changes. Replace adjective and adverbs with descriptive nouns and active verbs.
Keep your sentences short, and write clearly. Customers have to understand what you're selling. Avoid jargon and anything abstract. Ambiguity will confuse people and, potentially, turn them away. Keep related words together, and make sure your writing is specific.
Also, communicate honestly. If you make claims you can't support, potential customers might tune out everything else you've said.
Write a great headline. You can't retain a customer's attention unless you capture it!
Hire an editor. Nothing will turn customers off as quickly as typographical errors.
Beyond Good Writing
Let's face it, though. You don't want to write well. You want to write extraordinary catchy product descriptions that sell.
In other words, you want to write seductive copy. Romancing your readers and persuading them to buy the dream you're selling requires more than good writing. It involves captivating them. As with other types of writing, there are tricks to the copywriting trade.
If you attempt to inform your readers, you probably have lost the sale. Visitors don't want to hear a series of facts. They want solutions to their problems. They want to fantasize. Help them.
Show your visitors how great their lives would be if only they were holding your product in their hands, or they hired you to perform a service for them. You are not telling them how long the pair of shoes you're selling will last, who made them, or how much they cost. You are showing the executive how her colleagues will admire her put-together look at their next meeting. You are promising the health care provider that, even after he stays on his feet for an entire shift, your shoes will keep him as comfortable as if he were wearing slippers.
Use sound bites and memorable phrases. Let your visitors know that your shoes can turn an ordinary vacation into an adventure, a story to tell their grandchildren, or something to brag about at the next networking event they attend.
Good writing may sell your visitors on how well you can string words together. Writing catchy product descriptions will convince customers to buy whatever it is you have to sell.