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Writing, SEO, Content Marketing, Novel Writing, Work From Home, Content Writing, Organization, Content Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media

You Can’t Beat a Good Fit and Great Style

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It occurred to me recently that content marketing is a lot like shopping for clothes. No, seriously. There seem to be parallels.

For instance, when I’m looking for a dress, there’s a lot to think about. Is it for a special occasion, for when I want to dress up just a little bit more, or even more flowy and casual that I can relax in? Then there’s the kind of statement I want to make. Am I trying to make a good impression and command respect at a business meeting? Am I trying to use my style to give a visual snapshot of my personality? Kind of reminds me of when I’m thinking about my clients’ brand and tone when I’m writing content for them.

Then there’s the length of a dress or skirt. These days, anything goes. Mini dresses are a little more fun and flirty, coming above the knee. These were never for me, although I consider myself to have a fun personality. I just don’t think my knees are my best feature.

Maxi dresses were popular in the 1970’s and came around again a few years ago. I like the way these look on other people. But they don’t work for me, because they make me feel encumbered. There’s also the fact that I’m a clumsy person and seem to get my feet hung in the hem of longer skirts. Yep, it happens.

The midi dress, which comes down to the knee or just below it, works just fine for me. I get enough coverage without feeling weighed down. I find the “midi” is also my preference when it comes to writing a blog. I want to make sure my audience gets the information they need. But I don’t want to write so much that they get bored and check out before finishing. Or worse, they quickly scroll down to see right off how long it will be and say, “No, thank you.”

Sure, attention spans are shorter these days. But 200-250 words, which I liken to the “mini,” may not be enough to give the reader what they need. On the other hand, 800-2,000 words, the “maxi,” is way too long. But 400-600 words, the “midi,” hits that sweet spot of grabbing and holding the reader’s attention and giving them information they seek. Easy, breezy, yet structured and steady.

I have to admit, in both cases, a good fit and great style are worth strivi for.

Writing, Content Writing, Novel Writing, Work From Home, Content Marketing, Public Relations

So Glad I Earn a Living Doing What I Love

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Not too long ago, I was jarred by a conversation with an acquaintance. They told me that they don’t like their job. I mean, this isn’t like a trying to get by until something better comes along job. This is what some would consider a pretty coveted career. But what surprised me the most was that they seem resigned to that fate. It was simply a matter of fact.

Surely they have gifts and talents that they’re wasting and aspirations they aren’t exploring that would make them feel fulfilled. Instead, they choose to spend the majority of their day, almost every day of the week, doing something they don’t like. And they’re okay with that.

This is incomprehensible to me. I’ve always known I wanted to write and never settled for anything else. I’ve always been a writer, in one form or another. From those childhood days of scratching out little stories and reading, always reading, my path was set.

That conversation made me even more thankful that I earn my living doing what I love. It’s a gift I cherish. Of course, the way I use that gift has changed over the years. I spent most of my career as a newspaper journalist. But even when the industry began changing a few years ago and I began thinking of a new path, I still wanted to write. Even when well meaning friends suggested other career paths, there was just one road I wanted to be on. Fortunately, content writing came along as the perfect transition. Add my foray into novel writing, and I couldn’t be happier.

I hope that person one day finds what they love and pursues it. As for me, I’m glad I’ve found my calling in writing. I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.

Amazon Studios, Hollywood, Library, Netflix, novel writing, Performing Arts, Reading, summer reading, Writing, writing a book, YA Novel, Young Adult Novel

What A Great Pairing

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Earlier this week The Hollywood Reporter announced that several new shows are planned to stream on Amazon Prime that are inspired by young adult novels. The end game is to target a younger audience.

I have to say I love it. Still, this is nothing new. Books, especially in the YA genre, have been inspiring cinema since the silent-film days, with younger viewers set as the ideal audience. For instance, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables first hit the silver screen in that melodramatic era. Since then, it’s been reinterpreted again and again. Most recently in the Netflix series Anne with an E.

Of course, I can go on and on with an endless list of YA titles transferred to both film and TV. But instead, I’ll just say I’m so glad to see this trend continue. For one thing, it’s a great way to encourage young readers. In my own experience, I can’t count how many times I became hooked by a movie or show and then intrigued when I found out it was based on a book or novel series. I had to read it. Of course, it works the other way too. YA novel fans eagerly scrutinize what they see on the screen to see whether it lives up to what’s found in the pages of their favorite read.

But today’s young readers (and those young at heart who love a good YA novel) are more sophisticated than past generations. It’s no wonder. Life is a lot harder, issues are more complex and challenging. Not to mention the fact that we’re a lot more open as a society and ready to talk about things rather than push them under the rug. The stories we crave reflect all of that.

Kudos to new Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke for recognizing that and delivering to the streaming service. It’s exciting to see how Lauren Oliver’s Panic, Sarah Streicher’s Daredevil’s, and Marja-Lewis Ryan’s 6 Balloons will translate to the small screen.

As a fan of the YA genre, I’m glad to see it evolve and continue to get attention. As a writer hoping to one day publish in the genre, it simply gives me hope that my own work might someday gain a following in both settings.

 

 

Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, Library, novel writing, Reading, summer reading, Uncategorized, Writing, writing a book

Let’s Hear It For Harry!

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This week marks the 20th anniversary of the release of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States. I’m a huge fan of Rowling and her work and just couldn’t let it pass without giving it some props. I mean, this is a book that really shook things up.

For one thing, Harry Potter’s seven-book adventure got kids hooked on reading. That’s no easy task and never has been. But as a lifelong avid reader, I heartily believe in its value. I’ve always believed that getting someone to read is like finding a friend. It just takes the right connection.

Rowling made that connection with unequivocal success. The idea of an awkward boy with a steamer trunk of issues and family drama just trying to find his place in the world is universal. Add the magic, adventure, sports, teen drama, mystery, danger, intrigue all set in an unforgettable world and you’ve got lightning in a bottle (or on the forehead). It’s no wonder the Harry Potter series has sold more than 450 million copies across the globe.

But we all know that Harry Potter’s appeal extends way beyond its middle-school target audience. I am among the adults who stood in line at the bookstore, waiting to get the latest installment. Yep, Harry Potter made it cool for adults to read middle grade and young adult novels. And that trend has not waned since. Thanks, Rowling.

Harry Potter has even inspired scientists, thanks to the cloak of invisibility. That magical cloak enabling its wearer to travel anywhere unnoticed could certainly come in handy in the real world. In fact, researchers on both coasts have been working to develop a material that can become sight unseen.

Of course, Rowling’s own experience as an author inspires me in my writing journey. Things that happened in her own life shaped the story. She has said many times that if she hadn’t lost her mother while working on Harry Potter, it would have been a completely different saga. That’s the same for all of us as writers because we infuse our own experiences or observations into our work.

Getting that first manuscript published was no easy task, either. No fewer than 12 publishers rejected Rowling before she got a deal. The naysayers snubbed the very thing that, well, changed everything. That’s food for thought as we yet-to-publish authors prepare to peddle our own work.

So to J.K. Rowling and her work that captures the imagination, I say, let’s hear it for Harry!

Actor, Book Review, Business & Money, Business and Money, Content Marketing, Hollywood, Library, Los Angeles, Networking, Performing Arts, Reading, Social Media, summer reading, Writing, Writing, Content Writing, Novel Writing, Work From Home

“Before LA Kills You” Is a Must Read With Universal Truths

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I recently finished reading Before LA Kills You by Jonathan Langley. Available on Amazon, this book is a quintessential guide for anyone looking to make the big move to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams of acting in Hollywood.

Langley has been in LA on the acting scene for the better part of a decade. Although he’s not a household name, the lessons he passes on from his own experience are top notch. He does this with a great amount of wit that’s guaranteed to have the reader constantly laughing and getting curious looks from passersby if perusing the pages in public.

The fun starts from the first page with a forward by actor Beau Wirick, who is best known for his role of Sean Donahue in all nine seasons of The Middle. Wirick sets the tone by summing up his own experience in the industry with self-deprecating wit.

I know, I know. I’m not an actor and have no Hollywood aspirations. But I was intrigued by the book’s concept. Plus, I’m a fan of Wirick’s on-screen work and wanted to check it out.

The truth is, I love reading all kinds of books. I do lean toward novels and a dive into a non-fiction work was long overdue.

After reading it, I found that Before LA Kills You could be equally helpful to anyone just starting off on their own – in any industry. Anyone with a little imagination can apply the lessons Langley details in each chapter to their own life.

For instance, in the chapter, “How Much Money Should I Have Before I Move?” Langley walks the reader through how much to squirrel away before heading to LA and why they’ll need that amount. Well, as someone who’s moved quite a bit in her lifetime, I know that relocating anywhere costs. So, it pays to know how much it will take to make a move and plan accordingly.

Langley also advises the reader about life skills that are universal for getting by in today’s world. Everything from marketing your brand on social media and your own website to knowing how to present yourself at networking events. While he addresses those topics from an actor’s perspective, his wise words are universal truths that can benefit anyone.

So if you or someone you know is even thinking of chasing their Hollywood dream with a big move to the City of Angles, Before LA Kills You is a must read. The universal life principles make it an equally beneficial read for anyone striking out on their own for the first time.

Content Marketing, novel writing, Public Relations, Uncategorized, Writing, writing a book, Writing, Content Writing, Novel Writing, Work From Home

The Juggling Act

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When I was a kid, I always wished I could juggle. The art of keeping balls or oranges in perfect perpetual motion simply fascinated me. But try as I might, I was never any good at it. I just didn’t have what it took to master that skill. Boo.

Little did I realize that as a freelance content marketing writer, part-time university public relations writer, and aspiring novelist, I would actually be juggling – just a little differently than I imagined in the days of my youth.

It may seem a little cheesy. But I believe the same tools are needed to be successful in both cases.

 

Skill and Practice

No one who starts juggling is going to get it right the first time. Of course it takes a natural ability. But it also takes a lot of practice and perseverance before it pays off.

The same is true for a writer of any kind. I’ve always loved writing and I’ve never stopped learning and refining my craft. As a kid, I penned forgettable short stories. When I got older, I learned the craft of storytelling in the form of journalism. I did that for many years before transitioning to pr and content marketing. Even that was a learning process needed to adapt to that form of storytelling. And my foray into novel writing has been an ongoing learning process.

 

Focus

A juggler has to know where every item he or she is handling is at all times. Otherwise, disaster strikes.

That’s certainly true for me, as a writer. I owe it to my clients to be focused on each project I work on in my day job. As an aspiring novelist, I owe it to myself to focus on the story that begs to be told.

 

Flexibility

A juggler is always going to encounter the unexpected. Being flexible enough to react and rebound without missing a beat is crucial to literally keeping all the balls in the air.

Flexibility is big for me as a writer who works from home. I need to keep a schedule, but also be open when the unexpected happens. I often need to swap my projects around. Sometimes it’s to meet a deadline. At other times, I need to hop on another project if I’m held up for some reason on a different one. Either way, I need to keep going while adjusting to what the day brings.

Suffice it to say, my younger self might be surprised to learn that today my life as a writer is an actual juggling act.

Content Marketing, Networking, Public Relations, Social Media, Work From Home, Content Writing, Organization

Content Marketing Confusion Hard to Follow

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Unfollow.

It’s a dreaded word in the social media realm. Unfortunately, I found myself clicking on that button just this afternoon. It was prompted by a direct message I received on Twitter. That message, I equate to robo-dialing from the dreaded telemarketer.

Hey (insert name),

I’m just touching base to see if you need any help managing your blog or social media pages.

 

Um, you want to know whether I need you to do my job for me? No, thank you. Let the unfollow commence.

What I find so frustrating about these messages is that I’m just trying to network with my peers. Share ideas. Lend support. Not get junk mail.

After all, the concept of content marketing is definitively the antithesis of traditional marketing. It’s about building relationships and helping businesses tell their stories. It’s that concept that drew me to this field in the first place. As a former journalist, I’m very comfortable using my skills to help others provide valuable information and help readers use that intel to make educated decisions.

I’m not so comfortable with pummeling people with sales pitches. Again, no thank you. This is one time I’m perfectly happy staying within my comfort zone.