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Bloggers: Write Like You Talk

No one enjoys reading a research paper. Even if it’s the most interesting topic you can imagine, putting it in a research theme type of paper, can quickly become snoozefest. If your blog is too formal it can feel like a monotone robot spewing out information. Which, people in academics seem to love but the rest of us searching online need a little bit more fun and engagement.

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For this reason, when writing a blog it is highly necessary to write as if you are talking.

By keeping this friendly and human tone it shows personality and therefore is engaging. I mean, if you’re still reading this…then I’ve kept you engaged. See? It works!

It also makes you more approachable to your readers. If you’re approachable then people will actually enjoy and look forward to your blog posts. I mean, that’s the goal of writing a blog, right? To connect with other people with similar interest and learn from each other.

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Plus, isn’t it more fun to write like you talk? To show your personality while still giving out vital pieces of information? I think so! Comment your thoughts! I would love to hear them!

Leave No Trace

Hike Phoenix

Besides me, who else on the trail has hiked past litter? Ugh. It can completely ruin the hike.

Right when you feel as if you are in the middle of nowhere and one with nature, you look down to find a bright white used Kleenex laying on the dirt ground. Or a plastic water bottle. Or a Circle-K cup. Or candy wrappers. Or a variety of these items all scattered around. Nothing can take you out of the feeling of being in nature than seeing litter along the trail.

green trash bin on green grass field

I can’t understand why people would litter in the first place, but then especially while on a hike.

Along the Phoenix hiking websites and trail signs you may have noticed signs informing hikers of the “Leave No Trace” policy.  This policy is exactly how it sounds. Leave No Trace that you were ever there.

Keep nature wild, right?! Right.

So, when…

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Before Pitching, Do Your Homework

I don’t know about you but for me the thought of actually being a freelance writer fills me up with so much excitement that I feel like I’m going to explode!!! My immediate reaction is to jump in and take action. Although before the real action can take place, you need to organize and do your research of who it is that you want to write for.

The best tips are to write what you know and what you are interested in. So, if you don’t know, then you need to sit down and really think and imagine about topics that you are passionate about writing about.

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What topics peak your real passion?

Once you have narrowed down your niches then you want to start researching publications that you would want to write for. Before you begin pitching away, you need to make yourself familiar with the company. Spend time learning the tone and topics that they are covering. This way you can send a more personalized pitch and that demonstrate you understand their company.

As a writer you need to know who your audience is, right? Getting to know the publications readers is also a high priority.

The best method to research who the readers are, is to pay attention to the publication ads. If there’s a car ad, is it a Mercedes ad or a Ford Focus ad? If it’s a clothing ad, is it selling young people clothes or older peoples clothes? By looking at the ads you can tell which demographic the company is projecting to.

person using ballpoint pen

So, while at first you’re excitement level may might want to begin the pitch process, the first real step is to get organized. You need to figure out your niches, the publications and the readers.

Then you can get started with the pitching process!

Meal Planning & Meal Prepping

If it wasn’t for meal planning and prepping, I would be a complete unhealthy mess and probably be slamming down an entire package of pita bread right about now.

By planning out your weekly meals, it cuts out the excuse to eat out and answers the question of, “what’s for dinner?”.  By planning out your meals and then prepping them for the week, it will be easier to stay on the healthier and ultimately happier side of life.

abundance agriculture bananas batch
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So ask yourself the question, do you want a much smoother transition to healthy eating while also practicing responsible portion control?

While the act of meal planning and prepping can take up some hours on your actual prep day, it does allow more free time during the week. Plus, the more you make planning and prepping a habitual habit, the quicker and easier you will get at preparing it.

So before you hit up the grocery store, really think about what it is you want to make for the week. Write it down or look up healthy recipes online on the foods your craving. Then write down the ingredients you don’t have, and voila! You have your grocery list!

grocery cart with item

Also before prepping you are going to want to find or buy food storage containers. Some with dividers and are microwavable would be ideal. Make sure you have enough for all your lunches or for anything else you want to store separately for convenience.

Once you have everything ready, it’s time to prep! Depending on what you are making, you may or may not be able to make the entire meal and then store it in the fridge (to be heated up later). If this is a meal that needs to be cooked or assembled on the day you are eating it, then prep everything for that meal. Try to do as much as you possibly can to have the meal close to being complete. This means cutting up your veggies, cooking noodles or anything else similar to that.

tray of vegetables

It becomes less complicated the less meals you are making. So if you find this to be overwhelming, maybe decide to eat the same thing three or two times a week. That way you can just make a bigger portion of the meal, instead of all separate meals.

For myself, I’m able to eat the same thing every week for breakfast and lunch, so that makes my prepping easier. For my dinners, I rotate between two different dinners on every other day, so it’s very manageable to prep. I also choose two snacks for the day, and try to keep it at 100 calories each.

Hopefully this process helps you out. You can put in hours at the gym and burn calories but you also have to watch what you eat. By meal planning and meal prepping it allows you to consciously think about your food and to make the smarter choices.

I would love to hear what you guys think of this? Have you tried meal prepping before? It did work for you, or not? What are some of your favorite things to prep, or what do you think would be convenient to prep?

Done is Better Than Perfect.

Done is better than perfect.

I wrote down this saying on a sticky note and placed it on my keycard for work, which I pull out and see at least 4 times a day. This is a nice reminder that sneaks into my subconscious mind to remind me that sometimes, it’s better to be done and turn in a piece of writing versus constantly revising it.

Sometimes I feel that I can go a little nuts about my writing piece. I’m never 100% satisfied or confident with what I wrote. Even my published pieces, I feel like I could do better. So, when I’m writing I want to constantly re-edit, re-write and re-edit my pieces over and over and over again. In a world of deadlines and time management, feeling this way is not productive.

man in brown long sleeved button up shirt standing while using gray laptop computer on brown wooden table beside woman in gray long sleeved shirt sitting
Done is better than perfect

Therefore, being done with the piece, is better than it being perfect. Because the truth is…is that it will never be perfect. I think that’s a hard but important lesson for creative writers to learn. It will not be perfect. But you got it to be pretty darn close to it though, right? Right.

While it is important to turn in your best work, you can’t wait keep revising. If you do, than while your busy trying to make it perfect another person is coming up behind you and going to get the spot before you did.

At some point you have just to realize it’s done, submit it and walk away.

Let me know, does this make sense? Is this also how you feel writing or are you able to feel satisfied early on and turn it in?

Can You Tell Whether a Person is Healthy or Not?

When you hear the word, “healthy person” what do you picture?

A bodybuilder?

A perfectly fit person exercising at the gym barely breaking a sweat?

Anyone who you consider to be “skinny”?

fitness power man person
Is this bodybuilder really healthy? Or is he hopped up on the roids?! We don’t know…

A lot of people assume that thinner and muscular people are on the top level of absolute health. But that’s not always accurate. People with what you may consider to have perfect bodies are not always the healthiest. In fact, skinny people can be just as unhealthy as overweight people.

Therefore, your size and weight doesn’t matter. I’ll say it again. Your size and weight doesn’t matter.

woman holding white laptop between women
Your size and weight do not matter

If you survive on an unhealthy diet and don’t move around much….you’re going to become unhealthy, if you’re not already.

Those who exercise and eat healthy on a regular basis are likely going to be physically healthier than the rest.

So the first step to become healthy is to eat healthy foods and to get up and move around.

I know, it sounds easier said than done.  I completely understand.

But the hard core truth is that if you want to become healthier than that’s what needs to be done.

two woman doing exercise
Be the healthiest version of yourself that you can be

So next time you feel like playing the game of who’s healthy and who’s not…take a look at how often that person moves and what it is that they are eating. Those are the real qualities to look for whether a person is healthy or not.

Tips for Writer’s Block

At some point in all writers’ careers, it’s going to happen. The inevitable writers block. It could last for a few minutes, a few days or even longer.

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I know that sometimes, it can take me a few days to find the right words or the right way to deliver the message I’m trying to convey. I think that’s is sometimes just the creative process. But once I find it, I love it! That’s how I know that while writing can be a struggle, I still get giddy and love the process of finding the right words. So maybe instead of seeing writer’s block as a struggle, just think of it as the process.

One thing that I find helps me overcome writer’s block is my journal writing. This is my own private journal and I allow myself to be completely free when writing it in. Sometimes, I just repeat the same words over and over again. Sometimes, I just describe some object in the room that I’m looking at. Most of the time, I let out all my frustrations or emotions upon my keyboard.

Although, I save the work, I don’t re-read it or edit it. I leave it completely raw. Because that makes me feel like I have more freedom.

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By completing the journal entry it makes me feel like I accomplished a piece of writing and frees up space in my creative process to move forward and tackle more writing challenges.

So, if you ever find yourself in this situation, you may want to give journal writing a try! I know it’s my trick to overcoming the block.

What about you other writers? What do you do to overcome writers block?

What is Content Marketing?

The old methods of marketing are quickly becoming less effective and instead is being replaced with content marketing.

Content marketing is a strategy where you are giving your customers useful and relevant information in order to attract and gain business.

adult brainstorming business career

For example, REI (which sells gear and clothes for outdoor recreational activities) offers customers a ton of information. There website is loaded with content that is surrounded with everything that has to do with the outdoors, and not just about their products. You’ll find a section with their expert advice and even a journal of news article and interviews.

By having this content, it opens up their website for new customers to discover them. Someone may only be searching for advice and stumble upon their page. As they are exploring the site, they will likely see the products then and be more willing to purchase if it is offered in that advice section.

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By using content marketing, it also allows them to share more information on social media and improve their SEO rankings while still being cost effective.

This is why it is important to hire a writer who is capable of accurate research or educated in the subject of your content. When you have a lot of valuable content, customers feel more trustworthy of your company and will likely do repeat business.

Can you think of other companies that use a lot of content marketing?

Keyword Research for Using SEO

Being knowledgeable in SEO strategies is important for all content writers to be familiar with. One of these strategies is using keywords that are naturally woven into your blog. But, if you’re an entry level writer then how do you know what keywords to use?

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

The best method that I have discovered is to first, think about what keywords your reader would be looking for. Begin with a broad search and then try to think of words to narrow the search. For example if you running a new website for a local juice bar, your keywords might not only include the obvious keywords but also the zip code and area that you are located in.  This way your site may come up higher when users are looking a juice bar in a specific area.

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You also can try searching for these words in google. As you are researching words that you think will be good to use, you can scroll all the down at the bottom of the search screen and see the “searches related to” section. This will also give you an idea of some other keywords to input as well.

Google
Scrolling to the related search sections offers other keyword suggestions

Remember not to overuse the keyword and to naturally weave into your blog. I usually write the blog first the way I want it and then look for areas where I could naturally add the keywords there.

Do any of you other bloggers reading this have any helpful tips when it comes to deciding which keywords should be used?

Managing Your Writing Goals

Creating and maintaining goals is a great way to stay on track with your writing. I don’t know about you but if I don’t force myself to write, then I probably would not write as much as I do.

So if you’re like me, you should try setting some writing goals for yourself.

adult brainstorming business career

When thinking about your goals, the first thing that you want to do is be realistic. Really think about it, before committing yourself to it.

Here’s why.

We, as humans all tend to become overly excited and extremely motivated when first setting goals. We envision who we want to be and then say that nothing will get in the way of our dreams. And for a few days, maybe even a few weeks it works.

We stay on track and hit our goals. Until…the inevitable happens.  You somehow manage to screw up your goal plan.

If your plan is too unrealistic, you’ll become overwhelmed quickly and when it doesn’t work out, you’ll feel like a failure. But, you’re not a failure. You just set your goals in an unrealistic way. But, kudos to you for your high ambition!

woman working girl sitting

To avoid this overwhelming feeling that do not serve us, it’s important to set realistic goals. In fact, set your goals low at first and then keep adding to them.

For example, I jstarted this blog about a month ago. It’s something that is brand new to me. I write for two other sites, I have a full time job and I need time during the weekends to mentally chill out. So, while at first I would love to write for this blog 4 times a week, I don’t think that’s really realistic at this point.

Instead, I am going to shoot for once a week. And, I’m able to hit that goal without feeling overwhelmed. In fact, I feel very satisfied with myself with hitting this goal, which in return, inspires me to keep up the work.  As this once a week post becomes an easy habit for me, then I will add 2 a week and so on.

So, once you have a realistic goal, the next thing to do is to write it down. This helps your brain to remember it better and also allows you to have a visual reminder. I like to place my written goal in an area on my desk where I see it numerous times a day. That way it’s a constant reminder and gets into my subconscious.

Another suggestion is to reward yourself every time you complete that goal. Our brain is hard wire to repeat actions that cause us pleasure. So if we do an action and expect a positive reward we are more likely to complete and repeat that action.

adult blur celebration close up
Rewards are a great way to reinforce hitting your goals

The last suggestion is to remain patient. Goals take time to achieve. And learning how to achieve those goals also takes time. In our society we are led to believe that success will happen overnight, but sadly that’s not true. Every achievement takes goal setting, small steps and time. So if you remember to keep on top of your goals and you don’t quit, you will ultimately get there.

Remember no human can stay on track with their goals all the time. But what separates successful goal achieves from non-achievers is how they handle themselves when they fall off. An achiever will always get right back on the horse and try again, no matter how many times it takes.

Questions for you:

When was a time where you set a goal and achieved it? What things helped to keep you on track?