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I've decided to take a full-time position as a Senior UX Designer at Teamworks. The software company helps professional and college athletic teams with communications and operations. It's right up my alley - sports and tech combined! Exciting! (Many of you know my first job was writing stories about soccer in 1997).

This means I'm not taking on new consulting clients. I'm sadly saying goodbye to some current clients. I'm also reducing my speaking at conferences to focus on my new job. But I will be continuing to work on my trauma-informed tech project. I also have a diversity in tech workshop in the works with a friend in California. Stay tuned on that.

I'll be putting the blog on pause for now, but you'll hear from me again in the future. Please don't hesitate to contact me at any time.

Wishing everyone happy holidays!

Recent Writing Roundup - Summer 2016

In addition to writing a book these last few months, I've also been doing some writing for Command C, an ecommerce web development shop. You may be able to benefit from these articles as well! 

If you own or help run an ecommerce shop, check out these posts on planning for more holiday sales and the value of loyalty programs.

If you ever think about how authentic you are (or aren't) at work, read The Power of Vulnerability in Business Part 1 and The Power of Vulnerability in Business Part 2

If you are interested (transfixed?) by the presidential campaigns by Clinton and Trump, learn what's been going on with their ecommerce stores. For a while Trump was running a sub-par shop, then the Donald basically copied Clinton. 

Enjoy! And please let me know if you have any questions at all. 

3 Things Journalists Do to Improve Their Writing

Do you write for your own website or someone else's? If so, these three simple practices that journalists often use can help you catch problems before they end up online:

1) Read your writing out loud.

When you sense you have a good draft, stop typing, and read your work out loud. You will often catch phrases that sound awkward. This is essential to do if you don't have an editor checking your work.

2) Print out your writing to review it.

For many of us, it's much easier to find errors on a printed page than on a screen. When I worked at Bloomberg News, I was encouraged to print out my articles in order to check them carefully before submitting them to one of my editors.

3) Ask a friend or colleague to look it over.

An extra set of fresh eyes will see things you can't. For example, if you are a blogger, find someone who can review your blog posts in exchange for reviewing their posts or other writing. Ask for exactly what you want. If you simply want help finding typos, say that. If you are open to getting feedback on clarity or audience relevance, say that as well. You can spend less than 10 minutes helping each other...but these few minutes can make a big difference!

Using these practices will improve the quality of your writing. Typos undermine credibility. Confusing your readers isn't going to help anyone. And if you want to learn more about writing for the web, read Letting Go of the Words by Ginny Redish.

Please share any other practices you use to better your writing before it ends up on the web.

Three Reasons to Go to WordCamp

Wordpress Logo I had a fantastic weekend attending WordCamp Raleigh, a conference for those using or working with WordPress (WP). Just in case you don't know, WP is an open source content-management system and blogging tool based on PHP and MySQL. I use it to run my website and those of my clients.

I learned a bunch of helpful things at WordCamp - plug-ins and e-commerce tools and even some of the history of WP. There were three tracks of sessions you could attend - users, power users, and developers - lots of options no matter what your level of understanding of WP is. Some folks had been using it for years (WP has been around 10 years,) but others had just started exploring it two weeks prior.

Here are three reasons to go to a WordCamp:

1) Ubiquitous use. Approximately 20% of the websites in the world are run on the WordPress system from tiny blogs to major sites like CNN. Even if you think you don't want to use the WordPress system, it's good to understand it so you can compare other systems to it. How else will you know if WordPress is right to use for your business or blog (or those of your clients)?

2) Unbelievably friendly users. Maybe it's the open source thing, but wow, I was impressed by how forthcoming and helpful WordCamp speakers and fellow attendees were. The conference organizers were on site and very nice as well. The event was organized but informal, which I liked.

3) Unbeatable value. Professional development was a stellar deal for a mere $35 conference fee, which also included lunch and a t-shirt. And I was able to sit down with and ask questions directly of core contributors to WordPress. All of my questions were answered, and during the various sessions, I was exposed to features of WordPress that I was unfamiliar with. Super helpful.

So, go check out the upcoming schedule of worldwide WordCamps and see if you can attend!

Three Rules to Avoid the Blog Graveyard

I've seen so many inactive blogs are out there! I'm brainstorming how to avoid ending up in the blog graveyard. Many people, including me, have started blogs and then stopped for various reasons. I understand that some blogs naturally have a short life, but many end because of blogging burnout or other priorities taking over.

To avoid this, I’m coming up with a few rules for my new blog on communication topics:

1) One line is good enough. Sometimes I may not have much to say or time to say it. And that’s ok. One line, one photo, one complete thought is enough for a post.

2) No scheduled content. I refuse to write a blog post because I “should.”  Obligatory blog posts completely ruin the fun of blogging for me. If I don’t have anything to share that is either useful to others OR helpful for me to express, then I wait. This means I may post three times one week, and then maybe not post for another three weeks.

3) Respond to comments. I commit to responding to comments on my blog or social media posts I make. If I don’t, I miss the chance to connect with others, which is one of my main motives for blogging.

With these guidelines in mind, I'm feeling enthusiastic about blogging again!