Friday, August 23, 2013

Please Consider Making a Donation

There’s no way to sugar coat this. So I kind of figured - why bother trying? Everyone around here knows I’m blunt and speak my mind. Well, the mind is the reason I’m asking everyone to make a donation so let me give you a little info.

First of all, I hope you’ll all stick with me on this because you know I’m not usually like this – directly asking for you to fork over money. It’s not usually my style. With that said, where I’m asking you to donate isn’t some weird unheard of cause or my Kickstarter campaign to sail around the world in a canoe or something.

I’m asking if you will please, please consider scratching together a couple bucks to donate to Alzheimer's research in the form of a donation to my Aunt Sue for her Walk campaign.

You all know Sue, she’s the gal who pretty much inspired my very first fiction novel, Ripple the Twine as I wrote about in this post. She’s one of the most generous and selfless people on this planet and next month she’s lacing up her sneakers to do the 2013 Greater Boston Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

I can’t remember how many years she’s done this so far (leave me a comment & let us know!) but suffice to say it’s a large number. And not only that but she spends countless hours getting people and stuff together for the Walk every year, sits for hours in all kinds of weather at craft fairs and other festival type places at the info booth for the Walk, and she talks about the effects of the disease on the person who has it (and people who love them) with anyone and everyone she can just to help raise awareness.

See? I told you she’s effing awesome.

But with the many worthy causes out there like One Fund, Red Cross Relief for hurricane Sandy, Relief for the Oklahoma tornadoes and many others, raising funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s research has sort of taken a backseat this year.

And that totally sucks because Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the country.

Yeah, you read that right. Sixth.

Because it’s so widespread just about everyone I know has been personally touched by this terrible disease somehow. Hell, 3 out of my 4 grandparents had some form of Alzheimer’s based dementia. Two of those people were Sue’s parents.

So needless to say, yeah, she’s pretty attached to the cause and doing her part to help find a cure. Like, yesterday.

Matt, my mom and I used to walk with her every year but since we all moved out of state that core group broke up. But we all still do the Walk with Sue every year as virtual walkers and this year will be no different! The thing is I’m just not one to get donations. I kind of suck at it because I always forget until the last minute.

So that’s why this year I’m putting the call out there for those of you who want to donate to a worthy cause to please consider giving to Sue for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Write it off on your taxes, feel kick-ass knowing you helped and know that your donation is going to help cure this awful illness before it impacts the life of someone you know.

Thanks for letting me solicit and thanks for helping the cause!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cluttered House, Cluttered Mind

I’ve opened and closed the ‘New Post’ link so many times now it seems like I should probably just give up trying to write anything. But yet here I am writing some form of drivel anyway. You’re welcome.

It hit me earlier that it’s been over 2 weeks since I’ve even clicked on my own blog page let alone read any of my friend’s posts or considered putting a few letters into words into sentences into paragraphs into my own post. I’ve been so busy trying to do everything that once again it’s feeling like I’m doing nothing.

I started taking this intensive career training and pulling a lot of stuff together to start a Content Marketing and Freelance Blogging business. I’ve been doing it for 6 years already, guess it’s time to start getting paid for all my efforts right?

Yeah well that’s great but now I have to figure out how. And I just keep asking myself, if I hadn’t figured out how to do it in the last 6 years am I really going to now?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is also yes. I’m good at this conversational writing thing and it’s high time someone started paying me to do it for them.

So there’s that.

Then right in the middle of trying to get this business off the ground Matt took 4 days off work last week and the two of us started our renovations. Here’s a before and after for your viewing pleasure:

Most of you are Facebook friends and probably already saw the album so I’m not going to go into too much detail here but suffice to say we tore out a wall and a (3000 pound) rock wall fireplace and now our living room is the size of Arena. We could seriously start charging people to come and use it as a dance floor. So now the next question is what the heck we’re going to do with the massive open space.

The short answer is I have no clue because we’re not millionaires. The long answer is I have no clue because…you get the point.

Anyway, after pulling down and building back up most of the open holes, we went away last weekend so I could attend the bridal shower my sister was throwing for one of her closest friends. It couldn’t have come at a better time. After 4 days of back aching labor work (something I no longer do for a living, and mind you, I’m an old lady now too) I was so ready for a couple days off.

Sleeping on an air mattress (especially one that turns into a hot air balloon overnight) isn’t the most fun when you’ve pulled a muscle near your tailbone but if you ever find yourself in that situation here’s some free advice:

Drink. A lot. Then go dancing. Because all the other muscles you (shockingly) didn’t pull while doing the renovation will be so sore the next day you won’t really notice the one that was causing you to gimp around to begin with.

Sunday was all about chilling out and doing as little as possible. It was so nice in fact that we had a hard time prying ourselves off my sister’s sofa to make the 2 hour drive home. But we did and once we were here it was right back to off-mode as we planted our butts on our own sofa for the rest of the day.

So on Monday I had a ton of email and other stuff to catch up on after taking 6 days off. Catching up took the better part of the day. I was tired and cranky and didn’t really want to work but toughed it out and got through my overflowing inboxes.

Then today I started working on my landing page for my freelancing stuff as mentioned above and realized that my computer is an ancient POS. Luckily I just purchased a new laptop yesterday but it won’t be here for about 3 weeks. So I kept trying to make the site building tools work with my non-compatible machine. Only it was to no avail.

I wasted the whole morning and had nothing to show for it. Instead of getting upset (er) I dialed into a teleconference I’d signed up for through the career training folks. Aptly titled ‘Landing Clients’ it felt like this would be a great way to start figuring out the paycheck part.

Ten minutes into the call it turned into a sales pitch for a big conference/workshop they have coming up this fall. I stayed on the call just to see if there really would be any good tips or advice about how to land clients other than going to the bootcamp.

I wrote down exactly 8 things during the 73 minutes I was on the phone:

  • Write about what you’re learning
  • Choose a niche right away
  • Network with everyone (even the wrong people for your niche)
  • Practice talking about your business in person
  • Find groups that understand the value a copywriter brings
  • Take the action that works for you (calls, blogs, emails, etc.)
  • Find opportunities to show yourself as an expert
  • Ask friends for referrals

Now I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful person considering the call was free, but other than that last tip, do any of those suggestions tell a person how to land a client?

The short answer is no.

The long answer is that was 73 minutes spent listening to a sales pitch, not a teleconference with any form of benefit like it was originally presented, that I’ll never get back. And I didn’t even get a weekend at a timeshare out of it or anything. All I got was an offer to save money on their very expensive conference.

One I might be able to afford to attend if any of the 7 people on the call actually, you know, gave some information on landing clients.

After the technology and phone call debacles I decided it might be better to spend my time getting my house put back together instead of trying to focus on doing work that was clearly just laid out to frustrate me all day.

So I pulled on my big girl construction pants and finished the second coat of joint compound on the ceiling and wall.

I’m sore again but putting the house back together seemed like the smartest idea for the best way to get my head back together.

I forgot how cranky I get living in a cluttery construction zone.

So for the next couple weeks, until I can finish these home improvement projects I’m taking time away from writing. Well at least away from finding new clients. I’ll still do the work I have for the client that’s already paying me steadily but otherwise no deal.

At least that’s my plan until the laptop shows up. Once my new tech toy arrives all bets on finishing the house are off.

Good thing compound dries pretty quickly in the desert.

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Content Marketing Strategist and Blogger for hire, Jenn has over 12 years of freelancing experience. Follow her antics on twitter @jennshon

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Long and Torrid ♥ Affair

I have to confess. I’ve had a one sided love affair going on for well over a decade now. In fact, since about the summer of 2002 I’ve devoted my listening ears to one particular songwriter and (it won’t be a shock to anyone who has been around this blog for more than, oh say, about 10 minutes that) the name of this lyrically limber lexicon lover is Jason Mraz.

Told you it wouldn’t be a surprise. Most of you are probably sick of me writing about him at this point (too bad this is my blog and I’ll fan-girl geek it out if I want to!). Other than a brief mention of a new album here or there would you believe the last post I wrote about Jason was back in 2009 when I saw him in Hershey,PA opening for Dave Matthews Band? Yeah, I wouldn’t have believed it either except I just did the research and it’s the stone-cold truth.

I like that I was a fan years before anyone knew who he was. That I got to see him at Irving Plaza in NYC with only about 100 other people in the place. That Matt and I drove all the way to NJ from MA. Then the two of us, my friend Trayce and her daughter took off for Susquehanna, PA to catch Jason on the ‘Music, Magic and Makepeace Tour. That Matt and I drove all the way to Hershey, PA (also conveniently close to Centralia, PA [yes I filmed this documentary]) for that above referenced show that I wrote about.

Then about 11 days later my mom and I caught Jason headlining the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston with the smell of the harbor wafting into the enormous tent as we danced our butts off all night long (all night).

And then Matt and I made our way to the Life Is Good festival to see a whole slew of amazing artists (Emily Elbert, OK Go, They Might be Giants, Brett Dennen) and of course Jason headlining the whole night.

That was the last time I saw him perform live.

In freaking 2010.

What a sad, sad shame.

But a lot has happened since September 12, 2010 and as a grown up with big girl responsibilities it wasn’t like I could chase the guy all over the country or anything. No matter how much I really wanted to.

And now we’re in Phoenix, a five hour journey to San Disco Raggaefornia (give or take). And I just looked up the last time Jason played here. It was October of 2012. And we were recently moved into our house so there wasn’t much extra to go around; meaning I didn’t get to the show.

But now this morning I was wasting some moments scrolling through Facebook and came across this:

Um, yes please!

I’d say it’s about time he released something new because waiting between releases has kind of been the norm – Rocket in 2002, Mr A-Z in 2005, WSWDWST in 2008 and then love in 2012.

But we’re only talking about a year since love. And believe me, knowing every lyric on that album front and back (because frankly there hasn’t been another disc in my car’s player since the day I got the album), I’m already ready for more.

But aren’t all the former Sexheads? I mean seriously. The guy’s music is like a drug. A sweet and melodic drug that plays on your mind, body and soul. Best. high. Ever!

Thank god that shit is still legal. 

I just hate that part where I have to wait for it. Especially now that I know it’s on the way.

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Published in multiple print and online sources, Author, Blogger and Freelance Writer Jenn Flynn-Shon has been writing for publication since 2001. Follow her antics on twitter @jennshon