Some weeks, my mind gravitates towards one focus. Other weeks, a different niche grabs my attention. Recently, kindness was my focus, but this week the concept of quality has sat with me.
What is quality? It depends upon the context, but here’s some examples from my world. For me, it is proof-reading your work before hitting publish. It is making time for clients, but more importantly for friends. Quality can be seen in the way you give back to your community and to those less fortunate than yourself. A mark of someone who cares is in remembering special dates, big events, and important happenings that touch someone else. Just a few words asking after a person can mean so much.
Taking the time to put in your best effort is important. It might take longer, but in the grand scheme of things, is worth it. A half hazard attempt shows in so many ways and speaks volumes of the person behind them. Do you want to work with or be associated with someone who doesn’t put in their best effort? That is often questionable.
And as I cannot let it go, I reread my words before sending them out into the universe. I add thoughts here, take some away there. I reread the above paragraph three times and changed the wording to make the paragraph more succinct and less repetitive. And gosh darn it, I had to look up how to spell succinct, not to mention double-check the definition to make sure that was the correct word for my meaning. Took away another few words again…
It feels like I am getting away from that definition now, but it is all part of the process. What marks quality for you in a person or someone’s efforts? Is it in perfection or compassion? Thought or details? Brevity or depth of information?
succinct – marked by the use of few words to convey much information or meaning
Kindness. It is in a smile at the grocery store, holding a door for a stranger, or checking on a neighbour who’s been ill. Listening to a friend who needs to talk, reaching out to others just because, and going the extra mile at work are all acts of kindness too. It costs nothing, but is priceless.
We are kind when we give of ourselves when we don’t have to. We are generous when we expect nothing in return. The return on kindness is in being a decent human being. Your reward is knowing it is the right thing to do. The question is why more people don’t know that.
Those who give, don’t give in anticipation of medals or accolades. They are just the shining lights that inspire others to keep lighting the candles of goodness around them. Maybe they were the recipients of a small act that made a big difference or maybe they just inherently know that the only way to be treated well, is to treat others in the same way.
I have had people dig deep to make my life easier in dark days. Others have brightened my day by presenting a pie. A kind word, a thoughtful action; these things help me see the goodness in life and humanity. I try to recognize those acts, those moments, and imprint them on my outlook. It is called Grace.
For those of you in need of someone to manage your social media accounts, I have a tip. Let the person who is handling your accounts know what you are doing. If you are updating them yourself, it is easy to add pictures from your day, dull or dazzling. If someone else is doing the updating though, unless they are on hand, keep them in the loop! Upload them pictures. Send them short accounts of interesting happenings. Advise them of changes in scheduled events. Give them notice of upcoming affairs. Let them know about things your audience might find interesting.
It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. More often than not, your customers just want to see you in action. They want to see the faces of the people they know and have interacted with. Candid photos always get more likes, shares, and followers. You can be unpacking a box, wiping a counter, or counting an order. This is what your business looks like. It isn’t always hanging high up in a tree, participating in a fun run, or receiving an award. And that’s business! There are plenty of mundane days when you need to get stuff done, but that is what keeps your business running. And it’s okay to show that side of your company too. A decent social media manager can create a picture of your company from all the pieces. That’s what you pay them for after all. When they don’t know what’s going on though, they cannot share.
So do yourself a favour. Whether it is once a week, month or day, think about what you want from your social media manager and ultimately your online presence. When you know what you want that to look like, get on the same page with your content curator and work something out. A good social media platform is a great base for customers to find you. And that’s just good business sense.
What ways can you keep active, even when you don’t have a specific writing project on the go? As I dodge responsibility left and right, I ponder how to keep viable as a writer. Solution? Write a new blog post!
Writing a blog post is just one tactic though. Even if you don’t have a bigger project on the go (or are stumped with what direction to take the one you are working on at present) what else can you do?
Ways to Keep Writing
review a book
comment on a book review
update your social media pages (Think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Add updates, refresh contact info and pictures, rewrite bio, etc)
start a new social media account (Haven’t tried Google+? Give it a gander. New to Pinterest? Pin on! Unsure about Snapchat? Get snapping.)
brainstorm for ideas for blog posts
edit an existing piece of writing (yours or someone else’s)
take a writing class
send out queries for new article ideas
write in a journal
write in a different place than you normally do
tackle a writing prompt (try writing microfiction, or write something from a photo or written prompt)
The important thing is not always what you write, but that you keep practicing your art. With time, comes comfort and ease in the process. Plus, the more you write, the better your writing will become! So get writing. I just did.
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t take the summer off. I might not have the same writing output during the summer months, but I’m still around. Anytime I slip away, I schedule posts to publish while I am gone, but places that require real-time presence slip a bit.
My established clients are okay with that, but ultimately will only stay my clients if I come home at some point. Their social media pages need to stay active. If their pages aren’t active, then their presence diminishes. Which means a potential downturn in sales. Less money on hand means cutting costs, first up of which would be me. So yes, I still maintain their presence, even if the effort isn’t quite as thorough.
Now the kids are back in school though, leaving me with more time on my hands. Sure, that means that extracurriculars will be starting up, but that doesn’t fill the daytime hours. And it certainly doesn’t refill coffers spent on lazy days, road trips, and adventure. It’s time I looked at adding more writing to my days. How can I do that? More importantly, how can I do that and get paid?
Tips to Kickstart Writing
submit queries to journals, magazines, and newspapers
write poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction pieces to submit to contests
join a networking group to meet new people/potential clients
finish editing my book (or yours!) to get it ready for publication
take another writing class to finish my Creative Writing certificate program (check with your local library, community college, or city to see what writing courses might be out there for you)
contact old potential clients to see how their social media platforms are holding up
ask other writers if they have any connections they may be willing to share
via blog, Facebook page, on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc
create a website outlining services
once other social media links are updated and in place, share links to them on other platforms
Note that YOU can do any of these things as well. This is about motivating me today, but I hope to motivate any other writers out there who might need the kick in the pants that I do. Of course if you are looking for someone to write blog posts, magazine articles, schedule Facebook updates, tweet or any number of other tasks, contact me today! I’m sure we can figure something out. Until then…