Days to Celebrate in August

National Wellness Month. This month focuses on self-care, managing stress, and promoting healthy routines.

August 1-7: Simplify Your Life Week. This week encourages you to refocus your life and declutter. Eliminate anything that causes stress or anxiety.

August 5: National Work Like a Dog Day. This is a day to pay attention to how hard you are working.

August 8: National Happiness Happens Day. Happiness is a choice. It is not a destination, but a life-long pursuit.

August 8: National Dollar Day. This day commemorates the day Congress established the U.S. monetary system in 1786.

August 9: National Book Lovers Day. A day to encourage those who love to read to find a favorite reading place, settling in with a good book.

August 10: National Lazy Day. Nearing the end of summer, we all need a day to be lazy and enjoy some of our favorite activities.

August 15: National Relaxation Day. It is time to slow down, unwind, and relax!

August 25-31: Be Kind to Humankind Week. This is a week of reflection and kind thoughts of others to make the world a better place.

August 27: National Just Because Day. This is a day to do something unexpected for another (or even for yourself) just because!

Mark Allen, NAIWE’s AP Stylebook Expert

We wanted to get to know Mark Allen (NAIWE’s AP Stylebook Expert) better, so last month we sat down with him. Here are some things he shared.

What is one thing that you learned about style manuals the hard way, and what benefits have you received from it?

Style manuals keep changing because language keeps changing. There was a time when I felt that I knew all the quirks of the Associated Press Stylebook, and then I found my convictions were no longer valid because they changed the book! There are plenty of shibboleths in the AP Stylebook—things that only AP adherents really care about but that cause consternation when AP makes a change. “More than” and “over” are now mostly interchangeable. The word “collide” no longer assumes that both things are in motion. These are minor things, but no one wants to be enforcing a usage guideline long after it’s dead.

What do you associate with style guide proficiency?

Proficiency with using a style guide is a bit like proficiency with editing in general. We can’t know everything, and we shouldn’t tell ourselves otherwise. Proficiency with a style guide means knowing what we need to look up and sometimes even looking up things we know we are right about. Proficiency is a bit of a false concept. There are many guidelines, many exceptions, and many gray areas where we need to look elsewhere for guidance and ultimately apply common sense. It’s possible to memorize most key points in a style guide, but our memories sometimes fail us, and guidelines do change.

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You can join in this conversation on July 24, at 7 pm eastern, when NAIWE will host a discussion some of the most important changes of 2019.

The Associated Press Stylebook, the essential guide to style and usage for news, PR, marketing, and corporate communication, is now updated for 2019 with its most substantive changes in years. NAIWE AP Stylebook Expert Mark Allen will discuss the important changes in a 90-minute webinar complete with humor and handouts.

The cost for NAIWE members is only $10! To register, send an email with your name and telephone number.

Mark Allen is an editor, writer, and teacher focused on helping people communicate with clarity and honesty. He has trained hundreds of editors and writers on a variety of topics, including the latest and most important elements in the Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style. Mark has led conversations about copyediting and writing at conferences and workshops in Detroit, St. Louis, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland, Columbus, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York City, and York, England. He was the first freelancer elected to the executive board of ACES: The Society for Editing, and Mark currently teaches advanced copyediting for UC San Diego Extension’s copyediting certificate program.

Days to Celebrate in July

July 12: National Simplicity Day. Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817.  Thoreau was an advocate for living a life of simplicity. In our busy lifestyles, National Simplicity Day is the time to take a step back and begin to simplify our lives. One can start by decluttering and striving for balance..

July 15: National Give Something Away Day. In the United States, giving is on the rise. What can you give to your clients or to the publishing industry?

July 17. World Emoji Day. Now before the emoji, there were emoticons. Emoticons (emotion + icon) were developed as an expression of emotions in the cold hard texts that were devoid of them.

July 18: Get to Know Your Customers Day. When businesses get to know your customers, you also get to know more about you need to grow. Reach out to your patrons and get to know them better.

July 20: Toss Away the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day. Created by author and motivational speaker Martha J. Ross-Rodgers, this day is intended for all to let go of the past and live for the present. Make a list of your business regrets and then throw it away and live for today.

July 21: National Be Someone Day. What can be done in 10 seconds? Spend 10 seconds to make a business commitment such as pursuing professional development.

July 26: National All or Nothing Day. Throw caution in the wind and go for broke. What is one business challenge that you would like to overcome?

July 26: National System Administrator Appreciation Day. Show appreciation to your IT professional.

Robert Moskowitz, NAIWE’s Professionalism Expert

We wanted to get to know Robert Moskowitz (NAIWE’s Professionalism Expert) better, so last month we sat down with him. Here are some things he shared.

What is one thing that you learned about your craft the hard way, and what benefits have you received from it? Can these benefits be broadened to include professionalism?

The most important thing I learned the hard way (I learned most things the easy way) is not to sign a contract indemnifying a publisher for “claims” against me—such as plagiarism or copyright infringement. “Claims” need not be proven in a court of law, and publishers are happy to make these “claims” go away by settling—which settlements come out of my pocket via the indemnification clause. I now insist on eliminating the word “claims” or including language that claims must be proven in a court of competent jurisdiction. I lose some work with this stance, but I avoid getting badly burned a second time.

I believe it’s professional both to know about this wrinkle in contract language and to have the guts to insist on avoiding it, either by changing the contract or by refusing a dangerous contract. Part of professionalism, of course, is taking steps so you don’t get hurt and so you live to work another day.

What has been your most rewarding professionalism technique, and how was it rewarding? Self? Monetary? Clients?

My most rewarding professionalism technique has been working strategically and tactically to increase my pay. I do this by calculating how much I need to earn from my work, by seeking out high-priced jobs, by avoiding low-priced jobs, by ratcheting up my rates with established clients, and—perhaps most important—by delivering work that is worthy of the rates I seek.

This has been rewarding both psychically (I feel good about myself and my work) and monetarily. I have been able to support a family, send my kids to school, and generally live well.

What do you associate with professionalism?

Professionalism is the distinction that separates wannabees from actual professional writers. It allows me to call myself a writer and not have to qualify that description with excuses or explanations. It means I have worked hard to be among the best at my craft and have succeeded. I can walk into any room and feel confident I am among the best or I am one of the best wordsmiths in there. It means I can accept almost any writing challenge without fear of inadequacy. It means when the going gets tough, I can gather my wits and my skills to get going. It means I have fulfilled my potential and made full use of my gift for writing. My professionalism is a source of pride and satisfaction.

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You can join in this conversation on June 22, at 3 pm eastern, when NAIWE will host a one-hour discussion on exercises to help you know yourself better, business lessons for the professional writer, opening the pipeline to your creativity, turning good ideas into finished material, and how to more fully trust your talent and your know-how.

Almost everyone can write. Heck, nearly every high school graduate can cobble together some words and call it writing. Some people can even earn a few bucks as a writer. But if you really want to pursue the writing life, you’ll find you can do it only if you succeed at becoming a professional. Many years ago, I had a dream of writing professionally. I even got a job as a writer. But it was just a job. Two years later, after too many job interviews in which pretty much every 9-to-5-er I met expressed massive regret at having to give up their dream of writing in order to earn a living, I found myself undergoing a three-month epiphany that helped me transform and commit to the writing life. This webinar is informed by that transformation, as well as by my decades of successful professional writing. It will help you determine just how much “fire in the belly” you have around becoming a professional writer and will help you make the adjustments and develop the attributes you need to get there. We will leave the writing itself for another time and emphasize the professionalism involved in a successful professional writing career.

The cost for NAIWE members is only $10! To register, send an email with your name and telephone number.

Robert Moskowitz is an award-winning independent professional writer who has written and sold millions of words in just about every format over five decades. He instinctively sees the big pictures, breaks each one down into coherent slices, meaningfully prioritizes and sequences those slices, and then executes the tasks inherent in each slice in very productive ways. Put more simply, Robert knows how to succeed as an independent writer, covering all the bases from soliciting assignments to delivering polished work, from pricing jobs to budgeting and managing personal finances, from organizing a conducive office environment to establishing and following sensible guidelines regarding life, work, and productivity. Having done all this, and having paid attention to how he did it, Robert is now in a position to pass along what he knows to others.

Days to Celebrate in June

June 1: National Say Something Nice Day. Make the day extra pleasant for your clients by sharing some nice words.

June 3: National Leave the Office Early Day. It may be celebrated on the first day of the week this year, but take a little time off to enjoy the rest of the day with a fun activity.

June 3. National Repeat Day. Take this opportunity to repeat something you needed or wanted to do again.

June 6: National Higher Education Day. Spend a moment educating or inspire others who are interesting in pursuing a similar career.

June 10: National Ballpoint Pen Day. Write a client note today with a ballpoint pen to commemorate the patent filing on June 10, 1943.

June 11: National Make Life Beautiful Day. Share the beauty that you add to life by celebrating the relationships you have built or assistance you have offered another.

June 13: National Random Acts of Light Day. Bring light to a colleague by sharing some encouraging words.

June 21: National Selfie Day. Share a selfie on social media of you working on that next project.

June 30: Social Media Day. Post on all of your social media accounts today, letting potential clients know you are available for hire.

Jake Poinier, NAIWE’s Freelance Expert

We wanted to get to know Jake Poinier (NAIWE’s Freelance Expert) better, so last month we sat down with him. Here are some things he shared.

What is one thing that you learned about your craft the hard way, and what benefits have you received from it?

My freelance business turns 20 in August, so I’ve learned plenty of things the hard way! I’d argue that the most important element of having a durable business is focusing on the personal relationships. (I assume that, if you’re in this business, you have a talent for writing and/or editing, so that in itself is rarely a measurable competitive advantage.) The hard-way lesson is that not all relationships are going to work out—which is why I like to quote Mad Men’s Don Draper: “The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them.” A lot of times, maybe even most of the time, it’s not your fault when a client disappears. You need to foster loyalty, but also recognize that diversifying your client base is your only insurance policy against inevitable client loss. The marketing angle for me has been to also diversify the types of work I do (print, web, audio/video, books, social media, etc.) and expand the industries I work in.

What has been your most rewarding marketing avenue, and how was it rewarding? Self? Monetary? Clients?

Far and away, cultivating referral business has been the most beneficial. There’s a tendency to think that referrals happen by luck, but I remember seeing a survey stat that only about 1/3 of customers in a service business will refer you without prompting. Sure, doing great work is paramount, but there’s a lot of business left on the table if you don’t actively let clients know you’re interested in having your name passed along, or ask for a testimonial. The rewards are obviously monetary (duh!), but the key is that good/great clients tend to refer good/great clients, so there’s also less work involved.

What do you associate with marketing?

I work on a lot of marketing strategy and content for my clients, which has informed my approach over the years. As an example, I’m currently partnering with a marketing/advertising agency with a unique niche and voice, which has made it an energizing relationship—they’re not afraid to be different and even a little bit wacky. It’s difficult to distinguish yourself purely based on writing/editing talent, but you can always market yourself based on your unique qualities, whether areas of specialty or what it’s like to work with you. If you don’t feel like you’re attracting the right clients, you need to reexamine your marketing angle.

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You can join in this conversation on May 14, at 7 pm eastern, when NAIWE will host a one-hour discussion on finances, safety nets, and fees.

Part of the enjoyment of freelancing is working with great clients on interesting projects—but let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun when the compensation matches our efforts. In this webinar, Jake “Dr. Freelance” Poinier will discuss the big picture of freelance finances as well as specific steps to help your business become more profitable:

  • Shifting your business mindset
  • Pricing and estimating for better results
  • Creating your safety net

The cost for NAIWE members is only $10! To register, send an email with your name and telephone number.

Jake Poinier made the leap into freelance writing and editing in 1999 after a decade of positions in the publishing industry, giving him key insights from both sides of the desk. As the founder and owner of Boomvang Creative Group, he has worked with a diverse array of Fortune 500 and small businesses, consumer and trade magazines, and independent authors. Jake is committed to helping freelancers improve their businesses and shares his knowledge and experiences frequently as a speaker at industry conferences, through webinars, and on his blog.

Days to Celebrate in May

May: National Get Caught Reading Month. Wherever you go, the campaign challenges you to get caught reading.

First Week in May: Small businesses account for half of America’s workforce, and more new jobs come from small business than any other source.

May 12: National Limerick Day. Celebrates the birthday of English artist, illustrator, author, and poet Edward Lear who wrote Book of Nonsense.

May 16: National Biographer’s Day. Commemorates the anniversary of the first meeting of Samuel Johnson and his biographer James Boswell in 1763 and honors all biographers.

May 30: National Creativity Day. Celebrate you and your creative pursuit!

May 31: National Speak in Complete Sentences Day. Dedicated to using proper sentence structure while speaking.

In Spite of Barriers, Women Make the Best Leaders

Studies show the ideal leader today is ethical, honest, trustworthy, and fair regarding employee expectations. These traits earn the respect of followers and are closely aligned with women leaders.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women comprise 47% of the U.S. labor force, yet lag substantially behind men when it comes to representing leadership positions. The good news is even though the gender wage gap has declined in most professions, the number of women climbing the ladder to management ranks has increased. But in spite of these achievements, women still face leadership challenges in the workplace.

 

Leadership Barriers Women Face

The glass ceiling metaphor and other limited opportunity metaphors like glass door and glass cliff remain as popular today as they did 10 years ago. When things go wrong and the group fails, women leaders are likely to get blamed even if the failure was caused by events that took place before they came on board. Women report having fewer support networks at work, not getting needed information, and not being acknowledged for their efforts.

Women are also more likely to experience burn out and become disillusioned with their jobs and organizations and may end up quitting as a result. Cultural expectations also work against women who aspire to become leaders. Many never seriously consider becoming leaders because the process of socialization has taught them leadership professions are only open to males.

Negative stereotypes and discrimination can lower the self-confidence for some women and make them reluctant to take risks or strive for leadership positions. And since our culture highlights nurturing roles of women, many enter service professions such as teaching, nursing, clerical work, or roles that support the larger organization.

 

Changes on the Horizon

Fortunately, attitudes toward women in leadership are changing, especially among the younger generation. As more women succeed in management roles, stereotypes will continue to erode. When this happens, women will experience less prejudice and more opportunities.

As global environments become more competitive, management styles are shifting away from old leadership styles to more transformational styles that emphasize communication, teamwork, and responsiveness. These leadership styles will benefit women in today’s workforce.

 

Gail McShan-Elly is a writer and blogger. She is married and believes greatness is achieved by serving others.

Brian Schwartz, NAIWE’s Self-Publishing Expert

Webinar: Building a Content Promotion Strategy to Promote Your Message and Sell More Books!

We wanted to get to know Brian Schwartz (NAIWE’s Self-Publishing Expert) better, so last month we sat down with him. Here are some things he shared.

What is one thing that you learned about your craft the hard way, and what benefits have you received from it?

I’ve learned that consistency is key and to stay the course and continuously build relationships. The self-proclaimed gurus make their living on selling this as something that’s easy to do (if you just buy their courses). You might get lucky and your timing plays a large part. There isn’t a single book out there that can teach you everything you need to know, nor enough time to learn it all. It takes a team and you have to take some risks. It’s never too soon to start building your personal brand, and you need to keep turning over rocks.

What I’ve discovered is that things aren’t often what they seem. It’s good to better understand what you are up against.

Can these benefits be broadened to include marketing?

Absolutely. I’ll provide attendees with actionable steps as part of a long-term plan to help them reach more readers, and I’ll explain the benefits of approaching marketing like a marathon, not a sprint. Successful marketers work from a training plan that allows them to consistently and incrementally increase their mileage through increased visibility followed by sales.

Tangible results come from planting many seeds and thinking like a farmer, rather than a hunter. I find that authors who take the long view can do very well if they stick with it and give the seeds time to grow.

I’ll cover specific tools authors can use to manage the content aspect of their marketing plan and how to create a marketing dashboard to stay on track.

What has been your most rewarding marketing avenue, and how was it rewarding? Self? Monetary? Clients?

I appreciate the opportunity to share what I know with people who have a shared interest. I know of an author who is also an artist who sold her artwork (to the tune of over $30,000) to someone who discovered her through her books. This event also led her to get a deal to have her artwork featured in a Broadway play. I know another author who is being paid to blog for a company. Many authors’ books have led them to paid speaking gigs and workshops. For a non-fiction author, a good book can become their most effective marketing tool.

What do you associate with marketing?

Marketing is the act of generating awareness for your work to your target market (those who can benefit). It’s about leveraging and amplifying word of mouth for your mission, book, or business. It fuels a continued effort to refine and improve your work based on the feedback from your fans (readers, students, and colleagues). Another less common perspective of marketing is to view it as creating an opportunity to gain feedback from your users (readers) to guide you toward how to improve your product and tune your pitch.

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You can join in this conversation on April 25, at 7 pm eastern, when NAIWE will host a one-hour discussion on creating a marketing toolkit.

Getting your book found is a matter of having the right content in the right place at the right time. The good news is that it’s less about driving traffic to your own site and more about being visible where your target audience already exists. It’s wise to choose a few platforms to master before you spread yourself too thin, but which ones produce the highest return-on-investment? Learn to create content that gets the clicks on high-traffic sites including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Medium, LinkedIn, YouTube, Quora, Flickr, Huffington Post, and more.

The cost for NAIWE members is only $10! To register, send an email with your name and telephone number.

Days to Celebrate in April

April: English Language Month. A celebration of the uniqueness of the English language.

April: National Poetry Month. Celebrate the cadence and song of poetry.

April 7-13: National Library Week. Libraries provide us with books to read and valuable tools and resources.

April 10: National Encourage a Young Writer Day. Encourage a young person with a vivid imagination or one who likes to tell stories or read a lot to take the next step and put those tales on paper.

April 10: National Bookmobile Day. Honor the access to information and resources made available through bookmobiles.

April 11: National Support Teen Literature Day. This day showcases some award-winner authors and books to raise awareness that young adult literature is vibrant and growing.

April 17: National Haiku Poetry Day. This day encourages all to write in this Japanese form.

April 18: National Columnists’ Day. Columnists inspire a plethora of emotions that often result in action.

April 18: Get to Know Your Customers Day. Reach out to your customers and get to know more about them.

April 23: National Take a Chance Day. Break out of your comfort zone and try a new marketing technique!

April 25: National Poem in Your Pocket Day. Share the joy that poems bring by carrying one in your pocket and sharing it with others.

April 25: National Telephone Day. Call some former clients to see how you might be able to help them today.

April 25: National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Show a child what you do in your profession.

April 27: National Tell a Story Day. Share a story with another person, or listen to a story from someone from another generation.

April 28: National Great Poetry Reading Day. Take some time to read your favorite poetry.