Business Brainstorming

Help us vote on a company name, tagline, 2nd unique line and website first lines!

Pick one selection from each of the four categories below… or you can also suggest new ideas!

Potential Company Names

  1. J&J Content & Copy
  2. J&J Creative Content
  3. J&J Strategic Content
  4. J&J Cognition

Potential Taglines

  1. Content Strategy for literacy products
  2. Content Marketing for literacy products
  3. Stories that sell literacy products
  4. Literacy that sells literacy
  5. Creating content that sells literacy products
  6. Growing companies that sell literacy products

2nd Unique β€œline”

  1. Promoting literacy from beginning to end
  2. Dream. Focus. Achieve.
  3. Stories to grow

Potential Website Opening Lines

  1. We write stories to help you, your organization or business grow. We specialize in helping companies strategize and write marketing content for literacy products.
  2. We help companies selling literacy products grow their business.

Little Chirp

I have a number of children’s books up my sleeve… in case I ever have an unexpected moment! πŸ˜‰ Some of them have been floating around in my mind for quite some time, but recently Little Chirp emerged, fresh and chiper, a whole story written and sketched. Maybe you’ll get to meet him someday!

Writing in the Future

Missed the first two posts in this series? Click on the links to first read Writing Past and Present

So I’ve mentioned that I’ve been working on a book and this blog, and that I’m open to freelance writing. What I didn’t tell you is that I’ve also been training to be a copywriter! I’m absolutely loving the challenge and learning I’m experiencing from this unexpected new direction. I’m planning to “launch” my new business this spring so stay tuned!

NON-FICTION BOOK

When I say I’m working on a book, I actually mean, I was working on a book, but that has taken a backseat to life, work and lately, an opportunity to learn how to earn some income from writing. This surprise investment adventure appeared suddenly, but has been exciting!

You see, last year found me constantly juggling what I wanted to do with what I realistically had time for… not to mention, houses are expensive! While I hoped writing would eventually earn me some side money, it was a hobby, limited to non-work time.

It was that classic scenario – I’ll never make money at this if I don’t put some time in, but how can I put time in unless I have some unavailable?

AWAI

Then I stumbled on American Writers and Illustrators Inc. More specifically, their Accelerated Program for Six Figure Copywriting. It sounded too good to be true, but I decided to dive in, re-arranging priorities a bit so that I could start the self-paced program with some regularity. My goal is to earn some side money, working within limited hours, so I have time to do other things – like finish my book!

Between life and the holidays, I’ve finally settled into a realistic rhythm for myself with this Copywriting program. Now, three months in, I’m about halfway through the 90-day program. The learning curve has been steep, but fascinating. I’m been more and more impressed with AWAI and gaining clarity about what “the writer’s life” looks like for me. (If you’re interested, check out their free webinars. This one is a good introduction to the copywriting world.)

BONNEJOURNEY

The awesome thing about blogging is you can schedule your posts in advance, so as long as I stay ahead, I don’t have to write as often as I post. I’m surprised at how much Bonnejourney has taught me though – from voice to technology – and I plan to continue with it. Still, it is primarily something I enjoy, something I fit in after work, not something practical in terms of income.

Lately, all of these writing pieces seem to be coming together…  writing of the past, present and future are blurring a bit. I’m still working out the details, but I SO APPRECIATE the opportunity to share this journey with you. Enjoy today!

Facebook Facelift?

Social Media

I have such a love/hate for social media. I love that I can instantly connect with friends in faraway places. I hate that merely signing in makes me feel a bit like I’m in Times Square – flashes of color everywhere and very little empty space.

Social media has slowly and suddenly claimed a place in our culture and this trend is only projected to grow. How we use it is up to us – individually and culturally. How do we use social media in a way that takes advantage of all of the positive aspects while not allowing it to consume too much time? How do we balance face time with real time?

I know I’m not alone in asking these questions and I’d love to hear your thoughts on social media in today’s culture.

Time to De-clutter

In the meantime, as I’ve been de-cluttering my closets and pantry shelves after owning them for a year, I realized that it’s been over 15 years (as in never!) since I’ve de-cluttered my online media presence. I started wondering what it would look like to do a facebook facelift… Maybe start a twitter account – mostly because the little bird is so cute!

Basically, actually take the time to consider and choose what I’m “on” and what “active” means for me in this season. Is it possible to have a balanced online presence? Active accounts that are used for good, but tools vs. life-suckers? As more apps come – to press in or delete?

What do you think? How do determine the role media plays in your life? Have you ever done a facebook facelift? What does that even mean?

 

Reflecting on 2017

2017 was a difficult year. Challenging relationships at work, messiness in community, concern over friends and family who were struggling with various challenges of their own led to a physical response.

“Stress” we call it, but often we are unaware of just HOW MUCH damage it can do. Unconsciously and consciously, I absorbed the anxiety, the “cares” of those around me until I felt unwell. Feeling thus lead to more worry about “What was wrong” only exacerbating the root.

I felt gratitude over tests stating I was healthier than ever, but still I struggled to believe everything was okay. I have no doubt there was a spiritual element to all of this throughout, both reason to confess and circumstances that were just hard. I may never fully understand, but some things I have been reminded of –

There is VALUE in recognizing our limits – stating our boundaries, asking for help…

Sometimes, patient endurance despite seemingly random, but nonsensical circumstances is all you can do…

and finally, our thoughts, words, and actions impact our perspective, so choose carefully.

You are loved, even in the midst of your struggle, and I encourage you to keep paying attention (listening!) to the One who made you, learning to rest in Him.

From last January
Beloved

From the Listen series
Where is the voice of love in my struggle?

From the Rest series
Learning to Rest

In Memory of…

Veteran’s Day always make me think of my grandpa and others like him who fought so we could be free. We called him Papa (pronounced Puh-paw), and he and Mama (pronounced Mum-maw) inspired many and in different ways. Hey, I’m actually writing a non-fiction book that is inspired by their legacy, specifically what I learned from Mama’s gift of cooking. Who does Veteran’s Day make you remember?

 

Writing in the present

Last week I shared how I realized about a year ago that I had always been curious about language and how I began setting aside time and space to write. Well, I wouldn’t have believed it if you had told me, but after a couple months pursuing time to write led to this blog. I knew it would take courage for me to share my writing and I needed some accountability in the discipline of making time for it.

What started out as a discipline and then something I shared with friends and family allowed me to begin to see themes and patterns in my writing. Still when people asked me: What do you write about? I had no idea how to answer. A natural question to “I’m spending time writing” yet the verbal lover was speechless.

I had more ideas than I had focus to pursue, so I tried to be patient and enjoy the process… and I did! Writing consistently has been therapeutic for my soul and eventually, I started working on a book. I had written various pieces and submitted them here and there in an effort to persist, but suddenly, words and ideas were taking shape and I felt compelled to write them.

I began writing the non-fiction book in April and wrote steadily for four months. I have a complete outline for ten chapters and I’m up to 24, 000 words. I took a break at the end of summer and haven’t had the enthusiasm to continue the last few months, but again, I’m letting it develop on its own timeline.

Meanwhile, I have renewed enthusiasm for the start of the blog’s second year and a clarity of focus for the direction it’s headed in. I streamlined all my posts (past and future) into three categories and added a page announcing that I’m available for freelance work.

I still have more ideas up my sleeve than time to act on them, but for the moment, I’m working on establishing the blog’s direction and pursuing freelance work.

You can help! Do you know anyone who would be encouraged by reading this blog? How about a business that needs copywriting services? Spread the word!

Writing in the past

My family likes to tease me: “She was born talking,” they’d say. I was verbal at months and by kindergarten, when asked if I could count to 100 yet, there may have been some concern that I wouldn’t stop counting.

Sometime in elementary school, I started a cousins newsletter. My dad’s siblings were spread in five states and our every other year beach trips seemed far away. I wanted a way for the family to stay in touch, so I requested that each Hiteshew family send news of their latest happenings as well as jokes to share.

Now this was prior to facebook and other social media so the family had to actually snail mail me! Then each quarter I’d put all the family news into a template I created and send a copy to each household. It was fun, and it was work that I eventually gave up.

In high school, I loved my English classes, eventually taking AP, and also helped with the yearbook. I also took Latin and French which introduced me to language as both an art and a science. In college, I entered pre-law, quickly switched to undeclared and then briefly considered JMU’s School of Media Arts and Design. I sometimes wonder if I should have persisted in this a bit longer as some of the technological skills would be helpful now, but I took one news writing class and hated how brief my sentences were encouraged to be!

Where was the opportunity to use big words and creativity? To analyze the depths of literature? Hello, English department. Sure, I’ll take French too. Reading and writing in two languages sounds great. Add on a translation minor, why not? During a translation internship my senior year, I wrote an article that was published in the American Translators Association newsletter.

After graduation, I did some freelance translating work as well as work as a project manager, editing and overseeing translation and brand name analysis projects. It was interesting work and the opportunity to meet people worldwide was incredible, but I was working 60-80 hours/week and I felt like I was missing out on life.

I also realized for the first time that not everyone liked kids nor enjoyed being around them. I mean, this was actually news to me; I was surprised! I remembered my Papa’s (maternal grandfather’s) suggestions that perhaps I would be a teacher one day and I suddenly wondered how he knew me better than I knew myself.

I decided to go to graduate school for a Masters in Teaching and during that year did A LOT of writing. Since then, most of my writing has been curriculum-related, whether I’ve been creating lesson plans for myself or others, or training others how to practically implement a plan.

Turns out I’ve always loved language and literacy. Speaking, listening, reading, writing… these elements even lie behind my curiousity about early childhood and the primary years. How do humans develop the ability to use language? is a question that fascinates me.

About a year ago, I realized that I wanted to pursue writing again for myself because I missed spending time reading, thinking, writing like I did in college. I had no idea what pursuing writing meant, but I started setting aside time and space…

Next week: Writing in the present