"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Monday, July 12, 2021

Miss Black USA Pageant Founder Pens Compelling Read

 

Are you seeking to live your best life in 2021? To make your dreams a reality? Be the master of your own destiny? To operate with less fear and more focus?

If so, you'll definitely want to read (and apply the principles) Karen Arrington outlines in her new book "Your Next Level Life." 

I found it to be a quick read with lasting impact. In it, Karen sagely shares 7 "rules of power, confidence, and opportunity for Black women in America."

Truth be told, this inspiring book isn't just for Black women; it's for any woman who desires to be a woman of excellence. It's for any woman who wants to reach her full potential and make better choices in her career, in her life, and her relationships.

Arrington reveals life lessons with motherly-like wisdom and the candor of a best friend. This diva is obviously in touch with her "inner-Oprah."



THE 7 CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING RULES:

1. IDENTIFY YOUR SUPER POWERS

2. FIND YOUR NEXT LEVEL FRIENDS (one of my favorite chapters)

3. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS

4. MAGNETIZE MONEY (a must read)

5. POSITION YOURSELF LIKE A STAR

6. KEEP IT REAL

7. GIVE BACK FROM DAY ONE

 


She knows from experience. 
Arrington "walks the talk." 
She's an award winning author, women’s empowerment expert + global philanthropist + winner of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work.
Karen’s coaching, mentoring + philanthropic work spans over 100,000 hours of service — including her position as a Goodwill Ambassador to Sierra Leone, her work as the co-founder of the first Diabetes Awareness Day in West Africa, and her role as the founder of The Miss Black USA Pageant.

She won a 2020 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for her book, Your Next Level Life: 7 Rules of Power, Confidence and Opportunity for Black Women In America. She has also been honored by The Lifetime Network, Jones New York + other major media outlets for her tireless advocacy for women’s health, success + empowerment -- including a Red Dress Award from Woman’s Day Magazine for her efforts in the fight against heart disease, the #1 killer of women.

Over the past 20 years, Karen has helped over 1,000 women step into powerful careers in media, business, medicine + law — transcending hardship, abuse + financial limitations, and transforming their lives + communities. Today, Karen offers private coaching + global service retreats around the world for ambitious women who want to live their best lives -- only better.

Find out more about Karen by visiting her website KarenArrington.com, follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Follow her Blog Tour @ The Muffin:


Thanks for reading.
Thoughts? 

Monday, June 28, 2021

7 Fun Things to do in Inclement Weather For Writers

 


Resourcefulness is my super Power.
As a woman of color; a woman who resides in one of the most challenging cities in the country; a chick who has worn many hats personally and professionally in my life span; a woman of modest means...well, it kind of comes with the territory.
As I look outside my window and attempt to make weekend plans, I am not pleased that I have to postpone an outdoors party that I had in the works again, due to rainfall of Biblical proportions.
And according to the recent weather forecast, we have plenty more where that came from.
CHOICES AND CHANGES...
In the midst, I realize that I have a choice. I can sulk and hide under the covers for the upcoming days, or make the most of being confined at home. After all, it's not like we don't have enough experience under our belts with the mandates associated with Corona Virus over the last year or two. True?
Besides which, inclement weather seems to be on the menu for many places around the country. The weather is either as hot as Hades or flooding, or raining like cats and dogs. So, it pays to be flexible and patient. As there are a few lovely days here and there some where. And for writers, the proper mindset affects productivity; if there is no output, there's no income.
ACCORDINGLY, HERE ARE 7 FUN THINGS TO DO TO KEEP YOUR SPIRITS UP AND MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DOWN TIME:
pixabay.com
1. HAVE A MOVIE MARATHON
Whether you score your movies through Netflix, the Dollar Store, or your favorite movie channel, kick back with some popcorn, a glass of wine, and your favorite box of candy. Escape. De-stress. Often, for writers this recreational pursuit can lead to inspiration for a poem, a short story or a paid movie review.
2. PHONE A FRIEND
When was the last time you picked up a phone to speak with your peeps? Social media is not the only way to connect and bond. Yesterday, for example, I got an unexpected call from one of my college buddies that really lifted my spirits and made me mindful of everyday blessings. Trust me, someone is probably waiting to hear from you.
3. TRY SOME NEW RECIPES
Even if you don't really dig cooking, you can garner some great recipes online that will impress your next house guests, relax you, and please your palate. YouTube has some fun tutorials. Matter of fact, I learned how to make Jello Shots from an online site. And believe me... they are a real crowd pleaser at parties!
HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE GO TO SPOTS:
4. JAM TO SOME GOOD MUSIC
Did you know that June is Black Music Month? What better time to explore some new musical artists of color? Or to revisit some of the oldies but goodies? Besides altering a bad mood, music is reported to have health benefits as well.
According to gethealthystayhealthy.com: "Studies have shown that when you hear music to your liking, the brain actually releases a chemical called dopamine that has positive effects on mood. Music can make us feel strong emotions, such as joy, sadness, or fear—some will agree that it has the power to move us. According to some researchers, music may even have the power to improve our health and well-being."
It appears that there is some validity to the adage "Music soothes the savage beast."
5. GO BLOG HOPPING!
Catch up on what's going on in the blogosphere. Were you aware that blogs are now considered a reputable source of local, national and entertainment oriented information? Word!
Visit old favorites and discover new ones that suit your interests and lifestyle.

6. UPDATE YOUR OWN BLOG

Consider infusing your site with new content, current happenings, calls for submissions, your latest poem, etc.
Stay relevant. Keep the conversation going.



7. READ

Reading is as essential to writers as cookware is to chefs. How else will you come to understand the needs of an audience? Or learn how to spin a phrase? Or expand your vocabulary? Or examine various literary devices?
Final Thought
Don't allow inclement weather to "ground" your spirits.
Stay rooted in everyday blessings. "When life brings you lemons, make lemonade!"

Your turn, readers.

Agree or disagree? What's your favorite thing to do in inclement weather?




Image credits: Pixabay.com

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Interview With Author and Ghostwriter Laura Sherman



Hi, Laura. Thanks for your time today.  Can you tell readers a little about who you are and your educational background?

Sure! I’ve been a ghostwriter for twenty years now. I love to write and am happiest when I’m working on multiple projects at the same time. Right now I am in the middle of three memoirs and one how-to book about parenting. Plus, I’m working on a new sci-fi series that I’m authoring with a partner. I’m excited to be branching into self-publishing.

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, but that vocation didn’t really suit me. I began ghostwriting when my first client was introduced to me one day, out of the blue. He hired me to write a novel, then paid for three more. That launched my career. To this day, I’m grateful to him for taking a chance on me.

Q. Describe your creative process. Do you write every day?

Yes, I do! Writing is not just a job for me; it’s my favorite creative outlet. I couldn’t imagine not writing every day.

I usually prefer to write in the morning when it is very quiet in our home, but sometimes I will get a burst of creative energy later in the day. I homeschool three children, so I’m always juggling tasks. I thrive on the excitement and challenge.

When ghostwriting, my relationship with each author is unique; no two projects are the same. Since my creative process includes my client, it can vary widely. However, with twenty years under my belt, I know how to adjust the course to suit the author. I’m flexible and always do my best to make the experience enjoyable for my client.

When working on my own novels, my creative process is pretty straightforward. I always outline the story. However, lately I’ve taken to a looser approach. It’s said that there are “plotters” and “pantsers” (the latter being people who write by the seat of their pants). I will say that I have gone from being a dyed-in-the-wool plotter to more of a pantser as I gain experience.

Q. The literary landscape has changed much over the years. How has this impacted your business or your writing approach?

To be honest, it hasn’t really. Of course writing conventions and grammar rules change over time, but that doesn’t affect me much. I work with clients to accomplish their goals and achieve their writing dreams. I love that part of the business. When someone has the dream of seeing their book in print at Barnes and Noble, I am energized to make that happen.

I will say that I had a hiccup in my business this last year. At the beginning of 2020, I was set for a stellar year, and then our world turned upside down. I lost a couple of contracts and had to scramble. That was tough. However, by September I was back on track and now I’m booked through the rest of the year and into 2022.

Q. What’s the “story” behind how you actually got into ghostwriting?


The way I landed my first book deal was incredible. I received a lead from an acquaintance. He knew someone who needed help writing a book. The acquaintance who vouched for me really believed in me. That amazed me because he hadn’t seen much of my work (just a few pieces) and I didn’t have much of a portfolio. His faith in me gave me the confidence to pursue this new avenue. And as I said earlier, that first client hired me to write four books!

Q. What are some important qualities one must have to be a professional ghostwriter?

To be a good ghostwriter, you need to be an excellent writer, have great communications skills, and be a good businessperson.

To become an excellent writer, most authors I’ve spoken to agree that you must write hundreds of thousands of words to find your own written voice. This takes a while; it’s not an overnight process. In fact, another theory I recently heard is that anyone can become expert in a craft after practicing the skill for 10,000 hours. That sounds about right to me.

You also must be willing to give up all the rights and credit for your work when you ghostwrite. There are a lot of talented writers who can’t wrap their wits around this. For me, I really don’t mind. Truly! I’m paid well and enjoy each project I ghostwrite. Since I write in a variety of genres, I also learn about a wide range of topics, which is a bonus.

On the business side, you really need to be good at sales. Most writers hate that side of things, but I actually like it. The fact is, I think sales is where a lot of ghostwriters fail. They simply don’t want to talk about money. But to be successful, you must lead with the subject of cost, or you’ll waste days, weeks, or months chasing after a client who can’t afford your fee.

Q. Since many ghostwriting jobs are not published on traditional job boards, can you share a few tips on how you garner clients?

I created a powerful blog and all my leads come from that. I continue to expand on that blog, writing about ghostwriting and sharing advice about writing in general. Most people can’t afford a ghostwriter, so I have written dozens of articles answering basic and advanced questions about how to write a book.

I focus on helping people through my blog and, as a result, people find me through search engines and reach out to me. Today, all my clients come through my website.

Q. What tips can you share on successfully hiring a ghostwriter? What should one look for?

I wrote an article called How to Hire a Ghostwriter that might interest your readers. I give a lot of tips in this article.

If your readers are interested in hiring a ghostwriter, I’d suggest that they research all prospective writers thoroughly before reaching out to them. Check out books they have written or ghostwritten. Although most ghostwritten titles can’t be divulged, experienced writers will have at least a couple of books that bear their names. Some clients gift a ghostwriter with a cover credit.

Once you find a ghostwriter you like, take the time to really talk to him or her. Make sure the chemistry is there. Great communication is key for any ghostwriting relationship. After all, you’ll become a partner with your ghost for the next eight to eighteen months!

Q. From your website, I see you write in different genres. What’s your favorite and why?

To be honest, I love all genres as long as the subject is uplifting and/or educational. Over half of what I ghostwrite are memoirs, but I love writing fiction and business books as well.

My favorite memoir genre is a rags-to-riches story, or one where someone overcame unbelievable odds to achieve success. Those stories are so inspiring, and I know they will help many, many readers.

I’m especially partial to entrepreneurs and artists. If I can help them share their story with the world, I feel honored and privileged.

Q. What’s your U.S.P.?  In other words, what would you say separates you from the many ghostwriters currently on the writing scene?

That’s a great question! I think it may be that I try to help everyone who writes to me. I’m aware that most people can’t afford my price, and that’s OK. I understand. However, I do my best to set as many authors as I can on a path that will help them get their books written one way or another.

To that end, my blog probably sets me apart, as what I have to say seems to resonate with people. I like to think that anyone who reaches out to me will be helped in some way.

Q. How much has your most profitable “ghost” project yielded?


I charge one dollar per word to ghostwrite, so the word count always dictates my fee. I recently completed a 400-page book that yielded $100,000. And just prior to that, I ghostwrote a series of short stories that brought in $75,000.

My average contract is for a 200-page book at $50,000, but I will sometimes write shorter books for people.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

I love what I do! As a ghostwriter I can help breathe new life into projects that sometimes have been shelved half-written or have only existed in the imagination of the author for years. Some of my clients want to self-publish their books, while others have a publisher waiting for the manuscript. Some simply want to write their life story so their family and friends can learn about their experiences. It brings me great joy and satisfaction to help each client fulfil their personal goals and dreams.

BIO



Laura Sherman, a.k.a. “The Friendly Ghostwriter,” has authored and ghostwritten over thirty books in the last twenty years. She specializes in writing stories that uplift, educate, and inspire her readers.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Pen & Prosper Celebrates 12 Yrs. in the Blogosphere!


Welcome back, Readers!

I hope that everyone had a fun and fulfilling holiday weekend, with many memories to cherish. I can hardly believe that as of this week, we're mid-way through the year. Where has the time gone?

This June there is much to celebrate: encouraging Covid-19 stats and declining cases; justice for George Floyd; warmer weather and the re-opening of many businesses in our respective areas.

Though today's news here may pale in comparison, I think it merits celebration just the same. This June Pen and Prosper turns 12 years old. Yay! For those of you who have been bloggers/or are bloggers currently, I don't have to tell you how much time, creativity, energy and commitment is required to pull this off for an extended period of time. Hello?





HERE ARE SOME FUN FACTS ON PEN & PROSPER'S HISTORY: 

  • To date, there have been over 850 posts published
  • According to Google Analytics 8,387 comments have been made
  • Pen & Prosper was first launched in June, 2009
  • I thought about quitting about 100 times in the interim (lol)
  • The top 4 viewing countries/areas are:
  1. United States
  2. Russia
  3. Sweden
  4. Germany
  • In dog years, Pen and Prosper would be 84 years old
  • In human years she would be a pre-teen
  • Pen & Prosper has been honored/recognized as a "top blog for writers" every year since 2013.
  • One of my favorite posts here was a guest interview with celebrity/writer Warren Adler. In case you missed it, read it here:
http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/2014/08/meet-war-of-roses-author-warren-adler.html

Final Thought

In closing, I would just like to take this opportunity to gratefully thank all of my readers, guest post contributors, clients, partnering brands and supporters for your collective efforts, engagement and ongoing encouragement.

I couldn't (wouldn't) do this without you!

Wishing you many blessings,


Jen



Image credits: Pixabay.com

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The 3Rs Series Returns With More Reads and Leads!

 


Whether your goal is to get in the writing groove, get paid for your blogging efforts this year or simply increase your knowledge base, today’s edition of the 3Rs series has got you covered.

So, if you're on board, let's get busy.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback on helpful links or recommended reads.

RECOMMENDED READS ACROSS THE WEB

HOW TO IDENTIFY LEGITIMATE JOBS FOR BLOGGERS

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2255078108444/how-to-identify-legitimate-jobs-for-bloggers-and-avoid-online-scams

PANDEMIC WRITING TIPS

https://inkwelleditorial.com/pandemic-writing-tips

SEO WRITING EXPLAINED

https://thewritelife.com/what-is-seo-writing/

WHAT ARE THE 6 TYPES OF EDITING?

https://blog.reedsy.com/types-of-editing/

HOW TO VIRTUALLY COMMUNICATE WITH C0-WORKERS

https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2140816255358/3-ways-to-virtually-communicate-with-your-coworkers

THE JOURNAL AS ALTER EGO

https://www.chicagowrites.org/blog/entry/the-journal-as-alter-ego

8 WAYS TO BUILD PSYCHOLOGICAL IMMUNITY DURING TOUGH TIMES

https://blog.sivanaspirit.com/mf-gn-build-psychological-immunity/





RESOURCES

FIND FREELANCE JOBS NOW

https://thewritelife.com/find-freelance-writing-jobs/

TOOLS FOR WRITERS (to hone your craft and increase your cash)

https://thewritelife.com/tools-for-writers/

CALLS/CONTESTS

https://www.newpages.com/classifieds






In today's uncertain economic times, it "pays" to enhance and advance ourselves through professional development courses. Whether it's for your 9 to 5 gig or your freelance business.
As writers, it not only allows us to maintain a competitive edge; it also enables us to provide greater value to our clients. Thereby creating a win/win situation for all.
Accordingly, Udemy.com offers an array of online classes at affordable prices.

I've taken a few classes over the years that have been very beneficial.
Hopefully, you will too.

Check out their site for more details here:



Have a great, safe holiday.
...Until next time.


Friday, May 7, 2021

Could a Digital Detox Be "Just What the Dr. Ordered"?

 


There’s no doubt about it. Living in the Digital Age has enhanced and advanced us unlike any generations before.

The Internet and social media apps have allowed us to increase efficiency levels; save time; research without going to the library; work from the confines of home; date and mate; and a host of other awesome things.

And let’s face it: amid the pandemic of 2020/21, it has been crucial in helping us to stay connected and communicate with loved ones near and far, through virtual meetings and themed parties. (Thank God for small blessings.)

Still, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its drawbacks.

Which is why a Digital Detox may be "just what the doctor ordered."
But, before we examine what this entails, a definition here helps to provide greater clarity.

WHAT IS A "DIGITAL DETOX"?

Simply put, a digital detox is when a person commits to going offline and eliminating smart phones, social media apps, etc. for a specified period of time. Often for health, relational and/or quality of life reasons.

According to itstimetologoff.com: “A digital detox is a temporary period of fully disconnecting from all digital devices to focus on social interaction, reduce stress, and be fully present in the world ‘offline’.
The term ‘digital detox’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, just six years after the launch of the first iphone (which kicked off the smartphone revolution).”

HERE ARE 3 REASONS A DETOX MAY BE WARRANTED...




1. Being connected online for extended periods of time can often cause a "disconnect" in our personal relationships at home.

Excessive usage of Facebook and screen time can contribute to our partners and children feeling neglected and less of a priority. Wikipedia reports that " A 2015 survey conducted by Deloitte found that around 59% of smartphone users check a social media platform in the five minutes prior to going to bed, and within 30 minutes of waking up."

2. "Moderation is key with all things."

Many folks find that daily Internet activities can become somewhat "addictive" and distract from other
important responsibilities and goals. In the words of Dr. Phil. "You can't fix what you don't acknowledge first."

3. To recover and rediscover our social skills.

Being on our cell phones and in front of computer screens excessively can contribute to eye strain, back pain and migraines. It can also cause many of us to feel overwhelmed and constantly "on call", if we're not prudent about how we devote our attention and our limited hours. Not to mention, what it does to diminish our in-person social skills and the art of conversation.

IN CONCLUSION...

Sometimes, in this fast-paced world we need to "disconnect" to reconnect with greater priorities, things that matter and simple pleasures.


Thoughts here? Have you ever done a digital detox?





Image credits: Pixabay.com