Your Blog Gets Me Every Time

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Or why I stopped reading your blog.

As a person who occasionally writes a blog, I also like to occasionally read them. But more and more, I find myself reaching for something else these days.

Don’t get me wrong, small, local blogs are still my go-to when I’m looking for a review, the latest drink place, or just beautiful photos of my beautiful city. Plus, most of those are blogs are written by some lovely people who I happen to call my friends, and I enjoy seeing what they’re up to when they’re out and about.

But lately, I’m more likely surfing to FastCo, an industry (advertising) pub or the straight up news. Also, I’m trying this old thing where you step away from all the screens and put a book in front of your face and enjoy that for a while.

However, it’s not just other outlets that are driving me away. So here it is. Why I stopped reading your blog:

  • Your blog’s sponsored posts are the same as the next blogger’s sponsored posts, are the same as the next blogger’s sponsored posts. And they can’t all be genuine, and a lot of the time, it seems like none of them really are. I get it. Certain brands reach out to certain bloggers in order to reach a certain demographic (mine, apparently.) But just because you can say yes, doesn’t mean you should.
  • Your blog feels empty. I love cute pictures of pretty drinks and outfits and decorations just as much as the next girl. Hello, I have a Pinterest account. But that’s just it. I HAVE a Pinterest account. I was reading your blog because I wanted to know about you and your thoughts and your ideas. Where did they all go? 
  • Your blog’s daily posts are just that, “everyday.” Every once and awhile there’s a gem in there somewhere. More often than not, it’s a rehash of your Instagram feed (which I’m already following, by the way), or it’s another list of links (glass houses, I know), or it’s a post about how you haven’t posted in so long* and it goes on forever and forever. (and forever.) 
  • Your blog is riddled with typos and it drives me mad. If it’s so important for you to get that post out right away, please take a few minutes to proofread it. Wait… you don’t want to take the time to read it? Then, tell me — why should I take the time to read it? Do us all a favor and type your post in Microsoft Word. Or copy and paste it into a site like Grammarly. And if you must get the post up and don’t have time to read it… hit publish, read it and if you see a typo, go ahead and fix it.

That’s really all there is to say on the subject. I just had to get it out there. It’s partially because I see how much brands are paying for your blog content and I also see how that blog content is riddled with typos. And how, too often, it’s just not interesting.

So, bloggers. Let’s step up our game. Make your blog worth reading again. If you want readers that is. Or just write for you. Just don’t be upset if I miss the big news about what book you’re reading, the tacos you ate last night or how X brand helped you make mornings better.

*As much as we all wish it were true, no one is sitting by their laptop in the morning to see if you hit publish every day. So who cares if you haven’t posted in SO LONG. Don’t even mention it. Move on. Write something today. And tomorrow. And then stop if you want. (Just please make it worth reading.)

The Internet Gets Me Every Time | July 17th Ed.

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1 | That above video. Warning there are some choice lyrics so if you’re sensitive to that you might not want to watch. And if you work in a real office (read: not ad agency) you might want to grab the ol’ headphones.

2 | Speaking of being at the office… A 32-hour workweek? That sounds idyllic.

3 | I tweeted this link earlier this week, but here’s a few pointers for approaching grieving friends that’s worth mentioning again.

4 | Dear all my favorite readers (that’s you), I entered this giveaway and if I win, I’ll take 3 of you. You should enter too. (and take me, obvs.)

5 | I love Gretchin Rubin’s “Secrets of Adulthood.” This one is no exception and I plan on doing it this weekend. Are you in?

6 | “Fear can be a motivator…” and other insights on backsliding in work and life. (For entrepreneurs, but really for life.)

The Internet Gets Me Every Time | July 10th Ed.

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What’s up internet. Yes. I’m back to “Blank Gets Me Every Time.” You know why? It’s easier. It makes it easier for me to write. Makes it even easier to think of post titles. It’s less pressure. It seems more frivolous to me to write with this standard approach and that I’m fine with. Lots of bloggers use their blogging because their passionate about writing and they want more of it in their lives. I’m passionate enough about writing that it’s what I do all day, so the writing here, it’s just enough to let out whatever’s bouncing around in my head without a client name attached to the end.

Today, just a quick look at some links I’m digging that I hope you’ll dig too.

• A look at why you may be aging faster than your same-aged friends. And what to do about it? Sign me up. (Yeah, yeah. It’s partially genetics, but not completely.)

• This ball pit art installation looks pretty cool. It also looks like a huge germ pit. But a really cool-looking germ pit nonetheless.

• My Kindle broke last weekend (it’s a Kindle 3 frozen on the “Recovery Mode” screen), so fingers crossed Prime Day serves up a nice Kindle deal.

• Speaking of writing (above), some people think they have “no time” to write. Here’s five ideas to help you out if you’re one of those some people.

• And one longer read for the weekend that is finally within reach. The secrets of the creative brain and how it relates to genius, high IQ and mental illness.

Heard, Read, Watched. Spring, 2015.

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KindleSpringHEARD
Serial (finally) yes. It took a few months. But I was busy in the fall, letsbehonest. And now that I’ve listened, I’m totally ready for the next story.

Currently: Nate Reuss’s Grand Romantic I’ve been in love with following Reuss since I was in college and he was front-manning The Format while smoking on stage. Last time I saw him live he’d quit the habit and, of course, sounds as great as ever on this solo album.

 

READ
The $100 Start-Up I read this because I’ve seen some solid reviews of the book. It’s a quick read, has some great examples and is a nice baseline of what it might take you to be an entrepreneur. Note, I’m not quitting my day job, just reading a lot of various things.

Lean In Just like Serial, I was late to the party on this one. But I picked it up and read it — the same week Sandberg’s partner died. My heart aches for her. As for the book, I quickly devoured it. Side note, if you haven’t read this post by Sandberg on the end of sheloshim, I suggest you read it right away. So much of what she shares about approaching someone after tragedy is so true. (especially the note on asking, “How are you?”)

The Hive confession. I picked this up off the library shelf because the spine said “Hornby,” the last name of one of my faves, Nick Hornby. Well, you’re not supposed to re-shelf books, so I didn’t and I read it and it was just OK.

#GirlBoss my 22-year-old self would have benefitted from this book a lot more than I did now. There’s some interesting tidbits in there but I would recommend it to my college-aged cousin, not my working-gal-bffs.

Not That Kind of Girl so what if I totally hopped on the femme-mindset book wagon? I enjoyed this collection of stories from Lena Dunham not as much for the content as I did for the writing style.

A Room of One’s Own this is actually where my the whole female reading began this spring. Maybe closer back to where it began. Basically, Wolfe talks about how a woman needs a room of her own in which to write. In which to make. In which to think. It’s more about independence than a physical room though, so the message, while difficult to get through, is still relevant today.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook another confession. I didn’t make it through this. Maybe because this is the stuff I deal in on the daily? Just couldn’t get into it, so I put it down.

Currently: On Writing, A Memoir of The Craft I’m not even a quarter of the way in so I’ll report back later on this summer.

 

WATCHED
Biggest confession of the post here, people. I don’t make time for watching TV and/or movies. I’d rather spend my time with people, cooking, outside, reading, listening, dancing, etc. I do hold a few programs on my DVR. So recently, I’ve watched the season finales of Bates and Gotham. And of course, the series finale of Mad Men, single tear.

Currently: So You Think You Can Dance. My summer’s guilty pleasure.

 

And now, I want to know what you’re reading. Let’s connect on GoodReads. Or leave the names of what I should hear, read, or watch in the comments, yo.

When you’re unsure what’s right in front of you

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JustKeepGoingI’m sitting in the family room, catching up on Dance Moms (yes, I admit it). It’s a breezy night so the sliders are open. It’s nice. It gets dark, but I didn’t turn the backyard lights on. Why should I? That’s rhetorical. But I should have.

We had a visitor. And Louise (the cat) was not too happy about it. Here’s the thing. Louise gets very protective of me. It’s to the point where she hisses and takes swipes at me. She wants me to stay away from the predator. It’s very sweet, really. Until she actually delivers on one of those swipes and then I have a bloody hand.

Like I mentioned, the lights weren’t on. I didn’t know what was out there. My guess? Another cat. So I took the cup of water I was drinking and launched it through the screen door.

I’m really lucky it wasn’t a skunk at our back door.

It’s tough. Not knowing what’s out there. What’s coming for you. Tough not being able to see something so close. Something that has such an effect on you. But that’s life, right?

The best we can do is keep going. Cautiously, yes, but keep going nonetheless.

You know what I’m talking about. For instance, a new job. You have an idea of what a new job will be like. What it entails. What’s expected of you, etc. But you can’t really be sure what will happen. You have to wait and see. You hardly know this new job.

You just keep going. Showing up every day. Finding out what’s right in front of you and what’s beyond that.

Or when life throws a crazy medical/financial/emotional curveball at you. We’ve all been affected by one of these things. Sometimes you don’t know what the next day will bring. But that doesn’t mean you will it away. You meet the rising sun and find out.

So what’s the point?

I’m not sure what the point is, but mine is this. We can’t know what’s ahead. Can we plan for what we think lies ahead? Yes. Can we make educated guesses? Sure. But in reality, you never know what will happen. Just do what you can to help you see what’s coming next.

My point is that you don’t know if something, good or bad, might happen to you today, so do everything you want today. Just in case.

And my last point is this. Always turn the lights on in your backyard. Who knows — it could have been the skunk.

10 things to do this week rather than be bored

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I was never that child who was bored. It’s simply not in my DNA. It made for some hefty carry-on bags, still does, but I’m seemingly never lacking for something to do.

It seems hard to believe that with all the media, gadgets and to-dos anyone could be bored these days. And we’re probably not bored with “nothing to do.” More likely bored with what we do have to. Or what we are doing — staring at screens all the live long day.

Here’s a few thoughts on how to not be bored this week. Turn off. Unplug. Tune out. And do something different.

1| Read a book. it’s the cheapest way to be transported somewhere.
2| Go on a walk. it’s another cheap way to get somewhere.
3| Make something. anything.
4| Have a conversation. connect or reconnect with someone who you haven’t spoken to in the past month.
5| Clean out your car/your closet/your attic. and donate or sell those things you no longer need.
6| Write a letter. not an email. a letter. and send it.
7| Fix something. it’s been broken for a while, and it hasn’t fixed itself yet.
8| Rearrange. The furniture, your bookshelf, etc. Get a new perspective.
9| Do that one thing. scan the photos, shred the mail, transfer your VHS to DVD… the one thing that you keep putting off. do it.
10| Do nothing. and embrace it. 

How else can we turn off the screen — and boredom — this week?

image.

Read about work this weekend (trust me) [5.2]

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ConanQuote.001I recently had someone who was a couple years into his career ask me a question we all ponder at one point or another during our careers. He wanted to know how he could get to the next level. I most likely gave a roundabout answer that listed a ton of ambiguous tiny actions, but I remember opening with and underscoring this internet-famous quote from Conan.

It’s common sense advice, but sometimes it’s the reminder that we all need. I think about the people I enjoy working with/for most. They are all kind. And they all work their asses off for the better of the team.

So, while I know it’s the weekend and we don’t want to think of work, here are a few articles I came across this week that I thought were worth sharing.

 

The cubicle celebrated 50 (un)glorious years this week. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

Plan the weekend on Wednesday, and other great ways to use your calendar and email reminders to better your life.

Step away from the desk. How walking two minutes an hour can better your health.

AND… even more reasons why you should be literally standing up for yourself at the office.

And if you’ve heard enough about work for one week, here’s a read about how to quit your job and travel.  (It can be done, see how my friend Joslin managed it.)

Real Life MadWoman: How I got into advertising.

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Let me start by reminding everyone that no two career paths are the same. Especially into advertising. And especially into the creative side of advertising. Some go straight through college knowing they want to be in advertising. Some come to it as a second career later in life. This is my (abridged) story.

When I was a child I wanted to be a children’s author and illustrator. And an architect. And a dance teacher. And a reporter. And a dance teacher again.** Then reporter, or rather, “journalist.” And that’s what I was to the path to becoming.

I was in college. Studying communications with an emphasis in journalism. I worked for the school newspaper. I interned at a major dance magazine. I wrote opinion columns that afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted. I proudly amassed a portfolio full of writing clips that surely would have landed me (at the very least) on the obit desk of some newspaper where I would have been happy to start my career.

And then, I enrolled for my final fall semester of what I believed to be my college career. I signed up for a couple advertising electives. I went to class. I loved it. I got an advertising internship. I loved it.

I was graduating college with a relevant degree but without the portfolio needed to get the job I wanted — copywriter at an advertising agency. (that’s like Peggy on MadMen)

So, I worked at a newspaper for a hot second and then up and moved to Boston for grad school to get a master’s in advertising Note: you don’t need a master’s degree to work at an ad agency. At all. But, that’s a different conversation/post for a different time.

Then, I did what anyone would do. I started interviewing. Started working. And here I am. On full-time gig #3 in adland.

This is just one post in a series of what it’s really like to work in advertising today. Keep following along to see what other myths I can uncover for you. All gifs courtesy giphy. I do not own these images.

**You can totally be in advertising and still be a dance teacher, despite what anyone says.

100-Day Writing Challenge: Minimize Social Media Time

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89-100socialmediaLast year I  took on a 100 Day Writing Challenge. Now, I’m sharing some of my (slightly edited) results—the writing part of it—with you. Read more about how I (barely) completed the challenge and read on for day 89 of 100.

Day 89 Challenge: Discuss 3 tips or tools that small businesses (or blogs or solopreneurs*) should use in order to minimize the time they spend on social media, but still get disproportionate results. (250-300 words)

Social media for any business can be an all-consuming job. That’s why businesses big and small are hiring people to manage their social media—eff that noise. You’re a small business (or a small one-person) you don’t need to can’t hire anyone else. You also can’t go spending more time online to get results. Here’s how to minimize time on social media.

What you’ll say: Develop a content strategy plan. It could be as simple as setting up what days you’ll post on different networks, or what content you’ll promote throughout the week. For example, maybe you want to post to Facebook twice a week, to Instagram three times a week and to tweet every day during the week. Having a simple plan written down will make it easier to quickly accomplish your social media tasks.

When you’ll say it: Now that you know what you want to say, use a tool like TweetDeckHootSuite, Buffer or Klout to schedule and manage (most of) your posts. That’s right. Schedule your posts in advance. Then, your social media works hard during the week, while you work hard on every other little thing to keep your business going during the week.

How you’ll turn up the volume: Finally, download those social media apps to your phone or tablet. Then, next time you’re waiting in line, BAM, you’re also online… social media liking, retweeting and sharing like a pro.

These quick tips and tools will help you and your small business (or blog or solo-gig) get the most from social media, with less time than you ever imagined. Now tell me, what other tools or tips do you use that help you get the most from your time AND from social media.

*This addition is mine. I think these tips can work GREAT for a small biz, but I also think they can work for my blogging friends & the creative entrepreneurs I know and love.