One of the coolest things just happened! The Florida Writer Podcast was selected as a MUST LISTEN!
Tune into the show here: Florida Writer Podcast on Apple Podcasts Hosted by Alison Nissen, the Florida Writer Podcast is centered around conversations with a wide variety of guest speakers including authors, editors, industry influences and publishers. Recent episodes touch on topics such as “The Publishing Process from A-Z” and “Networking to Open Doors to Marketing, Collaborating, & Selling Your Work” are sure to give you stellar advice from both Nissen and her top notch guests. #publishing#writer#marketing#podcast#networking
Have you ever Googled yourself? I just did and found an old video of a workshop I hosted a number of years ago on writing your author bio. Your author bio provides an opportunity to grab the reader’s attention and convince them to buy your book. It needs to be perfect. Not only does it provide a way for your readers to get to know you, but it also shows your expertise and displays your writing style.
But what if you aren’t a writer? The same principles apply. If you are a professional, add a bit of the personal to help make connections. You have a story to tell. Your bio is a great place to drop a hint or two about what is important to you because you are so much more than just a job title.
Want to jazz up your LinkedIn profile? Try a few of these tips:
Turn your Summary into your story. Did you grow up someplace interesting? Do you have an unusual hobby or award? Share it here.
Explain your struggles and how you’ve used them as your motivation. People love stories when the hero wins. This isn’t bragging, this is relating. Chances are, others have had similar struggles.
Has your motivation become your mission? I bet it has. Let your audience know your mission, where you are going, how you might get there.
Avoid jargon. It’s boring and you aren’t boring.
Organize your information. Remember what you learned in High School English class? Use a hook and end with a bang.
10 years ago, I started Tales from the Laundry Room on a different platform. I forgot about it. The internet didn’t. Enjoy.
The unnatural lighting painted a yellow glow over the computer. Janine’s eyes hurt, her head hurt. Fatigue is what they call it; she calls it burnout. With only one exam left, she should push through but she couldn’t. It’d been two days since she locked herself in this closet of a room. Pale yellow cinderblock walls decorated with spare ticky-tack and posters of Bob Marley. There was space for two beds, two desks, two closets, and one window. A window that looked at a red brick building identical to hers. There was just enough of a view to distinguish day from night. She closed her eyes, just for a minute.
Jumping to her feet with a start, Janine’s heart rushed to catch up to her breathing. It had only been a minute, right? Checking the light level outside the window, Janine’s worst fear was true: nighttime. Had it been hours? She placed her hand on her desk to steady herself. With her other hand, Janine slid the chair back only to have it bump up against the pile of books and papers strewn on the floor. She pushed a little harder so the leg of the stiff wooden chair could clear a path.
Closing her eyes again, she took yoga breaths: slow inhale, slower exhale, breath in, breathe out. Janine opened her eyes. They began to refocus. The clock said 8:02. The dining hall was closed; her stomach growled. She needed food, any food. Leftover pizza, burrito, tofu burger, and a Coke. Not a Diet Coke, a real Coke. Something with sugar and caffeine.
Janine looked around the stark room. Her roommate had already left for the semester taking with her things that would normally be left lying around. Only Janine’s things remained: dirty laundry, shoes, makeup, books, and one final exam. Although the exam may not physically be sitting in the room, it permeated the space the way the smell of fried fish lingers days after it’s been eaten.
Textbooks, reference books, handwritten notebooks, index cards scattered all over making it difficult for Janine to find space for her bare feet to step. She shuffled her way to her dirty laundry in search of a dollar or a quarter, heck, a handful of nickels. She bent down to dig in the pockets of her jeans, lint. She found another pair, held them up and shook them listening for the faint jingle of change. Nothing. With a deep sigh, Janine looked around the room then stumbled back to the desk. Maybe in a drawer? She pulled a little too hard and it flew off the rails, spilling its contents onto the floor.
Pens, pencils, and blank index cards littered the already messy room. Ugg. Nothing. She pulled the next drawer with a little less emphasis. It squeaked open an inch. She tugged again, another inch. Once again, she pulled, it opened, catching it before it also tumbled its contents. No change. Janine began to feel desperate. Without concern for the papers and cards on the floor, Janine took two quick steps towards her roommate’s identical desk. She flung open the top drawer, nothing. She yanked at the second drawer, ching. She heard a ching.
As she pulled the drawer wide open, she saw money. One penny, two dimes, a nickel, and a quarter, 51 cents. Janine scooped up the money and pushed it into her pocket. In two more steps, she reached her dorm room door and without regard for locking it, she left, barefoot, to race to the soda machine. The rest of the world may charge $1.50 for a Coke, but at DU, sodas only cost 50¢.
A few years ago, I jumped on the Impostor Syndrome bandwagon, wrote a blog article about looking yourself in the mirror and saying, “I believe in me!” But I’ve recently changed my mind that the idea of the Impostor Syndrome, the belief that you are not the real deal, is another excuse to blame others rather than actually accomplishing all you should.
We tell ourselves stories. We aren’t good enough or that we’ll never make it. We look in the mirror and wonder, when will it be my time? Here’s the good news, you’re already there. No one on Earth has had the same experiences you’ve had—and that’s why you aren’t an impostor. You are the subject matter expert on the sum of your experiences.
In 1998, with only an undergrad degree, I accepted a position as a “emergency” literature professor for a college on a military base. As I entered the classroom, I noticed the varied ages of students. Some soon ready to retire from their military careers and some fresh out of high school.
“What if I fail,” I repeated the question to my mom the night before.
“You won’t. And,” she added, “as long as you stay one week ahead of your students, you’ll always be a week ahead.”
This logic assuaged my fears but didn’t take away my worry that I was an impostor.
My first day in the classroom invigorated me. I realized that I could have daring conversations about literature with my students and leave confident in my knowledge that I was an expert. I learned that one of my students had spent his time during Desert Storm as a base librarian and had read hundreds of books. Another was a general’s aid and responsible for a variety of international communications with world leaders. A third was a tank mechanic. I engaged my students with lessons on literature and writing, and they regaled me with interesting stories from their own fields of expertise.
Lorne Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live once said, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.” There should always be the desire for growth and a willingness to learn. The impostor syndrome is born when we feed doubt to our ego. Instead, have confidence in knowing that you are the best you the world will ever meet. The next time you feel like an impostor, just look in the mirror because you will be the one smiling back. And that, my friends, is the real deal.
“Squirrel!” I typed and hit send. My email disappeared into the ethernet. My colleague on the other end quickly responded, “What?” She didn’t understand my pop-culture reference to the distractions that keep us off track. Squirrels, those little pesky little ideas that run around in our heads and distract us like squirrels crossing the street, which way should I go?
Linda Samuels, the person who had responded, recently introduced me to the concept of full-cycle thinking. She explained it like this: We have laundry. We wash, fold, and put away the laundry. Hopefully. This is a full cycle. I paused and thought of my own laundry, that which often sits in a basket long after it’s been cleaned because, well, SQUIRREL!
As a young mother, a doctor explained to me that the inability to remain focused on a single task is considered Attention Deficit Disorder. Clearly, I had a child (well two) with attention issues (remember that mom you saw chasing two young boys through, under, and around the racks at the department store? That was me). What I now know is that I, too, share in this issue. My full-cycle thinking is often interrupted by squirrels—Respond to an email, wait, another email, oh, look an invitation to listen to a podcast, hmmm, who is that guest, oh, what’s an ocularist, I should look that up–oh it’s someone who fits individuals with a prosthetic eye, cool, when did I last have my eyes examined?
My rudimentary solution for this problem is to remain as organized as possible (enter Linda Samuels, my colleague and professional organizer). When I remove the clutter from my desk, inbox, and close the open tabs on my computer (there are currently 18), I stay nearer to my daily goals. Some days I’m amazed I complete anything, and others, well, there is always tomorrow.
As I begin this new year with lofty ambitions, I want to remind myself that setting a realistic bar and feeling success daily is much more satisfying that imagining some distant pedestal that I might one day reach. Goals should be obtainable; understanding our own work patterns helps. Decluttering is a daily task for me, but so is brushing me teeth—both are actions I begin and end each day with. Trust me, decluttering is not a goal, it’s a lifestyle for someone who needs to tame the fuzzy rodents in her head.
Now it’s time to make an eye appointment. Oh, lookie, SQUIRREL!