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Sample Page

This is an example page. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in your site navigation (in most themes). Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors. It might say something like this:

Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my blog. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)

…or something like this:

The XYZ Doohickey Company was founded in 1971, and has been providing quality doohickies to the public ever since. Located in Gotham City, XYZ employs over 2,000 people and does all kinds of awesome things for the Gotham community.

As a new WordPress user, you should go to your dashboard to delete this page and create new pages for your content. Have fun!

Time Tracking for Better Writing

Posted by on 3:16 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

There is a great, oft-repeated maxim for becoming a great writer: Butt-in-chair; hands on keyboard. You can’t become great, or even write at all if you don’t adhere to that very simple principle.

Recently, I discovered a great tool that can help. It’s called Toggl. It’s a time tracking program designed for consultants and other business types. But it’s so easy and fun to use, that it works well for us writer types who don’t like to be bothered with administrative details.

And it’s free! (There is a premium version, but it cost less than a month’s worth of Starbucks tall lattes.)

Here’s how it works: you register; you fill in the task and project and hit the “start” button; when you are done, you hit the “stop” button. The program keeps track of how much time you spend on each task for each project over time. Sure you could do this with a stop watch and paper, but with Toggl, there’s no math! There are all sorts of ways to view the data. You can check how much time you have spent on one project, or combine a few. You can see where you have spent your time this week, or look back over the whole month.

For me, it’s been interesting to see how I am really spending my time. There are some things that I thought I took very little time but really took hours. There are other times when I’m sure hours have passed, but the timer revealed that I’d barely filled a commercial break.

Perhaps most importantly, it’s helped me be more disciplined. I can easily tell if I’ve really met my writing goals or  have been distracted with other tasks (indiscriminately surfing the web?).

On the whole writing goal discussion, I will note that there are those who reasonably argue that it should be more about content rather than time. For instance, they suggest setting a word count goal for the day. That’s useful and can be a great way to move along a project, but you may still want to track time so you get a sense of how long things are taking you.

By the way, including editing, this post has taken me 39 minutes. This doesn’t include posting.

-I didn’t get paid by Toggl to write this. I’m not even getting a discount. I just like the program and thought you might find it useful. I’m always looking for tools to make the work go easier if you have any other ideas…..

Toggl home page

Rewrite and Rewrite and Rewrite

Posted by on 3:56 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I was paid a great compliment the other day. Someone said that something I wrote read as if it was easy to write.

It wasn’t. In fact, it was a tad agonizing as I fussed over sentences and tried to hammer big concepts into bite sized, readable pieces. The wonderful illusion is that great writing comes easy.

When you read a well written article or book, it feels as if the words flowed from the writer’s fingertips like a river over a cliff creating a gorgeous cascading waterfall. So as a writer, it’s easy to think that you are no good if that doesn’t happen for you. Even though I’m a professional writer and should know better, I still feel that way sometimes. I get frustrated when it feels like a struggle to put three words together.

This is where many potentially great writers (or at least very good ones) get derailed. They think that because it doesn’t come easy they’re not any good so they give up writing or settle for mediocre.

Greatness – or even just goodness – comes in the revision. You may have to rewrite a sentence or a paragraph or even just a phrase three, five, fifteen times until is sounds right.

Yes, that takes time. And yes, that can be agonizing. Until you get it right. Then, it’s like having climbed to the top of a mountain or finished a race under your pace goal.

So don’t give up if it’s a struggle. Just rest assured that writing if more often than not a slog and just because what you are writing now isn’t good, that doesn’t mean it never will be.

Do you have something to say?

Posted by on 7:37 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’m all for getting creative with blogging and social media. Give me any company and I can come up with a list of at least 12 topics to get it started. But even I have to admit that the idea of an electronics manufacturer setting up on Facebook seemed to be a stretch.

However, it seems creativity prevails. Eratech Inc., a company based in Ontario, is using social media to boost its reputation within its industry, and it seems to be working. The company promotes itself on several social media channels to make it easier for prospective clients to learn more about them early on in the sales process, according to the Wall Street Journal’s CIO blog.

On Facebook, the company has pictures of its products in use. Twitter is used to highlight the posts and send well wishes to customers. There’s even a video highlighting the company’s manufacturing plant. The company says that  the overall result has been to shorten the sales cycle to six to eight weeks from six to eight months.

So if an electronics manufacturer can find success on social media, how about you? Who are you trying to reach and how can you do that? What do you have to say that people need to hear?

Does it matter?

Posted by on 3:46 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s New Year’s Eve Day and I am frantically trying to get a bunch of things done so I can get out of the office and enjoy some of the festivities in Boston. There’s a long list of things that I would really like to get done and an equally long list of things that really have to get done. It would be easy to skip the blog today. After all, I haven’t written for awhile any way and who is going to notice. If that’s really how I feel about it, then I am quite probably wasting my time here. If it really doesn’t matter, then why bother? The thing is that I do believe it matters. I decided quite some time ago, as you may have, that a blog is important for the growth of my business. But it’s easy to lose site of how the blog fits into the big picture and why it’s important. And when you don’t have the answer to why it’s important, it’s hard to set it as a priority over all the ” must dos” and “want to dos.”

If you find yourself struggling with keeping up with your blog, take some time to think about why you feel it is important in the first place. You will have a hard time blogging successfully for your business if you don’t have a good answer. With that answer leading the way, however, you are well on your way to being able to set up a solid blogging plan that will help you keep it up even when you think you are too busy.

If you want some help finding the answer, or making the plan, contact me and find out more about our blog planning services.

Have a Happy and Successful New Year!

What do you do when you get stuck?

Posted by on 5:24 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

You know you need to write something, but what? You don’t know where to start, so you put it off. You try to come back to it, but you still don’t know what to write. maze

When this happens, take a tip from my clever second graders (Sunday School class). Nearly every week, I hand them a maze. Though it says where to start, that’s rarely where they do. They’ve learned that they wander in and quickly get lost in the twists and turns. Instead, they skip to the end and work backwards. Same maze, same twists and turns, but somehow going backwards makes it easier to avoid the wrong turns.

Try this with your writing. Figure out where you want to end up – what you point you want to make and then work backwards from there.

Please, let me know how that works out for you!

Promote yourself to promote your busines – a workshop to show you how

Posted by on 3:32 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

There are people in every industry who everyone seems to know. They are the “experts.” The ones that people turn to for advice and guidance. They write books. They give speeches. They’re quoted in the newspapers. Who are they? Could you be one of them?Thought Leading Your Way to a Stronger Business

You can learn more on Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Enterprise Center at Salem State University. I’ll be presenting a workshop on the topic along with Beth Goldstein, author of Lucky by Design, and head of Marketing Edge Consulting. Beth will work with participants on developing their personal brand and I’ll follow up with how to find an audience.

This is the official description:

Are you a leading expert in your field? Perhaps you are the most knowledgeable person in the world, but it doesn’t make a difference to your bottom line if nobody sees you that way. Becoming a leader in your field raises your visibility and extends your credibility, which draws in more of the right clients – those with whom you want to work.

Join us on October 17th from 8am to 10am when Beth Goldstein (Marketing Edge Consulting Group and instructor for our Next Level Business Growth Initiatives) and Jennifer Powell (Excellent Writer’s Group and former Boston Herald Small Business columnist) present: Thought Leading Your Way to a Stronger Business. In 2 fast-paced hours, they will show you how you can effectively promote your business and yourself and will help you map a path to becoming a thought leader. To Register

Catch up with your creative

Posted by on 8:33 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you have ever had an inkling that you might like to draw but you feel that you just aren’t good enough or that you don’t know where to begin, then start with this book:




It”s by Carla Sonheim, who is not only a talented artist but also an extremely talented teacher. She sneaks her lessons in with fun exercises that are actually giving you the fundamentals of art. Before you know it, you are looking at the world differently and your drawings are starting to look more like what you wanted, or even better because you’re tapping into a side of your self that can’t plan and control the outcome and squash all the potential spark and spontaneity. She shows you how to blend colors and use shadows in unexpected ways. This book is the latest in a suite of creative learning opportunities Carla offers on line and in print

Although this is a blog about writing, I’m highlighting a drawing book because to me delving into the visual arts has opened a whole new way for me to tap into my creative inklings, adding depth to the way I approach all of my projects. Drawing is something I’ve only come into recently.  Back in high school, I used to draw a lot, but I didn’t get very good and then I got busy and some where in the mix I just figured that the reason I never got very good was because I didn’t have the artist gene. Then I came across one of Carla’s other books, the Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists. As I worked through the book, I realized that the reason I never got that good was that I stopped trying too soon. With the approaches Carla outlined, I’m finally able to draw a picture of my dog that actually looks like my dog, or one that looks like one that has been lurking in my imagination waiting. She takes the stress out of drawing and makes it fun.

I have found this influences writing as well. You learn to loosen up and take new approaches. You discover that you can relax and tap into thoughts and ideas that only reveal themselves as you are moving a long without a specific plan. I also believe that with writing and drawing, it’s not a matter of having the “gene” it’s a matter of figuring out how to do it and as you figure out how to do it, you will find more confidence and joy in the activity.

So take a look at this book, and have fun drawing and writing.


I want to be unforgettable

Posted by on 2:56 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A rose by any other name would certainly smell just as sweet, but would anyone know about it? Names are significant. They are the opening sentence in your story. Inevitably you are going to want to set up a blog or a website and that means choosing an address, which will become a moniker. This is not just any address, but the address, the name that will embody your story and set expectations. There is certainly a lot riding on those few letters strung together.
So what happens when you’ve come up with the perfect name only to find that – gasp – it’s been taken! Maybe it’s another company. Maybe it’s just a speculator who snapped up bunches of names in hopes that they’d become valuable someday. Has that day come? Are you going to pay out dozens or hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars to own that coveted bit of Internet real estate?
Or maybe you haven’t come up with a name that feels just right just yet. Here are a few things to keep in mind: (more…)

You had me at the headline

Posted by on 1:47 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Back when I was a daily news reporter, I had it easy. All I had to do was drum up the stories, ask a few tough questions and bang out a few hundred words. Then I tossed over my shiny new masterpiece (or bird cage lining) to the copy desk. They had the thankless job of cleaning it up and adding the crown jewel – the headline. These are arguably the most important three to ten words of the piece. These few words will determine how many readers you get, if any.

I have long known and understood this, but I didn’t truly appreciate the fine work of my great editors until their job became my job. It’s relatively easy to write the paragraphs. You’ve been learning about that since first grade. Headlines, and I’ll toss in subheads, on the other hand are an entirely different matter. It boils down to this: (more…)

Looking for a Writing Challenge? Try this Quirky Contest

Posted by on 12:26 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The funny folks over at NaNoWriMo who think it’s not only possible but actually good to write a novel in a month have invited writers to join an equally quirky contest. So get your pens out and get ready to write….

As explained by Executive Director Grant Faulkner:

Intel, W Hotels, and Vice have generously provided a $10,000 matching donation for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. They’ve also invited Wrimos to submit up to ten pages of a script or story by August 30 in ashort film series and competition entitled “Four Stories”.  The four winning stories will be filmed by the esteemed Roman Coppola.

The contest poses the kind of challenge only Wrimos can tackle with their spirited imaginations: each story has to be set in a W Hotel and feature an Ultrabook computer as a key character. Hotel for Dogs meets Barton Fink—with the Traveling Shovel of Death making an ominous guest appearance? Get your Plot Bunnies revved up. I’m betting on a NaNoWriMo awards sweep.

Have Fun!