Monday, 22 June 2015

Ready to Conquer Your Arachnophobia?

Kajiki Town, part of Aira City, Kagoshima Prefecture

Welcome to Kajiki!  It’s a town in southern Japan and holds some incredible sights to see.  There’s the old road that used to be the gateway to Edo (now Tokyo) and the beautiful Ryumon Waterfall.  There’s another little gem here, a festival that occurs every year in the midst of the rainy season.  But you might not want to go there unless you want to cure your arachnophobia.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

4 Or More Pinterest Tips for Aspiring Authors

You’re an aspiring writer.  You’re set on publishing your book and you’re floundering in the editing stage.  You’ve heard about authors promoting their work on Pinterest and you thought you’d give it a shot.  Sound like you?  Well, that’s exactly where I’m at right now.

The problem is that all those blog posts are for people who have already published.  Looking to market your book on Pinterest?  Here are 20 great tips.  Are you an author who’s new to Pinterest?  This is how you should be setting up your Pinterest page.  There’s such an overwhelming amount of information out there!  I’m an aspiring author.  I’m not published yet.  What tips do you take and what do you leave?

These are the questions I’ve been facing lately and I’m out to solve them.  I googled for several ideas, and I’ve found some that resonate with me.  If you’re a writer looking to branch out into the Pinterest world, here’s some excellent advice.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Not Quite 28 Things I've Learned in 28 Years

This is a little late, but I was too busy being a lazy bum last week to post anything.  It was my birthday last week and I’ve not reached the ripe age of 28.  So far, it feels pretty good.  This year should prove to be an exciting one.  I’ll be moving back to Canada in July, going to my older brother’s wedding on August 1, and settling down into Canadian life once more.  Oh, and that includes the dreadful job hunting.

I wanted to take this time to copy +Brent Jones on Google+.  Brent recently turned 30, which is a huge milestone because the number contains a “0” on the end of it.  To commemorate that wonderful age containing a dreaded three, he came up with a list of 30 things he’s learned over the years.

I figured 28 rounds up to 30 less ambiguously than 27, so I want to do the same. 

Friday, 24 April 2015

A Letter to My Younger Self

Dear nineteen-year-old Kellie,

I know you’ve been going through a lot lately.  You’ve failed all your classes at university, quit your soldiers training in the Reserve Forces, and now you’re hiding away in the basement of your host family’s house in France crying your heart out.  I know it hurts to fail.  I know you want to give up and go home, but even home doesn’t understand you, nor have they a place for you.

I see and feel your pain.  You have responsibility for someone else’s kids and you’re trying to make it in a culture you don’t understand.  You cringe when your host mother reprimands you countless times a day for the smallest mistakes you make.  You can never predict when she’s not going to like something you’re doing.  She’s your best friend one moment and your enemy the next.  Your only escape is either the basement in the laundry room, home to cement walls to bruise your knuckles on, or the bedroom where you lock yourself in to drench your pillow in tears.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Motivation Monday Madness: 3 Blogs to Help You Land Your First Guest Post

Notice a difference?  Yeah, I changed Sunday Showcase to Motivation Monday Madness.  I tend to be more productive on Mondays than Sundays.  Cheers to the start of an old weekly showcase done on a different day!  I call it “madness” because people are usually unmotivated for the start of yet another boring work week.  (Okay, my week is not boring at all.  I got paid for playing easy English games and making sand mountains with preschoolers today.)

Yes, I did steal #MotivationMonday from someone.  I honestly can’t remember who it was I stole it from, but she’s more than welcome to get angry at me and tell me to stop using her awesome tagline.  Just throwing that out there.

On to the madness!

I’m super thrilled to tell you that I landed my very first guest blogging opportunity at Organized Lunacy.  There, I talked about being grateful for the help we get from people.  I’m pretty happy about it, so if you get the chance, I’d be super happy if you checked it out.

That being said, today’s showcase is designed to help you land your first guest post, and there’s no better person to ask for advice than Sue Anne Dunlevie over at Successful Blogging.  She’s the queen of guest posting and has some amazing insight for anyone wanting to be recognized by the bigger names in blogging out there.

I’ve stalked her blog many times, and if you ever have any questions about blogging, she gets back to you in no time.  She’s really nice and is dedicated to helping new bloggers launch their blogs.  These are a few blog posts of hers that have really helped me.

How to Guest Post and Rock Your Pitch

Kicking off is a post that covers everything you need to know about guest blogging in one simple post.  And it’s a guest post!  Imagine that.

Guest blogging is a great way to get noticed, and Sue suggests finding a blog that’s already popular.  Well, not like Huggington Post, but something more popular than your own blog.  Make sure you pick something related to your niche as well.

In my case, Luna Darcy was looking for something related to personal development, which is right up my alley.  She had a shoutout on Google+ for guest bloggers, so I jumped to the task with eager delight.  Turns out my post was exactly what she was looking for.

Sue offers more detail when getting the blog owners’ attention, such as follow their blog, comment frequently, and share their content.  In other words, be a stalker minus the creepy aspect of the word and be human at the same time.  You should also try to match the style of the blog in terms of how it looks and whether or not there are subheadings.

I’d love to go and on about it, but to avoid repetition or worse yet plagiarism, I’m just going to say you should just go check it out yourself.  You won’t be disappointed.

How to Write a Pitch and Get Noticed

It can be a challenge to get on someone’s radar when their famous in the blogosphere.  There are several ways to pitch to the blog owner you want to guest blog for, but most of them aren’t the right way.

Okay, let me rephrase that.  There are several bad ways to write a pitch email.  Sue lists a few.  What I love about this particular post is that it’s direct.  It’s straight to the point, and the examples are priceless.  It looks like she’s had quite a few rotten tomatoes filtering through her inbox over the years.

So how do you write a good pitch?  Sue lists 15 points including building a relationship with the blog owner, not insulting them, making your pitch brief, and not actually pitching.

What?  Don’t actually pitch?  How does that work?  You can find out more on her site.  Add it to your reading list.

Are You Making These Guest Posting Mistakes?

This is a guest post by blogger Wally Brown, owner of Vexcom Solutions marketing.  Wally goes through the process of how to find blogs to write for and how to test their credibility by checking out their website metrics.

The things you want to look for on a blog is how many sites are linking to them, how many social shares they have, and if there’s a lot of interaction.  A blog with more interaction is much more likely to increase traffic to your own blog.

Just like Sue’s post I mentioned above, Wally says to follow the blog’s rules about guest posting.  That makes sense, right?  It’s the same when you go to someone’s house.  You want to respect their rules, or else you might not get invited over again.  Or even when you visit another country.  You should follow the rules and regulations of that country.  After all, even if you’re only travelling somewhere, you’re still an ambassador of your country.

A little respect goes a long way.  The difference between following the blog owner’s guest posting rules and missing the mark will be whether or not they let you post for them.

Another point Wally makes is to write your best stuff for the site.  You want to draw people to your own blog, don’t you?  Well, I sure do; I know that much.  If you’re out to get noticed in the virtual world—which you probably are if you’re looking to guest blog—then bring out the best in you.  Write the most amazing thing you can come up with.

To cap it all off, I just want to add that guest blogging is not only a chance to get noticed.  It’s an opportunity to connect with other bloggers and build relationships with awesome people.  If there’s a guest post or podcast featuring someone, I usually go check that person’s blog out because they seemed so knowledgeable or friendly in their post or interview.  The way I see it, it’s about the community more than a struggle to get to the top.  After all, we’re all doing what we love:  blogging.  It’s a network.  Let’s connect.

Anyway, I’ll get off my podium before I get too off topic.  You should really check out Sue’s blog if you’re a lost newbie, or just a newbie in general.  Actually, just go visit her blog, whether old blogger or new.  Just do it.

Would you do me a favour, too?  Would you share this with other people so that they have a few resources to help them get started with guest blogging?  That would make me super happy, and the people you’re sharing with, too.  Happy blogging!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

5 Ways to Reduce Stress

Sometimes, you just get a little stressed out.  It’s usually on a day you least expect it, usually happens on your busiest day, and occasionally comes in the form of too many things on your mind than you can count.  I’m talking about that bad stress, the kind that sends your emotions and reactions into a freakish uproar.

For me, stress grips me on a full day of teaching and evening activities.  Actually, I was going a little crazy earlier this week… make that a couple days ago.  Truth to tell, I wasn’t even that busy.

Why was I so stressed out, you ask?  It’s because there’s a lot going through my mind, and when there’s a lot going through my mind, it’s so easy to get stressed out before I even start working.

Stress arises from a lot of pressure, and with my unpredictable teaching job, keeping up a blog, and working on a trilogy, some things that need to be done slip between the cracks (last Sunday’s showcase, for one).  On top of that, I’ll be ending my JET Programme contract at the end of July and moving back to Canada.  It’s only April, but moving day is already getting a little too close for comfort, and I have a hefty list to take care of beforehand.  Not to mention I have no idea what I’m going to do when I get back.  I’ll be starting from square one all over again, the bottom of the work status chain.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Just Do It! The Fool’s Guide to Self Discipline

People always tell me that I’m so disciplined or that they wish they had my sense of discipline.  I found it praiseworthy at first, but then it started to irk me.  The same people who were telling me these things had such low confidence in their own self discipline (or lack thereof) that I found it hard to believe.

Alongside those “wonderful” comments is the question, “How do you do it?”  Believe me, it’s taken me years to motivate myself to get things done, even things that I don’t enjoy doing.  But I can tell you that if you’re really determined about developing self discipline, you’ve got to have a LOT of determination.  Low self esteem will get you nowhere.