This Video Will Get You Noticed

So today has been a journey into a new venture – video. Yes, I’ve made my very first video logs and posted them for the world to see. As uncomfortable as it was to push that “start” button, I know that it’s where I need to be headed for my businesses. Video is the way people really connect these days. Don’t get me wrong – there will always be a place for the written word. But in today’s market, people like videos.

And you should, too.

If you want to boost your hits or unique visitors and return visitors to your blog or website, you need to break into making your own videos.

The good news is it’s easier than ever before to make, post and share your videos.

Also, the more you make videos, the better you will become at doing it and the more comfortable you will feel on the other side of the camera.

Here are some cool links to some great video making sites…

First off, if you don’t know who YouTube is, then you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past decade. But here’s the link anyway…

http://www.youtube.com/

http://www.windowsmoviemakers.net/Tutorials/HowToVideoSlideShow.aspx

http://vimeo.com/

If I can push through my fears and uncomfortable feelings to create videos to connect with my audience, then you can too. No excuses!

So get out there and start making some movie magic to share with the world!

 

Cheers.

Published in: on March 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“I Know, It’s Tragic…”

My son brings so much fun into my life on a daily basis. My husband just told me about my son’s newest favorite phrase: “I know, it’s tragic.” He says this in response to a whole host of situations, trying them out to see how they work.

I love how children practice new words and phrases, trying them out to see how they work and to get accustomed to using them in their everyday language. It’s a skill that we, as adults and especially as writers, should continue to do.

The wonder of a child is so precious. It would be more than just a little awesome to be able to retain that childhood wonder. And the imagination of a child! They are so full of that stuff that they could provide tons of inspiration for years down the road if you’re truly in-tuned to it.

My son is fun to listen to when he doesn’t know I’m listening. He has full-out conversations with imaginary people. He has a whole world locked in his head. It’s incredible. I wonder sometimes if I was ever half as imaginative as he is. And I think back to those days. YES! I was that creative, imaginative and full of wonder. I explored, discovered, imagined and played just as hard as any kid.

We all did.

The problem is we’ve just forgotten how to truly let our imaginations soar as we once did when we were children. Children don’t put filters on their imaginations. They don’t put restrictions on their stories or say, “that could never happen in real life.”

What if we could do that, too? What if we could just let our minds wander, limitless, to explore and discover whatever it chooses to find?

I listen to my child play. I get mad inspiration from his imagination. And you can do the same thing. If you have children then you probably already know how amazing your child’s imagination play is. But if you don’t have any kids, you can easily go to a park where children play, or hang out with your friend who has kids and just tune-in to what exciting things come out of their conversations.

It’s an exercise in letting your mind truly explore possibilities and impossibilities. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll free your own imagination to find exciting stories on its own.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 10:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Discovering My Deeper Renaissance Self

I have been quite fortunate in my life as a whole. But something has always felt a little off. I could never really settle on just one career field to stick with.

For example: I’m a classically trained and very talented (if I must toot my own horn) clarinetist and former private lesson teacher. I spent many years in the advertising world selling ad campaigns that I helped design and create including print and radio. I also have spent the past three years while living in Germany doing copywriting – writing sales copy for businesses.

Recently I’ve begun writing cover letters and resumes because I like them and thought it would be a great way to help other spouses. And now I’m looking into providing internet research for other writers and businesses just because I love doing research – it’s usually my favorite part of doing someone’s copywriting project.

Oh, and before I moved to Germany with my little military family I was a flight attendant.

So, my hands seem to have been in just about everything.

We’re looking at our next PCS – moving back stateside. We just got our orders yesterday. My family and I are so very excited, but the biggest thing I can think is that this move is another opportunity to explore my next career field(s). I have dreams about it almost every night. (Next, I want to try my hand at poetry slams!)

Needless to say, to most people I probably seem like a flighty, unfocused, highly adventurous yet unstable hot mess. And that’s pretty much how I always thought of myself, as well. I was one of those who graduated with honors from high school and everyone had great expectations for me (including me) and I’ve failed to live up to them.

I have long believed that there must be something wrong with me because I couldn’t see myself doing any one thing for the rest of my life. That has always seemed like an eternity to me. I marvel at people who stay in one job, or at least one career, for 10 or 20 years. To me, that’s just unfathomable.

I recently came across a website, Puttylike.com, touting “lifestyle design for multipotentialites” created by Emilie Wapnick. I was so curious as to what a multipotentialite was I had to click over and check it out. As it turns out, my desire to learn, explore and attempt many things isn’t at all a bad thing – it’s a mentality likened to DaVinci, Einstein, Aristotle and Ben Franklin, who were all good at several things at once. They were what was once known as Renaissance men. This type of personality “flaw” (by today’s thinking) was once the ideal.

After I read through this website, which is a community for folks like me, I instantly felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

Suddenly my whole life made more sense.

According to Wikipedia, Mulitpotentiality is an educational and psychological term referring to a pattern found among intellectually gifted individuals. “Because gifted students generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices. When encountering multiple opportunities, some students may experience confusion, anxiety and frustration because they fear missing something or making a wrong decision.”

So, have you experienced this type of misdirection in your life? Have you felt the pressure and frustration of trying to find your one true calling in life only to feel torn in many directions? Have you felt you haven’t lived up to your potential because you’ve been paralyzed by or overwhelmed by the options in front of you?

If this describes you, then you should no longer feel isolated. You’re definitely not alone. However, you may be in a much smaller group – a group for the gifted and talented of the world.

And you are NOT a failure. You have many gifts and can’t decided which one to share with the world at any given time. The trick is to find a way to use as many of your talents as possible in the same field. For example, if you love music and are a classically trained instrumentalist and also love to write, you can create a blog about your instrument (something I’m looking into doing in the near future.) Or just find ways to use all of your talents through freelancing (also, something I’ve been doing naturally and will continue to do in my next duty station.)

You are secretly a ninja in all you do without even realizing it. You can be a Jack of all trades and master them all.

So, go forth and conquer, you amazing individual!

How I Finally Broke Out of Content Mill Sites and Landed My First Big Client…And How You Can Too!

The clouds parted and, at last, there's a light!

I’ve read all of the expert advice. I follow many blogs  (I love, love, love Copyblogger and Make a Living Writing…both fabulous blogs for freelance writers!) and have read many books about how to succeed as a freelance writer. But the advice just wasn’t sinking in.

I spent the majority of 2009 and 2010 working on sites like Elance, ODesk and Guru, and wasn’t getting the jobs nor the money I wanted. I eventually moved on to the content mill sites where I did a lot of work and just didn’t get paid. I don’t know which is worse, not getting the work or not getting paid for the work that I did. Either way, I knew I needed to break the pattern and find a way out of that situation. But, after a couple of years plugging away, I was tired, exhausted, defeated, and burned out.

I took a break.

This fall I knew I had to figure out the puzzle and start making real money freelancing as a writer. I knew I had a talent. I know I am a good writer. That was never the issue. So I set out to try to find real work as a freelance writer that pays.

I decided to look for work where writers look for work, places like Mediabistro and Problogger, and apply for work through their job sites. The one good thing about working for the content mill sites is I did have published work out there I could link to in order to show potential clients what I was capable of producing. I applied for several jobs and actually started to get some nibbles.

But the real problem came when I had to quote a rate. I have not been paid what I was worth which is why I needed a break in the first place. So setting my rate and sticking to it seemed a bit scary. I mean, what if I didn’t get work because no one wanted to pay me what I thought I was worth? I had a job offer for a paltry amount of money per article. Honestly, it was a rate akin to the amounts I made with the sweatshops. I was at a crossroads…should I take the measly-paying job? Or should I politely decline, explaining that I was a professional writer who couldn’t take such a below-standard pay rate?

I took the high road…I turned down the job.

It felt strange and I was a little disappointed. I had a slight melancholy over the missed opportunity. It was like I didn’t get asked to the prom by that special boy I had my eye on. I thought the job was gone, faded into the mist. But to my surprise, I received an e-mail back asking what my actual per-article rate would be which set up a nice conversation about value and the establishment of my 500-word-rate. I ended up getting a job as a senior contributor as opposed to the job I applied for, small time article writer. Instead of doing the little jobs with the company, I was assigned larger features that have a much bigger impact and higher rate. My first BIG FISH client with a respectable rate.

Obviously I was elated and overjoyed at finally breaking past the barrier. But I learned something very valuable and it’s what all the experts have been saying all along, I was just too stubborn to hear it. You have to value your work in order for anyone else to value your work. If you don’t think that you’re worth more than $10 for 500 word article, then you will not make more than that. If you see yourself making $100 for a blog post then that is the rate you should quote, and that’s the rate you will get. If you have any writing ability and a passion for making money at it, which if you are reading this you obviously have some talent with pen and paper, then you should be charging what you’re worth, not what you think you can get. Go ahead. Put it out there…see what happens! You might be surprised.

Writers are a gift to a world that is continuously losing the ability to communicate at the level of elegance writers hold close. We genuinely have something to offer and we deserve to be able to make an honest wage at our craft. We just have to stop letting others create doubt in our own abilities. So go out there and get the BIG FISH and don’t be afraid to ask for every bit of money that you want, because you are worth it.

Published in: on October 17, 2011 at 8:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Why You Can’t Make Money Blogging

Is there any hope out there?....

I’ve been an avid reader/subscriber to Copyblogger for more than a year. I consider their site to be one of the best resources for writers and I love to read the articles. This is one I thought was especially great and needed to be shared as much as possible. Enjoy!

Why You Can’t Make Money Blogging (@Copyblogger)

Published in: on November 9, 2010 at 10:10 am  Comments (1)  

Resources for You!

I’ve been a member of mediabistro.com for a number of years, but only recently began to utilize it for its full potential. I recently upgraded from a free account to Avant Guild member to get even more from the site. It offers courses, online and in-person, job listings, a marketplace, and a wealth of news from around the media world. I use this site more than others and just love it!

There are several other sites for freelancers, though, that can help you boost your visibility online. Here is a list of a few of the ones I’m familiar with. I don’t use all of these, but you might find me on a few here and there…

creativehotlist.com

talentzoo.com

freelancewriting.com

problogger.net

worldwidefreelance.com

freelancewritinggigs.com

In addition to these types of sites, with forums, discussions, news, classes and techniques, along with job listings, I write for several sites. I love having the freedom of writing when I want on a wide range of topics for a variety of sites. Check out some of these sites…

associatedcontent.com

demand studios.com

hubpages.com

suite101.com

helium.com

examiner.com

breakstudios.com

So, there are some wonderful resources to get you started and keep you going on your freelance journey!

Until next time!

Published in: on May 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm  Comments (2)  

A new venture…

I met a lovely woman on Gather that introduced me to a new writing site: Helium.

They don’t have as many writers as some of the others, but it looks very promising. They have something the other sites do not…a Marketplace where you can write for individual clients through the site. Very nice.

I’m still writing away at Associated Content.  I love writing there and have been building a following. The money is beginning to come in! I’m still writing for Demand Studios and Break Studios, too. It’s fun! Some of the assignments I pick are are really interesting and I enjoy the research.

The main thing is I’m doing something, not just sitting around waiting for something to find me. I’m sharpening the saw and keeping my skills tight. I’m still looking into a master’s degree program that I can do while I’m overseas, too.

The most important thing is to get up, do a little research and find a way to make it happen. My path isn’t the only path, but it’s  something. Hopefully the sites I’ve found online are beneficial to anyone who wants to find work in the freelance writing field. If not, get out there and make some friends, share your goals with others and make some connections.

When all else fails, look to expanding your education in some way. I’m sure the inspiration will come to you eventually. It did to me!

Published in: on April 19, 2010 at 8:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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How to Create a Vision Board that Will Help You Reach Your Goals

It should be no secret to anyone that positive thinking and positive affirmations have been helping people get more out of life since the days of Napoleon Hill and Andrew Carnegie. People have been putting techniques into their daily lives for decades that incorporate the power of the subconscious mind. Using a few techniques, you can get the career, social life, travel aspirations, etc. you have been wanting. These strategies are not new. They have been tried, tested, and used over and over again because they get results.

Published in: on April 13, 2010 at 8:29 am  Comments (2)  
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Federal Grants for Military Spouses

When it comes to finding federal grants and government funding for your education as a military spouse, you have more options than ever in today’s military environment. Federal programs, grants, scholarships and a host of sites offering direct access to information are right at your fingertips. Trying to locate the right information may seem overwhelming, but here are a few tools you should know about when you begin your search. Read the article here.

The Voice in the Dark…

Have you ever been sleeping deeply, enjoying your dream, and then rudely awakened by someone calling your name? You sit straight up in bed and look around and realize there’s no one else in the room.  So who shouted your name? Have you ever had that happen?

Well it happened to me a few nights ago. Luckily, that kind of thing does not happen often. But it happened the other night. I was deep in a dream. Then, out of nowhere, a man’s voice shouted “Jodie!” My eyes popped open, I completely forgot about the dream I was having, and I looked around the room trying to find the source of the voice. But then I realized my husband is still away and it couldn’t have been him.

It was that moment that I started to feel creeped out. I mean, if it was a person in my house other than my husband, that would be bad. But if it wasn’t an actual person then, where did the voice come from?  Was it my subconscious mind warning me? Or some spirits in my house trying to get my attention? Or was it some part of my ‘collective subconscious’ trying to impart some wisdom to me.  I’m not sure if I believe in all things supernatural but there is far too much evidence for me to discount all of it. So, which is it? My subconscious, my ‘collective subconscious,’ or a supernatural being? Or is it something else altogether….

The answer to that question haunted me for the rest of the morning. I did not go back to sleep.  Instead, I got up out of bed, came down to my office and started writing. I felt like I needed to write.  So I did.

What would you do?

Published in: on February 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm  Comments (3)  
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