Category: Writing & Work

“I’m Looking For a Job: Can You Please Help?”

Looking for a job in the U.S., after being a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, has forced me to re-program my brain, which is why I’m asking for your help. (Photo of my first networking event the day after I landed in the U.S.)

My last job as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho with my 7th grade debate team.

The minute I stepped off the plane at LAX, I realized I’d have to put on my Usain Bolt legs to keep up with the pace of my fellow passengers. Why does everyone sprint? In my rural village in Lesotho, I was known as the fast walker, but now my legs appeared to be letting me down. (No jokes about an aging body please.)

The competitive spirit hit me as I accelerated to fit the fast pace of the western world and aimed for the immigration officer before everyone else. Why am I striving to beat everyone to this imaginary finish line? There is no medal for first place.

My second shock occurred when I set up my laptop enjoying the luxury of never-ending Wi-Fi. I no longer had to buy vouchers from Vodacom for data. With e-mails cramming my inbox, I’d forgotten the turn-around speed of e-mails in my new environment. In Lesotho, I would get an e-mail, ponder over it for a few days, and reply when I felt like it. Back in California, if I don’t reply within 5 minutes of receiving an e-mail, I may be losing an opportunity.

The third culture shock I had to face, was the skill of talking fast, and having a 30-second elevator pitch ready. It seems that marketing yourself is a MUST in the society we live in today where we are constantly trying to either sell our skills or make ourselves seem brilliant and indispensable.

We need to hook our potential employer, even our potential online dates, with a PITCH. Basically, everything is about marketing ourselves; what has this world come to? No wonder we are so obsessed with ourselves! Even dating has become a 30-second elevator pitch.

I’m by no means a slow, lazy, person. In fact, I’m quite surprised at the things I’ve accomplished in the two weeks I’ve been back. I’ve:

  • Bought a car
  • Got insurance, both health and car
  • Attended the Publishers, Writers San Diego meeting on how to create book buzz.
  • Attended a business networking meeting where elevator pitches were flowing like the wine, and business cards exchanged from hand to hand
  • Attended my niece’s wedding
  • Joined Match.com, and attended a singles happy hour with one of my friends, plus a few dates
  • Met my ex-boss for lunch and was offered a valuable contact for a job opportunity
  • Got offered a job at a French cafe in Newport Beach
  • Got offered work a few nights and weekends a month with an event planner at the Newport Beach Library with their author events
  • Meeting friends who are offering suggestions on resume writing, business coaches, and contacts
  • Getting my rental room organized
  • Loving Amazon prime, I won’t tell you how exciting it is to order something and receive it promptly

So writing a resume is not only difficult, but adapting it to various positions, especially when your interests and skills are all over the place. Why couldn’t I just be a dentist, or an accountant? It would be so much easier to pin-down specific jobs, rather than looking at what I have to offer, and saying:

“Help! What mold do I fit in?”  

So that’s exactly what I’m doing. What mold do I fit in? Please help me define a job, and if you know a person who might need my skills, I’d love to have a contact name.

My skills and experience

  • Networking and connecting with people
  • Presentation and communication skills
  • Tri-lingual (French, English and Danish)
  • Recruitment and mentoring
  • Ability to clearly convey information, including to multi-cultural audiences
  • Project management
  • Research and report writing
  • Interviewing
  • Social media and blogging
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Marketing and promoting
  • Professional, adaptable and flexible
  • Ability to overcome challenges
  • Fundraising and project management working on a sustainable school renovation project in Lesotho, Africa

If you would like my resume, please e-mail me at: Sonia@soniamarsh.com

As they say, the Peace Corps requires you to be flexible, adaptable, and to overcome challenges. They also require patience, and I have to say coming back to the fast pace of Orange County, California, leaves little time for patience.

People, Writing & Work  |  Tags:

Electricity Has Arrived In My Village-Gutsy Living

 

Computers from Minister-3

I did not want to make any announcements about the arrival of electricity in my rural village in Lesotho, until I could switch on a light in my rondavel.

Other Peace Corps Volunteers told me not to get my hopes up when holes were being dug for the electric poles in February.

“I’ve had poles in my village for more than a year, but there is still no electricity,” one volunteer explained.

We kept hearing that the Minister of Energy would “turn the switch” on May 23rd, but I kept thinking this would be postponed. I was wrong! The Minister arrived at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, 23rd of May, and that evening, we all had light.

 

Not every villager opted for electricity. Some of the poorer families could not afford the deposit of 580 Rand, ($37) together with the Ready Box (which has three plugs and one light,) that the LEC (Lesotho Electricity Company) installed on my wall. Fortunately, Mary, my “host mother” wanted electricity in her own three-bedroom cement, brick house as well as in my rondavel. She has a satellite dish, like so many in my village, and a TV, which does not work on solar power.

I am surprised by how many of the “poor” villagers have satellites dishes, stereo equipment, cell phone, and nice stoves with ovens, yet claim that they have “no money.” I guess electronics take priority over food. Besides, all their equipment is crammed into one room, where the mother, father and children sleep, eat, bathe, watch TV, and cook. Everything is clean, tidy, and clutter-free.

None of the teachers at my school taught for three days prior to the Minister of Energy’s visit. Why? Because the Principal wanted the children to practice singing and dancing for the event. On one of those non-teaching days, the children were sent home to collect 2 Rand (13 cents) to buy a gift for the Minister. It took them three hours to trek home, get the money, and come back to school; another wasted day, which bothered the seventh grade teacher, and me, as they have exams in June. The school managed to collect $35 in total, and one of our teachers suggested buying the Minister of Energy a wall clock, and a bathroom scale. I asked if the Minister needed to lose weight, which caused laughter among the staff.

Wrapping gift for Minister

Wrapping gift for Minister

On the morning before the Minister’s arrival, the gifts were displayed in the staff room. Four AA batteries were attached to the Minister of Energy’s bathroom scale. Three teachers assisted in the gift wrapping process, and writing a note with a purple felt pen to thank the Minister for bringing us electricity. This took one hour away from teaching, but since the children practiced dancing again, it didn’t make much difference.

After my excitement of finally having a light bulb and being able to see my clothes in the closet without a flash light at 6 a.m., I arrived at school and was told that four desktop computers and a printer had been donated to our school by the Minister.

“’M’e Sonia, we want you to install all of them,” the Principal said.

“I will try, but just because we have computers doesn’t mean we have Internet. The school has to pay for data,” I told her, knowing full well, that her response would be,

“The school has no money.”

One of the male teachers, took out his penknife and started opening boxes of monitors, keyboards, computers, and even the mouse (mice?) etc. After each box had been opened, and unwrapped from its plastic covering, he called seventh graders to pick up a computer component, and stand on the hill above the morning Assembly. They were to display what we had received. I could tell their eyes saw free movies and videos, magically coming alive on the screens.

Computers from Minister-2

As soon as I entered the staff room, I noticed wires dangling from the new Ready Box we have installed on the wall. Our staff room is now hooked up to electricity, and all the teachers are charging their personal cell phones. We only have 5 Maluti (equivalent to 32 cents that the LEC (Lesotho Electricity Company) donated to each household to check that the electrical system in functioning properly in our village. Only the staff room has electricity, as our school did not want to pay for the other classrooms to have light.

“That’s for the children, and for using our brand new computers to teach our students. It’s not for personal use. We have our own 5 Maluti at home,” I said.

“No, that’s for me,” one of the teachers yelled.

Proud of setting up computer in our staff room

Proud of setting up computer in our staff room

I was able to set up one computer system at school, just to make sure that everything was working, and I’m happy to say, Windows 7 is installed, and Office 2013.  I could not hook-up the printer as one of the cables is missing, and I’m sure it’s hidden in one of the other boxes.

I laugh at myself, as I imagine my three sons back in the U.S., thinking, “Did Mom really set that up herself?” A few years back, I had no clue how to do this, and would ask my kids to help. Now I can do it myself, and that feels so good.

Lesotho, Peace Corps, Writing & Work  |  Tags:

The Challenges of Teaching English in a Rural School in Lesotho

Here's what we did today in 2nd grade

Here’s what we did today in 2nd grade

I knew it would be challenging to teach English to the Basotho children in my rural school in Lesotho, but I never expected the level to be this low.

In Lesotho, all subjects (except for Sesotho, of course) are supposed to be taught in English, but most of the teachers are afraid of speaking English (so I was told) and so they revert to their own language.  Another major problem is the “repetition” method of teaching. Some teachers think that the louder they, and their students yell, the more likely they are to remember. I was walking past second grade, and heard the teacher saying, “I have a right to an education,” and the children shouted this phrase ten times. I then asked the teacher if the children knew what they were saying in English. She asked them in Sesotho, and they had no clue.

I decided to teach English to Kindergarten, first and second grade, as they are not learning the basics. They all know how to respond to, “How are you?” they repeat this during morning Assembly, “We are fine and how are you?”

The first grade teacher admitted, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never taught first grade.” The kids don’t know the alphabet, and due to a lack of supplies, and a lack of teaching skills, memorization and repetition with the teacher pointing her long stick to numbers and letters on the blackboard, seems to be the only way that the kids are taught.

I subscribed to a website: http://education.com, so I could come up with some ready-made worksheets. The only problem is we don’t have electricity, or a photocopier or printer at school. Our Principal keeps telling me there is no money for supplies, photocopying, or printing. She does have a nice flatscreen TV and leather furniture in her convent though.

I want to show the teachers that there are so many other things we can do than simply repeat and “yell,” so I printed some worksheets in the capital city, and tested the second graders with an Alphabet Blocks worksheet. I was shocked to see the results. Not one child could write the upper case alphabet. There were 12 letters missing, and they were in sequence. Even though they can sing the “A, B, C’s” they have no idea how to write the letters. Some even put numbers instead of letters, or several lower case “h” and “ba.” They are so used to copying from the board, and not ever thinking about what they’re writing, saying or doing.

Alphabet screw up 2nd grade

I decided to buy a few pairs of scissors, and some play dough, to cut the letters out and use their fine motor skills. The teachers have never tried these techniques, and the Principal laughed at me, as though I’m just making the children have fun, and not learn anything from the government book, that they are incapable of reading, let alone discuss any of the second grade assignments. (see the topics below.)

2nd grade curriculum-2

The second grade teacher did not show up today, (quite common for teachers to skip school) so we took out the scissors and felt pens, and I made them cut out a lower case and an upper case “A.” They loved it, and concentrated so hard on cutting out the letter, and coloring it. This was the first time they were given scissors and felt pens. I then played the ABC phonics song on my phone, and we sang together. Here they are working hard and enjoying it.

Concentrating and enjoying something different than repetition.

Concentrating and enjoying something different than repetition.

With a pass rate of only 17% in 7th grade, my school has to make some changes in order to improve. I’m helping my 7th grade English teacher, who is a young enthusiastic teacher. He is the one who asked Peace Corps to send a volunteer to the school. I admire his hard work and dedication to making changes at my school.

Peace Corps, People, volunteering, Writing & Work  |  

My First Experience Having Google Banned

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I experienced first-hand what it’s like to have Google and FaceBook banned. I was not able to logon to either at the airport in Shanghai, and asked a young Chinese woman working at the airport lounge why I couldn’t access to Google or g-mail. She blushed and in a hushed voice said, “No Google.” It felt like my freedom had been taken away, and apparently Twitter and social media aren’t allowed at all. I’d heard about this on the news in the U.S. several months ago, but thought it was temporary.

I sat next to a German man who lives in Shanghai, and asked him what expats do in China in order to get e-mail. Apparently they open a yahoo account. Yahoo is allowed.

While at Shanghai airport, I noticed that I didn’t have access to several websites and blogs that belong to my author friends in the U.S., as well as bloggers around the world. It was a really strange sensation, especially when one of these websites from a close memoir friend stated, “Access Denied.”

All I could think about was, “How does an expat indie author promote his/her work?” and then, my second thought was, “How nice not to have to compete and constantly promote your books, when you have no choice.”

I realize that we are fortunate to have access to social media, something we take for granted. Here in Bangkok, I have the best Internet. I’m staying in a small, basic hotel, about ten-minutes from Bangkok airport, and the Internet speed is phenomenal.

I’m glad I got to experience seven hours without Google at Shanghai airport, as this will be training for me when I move to Lesotho with the Peace Corps. There, I shall probably only have Internet access a few days a month.

Has this happened to you? If so, how did you feel about it? How would you feel about it, if you didn’t have social media access?

 

Blogging-Social Media, Travel & Adventure, Writing & Work  |  

Who Has Time to Read Long Blog Posts These Days?

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Click on photo to go to Nick Leffler’s post for more details

Who has time to read long blog posts these days, let alone take the time to comment?

I wish I did, but I don’t.

I only have time to read a few blog posts a week. Forget crafting detailed and thoughtful comments, the way I used to a few years ago. I know I’m not alone here; other bloggers have expressed the same.

Things are changing in the blogging world, and just as I was about to write, “Our attention spans have decreased,” I found a better reason expressed by Nick Leffler in his blog post:

“Attention spans aren’t getting shorter, they’re becoming more selective for good content.” 

Nick Leffler

After all, states Nick, we’re able to sit through a 3+hour movie, so our attention spans have not decreased.

As Nick Leffler says:

“We’re getting more selective about what we pay attention to. There’s a lot of information coming at us. It used to be just newspapers where we got our news, then came radio, then TV, then Internet, then our brains exploded.

There’s a lot of great stuff to read, watch, and listen to. There’s also a ton of crap.

Attention spans haven’t gotten shorter, they’re just more selective for good content. So if I’m not writing good content, I’ll lose my audience within 8 seconds and it’s not their fault, it’s 100% mine.”

There is presently a shift towards writing shorter (300-word) blog posts. How do you feel about that? 

There is of course an exception to this; longer, more detailed posts (about 1,000 words or more,) from experts who cover specific topics that readers are searching for.

So from now on, I’m going to write shorter blog posts, whenever I have something to share. My upcoming adventures lend themselves to shorter more frequent posts, just like we see on FaceBook.

What about you. Are you changing the length of your posts?

People, Writing & Work  |  

Teach English Abroad with the Cert-TESOL

Zoe, Sue, Sonia, Logan and Chris

My classmates, and I’m the one kneeling in the middle.

I’ve been studying like a crazy woman for the past 4 weeks in order to teach English abroad with the Cert-TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate.

This is by no means an easy course. It’s a level 5, comparable in difficulty to the second year of an undergraduate degree crammed into 4 weeks. Now you’ll understand why I felt like a zombie fueled by caffeine and adrenaline.

My poor 57-year-old brain, almost died; and what made me realize that age has nothing to do with my ability to study and retain material, was the fact that the twenty-somethings on our course, were just as exhausted and complained even more than us boomer ladies.

So now that I can breathe again. I am happy to inform everyone that I passed the written and oral exam last week. I can use my TESOL certificate to teach English to foreign students anywhere in England, France, Italy, Spain, other European countries, as well as China, South Korea, Japan, South America… basically anywhere.

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My teachers, Rob Farag, far left and Jane Stevenson in black in the middle. Classmates eating a home-made chocolate and orange cake to celebrate

 

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My new teacher friends: Zoe, Natasha, me and Sue to my right. A great group of Cert-TESOL women

 

I decided to take the Trinity College TESOL certificate in Greenwich, London, as it was much cheaper than the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course at UCI (University of California Irvine) close to my house which costs $5,750. This outrageous price does not even include room and board at the Ritz. It’s also a TEFL, and not a Trinity College Cert-TESOL. The TEFL is not accepted in many parts of Europe, which is why I opted for the Cert-TESOL.

 

TESOL banner

My school in Greenwich

Why not take the course in London where you get to experience other cultures, other sights, and study within a small class of 6 students rather than the larger class sizes in the U.S.

My course in London cost less with airfare, and an Airbnb studio apartment overlooking the Cutty Sark (see photo below) than the UCI course, and I made some wonderful new contacts, plus I got to sightsee and visit my memoir author friend Ian Mathie. Another blog post to follow.

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View of the Cutty Sark from my bedroom window at sunrise

So are you ready to teach abroad? If you have a question for me, please ask in the comments below. I shall get back to you. You can also e-mail me at: Sonia@soniamarsh.com

motivational, People, Travel & Adventure, Writing & Work  |  

Reinventing Myself in Mid-Life

Sonia Airbnb-3

My student bedroom

 

I’ve become a student again at age 57, and quite frankly, it feels a little weird. I eat, sleep, and hang my wet laundry in one 8×12 room, but I accept this as a new challenge; part of reinventing myself in mid-life.

After a thirty-six year–student to career woman to wife to mom and back to student gap–I discovered that unlike social media, student-life is not about connecting and sharing; it’s about becoming territorial. You see my brand new toilet paper roll shrank to half its original size after my three male roommates discovered it on the bathroom shelf. They obviously must keep theirs in the bedroom or else they don’t spend money on toilet paper.

Sonia Airbnb-2

My clothes dryer

So why would a woman my age, share a bathroom and a kitchen with three young men? Is that part of reinventing myself?

It’s not because I miss being a mom, nor because I envy Madonna who loves dating men in their twenties, and I certainly don’t enjoy the smell of curry and garlic at 11 p.m. when I’m trying to fall asleep. The truth is, I had no idea that my Airbnb in Greenwich, London, had a shared bathroom and kitchen. Now I know why I got such a good deal on this London rental.

Sonia Airbnb-1

Bedroom/dining room/storage of food and bathroom items

In all fairness, the roommates have been quiet as they have exams coming up, and since I need to crack the whip and work hard myself in order to pass the Trinity College TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) exam, I am not too worried about my living situation. I shall get used to bringing all my stuff to the kitchen when I want to cook. At least we each have our own small fridge in our bedroom, so food will not “accidentally” disappear.

Since I found a gym close by, with nice showers and clean towels, I decided to get ready for school, at the gym. A short walk to Costa Coffee, and then I shall be alert for classes starting at 9:30 a.m, until 5:30 p.m. daily.

Reinventing myself in mid-life, requires being flexible, adaptable and “gutsy.” I hope you keep following me as I follow this journey and explore life-changing options.

Have you reinvented yourself in mid-life? If so was it a challenge?

Travel & Adventure, Writing & Work  |  

Discoverability: The Key to Successful Indie Publishing

 

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“Discoverability” seems to be the central theme at the 2015 Publishers University conference; something all indie publishers need to put at the top of their book publishing, marketing and promotion list. In 2014, the theme was the importance of indie authors becoming entrepreneurs, hence the term: “Authorpreneur.”

“Discoverability” is what the majority of self-published authors, or independent publishers, are looking for, and with 43 million book buyers in the U.S., how do you get discovered?

According to Peter Hildick-Smith, President of Codex Group, who presented, “How Books Sell,” there are three essential pillars to success:

  • Discoverability: Do I know the book exists?
  • Conversion: Is the book message interesting? Do I want to buy it?
  • Availability: Is the book available for purchase in book stores?

You need to do all 3 well, in order to sell books. Obviously if no one discovers your book, there are no sales.

How many true book buyers are there in the U.S.?

  • 235 million adults
  • 43 million adult book buyers
  • 83 million infrequent book buyers, (those who hear about a popular book, and then buy it.)
  • 13 million frequent book buyers (most of them are well-educated and make 50% more income than the average.)
  • Digital books are now skewed towards older people, because they can make the print larger, etc.

But discoverability alone does not guarantee book sales, it simply means an awareness that the book exists. Sadly, there was no difference in online discovery selling, between 2010 and 2014. The percentage remained low at 6%..

The real problem lies in the conversion aspect of book sales.

How do you move a discoverer to act to buy the book?

According to statistics on books purchased in the U.S. in 2014

  • 29% of sales were because of a favorite author/series
  • 24% Book topic/message
  • 13% Personal recommendations

Author Brands dominate the list in both fiction and non-fiction book sales.

  • In order to be considered an author brand, you need to have 500,000 fans or more.
  • Your book/topic message is critical in determining book purchasing conversions, and increases towards narrative non-fiction and non-fiction.
  • Book covers make a huge difference in book sales. They have to be able to tap into the reader’s imagination.
  • A free e-book sticker with purchase of print book, made no difference in book sales.

Conclusion

  • Books are an extreme niche market; focus on your target audience.
  • Publish for the 85 million untapped book buyers.
  • Discoverability is not a one-size fits all. Be different.
  • Conversion is not discovery, and discovery is not conversion.
  • Your book message is the mini-story that has to connect with the buyer.
  • Book stores remain the largest discovery sources; not Amazon
  • You need Discoverability, Conversion and Availability or you lose.

STAND OUT, have a bold message. There are 51.9 million books sold on Amazon as of April 2015, so you need a BOLD MESSAGE.

People, Writing & Work  |  

Get Help Writing Your Memoir

viga

 

There are many books out there on “How to write a memoir,” but what about a magazine? Viga Boland decided to start Memoirabilia, a magazine that would help you write your memoir, and also give you the  joy of seeing your story in print.

I had the pleasure of meeting Viga Boland at the Readers’ Favorite Awards in Miami in November, 2014, where we both won gold medals for our memoirs.


 

“I just finished your memoir, “No Tears for my Father”. I could so relate to what you lived through because I have a similar story. I would love to write my memoir but I don’t even know how to get started. Can you help me?” 

“These words warmed my heart,” says Viga Boland.

I sighed. The writer lived in Australia. I live in Canada. How could I help her? I didn’t have the time for one on one coaching. If she were nearby, she could attend my memoir writing workshops. But that was out of the question.

She wasn’t the first to write asking for help write her story. Ever since I’d published my first memoir and begun running workshops for my local library, I’d been receiving such requests. Again, I asked myself: what can I do for those who can’t attend my live workshops?

Perhaps a book! Perhaps my next book could be on the how-to of memoir writing. I checked Amazon. There were pages of books on writing memoir by more experienced facilitators than myself. And besides, there was another idea that had been playing at the back of my mind with every workshop I ran. All of the participants dreamed of seeing themselves in print, but the reality was that for various reasons, not all of them would. What if I could give them that chance, even if only in a small way? A book wasn’t the answer. But a magazine? Yes! A magazine could fulfill both their needs: that of getting help with writing their memoirs and that of having the joy of seeing themselves in print.

On December 31, 2014, I transitioned from writer to editor and entered the new year with a new magazine for memoir writers: MEMOIRABILIA.

I have to tell you, I just love my new role as editor and publisher of Memoirabilia which I hope to publish about 6 times a year. It’s an incredibly exciting project, though not an easy nor inexpensive one. Each issue of the magazine has a central theme, eg. Memoirabilia #1 is based on the idea that “Your past can write your Future”, which it certainly did for me when I published my first memoir. Issue #2 is focused on “Memoir as Therapy”. Issue #3, coming out in April 2015, is centered on “How to get that memoir finished”.

Every issue contains useful how-to articles by experts, along with book reviews and interviews with a featured author. And based on the feedback I’ve received from members of my Memoirabilia group on Facebook, what they love best, and wait for most eagerly, is seeing their 750-word submissions or book excerpts published in Memoirabilia magazine and also on the Memoirabilia website. I must confess, I share their excitement on that score: sharing the work of other writers is one of my favorite jobs as editor of Memoirabilia. There’s no fee to submit and submission guidelines, along with a submission form, along with flipper previews of the magazine are available right on the Memoirabilia website.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Matilda Butler of Womens Memoirs in early March. Her interview offers further insight into my motivation and goals for Memoirabilia, and for the writers whose work is featured in the magazine. You can read that interview HERE. The way I see it, there are lots of books available on memoir writing but at this point, only Memoirabilia offers writers both helpful information on how to write a memoir and a chance to show off their memoir writing and editorial skills.

My primary goal for Memoirabilia is to help others realize their dreams as I did. I hope memoir writers reading this post will check out the Memoirabilia website and join my wonderful Memoirabilia group on Facebook. I look forward to welcoming you there.  Check out Viga’s website: http://www.vigaboland.com

SONIA MARSH SAYS: What a great idea to come out with a magazine for memoir writers, focusing on a different theme in each issue. Thanks for sharing this with other memoir authors, and aspiring authors.


Follow me on my grand adventure to:

 Greece, London, Paris, St. Malo, Madrid and Pedraza, Spain,

motivational, People, Writing & Work  |  

Tips To Make Your Blog More Popular

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It seems that everyone (over 35) has a blog these days, so how can you make yours stand out from all the others.

Well apart from doing something super gutsy like posting nude photos, (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist,) being controversial or airing your dirty laundry, another way is to write as if you’re having a conversation with a friend.

Tip # 7:

“Keep your writing voice simple, cheery and a reflection of the way you speak.” —Little Tips to Boost Your Blog’s Popularity.  

So this morning I decided to experiment. I drove to my favorite park, pulled out my cell phone and recorded a pretend conversation with my fake friend. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a one-sided conversation.

  • Just a little background. I’m a divorced woman who refuses to dwell on the past, and is in the midst of planning her next gutsy adventure. My new goal is to encourage both men and women to take action and make the second part of their life, even more exciting than the first.

Here’s my pretend conversation with my fake friend Samantha

“This is the first time in my life I can do what the hell I please. I feel free. 

Now I can go to the pool at seven, then to Barnes & Noble, and buy a latte and read books until they close.

I don’t have to worry about being home at five to cook dinner for (John)-fake husband, and what’s really weird is that I no longer feel lonely.

The crazy part is I have no idea where I shall be living this time next year, or what I shall be doing. My life is in limbo.

“So what do you think you’ll do if the Peace Corps turns you down?” my fake friend asks.

I really don’t know. I did take a look at the TEFL/TESOL brochure last night and was kind of amazed by how many opportunities there are all over the world to teach English as a second language. It made me start thinking about just picking a country and moving there. I would get paid to teach, and if I like it, I could pick another country after that. 

Some countries pay your airfare and accommodation. I think Hong Kong, is one of them. I would love to live in several countries and teach English; it would be such an adventure to live for 6 months to a year in each country. The strange thing is many people who have done this seem to get addicted to it. They say it’s a life changing experience just like the Peace Corps.”

What do you think? Does it sound conversational? Have you tried writing conversational posts? 

There are several other tips which I found helpful on Career Girl’s Post called: “Little Tips to Boost Your Blog’s Popularity.”

I think we can all find something worth improving in order to stand out and, hopefully, become more popular bloggers.

I know that finding your #1 Target audience, is critical, and for me, this is shifting as I reinvent myself. I’m gradually moving away from the overly competitive field of authors/coaches/book promoters to my brand: Gutsy Living®.

So #1 Target audience means:

You need to know who reads your blog and why. Knowing this will help you direct your content better, so give a little bit of thought to it. Who do you want to read this blog and what kind of content will they come back for? –“Little Tips to Boost Your Blog’s Popularity.”

Here is the list of topics covered in Beth’s blog.

#1 Target audience

#2 Be objective

#3 Create 

#4 About page

#5 Social Media

#6 Freebies

#7 Writing

#8 Be human

Which topic do you feel you need to work on to make your blog more popular?

Blogging-Social Media, People, Writing & Work  |