Thursday, May 31, 2018

Blog Conference Newbie

For the first time ever in my life, I will be attending a blog conference in September. I am beyond excited about it!

I've never been to one before so I am not quite sure what to expect. Hopefully, I will get a lot of new tips and meet lots of new people in my industry.




I have been looking into various things about conferences and think I've been pretty thorough. I've even fallen down the trade show rabbit hole of trade show decorators to make sure I know EVERYTHING about it. 

Yep.

Maybe a little too thorough, but hey, the more you know!


This conference is being held by the BloggyMoms Network at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. I cannot wait! I've never been to Ohio and I have never been to Cedar Point.  My husband is tagging along so that gives him something to do while I am at the conference all day. Because, I am going to be BUSY.

A quick scan of the agenda shows that from 9am until the evening, I am going to be filling my brain with anyandeverything blogging. Social media strategies, design (which I am WAY excited for), SEO, all of it!


I have been wanting to go to a conference for blogging since I first started over ten years ago. I am so very happy that I finally get the chance to go. I am hoping to become an even better blogger that way. I pretty much have the writing part down, it's all of the other stuff that I definitely need help with. Hopefully, I will get a plethora of knowledge there and have some fun while I'm at it!

Have you ever been to a blogging conference? What was it like? I'd love to know all about your experience! Tell me all about it in the comments, please!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Regrets? I have a few...

Whoever said that you should live your life with no regrets is full of donkeysnot.

Seriously.

Who in this entire universe doesn't regret something in their life?

No, go ahead to The Google. I'll wait.



That's what I thought.

If you are able to make it through an entire lifetime without regretting anything, I want to know what alternate reality that you lived in during that lifetime.

Now, I don't regret things that happened that were out of my control. There was nothing I could do to change the situation so I don't beat myself up too much for those. However, the ones that I could have actively done something about and didn't...absolutely, I regret them!

I regret not being a better friend. I regret not being a better mother. I regret not being a better wife, daughter, sister, etc. 

Those wear on my heart intensely.



I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Whenever someone says that they have no regrets, I automatically assume that they are lying through their teeth. Maybe they truly do have no regrets, but I don't believe it for a second.

To live an entire lifetime and never want a do over on ANYTHING
Hmmm.



I think that you should have regrets in your life. I really do. How are you supposed to learn anything if everything in your life is perfect all of the time? It's disingenuous to say that you have no regrets because as human beings, we all are always striving to do better, be better. I'm sure there is something you regret doing knowing you could have done it better or been better in that situation, right? 

There is no perfect person in this world.
NONE.

So, unless you have a time machine to go back and change what you feel is a regret, then you are going to have to live with it. It's not a bad thing, it's just life. It is what it is. Life has twists, turns, complications, and yes, regrets.

It just shows that you are normal. 

Whatever normal is, anyway.





The saying, "Live your life with no regrets" has always annoyed me beyond reason. I'm going to take my regrets and learn from them. That, at its core, is what life is about.

How about you? Do you have regrets? How do you deal with them?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

7 Reasons Why Your Writing Business Is Not Growing

When you finally decided to embrace your passion for writing and make it your full-time job, you were somehow hoping for a more positive response from the market. However, a lot of enthusiastic writers struggle to make a living out of their hobby. While it is commonly accepted that not everyone is born to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, it doesn’t mean that there is no potential earning for new writers in this sector.

In fact, if your writing business has not become a success yet, it may not be because the market is crowded, but instead, it could be the result of a mistake. Yes, it could be as simple as having forgotten to prepare for the expectations of your freelancing writing role.

So, before you give up all hopes and look for a full-time job in an office, take the time to check if you haven’t made any of the 7 deadly mistakes of amateur digital writers. Writing doesn’t have to be a dream. With the right approach and strategy, you can make your living out of it. Wouldn’t you want to be able to let your writing business pay the bills without needing to take on additional shifts at your local coffee shop or as a tutor to make ends meet? Here are some of the reasons why you may not be able to grow your writing business:





You lack practice
Most motivational guides that encourage you to hone your skills tend to follow a precise rule: Nobody is born a writer. It’s a skill that you can learn and develop through writing. Don’t believe the 10,000-hour rule that says you need to practice for 10,000 hours to master any skill, as you might need a lifetime to become a proper writer at this pace!

Instead, accept that you may need to push yourself out of your comfort zone to develop your writing skills. You can start every day with simple and targeted exercises, such as writer shorter and more persuasive emails, for instance – aka remove all the unnecessary blah blah from your texts. You can also improve the structure of your blog articles to make it easier for your readers to follow the logical flow of the piece. Finally, don’t hesitate to take on new jobs and get feedback on it, so that you can improve.

You lack preparation

Keeping a regular blog is hard work, so it’s fair to say that if you expect your blog to create a buzz around your services, you need to give yourself the best chances to shine. This starts by preparing your posts ahead. You can’t just sit at your keyboard and hope for the best. The truth is: You can’t wing it, you need to have content ready and waiting for be published. To make it easier you can schedule your posts by batches, once a month, once a week or even once a year, depending on the frequency you’re the most comfortable with. This allows you to schedule future social media promotions and even catch-up emails and newsletters for your readers.

You don’t grow your influence

You are one of many. It’s fair to say that you’re not the only person trying to break into the writing world. If you can’t leverage your author influence, you’re doomed to remain in the shadow of writers who stand out. You can discover more about how to use books – and especially your books – to build a long-term career. As a writer, self-publishing a book can help you to grow your revenues and your reputation. Ultimately, when you publish a book, you can establish yourself as an authority in your business, meaning that clients, agents, and companies begin to take you seriously.

You don’t have role models

How often do you read? If you’re the kind of writer who claims that they can’t read for fear of being influenced by others, it’s time to change your mindset. Good writers need to be good readers. When you read, you get used to vocabulary, phrases, and grammar being combined together to convey an idea. As a reader, you know that someone who shares a clear view can inspire you to use new words in different ways and to think further as well. Not reading is the fastest path to the writer’s block.

Your website needs improvement

A blog gives you the chance to share your work with millions of readers every day. The main limitation about blogs is that the online competition is very high, so you need to have a tip-top presence to keep readers interested. Don’t just think about your content: Your design matters as well. For instance, it can be easy to forget the importance of white space on the page. White space has the advantage of decluttering the page and making the content the main point of focus, which can be lost if you have an image-heavy layout. Additionally, the good old SEO rules – link building strategies – can’t be ignored as they drive traffic to the site.

You don’t use social engagement

Social media platforms are your best friends when you’re trying to establish a regular audience. For instance, when someone mentions your blog online, it can help to grow traffic. Similarly, you can maximize your online personality to interact with new readers and attract your audience. A strong and positive presence is all it takes to hook followers. The more followers you get, the more potential readers you can find!




You didn’t prepare your portfolio
So, you want to be a writer, but you haven’t prepared a portfolio? The first question that jumps to mind is what is stopping you? You can use this handy platform to group digital clippings of your articles and posts. Many websites let you publish content – Medium is one of them if you don’t have regular clients you can quote – but you can also share URLs and photos of existing content for clients.

Becoming a professional writers demands a lot of time and dedication. But admittedly, while it’s not always easy, you can ensure that you are not making any of these deadly mistakes that could cost you your writing career. Make sure to hone your skills by writing and reading a lot, keep an access-friendly online portfolio and leverage your presence through books and social media.

Have you made any of these mistakes? Did you solve them? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Perfect Gift For Dad: A Custom Coffee Mug

I had such a great Mother's Day that it got me thinking about a gift for my husband.

Our children are all grown up and I couldn't ask for a better partner in life than my husband. 

So, I was searching for something personal and found a mug. And, I'm glad I found it because I was *this* close to getting him a puppy!

I know, but I'm a poor artist and I can't afford to buy him the world like he deserves.



I mean, he helped me raise two children from birth to almost 22 and 20 years old, the least I could do is buy him a mug. We drink coffee like maniacs in this house so I know he'll use it! And because he gets to see all of the pictures I have to take, he already got to open his present. 

He loves it. Your move, KIDS




Take a minute to thank a dad. After all, they are raising citizens of the world, too. 






How do you plan on celebrating Father's Day? Post any gift ideas you have below!

Monday, May 21, 2018

S U M M E R

Consuming
these whispers in my house
are 
energy vampires

cannibals
the people that fill this home
do not enter

They will take your life
while whispering

love
you. 


                                                               photo source

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

How Music Can Become Your Next Great Hobby

We all have such a diverse range of different hobbies these days, and it is important that we explore and enjoy these as much as possible. We all have so much to work toward in life, and hobbies are an excellent way of exploring our interests and doing what we can to stay motivated and inspired every day. Hobbies are a great way of getting inspiration, or at the very least letting your hair down.

Music is one of the biggest hobbies and interests in the world, and so many people from all different cultures and backgrounds love music. There is so much to music, and it can serve so many different functions for people. It is also one of the most fulfilling and engaging hobbies, so perhaps it’s time to take it to the next level. So, what can you do to make music your next great hobby?


Learn an Instrument


There are so many great reasons to learn a musical instrument, not least because it allows you much greater creativity. You can express yourself and learn how to write music and play songs when you learn an instrument. It’s a great way to boost skill and stay disciplined, and you need to look at the different types of instruments you might like to learn. There is so much choice these days, but going for something like ambient acoustic guitar or piano gives you a much better range of what you can learn, and will open many more doors for you musically. Being as creative as possible is really important and learning a musical instrument is the best way to boost creativity, channel emotion, and could even provide a viable career path.


Start Recording and Sharing 




Once you become a proficient musician, it will be natural to want to start making recordings and sharing your talent. You need to think about the best way of recording your music and where you might consider sharing. Social media is a great place to do this, and many artists have had success with this in the past. You should also consider utilizing YouTube to showcase your music. Now, there are a few things you can do here - you could upload to the video sharing channel, and you could use a YouTube to MP3 download conversion program to enjoy your music on the move as well. Recording and sharing is a big step and one that will help you elevate your hobby to the next level. 


Expand Your Record Collection




Aside from the instrument side of things, you need to think about how you can boost music as your hobby. And a big part of this is having an eclectic taste and enjoying loads of different types of music. So, you need to think about ways of expanding your record collection, as well as exploring different styles of music (vinyl, CD, etc). Having a range of diverse music to listen to can really inspire and enrich your life in an array of different ways, and this is important to think about.

Music is a hobby that has so much to offer all of us, and this is why it’s so great to embrace it. You can turn a magical hobby into something more by making it a focal point of your life, as well as listening to more music, and taking the time to learn instruments. What instrument would you enjoy learning to play the most?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

An Analytical Situation

Most of us who create online are aware of what analytics are.




For anyone who wants to see their business grow online, analytics  are quite important.  I probably would have stopped blogging long ago if it wasn't for my analytics telling me that there are actually people looking at and reading my blog. I might not receive a lot of comments and/or engagement on every post, but at least I know that I'm not talking to my imaginary friends...
...again.






Anyway, my point is that analytics are important because this is how businesses gauge how well their product/business/writing/etc. are being received online. It is also especially important for calculating your ROI which is defined by Entrepreneur.com as: 

"Return on investment, or ROI, is the most common profitability ratio. There are several ways to determine ROI, but the most frequently used method is to divide net profit by total assets. So if your net profit is $100,000 and your total assets are $300,000, your ROI would be .33 or 33 percent.

Return on investment isn't necessarily the same as profit. ROI deals with the money you invest in the company and the return you realize on that money based on the net profit of the business. Profit, on the other hand, measures the performance of the business. Don't confuse ROI with the return on the owner's equity. This is an entirely different item as well. Only in sole proprietorships does equity equal the total investment or assets of the business."

No one wants to invest more than they get in return for their business, whatever it may be. 






I was looking through my analytics the other day, and I came across something I had not heard of before. Embedded Analytics





Izenda.com defines embedded analytics as:

"Embedded analytics is BI [business intelligence] and reporting that is integrated directly into a business application or platform (think your marketing automation tools, EMRs, CRMs etc.) Embedded analytics integrates reports, dashboards and data visualizations directly into daily user workflows and displays the analytics users need to see inside their application. The ability to view data in context puts insight at the point of decision, and ultimately, leads to better outcomes."

This is genius.




Luckily, right now Izenda is offering a free thirty day trial that you can use to see how embedded analytics works for you. 

I would love to know how you like it so remember to come back and let me know what you thought of it! It's definitely something I am thinking about implementing for myself in the near future!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Keep A Stiff Upper....Back

As I have written about before, personal injury is something that I have seen from both sides.

The injury I received is something I still struggle with today. I have leftover muscle spasms in my shoulder and back that has caused me distress over the years and has gotten much worse with age.



Specifically, if I overuse my left shoulder or left arm (something that is done more quickly than you would imagine as a writer), my rhomboid muscles will spasm and stiffen up, and no more moving for me until ice, heat, a muscle relaxer, and rest are applied.  So, I can literally tell when I have been working too long because I won't be able to turn my neck.

It's a thing.

According to the Summit Medical Group

"WHAT IS A RHOMBOID STRAIN OR SPASM?

The rhomboid muscles in your upper back connect the inner edges of your shoulder blades to your spine. A rhomboid strain is a stretch or tear of these muscles. A rhomboid spasm is a sudden tightening of the muscle that you cannot control.

WHAT IS THE CAUSE?

A rhomboid muscle strain or spasm is usually caused by overuse of your shoulder and arm. This can happen from:

Overhead activities, like serving a tennis ball or reaching to put objects on a high shelf, rowing, carrying a heavy backpack (especially if you carry it over just one shoulder), and poor posture (especially while you are using a computer for a long time).

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

A strain causes pain in the upper back between your shoulder blade and your spine. A spasm feels like a knot or tightness in the muscle. You may have pain when you move your shoulders or when you breathe."

It's lots of fun.



This, of course, exacerbated the whiplash that I received in my accident. Even with the excellent health care and knowledge that I did have, it is something that will stay with me forever. 



 According to The Hunter Law Group, P.A.:

"Permanent injuries, significant disfigurement or scarring, and enduring loss of important bodily functions all qualify as cause for legal action in the event of an automobile accident. Family members can also sue on a victim’s behalf in cases of death.

Compensation can also include economic damages, such as reduced future income, loss of appraised value to real property, and construction repairs." 

Considering that at the time and now, I absolutely do make my living sitting for long stretches of time in front of a computer which can trigger my rhomboid muscles to spasm, I was incredibly lucky to be able to have as much help as I did, legally and medically.

I can only imagine how bad off I would be if I hadn't.




Have you suffered a personal injury? What have you done to overcome it and do you still suffer because of it? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Could A Hobby Turn Into Something More?

Having a hobby is a great way to spend extra time and work on skills that you already have, but sometimes a hobby can turn into something more. It can be a great way to hone your skills and make something more like turning into a career or making money from something you enjoy doing. I wanted to explore some of the options you could consider if you have a hobby or a skill in any of the areas below. 






Writing

Many people enjoy the creative outlet that writing can offer. It may be that you have a blog inline just so that you can keep those creative juices flowing, but a lot of people like the idea of writing a book. But where do you start if you have an idea and don’t know where to go with it? This is when websites like Jericho Writers could help you get started. A blog could also be something that turns into a book or even be monetized in some way to eventually become your job. People also take their writing skills to other levels such as working on freelance projects to earn extra money alongside their day jobs. 

Being artistic

Maybe you find that you are a little artistic, perhaps enjoying drawing or being creative in art classes. It can be a great hobby to have, and it can be one of those things that are really helpful for your mindset. You can choose things like attending art classes, or putting your creativity to good use in other forms like drawing and painting at home. There is much to learn so it can actually be a real diverse hobby to have and with technology today you can even use your art skills in terms of web developments and logo branding. 

Keeping fit and healthy

Many people love to exercise and keep fit, and while it can be a great hobby, you may also find that it becomes a way of life as it can have positive impacts on your lifestyle. You have more energy, you look and feel better about yourself and this as a hobby could turn into so much more. People have gone on to create livelihoods from their health and fitness passions, perhaps starting a blog or a youtube channel sharing hints and tips, or it may even have pushed you to train as a personal trainer to help specific people. 

Photography

Finally, do you have a passion for taking pictures? Do you like to capture your family life as well as scenes and images of beauty? Photography can start off as a hobby such as learning to shoot not in automatic mode on your camera, etc. But it could turn into a job where you use this passion to capture other people's memories such as special occasions like weddings or family portraits. 

I hope that this has given you some ideas on how you can turn what was a hobby that you enjoy into something more. 


What are your hobbies? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

When An Injury Is Personal

Many years ago, I worked as a legal assistant. I was a young mother at the time and going to school to work as a paralegal. 

It was incredibly interesting and exhausting at the same time. 





The attorney I worked directly under took on a lot of personal injury cases. These cases were sometimes so heartbreaking, I didn't think I would be able to separate my emotional mind and logical mind.

According to HG.org's Legal Resources:

"Most personal injury cases are based on the doctrine of negligence. In essence, negligence requires every member of society to act responsibly and avoid putting others at risk. That is not to say that negligence will result each time someone gets hurt. The doctrine recognizes that some accidents are unavoidable. To establish liability, the plaintiff must show that a reasonably prudent person in the defendant’s position would have acted differently under the circumstances. 

Examples of negligence include car accidents caused by drunk drivers, medical complications resulting from a physician’s carelessness, and dog bites that occur when vicious animals are permitted to roam free. In each instance, the responsible party ignored the risk posed to others, and as a result, the plaintiff was injured."

The American Bar Association also notes that other definitions of personal injury besides negligence are strict liability and intentional wrongs:

"Strict liability is an important and growing area of tort law. It holds designers and manufacturers strictly liable for injuries from defective products. In these cases, the injured person does not have to establish negligence of the manufacturer. Rather, you need to show that the product was designed or manufactured in a manner that made it unreasonably dangerous when used as intended.

Intentional wrongs can also be the basis of personal injury claims, though they are rarer. If someone hits you, for example, even as a practical joke, you may be able to win a suit for battery. Or if a store detective wrongly detains you for shoplifting, you may be able to win a suit for false imprisonment. While perpetrators of some of the intentional torts—assault and battery, for example—can be held criminally liable for their actions, a tort case is a civil proceeding in court brought by an individual or entity and remains totally separate from any criminal charges brought by the government."

Because of our military life at the time, I ended up leaving the firm as my husband was assigned a new duty station and we moved away. I can not go into specifics on the cases I was involved in working, but there were a lot of injuries involving children that still haunt me today. 

I can only imagine the toll it takes on the attorneys who handle these cases. I began to wonder how they could reach out to their community to help in other ways. To the Google!





I found a Tampa area personal injury attorney practice that is heavily involved with the Make A Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. Not only are they committed to their clients, they are committed to their community in a wonderful way! 

Personal injuries go unreported in a lot of instances and that is truly a shame. Having worked and studied in the legal field, I know for a fact that these attorneys do everything they can for not only their clients but their community as well. Should you ever find yourself (unfortunately) the victim of a personal injury, I implore you to reach out to a personal injury attorney in your area. Know your rights, and use them. You really don't have to suffer. There is always help available!