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!