Monday, April 28, 2014

How I Kept A Commitment

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to participate in a blog tour. The woman who invited me was Monica Devine.   I have never met Monica, who I've since learned is a writer, poet and photographer and is the author of five books for children, but we shared a mutual connection in Suzi Banks Baum. I've known Suzi personally and professionally for a long time and contributed to her Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice.

It's hard for me to say no to Suzi so it was hard to say no to Monica. Which has everything to do with why I said yes. That and the idea that this "tagging" was an experiment in digital sharing and might increase my current following as well as help me to sell some seats in my new workshop series. Yes - I am admitting that some of my reasoning for accepting the invitation was purely mercenary.

Now here I am, the day before this post is scheduled to run and wondering what I was thinking!  I love the idea of writing about my writing process, but my to-do list these days resembles triage - and writing about my writing - well - it seems like a luxury for another time.

But I made a commitment. And I am not one to back out of a commitment. So I have set the timer and am getting down to the business of writing - which brings me to the first question I was given by our blog tour coordinators.

How does my writing process work?
The timer is at the core of my writing process and the subject of my book, It Takes An Egg Timer, A Guide to Creating The Time For Your Life. Yes - I practice what I preach. Sometimes the muse hits me and I am drawn to sitting in front of my big iMac and letting the keys fly. Most times it is something that I make myself do. Something that given the option  I will avoid in lieu of cleaning my entire apartment or stalking people on Facebook. 

Setting the timer is part of my ritual. The gentle ticking sets the space and reminds me I am serious about getting some work done.

I'd like to tell you that I am disciplined enough that every morning I sit and write for a few hours before getting to the other stuff I do. But that would be a lie and at this point - something I only aspire to. 

While I write everyday, when it comes to my bigger projects I am still a binger at my core. It is how I started when I was still working a corporate job and penning my first novel

Reading all that you might be asking the next question.

Why do I write?
If it sounds like such torture and at times something I avoid, why on earth write at all?  I suppose my answer - because I have to and because I need to and because I love to - might sound like some fetish in which there is pleasure derived from pain. Maybe. But the answer that feels the most real is because this is how I make sense of life. Writing is how I find my answers to my questions. When I don't write, breathing becomes more difficult as does life. And when I do, it all flows easier.

What do I write?
I have no specific genre. Which as a marketer I will tell you is not the best way to develop a loyal, core following but as a creative entrepreneur in a digital age, I will tell you that it's okay to experiment with different genres and let the muse lead the way.

When I first got serious about writing I thought it would all be novels, like my first book, The Secrets They Kept. Then I started blogging. I found I had a lot of opinions on life and work and with that a readership.  My love of marketing was renewed when I immersed myself in digital and suddenly there was more to write about. And more ways in which I would write. Blogs. Books. Workshop curriculums. While I have a few big projects in the works, I expect the next book will be a version of this new workshop - Your Digital You. So stay tuned.

When I started writing this post I had no idea how I would be able to keep this commitment I made to Monica and indirectly to Suzi. I didn't know what I was going to write about, how this possibly fit in with anything else I did, much less who in the world I was going to find to be next on the tour in the eleventh hour.

Now that I am almost done it is clear. I did what I know works. I stopped procrastinating, I sat in my chair, I set the timer and I wrote - without judgment. I surrendered to the process and not only did a blog materialize but a writer to pass the baton to.

Next up -  Jami Kelmenson is a freelance writer and blogger living and loving in NYC. She's a contributing author to the “Flying Solo” chapter of the self-improvement book, "The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck…".  Her “single girl” essays have been published by’s Happen Magazine and  She also blogs about books for, a destination spot for women who love reading. Read of her ongoing “tales of travel, life, love and the pursuit of getting published in NYC” at her personal blog, “Two Men and a Lady (and an RV).

One more thing before I go...
Your Digital You - the blueprint - a workshop designed to improve your digital presence kicks off this May! Can you tell I'm excited?  First date available is May 8. Seating is limited - truly - so reserve early! I promise it will be informative, relevant and fun!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

How Digital Tools Can Work - A True Story

One of the requirements in my NYU graduate class is creating a blog. It serves two purposes. A place to complete the weekly homework assignments and a vehicle through which my students can learn experientially what it means to create and publish content.

I encourage them all to tweet out their posts and to interact with influencers online. That's always a challenge and one I easily relate to. It's one thing to complete a homework assignment. It's quite another to put that out into the world and to try and make friends with strangers. It's a scary place, not unlike the one I wrote about earlier this week.

But this is what can happen when you do.

The assignment last week was to find an example of newsjacking, a term defined as "the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business" and popularized by David Meerman Scott . One of my students wrote her post on what the London Hilton Hotel did to ride the news cycle around an event called Blue Monday,  a concept created a few years ago to spotlight what is considered the most depressing day of the year - the third Monday in January. 

Here's how Sonia used social media to get more attention to her post.  She tweeted the link and included David Meerman Scott in the tweet. David is one of those rare marketing people that actually practices the concept of social engagement - as opposed to just talking about it - which is just one of the many reasons I choose his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR as the text for this class.

He read the blog and tweeted her back. 

This accomplished a few things. It made Sonia very happy. She got to see first hand, in real time,  how social media can connect. It's also a great example of CRM on David's part. David is a marketing influencer and Sonia now feels a greater and more personal connection than she did before and is more likely to help spread his messages.  And it put her blog link into his Twitter feed with his 104,000 + followers. 

When I saw what had happened I had to jump into the conversation. David already knows I use his book as our text but I wanted him to know Sonia was one of my students. 

The moral of this story is that this stuff works! Digital tools allow us to make new connections, expand our sphere of influence and overall - improve our digital profiles. 

In this case it also gave me material for a blog and a great segue to promote my new workshops! Your Digital You - the blueprint - a workshop designed to improve your digital presence.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why I Get Scared

Agility is a popular word today. At a time in the world where no business or industry is exempt from disruption, it's more than just a trendy slogan. It's a necessary skill. 

It implies being responsive and being able to act in real time. But it is also about being open, trying new things and being willing to put oneself in a place where one might fail.  In other words to face what might scare you and do it anyway.

The path I chose when I left the structure of 9 to 5 corporate life has tested my agility. It's forced me to bend, regroup, sometimes backtrack and to get comfortable with the nausea that swells up in my throat when I decide to give something new a try.

To say I never get scared would be an outright lie. I get scared. A lot. Scared of failing. Sometimes that keeps me frozen in my tracks - especially right after something doesn't work. Other times I've dusted off my shoes and gotten back on my path without missing a beat. Or as Seth Godin said so brilliantly in his post last week - to remember to "dance with the fear." 

Today I'm scared. But I'm choosing to follow Seth's advice.

I'm launching a new product. It's birth is the result of requests I've been getting for a while to offer workshops that help to take the mystery out of all this digital "stuff" we are incorporating into our lives. I've been doing this in corporate settings. And of course, I've been teaching digital marketing at NYU for over a year. But this is the first time I am taking this to the streets - so to speak. 

The first topic Your Digital You - THE BLUEPRINT- a workshop designed to improve your digital profile fits what I consider a universal need. Universal in that no matter who you are or where you fit into the food chain, you should be putting attention on the digital version of you - the you that shows up when someone Google's your name. It doesn't matter if you want to be an influencer - want to grow your business - or are looking for your next job - people are searching for you online. The question is how much effort you are putting into what they will find.

That's what this first workshop is about. 

  • Evaluating your current footprint.
  • Getting clear on the story you want to tell about you.
  • Creating a blueprint that optimizes your digital presence   based on your needs.

I've decided to keep this series of classes small - just 8 participants per workshop and to offer a choice of dates and times in May to fit your schedule. You can register here - use the discount code FOJT and get $25 off the workshop fee.

As I already admitted - I'm scared and yes a bit nauseous. But I'm also really excited to offer what I know will be a useful, informative, relevant and of course fun workshop! If this is for you register here. If it is for someone you know please share. Lastly, if you have questions, please use the comment section.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What I Learned When The Room Started Spinning

I haven't posted a new blog in a couple of weeks. It's rare but when that happens it causes me angst. I preach consistency in content creation. And I get mad at myself when I don't walk the walk.

But this time I had my reasons. For starters I have been running a full schedule and working on some exciting stuff that has been commandeering my creative process. More to come on that later.

But the most important reason is I had one of those moments. You know those moments. When something happens to cause your world to spin out of control. 

That's what happened to me.


One minute it was just another Friday. People to see. Places to be. The next I was at the gym, stretching out on the mat, listening to Bruno Mars when I turned from right to left and everything in the room started to move. No matter where I tried to focus a piece of gym equipment was in a tailspin.

I knew what it was. It's happened before - but I hadn't had a real episode of vertigo in years.

If you've never experienced vertigo, at first it feels like a very bad hangover complete with nausea. All you want to do is stay in a darkened room and sleep.  Except that even the worst of worst of hangovers is more manageable.

Luckily my gym is in my building so I didn't have far to navigate my off balance self into the elevator. 

Once inside my apartment I fell onto my bed and did what one does when they get vertigo. Try and find the one position that does not make the room spin, close your eyes and don't move. Not one fraction of an inch. The slightest little shift the wrong way and you are back on the Ferris Wheel at top speed.

I was dizzy. I was nauseous. But I was also angry. I did not have time for this.

I tried to will it away. I tried to convince myself I was more powerful than the vertigo. I wanted to control it instead of it controlling me.

But it wasn't happening.

There was nothing I could do but just be. 
Be still.
Be quiet.
No Internet.
No television.
No conversation.
A lot of sleep.
A lot of time to think.

Before you know it Friday had turned to Saturday and I was still in my bed. The worst of the vertigo had passed, but I felt fragile. I was functional but I was far from off to the races again. 

It was clear the furthest away from my bed I was going to get for the rest of the weekend was the couch. 

The really good news was I could focus enough to read. I picked up the book I had started earlier in the week. Thrive by Arianna Huffington. And everything started to make sense.

Arianna talks about these kinds of moments in her book. When something happens that causes you to step back and reassess what you are doing. Sometimes they are truly life altering and sometimes they are more nudges and reminders you have fallen off track. 

Mine was a big reminder. I suppose my vertigo could have been spurred by a virus or inner ear congestion. But I think differently. My body was reacting to the pace I've been keeping. I had let myself disconnect with my core. So much so that it did what it does when it wants to make sure I pay attention. It gets very Greek and does something very dramatic.

And just in case I might still have refused to see the obvious, it made sure that the book I just happened to have started reading was about well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving. 

I finished the book that weekend and have been regrouping ever since. 

Which explains the lack of blogging.

I'm still moving slowly. Vertigo likes to linger after it comes to visit. But that's okay. Especially in this case. It wants to make sure I don't forget too quickly the message it came to send.

Note - If you haven't yet, make sure you get a copy of Thrive. This is a wonderful and important book you don't want to miss! 

EXTRA SPECIAL NOTE - Register for the Thrive event in NYC on April 24-25 and  use the discount code Rep99 at checkout. The $299 tickets become $99!  It's going to be a powerful and inspiring conference - one you don't want to miss!