“Handwrite” for more meaningful digital interactions.

When I came back from SocialCrush I had a letter on my desk from Lisa Gergely of Emulsion Arts. The address on the envelope was handwritten and inside was a handwritten note card thanking me for having lunch with her last week. It’s a tangible reminder of a company I enjoy working with. It punctuates the fact that they are talented people who care about their craft and their customers.

It’s ironic that I have just come back from a fantastic, two-day onslaught of social media training and education only to blog about a handwritten letter. But this is what all that social hub-bub is all about. Relationships and meaningful interaction.

Many scoff at social media saying it’s a way to avoid contact and conversation. And they will continue to say just that. My mindset is different. For me, social media is another door to get to know more people and gain exposure to new information and ideas. While at SocialCrush I met people I already “knew” on Twitter: @colacitygirl, @techherding, @egw74, @ryalcurtis, @nicolebcurtis, @RickCaffeinated, @willimac and others. I had many face-to-face conversations that were made possible by Twitter.

Nurturing personal relationships with customers, clients and co-workers is far better for business than starting a Facebook page or a blog. Trust, attention to detail and simple interactions like this letter are the ultimate plug-ins.

Be sure they are part of your business strategy.

I am not a mathsmith.

The upside of owning your own business is that you’re your own boss. And what that means is you own a business: yours. So, for the most part, your success or failure depends on the choices you make. Like right now. I would love to watch the season finale of Glee. Or, the Justin Timberlake-Lady GaGa Saturday Night Live from this weekend. But here I am writing a blog post for wordsmith. And that’s what I need to do rather than swoon over Blaine and the rest of the McKinley High Glee Club.

This very grown up insight follows a very educational meeting with my accountant, wherein he reassured me that I am not failing miserably as an entrepreneur. Wordsmith is actually clicking along very, very well. What I found so interesting about the meeting was his sheer command of the tangled mess that is tax law and business finance. In these two areas, I freely admit I have zero expertise. None. And that’s why I got help from someone who knows this stuff. He patiently answers my many (some outright laughable) questions and at the same time gives me the Business 101 class I never took or tuned out.

I’ve worked for twenty years, but there’s so much I’ve never had to think about before. You never realize how much there is to “working for yourself” than writing. Thankfully, there are smart people and smart software out there who can help with all that.

So you can get on with the business of being successful at what you do. Or watch the Glee finale. It’s up to you.

Camp love.

I am a South Carolina girl. I was born in Ohio, but most of the big stuff happened SOTMDL. The vacations I remember were beach trips, day trips to Lake Murray or road trips to Florida. There were First Weeks spent in Myrtle Beach and school leadership retreats in North Myrtle or Pawleys Island. A few family vacations to the barely-populated, chain-free hamlets of coastal North Carolina.

But there is one vacation experience I have come to know and love with a passion no hotel can muster: camp.

My husband’s family has deep vacation roots in Upstate New York. Generations have relaxed and unwound on the shores of Sandy Pond, just off Lake Ontario. Just outside of Syracuse near the Hughes epicenter of Central Square, the family camps are ancient by today’s standards and a little shabby with a minimum of chic. And that’s just the way they should be. No granite, no leather furniture and no air conditioning.

At camp, life doesn’t completely stop. There’s always something to do. Think about what’s for lunch. Read a book. Take the boat across the pond to swim in the lake. Go fishing. Eat a Byrne Dairy ice cream sandwich. Play golf. Maybe take the kids to the Oswego County Fair if you’re there around the Fourth of July. Lure your spouse out for a date night to the Wayside bar (down the road) or the Dinosaur (down the highway).

It’s a charming, out of the way place where generations have played, married and retired. Change is usually incremental and that’s part of what you love. The houses are much the same as they were fifty years ago.

For the first few years I went, showers were tagged on to swimming. Going water skiing? Bring the shampoo and wash your hair, too. Chances are, it’s been a few days since you washed it.

You just can’t wash off the camp feeling though. You’re born with it. Or in my case, you marry in to it. My mother-in-law has an uncanny knack for knowing the year in which each of her children and grandchildren first dipped his or her toe in Sandy Pond. Since you can’t stay away, it’s usually sometime after their baptism but before their first birthday.

There’s really not much at camp. The barest minimum of furniture, dishes, food and everyday luxuries that we can’t seem to live without at home. Yet, camp has much that’s out of reach at home. The most important thing being all of us, together.

For a short time, the Turners are not scattered all over the east coast. We are all together in the one place where people with the last names of Hughes, Turner, Fitzpatrick, Johnson and Ashcroft have gathered for years. Siblings, grandparents, spouses, cousins and a whole schmere of grandchildren. My husband and his siblings sit on the same couches and chairs their grandparents sat on years ago, they read the same dusty books their parents read, their children ride the bikes they themselves rode years ago.

At camp you’re surrounded by reminders of people loved and lost. Grainy photos, favorite chairs and coffee cups, and stories that time cannot seem to fade. They’re all there with you … sitting by the fire, skimming across the lake, cooking hot dogs on the grill, helping you round up a fourth for a late afternoon round at The Elms golf course.

It’s better than a simple vacation because it’s steeped for so many years. It’s reached a level no amount of luxury can usurp. It’s a family tradition. One we hope our boys are lucky enough to share with their children, too.

Sitting on green grass eating Byrne Dairy ice cream sandwiches while surrounded by years and years of love. That’s camp, in a nutshell.