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

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.

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

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.

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]

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.

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.

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.

Dealing with snow (& other unexpected things in life).

SnoJoke_Now that baseball season is officially underway, I feel like I can talk about the winter that was. During the season, it would have been like talking about a no-hitter while a no-hitter is happening — you just don’t do it. But, now that it appears we’ll be breaking 60° for a few consecutive days, I feel like I can talk about the whole thing.

First, let’s rewind a little bit.

At the beginning of January, we had no idea what the jet stream had in store for us. There was little snow at the beginning of the winter season. And then, that quickly changed. By the end of January, the Boston area was suffering from what an op-ed in the Times called a “slow-motion natural disaster of historic proportions.”

There was snow. And more snow. And more than enough snow. And enough snow, already. The birdbath in our backyard is evidence. These four shots from 1/27, 1/28, 2/8, 2/9, respectively, perfectly capture that progression. And while it only took a couple weeks to amount to the snowiest winter on record, it took longer than that to melt. As I sit here, mid-April, there are still piles of snow resting in shadowy backyards across the area.

So, how did we get here? To April with our now snow-free commute? What are the tips I put into practice when dealing with the unexpected?

1. Learned a new thing or two.
In January, I had no idea what a snow rake was, let alone that a snow rake even existed. I didn’t know what an ice dam was. And I also didn’t know that you could put ice-melt in pantyhose and place it on your roof to help alleviate the aforementioned ice dam.

When you’re forced to deal with a physical (or emotional) situation, you learn how to get through it. How to survive (relatively unscathed). How to learn and grow and become smarter and stronger because of it. That’s what you do. That’s what I did.

2. Practiced patience. In all things.
From the day after our first snowstorm (1/28) until as recently as March 30, the commuter rain line that I ride suffered from massive delays, cancellations and a so-called “recovery schedule.” It left us standing in the cold (literally). It left us driving to other train lines. And one week I didn’t make it to work until noon every day.

Eventually, one way or another, we all make it to some end point that we expected to be at or that we’ve accepted we’re at. We don’t give up, pitch fits or whine about it though — that doesn’t do anyone any good at all. It’s easier said than done, but having a little patience with ourselves, and with others, goes a long way.

3. Turned the frown, upside down. 
You have never seen a group of people more upset than the collective greater Boston population was this winter. But hey guys, we were all in it together, amiright?

Unexpected situations are much easier to face with a positive outlook. And while it’s easy to say “everything happens for a reason,” it’s sometimes much harder to actually believe it. I’ve found that finding the reason (or reasons) sometimes make dealing with the tough shit harder at first. But in the long run, it’s somewhat soothing and definitely easier to get behind with rose-colored glasses.

4. Looked ahead.
Spring was on my mind’s horizon since January.

Yes. I knew that official spring wasn’t for 60-some days. And I knew that unofficial spring (aka warm weather) would be several more days past that. But I didn’t let that get me down. It goes right along with that positive outlook. Listen,

You’ve got to weather the storm to see the rainbow.

In seasons, in life, in the expected and the unexpected, it’s so true — you have to weather the storm. Life has thrown me plenty of curveballs of all speeds, but I’ve managed to foul them off and keep this thing going. (baseball metaphors all the way.) I/You/We have to. That’s how I’ve managed. I’d like to know how you get through the big, small, crazy, ugly and everything else life has thrown at you recently.

Photo.

Why I love Mondays.

MondaysRock

It’s Monday, you guys! And I gotta say. It’s my favorite day of the week. I know it’s not a popular opinion but it’s the one I got. Here’s why.

Monday: Awesome.
Tuesday: The worst.
Wednesday: Stuck in the middle, but not awful.
Thursday: Almost the weekend!
Friday: Fun, but filled with pressure to check off all the things.

Now, a little more on why Monday, gets that one word I hold so dearly, “Awesome.” Monday is a fresh start. A clean slate. On Mondays, I don’t have time to have a “case of the Mondays.” I come in blazing, riding that weekend high. Looking to stir up trouble. To make something. To start fresh.

My favorite thing about Mondays is the chance to begin again. Why wait for a new year to start something new? Make a new week resolution. Heck, make a new day resolution if you’re into it. As humans, we look for a set time to start or end something. Monday is a perfect time for that. It can be a small goal, say, I’m going to eat a piece of fruit with lunch everyday. Or a bigger goal, like, I’m going to start training for a 1/2 marathon this week.

Me? I’m doing neither of those things this week. This week, I have no goals. I just have a fresh week to start filling with memories, meals and moments, big and small. ( + it’s the week of my spring show, so I’m sure it will be filled with many sequins and smiles as well.)

Do you make weekly goals/resolutions/lists? I want to know how you make Mondays the best day of the week. Or, maybe it’s just me? Tell me what day I should consider giving another chance.

Creative Reads for Your Weekend [4.11]

BlogQuote_MilesDavis

I can really relate to Miles on this one. (yes, first name basis, what of it?) Every morning I find myself thinking about my creative endeavors — about a project for work or a dance routine or some passion project I’ve got in the back of my head. It’s just part of who I am. Being that, I’m always looking for little ways to be more creative, or wrangle my all too jumbled creative thoughts. Here’s a few creative reads that caught my eye this week.

“Time moves in one direction only,” she continued, “and that would be forward. To go back is very uncomfortable for me. Memory begins to enter the picture. It screws up my clock.” – Twyla Tharp
Twyla Tharp’s 50 years of forward movement via New York Times

“Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation.”
(How and why) Creative people say “no.” via Medium

“if you have to interrupt your flow of work whenever you need to look something up, you can’t follow ideas to new places.”
Train yourself to be more creative via FastCo

“…most of the great work any of us do depends on the sparks of insight and creativity that come when we’re not actively focusing on a particular task or trying to solve a problem.”
Simple ways to make creative thinking a daily habit also via FastCo