Friday, December 02, 2005

how's your customer service?

There's one thing (ok, there are many things, but this is a BIG one) lacking in the business world today: customer service.

How many times have you entered a retail establishment or restaurant, only to be (not) greeted by a dejected employee, who doesn't smile and say hello, but who instead grunts an incoherent "hey" and refuses to make eye contact?

Customer service today is often terrible, and I fear it's only getting worse.

Don't let poor customer service afflict your business! If there's one thing you can do to stand apart from your competitors, it's offer outstanding customer service--and train your employees to do the same. I came across this book the other day, which has all sorts of good advice: "Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service" by Kristin Anderson & Ron Zemke. Read more about it here.

I'll be incorporating many of these tips into my own business practices. I'm ready to knock MY customers' socks off!

Monday, November 21, 2005


There's a new craze in online reading, and it's called the eBook. Writing an eBook allows authors to bypass traditional publishing routes, which of course has advantages and disadvantages. The upside is that anyone can publish! And the downside? You guessed it...anyone can publish. However, it's worth pointing out that there are quite a few poorly written books in print, too. As with any publication, readers need to be selective when choosing exactly what they want to spend time reading.

That said, I'm jumping on the bandwagon as well. I'm preparing to unveil my latest eBook: The WriteTips Guide, in the near future. The book is a collection of 12 articles that appeared in my ezine during the first year of publication. I've already made an offer to WriteTips (ezine) subscribers for free copies, so if you aren't yet a subscriber don't worry, you can still get on board and receive your free copy. Just email me!

Monday, October 31, 2005

blogging for business

Like many business folks with online presence (which is, these days, most of them) I have become quite fond of blogging. Not only do I keep up with contributing my own thoughts online via one business and two personal blogs, but I have a list of useful/entertaining blogs bookmarked as well.

Lately I've been perusing blogs with a marketing focus. It seems there is no shortage of knowledgeable individuals in this area, so I'd like to share a few gems with you. Hopefully the tips offered here will help you promote your small business, too.

Duct Tape Marketing - Marketing expert John Jantsch posts often and always offers insightful ideas that are quite practical when you think about it. Problem is, many of us don't always think this way!

Publicity Hound - Who want's free publicity? (Me! Me! Yo, over here, me!) You'll find resources and ideas galore here.

Smart Marketing - Just came across this the other day while doing background research on marketing companies for a client. Smart guy, smart marketing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sept/Oct WriteTips issue

Finally, it's finished! The Sept/Oct issue of WriteTips will be delivered to subscribers' inboxes tomorrow morning. Check it out to learn how to beat the "Bad Brochure Blues"!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

october updates

It's been a busy couple of months, which explains why I still haven't gotten the Sept/Oct issue of WriteTips out yet. Not to worry, it's coming!

The past few weeks have landed several new clients ranging from website to brochure content. I welcome it all wholeheartedly...the opportunity to work consistently on a variety of projects is what keeps the juices flowing!

I've updated the What's New section on my website, so be sure to check it out. I've also got links to a couple of newly archived articles via Dynamic Graphics magazine's brand-new site. If you're a designer you've got to check it out. The resources are unbelievable!

That's it for now, more as it happens.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

when it rains, it pours

How much work does it take to overload a one-person operation?

I still haven't been able to formulate a solid answer to this question. My best guess depends.

I've been a pretty good judge of workload-type situations in the 2 years I've been in business (full-time) for myself. Some weeks are busier than others: some are relatively slow, some are comfortable, and others are crazy-busy. This week is moderate. I'm working on two projects, a newsletter and a product review article. But I've got 3 meetings set up during the next two weeks for potential work (two possible web projects and a new marketing company, which could mean a variety of work if all goes well). Plus I received a call yesterday about some possible brochure work.

It would be great if all of these potential projects come through. The reality is, however, that every meeting doesn't necessarily lead to work. Some folks are just scoping out their options and others may decide to do it themselves (that's a professional copywriter's biggest competition, by the way). But it's important to continue setting up meetings because you just never may result, your card may be passed along to an acquaintance of the person you met with, you may make an ally in the business world, etc. You just never know.

So, I'll attend these meetings, put my best face (and writing samples) forward, and hope for the best. Best being enough work to keep the cash coming in, but not so much that I have trouble meeting deadlines. Today's moral: know when to say when.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

back in the game again

After a week or so of rest I'm ready to return--full force--to the writing world. And a few projects have already reared their heads: quarterly newsletter issue, a possible web content project, and a bi-monthly column for Dynamic Graphics magazine (DGM).

I've been a contributor to DGM for about 3 years. The mag has recently overhauled its website, and I noticed a few of my past pieces are now available online. Check out these articles from the ever-popular Makeovers Issue:

Vitamin Cottage

Music @ Noon

And of course, I'm jumping back into the networking game (not that I ever really left it...). BNI & the Chamber of Commerce will help with that, as will a new organization I've helped found, the Home Based Business Professionals Association. I'm anticipating a very exciting, busy fall!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

vacation notice

Summer has just been crazy...that's why I haven't been very dilligent about blogging on a regular basis. But things are finally starting to slow down a bit and I will be taking some time to get my bearings back in order and plan for the remainder of the year. I will be on vacation from August 22-September 4. Once September 5 rolls around I will be prepared to once again meet with potential clients, discuss, and accept new projects.

Hope you're having a fantastic summer!

Monday, July 25, 2005

catching up

It's been quite a while since I posted. I seem to be behind in everything except work, and I'm trying hard not to fall behind here! I'm working on a major editing project that has dominated much of July and will continue to do so through August. I'm accepting smaller projects during this time, but larger projects will have to be put on hold until I've completed the editing work.

This means that WriteTips is going to be late this month. I'm thinking of going to a bi-monthly format, anyway, since I seem to have less and less time to spend on my ezine. I certainly don't want to disontinue publishing it, but I do need to find a way to balance everything, and the bi-monthly schedule might be the best way to go.

Hope everyone's summer is going well.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

the catch-up blog

I've allotted myself a half hour this morning to casually play around on the Internet. This normally includes checking my personal email account, getting my strip fix of For Better or For Worse, and reading up on my favorite blogs. This last item reminded me that I haven't posted here this week, so here goes. Thought I'd provide an update on current projects:

1. I've got a speech looming over my head...on July 12 I'll be speaking at the Association for Women in Communications. I'm still working on my presentation outline, but I'll essentially be addressing ways to make your marketing and promotional copy more effective.

2. In July I'll be working on a major editing project and will probably begin the 6th or so. I won't know how extensive the work will be until I get into it, but chances are I'll be shying away from other time-consuming projects until August. Smaller jobs, however, will be welcome!

3. Writing/revising brochure content for another client.

Other news: I got the good word yesterday that my article on jazz trumpeter Nicholas Payton will be published in the next issue of Windplayer magazine. I actually conducted the interview and wrote the piece last fall, so I'm certainly ready to see it in print!

Have a safe & happy 4th of July!

Friday, June 17, 2005

3 simple networking tips

June is flying by! I guess that's partly because I've been busy writing copy for a couple of website projects--one of which just went live this week--plus newsletter and article work. In July I'm supposed to begin a major editing project, so the summer is looking quite good.

I've updated the What's New page on my website, so if anyone is interested in specific project details, that's a good place to look.

And of course, I've been networking like crazy. Can't get enough. You never know what might lead to business! My general rule(s) of thumb when talking with new contacts:

1. Ask what they do/what their business is. Listen--really listen--to their response.
2. Exchange business cards.
3. Smile.

Yup, it's that simple. Just be friendly and professional. With everyone.

And that's my tip for the week. Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

to join or not to join?

When I first went freelance, I immediately decided to join my local Chamber of Commerce. At the new member orientation, I was approached by a woman who invited me to visit her BNI group. I visited twice and decided that this group would also allow me to develop relationships with other professionals, so I joined. I'm still very active in both groups as an Ambassador for the Chamber and President of my BNI group.

I've attended several other organized groups, and if I could join them all, I would. But most require dues and of course, time. Because both are limited, I've had to shy away from other potential sources of networking, referrals, etc. I did, however, recently decide to take part in a small start-up group in town for home-based business owners. We had our second meeting today--I believe this will be an excellent resource not just for making business contacts, but as a support group for other people who work at home.

We face a lot of the same issues. Nobody tells us to be at work at a certain time. We can work in our pajamas if we want. These may sound like perks (and indeed they are), but think about's easy to sleep in until noon and not get dressed or showered all day. But that's not very conducive to keeping a business running, so you have to make yourself adhere to some sort of discipline. And you have to do it alone, usually. This support group will address issues that we, as home-based biz owners, face. We'll talk about what works for us and what doesn't, how we overcome challenges and how we manage to wear the many hats that sole proprietors often do.

I think it'll be a good thing for all of us.

Monday, May 30, 2005

referrals and you

I've learned that referrals are a fantastic way to land new business. I'm a member of BNI, a premier referral-based organization, and it's been wonderful for growing my business.

You don't have to be a member or a structured networking group to reap the benefits of referrals, however. You just have to let people know what it is that you do and when you do work for someone, do a great job. Exceed their expectations. Give 'em a bit more than they think they'll be getting.

For more tips on gaining quality referrals, check out the May 27 post on the Duct Tape Markeing blog.

Monday, May 23, 2005

May issue of WriteTips

Last week the May issue of WriteTips was distributed to subscribers' inboxes. This month's article talks about the 3 steps to writing great copy in the feature article, Whip Your Copy into Shape.

Not a subscriber yet? Join the team!

And next month WriteTips turns 1! That's right, we've been publishing tips for writers and non-writers alike for a year now. We'll be offering FREE stuff to celebrate, so again...if you aren't signed up to receive this ezine yet, you'll be missing out! More information will be revealed as June approaches. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

what's in a Google?

You never know where you're name will turn up on the Internet. This morning I decided to Google my name to see if any new links to my website appeared, and I found one really great promotion for my services. Thanks,!

Speaking of Google, if you'd like to see what other sites link to yours simply type...

link: the search box. You'll see a listing of websites that provide links to yours. Not all linking sites will appear, but you'll be able to get an idea about who may be helping you market your site.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

a new day, a new look

If you've been here before, you've probably already noticed that this blog has a new look. I decided to ditch the dots (former background images) and go with a cleaner, more segmented style.

In changing templates, however, links posted on the "old" blog didn't automatically transfer. I'll be adding a new and improved link section soon, so check back in the near future for this information.

I've got a few bits of news to share:

  • New client: Calahan Solutions. Stephanie Calahan, president, is a professional organizer. When we first met, I was almost embarrassed to ask for an explanation of her job. I figured an organizer, well, organizes, sure. But organizes what? And how? Stephanie was great, though. She offered an overview of her approach to working with clients to help them achieve optimal efficiency via eliminating clutter, unnecessary tasks, and much more. She works with and businesses and individuals and does so much more than just color coordinate their closets, like the HGTV shows portray. And in just a few short weeks, Calahan Solutions' website content will give a glimpse of her talents. Stay tuned for more info!

  • Melanie Crabill's press release appeared in both the Panatagraph and this month's B2B magazine. She's enjoying positive responses from locals about her news (CRS certification for realtors)...thanks for printing this, local pubs!

More news as it happens. Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

nametags R us

As a writer, I specialize in communication. Written communication, that is--I can spin a decent yarn for print or put words on your screen that'll make your business shine. I'm not, however, much of a speaker. I'm not a wealth of ideas for marketing schemes, either. Which is why I'm always looking for inspiration from books, newsletters, magazines, websites, blogs, etc.

When I find something worth reading, I figure it's only fair to share the information with others who may benefit, also. So here's todays resource: check out Scott Ginsburg's, a.k.a. "the guy with the nametag" site, appropriately titled Hello My Name is Scott. He's a communication/networking expert: speaker, author, motivator. He's got a lot of good info to share and a great sense of humor, too.

Check out his website:
And his blog:

Good stuff here. Truthful. Practical. Entertaining. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

writing tip

Here's a tip for anyone who has to write on-the-job (or for school or pleasure for that matter):

Before submitting any type of important document--article, press release, etc--for publication or review, try putting it down for a while. I recommend leaving it be for a couple of hours at least, and if you can distance yourself for an entire day that's even better. You'll come back with a fresh set of eyes and a fresh perspective. You may catch simple things--duplicated words, spelling or punctuation errors--or more involved items--unclear sentences or poor organization--that weren't apparent after staring at your work for an hour or more.

This tip was inspired by a project I'm working on currently. Just spent a couple of hours on a revision and before submitting it to my client I'd like to step away for a bit and review once more later this afternoon. This way, I'll be able to provide a solid piece of work devoid of possible embarrassing errors and/or clarity issues.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

new portfolio items

Just wanted to note that I've got a few new writing projects posted on my online portfolio, including:

Thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

website updates

In case you missed the April (late) issue of WriteTips, now you can check it out in the WriteTips Archives. The feature article offers ideas for creating content for your ezine, including:

1. Editor's notes
2. News updates
3. How-to articles
4. Tips
5. Interviews

I should add that the publication schedule will be changing slightly. WriteTips will continue to be published each month, but I'm no longer promising the first of every month as the delivery date. As a one-person operation, sometimes my ezine duties fall by the wayside as I work to meet deadlines for clients. Rest assured, however, that I will still provide issues on a monthly basis, and I'll still try to publish by the 1st of the month, but there may be times when I can't complete an issue until a bit later.

Other website updates include the What's New section. I'll also be addition a sales letter segment to my portfolio page very soon...I'm just waiting on permissions from clients to include their logos.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

typography help?

I am in the process of pitching a few ideas to the editor of Dynamic Graphics Magazine (DGM) for an article about typography. The next issue (Aug/Sept) will focus on different sorts of type, and I'm in the brainstorming process as I try to think of a few topics of interest to graphic designers along these lines. If anyone cares to offer a suggestion or two, I welcome your thoughts! Likewise, any websites or other resources anyone might know of that would be useful in my research will be appreciated. Feel free to email me with feedback.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

a writer's work

For those of you who have been eagerly awaiting the April issue of WriteTips, please note that it should be delivered to you inbox by this afternoon. It's my goal to have everthing formatted and sent this morning. And I'm not getting up from my desk until that's done. Period.

This morning I gave a talk at my BNI meeting. Instead of offering "how-to" advice about writing (as I've done in the past) I decided to let the group inside my head for a bit as I offered a glimpse of my philosophy of/approach to copywriting. I addressed several issues, but I really hope folks are beginning to understand (if they don't already) that writing is so much more than just putting words down for the world to read. It also includes planning, organizing, researching, drafting, editing, interviewing, prioritizing, and so much more.

I'll be updating my website this week, so watch for some new portfolio samples and an updated "What's New" section.

Monday, April 11, 2005

ready for business

Whew! Made it through 2 solid weeks of nothing but deadlines, ending last Friday. I decided to take the weekend off--a well deserved break if I do say so myself--and enjoy the beautiful spring weather that recently arrived.

So, now I'm rejuvenated and as promised, I'm reporting back in on April 11 to announce that I'm ready to take on new projects. I do have a few things to work on this week--a sales letter, some web content, and of course the April issue of WriteTips, but I'm still open to schedule meetings to talk shop. Marketing. Writing. All that good stuff.

I'd also like to give a nod to a few new clients:

Benefit Planning Associates
Just finished the first issue of the BPA Bulletin, a newsletter for this company.

Wind Portraits
Owner Wayne Winders is a very creative & able photographer in the Bloomington-Normal area.

BranMarc Design, Inc.
This company's website isn't live yet but will be soon as I finish the content!

More as it happens.

Monday, April 04, 2005

next available work date

Things have been moving steadily along during the past couple of weeks, so I need to announce that my next date of availability to start new projects will be April 11.

In the meantime, I'm happy to continue discussing potential projects with folks.

Also, the April issue of WriteTips will be delayed until later in the month. I've been working to meet several deadlines and haven't been able to devote the time necessary to create an informative article for my dedicated readers. Thanks for your patience, and I promise the next issue will be on its way shortly.

Thanks for your business!

Monday, March 28, 2005

networking: love it or hate it

In the ever-present debate about the good, bad, and the ugly of networking, responses seem to be either in the love it or hate it camp. I'm definitely pro-networking, and I've used it as a tool to help build my business.

Check out Bob Bly's blog for a discussion about networking vs. talent.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

ezine update

Yesterday I added 2 new back issues of WriteTips (my monthly ezine) to my archives page. February and March are available online, and I'll be working next week to have the upcoming April issue in subscribers' inboxes.

I also updated the What's New section of my site. You can read up on a few of the projects I've been working on here.

I apologize to anyone whose computer shows my website's body copy in Times New Roman. I created the page in Dreamweaver, and I've got Arial set as my font choice in CSS. Arial shows up on my screen, but for some reason every other computer I've viewed my site on shows TNR. I've tried to fix the problem several times, but so far I've had no luck. If anyone has any tips about how to get this under control I'm all ears. Thanks in advance!

I'm a writer, not a webmaster. Sigh.

Monday, March 21, 2005

i'm a crappy writer...and that's ok!

I'm currently in the midst of several projects, all of which seem to have deadlines around the same time (April 1). This means I need to be efficient with my time. I can't just sit in front of the computer screen and stare blankly at a white screen--with nary a word on it--just because I don't seem to have any idea about what to say at the moment.

That's right. Even writers experience writer's block often, at least temporarily.

And with three or four impending deadlines, I don't really have time to stare at a a blank screen and worry about when the next surge of inspiration will hit me.

The solution, I've found, is to just write something. It doesn't even matter what, really. It can be grammatically incorrect, it can have spelling errors, and it can even be incoherent. "Wow," you may be thinking. "And you make a living doing this? Writing crap...and people pay you for it?!"

Well, yes and no. I do write my share of crap. But mind you, this crap is confined to my drafts. Nobody sees these but me. And I revise every draft several times. (Just as pop & country sensations Nelly and Tim McGraw sing on their recent hit: over and over again.)

Revision is a huge part of the writing process. I don't know anyone who can just sit down and churn out perfect prose on the first try. There's always a new way to say it, a different word that will work better, a better way to organize those paragraphs.

So, sure, if any of my clients saw draft #1 of any of my work, they'd probably high-tail it out of the coffee shop where I hold most meetings before their espresso and bran muffin were delivered to the table. But they won't see these ramblings, because I take the time to refine every bit of text I type.

And eventually, I'm satisfied enough to present this prose to my clients for review. They give me feedback, and the revision process begins again.

This may sound obnoxious to those who don't care much for writing, but for folks like myself, it's actually kind of fun.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to re-read this entry just one more time...or maybe twice more...wait, I don't like that intro paragraph...and is the tone too casual? And......

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

pleased to meet you...

As educational coordinator in my BNI group, I try to offer meaningful advice about networking, marketing, etc. each week. As I searched for a bit of inspiration online last night, I came across several sites that offered handshake analyses.

Perfect! I thought. Everyone shakes hands. Haven't you ever received the "limp fish" handshake? Or the "power-crushing grip" shake?

As I snickered at the thought of all the silly handshakes produced by people who should know better, I began to wonder, hey now, wait a minute...what kind of handshake do I have?

I couldn't answer this question. How do you analyze your own handshake? So I decided to check out a few more descriptions, present my findings to my BNI group, and ask everyone to shake their neighbor's hand after introducing themselves prior to their infomercials. While this exercise was meant to benefit everyone, I was secretly dying to know what category I fell into.

Turns out I'm sort of an over-the-top shaker. My right hand travels slightly above my shaking partner's and stops when our hands meet. I'm neither a crusher nor a limp fish. I guess I've got a combination shake, then. Not sure if that's good or bad...perhaps I'll practice at the Chamber of Commerce After Hours event tomorrow night.

For more descriptions about handshakes, check out these links:

Thursday, March 10, 2005

marketing tips for small biz

As a small business owner (very it's just me!) I understand that funds for marketing can be hard to come by.

I just read an article offering 7 tips for spreading the good word about your business. The best part: putting these plans into action will cost you very little...just an investment of time, and not big $$. Check it out here:

Happy marketing!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

March issue of WriteTips

Yesterday subscribers received the March issue of my ezine, WriteTips. This month's feature article discusses style guides and how using/creating one can make your company's written communications adopt an air of professionalism via one simple idea: consistency.

It's consistency that helps streamline your marketing materials, which enhances your business' identity. It's this identity--i.e. familiarity--that convinces prospective clients to trust you. And it's trust that convinces people to use your services and/or buy your product.

Intrigued? More explicit tips for creating style guide (the how-to process, not the theories behind it) are found in this feature article, "What's Your Style?" If you don't already receive my ezine, be sure to sign up now--you won't want to miss another issue!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

new portfolio sample

I've just updated the Portfolio section of my website to include the Home Sweet Home Ministries brochure. Thanks to Ashley Haffner for her design work and Infinity Print Group for handling printing duties.

More Portfolio updates will follow soon, hopefully within the next week if I'm able to obtain a PDF of the new brochure for the McLean County Chamber of Commerce. I completed the copy in January and the Chamber staff has been working with a graphic designer and printer to finish the project.

I've decided to keep only 2 writing samples per category in my online Portfolio--I think doing so helps maintain simplicity on this page. If anyone is interested in viewing additional samples, however, I'm always happy to provide more upon request.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

thanks to you, and to you...

Seems as if I'm always talking about what a busy week I'm having. The past week hasn't been much of an exception, but I have finally had a few minutes here and there to break for coffee. You have to take time for the really important things, after all.

As I continue to grow my business, I find myself involved more often not just as a writer, but as a project manager as well. I've worked with a few excellent designers and a great printer on several projects, and I feel confident that the extra hands I look to in order to see a project from start to finish are the best of the best. And recently I met with a new designer (well, she's not new exactly, she's been working as a graphic designer for several years--but she's a new contact for me) who is also interested in working together when projects arise. She's a full-time freelancer designer, and she lives in town, too, which may prove to be beneficial.

Being a self-employed sole practitioner is tough at times. There's no one but yourself to blame if something goes wrong, no one else is going to drum up business for you (although referrals are certainly useful), and there isn't anyone to finish the work for you if you get behind. You've got to be on top of your game at all times.

One thing that helps is to keep a support network available at all times. My #1 supporter is my husband, who was all for my crazy idea to quit working for someone else and try my hand at running my own business. Other supporters include the folks I turn to for advice about writing, management, marketing, networking, general business issues, and much more. I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who has helped with questions, concerns, and problems. In many ways, it's all of you who have helped me get my business up and running---and who continue to help see me through every day. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

urgent: request for testimonials

Today I'd like to ask for a bit of help. I'm working on writing some copy for a magazine insert--sort of an advertisement for various magazine subscriptions--and I'm looking to collect testimonials from folks whose careers have, at some point in time, been influenced by information/articles found in magazines. If anyone can offer a brief description about how you've used this sort of information to improve your on-the-job skills, know-how, and general performance I'd love to hear from you...please email me directly.

I'm on a pretty tight timeline so the sooner I receive some responses the better. Thanks, thanks, thanks so much in advance!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

HSHM brochure completed

After several months of working with Home Sweet Home Ministries to produce an updated brochure, I'm please to finally have a copy of the finished product in my hands. Thanks to Michelle from HSHM for the job, and a huge thanks Ashley Haffner for her design talents and to Infinity Print Group for handling printing duties and color consultations. I'll post a visual to the portfolio section of my website soon.

Other business news
- I'm pursuing several new writing projects, many of which focus on the health care industry. One project in particular that I'm very excited about is for Benefit Planning Associates (BPA). We'll be developing a quarterly newsletter for BPA clients.

- I will be assuming the position of President for my BNI chapter as of April 1. I've got a great Leadership Team assembled, and all members have lots of ideas about how we can grow our chapter...which in turn means growing our businesses!

General news
- Got Debbie Weil's ezine today. As always, she offers some wonderful information about business blogging. Check out her Q&A section here.

- Are you a McLean County Chamber of Commerce member? If so, check out these coupons for Chamber member-to-member coupons and save in many, many ways!

That's the wrap-up for today. More as it happens.

new links

I've added a link section to this blog...look in the left-hand column on this page. I've included links to a few businesses I've worked with on various projects. I'd recommend these folks to anyone for printing, web design, or general design needs--visit their websites or give them a call!

Monday, February 07, 2005

new website updates

I've just spent some much-needed time updating my website. You'll find

- 2 new testimonials
- updated What's New section
- January 2005 WriteTips issue archived

Also, the February issue of WriteTips was sent to subscribers' inboxes this morning. Apologies for being a few days late--I was a bit behind due to working overtime on the DGM article, but I'm just about caught up now. If you haven't signed up to receive monthly issues of WriteTips, I encourage you to get on board now!

I also just completed an article for Business to Business (B2B) magazine, a local publication for Bloomington-Normal businesses. It'll appear in my bi-monthly column and is, at this point, titled The Power of Punctuation. This is admittedly not the most interesting topic to write about, but
I did try to address certain issues that I see time and time again in text in brochures, flyers, web content, etc. So as bored as some folks may be who read this, others will, I hope, be able to use the information to improve their own writing.

More as it happens. Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

workload update

It's been a very busy couple of weeks, which means I'm behind in just about everything except my deadlines. Managed to make those just fine (but who needs sleep, anyway?), with the exception of this month's WriteTips issue...but I'll be working full force on this tomorrow and should have it delivered to my subscribers' inboxes by the end of the week. Thanks for your patience!

Updates on writing projects:
  • Completed two assignments for Dynamic Graphics magazine and turned them in last night. One is a column of product reviews and the other is a feature about environmentally friendly design/printing practices. The latter involved quite a bit of research and interviews, as I knew essentially nothing about the topic when it was assigned to me. That's what I love about my job...I'm learning new, interesting things all the time.
  • I believe the brochure project for Home Sweet Home Ministries is finally complete. Almost. The files are now at the printers and will be run shortly.
  • Another project is about to be wrapped up, too. I provided content for the McLean County Chamber of Commerce new brochure. It's in the final design stages now and should be completed by the end of the month. I'll post images on my website when all is said and done.
  • Another article for B2B magazine is in the works and due by Monday. I've become a bi-monthly contributor and have been receiving a good deal of positive feedback about my articles.

I'll check back in when the new WriteTips is done and the Jan. issue is posted on the archives portion of my site.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

why blog?

It's been a busy week as I've been scrambling to ingest as much information as possible about environmentally-conscious printing (see previous post). I've talked to several experts already and have a few phone appointments set for next week to speak with others. I also received some samples of prints using soy-based ink and truly, there is no difference between this and petroleum-based ink. It's a fascinating subject, anyway.

Just got Debbie Weil's ezine delivered to my inbox. She's got a link to several great articles about business blogging, but one in particular caught my interest: "Why advertising, marketing and PR pros should blog" by Bob Cargill. See for youself why blogging is the next big thing for marketing businesses. What he says is true. Blogs are an excellent way to communicate with folks, they're inexpensive, humanizing, and infectious. And once you get into it, they're fun! Why not give it a try?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

green is the color of money and...

I'm currently buried in research for an article project about "green" printing...that is, environmentally-friendly printing practices in the design/print industry. What a fascinating topic! I've found several great websites on the subject:

And these are just a few. I've got several experts to call this week who will undoubtedly provide additional insight into (and passion, I'm sure) the subject.

Some of the info I'm uncovering is scary. Who'd've thought that cancer or birth defects may be caused by deinking processes? Who knew that the food chain may be contaminated by waste from paper bleaching routines?

That's what I love about being a writer. You learn new stuff every day. Some of it may be unpleasant, but almost all of it is useful in some way.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

major website update

My business website is now updated. New design, new content, new writing samples, the works. Check it out!

Monday, January 03, 2005

january news

You know what I love about working from home? The flexible schedule.

I was very productive last night since I simply couldn't fall asleep (should have known better than to drink two cups of coffee after 8 p.m.). So I stayed up until 4:30 a.m. working on one of the two newsletters due out this week. I finished it this morning, after waking up at 9:30 a.m. Too early to start the day considering the night's duration, but I couldn't help it. Too many things were running through my mind. All related to my 2005 writing goals, of course.

Anyway, my Ezine, WriteTips, is complete and it's been sent to subscribers' inboxes. Hope you enjoy the issue! And if you haven't subscribed yet, you can do so here.

The new website, by the way, is just about ready to be launched. Check back in a week or so and the new design should be posted!

Other news: I have been continuing to cruise the web in search of notable blogs. Here are a couple of finds:

Michael Cage's Local Small Business Marketing

Marketing Secret's by John Reese

Check 'em out and enjoy!