A Little Life Update: Summer 2019

I almost phoned in this post.

I thought about doing a roundup of old lessons I'd taught on writing.
I considered just skipping it all together.

But then I decided to just be honest and say, "I don't feel like writing about writing this week." I just didn't. You have those weeks, you know?

Instead, I'm gunna share a little life update and peel back the curtain a bit on what I've been doing lately. So we can catch up like the old friends we are.

Summer Travel

One of the interesting things my husband does as part of his job is teaches a class on entrepreneurship to high school students every morning. They learn how to launch and operate their own businesses plus lots of important soft skills. It's a great class I wish I'd had when I was in school.

If we get a small window of school being out, we jump on it. The first place we went was Seattle.

We both loved how friendly the people were, the gorgeous hiking just outside the city (we climbed a freakin' mountain!), and the food.

Plus, it just felt very...livable. Comfortable. We liked the blend of nature and natural beauty with the tech environment in the city. And there were SO MANY DOGS! Which, of course, made me love it even more. We were both pretty charmed.

Last week we went out to Boston and spent several days exploring the city. We had Italian food on the North End, walked the esplanade, toured Harvard, and put so many miles on our shoes just checking things out. I also went to my first baseball game EVER at Fenway!

I even got the chance to meet my writer friend Liz Wellington for breakfast one day, which was so great.

In a few weeks we're headed to LA, and I cannot wait to stuff my face with Korean BBQ, to go to the dog beach (my favorite place on earth), and to LOL at the Largo comedy club.

Brooks (our doggo) is also getting an adventure trip soon...somewhere driveable, but likely out of state. He needs a vacation too. He loves to hike, splash, and ride in the car, so we're planning to take him somewhere fun.

Making Moves

Business-wise, I'm still very much focused on writing blog content for e-commerce platforms and the software that integrates with them. That's what pays the bills.

However, I've also been exploring other areas lately that tie into that and help build my ethos as a writer and subject matter expert around online business.

In the past few months I've landed pitches at retail-focused publications like Adweek, Glossy, and Forbes, and have LOVED researching and writing stories about trends and interesting approaches to business. You can read some of those stories here if you're interested.

The Great Outdoors

In the Midwest, you get just a few weeks a year of really nice weather before it becomes insufferably hot and humid and mosquito-laden. That period is right now, so I've been trying to be outside as much as possible.

We just got some kayaks and have been out on the water in a few different areas just soaking up the sunshine and "doing a serenity", which is what I call relaxing.

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 10.20.12 AM.png

Brooks and I have been on lots of walks as well, and just last night he got to go for a swim in the lake. He was very happy about his work retrieving a tennis ball.

Finding Balance

The one thing I've been struggling with that comes with all the fun things listed above is maintaining a healthy balance between work time and life time.

Travel makes it hard to find a good routine. On nice days, it's hard to sit indoors at the computer.

I'm trying to shift my schedule a bit so that I can get the most done during the most optimal windows of time, but it's not perfect. Work in progress :)

Anyway, that's what's new with me.

How are YOU doing this summer? What are you up to? Email me and fill me in with your exciting plans.

How to Write with Humble Confidence

I love it when I get questions from readers of this newsletter in my inbox. LOVE. IT. Laura Bosco sent me a question last week.

She asked: How can I help one of my clients sound humble and confident when we write for his brand?

On one hand we want to be confident in what we know, but on the other hand, we don't want to come across as arrogant. A lot of advice is situational, there are many gray areas, and plenty of folks are smarter than we are. So how do you strike a good balance between the two?

Such a great question. An important one, too.

Read More

How to Write Like a Journalist

I don’t really consider myself a journalist anymore.

The good news is: Most days, I still get to wear my journalist hat (which I imagine is a fedora.)

Wearing my journalist [fedora], I become a much better storyteller—and I’m able to quickly connect the dots and draw new, interesting conclusions based on the information I’ve collected. You can do this, too (with or without a fedora.)

Whether it’s telling a client story or writing an interesting blog post, taking a journalistic approach will help you tell better stories that are dripping with ethos.

Read More

How to Build Better Writing Briefs

Ever tried writing something without clear direction before? It’s a freakin’ nightmare.

You don’t know who you’re writing for. Or why. Or really what you’re writing about. I’ve been there, and I’ve learned that it just doesn’t work.

That’s why now, I start every writing assignment with a creative brief (which I plop right into the top of the Google Doc for reference as I write.)

Read More