• Open Letter to Sarah Lockard of AroundMainLine


    Dear Sarah:

    I know we don’t know each other, but I’ve been following the fallout fiasco from your restaurant email that was leaked and I want to say

    I’M SORRY.

    I’m sorry that there was someone who you reached out to for business who decided that sharing a private email (and your information) was OK.

    (more…)

  • @TheBlogWorkshop Provides Bloggers Resources and Networking


     

    The Blog Workshop UniversityOne of the difficult things about being a blogger these days is that there is so much information out there to help you with your blog. It can be overwhelming just trying to determine who to follow, what to read and when to update. So, you end up following a ton of sites and people so you can get in exactly what you need to know … and then you get overwhelmed and just stop all together.

    Sounds familiar, right?

    Wouldn’t it be convenient if you could find all of that in one place–the networking, the SEO info, the blogging tips, the conferences? That would rock, right?

    Well you now you can!

    The Blog Workshop

    The Blog Workshop is an awesome community for bloggers, workshops for learning and training, meeting others and networking, TBW University, conferences and so much more … all in one place. No surfing around the Internet seeking out info, no asking others and compiling results. It’s all on one site! (Cool, right?)

    Want to get started? Check out the Surviving SEO Workshop to jump right in. (Because, really? who doesn’t need more information on search engine optimization?)

    Also, we’ve missed the #TBWC13 this year (bummer, I know), BUT you can still get access to all the conference recordings and notes! I’m totally watching them. Join me? (All the cool bloggers are…)

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  • Karing Card Club | Happiness


     

    Karing Card Club-April's Card from @JulieDutch

    When I agreed to partner up and help get the word out about the Karing Card Club for bloggers, I didn’t realize how much I would look forward to the mail each month. Remember when you used to get excited when people would send you fun stuff in the mail? Well, I had forgotten that.

    Karing Kard Club April: Happiness

    Our theme for April was “happiness” and nothing made me happier to find out that I was randomly paired up with my friend Julie!

    Julie (@JulieDutch) is one of those people I connected with on Twitter, but have never met in real life. I don’t remember how we connected, why, or even when, but it now just seems like we’ve been friends forever. We share things publicly and privately about our lives and I often forget that we’ve never met in person before. We just … get each other, ya know?

    Anyway, I’m late sending Julie’s card out (sorry Julie!), but I got my “happiness” card from Julie right on time. (Julie’s probably that kind of person who has calendars for things like this because she seems very organized.) Of course, my card was perfect and referred to our Twitter relationship. It truly made me happy. Thank you, Julie.

    GET INVOLVED! How Karing Card Club Works

    Every month I would like for you to join me and my co-hosts, Kirsten from One Tough Mother and Kendra from Kreative Creationz, in sending a fellow blogger a handmade or store-bought card. Each month there will be a theme for the card. On the first Saturday of the following month we would like for everyone who receives a card to write a post about what the theme of the month means to them and to take a few pictures of the card they received so we all may see. Once you have written your post, come to one of our three blogs and link up your post so others may read it.

    That’s all there is to it! No standing in lines at the post office. No hunting in stores for the perfect gift. No $15 maximum. Just paper, a stamp, and a mailbox!

    To Recap:

    1. Fill out the form each month. (Sign up for May’s theme card exchange: Friendship)

    2. Wait for your Karing Card Club buddy match up to arrive in your email.

    3. Buy or make a card with that month’s theme.

    4. Send the card to your buddy match up.

    5. Write about it by the first Saturday of the month.

    6. Link up your post on one of the host blogs.

    *At this time we are only able to accept participants with U.S. addresses. Your address will be shared privately with other bloggers, so please be sure you are providing an address you are comfortable sharing.*

    May’s Theme: Friendship

    May’s theme is friendship and I would love for you all to join us! To participate for April, just fill out the information by May 17th. We will randomly match you with a partner whom you will exchange cards. Your partner’s information will be emailed to you. Please spread the word, so we can get as many bloggers involved as possible. Use #karecard  and #pursepact when using Twitter to spread the word.

    Link Up Your April Card

    If you participated, don’t forget to link up!


  • Karing Card Club | 6 Reasons I Joined a Blogger Card Club (And Why You Should, Too)


    I have been blessed to connect with so many amazing women doing great things on Project Purse Club. That’s where I “met” Kendra.

    Kendra came up with a great idea after realizing how the bully bloggers get attention, but there are so many non-bully bloggers out there. Kendra said:

    After thinking this through, I have decided that I want a way to celebrate the non-bully bloggers. I want to encourage the bloggers who need encouraging. I want to support the bloggers who need supporting. That’s where the Karing Card Club comes in.

    So Kendra asked me if I would help head up a card club to support and encourage other bloggers.

    My March Card

    March karing card I received from Christa of Keeping Up with the Joneses.We already had a March card. I’m a little late blogging about it because of my two months of illness, but I’m back!

    March’s theme was encouragement and I received this GREAT card from Christa of Keeping Up with the Joneses blog. I didn’t know Christa before this (and I’m going to get to know her better), but the encouragement-themed card she sent was perfect! The last few months have been rough for me, so this funny, encouraging card was so nice to receive in the mail. THANK YOU, CHRISTA!

    Why I Joined  a Snail Mail Card Club

    Honestly, taking on another project is so not what I needed; however, this was such a great movement that I wanted to be part of it. Here’s why I joined:

    1. It’s uplifting.

    Remember when you were a little kid and you got mail? Remember how exciting it was? That’s the same way I felt when I got this card in the mail. How often is it that you actually get fun stuff in the mail now? (I.KNOW.)

    2. It supports a local post office.

    You may have heard, but many of the smaller, rural and local post offices are being closed. Maybe this is just our small part to try to help save some jobs? (And, doesn’t that make you feel good?)

    3. It encourages a fellow blogger.

    Blogging can be a rough gig and sometimes you need fellow bloggers to lift you up by the boot straps. Something as simple as sending a card can help with that.

    4. It exposes you to bloggers you may not have met otherwise.

    There are so many bloggers now that it’s a given that you’re missing out on some great ones. This gives you a chance to meet new ones and grow a personal relationship with them!

    5. It’s a networking opportunity.

    Slip your business cards into the greeting card that you send. It’s a great way to network! Who knows, you might be able to help them with something and they might be able to help you! Remember: networking is key when blogging as a businesses.

    6. It’s a way to “give back” every month.

    It’s just a small way to give back and help someone out every month … even if it’s just a smile.

    How Karing Card Club Works

    Every month I would like for you to join me and my co-hosts, Kirsten from One Tough Mother and Kendra from Kreative Creationz, in sending a fellow blogger a handmade or store-bought card. Each month there will be a theme for the card. On the first Saturday of the following month we would like for everyone who receives a card to write a post about what the theme of the month means to them and to take a few pictures of the card they received so we all may see. Once you have written your post, come to one of our three blogs and link up your post so others may read it.

    That’s all there is to it! No standing in lines at the post office. No hunting in stores for the perfect gift. No $15 maximum. Just paper, a stamp, and a mailbox!

    To Recap:

    1. Fill out the form each month. (April’s Form)

    2. Wait for your Karing Card Club buddy match up to arrive in your email.

    3. Buy or make a card with that month’s theme.

    4. Send the card to your buddy match up.

    5. Write about it by the first Saturday of the month.

    6. Link up your post on one of the host blogs.

    *At this time we are only able to accept participants with U.S. addresses. Your address will be shared privately with other bloggers, so please be sure you are providing an address you are comfortable sharing.*

    This Month’s Theme: Happiness

    April’s theme is happiness and I would love for you all to join us! To participate for April, just fill out the information before April 15. We will randomly match you with a partner whom you will exchange cards. Your partner’s information will be emailed to you by April 17. Please spread the word, so we can get as many bloggers involved as possible. Use #karecard  and #pursepact when using Twitter to spread the word.

    If you participated in March, you can link up here, on Kendra’s blog or on Kirsten’s blog after you write your post! (Same goes for April, we’ll have the link-up live closer to the post date.)




  • 7 Reasons I Love Women Bloggers


     

    I have to be honest, I’m not sure I would’ve made it through the past few years without my online support network of women writers and bloggers. When you choose writing as a profession, and then also choose to homeschool, you can lead a pretty solitary life. You can easily lose yourself and your support network if you’re not careful. That’s why, especially if you are a work-at-home and/or stay-at-home woman, you must gather an online women’s support group around you.

    Unfortunately, women bloggers sometimes get a bad rap and some voice that we can’t form these kind of support groups online. Some say we’re bitches. We’re snarky. We claw at each other. We steal work. We talk behind your back. To listen to some, we basically hate each other and would cut you for looking at us the wrong way. And maybe eat you for breakfast.

    Project Purse Club women hanging out at BloggyCon 2012

    What I Know About Women Bloggers

    Are some women bloggers mean? Sure, but so are some women teachers and women fitness trainers and female gas station attendants. I love how some women bloggers act like this is an issue that is exclusive to the female blogging industry, when we all know it’s not. It’s about how women are treating each other in general. It has been my experience that  the “mean girl bloggers”are in the minority, sometimes they just yell the loudest so it seems like there are more than there are.

    At the end of last year, I started ProjectPurseClub.com to change the climate of how women treat each other in business and blogging. We want to see more lifting up and less tearing down. So, I took the #pursepact challenge this week to celebrate all of the amazing, supportive women bloggers out there–to write public posts about lifting up instead of tearing down.

     

    Seven Reasons I Appreciate Women Bloggers

    1. Fellowship


    Lucky for me, I live in a state with a strong women bloggers network. These women not only will help you with a blogging or writing question and give support on personal issues, but they will also meet up with you  and enjoy getting to know you in person. I love that.

    2. Intelligence

    Although it is going away, there is still a perception that female blogs are filled with a bunch of bored housewives who can’t string together grammatically correct sentences about how much they hate their lives. Actually, female bloggers are some of the most intelligent women I’ve met. We’re talking educated (many advance-degree) ladies who are blogging as a business and kicking ass. Wow.

    3. Imperfections

    I love that women bloggers are so open and willing to share the imperfections about themselves, their relationships, their kids, their work and more. I need to know that I’m not the only one that’s feels liks she’s sucking as a parent, a writer, a businesswoman [insert your own]. I mean, left to my own devices I can take myself down a pretty dark road. So, I love the real voices of women blogging about their imperfections. It helps other people.

    4. Support

    I’ve gone to my women blogging network a lot for support, and, guess what? They aren’t judgmental bitches. Instead, I’ve felt a virtual surrounding of blogger women lifting me up and supporting me. It’s been integral to my mental health in the past few years.

    5. Accountability

    Women bloggers are supportive, but they aren’t afraid to call you on your shit. I like that about them. I’m not of the belief that if someone respectfully disagrees with you then you should unfollow them on your networks and stop interacting with them. I’m open to hearing different viewpoints that make me think.

    6. Talent

    Women bloggers are an amazingly talented group of women. I’m talking published authors, journalists, TV segment stars and so much more. I’ve never met a bigger cross-section of talent than that in the female blogging industry. If you are a business that needs something, go to women bloggers. Seriously.

    7. Networking

    If I need something, I can go to my network of women bloggers and someone in there will be able to help me, whether it be a job, looking for bloggers for a sponsor, writing help, parenting advice and more. Female bloggers kick ass in networking.

    If you are a female blogger who has had bad experiences with other female bloggers before (and, we all have), might I suggest that you let down your guard a little and start getting to know other female bloggers? Start small–one or two women–and go from there. I think you may be surprised.

    If you need a place to get started, check out Project Purse Club, where women are supporting women without judgment. There really are women bloggers out there who lift each other up, so we would love to have you!

    NOTE: I fully intended to include a link to amazing women bloggers in this post, but as I started there were just too many! So, follow Project Purse Club on Twitter (#pursepact) and you’ll see us talk about amazing women you can follow all the time!

  • Things I Learned at BloggyCon (An Unconventional List)


     

    Special thanks to Skyo for sponsoring WritRams at BloggyCon12.

    Last week I was at BloggyCon–one of the most amazing conferences I’ve been to as far as females supporting each other. The overall attitude was that of acceptance and support (FROM A GROUP OF WOMEN. I.KNOW.). If you get a chance to go next year and you’re looking for a non-mean-girl conference environment, then this is the conference for you.

    I learned a lot at BloggyCon. However, I’m not going to talk about the “blogging” things I learned (although there were a lot). If you want to read those conventional “What I Learned” posts (which are fantastic), you can do that from some amazing other bloggers. Instead, I’m going to give you an unconventional list of things that I learned (which may or may not have been compiled over margaritas and appetizers in the hotel bar, but that doesn’t make them any less important).

    Did you ever notice that arrow on the gas pump icon?

    Things I Learned at BloggyCon12


    1. Don’t buy your wine in a box.

    2. Don’t buy your cheese in box.

    3. In the box, not the butt… (reference)

    4. If you’re a speaker, don’t pull back the Wizard of Oz curtain.

    5. Someone gets really, really honest when she’s had, um, adult beverages.

    6. “Flo Rida” comes from Florida. (SERIOUSLY. I.KNOW.)

    7. You can’t fry a chicken in a pizza hut.

    8. That little gas pump symbol on the tank empty/full indicator on your dash? Yeah, that little arrow means that’s the side your gas tank is on.

    9. Four blocks to Johnny Rockets really isn’t four blocks.

    10. There are male “Real Dolls.” They are really heavy.

    11. You can talk to someone at multiple conferences and then find out later that your dads grew up in the same exact county in Appalachia.

    12. You can be “online friends” with someone for two years and get so close that you totally forget you’ve never met in person before.

    13. It’s not stalking until you wear the skin. (Thanks Mondorfment!)

     

    Did you attend BloggyCon? Did you acquire any “unconventional” wisdom? Share it in the comments!

  • 7 Year Itch and Why I’m Stripping Now


     

     

    After a seven year relationship, I’ve decided that I’m stripping.

    Seriously.

    WritRams is Stripping, Can You Believe It?Before you try to talk me out of it and tell me what a great person I am and how I don’t need to stoop to that level, let me tell you that I’ve totally made up my mind. I’m stripping and I’m doing it for me.

    Well, and my blog.

    WritRams Looks Back … And Forward

    I’ve been blogging here since 2005 and this blog has gone through many iterations. Believe it or not, it started as a writing blog (hence the “writer ramblings” part) that was supposed to chronicle me trying to get my mystery novel published. (The mystery novel is complete; I’ve never tried to publish it.)

    Then, we moved from a metropolitan East coast city to a small waterfront community in Michigan and opened a bookstore … on a whim. My blog transitioned into my life there and different happenings. Then, we had a (SURPRISE!) pregnancy and my blog evolved to include parenting.


    Lately however, around the last six months, I’ve felt lost on my blog. I’ve mentioned it a few time on my social networks and gotten feedback from some of you–mostly that you miss the funny WritRams, the one who used to tell hysterical stories about parenting and womanhood and pets. (Yeah, I miss her, too.)

    Most of you know that I keep busy doing other things … and then even more things on top of that. So, by the time I get to my blog, I feel exhausted … and not funny. You see, blogging is a fickle business (and it really is a business for me, this is my “job”–how I make money). If you don’t blog regularly and stay unique and funny and interesting, you lose readers … and that means you lose money. So, I’ve tried to compensate by filling in with some other information instead of just staying true to my voice and blogging when I had something to share. I let volume win out over quality and a little part of me died when I realized this recently.

    So, why am I stripping?

    After seven years, I have decided to strip to make more money … strip down my blog, that is. I’m going back to my tagline: life, parenting, marriage, minutiae. Sure, you will still see reviews and giveaways (because they’re just fun) and sponsored posts (see above about this being a business for me), but I’m returning to my true voice–snarky, sometimes crazy, often emotional WritRams.

    I may not always be funny, but I’ll always be true. I promise that.

     

  • Elusive Balance | Why You Should Stop Striving for Balance Perfection


     

    Each time I hear someone say to me (or someone else) “you just need balance” it makes me want to jab myself in the eye with a ballpoint pen.

    WritRams Balance is Not Possible

    Seriously.

    According to Merriam-Webster’s Online dictionary, the definition of balance is “stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis.”

    Hmm … “even distribution …”

    So, let me get this straight: I need to balance (give “even distribution”) to being a wife, a mom, a business person, an educator, a writer, a blogger, a housekeeper and a pet caretaker? Not to mention, I need to balance  in the time to eat right, be healthy, and exercise?

    And, let’s face it, that’s a very basic list of things each one of us does tries to do daily.What about factoring in school activities and after school activities and kid and relative birthday parties and gatherings and church and volunteering and being a total sexy kitten for…

     

    Read the rest of my post on Bloggers Earn Bucks

  • Making Money Online | Real Truth About How I Make Money on This Blog


    Make Money Online

    Once upon a time way, way, way back in 2005, this blog started as a hobby to chronicle the journey to get my mystery novel completed and published. (You can learn more about that if you want.) Although I’ve been a business consultant for a long time, it was just a little over two years ago that I decided to turn this blog into a business making money and put a lot of research into how to do that.

    Truth-be-told, I’ve always given away more business consulting then what I charge for. It’s just how I am. When I kept hearing over and over “you really need to write a book about this,” I decided to take the challenge.

    I recently released my e-Book “The (Real) Truth About How Blogs Make Money: Tips and Tricks to Turn Your Blog Into a Business (without the BS).”  

    It’s the book I wish I had when first starting out.

    If you’re ready to put in the work turning your blog into a business and making money from it, then this book is for you. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. If you’re looking for that, there are plenty of people and “books” that will take your money and provide no results. No, I’m talking about how to really make money–the truth, from a real blogger who has worked her way to doing it (and is still doing it).

    And, if you have a blog, website, Facebook page, or Twitter account, you can also earn money whenever you refer buyers to my book. Learn more about the affiliate program. (It’s really easy to get started.)

    Now, go forth and make money.

    I am.

  • Bloggers vs. Spouse | A Humorous Infographic on Blogging


    (click to enlarge)
    Spouse vs. Blogger Simple Infographic