What to Do When Your Eyes Are Tired from More than 15 Years of Professional Proofreading

Me: “Hey, Brain, it’s time to proofread!” My Brain: “We don’t want to.” Me: “But, Brain, this article isn’t complete until we proof it.” My Brain: “Our eyes are tired.” Me: “There might be a mistake I want to correct, or I might find ways to make the text even better.” My Brain: “We want to eat chocolate chips.” Me: “Braaain. I’m losing my patience.” My Brain: “Fine, that wasn’t entirely true. We want to eat cinnamon rolls.” I’ve proofread a lot on a regular basis over the last 15 years. And no matter how tired my eyes may be on any given day, every article we publish on Copyblogger gets a dedicated proofreading session. All content deserves to be reviewed by a bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed proofreader invigorated by catching errors. While my eyes are no longer bright and my tail is no longer bushy, I do have a technique that helps […]

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Sharpen Your Writing and Content Focus for Materially Better Results

Our culture glorifies being busy. But we don’t always glorify spending time on the right things. This week was about spending your time and effort intentionally. About getting more powerful results, without necessarily putting in a lot more hours. It’s not always easy to work on the right things over the familiar things, but it’s usually the way to make real progress. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman set out to help you sharpen up your content by focusing on one slice of your audience — the ones who read and take action. On Tuesday, Brian Clark shared his most important 10 secrets to becoming a better writer. This one has multiple formats that you can print out or even embed on your own site. And on Wednesday, I talked about some of the ways you can repurpose your existing well-thought-out content into new formats to reach your audience in new ways […]

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The Thing that Keeps Many Conscientious Writers from Trying Freelance Writing

If you’re concerned about whether or not you’d be a good service provider, there’s a good chance you’d be a perfectly acceptable service provider. You know who’s usually not a perfectly acceptable service provider? Those who don’t have that concern. Because, right now, a lot of people do the exact same work you want to do, and they never stopped to worry about whether or not they’d provide good service. And they don’t provide good service. And working with them is frustrating. This is your opportunity to stand out as a professional It’s time to dissolve the fears you might have about accidentally doing something wrong that will harm your reputation. You first need to actively shift from presenting yourself as just a writer to presenting yourself as a professional service provider who runs a business with established rules and guidelines. These include: Business hours Your terms of service Your […]

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Creative Self-Care to Keep Your Writing Mojo Strong

We content marketers are strategic types — but we’re creative as well, and that creative side needs nurturing. This week, we offered tips and practices for creative self-care, so you can keep producing extraordinary work. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared five unconventional ways to meet your deadlines — and banish the “flaky creative” stereotype for good. On Tuesday, Claire Emerson outlined 10 ways to make progress on your big projects — even when paying gigs or daily obligations seem like they’re gobbling up every second of your time. (I’m a big fan of the second item on Claire’s list — it seems like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in how you approach those intimidating projects.) And on Wednesday, author Karl Staib swung by to suggest a creative self-care 30-day challenge — using a practice you might not associate with professional productivity. On the podcast, I […]

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Snub Your Next Deadline and Read This Instead

“Creative people are flaky.” That statement gets my blood boiling a bit, but I do understand where the sentiment comes from. When distractions are useful in order to ultimately make insightful connections for your job, the line that separates work and goof-off time often gets blurred. And having frustrating experiences with creative people who are “not reliable in performance or behavior” perpetuates the flaky stereotype. But who benefits from that belief? Non-creative people. Responsible creative people drive healthy competition “I’m not creative, but I’m responsible.” Those who think they’re not creative thrive off of the division of creativity and responsibility. It gives them a reason to feel superior and boast about their follow-through skills that greatly serve work teams. A creative person who demonstrates responsibility is a threat to those people. If a creative person is also responsible, a non-creative person has to bring something else of value to the […]

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“The Chef” by James Patterson On Facebook Messenger and Instagram

James Patterson, one of the most successful authors ever, has always been clever with the way he markets his works. And that makes sense because early in his career he worked in advertising. For his new thriller The Chef Patterson cast actor Cory Tucker in the lead role of Detective Caleb Rooney for a social media reality experience available on Facebook Messenger and Instagram, blurring the lines between fiction and reality. Related posts: Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain Found Dead at 61 Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain Found Dead at 61. 3 Things to Know Today. Vegan Celebrity Chef Chloe Coscarelli Says Entrepreneurs Should Push for Change Even When No One Believes in Them Instagram Founders Quit Facebook! 3 Things to Know Today. Facebook and Instagram Going Dark Should Be a Wake Up Call for Entrepreneurs Vegan Celebrity Chef Chloe Coscarelli Says Entrepreneurs Should Push for Change Even When No One Believes […]

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Serious Writing Advice for a Foolish Week

I may be the last person who really enjoys April Fools’ Day … maybe because I was already a fan of taking a moment to fact-check what you find on the internet. Copyblogger has a long tradition of celebrating the first of April with a bit of nonsense. Stefanie Flaxman stepped up this year with her announcement of our new content publication app, Pooblíche. I still think “If your content’s rubbish, it won’t let you publish” is our best tagline ever. On Tuesday, Brian Clark talked about using the Rule of Three to make your writing more memorable and engaging. (Note to self: Use the number three for my next list post.) And on Wednesday, we returned to shenanigans with a republish of my April Fools’ Day post from 2014, Announcing RealWriter. Over on the podcast, Robert Bruce joined us again to chat about a cornerstone practice that too many […]

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How to Use the ‘Rule of Three’ to Create Engaging Content

What’s so magical about the number three? It’s no accident that the number three is pervasive throughout some of our greatest stories, fairy tales, and myths. It’s also no coincidence that some of the most famous quotes throughout history are structured in three parts, nor is it surprising that the Rule of Three also works wonders in the world of comedy. It all comes down to the way we humans process information. We have become proficient at pattern recognition by necessity, and three is the smallest number of elements required to create a pattern. This combination of pattern and brevity results in memorable content, and that’s why the Rule of Three will make you a more engaging writer. Storytelling Have you ever wondered: What the Three Little Pigs, the Three Blind Mice, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Musketeers, the Three Wise Men, and the Three Stooges have in […]

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Introducing Pooblíche: The Exquisite Exterminator for Refined Content Marketers

Sometimes in business, just like in life, you reach a turning point. You look back at your past experiences with appreciation, but then take a serious assessment of where you’re currently at to determine the direction you will travel in moving forward. While Brian was abroad the past six months, the team and I here at Copyblogger knew it was time for us to build a revolutionary product. So, we began brainstorming to find the intersection of: What we stand for as a company and What would help our audience cut through the trials and tribulations of content marketing to produce meaningful work that drives business results. After a lot of coffee and late nights, Pooblíche® was born. It’s a simple, yet powerful, publishing platform like no other: If your content’s rubbish, it won’t let you publish. We wanted to really “wow” Brian, and we’re so confident about Pooblíche that […]

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Write Your Biography In First Person

In my work, I frequently have an opportunity to read biographies on company websites, in LinkedIn  and other social profiles, and on professional services firm ‘About’ pages. Most are written in the detached third person. However, the ones that come alive are almost always written in the first person. Related posts: How To Write A Captivating Guest Post How to Write Blog Posts People Will Actually Read Want to Be More Successful? Write Better. Here’s How. How to Evolve Into the Person You Want to Become The One Person All New Employees Should Get to Know During Their First Week on the Job How to Disrupt the Way You Talk to the Person in the Mirror Why Networking in Person Can Be a Game Changer How to Beat Stress and Be a Happier Person

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The Light and Dark of ‘Tidying Up’ for Writers

Spring cleaning was a thing before Marie Kondo was all the rage. And I have some conflicting thoughts about clearing out clutter. Is more organization truly necessary? Are your current systems and methods actually outdated? Let’s look at the light and dark sides of “tidying up,” especially as they pertain to the creative processes in a writer’s life. The light When we can simplify something, it usually feels good, because we’ve found something within our grasp to improve — and we don’t have control over many other complex parts of life. For example, morning routines that prepare you for your day ahead and evening routines that let you wind down at night are tactics that can help you stay balanced during all of the unknown that occurs in between. And you can also have work guidelines in place that set you up to be focused and productive. The light side […]

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Creative Business Kryptonite – Copyblogger

Idea generation to project execution follows the same trajectory as a piece of writing, from first draft to final draft. And what do your first draft and final draft have in common? Sometimes, not much. Yet, your first draft was a necessary part of your writing process. So, it doesn’t make sense to get discouraged, or give up, if an idea doesn’t work out. But it frequently happens, and it stops worthwhile creative projects from coming to life — in the form that they were meant to be in. Overcome “my way or the highway” In middle school, I had a hardline teacher who introduced us to the idiom, “My way or the highway.” Yes, sir. But if you want to work in a creative field, you have to laugh at that concept and kindly dismiss it. The original version of your idea won’t likely work out. It’s not that […]

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Thoughtful Elements of Distinguished Content Marketing

Content that drives real business results often looks effortless, but we all know how much creative and strategic planning it takes to make a meaningful impact on an audience. This week, we tapped into the qualities that comprise distinguished content marketing. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman showed us how to transform draft paragraphs into smart articles. Use her 10 tips to review your next blog post like an editor. On Tuesday, Loryn Cole championed all notebook lovers by exploring the irreplaceable power of paper. You don’t have to choose between paper and digital, either. Loryn explains how your work can benefit from both formats. And on Wednesday, I talked about why it’s so hard to make time for creativity. I also let you know about a fun workshop I’m leading that will help you add more writing practice into your daily routine. That’s the content — stay thoughtful, and we’ll see […]

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Why It’s So Hard to Make Time for Creativity (and a Creativity Workshop with Sonia that Can Help)

I think most of us are pretty connected to the idea that a full life includes creativity. We’re meant to draw, paint, sing, dance, and tell stories. Virtually all little kids do these things. And then we “grow out” of them. And that’s sad. I spend tons of time with creative people. I also spend time with people who feel they aren’t creative — but they want to be. And I’ve made some observations about why it’s so hard for us to put creative time into our lives. #1: We’re intimidated Unfortunately, our pragmatic, ruthlessly productive culture tells us that being creative is only for specialists. You can’t draw or paint unless you’re an “artist.” You can’t make music unless you’re a “musician.” And you can’t write unless you’re a “writer.” Common sense would tell us that of course we can be any of those simply by doing. We can […]

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The Irreplaceable Power of Paper

For hundreds of years, paper was the gold standard of written communication. Anything you needed to record or remember, from love letters to receipts, was printed on paper. Then digital communication took hold, and we began to believe the age of paper was over. Why would anyone continue to use paper, when digital is so much more flexible? Digital information is easier to share, easier to store. Copiers, filing cabinets, and fax machines disappeared into the digital vortex. But yet, paper persists. And not just because insurance companies and banks are slow to move off legacy systems. Paper persists because it’s easier to print a receipt than get a customer to enter their email address. Paper persists because an emailed love letter doesn’t have the same meaning. Paper persists because, even in a digital world, paper is still useful. Especially for content marketers, paper has an irreplaceable power we can’t […]

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10 Advanced Edits that Craft Better Paragraphs

Paragraphs that are both autonomous and seamlessly flow together do not happen by accident. Smart words and crisp sentences that make up a writer’s playground are also the building blocks of effective paragraphs that keep readers immersed in your article. The first versions of your paragraphs served their purpose. Now it’s time to make them better with these 10 advanced edits. 1. Draft on paper For me, typing a first draft in a digital document always makes the writing process more difficult. As I wrote in Be a Bad Writer to Be a Great Writer: “Prolific writers know that ‘decent,’ ‘weird,’ or ‘good enough’ often precede the ‘best’ versions of their content. They need the time to explore ‘decent,’ ‘weird,’ and ‘good enough’ in order to arrive at ‘best.’” In other words, writers need space to see the inner-workings of their minds in different formats to determine how their final […]

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3 Not-So-Obvious Ways to Nurture Your Creativity

This week was all about nurturing your creative spark — in new ways that you might not have considered before. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman reminded us of something that every writer needs in order to do their best work. Easy to forget, important to remember. On Tuesday, Pamela Wilson swung by to help writers get over the intimidation factor of creating visual content. When you add compelling visuals to your terrific writing, you’ll make a much stronger impression with all of the content you publish. Don’t miss the chance to attend Pamela’s free workshop, where she’ll walk you through creating signature branded images for your own projects. And on Wednesday, I let you know about a nifty new tool — the THINKERS Notebook. It was developed by our business partner Sean Jackson, and it has some neat features that will help you capture, refine, and share your great creative (and […]

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A Cool New Resource for Developing and Sharing Your Ideas

My husband once had the chance to ask novelist James Ellroy where he got the idea for one of his fiendish criminal characters. And the answer was: “I made him up, Daddy-O.” Creative thinkers of all stripes know that it’s not really about having ideas … it’s about capturing and developing ideas. Capturing them, because ideas have a way of drifting out the window unless we can capture them as they fly past. And developing them, because raw ideas are a long way from finished work. One of our founding partners, Sean Jackson, has been a student of ideas for many years. He’s fascinated by how we can be more intentional in our thinking, and how ideas get developed into finished work. And he’s just launched a Kickstarter for a nifty new project, the THINKERS Notebook. When he sent me one and asked if I wanted to talk about it […]

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Build Your Blog’s Traffic with Help From an Experienced Pro

You can learn how to drive traffic to your blog by enrolling in Darren Murph’s course, on sale now. February 17, 2019 2 min read Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. Everyone and their grandma has a blog nowadays but is it still an effective way to reach an audience? First, a brief history lesson: Writer Justin Hall created what is now considered to be the very first blog way back in 1994. Justin’s Links from the Underground, as he called it, was a platform where he could “[share] my life in explicit detail online” — sort of like a digital diary. Once the publishing sites Blogger and LiveJournal launched five years later, blogging as a hobby was made […]

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The Sophisticated Content Marketer’s 3-Part Plan for Using Templates

Some content marketers think about using templates like the herb cilantro. They either love it or hate it. But the extremes of love and hate present some issues. Those who love templates too often fall under the category of “quick fix” content marketers. They get excited about a gimmick or formula and implement it without much of their own research. Which produces disappointing results. And those who hate templates too often fall under the category of “hot mess” content marketers. They — dare I say it — create content that is too original. The kind that is difficult to understand and does not resonate with their target audiences. Which produces disappointing results. Now, sophisticated content marketers want to optimize their chances of achieving their desired business goals and, instead, think about using templates like sprinkling cracked black pepper on a Caesar salad: The right amount can greatly improve the content’s […]

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