"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Motivation Monday! Quotes to Inspire & Inform

 


Greetings, Readers!
Whether you're experiencing a "Manic Monday," need a mood-pick-me-up, or simply seek advice for a better approach to life, today's quotes suit an array of purposes.
They come from a variety of sources--some may be familiar, while others I'm betting will be new.
If you're creative, you can even use them as writing prompts to jump start future essays, articles or blog posts.
So, pick up a cup of your favorite brew, read through, and enjoy!

MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES TO MOVE YOU FORWARD...



"Never say anything which doesn't improve the silence."
 
"To thrive in life you need three bones: A wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone."
 
"Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations."
 
"Don't strive to be better than others; strive to be better than your best self."
 
 
 
 
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily." --Zig Ziglar

"Only you can control your future."--Dr. Seuss

"Take another bite of chocolate. It’ll help."--Anna Marie Gire

"Successful people have big libraries. So read to succeed!"--Shel Horowitz

"The greatest revenge is to accomplish what others say you can not do."

"Sometimes God will shake you up to move you forward."--Jennifer Brown Banks

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."--Eleanor Roosevelt

"Life is about using the whole box of crayons."


Thanks for reading!

Thoughts? What's your favorite quote?



Image credits: Pixabay.com



 

Friday, February 9, 2018

This Valentine's Day-The Art of Seducing Your Readers


 
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
 
 
There’s an art to seduction. Whether it’s love-oriented or literary. In fact, whether or not you realize it, your writing represents a “relationship” with your readers. Particularly if you’re a blogger currently active on the scene.

Are you committed? Are you good “relationship material“? Or are you merely seeking a casual, temporary, until something better comes along “booty-call“?

If your goal is to create quality connections, cultivate a cohesive bond between you and your audience, and go the distance, there are a few tips to “courting” them that you’ll need to know.
Consider this post like a Cosmo Magazine “how to please your mate” guide.
(Candles optional).

If you’re in the mood, let’s get started. Shall we…?
 

HERE ARE 8 WAYS TO GET IN BED WITH YOUR READERS (AND STILL RESPECT YOURSELF IN THE MORNING)






 
 
 
1. BE ATTENTIVE TO THEIR NEEDS

Like any successful relationship, it’s crucial that you cater to your readers’ needs. Do you know what those needs are? In other words, what’s your readers’ motivation for visiting your site? Is it to be entertained? To get the 4-1-1 on celebrity gossip? To get ahead in their creative careers? What are their pain points or problem areas? Your job is to translate this knowledge into something that helps to enhance them, inspire them, or create magical moments.

2. DON’T FEAR INTIMACY

Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Communicate with honesty and depth. It’s okay to let us see you without all your make-up on. You’re still beautiful. Share your fears. Your shortfalls. Your future dreams. This can be accomplished through anecdotes,
“ah-ha” moments, and real-life revelations. Remember, sharing is caring.

3. DISPLAY PASSION

Don’t “fake the feeling.” Your interaction with your readers should convey that you are truly excited about words and language, their power and their impact--and your role.
A passionate writer chooses expressions carefully; cares about the reader’s experience; stimulates through the use of sensory words; and spends quality time in producing work.

4. CULTIVATE GOOD LISTENING SKILLS

There’s nothing that engenders real regard and affection like listening. In the words of the Verizon commercial: “Can you hear me now?” Everybody likes to feel validated and heard. Are you “listening” to your readers through their comments? Posed questions? Suggestions? Surveys and polls conducted? “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply,” states famous author, Steven R. Covey.
Surveymonkey.com provides tools and techniques to tap into the minds of your readers and address their concerns, issues (and if you’re lucky, even their fantasies).

5. KEEP THE COMPETITION IN MIND

Never take your “intended” for granted. There’s always someone waiting in the wings to “woo” them and turn their heads. Did you know that according to Statista.com,“ The number of bloggers in the United States is set to reach 31.7 million users in 2020”? Like it or not, each of us are in competition for the valuable time and attention of today’s busy readers. Step up your game to stand out, stay relevant and to keep your date card punched.

6. EXTEND ROMANTIC GESTURES

Give some to get some. You know how flowers, candy and Hallmark cards can make a favorable impression with others? Along the same lines, free E-books, give-aways, links to resources and valuable information products can also show your appreciation to readers and foster a “warm and fuzzy feelin’.”
 
7. BE CONSISTENT

Don’t be a no-show when the novelty wears off, or when the hard work kicks in. Stay in touch.
Quite often "out of sight, out of mind."

8. LAUGH TOGETHER

Whether it's through corny jokes, trending topics or mistakes made and lessons learned.
Laughter lightens the heart.


Once you master the art of seduction, you'll score with your readers time and time again.
Follow these "romancing your readers" tips for optimal success.


Have a Happy Valentine's Day and a wonderful writing week ahead!


"LOVE"

JEN


Image credits: Pixabay.com

Monday, February 5, 2018

Pen & Prosper Honors Black History Month

February marks National Black History Month. A time to recognize, honor and embrace the collective contributions of people of color.

Accordingly, I thought it would be fun and interesting to share with you a few Black bloggers that are worthy of note. Good writing/blogging in my opinion has no color; it has universal appeal.
Which is why those that are being featured might just make it on your future blog roll list.

Here, in no particular order are four for this month:


 

MONIQUE OF DIVAS CAN COOK!

 
 
As many of you are aware, I'm a "foodie" at heart. I love to cook for family and friends and stumbled across Monique's site while doing some recipe "sleuthing" on line. 
Her site has beautiful, delicious recipes to please almost any palate. Monique is on a mission to show today's progressive woman that it's okay to be "liberated" and love being in the kitchen too.
 

KEMBALA EVANS OF GAIN MONEY CONTROL

 
Kembala provides sage advice here on how to save money, get ahead and increase your financial I.Q.
 

EVELYN PARHAM, M.S.

 
 
Evelyn helps readers to "take charge of their health and own it!" On her site you'll find an array of interesting articles on healthy eating and weight management. A great blog for those of you who have made weight loss one of your new year's resolutions.
 

SYBIL CHAVIS OF POSSIBILITY OF TODAY

 
 
 
Sybil is a Harvard graduate who knows her stuff. Through her popular site she shares tips and strategies to overcome obstacles and enhance the quality of life.
 
Chavis and her husband decided to engage in a simple act that had major impact. They vowed to give up complaining for 40 days. This ushered in a new way of thinking and a new way of life. Read how having a paradigm shift and a positive mental state can transform your relationships, your career, and your overall perspective. You'll find a lot of interesting topics, resources, and posts worth pondering here.  Imagine the possibilities!
 Sybil has also been a guest post contributor to Pen & Prosper. You can read more of her work below: 
 

 
 
If time permits, I hope you'll visit these diverse, enlightening sites and expand your reading horizons.
 
Happy Black History Month!
 
 
 
 
 
Comments? Thoughts?
 
Image credits: BHM and Celebrate
Pixabay.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, January 29, 2018

4 Fears Every Writer Must Face in Their Career

  

Let's face it: life is full of fears real and imagined...
  • In a tough economy, the fear exists of losing our jobs.
  • Then there's the fear of keeping our jobs and being stuck and suffocated indefinitely.
  • Add to this the fear of not having a bikini-ready body by summer (ok, this is mostly me). 
For writers, the plot thickens. We are often faced with a myriad of fears, that if not handled properly can sabotage our success. Today we'll look at a few of them.
Because as Dr. Phil states: "You can't fix what you don't acknowledge first."

With this in mind, here are four of the most common phobias writers face:





The Fear of Rejection

Writing makes us vulnerable. Sharing our thoughts, feelings and experiences in public forums can be a bit scary. What if people don't like us? Or disagree with us? Or criticize us? Or make fun of us? What if editors say "no" to our submissions? The fear of rejection keeps a lot of writers grounded and "undiscovered." Don't let it be you. Develop a thick skin. And keep moving forward. Rejection as a writer is as common as cold weather in the winter. 

The Fear of Stolen Ideas & Projects

Though creative theft does exist, it's more of an exception than a general rule. Most writers and publishing professionals think that their ideas are way better than other people's anyway. Besides, few would want to take on the risk of being sued. If you are seeking more security of your written materials, you can get copyrights for added protection. Learn more here:

The Fear of Poverty

How many of us chose alternative college majors because we were told that writing was more of a hobby than a "real" career? I know I did. But here's the truth of it. There are writers that are rich, successful, famous and living the good life. Think J.K. Rowling. Think John Grisham. And how about Danielle Steel? Granted, the odds are against you reaching their level; still, with diligence, confidence, and consistency you could earn more than your 9 to 5 gig. "Think and grow rich."

The Fear of Failure

Also known as Atichyphobia, is labeled by Fear.net as one of the biggest barriers to success.
Remember that failure does not have to be permanent. Consider how many times famous inventors "failed" before ultimately finding solutions and products that greatly enhance our everyday existence today.
"If at first you don't succeed, try try again."


What phobias do you battle to fend off? Here's an interesting compilation for inquiring minds:


Thoughts? Don't be "afraid" to leave a comment. :-)






    




Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Pen & Prosper Celebrates National Soup Month!



Did you know that January is National Soup Month?
I happened to be doing some online research and uncovered this fun fact.
And since I am devoted to "nurturing" the mind, body, spirit and creativity of my readers,
I was inspired to write and share this post today.

So, let's dig in, shall we...?

January and National Soup Month are a perfect pairing.
Much like wine and cheese. Or peanut butter and jelly. Or Starsky and Hutch.
Why? You ask.
Because, there’s really no better time to consume soup than January--given the brutal winter temperatures and the need for “comfort” foods.

I love soups. They're hearty, healthy, and easy to prepare. You'll find my cupboards stocked with an array of different brands and versions, year-round. Though I have not mastered making them from scratch yet.
(Does beef stew count?)

If you'd like to try your hand at a few home-made versions, check out these great recipes, provided by Campbell Soups:

https://www.campbells.com/kitchen/recipe-collections/its-national-soup-month/

Now, to "feed" your curiosity, here are a few interesting soup facts from around the web:




  •  Soups can be consumed cold or hot, depending upon the climate and region served.

  • Americans consume more than 10 billion bowls of soup yearly.

  • Chicken Noodle is reported to be the most popular soup in the U.S.

  • Soups are basically classified into two groups: thick soups and clear soups.

  • The earliest archaeological evidence for soup consumption dates back to 6000 BC, and was hippopotamus soup.



A FEW WAYS TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL SOUP MONTH
 
SHARE YOUR FAVORITE SOUP RECIPE AS A BLOG POST
HOST A "SOUP SWAP" AT YOUR PLACE FOR FRIENDS
DONATE SOUP TO A SHELTER
READ STORIES FROM "CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL"
TO YOUR STUDENTS OR CHILDREN
ASK YOUR MOM TO SHARE SOME OF HER RECIPES
 
As you can see, the possibilities here are endless! So what are you waiting for?
 
Here's wishing you a "Souper" week!
Thoughts? What's your favorite soup?

 
 

 
 
Image credits: Pixabay.com

 

 

 

 




 



Friday, January 19, 2018

8 Lessons Death Taught me About Living More Fully




“The unexamined life is not worth living.”---Socrates
 
Many times, without realizing it, we operate on “auto-pilot.”We maintain jobs that deplete us of our joy, peace of mind, and sense of purpose, to pay the bills.
Or we endure love-less relationships because they are safe and familiar.
Or we hold silly grudges that weigh us down like boulders.
Or we allow others to impose their agendas and personal opinions on our life’s unfolding, to our detriment. We go along to get along.

Until something tragic or magic happens to cause a reality check.
For me, it was the untimely death of my brother, Peter. He wasn’t even retirement age, yet. His passing seemed so random, so unreal.

To make matters worse, about a month later, one of my closest friends lost her sister to Cancer. Ironically, her sister had never been a smoker or drinker, and had been in reasonably decent health all her life.

In the aftermath death seemed unkind, unfair, unreasonable.
Mired in unspeakable pain and loss, I was forced to examine my own life.
Let’s face it: We all have a “death sentence” attached.

If it could happen to them prematurely, it could happen to me. It could happen to you. Which is why it’s so important to make whatever time we have left here on this earth count.

Life is often compared to a classroom; here are some of the lessons it revealed to me in 2017. I share them with you to shorten your learning curve; in that we are all students of life.

Class in session…




1. MAKE SELF-CARE A PRIORITY
I spend more time than I should responding to the dictates of others, as opposed to carving out my days in my own way. Honoring requests, meeting deadlines, making a dent in my “to-do” list. As opposed to getting that much needed pedicure or massage, or championing my own personal causes. Sometimes leaving this "Super Woman" super tired. Sound familiar? It’s great to have a giving spirit, but self-love requires that we remember to put ourselves first, so that we can be fulfilled. When we are personally fulfilled, we can give to others our “best” self.
If you've already mastered this one, move to the head of the class.

2. GIVE PEOPLE THEIR “ROSES” WHILE THEY ARE LIVING
We often take for granted that people know how we feel. Or that we will find time to tell them… one day. Don’t wait til it’s too late. Spend less time on social media and more time interacting and communicating with your kids; visit an elderly relative who might feel isolated; tell an overworked spouse how much they are appreciated and valued. It’s never too soon. Love is a verb.

3. DON’T PUT OFF THOSE PASSION PROJECTS
Make this your “year of yes!” Start that blog. Finish that novel. Start that business.
Get in gear. Though some writers have become famous after their deaths, I’m guessing that you don’t wanna’ be one of them. J

Read more about these writers here:
 https://booksonthewall.com/blog/10-authors-became-famous-after-death/

4. STRIVE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
As a wise man once said: “No one can do everything, but everybody can do something.”
Volunteer. Mentor. Model. Donate.

5. GET YOUR “HOUSE” IN ORDER
Don’t just be prepared for life; prepare for death. Like taxes, it’s inevitable.
Get insurance; make out a will; forgive others; consider your soul’s salvation.

6. PREPARE A BUCKET LIST
What exciting thing would you like to do in your lifetime? What foreign places are you longing to visit? What fear would you like to overcome? Write it down. Prioritize it.
It will give you something to look forward to. It’s a great way to live with fewer regrets and more joy.

7. CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY
Friends are like “shock absorbers” in the bumpy roads of life. They are angels here on earth. Good ones enrich and feed us like a hearty meal. When my brother died, the love, support, kindness, phone calls, donations, shared laughter and tears of friends that span the globe, reminded me of how richly I was blessed, even in my time of loss.

8. TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED
Things can change in an instant. Save money for that rainy day. Preserve your health. Count your blessings. Live life to the fullest. Tomorrow is not promised.


May these lessons help you to live with greater life mastery and fewer detours on the path to happiness. Namaste.

 

Which lessons here have you mastered? Which do you struggle with?
What would you add?


Image credit:
Chalkboard, Pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

It's Back! The 3R's Series Returns for 2018


 
On information overload?
Don't know where to start to move you forward in your writing goals?
Want to work "smarter, not harder"?
Pen & PROsper has got you covered.

From what's hot in online reads, to resources, to reviews on products and services beneficial to today's writers.
So, if you're on board, let's get busy.
 

RECOMMENDED READS AROUND THE WEB


HERE’S WHAT JEN RECOMMENDS FOR THE NEW YEAR…

WRITING A BLOG DISCLAIMER

 
https://www.blogherald.com/2007/10/02/writing-a-blog-disclaimer/

HOW TO AVOID BEING A BLOG SNOB

http://karenelange.blogspot.com/2017/12/how-to-avoid-being-blog-snob.html

6 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR TAX SEASON

https://thewritelife.com/prepare-for-tax-season-now/

TEACHING KIDS TO APPRECIATE EVERYDAY WONDERS

https://blog.sivanaspirit.com/mf-gn-inspire-kids-appreciate-wonders/

3 REASONS YOUR PRODUCTS ARE NOT SELLING

http://www.ninaonlinelv.com/3-reasons-products-selling/
 

4 REASONS TO START A BLOG IN 2018

https://problogger.com/start-a-blog-in-2018/

 
CREATE YOUR 1ST HOT SELLING PRODUCT!



RESOURCES AND LEADS


CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS

$400.00 FOR ESSAYS ON HEALTH CHALLENGES

https://medium.com/@folksstories/come-write-for-us-we-pay-2c9915324287

RUMINATE BLOG SEEKS GUEST BLOGGERS
https://ruminatemagazine.submittable.com/submit/46968/ruminate-blog-submissions

WRITING GROUP STARTER KIT
https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/writing-groups/writing-group-starter-kit/

 

REVIEW





 
If one of your goals this year is to beautify your home or office, plants are a great way to accomplish this. Plants provide color, visual appeal and style.
Both artificial plants and live ones have their advantages; I have both in my home. 
 
The images you are viewing now reflect a lovely, artificial plant that adorns my basement. I received it from Thermaleaf.com Fire Retardant Artificial Foliage. What I dig about it is that it requires no maintenance, complements any decor, and can be placed in interior or exterior spaces. 
It looks much like my live ones.
I would rate it ****1/2 stars out of 5.
The only thing I would change is the base container. I would have liked something a little bigger with a warmer tone. But, overall I'm betting you would be pleased to have your very own.
 
For a vast array of styles, sizes and price ranges, visit Thermaleaf.com.
 
 
 
 
This ends this month's edition of the 3R's. Wishing you a wonderful, progressive writing week!
 
Comments? Questions?