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.

Real Life MadWoman: A column of sorts.

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When I tell people I’m a copywriter, they usually give me a strange look. They think I help people get the Ⓒ for products and such. I don’t. When I tell people I work in advertising, I usually get a less strange look. And a few questions about what I do, what clients I work on and whether or not advertising is like it is on TV. So, a column of sorts about what it’s like to work in advertising here and now.

A few of things have led to this idea:

First, the return of, and soon to be end of, AMC’s Mad Men.
Second, a column I read about taking nothing for granted when writing (assume your readers know nothing… not that they’re stupid, but that they nothing about where you’re coming from… I KNOW you’re not stupid.)
Third, knowing that writing what I know seems to work well for me.
(Fourth, it gives me an opportunity to use some sweet Mad Men gifs.)


Spoiler alert… real life advertising in 2015 is mostly not like Mad Men. Though, there are some similarities.

I know that this isn’t a revolutionary idea — to write about what advertising is now versus what’s depicted on TV. But, I figure I can add my two cents from here in Boston. So, I want to know, do you have any “is it really like that” questions? I’ll do my best to answer them. And I’ll do my best to share what I know to be true about the ad industry today.

Read about words this weekend [4.18]

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BlogQuote_ROBERTFROSTIf you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know I go by “@CopyKelly.” The reason? After originally signing up with a firstname-lastname username, I realized I should have something more durable, in case I get married and want to change my name. Since I’m a copywriter, and I totally l-o-v-e, love alliteration, I went with “CopyKelly.” Now, as a writer, it should come as no surprise that I also love words. So, lovely readers of my words, here are a few of my favorite reads about words that I came across this week.

1 | How “no” came to also mean “yes.” 

2 | How/why free writing is better than meditation.

3 | Making a daily practice of writing.

4 | A DIY writing retreat idea that I simply adore.

Happy weekend & happy writing to you!

Loving it & leaving it. April Edition.

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LoveLeave_AprilWe are all consumers. And we find great things and not-so-great things by hearing what others think. So, here, now, I’m adding to all the existing reviews scattered about the Internet. Here are two things I came across this month — one that I’m loving, one that I’m leaving behind.

Loving: a new, everyday bag.
Leaving: a new, fancy mascara.

Loving: the bag, from Etsy shop, Sord. It zips, has a cross body strap AND shoulder straps, it’s super light-weight and super soft. Plus it’s handmade in the good ol’ U-S-of-A. I’ve only been wearing (using?) it about 3 weeks now, but I don’t see it going anywhere — or me going anywhere without it — soon. Worth every penny. I went between this, a Madewell tote and a Fossil bag for a while. I could not be happier with this decision.

Leaving: YSL mascara. With this one, it’s more like ‘Looks: 10, Dance: 3.‘ See, I should feel super stylish wearing/using/owning this mascara, but honestly, who is going to see that it looks so fancy other than Mr. GMET & #LouiseTheCat? The performance is lacking compared to my favorite Benefit They’re Real mascara. . It feels dry and the brush leaves a lot to be desired. Overall, not impressed.

What are you loving & leaving this month? Let me know. I’m always on the look for new things/ideas to love.

P.S. I received this YSL mascara from Influenster for testing and reviewing purposes. As always, the opinion here is mine, all mine. 

How to not fail. My 100-day challenge in 357 days.

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typewriter_CamusHave you ever embarked on a challenge, only to find that it took you more time, or effort, or money to complete?

I have.

In 2014, a friend and business owner, Scott, posted a 100-day writing challenge that his company, EmployTown, was hosting. Employtown is a reverse job board website where employers can bid on prospects. The writing challenge is one of Scott’s many ongoing social media campaigns, and I was thrilled to be a part.

“100 days of writing?” I thought to myself.

“I can totally handle that. I write everyday.”

I knew I could manage it all. Scott assured me it was OK if I missed a day or two. And I figured that was all I would miss. But that idea of grandeur was quickly squashed. Not only did it take me more than 100 days, it took me more than 1 year to finish that 100-day writing challenge.

So, Kelly… what you’re saying is you failed?

No. Failing would have been not completing the writing challenge at all. Failing would have been missing weeks at a time and not getting back in the writing game. Failing would have been defeat. And I don’t do defeat.

Here’s how to not fail… (aka, don’t do these things that I did when trying to complete my challenge.)

Don’t not sit down to tackle your challenge at the same time every day. Do set aside time to complete your daily challenge everyday. Pro tip: I found if you say you’ll do it first thing, you’ll do it first thing. And if you don’t, you still have all day to do it.

Don’t make excuses. Do make time. See previous note.

Don’t assume it’ll be easy. Even if you’re a personal trainer completing a fitness challenge, you’ll still need to put forth the effort to complete your challenge. 

Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’re on vacation, be on vacation. Just don’t let those days off spiral into an uncontrollable number of days off.


I’ll be sharing some of my favorite writings from the 100-day writing challenge here soon. There are many posts about writing, marketing, social media and a lot of the other topics I deal with in my everyday life as a copywriter. AND. Now that I’ve tackled one writing challenge, I’m totally game for another one. Send ’em my way if you got em.

photo source.