WRITING

Writer’s Block, Acupuncture, Sleep, and Reviving Your Creativity

Writer’s Block, Acupuncture, Sleep, and Reviving Your Creativity

For the first couple of months of fall this year, I had a serious creativity block. I had to press myself to sit down and write, and when I did it often felt bland and not up to my usual standards. This meant I had to put in a lot more time and effort than usual just to get what I was writing up to my standards. And even then, sometimes I didn’t feel like my work was as good as I’d like.

It’s a sucky feeling to lose your creativity when you are in a line of work that requires you to be creative. There are certain tricks that help to get your writer juices flowing. Reading is one of them. Meditation doesn’t hurt. But sometimes, it just ain’t happenin’.

I’m glad to say, I feel like my writer’s block is gone and creativity has returned, thank goodness. Those two months seemed like an eternity and I felt like something was missing in my whole life, not just work. It’s hard to single any one thing out as to why this happens or what makes it better, but I will share one thing that I’ve started doing that I feel is making a huge difference in how I feel.

And that’s acupuncture.

I tried it because I was getting a migraine every week. You guys, imbalanced hormones are no joke. I can deal with fluctuating between freezing cold and burning hot a few times throughout the day, or not being able to eat the way I used to, or having to slow down my beloved coffee intake. But having a headache that had me couch bound for several hours each week was not an option. I felt like I was missing out on life and drained of anything that was me.

So, the medical acupuncture my doctor performs is designed to alleviate the migraines. But there is an unexpected bonus. I am sleeping better.

Of all the complaints I’ve had of late, sleep problems were not among them. But now I am able to see that, while I may not have been unable to get to sleep, I was waking up several times each night and the sleep I was getting wasn’t restful.

Now that I am sleeping better, I feel energized, upbeat, and … creative! My headaches are coming about every two weeks now, which is an improvement, and I’m feeling more like myself.

Why am I telling you this?

One, because I want you to know that not getting enough sleep can make you feel all sorts of off. And you may not even realize you aren’t getting enough sleep or that the quality of the sleep you are getting is not ideal. Maybe acupuncture is for you, maybe it’s not. But if you are experiencing low energy or a creativity drought and none of the usual tactics are helping, take a look at the quality of your sleep.

The second reason I’m writing this long and winding post? Because I want you to have a mini arsenal in your back pocket for getting your creativity back on track. When I wasn’t writing my best, I totally knew it. But when you are feeling low on energy and inspo. It can be tough to think of things to turn it around. Write a list or put a note in your phone of things that help you get your mojo back. Maybe you exercise or binge your favorite creative inspiration on Instagram. Maybe you add in daily naps or get some outdoors time. Maybe you play with your pet or simply take some time off. Make your list of creativity boosters when you are feeling good, so you can check in with it when you are feeling not so good.

Stuck on what saps your creativity or gets you out of a slump? Use my Creativity Boosting Checklist to add to your feelgood arsenal of inspo boosters.

Creativity Booster Checklist

How to Make Your Email Marketing Fast and Easy

How to Make Your Email Marketing Fast and Easy

Writing emails for your list. Falls somewhere near updating your blog on the priority list, huh? You know both things are super important to keeping your crowd up to date on your brand happenings and growing your audience. But email marketing is so dang time consuming. Plus, you have to dream up what to write about too.

What if I told you I could show you a way to save time on email marketing and make it feel a lot easier too? Well, sit tight because I’m about to make your day.

If you took the time to grow a list, don’t leave your followers hanging. They signed up because they want to know what you are up to, keep tabs on the latest happenings in your biz, and learn a thing or two along the way.

List kinda on the short side? There’s no better way to grow that puppy than by sending out emails people want to read. Share link included, of course.

Now, what you’ve been waiting for. The solution to your email marketing wishes.

3 Simple Steps to Easier, Faster Email Marketing

1. Come up with a plan: You probably aren’t surprised that I’m suggesting an editorial calendar for your email marketing. I believe in creating ed cals for pretty much everything you write on a regular basis, from blogging to social media posts. It helps to keep you on track and give you a longterm vision. Plus, there’s no better feeling when it comes time to write something up than a next step. Completely eliminates the guesswork and time spent staring at a blank Word doc.

So, make a list of what you want your audience to know about your biz, your products, your events, and yourself. Yep, your followers want to know more about YOU too. Emails that pop into your inbox only when it’s time for a sale or promo get boring fast. You can talk about your products, of course. But offer stuff up for free too. Like application tips, seasonal recommendations, ingredient and formulation info, and anything else you feel makes your products and brand interesting and unique.

Now that you have the list. Take a few minutes to chunk the items out into months. November is the perfect time to talk about moisturizing ingredients or warm makeup tones. Plan on giving gift ideas or ways to keep skin glowing in December. January is all about making skin feel detoxed and revived. You get the drift.

I like to put my ed cals in a Google doc. This makes them easy to share with your collaborators or team, add notes, make edits, etc. And don’t forget to mark them off after you’ve written about them.

2. Take a day or two to write for the month: Do you send emails out weekly? Twice weekly? More? Schedule a day or two each month to devote to writing your emails. Not only will this knock the task out and get your email marketing ready to go, but sticking with one task will set you on a roll and you’ll have those guys finished up in no time. You can even add them to your email editor and schedule them in advance.

3. Make your writing even easier by using email templates: Like ed cals, templates are one of my favorite writing tools. Why come up with a brand new format every single time you write an email? This is a huge time waster and totally unnecessary. When I create templates for my clients, I usually do two or three different types. For example, I may make one template for informational emails that link back to a blog post, and another that is shorter and features scannable tips.

Not sure where to begin with creating these templates? To get your creative juices flowing, I have come up with one for you. Download my email template by clicking the link below, add your own info, and off you go.

By taking a bit of time to come up with an ed cal and a template or two, your email marketing will feel like a snap. Keeping customers happy couldn’t be easier.

If you have questions on creating templates for your email marketing plan, get in touch!

How to Make Your Email Marketing Fast and Easy

 

Why Doing What You Do Best is Key to Success (Plus, Help With Your Content Plan)

Why Doing What You Do Best is Key to Success (Plus, Help With Your Content Plan)

It’s so easy to start an online business these days. Got a domain, some hosting, and a business name … you are off and running.

It may be a cinch to get all of that stuff but where do you go from there? Your website won’t create itself, sadly. It needs two things. Words and pictures.

Yep, content and images are the crux of a good looking, customer attracting, audience pleasing site. Sounds simple enough, right?

Anyone who has been in those shoes knows otherwise. Unless you have serious photog skills (and if you do, yay you!) then you will have to find a source for those pretty images that align with your brand.  And even those of you who love to write need a solid content plan. Journal style writing isn’t going to cut it online, sorry to say.

While I am the first to admit I definitely do not have picture taking skills, my biz is all about writing. And while it’s something I love to do, and my clients seem to love too, whether I’m writing for a client or my own site, it takes a bit of prep.

Here I will walk you through the basics of setting up a content plan for your site. Those of you who already have a site can use this as a checklist to see if you need to add anything new.

As for those images … I’ll let you in on where I source mine. As I said, this is all about doing what you do best. And if pic taking and writing copy aren’t two of them, hire them out so you can do what you are all about. It’s the key to a successful biz and a happy you.

 

How to Plan Copy for Your Website-2

How to Plan Copy for Your Website

Decide on pages: First off, what pages do you want to have on your site? A good natural beauty site has the basics: home page, about page, ingredient commitment page, and product pages. You may also want a blog on your site.

What you’ll share: What will you share on these pages? A home page should introduce your brand, tell your visitor why they are there, and offer the solution they are looking for. Your about page should tell your readers about you, why you started your brand, interesting facts, a bit about your team if you have one, all in a format that sounds like YOU. Ingredient commitments are pretty straightforward. Use mine if you want and add in your hero ingredients. Product pages, huh? These need to be super enticing and make your customer’s trigger finger twitchy. And if you are an online store, copy and pasting from brand sites is not acceptable.

Get it down: Write it all out on paper or put it in a word or google doc. Read it and read it again. Have someone else read it if you need a fresh set of eyes. If you are happy with it, feel it delivers what your customers are looking for, and feels like it jibes with your brand, go ahead and upload that good stuff onto your site.

Blogs and email: Blogs are so yesterday, right? Wrong! A healthy site blog lets you share new info with your followers and is a place where more personal info can live. Super into drinking chlorella at the moment? Talk about on your blog. Have a unique way to use that new facial serum you created? Tell ‘em all about on your blog.

Guess what? Your blog content also makes great email content. Yes, it’s almost too good to be true. But it is, it’s true! Take a piece from your blog post and use it as an excerpt, along with a fresh intro, as your email that links back to your blog, where your followers can read more, browse around, buy your stuff, you get the drift.

Editorial calendar (yep, you need one!): One rule of thumb I swear by, for myself and my clients, is an editorial calendar. You can come up with one for each week, each month, or each quarter. Heck, you can create one for the whole year if that’s your kinda thing. Don’t worry, you can always go in and switch things around or add to it, but having an ed cal in place is key to consistently delivering new material, sticking with your plan, and eliminating that gut wrenching feeling of having to come up with a new post spur of the moment.

Two things that make my life a ton easier.

Ok, remember it’s all about doing what you do best and supporting others who do what they do best. For me, writing comes easy. Making my site look gorgeous, not so much.

To make the site layout a ton easier, I use Bluchic templates. They are designed for female entrepreneurs, super easy to use, and affordable. There are templates for ecommerce too, so go check them out. If you are wondering, I use Jacqueline here.

Those images I keep referring to? Here’s where I source mine. They look profesh, can be used in a thousand different ways, are totally in sync with my brand, and worth every cent I’ve ever spent.

Hope this info helps you get your site snazzed up. If the whole content process sounds like a mind blower, time sucker, or completely out of your wheelhouse, let me know. It is what I’m all about and I’d love to help you with it too.

OBS is 10!

Pineapples at Unsplash

Yep, I started this little blog a decade ago. Since then, my business has definitely evolved. And my blog design along with it, thankfully. Just for chuckles, check out the OBS original home page, below.

OriginalHomepageSmall

Ouch, right?!

Way back when it all began I had a preschooler and a kindergartener, and would spend any time they were sleeping researching this whole toxins in beauty products thing. In March of 2006, after spending a good 6 months reading and asking and emailing, I decided to start a blog sharing this knowledge with others. The plan was to eventually open an online store selling my favorites.

But the writing bug soon took over and before I knew it organic beauty professionals were asking me to write for them. I may spend most of my time now writing for other businesses and websites, but I am still just as passionate about the organic beauty/heath + wellness movement.

Not only have I and my blog changed, but the organic beauty scene has changed big time too. Back when I was starting out, researching my brains out and scouring the web for organic brands that were actually walking the talk and not just utilizing good marketing skills, naturals were different. Sure, there were those that have always been both high performance and safe at the same time (Lavera, Primavera, Dr. Hauschka, I’m lookin’ at you), but many were sloopy, sticky, stinky concoctions I did not enjoy using.

I think these days women are looking for products that act, look, feel, and sometimes even smell like conventional products. I know I am. Lucky for us that is happening. Today we have a huge selection of nontoxic products and brands to choose from. Truly safe, high quality, act like you want them to, beauties.

We are fortunate. There is nothing standing in our way of looking and feeling great while making healthy choices. I’m so happy to have been a part of the organic beauty movement over these past 10 years and want to give a huge shout out to my sisters and bros in the organic beauty game too. All of the amazing bloggers, editors, online shop owners, brand creators, and PR peeps who’ve lent their time and products to my journey…a big smooch to you. Couldn’t have done it without you!

If you’d like to talk about my writing services, please get in touch via my contact page. For organic beauty info, hit up the Resources tab. The Shop page will get you started on some beauty products I’ve picked out from one of my fave shops. Or dive into the posts to see what’s going on in my green beauty world.

As always, thanks for reading and come back soon!

Top image by Pineapples at Unsplash.com has absolutely nothing to do with OBS turning 10. I just love pineapples and beaches:)

The Heck With Balance! Are You Doing What You Want to Do?

The Heck With Balance! Are You Doing What You Want to Do?

Have you read Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte yet? Well, she just ran a free audio course that wrapped on Monday, and it was as inspirational as anticipated. So much feel good, juicy dreams, get ‘er done info! It’ll make you feel like canning everything you hate and hitting those big dreams of yours hard.

The one shining memento I came away from the course with was this…Do what feels right to you. The heck with expectations and balance. Feel free to mix things up, take the less beaten path, do what you wanna do.

This way of thinking helps me big time. I tend to do the things that I feel need to get done first. Like the work you don’t love but feel obligated to do. You know what I’m talking about. For real, what would happen if we all did the things we love? The things that feel right?

Obviously, we have to pay the bills and this means some stuff we aren’t absolutely head over heels for. But how many of your daily tasks could have waited a day or two to get done? Or maybe never need get done at all?

Let’s say you have deadlines or meetings one day. These would fall into the “must get done” pile. Then there are the items you feel are necessary for a balanced existence, like returning those phone calls or sorting your sock drawer. Those babies fall into the “don’t really need to get done” pile. No one is going to get stood up or fired if your gym socks are mixed with you dress socks.

Next is that list of what you’d really like to do. One day. Some day. The stuff that lights your fire and makes you feel instantly energized. What if you did some of that every day? Or at least most days? Feels like freedom, right?

So I’m doing a little experiment. I have a day where no assignments are due and no appointments are on the calendar. Of course, there are articles I could be working on and inboxes I could be sorting through and files I could be organizing. But not today.

Today I am dedicating to writing. For me. My blog and other creative projects I’m working on. Stuff I usually do once my “real” work is done. It feels super indulgent and exciting.

What do you think? Does this idea feel liberating to you? Or like a disaster in the making? I’d love to know!

Image :: Lea Dubedout at Unsplash.com