Oh! You Pretty Things… Talk to Me

I maintain that hosting an interview series on your blog is one of the best things I did not only for my business and my social life.

Oh! You Pretty Things…Talk to Me

Oh you pretty things talk to me interviews

When I first moved to Vancouver, I barely knew anybody. I’d heard Vancouver had an unfriendly reputation, but I’ve never been one to be swayed by rumor. The west coast called to me, so I packed up and made my way to the wettest best city in Canada.

Thankfully, I had the excuse of my neatos interview series that I hosted on my blog. It was an easy way to make connections where I otherwise had none.

Now, I’ve been here about two years and I’d like to meet even more people and connect them to each other too! Therefore, I’m reinstating my neatos interview series and putting the call out for cool folks (preferably in the Vancouver area).

Here are the rules ::

  1. Answer a series of questions via email
  2. Provide a good quality, horizontal image
  3. Meet me in person for coffee, beer, other excursion, or Skype (only for those of you location challenged)
  4. Be genuinely keen on making a new connection/friendship with moi

Want to take part? Leave a comment below, tell me a bit about yourself, and I will get in touch with you!

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12 Christmas Things of Christmas

12 Christmas Things of Christmas

One

Find the panda among the snowmen! Do it!

Two

A cool calligraphy diy gift, for you last minute adrenaline junkies.

Three

Christmas morning waffles anyone?

Four

A calendar to start your year off right. Did I mention it’s free?

Five

Why make a gingerbread house when you could make a gingerbread cake? Food for thought.

Six

Umm,so, panda gift wrap diy. Yes please.

Seven

Christmas and Ryan Gosling. Need I say more?

Eight

Delicious hot chocolate hacks.

Nine

And something spiked.

Ten

You used to call me on my elf phone?

Eleven

Kids are just total magic.

Twelve

You could adopt these cuties, just saying.

How to Write a Bio that Doesn’t Put You to Sleep

When you think about how to write a bio, do you cringe with disgust? You throw up in your mouth a little bit, don’t you? You’d rather clean your cat’s litter box than think about how to write a bio so that it doesn’t put you to sleep.

Yikes!

It doesn’t have to be that gross, but it’s not easy, per se. Here are three tips on how to write a bio that draws attention.

How to Write a Bio that Doesn’t Put You (and Your Readers) to Sleep

how to write a bio

How to Write a Bio 01 :: Suck Up

Think about your audience. Who are they? What do they want? Start your bio by telling a story about their environment, their passions, their deep dark needs. Our world is full of about me pages that make big claims and feature long lists, but how often do you come across one that is so relatable you feel the writer has read your mind?

Here are ten questions to ask yourself to prompt a story about your readers:

  1. What are your readers doing right before they hire you or read your blog?
  2. What are their biggest challenges related to your topic?
  3. Where would you randomly run into them? A café? The gym? Under a big tree?
  4. What keeps them up at night?
  5. What gets them out of bed in the morning?
  6. Are they coffee people? Tea people? Green smoothie people?
  7. What problem do they crave a solution to?
  8. What do you have in common with them?
  9. What are their guilty pleasures?
  10. What is at stake if they don’t take action on your topic?

I kind of used this technique at the beginning of this how to write a bio blog post. How did it work for you?

How to Write a Bio 02 :: Be Passionate

Talk about your passions, not your skills. We so often fear we’ll miss a lead because they didn’t see their need listed on our website. But, we don’t get hired solely for what we do, but rather how we do it, and to what quality. The latter is our reputation, the former can be expressed through writing. What we believe in is just as important as how well we do what we do.

Check out my LinkedIn bio for an example of what I mean:

A lover of all art forms, I am known most recognizably for my practice in writing. A winner of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Literary Arts Scholarship, my writing encompasses fiction, literary non fiction and poetry. I am also well versed in all forms of corporate content creation such as press releases, blog posts, newsletters, sales copy and all other communications materials. I am motivated by the elation of succinct and memorable prose. Sentences that stick. Words that, when united, matter.

I’m the type of person you can count on, both professionally and personally. Accustomed to leadership roles, I thrive in managing multiple projects with competing deadlines. Through imaginative influence, I seek innovation to challenge convention and aptly apply this originality to enrich my work, art and life.

Collaboration is an important value to me. Peaked by my curiosity, I aim to understand, listening attentively before responding and often encouraging deeper development of concepts through shared expression of ideas. This meeting of minds is magic. As is that space where uninterrupted inspiration cracks routine, whether solitarily or collectively stimulated. Mutual respect and engagement are essential to any pursuit.

I am also a performer, web designer, graphic designer and photographer. Ask me about any of the aforementioned and you may be pleasantly surprised.

How to Write a Bio 03 :: Party First

We’re trained to work hard to play hard. When it comes to how to write a bio, I say play first, work later. What do I mean by this? Start with a story, an anecdote, a joke, something more interesting than the list of services you slave over to “encompass all that you do!” You do a lot, give us a reason to read every item.

In my own about me page I first talk about my clients, then I talk about how I can relate to how my clients feel. It’s not until about half way in that I say what I actually do. Your bio is your place to shine. Readers can find out what you do in many other ways (i.e. home page, navigation, blog posts, social media), they don’t need a list!

Feel like your bio is full of holes? Want me to take a crack* at it? Get in touch now!
*Pun intended

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a few bio writing formulas! Still feeling stuck? Here are a few thoughts on success to keep things in perspective.

Five Easy Persuasive Writing Techniques

Persuasive writing techniques take time. Persuasion doesn’t necessarily depend on the quality of your idea, but rather how well you communicate it. A great product goes unnoticed without proper positioning, whereas garbage is sold for millions with the right twist. I want to tell you about five persuasive writing techniques.

Five Easy Persuasive Writing Techniques

persuasive writing techniques - stylings and stories

I Think I Can

The Little Engine that Could got up the hill through that simple mantra, but the book wasn’t sold by saying “I think it’s good.” One of the best persuasive writing techniques is to drop “I think” and “I believe” from your vocabulary. By deleting those phrases, your sentence will have more power. This practice gives you instant authority.

Ditch the Adverbs, She Said Persuasively

Seriously though, if you want to be persuasive, ditch the adverbs. Using adverbs hints to your reader that you’re unclear of your statement, not to mention doubtful of their intelligence. Replace adverbs with better verbs. Don’t get hung up on perfection in your first draft. Revise, my dear friend, revise. Check out Stephen King’s thoughts on the subject.

Get Active

An active voice delivers direct, clear, and succinct messages with a punch. Writing in an active voice means the subject performs the action, for instance “persuasive writing techniques improved my writing” (active) vs. “my writing was improved by persuasive writing techniques” (inactive).

Ease Up

Have you ever had to re-read a paragraph or sentence so many times you forget why you started in the first place? For more persuasive writing, keep it short. That means paragraphs, sentences, and words. While your run-on prose may seek to clarify, it does the opposite. Readers will not only get lost in redundancy and ambiguity, but in puzzlement of following the words. Give them a break.

Once in a Lifetime Fail

How convinced are you when someone claims their offer is “once in a lifetime” or that their service is “state-of-the-art?” Not much? So why use this propaganda in your writing? Outlandish claims diminish authority. Ditch ’em as fast as you ditch adverbs. Replace these filler phrases with detailed examples that support your position.

Persuasive writing techniques take practice. And, like I said, don’t rely on your first draft to communicate effectively. Schedule time for revision and you’ll pack a meaner punch.

Need a copywriter for your project? Contact me now.

If you think that sexism no longer exists, this…

A Toronto web design firm, Vestra Inet, is seeking a content and SEO specialist, but because the position requires reception duties, men need not apply.

Sexism in the Workplace

Shocked? I’m not. They simply stated what many companies refuse to admit.

Sadly sexism is an ongoing battle that we face every day. Women are paid less than men. Traditionally female roles are regarded as less important, less impactful, less valuable than traditionally male roles.

Let’s just take a hot second to recognize that receptionists hold companies together. But, the fact of the matter is that they are usually paid less than any other staff member. So, here’s what that job posting is saying:

We want a “specialist” in their field, but we don’t want to pay them as such, let’s hire a woman!

If you want a “specialist” don’t ask them to fill in for other roles. Would you ask an engineer to fill in for an architect? A doctor to fill in for an astronaut? They’re different jobs, have some respect.

Not to mention it’s a human rights issue. You can’t hire someone based on their gender. It’s the law.

I have much more to say on this topic, but let’s see where the conversation goes. Leave me a comment! Or better yet, leave them a comment!

Some Cool Sh*t :: Street Art, #PMJT, and a Bunch of Good Reads

Vancouver Street Art

Vancouver street art in Gastown.

* I just love this Forty Over 40 initiative. More award giving publications + organizations should do this. Youth, especially in women, is held in such high regard that the wisdom, accomplishment, and beauty of older generations is lost (*ignored). We can make great achievements at any age.

* We recently elected a new Prime Minister in Canada and this is his party trick. Also voter turnout was the highest it’s been since 1993.

* Design*Sponge has been featuring some beautiful art.

* Cat gifs aren’t just a waste of time. Here’s what you can learn from those cute, furry balls of meow.

* Love art? Become a Young Patron at Vancouver’s CAG.

* A past life regression meditation, if you’re into that sort of thang.

* Ladies! Does this ever happen to you?

* Wanna read 100 books? Here’s a list of 100 of the best Canadian novels.

* 100 books too much? Try these 29 short stories.

* I need a new filing cabinet and this one is pretty cool.

* So this… just the best thing to do on an autumn weekend.

* Are party suits the new ugly sweaters? I think so, yes.

* An interesting read on success.

* Aaaaaaand, an all time feel good, booty shaking favourite.

A Few Words on Learning, Leaving, and Living

Youth, especially in women, is touted as essential to success. We have this ridiculous idea of “past our prime” after we reach a certain age, as if our accomplishments have a “best before” date. But, I came across this interesting article on success after your 20s and it made me think…

When I was younger, probably about 23 to 27 (I’m 28 hah!), I felt an overwhelming dread that time was withering away. After graduating university, I had a hard time getting a job in my field, a heartbreaking case of writers’ block, and an inclination to Netflix binges. This led to anxiety for my future. I’d always been the type who impressed teachers with my wit and intelligence, but I couldn’t manage to extend that charm to the workforce, not to mention other areas of my life, like the romantic battlefield. I had all this time for creative endeavours, but my fear crippled me. Rejection crippled me. I wanted to be independent, successful, and famous.

At 24, I moved back in with my parents.

I now realize the importance of this growth period. In my early twenties, I had so much to learn, and still do. The quote below sums up my recent realization.

I am grateful I wasn’t given this opportunity at 25 as I believe my good intentions and passion could very well have done a lot of damage.
Christine Garde, Founder and CEO of CouldYou?

Happiness comes from within

Here’s what I mean, for example.

I’ve been writing one short story for the past six years. I’ve submitted it to at least five literary journals thinking it was G.E.N.I.U.S. It was rejected every time. This story is my pet project as of late and I am ecstatic at how much it’s morphed into a whole new monster. Back to Christine’s quote above, if this story had been published back when I was a wee 22, it could have never reached its potential. AND could have been damaging (obviously not to the same extent as her work, but still). I now understand the importance of giving the attention my story deserves without impatience for publication. Knowing how much this story has matured makes me careful to ensure I spend the needed time to craft every detail with intention.

Ahhh, it makes me so excited!

Anywho, my point is that I (*we) have our whole lives to accomplish our goals. If we rush through life, checking off our bucket list we may not be living up to our full potential and may forget to enjoy the journey. Goals are great, I have many, but I’m also busy with my life–creative writing, spin classes, dance, dating, dinners, laughs and laughs and laughs. It’s these experiences that I feel will lead to my a-hah moment, my I-can’t-believe-this-is-it project. Are you stoked? I am!

What do you think? Could your THANG be that much better later in life? Is there really that much urgency to your “success?” Leave a comment and let me know.

Vancouver Shows Taking Dance to a Whole New Level

Have you heard of MovEnt? It’s a dance organization in Vancouver that brings beautiful, experimental productions to the community and they have a series of shows this week.

Dances for Small Stage

Dances for Small Stage

Photo by Derek Stevens.

Dances for Small Stage “showcases new and established dance professionals from Vancouver and across Canada on a ridiculously small stage, in an unconventional venue with a friendly cabaret atmosphere.” At the Anza Club this week, twelve dancers will perform original works for delighted audiences.

I sit on the Board of Directors for this awesome company and I have to say that the Artistic Producer and all dancers involved are a passionate group of people committed to their art. It’s truly inspirational to see them work.

Come join us at the Anza Club October 20 to 23. Get you tickets here.

Dinner starts at 6:30
Show at 8pm

Show only: $20
Dinner, dessert + show: $45
Dessert + show: $30

Dancers include:

* Andrew Bartee * Agnes Tong * Burgundy Brixx * Caroline Liffmann * Dayna Szyndrowski * Heather Myers
* Judith Garay * Karissa Barry * Kirsten Wicklund * Loscil * Scheherazaad Cooper * Vanessa Goodman

Learn more here.

No Regrets? I Call Bullshit.

Regret. It’s one of those words that immediately alludes negativity. But this negative insinuation assumes that we are incapable of learning from our mistakes. Brené Brown says it well in the video below on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.

No Regrets? I Call Bullshit.

Skip ahead to 23:57 for Brené on regret or watch the full episode!

I’ve been seeing a bio energy healer here in Vancouver and it has given me some great perspective on my emotional body. The practice is both energy healing, kind of like reiki, and spiritual/emotional healing, kind of like counselling. My healer has a wealth of wisdom that she shares with me. We watched a portion of the video above in my last session and it definitely resonated with me.

PS :: If you want to try bio energy healing, shoot me an email + I’ll put you in touch with mine. (She’s in Vancouver)!

No regrets is a very optimistic ambition, but I think it misses the point that we are not perfect and that mistakes are inevitable. If you have “no regrets,” I worry that you are either not taking risks or not learning from your mistakes.

Brené’s example was of her teenage years where she slut shamed other women or bullied other women. I can relate, and yes, it’s something I regret, but, it’s not something I dwell on, it’s something I learned from, made adjustments because of.

I suppose one could argue that learning from mistakes releases them from regret. To an extent I agree, like forgive and forget, but it doesn’t change the fact that a mistake was made and had an impact. Forgive, yes, (please for the love of Life forgive), but don’t forget. Remember so that it doesn’t happen again.

You only live once, so, it’s up to you if you want to ignore your mistakes or learn from them and grow. Don’t minimize your actions, they have an impact whether you want them to or not.

An Editor Fixes More than Just Bad Grammar

I’ve heard it so many times. “I hate writing. I’m no good at it. I never know what to say.”

Writing, it’s one of those things everyone can do, but few can do well. Still, most people don’t know that an editor can help them with that.

Editors are writers too. Editors know how to spot errors and fix them. They know which paragraphs to cut and which ones to tweak. They are conscious of voice, style, diction, and form. They are committed to perfection and love the thrill of a clean and concise sentence. Editors fix more than just bad grammar.

An Editor Fixes More than Just Bad Grammar

hire an editor

Clarity

Ever feel like you’re not quite expressing your thoughts the same on paper as in your mind? Or, possibly, you’re misusing words and altering your message. It’s okay, everyone does, it’s common. But there’s a way around that. Editors just know. They’re bookworms, grammar nazis, perfectionists. Editors have a way of rearranging and replacing to create clarity for your work.

Consistence

If you’re not an editor, you would never think to check for consistent verb tense, word usage, or tone. You probably wouldn’t think to make sure certain words, like a company name, are capitalized (or not) and placed in the correct order. Many companies have a strict style guide for these types of things. Editors love this kind of stuff. It creates rhythm, balance, and credibility.

Style

Editors will ensure that you have a consistent tone and voice throughout your piece. They will make sure you sound authoritative, which establishes you as an expert. You don’t want to be playful and silly in one paragraph then turn serious and intense in the next. Editors will help you have a conversation with your readers.

Technique

Finally, editors will fix all those technical errors. This is the final step in editing. Many people struggle with writing because they don’t have a grasp on spelling and grammar. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer, it just means you need an editor.

What’s the difference?

Finally, I just want to leave you with definitions of the different types of editing. You can hire an editor for all three, or just the one you need.

Stylistic / Substantive Editing :: Making changes to structure and clarifying meaning.

Copyediting :: Checking grammar, spelling, punctuation and other mechanics of style.

Proofreading :: Verifying the proof matches the draft and is free of errors.

What’s your biggest struggle with writing? Leave me a comment + I could write a blog post for ya!

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