Category Archives: success

Making LinkedIn work for you | Search Engine People | Toronto

I hope you’ll check out the post I did for Search Engine People offering some tips on making LinkedIn work for you!

Click on the link below to read the post.

Making LinkedIn work for you | Search Engine People | Toronto.

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Surround yourself with positive energy

The Motivational Monday post drew a lot of attention.  It seems this is a hot topic with many of us as we take on the new year.

Today I had coffee with a friend that I met while attending the Flagler County Citizens Academy this  past fall.  I knew her name and she knew mine, but we never had any reason to connect or meet face-to-face.  Since that time we’ve kept in touch through social networking, but decided to have coffee when our schedules permit.  Well, today was that day and just spending an hour or so with this person makes me realize that another tool for motivation is to surround yourself with positive energy.  There is an energy exchange that takes place between people when they have similar goals, personalities and views of the world.

D is just such a person. Within the last decade, she has battled a life-threatening disease while raising a family and on a professional level has seen her position “cut” from the last two organizations that employed her.   Yet she is fully of bubbly enthusiasm for the next adventure that life will bring her.  She is positive and glows both inside and out.  In her words “whatever happens happens.”   You can’t help but be excited for her and with her about her extremely positive attitude.  Smiles and laughing are definitely contagious.

So what’s the point here?

The point is that another tool to stay  motivated is to surround yourself with people like D.  If people find fault with everything in the world or put your ideas down or make you feel that what you’re doing is not valuable, that negative energy will eventually transfer to you, making it ever harder to stay on task with your goals –  whether those goals are professional or personal.

Maybe today is the day to look back and see how people and situations around you may have influenced your level of enthusiasm for staying motivated.  Make sure you’re keeping the positive connections in your realm within reach to help motivate you.

Any experiences to share about this subject?  Let me hear from you!


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Motivation and strategies…

It’s Motivational Monday!

Are you motivated today? What in the world is “Motivational Monday” you ask? It’s my unofficial designation for taking all the inspiration I’ve encountered in recent weeks and putting it into action.

Last week I spent some time with a fellow blogger/writer friend to brainstorm on ideas for our writing projects and goals for the year.  One of the ideas we came up with was to form a partnership strategy to motivate each other to keep going.  We agreed to communicate by email at the beginning and end of each week to push each along and report our progress to each other.  I wrote about this briefly in my last blog post; if  you have to answer to someone other than yourself, you may be more successful at staying on target.

Another strategy I’ve decided to employ is to use my Outlook calendar to its fullest potential.  Although I always use it for meetings and appointments as well as for reminders to myself to help  me to get things done, I’ve taken it a step further.  Sunday evening I decided what I’d like to accomplish in terms of professional and personal projects.  I calendared these items and then printed out my calendar for the week and posted it on my white board so I have a visual to glance at as I go through my week.  I am also a “lister” so this calendar also became my list for this week so I can check things off.  As a dedicated lister, this helps me stay in touch with my progress.  I know others are successful with mental lists, but for me I find that seeing it in black and white gives me the ambition to keep plugging away. My mental list gets so large that it is overwhelming for me. It’s my ADHD or OCD – call it what you will!

These are the first two strategies I am using for 2012.  What about you?  Do you have a story, strategy or comment?  Share with me!


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Lions and tiger and bears oh my or Web content and resumes and marketing…

I have to apologize to my readers for not posting recently.  I am busy busy busy, but that’s a good thing.  I’ve been hard at work with some new projects, including working with some new content writing and resume clients as well as developing a marketing strategy for my writing and editing business.  This is all good.

RésuméSo let’s talk about resumes for a minute.  Does yours paint a true picture of you or are you using the same boilerplate language from years past?  If it’s stale, now’s the time to review and revise.  Even if you’re currently not in the market for a job, it never hurts to keep yours updated.  If it’s been over a year since you’ve looked at yours, it’s probably time to ask yourself some questions.

  • Have I had any new training or participated in relevant workshops?
  • Have I joined any community organizations?
  • Have I participated in new activities in my community or within my industry?
  • Have I really ever defined exactly what I do in my current job or prior positions?

By answering these questions, you take the first step in making sure your resume is the best it can be.  Remember today it’s not only about listing prior employers and job experience (boring!) , but about presenting yourself in a way that highlights  your skill set and what you bring to the table in comparison to others.  You’ve got to  “stand out.”  You may be competing with hundreds of other applicants.  And even if you’re not in the market today, you never know what’s around the corner, especially in this economy.  So be prepared!

It’s also a good idea to reformat your resume.  The old way of the date on the left is just that — old!   And add some style.  An example might be a shadow box that highlights your areas of expertise using keywords that are easily scanned by today’s HR software programs. There are plenty of great resources both online and in print to help you design the perfect resume.  And if you get really stuck, think about consulting a professional resume writer.  A good one is worth every penny.

And last, but not least, remember that your resume is a great online marketing tool to use on the social network.  Resume reviewers are going to the social sites to find you so make sure that what they find is all good. Social sites are fine, but in my humble opinion if you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re at a disadvantage.  It’s a great way to network with colleagues, past and present, that help you stay connected.  Be sure that your new resume is mirrored by your LinkedIn profile.    LinkedIn Groups are also a tremendous asset you can use to see what others in your field are doing and how they’re doing it.  I can’t say enough good things about LinkedIn.  You’ll find me there at this link, and if you’re reading this and we’re not connected, send me an invite as I would love to add you to my list of connections.

There is so much more to say about your resume and how it can help you, but this is at least a start.  I hope to share more with you next week.  Post your questions and comments to me.  I’d love to help!


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2011 Good Housekeeping Fiction Contest deadline nears

write it

I ran across this contest on one of my favorite blogs, Sherry Zander’s  Writing4Effect.  This is a great opp for many of my writing buddies, but time is running out to enter.  The Good Housekeeping Short Story Fiction Contest deadline is September 1st!  Get your manuscript in.  Check out more about the content, including rules and potential prizes at the contest link on the Good Housekeeping website.

This is just one of many opportunities that are out there.  Check out the local writers’ associations where you live for more contests that may interest you.

Why participate in writing contests?  Aside from the potential monetary and publication benefits, you’ll develop your writing portfolio and it’s also a great exercise in tuning not only your writing skills, but also those of performing within guidelines.  Deadlines, word counts, focusing on a specific subject, accepting critique of your writing — all of these are important areas that will help you be a more polished professional.  So let’s talk about these ideas.

Deadlines – Sticking to deadlines is a valuable skill.  If you aspire to do freelance work, this is something you will have to learn to keep your clients!

Word Counts  – Many of us writers have a hard time saying what we need to say in a concise and “to the point” manner.  Again, this is an important skill.  And entering these contests that set guidelines for you to work within will help you improve your ability to adhere to word counts.  If you want to write for newspapers and/or magazines, you’ve got to pay attention to word counts.  And what’s more, you cannot let yourself get upset when parts of your writing gets cut.  It’s all part of the territory.  It’s okay to get upset, but get over it.  As someone who has been on the editor side of a publication, I understand the importance of balance copy with advertising space.  Now that I am more on the writer side, it helps me to keep things in perspective when I do find parts of my column getting cut.

Subject focus  –  staying on target with your writing is another challenge.  If you run off on  tangents when you write,  try practicing developing an outline for your writing project.  Sometimes if you “map it” you can see how ideas fit into each other and this will assure that you are staying on the path.

Criticism of Writing  –  Like I said above, it is important that you are willing to let your writing be edited and this includes accepting constructive criticism by others.  Think about joining a writing group that has a critique sector where you can practice both giving and accepting criticism.

Okay now you’re ready to start on those contest submissions.  It might be too late for you to get your manuscript ready for the 2011 Good Housekeeping Fiction Contest,  but there are plenty more opps out there (see the links below).   Talk to your fellow writers, look online and be sure to check with some of your favorite publications to explore some of their contests.

Check it out and happy writing and competing!!


Filed under communication, success, Uncategorized, writing

Libraries — community assets

Library offers services online |

Flagler County Library, Palm Coast, Florida

What would we do without our libraries?

In these challenging economic times, our libraries do more than ever to serve us.  In our community of Palm Coast, Flagler County, Florida, online services make it even easier to explore all that our library has to offer.  The library today is much more than “just books.” Our library even offers a “one-stop” location for Passport Services.

Read more in this week’s column in The St. Augustine Record about what goes on at the Flagler County, Florida library.

How about your community library?  Do you take the time to discover what it can do for you?  And more importantly, when you use the library, do you  stop and say “thank you” to all the great folks that keep our libraries running and make them a safe and friendly place to relax, explore and learn?  Think about it!!

Read this week’s column by clicking here or on the link above.  Thanks for visiting, and please leave me a comment!!

Related articles


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FWA Palm Coast spoke — and you listened! « FWA Palm Coast Chapter

107/365 Life isn't about finding yourself. Lif...

Image by ganesha.isis via Flickr

Check out the story of one of the members of Florida Writers Assn/Palm Coast.  It’s always great to hear about how others are taking steps to challenge themselves.  Try it, and you might just create a new you!

Click on the title above or here to learn how FWA member Lisa Martino is changing her life and reaching new heights!!

Thanks for reading and be sure to leave a comment.


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Freelancing Tips — some things you may not have thought about!

Guest post by Sherry Zander of Writing4Effect


Thanks to Sherry Zander for providing this guest post.  Sherry and I met through LinkedIn at The Blog Zone group and decided that exchanging  guest posts was a great way to expand our horizons in the world of blogging and helps us connect with more readers!  Find out more about Sherry in the bio at the end of her post.  Thanks for reading.

Essential Tools of the Freelance Writer

Freelance writers just starting off and those who are seasoned can benefit from a checklist that ensures they stay on track and grow their business once it’s established. Not only does it provide a head-start for those just beginning their journey, it also serves as a reminder along the way of things that may seem simple, but are easy to forget.

Build a Blog

If you want to showcase your talents, create a blog and begin writing posts. Do an Internet search for “free blog” and you’ll find a plethora of sites that offer them. The most popular are WordPress (WP) and Blogger. WP does not allow bloggers to sell anything from a free WP blog, but Blogger does. Both are easy to set up and use.

Talent, Spelling, Semantics and AP Style

Although there are many writers out there who have talent, not all of them have great spelling skills or understand the semantics of sentence structure and AP style – required by most journalism jobs and content mills. Most writers have blogs with the benefit of showcasing their talents. The downside for some, however, is that they don’t edit their articles sufficiently. If you’re going to have a blog, create posts in MS Word first, spell check them and use the Merriam-Webster online dictionary for words on which you are unclear. Some words sound the same, but have different meanings – e.g., piece vs. peace.

Office Setup

If you don’t have a private room separate from the living area for your office, set it up in a corner of your bedroom or some other area of the home with the most private surroundings – as much as possible, free from noise, distraction and family activity. It’s always more difficult to accomplish tasks with outside interruptions.

Your home office tools are essential for the support of a successful freelance writing career. Purchase a laptop with wi-fi, so that you have access to write for your customers no matter where you are each day. Many restaurants, libraries and airports offer free wi-fi. A printer with fax, scanner and copier capabilities prepares you for anything a client may need. For example, I’ve had to scan my university degree for some clients and fax, or scan and attach to an email, freelance contracts to others.

Freelance Job Sites

Primary to getting freelance writing jobs and finding others along the way is registering for jobsites that post freelance writing jobs. I’m registered for a number of them. I set up auto-alerts on a daily or weekly basis, depending on whether I need work right away, and skim the list to see if anything catches my eye. I spend around 15 minutes a day checking my alerts. Be creative as to how you set up the alerts. Use the words remote writer, freelance writer or similar terms. I have to say that Problogger, AmericanJobs and Craigslist are my favorites, because writing jobs are quite prominent on these sites.

Problogger often has some of the best freelance writing jobs available, but I don’t believe you can register for auto job alerts. Instead, you’ll have to check the site daily or at your discretion. You don’t have to register for AmericanJobs to access writing jobs. If you do, however, it costs $29.95 and the site posts your resume on 48 other sites for greater exposure. I am not registered, but I do check it every other day or so for new writing job posts. A fellow writer friend of mine, Sam Bangayan, also advises how to set up auto alerts for Craigslist ads via iGoogle, so that you receive writing job ads from all cities in which you’re interested. It takes a little time, but the benefit is huge.

Another strategy that I’ve used effectively is simply to contact web development companies to see if they might be interested in hiring a “resident” content writer. Web developers create/maintain websites for clients that need content. It’s a perfect match and eliminates the need to constantly be looking for work. This approach might work well, but just be cognizant to keep other jobs on the burner since the work may be ebb and flow.

Social Networking

Register for websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Join groups, gather a following and post regularly. Not only do you get the word out about your blog to gain subscribers, but you also advertise and showcase your writing expertise … if you have talent, can spell and understand sentence syntax.

Never Stop Learning

No matter how little or long you’ve been freelance writing, you must always be learning. Grow your understanding of SEO – search engine optimization. Google periodically adjusts its web crawler to capture or eliminate certain items when ranking sites – e.g., broken links, low ranking links, word stuffing, etc. Learn about SMO and SEM – social media optimization and search engine marketing, respectively. Use Google Ad Words to optimize your blog’s exposure when Internet users search the web, and learn the terms that gain the greatest exposure.

What experience or processes helped you establish and grow your freelance writing business?

Bio –

Sherry Zander completed her BA in Business and HR in 2004 and has been freelance writing since 2006, after years of technical and non-technical writing in project manager positions. She currently writes online copy for Fox News and other websites, and produces articles for her local city newspaper the Gardner News. Sherry has a passion to help and see other writers succeed. For more information about Sherry, visit her blog here —


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>Communicating through a Blog – success of Nancy Nally of Palm Coast in Florida Trend


This is great stuff about success, small business entrepreneurs and options to home office.  Nancy Nally is a nationally known scrapbooker and blogs about scrapbooking very successfully (1 million hits a year).  This article also gives some nice exposure to Palm Coast and local business owners of Office Divvy that offer alternative office space solutions!    You can also find Nally and Office Divvy on Facebook.  Nally also co-hosts the most popular scrapbook podcast on iTunes –  Paperclipping Roundtable.  Check it out and let me have your comments!!

Trends – Home Office Alternatives – from Florida Trend, Florida’s Source For Business News

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Filed under scrapbooking, small business, success