Category: Content Development

Do you ever get stuck?

Unfortunately, even after listing 10 great topics that any blogger can use last week, I still didn’t feel motivated today (what? I’m not perfect!). So, I decided to ask for some help from my friends and posted the above status update to facebook and twitter. Thank goodness for great friends, because in just 10 minutes I had the following great ideas! And now, I have some awesome ideas for next week :)

Ideas from Twitter:

@ParagonMoon: Blog topic: I can get over having done something I shouldn’t have. But to pass by opportunities is deeply regrettable and soul-damaging.

@Hagre: do a how-to of something you’re good at, or go explore someplace new and write about it! Just a couple thoughts!

@Sn0wSurF3r gave me two: How about, “you don’t have to blog just for the sake of blogging?” OR I want 2 read about how people should use lawyers at the beginning of contracts so they don’t need them after things go south

@influxx: take a break and come back fresh tomorrow. Dont force it. It will show.

@healthOC: I want to read about how the market has positively or negatively affected your business and/or others in your field :)

Ideas from Facebook:


What ideas do you have to add to the mix? What would you like to see me write about?

Ever been in an elevator before?

Today, I saw @paulttran tweeting about elevator pitches and it got me thinking about mine.

On April 6th last year, one day before my life changed and Wright Creativity became more than just a blog, I was participating in the 31 days to a better blog challenge from problogger. He asked us to create an elevator pitch for our blog – tell our readers what they could expect from reading this. On that day, when I was still just using this site for a creative outlet, the Wright Creativity elevator pitch was: “I write about creativity in business and in life, hoping to inspire one person a day to be more creative. Sometimes, the ‘wright’ creativity is all you need.”

Unfortunately, that elevator pitch just doesn’t fit what I do any longer (and it was a little too short) – so I decided to re-write it and craft an elevator pitch that fit my business, not just my blog. The new-and-improved Wright Creativity elevator pitch is now: “Wright Creativity allows small to mid-size businesses the time to focus on their products and customers by managing their online marketing strategies. We offer blog management to start conversations, web design to create an online brand and copywriting that will entice new customers. The combination of our three services gives you better visibility, a more complete brand, and powerful tools to gain more customers. We make having an online presence simple and profitable“.

When is the last time you worked on your elevator pitch? If you have one, are working on one or want to practice one, share with us, you never know who will be reading it and need your services!

*image from BLMurch on Flickr*

Your mind is filled with new ideas…

The fortunes that come in the cookies with Chinese food are rarely thought provoking or beneficial – however the one from my dinner last week was fabulous and I thought was all too appropriate for this blog.

New ideas are what made me create this site – what started my business – and what will start you thinking about the next steps in your life.

Today, I want you to take a few minutes and pause whatever you are doing to think about some of the ideas in your head – and share them with the audience. Let’s work together and maybe we can make some of these ideas a reality!

Ready…GO!

How do you choose the words you use?

I love words. The problem is, I love fun, mouthy words…ones that make you pause, and re-read them. Words you rarely hear in common discourse but love to say. The problem is, in writing, these are words you should avoid as according to Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability one should write for about the 8th grade reading level, unless you are writing technical documents. This past weekend, I was playing scrabble with my hubby and parents…I played the word zeal, and it started a conversation about how people speak, write and the words the choose. For example, I adore words like facetious, acerbic, zealous, whom, cantankerous, dilapidated, etc…words that sound pompous (oh, another good one) but are just so fun to say/read. But, I rarely use these words because when I do, I get called pretentious (and…another good word!).

But, I still think these words deserve their spot in the sun, so, I’ve decided to have some fun: a-z, these are my favorite overly complex, absolutely verbose, but completely fun to use words:

Acerbic
Boisterous
Cantankerous
Dilapidated
Engorged
Facetious
Gregarious
Hoary
Ignoramus
Jovial
Kaleidoscope
Ludicrous
Malicious
Nuance
Obstinate
Pathology
Quixotic
Resplendent
Scourge
Trepidation
Undulating
Verbose
Whom
X (okay, so there is no word I really like that starts with x…)
Yammered
Zealous

What are some of your favorite words? Do you avoid overly verbose words in your writing?

How to improve your blog and social media strategy

Improving your social media and blog management strategies means time, effort and a lot of work. But, in order to make it a little easier, I have picked 12 posts (one from each month this year) that discuss different areas of improvement.

January – How to be better in social media (it takes more than just participation.)
February – 7 ways to stay strong in your writing (writing takes strength, do you have it?)
March – Contemplating a site redesign (if you like your blog, you’ll write more!)
April – Creating a backlog of content (you’ll always have something to write about.)
May – Simple mistakes to avoid in social media (these can really save you!)
June – How to get yourself out of a comment rut (we all have them, no matter the content.)
July – 5 emails you need to write today (these can change the way you relate with your contacts!)
August – What makes words so important (A different type of post – more questioning, less tips)
September – The blog management puzzle (handle these 5 pieces, and you’ll notice a huge change.)
October – Social media friends vs real life friends (they can be the same thing…)
November – Creativity through the years (it was a month long series…)
December – What do you monitor daily (make sure you stay on top of it!)

Which post helped you? Which other topics would you like more about in 2010?

What to do with all those extra ideas

We all have hundreds of great ideas that come to us – while we’re sleeping, while we’re working on other projects, or just sitting and relaxing. Unfortunately, most of these ideas will simply be passing thoughts, forgotten about as soon as they were thought up. This can be very frustrating down the road when you are looking for great ideas but don’t have any put away.

This is where all those extra ideas come in handy. Rather than allowing yourself to let an idea tickle your brain and then disappear, find a way to translate the idea into something usable for the future, even if it’s just a simple note in your idea book.

What? You don’t have an idea book? Okay, step 1: Get an idea book (anything that you can write on will do). Step 2: Keep reading.

“Idea” does not mean fully developed plans of action, “idea” means random titles for a blog post, websites that would be fun to create, a picture you want to take or a type of person you would like to meet, etc. These are all quality ideas, and need no more than a couple words to remember them. Then, you can come back through your idea book when you are looking for inspiration and poof! tons of already started ideas for you to develop further. I know many people who love their moleskine notebook’s and use those for their ideas…I am not a fan. Why? Because I feel like a book that pretty requires pretty notes, complete thoughts and shouldn’t get scribbled in. My notes (no, I will not be sharing) are messy, random peices of paper, partially ripped, all put together in one folder. I like it messy because ideas are messy, and deserve to be free to change, grow, move and be re-arranged….moleskine doesn’t move pages and recombine. Although, I may just be biased because I also have trouble rationalizing spending $10 on paper-in-a-binding. But, much like ideas are your own, the way you choose to keep them is too, so if moleskine, a computer or the back of matchbooks work for you, then use them.

Your ideas are like tiny little pieces of gold, one or two may not be worth much now, but if you can gather hundreds of them, well, that’s worth a lot. (wow, that’s really cheesy, but too true not to type!). Anyway, keeping your ideas somewhere that they can be built upon allows your mind the freedom to jump from one place to another, without concern of forgetting your thoughts. You can always go back and look at something later, add to it or get rid of it. Although, I caution throwing ideas out too quickly, I recommend keeping them for a month or two before giving them the heave-ho. This gives you a chance to really see if you can use it or build on it before just getting rid of it.

Let’s take an example…my sister-in-law got engaged at the end of August and wanted a website that she could update with details of the wedding, the wedding party and of them as the wedding got closer (for all the out of town guests). So, I designed a site that was fun, colorful and really captured her and her fiance’s personalities. Unfortunately, I caught the wedding bug, and all I could think about after designing their site was the designs for other bridal sites (either for the bride and groom or for a wedding planner). Instead of brushing off the idea, I started jotting down notes, what would go where, the styles, fonts, etc. Pretty soon, when I had a few extra minutes to spare, I was working in photoshop to create a mockup. Finally, after 3 months of tinkering with this random idea, I created a complete mockup, ready to code and deliver to some lucky bride or bridal consultant. (oh! you want to see it? Oh okay…here it is; my bridal or bridal consultant wordpress theme!)

Was it sold already? Nope. Do I have someone to sell it to now? Nope (unless of course you know someone looking?). Will it make a good piece for my portfolio and hopefully entice someone to purchase it or hire me for something similar because of it? Absolutely!

…now what if I had just let the idea pass through my mind without a note to spare? I wouldn’t have a gorgeously fun new design to show off, and I certainly wouldn’t remember my idea should someone come to me desiring a beautiful wedding site.

So what do you think happens when you let your ideas slip away? Exactly.

Using what you have to motivate you

turtle

Quick story first: my parents have a poodle (Bella), who fell in love with a tortoise (Douglas) that friends of theirs had as a pet. So my parents friend gave Douglas to Bella as a pet. (yes, the poodle has a pet tortoise). Anyway, my parents left in their RV last week to go to Arizona for 2 weeks of relaxation, site-seeing and golfing. While Bella could go with them, Douglas couldn’t, so I offered to “tortoise sit”. I learned 2 things about tortoises really quickly: they are scared of absolutely every moment, and they like to hide in stuff.

Onto the point of this post: natural motivation.

I had a bit of a crazy day today, working on a couple client projects. I was tired, a little crabby and I needed a little brain break. So, I wandered outside to see where Douglas had disappeared to. When I found him, he was wandering along our patio. I sat down near him, and for the first time since I got him last week, I really looked at him. When he walks, is head bobs in an interesting fashion …I could almost hear him whistling a little tune and see his smile as he meandered along. His legs and arms (or limbs?) are covered in little spikes, but they aren’t sharp, it is more to pull him along. He kind of drags them, rather than lifting them, because lifting them would be heavy with the shell. Then there was his shell. It is beautiful, smooth, colorful and really unique. After staring at him for what seemed like 20 minutes, I felt really relaxed, my thoughts had slowed and I was smiling. Douglas was my natural motivation today. Just watching him participate in life in his own way was what I needed for that extra boost of energy and refocus to finish out my day.

Just before I came back inside, I snapped a picture of him. Not thinking much of it, I opened the picture in photoshop and played with a few different filters – and was pleasantly surprised when the image above came out.

Where can you find a little natural motivation?

A little fun with writing

A couple nights ago I was watching the new show “Trauma” with my hubby. In the episode, a building catches on fire and one of the EMT’s said something along the lines of ” at least we got here before the entire place burns down”. And being me (and a little strange), that triggered my memory and I asked my hubby, “Does a house burn up or burn down”? After looking at me like I was crazy (I’m not, I swear!), I explained that it was the title of an essay I remembered reading as a kid – about some of the weird parts of the English language – and that it was called “does a house burn up or burn down”. I didn’t remember who wrote it, but I decided I needed to find it. Unfortunately, I found nothing with that title. So, after spending some time thinking, I remembered a few other lines of it, and searched for those.  Luckily Google and I finally found it! And it wasn’t an essay at all. It is an entire book called Crazy English, by Richard Lederer! I was very excited to find it, and even more excited to find the excerpt from the book that I remembered reading in school. So, for a little mid-week break, enjoy some of the craziness of the English language, as written by Richard Lederer:

English is a crazy language—the most loopy and wiggy of all tongues.

In what other language do people drive in a parkway and park in a driveway?
In what other language do people play at a recital and recite at a play?
Why does night fall but never break and day break but never fall?
When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out and an alarm clock goes off by going on?

Why is it that when we transport something by car, it’s called a shipment, but when we transport something by ship, it’s called cargo?
Why do we pack suits in a garment bag and garments in a suitcase?
Why do privates eat in the general mess and generals eat in the private mess?
Why do we call it newsprint when it contains no printing but when we print on it, we call it a newspaper?

Why does a man get a hernia and a woman a hysterectomy?
Why—in our crazy language—can your nose run and your feet smell?

Language is like the air we breathe. It’s invisible, inescapable, indispensable, and we take it for granted. But, when we take the time to step back and listen to the sounds that escape from the holes in people’s faces and to explore the paradoxes and vagaries of English, we find that hot dogs can be cold, darkrooms can be lit, homework can be done in school, nightmares can take place in broad daylight while morning sickness and day-dreaming can take place at night, tomboys are girls and midwives can be men, hours—especially happy hours and rush hours—often last longer than sixty minutes, quicksand works very slowly, boxing rings are square, silverware and glasses can be made of plastic and tablecloths of paper, most telephones are dialed by being punched (or pushed?), and most bathrooms don’t have any baths in them. In fact, a dog can go to the bathroom under a tree—no bath, no room; it’s still going to the bathroom. And doesn’t it seem a little bizarre that we go to the bathroom in order to go to the bathroom?

Why is it that a woman can man a station but a man can’t woman one, that a father can father a movement but a woman can’t mother one, and that a king rules a kingdom but a queen doesn’t rule a queendom? How did all those Renaissance men reproduce when there don’t seem to have been any Renaissance women?

Sometimes you have to believe that all English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane:
In what other language do they call the third hand on the clock the second hand?
Why do they call them apartments when they’re all together?
Why do we call them buildings when they’re already built?
Why is it called a TV set when you get only one?
Why is phonetic not spelled phonetically? Why is it so hard to remember how to spell mnemonic? Why doesn’t onomatopoeia sound like what it is? Why is the word abbreviation so long? Why is diminutive so undiminutive? Why does the word monosyllabic consist of five syllables? Why is there no synonym for synonym or thesaurus? And why is there an s in lisp?

English is crazy.

If adults commit adultery, do infants commit infanticide? If olive oil is made from olives, what do they make baby oil from? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian consume? if pro and con are opposites, is congress the opposite of progress?

Why can you call a woman a mouse but not a rat—a kitten but not a cat? Why is it that a woman can be a vision, but not a sight—unless your eyes hurt? Then she can be “a sight for sore eyes.”

A writer is someone who writes, and a stinger is something that stings. But fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, hammers don’t ham, humdingers don’t humding, ushers don’t ush, and haberdashers do not haberdash.

If the plural of tooth is teeth, shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth? One goose, two geese—so one moose, two meese? One index, two indices—one Kleenex, two Kleenices?

If people ring a bell today and rang a bell yesterday, why don’t we say that they flang a ball? If they wrote a letter, perhaps they also bote their tongue. If the teacher taught, why isn’t it also true that the preacher praught? Why is it that the sun shone yesterday while I shined my shoes, that I treaded water and then trod on the beach, and that I flew out to see a World Series game in which my favorite player flied out?

If we conceive a conception and receive at a reception, why don’t we grieve a greption and believe a beleption? If a firefighter fights fire, what does a freedom fighter fight? If a horsehair mat is made from the hair of horses, from what is a mohair coat made?

A slim chance and a fat chance are the same, as are a caregiver and a caretaker, a bad licking and a good licking, and “What’s going on?” and “What’s coming off?” But a wise man and a wise guy are opposites. How can sharp speech and blunt speech be the same and quite a lot and quite a few the same, while overlook and oversee are opposites? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell the next?

If button and unbutton and tie and untie are opposites, why are loosen and unloosen and ravel and unravel the same? If bad is the opposite of good, hard the opposite of soft, and up the opposite of down, why are badly and goodly, hardly and softly, and upright and downright not opposing pairs? If harmless actions are the opposite of harmful actions, why are shameful and shameless behavior the same and pricey objects less expensive than priceless ones? If appropriate and inappropriate remarks and passable and impassable mountain trails are opposites, why are flammable and inflammable materials, heritable and inheritable property, and passive and impassive people the same?

How can valuable objects be less valuable than invaluable ones? If uplift is the same as lift up, why are upset and set up opposite in meaning? Why are pertinent and impertinent, canny and uncanny, and famous and infamous neither opposites nor the same? How can raise and raze and reckless and wreckless be opposites when each pair contains the same sound?

Why is it that when the sun or the moon or the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible; that when I clip a coupon from a newspaper I separate it, but when I clip a coupon to a newspaper, I fasten it; and that when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I shall end it?