Launching new blog: Being Truly Present

I have started writing a new blog called Being Truly Present.  It is a blog about finding, embracing and living a truly present life, filled with passion balance, clarity and purpose.    I would be honored if you joined me at

Here is the one minute video tour of the blog:

Posted in New Blog | 1 Comment

Pulling it all together…

1337733154_typingAt first glance, social media and writing seem like a perfect match. Writing is a way to communicate. Social media is a forum for communicating. Writing is an expression of the author’s thoughts, insights, feelings, perspectives – the story they want to tell. Social media is a forum for sharing that story through web-based platforms, applications and technologies.

Through social media, everyone has the opportunity to share their story whether it’s in short 140 character snippets via Twitter, the tenor of their voice in podcasts, their choice of imagery, sound and dialogue in videos, what they “like” on Facebook, who they connect with on LinkedIn or what they blog about. There are many different ways to tell a story.  Social media provides the avenue to reach out via the internet and connect, share, collaborate and socially interact in the telling of the story.

words-1But wait a minute. Is it really that simple? Using social media to reach others sounds good in theory. But do you really know how to use…really use…social media?

When you blog, tweet or post a message on Facebook, is your message truly being received?   If you only wanted to write for yourself and no one else, than you wouldn’t be using social media. Social media is about connecting with others – social interaction through the web. Key word: interaction. Interaction means two-way. Message sent and message received. As a writer, if you have words that you think are worth sharing, don’t you want to know that they’ve reached someone?

Ahh…there it is. That’s what makes social media and writing a bit more complicated. If your goal is to write for the pure joy of writing and you don’t really care social-media-mix1if anyone reads it, then using social media is pretty straight forward. Set up a free account and start writing your blog. Or set up a Twitter account and start tweeting away. But if you want to write for a living, write to have more than just family and friends read your blog, then social media becomes a bit more complicated.   Social media becomes about marketing yourself. If you want to be heard, you need to be strategic about how you send the message. It’s about having a goal and making a plan to determine which social media platforms, applications and technologies will best serve you in reaching that goal.

So what is my goal, as a wannabe writer? What is my plan? Which social media platforms will best serve me?

Firsgoalst off, my goal:

To write what I am passionate about, what I believe in, from an authentic, real place within myself.  My words will have depth, have value and contribute something to the well-being of others. 

In time, I will be paid enough to feel good about what I am contributing to meet our financial goals but this will not be about financial payment.  This will be about the bigger “payment” that I will receive on a spiritual and emotional level: my words will reach someone who needs it.

So how do I plan to do this?  With a little bit of help and guidance from the Stikz kids, in this episode of Kids Answering Adult Questions.

Posted in How to Blog, YouTube | 4 Comments

Videos and me…

When we were given the course outline several weeks back and I saw the module on videos, my reaction was not what you’d call positive.  More like dread.  I like to write…but a video?  Well, much to my surprise, I do like making videos.  Why?  The process is similar to writing.  And no, I’m not just talking about the writing of a script.  It’s the whole process: the creativity involved, the expression, the sharing of a message that hits a bit deeper when it is seen and heard.  It takes the written word to a different level.  A level, this bookworm never really valued before.

I love reading.  I love the feel of the pages, the smell of the paper..but I know I’m a dying breed.  E-books and audiobooks are becoming more and more the norm:

      • In the 2007 article Why are Audiobooks so Popular Today? it states:  Today it is estimated that audio book sales in the United States is over $2 Billion Dollars a year.
      • In the 2012 article  7 Reasons Why Your Book Should Also Be an Audiobook: Reason #5: Audio Books Give You Access to Non-Readers…there are millions of people in the world who hate reading, but love listening.  Reason#6: Having an Audiobook Makes You Easier to Find…there are over 100,000 books on Audible. There are millions of books on Amazon. I can’t think of an easier way to break your book out of the crowd than to turn it into an audiobook.
      • And then there is Kabani’s book that takes the concept of audiobooks into the realm of video: …the vast majority of people, when given the choice, prefer to watch rather than read….on average, Americans aged 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.  And you can bet that web video is only further fueling this difference in time spent watching versus reading across all age groups.

Okay.  So what does this mean for me, as a wannabe writer?  It means I may need to embrace the idea of using videos.

So here’s my attempt at embracing videos.  The rest of my thoughts on how to integrate video into my new life as a writer….you guessed it….will be in video format.  It also gives me a chance to try out Xtranormal.  So here are my final thoughts in a brief video:

Posted in YouTube | 4 Comments

Watching and learning…

This module on videos has been a real eye-opener.  If you read my previous post I want off the YouTube Rollercoaster, you know that I had some highs and lows getting my first video done.  I say “first” because after I Found Amazing Software, I created another video…and have since created another one (our kitchen reno – posted it on Facebook), and another one (to be released at Christmas).  Hey…I’m getting my 7 free days worth!.

And now, after watching my colleagues videos, I’m tempted to go back and try a few more things.

Tempted….but real life is calling me.

So…how did my colleagues videos inspire me?  Wow…where to start?  First off, I’d have to say that those who used Xtranormal really opened my eyes.  When I was considering how to do my first video, I didn’t think much of Xtranormal and crossed it off my list.  Too limiting.  Too robotic.  But then…I watched some of my colleagues videos. 

One did an Extranormal video from a child’s perspective (Adrienne & Owen Discuss Christmas), another did one based on a spaceship (Bra Fitting on a Spaceship) and yet another used it as a quick way to redirect you to her Snape presentation (Newfoundland: Spectacular Views, Spectacular People).  As I watched each, it made me re-think the limitations I put on Xtranormal.  So much so, that I plan to go back and play around with it a bit (real life can wait a bit longer – lol)

The other thing that stood out for me when watching my classmates videos, was how the same platform can be used in different ways.   Many of us used some form of a Powerpoint presentation.  One used it to add a bit of visual to a predominantly auditory exercise (Mindfulness Moment) while another used images and words together to make you both laugh and think (Things we learn from Cats).   Still another used Powerpoint to take something straightforward like Japanese treats and made it visually appealing and interesting (The Way of Wagashi).  And others used Powerpoint to share profound messages (Gifts for the Grieving and The Seed is Sown).  After watching all of them, I was struck by how much can be done with Powerpoint when it is melded with screen recording and video editing software.

Interestingly, only two of my classmates (so far) did a video where we could actually see them.  One was a Rick-Mercer-style-Rant (My Run Rant).   The other had laugh-out-loud captions of the dog’s thoughts during the making of the video (Jackson the Dog).  Both took a traditional video format but put an interesting twist on it.

So…what have I learned from watching my classmates videos?  In a nutshell…I’d like to watch more of them and do more of them myself.  Why?  Because it’s a creative outlet.  It’s a way of expressing a part of ourselves.  I learned a little bit more about each of my classmates by watching their video – the topic they chose and the style they chose.  Brings me back to the title of this module Broadcast Yourself: Going Visual with Videos.  We really are choosing to broadcast a part of ourselves, whether our face is on the screen or not.  We’re showing a part of ourselves.  And, I for one, like what I’ve seen in my classmates and in myself.

Posted in YouTube | 4 Comments

Found amazing software…

I am so excited.  I just found some amazing software (free 7-day trial) and was able to do a YouTube video that has the “Wham factor” I was looking for.  I’ll  share the links…but first watch the video 🙂

The software is called Videoscribe.  There were three very helpful YouTube videos that walk you through how to use it:

The video clips are for the pro version (which you have to pay for) but you can do most of what he describes with the free version.  I’d recommend checking out their site for more information.  If I decide to do more YouTube videos, this software would definitely make my short-list.

Posted in YouTube | 9 Comments

What is your Intent?

Hurray!  I did it.  Ya-hoo!  Ya-hoo!  My first YouTube video.

You can hear me breathe a bit too much…but…I’m still happy with it.  Please check it out!  (and hit the like button – I’ll pay you later – lol)

Posted in YouTube | 21 Comments

I want off the YouTube Rollercoaster…

This “create a YouTube video” has been a rollercoaster.  Ups and downs.  Ups and downs.  I was so excited, thinking I’d be able to do something with animation.  Movement.  Power.  Remember the Social Media Revolution 2012 video we watched the first week?  Or Evolution Web 1.0, Web 2.0 to Web 3.0?   I had it all figured out in my head.  I knew the topic I wanted (spoiler alert:  What is your Intent for Today?) and could even visualize how it would look.  I was just motoring up the rollercoaster, getting higher and higher, so filled with ideas.

But I couldn’t figure out how to do it.  Do I not have the software?  Or am I’m lacking the know-how?  And the Camtasia tutorials?   Do they think I’m Steven Spielberg?!?  Sigh…after several hours searching the internet, I decided I’d have to scale down my idea.

Woooshhhh…down the rollercoaster I went.

Okay.  So I’ll do a creative Powerpoint presentation that I can upload to YouTube via Camtasia.  Not the boring ones to music that my Dad emails me (sorry Dad).   No, mine will still have the impact I want.  Meaning.  Something attention-grabbing so the video pulls you in to the message.  A message that makes you think.  Shouldn’t be too hard.  At least this part of the Camtasia tutorial made sense to me. Just have to figure out how to get the “Wow” I’m looking for.  So, off I go again exploring the internet, looking for ideas on how to make a Powerpoint presentation spectacular.  Found some interesting links that enabled me to customize some pictures.  Looked through myriads of posts on until I found the ones I wanted.  More pictures.  Scripted it out so it had a bit of the “Wham” factor I was looking for. 

Back up the rollercoaster I go.  Getting excited again.  Maybe I can still make this work?

Okay…now to add two tracks of sound: my voice plus a bit of background music.  Okay.  Back to the internet to figure it out.  Almost there.

Am I going to “whoosh” down the rollercoaster again?   Or…will this work?  Stay tuned…almost done.

Posted in Uncategorized, YouTube | 2 Comments

YouTube – more than giggles?

I’ll admit it.  My foray into YouTube land has been limited pretty much to clicking on the links sent to me.  Some have resulted in belly laughs (Dancing puppet in car).  Others have saddened me (Amanda Todd’s Message before Suicide).  Still others have both angered and inspired me (Kony 2012).  But prior to this week, I would’ve said that my experience with YouTube had been, well…random.  A few links here and there.  Searching for a funny birthday video to post on a friend’s Facebook page.  Occasionally checking out the most-watched YouTube videos (which usually left me with the feeling, “Uh…that’s funny?  More like Idiocracy at its best”).   But this week I did something different.   I actually took the time to really search YouTube to find videos that were meaningful to me, as a fledgling new writer.  And wow…there is a lot of material out there!  Instructional videos for new writers, tips, interviews.  A plethora of information.   One could spend hours and hours watching all of the videos.  Where to start?

Well, interestingly enough, the first two YouTube videos that I watched were produced by  Being the ever curious person that I am, I clicked on the link and found an amazing website whose goal is to help sift through the overwhelming amount of information out there.  In their words:

Big Think is a knowledge forum…we aim to help you move above and beyond random information, toward real knowledge, offering big ideas from fields outside your own that you can apply toward the questions and challenges in your own life.  Every idea on Big Think comes from our ever-growing network of 2,000 Big Think fellows and guest speakers, who comprise the top thinkers and doers from around the globe….Our editors then sift through the submitted ideas and determine which qualify to appear on Big Think, subjecting each to our simple, three-pronged standard geared to your interests:

  • significance — how will this idea change the world and impact your life?
  • relevance — what groups and individuals does this idea most affect?
  • application — how can this idea change the way you think or act?

Pretty amazing, huh?  Can’t wait to go back and explore it further.  But first, back to YouTube videos and writers.

Below are three YouTube videos that I watched.  Why did I chose these ones?  After being totally overwhelmed with all the videos that popped up, I decided to simply pick three that jumped out at me (or I would’ve spent hours and hours watching them all).   If you want to watch the video, click on the YouTube image or the link within the write-up.

The first was a 12 minute instructional video on Storyboarding, by author and writing instructor Mary Carroll Moore.  Although the sound was a bit echo-y, I found the concepts easy to follow and informative (at least to a novice like me).  It was also a great example of using YouTube for marketing , as the video was made prior to the release of her 2011 book: Your Book Starts Here.

Another video I watched was a short interview with Stephen King.  Why?  Because the title caught my attention: Writing is hypnosis.  This was a short (2:40) interview where the famous author spoke of how having a daily routine helps him fall into a  writing trance.  He also spoke briefly about e-books, with these parting words “If you drop a book in the toilet you can fish it out and dry it off and read it.  If you drop your Kindle in the toilet, you’re done.”   Mr. Horror made me smile – who would’ve thunk it. 🙂

The last one that caught my eye was an interview with author Paul Auster, with its intriguing title Staring Down the Challenges of Writing.  This was another short interview (3:47) published by BigThink.  Watching the full 30 minute interview, requires you to go to the Big Think website.  Good marketing ploy – it got me to go there.  I found the interview with the author both interesting and inspiring.  I love his final comment, when he talks about what he says to himself when he gets stuck:

“If this book needs to be written, if it’s something valuable, if it has the power that I think it might, then I’m going to figure it out.   And all I have to be is patient.  Sometimes it’s a matter of taking a couple of days off.  Sometimes it’s a month off, which happened with this new book, Invisible.  I took about 6 weeks off just to meditate on what I wanted to do with it.  And then lo and behold you’re rolling again.  I don’t know why this happens but I think it’s so much a matter of the unconscious telling you what to put on the page and if you’re listening and relaxed enough to be able to listen, it will happen”

Inspiring quote, isn’t it?  “If you’re listening and relaxed enough to be able to listen, it will happen”.

I guess there is more to YouTube than giggles.

Posted in YouTube | 3 Comments

Podcasts and Me

I see the value of podcasts.  I do.  If I want to market myself as a writer one day, podcasts may have to be a part of my repertoire.

According to the article The Digital Affair: Podcasting makes  marketing sense for authors. “They’re important marketing tools as well as an  art form in and of themselves,” Bennett states. The literary public expects  authors to maintain a web presence that presents information about the author’s  work and life.  Bennett says podcasting  provides inexpensive content for a writer’s site that can draw new users as  well as seasoned readers. Another advantage is the simplicity factor. Content  is uploaded to an aggregator, which builds interest in an author’s work and  generates back links to a writer’s website. Podcasts also connect existing fans  and potential new fans.

The article also goes on to give the following example: Sci-fi author Scott Sigler turned rejection slips into a podiobook dynasty, of  sorts. He recorded his first book, EarthCore,  in 2005, dividing it into 22 episodes. He posted the installments online and  e-mailed free to subscribers. When his second novel released, he had an  established listenership of 30,000.That’s when the print  publishing offers surfaced.

So yes, I need to be more open to the concept of podcasting, as it definitely fits in the writing world.

Maybe I can get away with writing the script for the podcast and hiring someone to read it for me?  Hmm…didn’t one of my classmates say that her husband has a radio background?!?  🙂

Posted in Podcasts | 3 Comments

Better you than me..

That’s how I feel about podcasts.  I’m thrilled that there are people out there creating and publishing podcasts so that we can all listen to them.  Thrilled and grateful.  Because if you’re doing it…than that means I don’t have to.

Let me explain.

I love the concept of podcasts.  Doing the research for my podcast was a lot of fun.  But the actually recording of it?  Nope.  I’m in love with the written word, not the spoken word.  Too many years of being a therapist – talking and listening.  I like the solitude of writing.  I like the freedom of spilling out words on the page, then going back and tweaking them, playing with them, switching them around…until they have a rhythm that I like.  But with a podcast?  It doesn’t feel natural.  Even scripted and read, it just takes the mystery of the words away.  Does that make sense?   They have a different tenor when they are spoken aloud.

But wait a minute.  What am I saying?

Words spoken aloud resonate in a different way.  And…sometimes they can be even more powerful.   Right now, I’m thinking back to an experience I had at a week-long yoga retreat.  On the last day we were asked to spend the day in silence and journal about our experience.  I remember sitting out on the deck and writing for over 2 hours straight.  Pages and pages poured out of me.  It was a profound, amazing experience.  But…when I think about it now, it wasn’t until I actually read it out loud (to myself), that I cried.  Hearing it, hit me at a different level.  And I’ve found this to be the case on several occasions now that I think about it.  Reading a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul and being so touched by it that I read it to my husband – and finding my voice crack with emotion as I read it aloud (much to my husband’s discomfort – smile).

So..the power of the spoken word.  I guess that’s what a podcast can capture.

Maybe I’ll need to get over my self-consciousness about my lisp and…maybe…try this again?

Hmmm…I think I’ll need to think this over a bit more.

Posted in Podcasts | 14 Comments