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Quitting Gets Me Every Time

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I remember the first time I quit something. And when I say “quit,” I mean, I dropped out of the activity before it’s “season” had run its course. It was in 5th grade. You had a choice to sign up for the school chorus or have extra reading time. Well, since you can’t really quit extra reading time, you guessed it, I signed up for and then quit the school chorus. I remember the choir teacher being upset that I was leaving (not because I was/am a great singer) and, as I recall, I remember not being too upset by her reaction.

In 2015, I “quit” a few things. Two different jobs. Though, technically, I think I “resigned.” Regardless, I left two jobs. And I quit selling in my Etsy shop.* I also quite reading a book that I just couldn’t get into. As much as I wanted to like it and finish it. 50 pages in and I was done.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned all along the way, ever since I was in the 5th grade—quitting is completely and totally acceptable. Life is so crazy and short and complicated that if you’re doing something you don’t like, you should leave it behind. Don’t stick around just so you’re not a “quitter.”

Since it is the season of football playoffs, it’s worth quoting Vince Lombardi’s most overused phrase:

Winners never quit and quitters never win.

You know what, Vince? That’s not always true. Because a lot of the time, winning is just about being happy. And being a quitter doesn’t mean that you’ve given up. It just means that you’re on to the next thing. And think of it another way… sometimes quitting is the best thing—like quitting smoking, or any other bad habit; quitting a bad relationship; quitting one opportunity to go after a better one.

When I think of quitting, I like to think of the new beginning that comes directly after it. Walt Disney once said,

The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.

Not to get all New Year’s resolution/’tis that time of year on your butts, but it’s that statement is true in so many aspects of life. If you’ve got an idea, quit talking and make a plan. If you’ve got a goal, quit planning and get yourself in gear. If you’ve got a trip to take, quit talking and just go.

There’s nothing in the foreseeable future that I expect to quit. But I do quite like the idea of less talk, more action as something to put into practice more often. What about you? Anything worth quitting? Anything worth doing?

*There is a possible, ever-so-small, chance that Toyidermy will make a pop-up appearance on Etsy sometime in 2016. No promises though. 

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

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.

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!

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.

On drinking tea & journaling

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So, now that universal letter writing week has ended, it’s time to find something new to celebrate. Why not “national hot tea month“?

Growing up I remember hot tea as a special treat. I’d have a cup with my mother or one of my grandmothers and we’d talk about who knows what. Probably my favorite color, or snow, or school, or toys. I can only imagine the conversations that 10-year-old me could hold.

In those days, I took my tea just like I took my conversation—light and sweet. Today however, I’m open to talking about almost anything and I’m stepping up my tea game too. I now take my tea almost as unfiltered as I take my conversation. And I’ll drink the black, the green, the white… whatever you throw my way.

For national hot tea month, I’ve cracked open a new journal (a gift) and at the same time extended the holidays with Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea.

Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea

For starters, those polar bears with the candy canes. Super cute. And while it’s no longer “the holidays,” this peppermint tea still hits the spot for a cold January day.

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My go-to hot tea is usually black, strong and unsweetened. But, as I whip through the pages of this journal (and three other journals I’ve recently received as gifts) I’m open to sipping new brews. Let me know your favorite in the comments so we can celebrate for the second half of national hot tea month.

I was not paid to write this post, however, Influenster did send this Celestial Seasonings Tea to me to taste test for free. Join Influenster now if you’d like to share your opinions (on free product samples) too.

Writing Letters Gets Me Every Time

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Did you know that we are smack dab in the middle of Universal Letter Writing week? It’s true. The second week in January (January 8-14) traditionally marks this wordy week. It seems like there is a day or a week or a month to celebrate almost everything, so why not take a few days to write some letters.

I don’t know about you, but I do love to get real, actual physical letters in the mail. You know, the kind you have to go to the mailbox to get. The kind you get to tear open and read as many times as you wish.

I must admit I’m a few days behind in this year’s Letter Writing Week, but I am planning on sending some real, actual letters by the end of the week (more by the end of the month.) If you’re thinking you would like to as well, here are a few prompts to get you going.

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Now, sit down with a nice pen and some paper—or at your keyboard—and get to writing letters. You just never know how receiving a letter might change someone’s day. And, you might be surprised how sending one can be just as gratifying too.

P.S. Want one of those real, actual, mailed letters? Share your address with me now and watch your mailbox. (Then, if you would, send one in return!)

Starting over with a “clean slate”

Clean Slate history as a nautical termart by Tacita Dea 

A clean slate. It’s something we’re all talking about this first week of January. It’s a fresh start. A blank page. A new calendar year. It’s a way to start over on goals we may have fallen short of in the past. It’s a new beginning to old habits we want to change or new ones we want to create.

But a “clean slate” didn’t always mean to start anew. So what does “a clean slate” mean? Or, more accurately, where did the whole “clean slate” phrase come from?

Well, according to my highly scientific internet research, two sources (1 & 2) confirm that our whole “clean slate” obsession stems from an old nautical task. The watch keeper of the ship would record speeds, distances and more on a slate during his (or her?) watch. If there were no problems, the slate would be wiped clean at the end of his watch. Then, the new watch would “start over with a clean slate.”

Now, I don’t plan on climbing aboard any ships any time soon, but I like a clean slate as much as the next sailor.