Jennah Mitchell's Musings

A compendium of thoughts, ideas, projects, and more

Archive for the category “Jennah Mitchell & Co.”

Is a sub-par rough draft a good starting point or not?

When it comes to getting ideas down on paper, many people tend to think that it does not matter how good the spelling, punctuation, organization, or layout is at first, so long as the gist of the subject matter is present. For others, striving for a semblance of perfection from the beginning is the foundation of a fantastic finished piece with minimal editing required.

 

While I think there are perks to both side of this writing “coin,” I tend to lean more toward the second school of thought. For me, it does not take too much additional effort to, say, correct a blatant misspelling or re-organize a sentence or two that make better sense in another area of the document. This is especially easy when writing a rough draft directly into a computer program like TextEdit or Word.

 

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, there is one thing that should never go overlooked: when in doubt, just WRITE! And never be ashamed to have someone else look things over to help you edit it later, especially if you really need to be sure that the finished product is picture perfect.

 

Cheers!

JM

Content Curation: The new wave of content marketing and company brand promotion

Is content curation a passing trend or is it something that will be around for a while? While creating original content is ideal, it is also time consuming, which is why content curation is rapidly growing in popularity.

What is content curation?

Content curation involves finding quality content that may be of interest to an audience, adding valuable commentary, and distributing that information to others. It allows you to become a trusted resource in your area of expertise and with the right tools, that information can be captured and distributed to a captive audience.

Take a moment to think about the impact of Pinterest. Although Pinterest may be considered a social media site, it has certainly become an incredible advertising tool as well. Users create accounts and start “pinning” items they think are worth sharing or that they simply find interesting. Their followers can click on the items and then be taken to that specific website or blog post.

Making curation work for you

Unfortunately, there is no Content Curation for Dummies on the market as of yet, so getting your feet wet and studying the tools available may be the best way to start.

When considering a curation tool, look for the following features:

·       Allows you to easily search for applicable content

·       Efficiently allows you to add commentary to that content

·       Provides a variety of options for presenting and distributing content

·       Provides support and feedback

Content curation may not be ideal for every business or website idea. It will likely take some time and effort to build a successful platform, but it is definitely a popular idea worth investing in.

Tips for New Writers from Author Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer – one of today’s most inspirational and enjoyable Christian authors, has a wealth of writing knowledge. Must of it she shares openly with her readers on her website. As I was reading some of the tidbits on her site, I ran across this list and thought I would share it. If you have not visited her site or her blog, you should definitely do so. Writer or not, it will absolutely inspire you to make the most out of the gifts God has given you.

Enjoy!

 

6 EASY steps to writing your first novel:

1.)  Check out my blog every Wednesday for tips on writing

2.)  And Sally Stuart’s great writing blog

3.)  And join the American Christian Fiction Writers group

4.)  And join The Writers View group

5.)  And read these books:

The Christian Writer’s Market Guide by Sally Stewart

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benrey

The Making of a Christian Bestseller by Ann Byle

Writing the Christian Romance by Gail Gaymer Martin

Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Book Proposals That Sell by W. Terry Whalin

Writer’s Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing by Michelle Ruberg

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne

The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman

The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life by Noah Lukeman

A Story is a Promise by Bill Johnson

A Novel Idea: Best Advice on Writing Inspirational Fiction

The 11 Secrets of Getting Published

Fiction proposal tutorial by Mary DeMuth

Nonfiction proposal tutorial by Mary DeMuth

Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benrey

The First 50 Pages (by Writers Digest Books)

Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction (by Writers Digest Books)

The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke

6.) Finally, something I highly recommend, you can order Mount Hermon Writing Conference Workshops on CD

Cheers!

Thanks again to: Tips for New Writers from Author Tricia Goyer

5 Ideas for Stretching Your Marketing Dollar

In today’s economy, everybody is trying to save money. This is especially true of small and large businesses alike. Generating a profit may be hard these days, and marketing is just one of those expense that seems to be increasing regardless of other economical factors. There are many ways that you can save a bit of money on your marketing and publicity campaigns – something that any business owner can use to their benefit.

Get in touch with local organizations

Local organizations are a very good source of free or inexpensive advertising. Schools can be very useful in that department; they may ask students to sell advertising for yearbooks for example. You may also want to inquire with local publications, as they often will use local advertisers as a source of revenue. Many times they will be willing to consider trades, so if you have something that you think they could benefit form, consider talking with the head of their advertising department about striking up a deal. This will also help you network with some organizations that may bring you business simply by word of mouth in your own community.

Use social media to connect with your audience

Whether your weapon of choice is Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, connecting with your customers through social media is a great way to utilize free publicity. Joining those websites is entirely free and they allow you to redirect traffic to your website by posting content that attracts customers. You can also gain insightful information on what your target audience wants simply by poking around on individual and company profiles and web pages.

Create partnerships with complimentary businesses

If you stumble upon a company that offers a service or a product that fits with your business, it would be silly not to take advantage of it. For example, when you enter a bridal shop you often see business cards and flyers on the counter promoting local musicians, wedding planners, florists, and more. All of these businesses cater to the same clientele but offer different services – this allows them to market for one another and save countless dollars on advertising. This is a great way to save money while also getting to know others in your related line of work.

Use Google Ads

Let’s face it – most people have access to the Internet. As such, online advertising should play some sort of role in your advertising efforts. Google, for example, offers fairly affordable advertising in the form of sidebar links, and many other browsers and search engines do the same.  Since online advertising incurs less cost than print advertising, online advertising companies are able to offer a lower rate to place ads on their search engines, which can help you increase your savings exponentially. This is also a great strategy if you offer a service or product that does not revolve solely around your local community; you can reach Internet users from all around the world, therefore increasing your target audience and selling potential.

Start blogging

If you’ve heard of SEO, you’ve heard of blogging. SEO is basically the art of using search engines to promote your business. If focuses on moving your content up in search engine rankings by keywords and more to increase your chances of being found online. You can set up a blog yourself of you can hire a knowledgeable SEO tech to help you do so; they can also help you use keywords that will help your company’s rankings increase. Your only costs for this type of advertising are the costs incurred by whomever you are hiring to help you with this strategy.

Marketing certainly is an important part of any business, but it doesn’t have to be the biggest expense for your business either. There are many tools and strategies that you can use to get free or cheap advertising; remember to work within your own local community via networking, use word of mouth advertising, and by seeking marketing partnerships whenever applicable. Take time to maximize your online presence as well, and you will be well on your way to making those hard-earned marketing dollars work for you not against you.

Shayla Smith is the Bomb.com!

The Muir House – Finding Peace Amid Chaos

Hello one and all! My name is Jennah, and – like most of you, I am sure – this is my first time participating in a blog-based book club. I am excited about the possibilities that it holds, and honored to have been given the opportunity to join in.

Let me kick this whole party off by saying WOW! What a heady and multi-faceted book! Twists, turns, family secrets, love, intrigue – The Muir House has it all in one speed-read package! I read the whole thing in 4 hours…I could not put it down if I wanted to, to be honest. I loved the foreshadowing and hidden gems sprinkled throughout the book, as if I were a detective on the hunt for the truth right along with Willa. I have long been a fan of books that allow me to climb inside them and explore as I read, and this was definitely one of those books.

As a quick recap of my thoughts before I get into the meat of my post:

  • LOVED the characters – very diverse, believable, and well-developed. My favorite? I actually liked feisty old Mrs. Skye (Genie); from the start I had a feeling she was highly connected with Willa…although I never suspected she would be an aunt, of sorts.
  • LOVED the setting. I am from the Seattle area originally, so I really identified with that part of Willa’s life. As I have never been to the South, I also enjoyed reading about that area as well.
  • LIKED the storyline. It was a great plot – I am, however, one of those people that cannot stand suspense, especially when it pertains to family/child types of things. So I must confess that when I got halfway through, I skipped to the end and found out what happened and then returned to my happy reading blitz. I know, I know: that is a cardinal sin to many, but I did find that (personally) I enjoyed the second half of the book much more, since I knew where all of the characters were coming from.
  • DISLIKED the ending. I am a sucker for complete endings, whether it is a wedding neatly wrapped in bows and confetti, or a knock-down, drag-out fight that separates a few characters forever. I know that Hale and Willa end up together, but I could not help thinking about other loose ends that my OCD-self would love to have seen resolved a bit more.

This brings me to the thought I had last night that kept me awake until I could open my laptop lid and start getting those thoughts out onto this post: the idea of chaos as a comfort zone. It comes up throughout the book, but mainly on pages 126-127. Indulge me as I quote 🙂

Willa: “That makes no sense. Why would chaos be a safe place?”

Hale: “Because it’s what’s comfortable for you, what you know. What if God were calling you to something radically different? What if He wanted you to let go of the drama, to turn your back on it, and walk confidently in a new place.”

Willa: “So you’re saying that to live a normal life is a risk for me?”

Hale: “Guess what Willa…You have a choice. Chaos or wholeness. I know it sounds wacko, but your comfort zone is chaos. Take a risk for wholeness.”

Talk about powerful! These lines hit me like a baseball bat. As a mom to two little ones, the wrangler of two puppies, and the manager of three businesses, controlled chaos seems to come with the territory, and until now, it has been something that I have just accepted. To be totally transparent, I would have to agree with Hale in that at its core, my chaos is probably a comfort zone for me. It allows me to make excuses – viable excuses – when I am tired, overwhelmed, and perhaps not running at my best pace.

It pains me to realize this, but I think that, like Willa, I hide behind a mask of busyness and self-inflicted chaos, when all that I need to live in peace and serenity is effort. In all fairness, it will be a LOT of effort, but this raises another question: at what point does the risk and effort it will take to let peace reign supreme in my life become worth the accountability and vulnerability that I will be stepping into? Being on the ball and not allowing emergencies and chaos to lead me does, by definition, require that I am prepared. That I stop procrastinating. That I live with – dare I say it – a focused purpose instead of flying all over the board every day.

I really look forward to hearing what you all have to say about this valuable insight that Willa and Hale’s relationship brings to light for my life and for your lives – Let the conversation begin! 🙂

Jennah

It is Live! My New Website’s Soft Launch is Today

It is true! Today at Noon MST my first ever business website will be open for, well, business! It is only a soft launch – meaning a few of the pages are not yet completely functional, and some of the graphics are still under consideration – but I would love to get feedback on it to see what everyone thinks!

www.jennahmitchell.com

Happy Monday!

To God Be The Glory (and Control)

Lately I have found myself gravitating towards blogs written by dads when I have a spare moment to read articles that I see via Twitter and Facebook. I am not sure why this is, only that it is refreshing to hear things from the other side of the proverbial parenting coin. Recently I ran across this article on Parents.com written by Nick Shell, a dad and writer heralding from Alabama. I loved his candid writing style, but even more than that I found myself loving every word he used to describe his parenting experience.

The article talks about “7 things” he has stopped caring about since becoming a dad, all of which my husband and I can completely relate to. From drool to sleep depravation to keeping a functioning schedule, Nick’s humorous but straightforward reflections remind me that there are many things that we sacrifice for our kids and our families without even thinking about it.

Today at church the message was on “Having Everything Under Control” – something that I as a parent work at what seems like all the time. The reminder that I do not and cannot possibly have everything under control all the time was sobering, but not nearly as sobering as the reminder of who DOES have it all under control: the Lord. SO often I try to plan every minute of my day in a desperate attempt to retain control of the little things in my life as a parent that I still have a say in, such as when the kids have a nap, when the bills get paid, when we run errands, and more, never stopping to think about the fact that sometimes relaxing and not being so structured may not actually result in my world falling to pieces.

Like Peter – the impetuous and well-meaning disciple that wielded his sword in an show of bravery and control when the soldiers came to get Jesus in the Garden that night, I try to blaze my own trail when life gets crazy. Is this because I feel that no one else can fix things but me? Is it because I want to guarantee an outcome to the situation that is favorable to me? When I think about it, so often things end up going differently that how I plan them to be, despite my grandest of efforts. Kids get sick or have to go to the bathroom, requiring play-dates and shopping outings to be put on hold. Bills pile up before money comes in. Commitments get in the way of date nights. It is no wonder I go to bed many nights feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders!

I think I am going to make it my goal this week to – like Nick Shell – figure out what things I can stop caring about. Not to say that they do not matter at all, but to realize that in the big picture – knowing that God is in control anyway – some things can go by the wayside and the world will not come down around me. This may mean more toys strewn about, less clean counters, and a lot more kid’s laundry covered in grass and mud stains, but in the end I think that my kids will be happier, I will carry less stress around with me, and God will become my focus and not myself as I try to Super-mom my way through the day.

“To God Be The Glory”

  • To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
    So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
    Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
    And opened the life-gate that all may go in.
  • Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
    Let the earth hear His voice;
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
    Let the people rejoice;
    Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
    And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.
  • Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
    To every believer the promise of God;
    The vilest offender who truly believes,
    That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
  • Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
    And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
    But purer, and higher, and greater will be
    Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.

I Was Part of a Twitter Party…and I LOVED It!

Recently I attended my first Twitter party, and – while I felt like the dunce in the corner as the smarter kids in the class totally passed me by, it was a great lesson for me in how Twitter parties can connect you with other like-minded people over a brief yet focused time span.

Sponsored by @MomCentral and filed under #FallTips, the party was all about discussing cleaning and healthy living tips and tricks in an effort to promote the Whirlpool and Affresh brands. Moms and dads alike weighed on on such questions as “How to you keep your family hydrated” and “How do you save energy;” the discussions were peppered with re-tweets and prize giveaways, and I am proud to say that I was a pre-party winner of a fabulous Affresh gift package! I am so excited for  it to arrive, but I am even more excited about how awesome it was to get to experience firsthand what a Twitter party is like.

Not only did I have the chance to follow people who may never have come up on the Twitter “to-follow” suggestion page, but I also was able to gain some valuable tidbits to use on my own home (Who knew that microwaving a glass bowl filled with lemon juice and water could do wonders for cleaning out the microwave!). I highly  encourage anyone who has yet to get involved in the Twitter community in this way to seize the opportunity the next time one presents itself – you will not be disappointed!

 

Top 5 Ways a Smartphone Can Benefit Your Company

For many people, a smartphone seems like a toy; many use it to play games and download music, apps, and more, all at the touch of a button. But have you ever wondered how using a smartphone can actually benefit your company and your business? Smartphones are not only reliable devices for phone calls and text messaging; they can also help you stay in touch via email, organize your time, share documents with your associates, and much more. Read below to find out the top 5 ways a smartphone can benefit your company:

  1. Boost your productivity. Who doesn’t want that? As a small business owner, the manager of large company, or the CEO of an international corporation, you probably dream of being more productive and able to fit more into your work hours. A smartphone can help you do that by allowing you access to your office files from your phone, enabling you to send emails on the go, or even by functioning as a payment portal (Square Up, anyone?).
  2. Share information with your employees and clients easily. With old cell phones and even today’s regular flip phones, it is not always easy to share pictures, documents, or large files  – even when using email on your phone. With a smartphone such as a Blackberry, iPhone or Android, you can now share larger files, connect with others, and trade information quickly and easily.
  3. The World Wide Web is at your fingertips. With a smartphone, you can access Internet quickly and without the hassles that come with using an old cell phones without smartphone capabilities. This again allows you to stay connected no matter where you may be. From the airport, from home, from the hotel, or even from the beach – your ability to work away from the office is dramatically expanded thanks to the mobile Internet platforms available on any smartphone.
  4. Stay organized. Write yourself notes or record voice messages, import your email and phone contacts from your computer to your phone, make lists, set alerts and reminders, and so much more. Your smartphone is full of tools to help you stay on top of things and stay organized without carrying a large and clumsy planner or laptop computer wherever you go.
  5. Use Apps to your advantage. Think of the Apple store; when you come in, a representative enters your name on her or his iPhone and then all of a sudden any customer service agent in the store has your name on the waitlist and can help you right away once they are done with their previous customer. AT&T is using a similar system at their retail locations. You can use smartphones to optimize your customer service solutions or simply discover thousands of apps designed specifically with business men and women in mind.

To find out what smartphone is right for you, check out this article on About.com – it is a basic questionnaire to help you narrow down your smartphone options and help you decide what one may be a good fit for your personal and business needs. While it is not a smartphone specific process, it is a good jumping-off point for anyone looking to branch out into the new realm of phone technology.

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