A Writer's Life/Writing

Why June Was A Blogging Bust

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
Why June Was A Blogging Bust

Like many bloggers, I have good intentions to blog at least once a week, and my earlier goal was to try to tap out two a week for my own blog.

But now, here I am at the end of the month and I’ve not a single post to my credit. This is my attempt to save face for June.

Here’s what my workload looked like this month:

  • Three blog posts for tree.com, my last as they are shutting down
  • Two articles and four emails for a high-tech lead nurturing campaign
  • Two press releases for a financial crowdfunding company 
  • Two Case Studies for RainToday.com, plus two interviews for an additional two case studies
  • One newspaper story for the La Conner Weekly News, on the the adoption of the last turkey in La Conner
  • Completition of a re-write of a patient guide for a LASIK practice.

 All total, that’s 11 projects for the month.

The list  doesn’t count the continuing work I’m doing to create a white paper and several web articles for a large consulting firm or the marketing outreach I’ve done to several prospects for new projects.

On top of these assignments:  

I also read or finished reading:

  • The little Big Things by Tom Peters
  • eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee 
  • Selling to Big Companies by Jill Konrath
  • Conversations with Tom Robbins edited by Liam Purdon and Beef Torrey

 I also welcomed three new distractions to my office in the middle of June, which is when my three teenagers went on summer break.

With the Fourth of July on Monday, I’m sure blogging will be way down on my list.

But I’m going to make an editorial calendar of all the ideas I’ve been noodling, and have saved all over the place – notes, in notebooks, on my computer, etc.

I really want to share what I learned at MPU’s bootcamp, the emerging trend of corporate journalists, and of course, what makes great content.

I promise to do better in July. Really. Honestly.

How Was Your June? Are things picking up for you or are they slowing down? I’d love to hear from you.



Flag and Too Late Photos copyright M. Sharon Baker

A Writer's Life/Journalism/Writing

La Conner Mayor: Remaining Turkeys Must Go

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
La Conner Mayor: Remaining Turkeys Must Go

La Connor mayor Ramon Hayes issued a decree this week after suffering through the latest barrage of questions about the town’s five remaining turkeys and why they aren’t gone yet.

The town council voted 4-1 to banish the flock of 12 turkeys in October 2010 after several neighbors grew tired of cleaning up turkey turds and torn up landscaping.

Six of the flock have been caught and another died, but the remaining three hens and two Toms have become trap-wise and so far have eluded capture.

Officially, only four turkeys have been pecking around town this week.

The second tom may have flown the coop, er town earlier this week during the latest turkey round up.  He took flight and hasn’t regrouped with his feathered friends.

I’ve been tasked with covering this story for the La Conner Weekly News, and have had a bit of fun with the story and resulting photos. Some of the info can be found on the Weekly News’ blog.

La Conner, WA is also famous for its fields of daffodills and tulips.

I’m happy to report that the daffodils are just starting to bloom. It’s been cold and wet, so they are a bit late.

Tulip travelers will want to come towards the middle to end of April – that’s just my guess – as the weather may make the tulip bloom a little late too.

Have you been following La Conner’s turkey escapades?

Photos © M. Sharon Baker

A Writer's Life/Journalism

Every Word Counts

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
Every Word Counts

I’ve been dragging my feet for a long time about starting a blog. What should I write about, and what should I name it? As a freelance writer and freelance journalist, I have written blog posts and guest posts for others. I’ve fretted about duplicating efforts, finding a title that says what I do, and wondered what people wanted from me. Like others before me, I’m just going to take the plunge.

I haven’t read Tom Peters’ new book, The Little BIG Things – 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence yet. But he’s giving folks a chance to learn about the Things on his website by offering small download snippets, so I looked at the list and have used No. 26 to help me finally name this blog.

 26. Develop Your R.POV8—ASAP! Seth Godin says: “If you can’t describe your position in eight words or less, you don’t have a position.”

Peters’ version is R.POV8, which stands for Remarkable Point of View in 8 Words or Less. His excellence only need one symbol – a Pantone #032 (red) exclamation point. I think it fits him perfectly.

Limiting your remarkable point of view in 8 words made it much easier for me to think of a name. My currency is Words. And I write them primarily for three industries: journalism, public relations and marketing.

I started out as a full time journalist, and worked for several newspapers up until I became a freelance writer in 2001. For the first few years, freelance article projects were plentiful. But as the recession started, assignments dried up. Nearly 36,000 journalists were laid off from 2007 till now, and freelance budgets at magazines, trade publications and newspapers disappeared overnight. (If you go back to 2000, the layoffs number more than 66,000.)

I had a few corporate clients needing help writing public relations materials, case studies and other marketing materials. I worried about “going to the dark side” which is how journalists describe those that cross over into advertising and marketing. But I realized that my journalism skills – my news judgment, my superior interviewing and storytelling skills and the ability to write conversationally – were needed in droves in the corporate world.

Writing tight, getting to the point quickly and keeping things simple are concepts every corporation needs, whether they are selling a product, building a brand or looking for leads. Short attention spans, quick decisions and multiple options means you always have to make every word count.

“Every Word Counts – Where storytelling, public relations & marketing collide.” Was my first attempt at a remarkable Point of View in 10 words or less. I’ve since thought about it some more, and refined it, adopting the tagline:  “I create compelling content helping companies connect with customers.”

What’s yours?