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Tuesday Tips: Network, network, network!

23 Aug

Last week, I joined the No More Nylons group for a Women’s Business Social at La Fonte in Ojai and I took some pictures (that’s Jodi in red).

The evening weather was glorious, the pinot grigio (pictured) cold  and excellent, my ceasar salad crisp and refreshing, and the several people who ordered pizzas were very happy (mmn the pizzas smelled so good! I’ve eaten there before and highly recommend it!)

While the location, the staff, the wine and food were all top-notch, we all really came for the company–to be in the company of a group of dynamic women in business who came to meet each other and help each other along.

I had a great conversation with Lisa Casoni who I had recommended to someone looking for a videographer. We talked about that project but then we got into discussing some other ideas. We finally had to drag ourselves off to other commitments!

Tomorrow the Women’s Business Social meets in downtown Ventura at Tutti’s just off Main at Palm. They have a courtyard also and it should be a nice warm summer night.

Tuttis off main

34 N Palm Street
Ventura, California

Women’s Business Socials always meet from 6-8pm. The next one in Ojai is Tues Sept 6 at

Ojai Beverage Company

655 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA 93023
Ojai, CA

They are held monthly locally and less often in places including New York and London.

Green Drinks in Ventura is getting off the ground again; they meet this Friday from 6-9pm at

The Refill Shoppe

1068 E. Main St.
Ventura, CA
This network gathering is also social and for people in green businesses or with green interests. Here’s the facebook event link.

Tuesday Tips: 12 Tips To Get More Traffic aka Readers

9 Aug

Bloggers come in three camps:

1. those who are terrified of having readers (this includes many of my college students!)

2. those who are actively searching for readers, and

3. those who are sincerely really writing for themselves (or their friends/family) and if readers come, they don’t really care.

Most people are in camp #2 especially if they’re trying to draw attention to their business, their brand, the goods and services they offer.

Lots of people charge big money to help you get traffic. Don’t do it! (Don’t pay people to get your twitter followers either. Here’s Peter Shankman on why.)

But what do you really need to do to get readers to come to your website to blog?

The following blog post from WordPress offers 12 great ideas. Some of these suggestions are specific to WordPress users, but many are not.

And of course what’s most important? You must have something worthwhile to say, you must say it regularly (at least once a week–Gary Vaynerchuck says at least daily!), and you must say it well! (If you’re on WordPress and you want some feedback on a draft, remember you can always request feedback from me! I’m a writing coach, remember, and that’s what I’m here for!)

While I do my best to post here at least once a week, I am also posting several times a week on my other blogs: Art Predator, Bikergo Gal, Compassionate Rebel, and Wine Predator. I’d love to follow Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice and blog daily every where but it’s just not possible. I used to post EVERYTHING on Art Predator (25-45 posts a month!) and periodically I consider going back to one blog meets all but this way people who have interests in one area can subscribe and just get those posts.

As soon as a blogger publishes their first post, their first question is: Where’s all my traffic? Everyone assumes they’re the only one seeking attention, when in truth nearly everyone is. It takes time to build an audience and no one gets much traffic without putting in the effort. Here at WordPress.com we want you to get more traffic, and we build features and services to help. … Read More

via WordPress.com News

Tuesday Tips: PS I Love You

2 Aug

A huge benefit of being a writer is being invited to write about topics you love. This summer I get to research and write about wine!

Which leads me to today’s tip: if you’re struggling on a writing project, find what it is that you love about it and start from there. Be effusive! Start with what’s easy, warm up and go from there. You don’t have to begin at the beginning!

For the past three weeks, I’ve been traveling in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California doing research for my project about wine and family and sustainability (and I sure am coming home with some great stories!).

Last Monday I attended the 80th birthday dinner for Jim Concannon at Concannon Winery in Livermore. Last Tuesday I attended the 9th annual Petite Sirah Symposium and tasted through dozens of amazing wines. During last week, I did a lot of writing and some tasting in Sonoma and plan to do some more in Santa Cruz. Read more about it all over at Wine Predator.

I head home tomorrow! I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

PS I Love You: Let me count the ways! It is unfortunate but true that people are typically unfamiliar with the marvels of Petite Sirah. Hence the need for a Petite Sirah advocacy group like PS I Love You and for events like Dark & Delicious. I’m fortunate that I was turned on to Petite Sirah back in my days working at Ridge and that I put a bottle of Storrs PS away in th … Read More

via Wine Predator

Tuesday Tips: Serve Up Some Synchronicity & Do What You Love

19 Jul

I’m writing to you from Walla Walla Roastery, located not in the cute Main Street downtown of Walla Walla but out at the airport, home to a multitude of wineries! I spent the morning at Dunham Cellars interviewing winemaker Eric Dunham for my Wine Predator blog and a bigger wine writing project about family and sustainability.

I’d like to say that I’d planned on talking with Eric but it just happened that way. I’d actually gone out there to talk to an assistant winemaker, Dan Wampfler whose wife Amy is winemaker at Sinclair Estate Cellars. I thought talking with a husband and wife team of winemakers for “competing” wineries would make an interesting story. But Dan was too busy and Eric had time so I interviewed him. Now to find time to write it up!

Which leads me to this blog post on synchronicity. Instead of being disappointed that I didn’t get to talk to Dan, I embraced the opportunity to talk with Eric.

And learned another important lesson: do what you love.

Here’s the story of how Eric became a winemaker: he and his dad were on a fishing trip on the Mackenzie River. Eric had just been certified for a “vocational” job and his dad asked him what his plans were. Eric replied that he would go work in the field and then when he had enough money, he wanted to go be a winemaker.

What did his dad say? “Then go be a winemaker!”

Which is what he did. A family friend got him an internship at Hogue then when he was done working wheat fields one summer he went to harvest grapes and now 19 years later, he’s an award winning winemaker.

In fact, this whole trip is one of being in the moment, the flow, taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves and going with it!

And speaking of that, it’s time to get the show on the road: I have two more wineries on my Walla Walla agenda before we head to Oregon!

Hope you’re having a wonderful summer! And remember, embrace synchronicity! Carpe Diem! (and all that!)

Tuesday Tips: On Vacation!

12 Jul

Last Tuesday, July 5 I didn’t post a tip– I was deep in the heart of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and in the rush to get packed and leave from home, I didn’t get anything written and scheduled to post.

Today we emerged from remote areas of Yellowstone National Park. We’ve been camping since Saturday July 2 and most of the time we haven’t had wireless or cell phone service!

Tomorrow my husband flies from Pocatello Idaho to home and back to work while my son and I head off to research a book about winery life, starting with the Snake River AVA.

When I get a chance, I will be posting about our Utah, Idaho and Wyoming adventures over on Art Predator and posting about the various wineries we visit over on Wine Predator. And of course I invite you to subscribe and follow along!

If you can’t wait, check out my twitter feed–I’ve been posting tweets and photos as I can along the way.

So if you can’t take a vacation, take a virtual one with me!

Tuesday Tips: More On “It’s” & “Its” — what about “Its’”?

28 Jun

For last week’s Tuesday Tips, I discussed how to use it’s and its. In an email today from a PR firm, I came across this sentence:

“VOGA Italia hails from Italy, the country best known for producing some of the world’s best wine as well as its’ keen sense of style.”

which reminded me I didn’t even mention the third its’: this one is ALWAYS wrong. Just like hers and his, its is a possessive that doesn’t require an apostrophe. Its’ is not a word.

It is tempting to also question the sentence further (can a country make wine or have style?) but I’m not. At least not today!

Remember if you have copy that needs work, or if you need some coaching for your writing, let me know! I’m happy to help you.

Tuesday Tips: On "It's" & "Its" Here are two wonderful and important concepts from a blog post I was reading and which inspired me to write this morning: Social Networking at it’s very foundation is building relationships with people… Social networking at it’s finest: making friends and helping each other at the same time. Do you know the difference between “it’s” and “its”? Chances are that you don’t. There’s even a Facebook page about it’s and its (that’s where I found the gr … Read More

via The Write Alley

Tuesday Tips: On “It’s” & “Its”

21 Jun

Here are two wonderful and important concepts from a blog post I was reading and which inspired me to write this morning:

Social Networking at it’s very foundation is building relationships with people…

Social networking at it’s finest: making friends and helping each other at the same time.

Do you know the difference between “it’s” and “its”? Chances are that you don’t. There’s even a facebook page about it’s and its (that’s where I found the graphic).

Using it is when you mean its and its when you mean it is ranks up there as the most common mistake I see in online and offline writing. My undergrad college students get it wrong and my graduate students in education got it wrong too.

This is the most common spelling, punctuation or grammar mistake that I find online. And I find at least a few examples of it every day in online publishing. In fact, as I mentioned above, this post itself is inspired by a blog post where “it’s” was used wrong more than once and both times in a headline as shown above.

(The second most common mistake? Using semi-colons–I’ll get to that next!)

Most of the time the writer who uses its/it’s wrong has strong content and writing skills (like in this case), but doesn’t know when to use “it’s” or to use “its”; these writers tend to use one or the other all the time, possibly on the false assumption they’d be correct 50% of the time. (If I was to take this strategy, I’d use “its” not “it’s,” by the way…)

Learning how to use “its” or “it’s” is one of the first orders of business when I am working with someone on writing.

So when do you use “it’s” and when do you use “its”? (more…)

Tuesday Tips from Kathy Sierra on How To Kick *, Create Passion, Do It All Better

14 Jun

Last week, Kathy Sierra wrote a guest post for Hugh McLeod’s “gaping void” blog about some current trends in social media which included this graphic. (FYI, Hugh McLeod is famous for some outrageous marketing ideas for wine and tweed as well as drawing insightful cartoons which he also uses in his best-selling book Ignore Everybody.)

In her guest post, Kathy Sierra asks, “why are people still so convinced that social media and all related buzzwords are The Answer?” when, if the product is truly crap, “your social media strategy won’t save you.”

“You want to use social media not because you *must*,” continues Kathy Sierra, “but because you can add even more value for your users by doing so.”

In conclusion, Kathy Sierra says, “There is a world of difference between helping someone *appear* more awesome and helping them actually BE more awesome.”

Reading this article reminded me of how insightful she is and it made me look up a blog post I wrote following hearing her speak in August 2008 at my first WordPress conference. Continue on to read her 20 ways to kick ass and create passion without resorting to the “gamification” she decries in her article on Hugh McLeod’s blog last week.

Kathy Sierra's WordCamp Waterfall of Words: How To Kick Ass, Create Passion, Do Everything Better (even sex!) What do you do to help people kick ass? In a waterfall of words, Kathy Sierra swam us through 20 ways in the final presentation at WordCamp 2008. While she was speaking primarily to and for software programmers and developers, and not just WordPress uses, I could see where much of what she had to say applied to me as a poet, and as a blogger, and in other ways as well. (Heck, a lot of it even applies to having great sex!) This is what I got out o … Read More

via art predator

Tuesday Tips: Know Your Rights! Workshop for Creatives

7 Jun

This is a public service announcement–with guitars! Are you an Artist, Writer or Creator? Do you want to know what COPYRIGHT means and what it protects? Would you like to understand what infringement is? What is fair use? Or whether you have international protection?

Ventura lawyer Kate Brolan promises an informative and interesting presentation “Copyright for Artists, Writers and Creators” on these subjects at the Bell Arts Factory  Weds June 15th at 6PM. And it’s free!

Bell Arts Factory is located at 432 N. Ventura Blvd. in Ventura. Please RSVP by email to k8brolanlawATgmailDOTcom or call her at 805-308-0858 and leave your name and how many will attend.

I met Kate last fall when we were in a WEV mastermind group together. We also discussed some copyright questions I had about my book, Middle of the Night Poems From Daughter to Mother :: Mother to Son (in print or as an e-book from en theos press). Kate is very knowledgeable and helpful, and I am sure this event will be worth your while.

In closing, here’s a brilliant video which combines Pearl Jam cover of Clash classic “Know Your Rights” with cartoon of Donald Duck as a Nazi http://t.co/uvuAUVD

Tuesday Tips: Break It Down

24 May

Recently I found myself giving similar writing advice to two different people. These two women are both working on BIG projects and finding themselves overwhelmed. They have lots of content that they’re anxious to share with the world but not sure how to go about it.

“Break that big writing project down,” I recommended. “Write part of it. And blog about it along the way.”

This made sense to them and makes sense for their projects too. I had already taught one woman how to blog and to do research and organize it. For her, I suggested taking the parts that are most interesting and immediate and turn them into blog posts making her research immediately available to others online.

For the second person, (more…)

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