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A Few Articles You Might Want to Read

planner moleskine hack

I’ve had a busy week and haven’t had time to post links to my most recent Dumb Little Man articles so here are the last five. They’re all pretty well packed with good information. It should give you plenty of reading for the weekend! 🙂

I hope you like them!

Going Nuts Yet? Get Your Tasks and Appointments Organized – my take on the most efficient way to manage your time using both paper and electronic tools.

Savoring Life’s Little Indulgences – take a break from it all and get reminded of how sweet life is!

Time to Be An Adult…Learn to Say You’re Sorry – have trouble saying sorry? (me too sometimes) Here’s a nice guide to help make it a little easier.

20 Tips to Accelerate Your Career and Get Noticed – how to be a star at work and really reach your career dreams!

 

Stop Beating Yourself Up – Create A Plan!  -quell that nasty little negative voice in your head and don’t let it waste any more of your precious time or energy!

 

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Got a comment or question? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

 

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5

If You Have a Blog, You’ll Want to Read This

If you don’t have a blog, you can skip this post. But if you do have a blog, and you’d like the chance to win some extremely valuable services that can help take your blog to the next level, then you’ll want to check this out.

I recently came across a prize giveaway by one of my favorite bloggers, David Airey. David Airey is a graphic designer specializing in logo design. He is holding a prize giveaway to celebrate the one year anniversary of his blog. There are more than $4,000 worth in free prizes! Find out how to enter by reading the details on David’s logo designer blog.

David Airey Logo Design

To whet your appetite, here are some of the prizes that are up for grabs:

If you’re interested, find out how to enter the drawing by reading the details on David’s logo designer blog.

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Get the Creative Time You Need: 3 Simple Tips

Time to create

We All Need Creativity Time

We all need creativity time. Everyone needs time to think about their personal life vision and time to create the daily and weekly plans that will bring that vision into being. People in business need to: think of creative solutions to client problems, strategize creative ways to build business, and dream up the next generation of products and services. Parents need to create routines for the home and their children. And creative people need time for writing, painting, coding, designing and so on.

The Problem

Life is so full, that creativity time gets squeezed out. And our propensity for procrastination doesn’t help. We contribute to squeezing out our creativity time by fettering it away on lower priority tasks first. Why? Because in many ways they are easier to do. Creativity takes a lot of energy and mental gymnastics. So what’s the solution? It’s right there in front of you. And it’s been there all along. Here’s where to find the time and places to make it happen.

Where to Grab Creativity Time

1. Mindless Tasks.

All the things that you need to do on a daily and weekly basis that don’t require thinking are potential opportunities for creativity time. Here are some examples:

  • Exercise time
  • Laundry – folding, hanging up, etc.
  • Driving
  • Commuting
  • Putting kids to sleep – (if you lay down with your kids while they go to sleep)
  • Waiting in Line

Now it’s not ideal creativity time because you won’t always be able to record your thoughts and ideas right away. That’s ok. This will force you to keep it simple. Use that fact to focus on just one idea during any of these opportunities. All creativity requires a certain amount of brainstorming before you can start writing down your ideas or making sketches or laying out plans. In fact, sometimes the act of writing down ideas can halt a certain amount of creativity. So use these small times to brainstorm a bit. After the brainstorming is done, as soon as you are able, write down your ideas or use Jott to send a voice message to yourself which will be converted into text and emailed to you.

2. Air Travel

This is a great place to hunker down to pure creativity time.

  1. If there is a TV , leave it off!
  2. Leave your computer turned off, too.
  3. Put on a set of headphones to give other passengers notice that you’re busy. (Noise canceling head phones are one of the best things you can buy for yourself if you travel frequently at all. Even if you don’t they are great whenever you need to drown out noise.)
  4. Start by closing your eyes and brainstorming first.
  5. Get out a pad of paper and a pen or pencil.
  6. Create!
  7. If you need to, make a pact with yourself to “treat” yourself to leisure items (music, reading, TV) once you’ve completed a preset amount of creative work.

3. Closed Spaces
This one is a little different than the first two in that you need to create the time for this one. It also may strike you as a little strange, but therein lies it’s power. The idea is to confine yourself to a small space where you won’t be interrupted by any distractions. Some ideas are:

  • Sitting in your Car – Anywhere you can park your car is fine. In your garage, on the street, or in a parking lot. Does your spouse ever ask you to go shopping, but you don’t enjoy it? Well how about coming along for the ride and once at the store, you remain in the car for some distraction free creativity time! This is one of my favorites. My mom loves to shop. I don’t, or at least I can’t afford it. She goes shopping and I wait in the car and do some writing. Being in a different place helps me to think more creatively.
  • A large closet with a light or (smallest room in your house) – obviously, make sure you can’t get locked in and that there is enough air to breathe. 🙂 Small spaces are good because there is not enough room to have distractions.
  • The bathroom – sitting on the “throne” with the lid closed, sitting in the tub with or without water in it.
  • A dresssing room – I haven’t tried this one, but I bet it could work. If you have a friend who needs to go clothes shopping, but you don’t need anything, you could wait for him/her in the dressing room and do some creative work until they come in. If you feel strange going into one of the the dressing rooms you could just wait on the bench or the floor by the dressing room attendant. This one isn’t for everyone, but it could work for some.
  • Nook in library or bookstore – ah, peace and quiet. I don’t know about you, but I get very inspired creatively when I’m in either of these places. Find a small quiet corner away from distractions and let the creativity flow.
  • Tent. Do your kids have a tent? If not, consider setting one up. All you need is a blanket and some kind of furniture to place it over. Go inside. Where are you? Pretend you are somewhere other than your living room or back yard. Let this fictitious location inspire you to find new ways of thinking about your project.
  • What are your ideas?

Please Share!

What are your most unusual and useful hacks for finding creativity time? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

 

If you found this post valuable, perhaps you’ll be kind enough to vote for this with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!

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18

How To: Your Content in PocketMod Format!

pocketmod

What is a PocketMod?

If you haven’t already heard of them, PocketMods are an origami-like 8 page mini booklet that is constructed by folding 1 sheet of paper. PocketMod was developed to be a customizable calendar, todo list, and more that you can carry in your purse or pocket. Click here to see their cool free online customization tool. Now they also offer the free PocketMod Converter which will convert any 8 page PDF document into a one page PocketMod format ready for printing and folding.

This guide will show you how to create your own mini booklet with your own content whether that be text, photos or graphics.

Offer Your Content in PocketMod Format

Click over to some of the PocketMods I’ve created to get an example how you could use this booklet format.

Some ideas that would make great PocketMods:

  • Blog posts
  • How to manuals
  • Guides
  • Photos
  • Motivational information
  • Reference information: i.e. calories, daily checklists, etc.

How to Convert Word Document to PocketMod Format

1. Create your Word Document. Needs to be 8 pages, of which any number can be blank.
2. Text Size: Arial size 24 or larger works best.
3. Insert pictures if desired.
4. Convert Word document to PDF. I use this free online PDF converter service which emails the PDF to you.
5. Save PDF file to your computer.
6. Download PocketMod Converter.
7. Open PocketMod Converter.
8. Click “Open PDF” and open your PDF file you just saved.
9. Choose “Output Page Size” from the dropdown menu on the converter. The default is letter size.
10. Click “Save as PocketMod.”
11. Name and save the file.

Printing and Sharing

Now you’re ready to:

12. Print and Fold. Click on “Learn to Fold the PocketMod” link on the converter for instructions.
13. Sharing: Upload to a file sharing host. I use MediaFire which is free and allows me to track the number of downloads on each file they host for me.
14. Post link to your website, blog or share via email with friends.

Enjoy!

Click Here to Download These Instructions in PocketMod Format!

Please Share!

Please share links to the PocketMods you create here in the comments! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

 

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So You Want to Be a Writer

I am a writer.

Make Your Dream Come True

Becoming a writer is a dream that many of us share. I’ve always loved writing and only recently realized that I became a writer by the simple act of writing. No one bestows this title on you. To acquire the title of “writer” all you need to do is write! And the good news is no one can take it away from you. This article will give you all the resources you’ll need to become a writer, outlining the various ways you can express yourself, with helpful resources for digging in. This guide is intended for writers at every stage: dreamer, newbie, explorer, and old-hat.

1) Journaling

Let’s start with the easiest form of writing, journaling. At it’s most basic, grab any notebook and start with these words “Dear Diary…” If you want to get fancy you can buy yourself a nice leather bound Moleskine notebook and maybe a nice pen which you use for the ritual of writing. The only thing that matters is that you follow your inspiration. What should you write about? Your dreams, your problems, other people’s problems, solutions, anything. It’s a great tool for understanding yourself so that you can grow and improve your life. And it’s really fun to go back in time and read what you wrote last year…or even 5,10 years ago!

2) Blogging

When you’re ready to share your writing with the world the easiest way to do this is with blogging. Blog is short for “Weblog.” It is a place where you can post material to the internet which is stamped with the date and with whatever labels or categories you’d like. You can have a blog that is a diary or it can be used to entertain people, teach, create controversy, or promote your beliefs be they political, spiritual, philosophical or otherwise. If you want to make money from your blog you can add advertising to your blog, such as with Adsense (see link in right sidebar.) Here are some resources for getting started with blogging:

  1. Blogger – this is the easiest one to start with. It’s free and very advertising friendly. Owned by Google. You can have a blog created in about 10 minutes or less. If you are planning to build a “professional” blog over time, you may want to give yourself more flexibility with WordPress unhosted.
  2. WordPress hosted – this one is free but is not easy to use with advertising.
  3. WordPress unhosted – this is the platform I use. It is more complex, but you have more flexibility with layout, design, and functionality. The platform itself is free, but you’ll need to pay for a hosted server such as AnHosting, which is what I use.
  4. Typepad – this is the 3rd most popular blogging platform after WordPress and Blogger. There is a 14 day trial period. After that prices start at $4.95 per month. Has a nice professional look and feel.
  5. Squarespace – If you don’t want to bother with coding but want a professional look and feel, squarespace has some very high-design templates. 30 Day free trial. Prices start at $7 per month.


3) Magazine Writing

Want to see your name and writing published? Magazine writing may be for you. There are two ways to approach this. 1) Write your articles first and then pitch them to magazine editors. 2) Write your pitch query letter to magazine editors and only write the article when you are contracted to do so. Each method has pros and cons. This is a great work from home business. However, to make a real living from it you must be organized, disciplined, and persistent. There is a lot that goes into this process so I will refer you to a couple good references:

WritersWeekly.com  This is a free weekly ezine. There are new updated markets listed each week that are looking for writers. They also have an ebook titled “QUERY LETTERS THAT WORKED! Real Queries That Landed $2K+ Writing Assignments” which costs $19.95.
Writer’s Digest Handbook Of Magazine Article Writing is a 5-Star rated (Amazon) book that teaches you how to brainstorm ideas, write articles, craft query letters, and maintain good relationships with editors for repeat contracts.

4) Online Article Writing for Cash
If you don’t want to set up a blog or do magazine writing, but you still want to get paid, online article writing is an quick way to get paid for your writing. The pay is low, but the articles that are needed are generally short, so if you can write fast you can make some side income. Payment depends on the the demand for the content. Payment can run anywhere from $3-20 per article. Many bloggers do this to supplement their income and to build name recognition. It’s also good writing practice. Here are the two largest and most often recommended, although, there are others:

5) Writing a Book
Who hasn’t dreamed of writing a book? Well, you can do it! Check out my Ultimate Guide to Writing a Book in Less than 60 Days right here on this blog. This guide has many free writing resources as well as book recommendations and writing program recommendations.

If you want to join a community of writers check out NaNoWriMo in the fall when they sponsor a free online community project where everyone attempts to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November!

Want to publish a book that you’ve already written? The Well-Fed Publisher is the ultimate resource on publishing your non-fiction or fiction book!

6) Short Story Writing

This is a great warm up for writing a novel. It’s less of a commitment and it can always turn into a longer story later on. Contests are a great way to get you humming along on a story right away. Here are some contest resources that I can recommend:

WritersWeekly quarterly writing contest only $5 to enter. Cash and ebook prizes. (I actually won an honorable mention in one of their contests last year. That was fun!)
Writers Digest Writing Contests cash prizes. Many different categories. Legitimate sponsor you can trust.

If you are looking for some creative writing prompts here are 3 books I like a lot:

  • The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction
  • The Write-Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing
  • Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing


7) Flash Fiction: Ultra Short Micro Stories

This is a newly popular genre of writing where the whole story is generally between 250-1000 words. It is also known as sudden fiction, microfiction, micro-story, postcard fiction, and short short story. This is really fun to play around with and it is an excellent way for novel and short story writers to develop the discipline to eliminate extraneous words from your writing.
Magazines:

Contests:

  • Whim’s Place Flash Fiction Contest– quarterly contest. $5 entry fee. Cash prizes $50-$250. Guest Judge Deborah Ng is a blogger for Darren Rowse’s b5Media blog “Simply Thrifty.”

Stories to read online:

  • Fish Publishing – an online sampling of flash fiction that takes, well, only a flash to read!


8 ) Freelance Corporate Writing

If you are a good writer and know something about sales, then you can make a very good living writing business content for corporations, small businesses, and non-profits. This is a huge topic that I will write about more in the future. For now, let me refer you to the ultimate resource book this topic: The Well Fed Writer:Back for Seconds by Peter Bowerman. If you want to start this lucrative home-based business, this is really the only book you will need! It is the book I used as a guide when I launched my freelance writing business. (Tip: You only need the updated “Back for Seconds” version of this book which has a summary of the first book in it.)

If you do go this route, Freelance Success is an excellent professional online group where you can ask questions from people in the business. It does cost $89 for a year subscription, but it is well worth it, especially if you are just starting out. You can “listen in” on the forum discussions by email subscribing to them. It’s a tax deductible business expense. I personally found it to be worthwhile. As a writer you can post your profile for free and companies that have work for freelance writers can see your profile there.

9) Technical Writing
This is the business of writing manuals and technical instruction information for companies, usually technology and manufacturing companies. It can help if you have an engineering degree or experience, but it’s not a requirement. Just like Corporate Writing, technical writing can be lucrative. Here are a couple of highly recommended books to check out:

  • Technical Writing 101: A Real-World Guide to Planning and Writing Technical Documentation
  • The Well Fed Writer:Back for Seconds by Peter Bowerman also covers technical writing.

10) Grant Writing
A grant is money that is given to non-profit organizations such as universities for a project such as studying or researching a particular topic. In order to be awarded the funds, a request for proposal is written by the applicant stating why the organization deserves to win or receive the grant. Grant writers write these proposals for the non-profit organizations. Sometimes these writers are employed in-house and other times they are contracted as freelance grant writers. Grant writers are in high demand, so this is a good work-at-home writing business if you are interested in this kind of writing. Here are a couple of highly rated books on grant writing:

  • The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets
  • Grant Writing For Dummies


Other Writing Resources:
Websites

  • Writers.com offers online classes, tips, newsletter, and other services.
  • Writing.com offers groups, forums, reviews, polls, blogs and much more.
  • WritersRow freelance writing jobs and more.


Books

  • Writer’s Market  – This is a big book that is very handy to writers who are doing magazine writing and/or writing a book. From the Amazon review: ” The 2008 Writer’s Market features all the great information writers have to come to expect for more than 80 years and then some. This edition takes Writer’s Market to a new level of excellence with high profile author interviews and five new market sections. Of course, it’s still packed with all the information writers rely on year after year including the keys to successful query letters, advice on how much to charge, articles from successful writers, as well as listings for book publishers, magazines, lierary agents and more! Features more than 3,500 completely updated listings. Includes five new sections (Newspapers, Syndicates, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Greeting Cards). Features exclusive articles and interviews with successful writers.”

Please Share!

 

Please share your writing with a link to your blog or website!

 

If you found this post valuable, please SHARE THIS below with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or visit Amazon through my “Books� page at the top of this page. Thank you!

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46

Offline Marketing Strategy that Rocks!

Are Offline Marketing Techniques Still Viable?Yes! Of course they are!

I have a new guest post at Lifehack.org called Maximum Exposure for your Business or Blog.

If you would like to gain more traffic for your blog or more sales for your business, I think you will find real value in this article.

Most bloggers and many small businesses are not taking advantage of the free advertising a press release can provide. This article has 13 actionable steps for using Press Releases to build your business or blog. These steps are easy and organized.

Why not tap into the viral power that can come from offline marketing?!

Please check out this article to find out how:

Lifehack.org: Maximum Exposure for your Business or Blog



Please share your ideas and comments
regarding offline marketing techniques.

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