Month: November 2014

How can I build an authentic brand for my blog?

your brand
Your voice establishes your brand. (Image by Ricardo Bernardo via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Your blog is your brand.

We writers hear this a lot. But sometimes viewing our blog as a brand can feel limiting.

For example, let’s say you have a style blog that focuses on chic, work-appropriate fashion for young professionals. But you’re also inspired by creative, avant garde fashion shows. Because you’re trying to build a brand you may feel it’s not OK to write about both. But here’s why I think it is.

Establishing a brand for your blog isn’t solely about deciding the focus of your content. Building a brand is mostly about your voice and your values.

Whether you’re writing about runway looks or office party attire, your voice is the same. (Or at least it should be.) Your unique writing voice is much more important than what you’re writing about because it’s your voice that makes your blog stand out. Your readers aren’t just coming to your site because you’re giving suggestions on how to dress well for their 9 to 5. There are probably thousands of other blogs out there on this same topic. Your readers are coming to your blog because it’s your blog! They’re coming because they’re drawn to your voice and your style of blogging.

Your values also help build your blog’s brand. Why do you blog? What’s your mission statement? Yes, you blog to help young women feel both posh and professional, but why? Why do you think this is important? If your goal is to empower women and to help them feel more confident then simply make sure that everything you post — including a review of an avant garde fashion show — does exactly that.

For marketing purposes, it is smart to make sure that most of your posts center on your blog’s primary topic (unless you’re trying to shift the focus of your blog). Thus, consider creating a weekly or monthly feature that lets you go a bit off topic.  So Monday through Thursday you’re blogging about what to wear to work, but at the end of the week you have “High Fashion Friday” and on this day you showcase the looks you’d love to rock the runway in.

Remember the thing that makes your blog unique isn’t its topic. Your blog is special because the woman writing it is. 


Each day in November for #bloglikecrazy I’ll be publishing a blog post that answers your questions about blogging, social media, writing, wellness or women’s empowerment. Send your questions to

How can I get more done?

Pizza and Pomodoro — how I get things done

Even though I’m not a parent I get the question of “How do you do it all?” quite often, despite the fact that this question is usually reserved for mothers who work outside the home. But considering I work a full time teaching job, run See Jane Write, freelance for several publications and try to have a social life while doing all this, people are always asking me for my secret. In fact, I get this question so often that I’ll soon be launching an e-course on time management. (Stay tuned!)

But I’m going to give you one tip right now for free. If you want to be more productive, stop multitasking. I know this sounds counterintuitive. I know we women feel that the ability to multi-task is in our DNA. But it is not the key to success.

You will actually get more things done and in a shorter period of time if you have laser focus on individual tasks instead of dividing your attention and energy among several different tasks at once.

Allow me to give you two examples. On Halloween I was home alone because hubs was hosting a lock-in for his church youth group. Whenever I am home alone I order a pizza and watch movies. But I also needed to clean my apartment because it looked like a pigsty. Typically, it takes me about an hour and half for me to thoroughly clean my home. But that’s because while cleaning I’m usually also writing a blog post, grading papers or checking email. On Friday I challenged myself to finish cleaning before my pizza arrived. I called and placed my order. The person who took my call said my pie would arrive in about 40 minutes. As soon as I hung up the phone I got to work — dusting, sweeping, washing dishes, etc. When the pizza delivery guy knocked on my door I was all done with my cleaning. Actually, I finished five minutes before my dinner arrived. Why was I able to finish cleaning in half the time it normally take me? Focus.

Here’s another example: Yesterday evening I had a stack of papers that I needed to grade before I left home for my church small group meeting. I needed to finish the pile by 6 p.m. which I didn’t think would actually happen. But I finished at 5:25 p.m. Why? Focus!

I used the Pomodoro Technique to plow through those papers. The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo is simple, yet brilliant. You break down your work in 25-minute intervals, taking five-minute breaks after each one. After four work periods you take a longer 20-minute break. The technique is based on the idea that the frequent breaks will keep you sharp and focused work will keep you productive. I’ve been using the Pomodoro Technique for over a year now and it has worked wonders in my life.

So if you want to get more done, stop multitasking!

Each day in November for #bloglikecrazy I’ll be publishing a blog post that answers your questions about blogging, social media, writing, wellness or women’s empowerment. Send your questions to

Can I overcome stage fright?

See Javacia Speak
Here I am speaking at this summer’s Bloganista Mini-Con.

If you are a writer, blogger, or entrepreneur you also need to be a good public speaker. Sharing your expertise through speaking engagements can be a great way to promote your blog, brand, book, or business.

But for some of you the idea of speaking in front of a crowd may make you sick to your stomach.

Last month I organized a special members-only See Jane Write event on public speaking featuring Attorney John Saxon, who is not only a highly successful lawyer but has also done speech writing for several big name politicians.

Saxon gave us a wealth of information on how to compose a captivating talk and keep your audience engaged.

Here are tips on how to overcome your stage fright:

1. Be confident. Remember you are the expert in the room. Whenever you start to feel insecure remind yourself that the organizers of this event invited you to speak for a reason.

2. Be prepared.The more prepared you are the more confident you will be. This doesn’t mean you should type out and memorize every word you’re going to say. But have at least three key points outlined. Know what you want your audience to take away from your talk. And be sure to practice.

3. Be passionate. Show that you have a sincere, overwhelming desire to convey this information to your audience. Your enthusiasm will most likely be contagious.

4. Be personable. Maintain eye contact. Use humor. Tell stories. Move around a bit to help dispel some of your nervous energy. Establish common ground with your audience.

5. Be yourself. Saxon says that “the presence of dynamism need not suggest the absence of sincerity. ”

What tips do you have for better public speaking?

Each day in November for #bloglikecrazy I’ll be publishing a blog post that answers your questions about blogging, social media, writing, wellness or women’s empowerment. Send your questions to

What if I run out of blog post ideas?

blog latte
To get through #bloglikecrazy all you need is this list of ideas… and caffeine (Image by Filipe Ferreira via Flickr/Creative Commons)

#bloglikecrazy is underway!

For those of you who are new around here, each November I challenge the women of See Jane Write to publish a new blog post every day for 30 days. We call this challenge #bloglikecrazy.

Throughout the month, share your posts via Twitter with the hashtag #bloglikecrazy and in the See Jane Write Facebook group and I will read and promote as many of your posts as I can.

During #bloglikecrazy you’re free to write about whatever you want. But each year I offer a list of writing prompts just in case you find yourself facing blogger’s block. (Many of the prompts are linked to examples, too.) So use the prompts if needed in any order you choose.

Here are 30 post ideas to help you #bloglikecrazy:

1. Why do you blog?
2. What are your goals as a blogger, writer or small business owner?
3. Write your personal mission statement.
4. Write a letter to your younger self.
5. Write an open letter to someone you need to thank.
6. Everyone is an expert in something. Write a post about your area of expertise – why you consider yourself an expert and how you came to be one.
7. Write a How To post.
8. Write a How NOT To post.
9. Write a post about something you do, love, or believe that’s unpopular with most folks.
10. Write your manifesto.
11. Post a Q&A with a woman you admire.
12. Use some of your favorite Instagram pics as a visual writing prompt.
13. Write about your favorite CD of the year thus far.
14. Write about the best book you’ve read this year.
15. Write about a time you changed your mind.
16. Learn to love your haters by taking a negative comment and flipping it into an empowering post.
17. What I Learned About Myself From ______(This can be a book, a film, an album, or even a person.)
18. Write a post called The Things I Don’t Blog About.
19. Write a post called 30 Things I Love Right Now.
20. Write a post about fitness – how you stay fit or how you plan to get in shape.
21. Write about your guilty pleasures and why you don’t actually feel that guilty for loving them.
22. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
23. Write about your favorite place.
24. Write a post about your favorite dish or a meal you’ve had that you will never forget.
25. Write a post about your best friend or a group of friends.
26. Write a post about your family.
27. What are you thankful for?
28. Write about an outfit that makes you feel fabulous and fierce.
29. Set 4 simple goals for the remainder of 2014 and write about them.
30. What did you learn from #bloglikecrazy?

Each day in November for #bloglikecrazy I’ll be publishing a blog post that answers your questions about blogging, social media, writing, wellness or women’s empowerment. Send your questions to

Why should I #bloglikecrazy?

why blog
Image by Shashi Bellamkonda via Flickr/Creative Commons – Photo taken at the Blog World Expo 2008

Today is Day One of #bloglikecrazy.

Each November I challenge the women of See Jane Write to publish a new blog post every day for 30 days. If you plan to play along, be sure to share your posts on Twitter using the hashtag #bloglikecrazy.

Chances are you’re wondering why you should bother doing this in the first place. You’re wondering if at the end of #bloglikecrazy you’ll land the book deal you’ve always wanted or suddenly have so many blog sponsorships that you’ll be able to quit your day job.

Probably not.

But you will be a better writer.

I believe writing is a practice. I am a runner (a very slow runner, but a runner nonetheless) and I often see parallels between running and writing. Just as I must train to run a half marathon, I must train to write a book or even an award-winning essay.

Consider #bloglikecrazy your writing workout plan.

Some people say you should only write when you feel inspired. But that’s like saying a runner should only run when she’s in the mood to do so. If I’m training for a race I need to pound the pavement when it’s hot, when it’s cold, and sometimes even in the rain if necessary.

I understand that writing may not be a passion for all people who blog. But I’m in this for a gold medal.

But you don’t just have to take my word on the matter.

In her book Writing Down the Bones Natalie Goldberg also makes a connection between writers and athletes. She writes:

“This is the practice school of writing. Like running, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Some days you don’t want to run and you resist every step of the three miles, but you do it anyway. You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait around for inspiration and deep desire to run. It’ll never happen, especially if you’re out of shape or have been avoiding it. But if you run regularly, you train your mind to cut through or ignore your resistance. You just do it. And in the middle of the run, you love it. When you come to the end, you never want to stop. And you stop, hungry for the next time.”

So let’s #bloglikecrazy!

Each day in November for #bloglikecrazy I’ll be publishing a blog post that answers your questions about blogging, social media, writing, wellness or women’s empowerment. Send your questions to