How to Overcome Writer’s Block

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

For many bloggers, the worst part of writing is the beginning, when you’re sitting at your desk starting at a blank screen and a blinking cursor.

Writer’s block sucks. I know because I’ve been there before. It’s a frustrating feeling that can consume you and stop your creative efforts dead in their tracks.

Overcoming writer’s block is tough. So when I discovered Michael Koenigs 10×10 formula at Ignite Your Fire last Saturday, I had a breakthrough! I was so inspired that I wanted to find a quiet corner in the conference and start working on my 10×10 formula right away!

The beauty behind Koenigs’ formula is that it takes less than a day to start implementing it. It might sound too good to be true but when you see how simple the process is, you’ll be scribbling one idea after the other and waving bye to writer’s block.

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The Power of Animated GIFs

GIF here, GIF there, GIFs everywhere.

From JLaw falling down on the red carpet repeatedly to King Joffrey dying in an episode of Game of Thrones, GIFs are fast becoming the most widely shared content online among Baby Boomers and Millennials.

To understand the rise of animated GIFs in pop culture, it is important to understand:

  • what a GIF is,
  • why they have become so popular in the visual content space, and
  • how they can be beneficial in your marketing strategy.

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Snug Life

Today’s Guest Blogger is Ian grist from TechandTonic. Ian shares his views about the current state of Technology, Business, and Life in general. When he’s not blogging, Ian is playing the bass guitar in the band Dying to Wake.

Now that I have a partner in my love of Snuggies (HeyStephanie!), I’ve done a lot of thinking about the current popularity and unsure future of Snuggies. Are these just going to be a temporary fad? Or are they actually going to stick around and secure a foothold in our society much like blankets did in the 1930’s. Or maybe that was hundreds of years ago. Anyway, your standard blanket has been around for a long time. If some newer blanket technology exists, why are we still using the old kind? Just like no one is still using the 1st generation iPod because newer ones are cheaper, with more storage and color screens – why in the world are people still staying warm with standard blankets?!

Let me take it back a little farther with a better example. In the mid 60’s, the 8-track first came to market. It grew in popularity, and became the established standard for mobile audio throughout the 70’s. However, with the invention of the CD player, and its price dropping over the next ten years, it quickly became the obvious replacement to the 8-track with far superior sound quality. This was the obvious and typical progression as better technology became available, people gave up the older stuff. Such should be the progression of blankets to Snuggies.

It’s my hope that within the next 10 years we will, as a society, begin to phase out the use of regular blankets as people begin to realize that Snuggie’s are far superior. Any standard blanket can be significantly improved with the addition of sleeves. Or skeletor.

This not only provides protection against He-Man, but also provides sleeves for easy access, warmth, and allows you to do all sorts of activities without being inhibited by all the extra material that comes with a standard blanket. They can even be improved with the addition of some Ninja Turtles screen printing. Who can argue with the protection of a half shell and the warmth of Snuggie material?

I hope I’ve provided a convincing case for the longevity of the Snuggie in our culture. I, for one, will not be using blankets for the rest of my life as I transition over to the warm convenience of snuggies.

Updated Publications Page

publicationsInspired by Danny Brown’s media page, I realized that my publications page had become dull and boring with barely any images and lots of text, text, and more text — it was definitely time for an upgrade. My goal was to create an interactive space  that featured video tutorials I uploaded to Viddler and SlideShare presentations. Using Danny’s media page as my inspiration, I  was able to organize my multimedia projects into a clean table with thumbnail images. So please check out my new Publications page and let me know what you think.

If you’ve created your own multimedia page in your blog, please feel free to share the link.

Even Preschoolers Are Blogging These Days

Today’s Guest Blogger is Erin from The State That I Am In. Erin currently teaches preschool special education and shares her thoughts on how she’s managed to incorporate social media with her students and their parents.

I became a blogger shortly after I got married, when I was finishing up graduate school. I’m not really sure why I started a blog then. I didn’t even read blogs at the time. An acquaintance had a blog, and it looked like fun to me. I’d always tried to keep a journal growing up, but I really hate my handwriting and have no patience for writing things out by hand. Plus, I think my thoughts are really important and people should want to read them!

I signed up for a blogger account and spent hours stressing over posting and changing colors and whatnot. I posted randomness about my life (I still do) and gradually began reading and commenting on other blogs. Eventually, I moved from blogger to typepad, from typepad to, and from to my very own self-hosted wordpress blog. I love writing on my blog and have gotten to know so many great people through it! Blogging has become my main hobby, but up until last year, I had never really thought that blogging could be more than a hobby.

At the beginning of the last school year, I became my building’s instructional technology facilitator. In addition to teaching my wee ones, it was my job to teach other teachers how to use the technology we had available to us. Funny how my blogging hobby had actually given me the skills to be qualified to do this. If you’ve ever worked with preschool teachers, you’ll find that they are generally afraid of technology. I actually had to show 10 teachers in my building how to set up and turn on their computers last year!

I knew it was going to be a tricky year. I was going to have to prove to the other teachers that using technology would be worth their time. While talking to another district teacher, I found out that she was starting a blog for her kindergarten students. The idea intrigued me, but I was hesitant at first. What were my preschool special education students – most of whom function at the level of a two-year-old – going to do with a blog? I decided to just go ahead and give it a try. If it didn’t work, it didn’t work.

I spent quite a bit of time on my home visits at the beginning of the year explaining to parents what a blog was. Some parents were naturally hesitant to have their child’s picture appear on the blog, but most agreed to try it. My first couple of posts were just summaries of our days at school with random pictures. As I played around more with the blog, I started adding slideshows, which were a huge, hit with the parents and my students! I also then got permission from every single parent to have his or her child appear on the blog. I loved having the blog as a way to bring families into the classroom, and my kids loved seeing themselves and their accomplishments. I was even able to record myself reading some of our favorite books so that the kids could listen to the story at home!

Overall, my classroom blog has been a huge success and I plan to do even more with it this coming school year. I now have other teachers in my building who are interested in blogging, and I get frequent e-mails from teachers across the country about how to get started. Blogging may have started out as just a hobby for me, but I now have a personal blog, a classroom blog, and a business website that includes a blog. Social networking tools, like blogging, are a great way to get to know people online, but they are also a great way to enhance your work life and build your business.

I work very hard to keep my personal and professional Internet lives separate. If you are interested in seeing my classroom blog or business site, please e-mail me at stateiamin1 [at] gmail [dot] com for the links!

Design the New 20SB Header Contest

Attention all twenty something bloggers, now is your chance to leave a lasting impression on the Twenty Something Bloggers (20SB) community.

The Admins want you to create a one of a kind header to represent our social network. You can start from scratch, use Wordle as a background, or incorporate the 20SB badge in your design. Headers must be 955×200 pixels.

Each 20SB member can submit up to 5 entries but don’t forget, the contest ends August 3, 2008 and all entries must be submitted to the 20SB Header Contest Flickr Group.

While the prize for the winner is still to be determined, I think bragging rights is sufficient. For complete details of the contest, visit the 20SB blog and to spark your creativity, here’s my submission to the contest:

If you’re not already a member of 20SB, it’s not too late to sign-up.

20SB is a great community of active bloggers that are all approaching, in the middle, or just past their quarter life crisis. WIth over 1900 members and more than 100 groups, you’ll find a diverse community and plenty of reading material to get your creative juices flowing for your next blog post.

In fact, 20SB is full of activities with blogger meetups, blog swaps, and is currently in the process of rolling out category specific RSS feeds for everyone. Click here for more information about the RSS feeds.

What I like most about 20SB is the active forum, the friendly folks, and the fact that anyone can nominate a member to be a featured blogger on the homepage. Even more exciting is the fact that the group has recently been added to Alltop and thanks to Zakstar, a 20SB group has been added to LinkedIn.

With that said, what are you waiting for? Come join us.

(Photo Credit: 20SB)

(Banner Credit: “Cityscape and skyline brushes” by c Luddy
Tag Cloud created with

Update on Blog Status

This past weekend I tried to make the leap from to self hosting If you visited over the weekend you would have noticed that my blog was down and/or timing out – that was my weekend of madness.

Long story short, the move didn’t work out the way I wanted it to and it caused more frustration and aggravation than I had hoped for. I won’t go into details but I will say that the lesson learned was, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” I’m perfectly happy with my blog hosted at but that doesn’t mean I won’t take another stab at self-hosting. It just means that when the time comes, I’ll most likely find someone to do it for me at a reasonable cost. Work smarter not harder right? 🙂

With that said, I want to say thank you to everyone that took the time to help me and contacted me to let me know if the site was loading or not.

Special thanks to these awesome folks below, you guys rock!





(Photo Credit: diegocervo)

World of Wordle

Wordle lets you create “word clouds” from an RSS feed, a del.ici.ous username, or you can paste in a bunch of text to generate you word cloud.

Once you have the text all set, you can tweak your word cloud with different layouts, fonts, and color schemes. And because images created by the Wordle application are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license, you can use your Wordle on anything from book covers to T-shirts. I added my Wordle to my new Contact page.

Just remember to let people know how you created your Wordle. If you took an image from the Wordle gallery, don’t forget to mention where you got it from.

Thanks to Andrew, author of The Working Title, for highlighting Wordle in his blog. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have found out about this awesome site. And kudos to Jonathan Feinberg for creating Wordle, I absolutely love it.

Why I Love Post-It Notes

Editor’s Note: I wanted to share with you the guest post I did for Maxie at IHateSoMuch for the 20SB Big Blog Swap. Maxie’s a blogoholic from Chicago and a featured blogger in Alltop’s Twenty Something. If you haven’t checked her out yet, please do – you won’t regret it.

Ever since college, Post-It notes have been a must have in my arsenal of tools to stay organized. I could easily write myself a reminder and stick it to my monitor, mark important chapters for easy reference, and my favorite – write a quick love note to my husband and stick it to the door before he leaves for work.

Recently, I discovered Sheer Color Post-It notes which has literally taken my reading experience to the next level. My friend and I share marketing books with each other all the time but when I come across an important quote, I’m tempted to highlight it but can’t because it’s not my book. Now with sheer color post-it notes, I can highlight, circle, and make notes without getting reprimanded.

My dependence on

these sticky square pads isn’t rare. In fact, if you run a Google search on “how to use Post-It notes,” you’ll receive thousands of results including Leon Ho’s list of Twenty Uses for a Post-It Note. How do you use your Post-It notes?

What I love most about Post-It notes is that they can be used for other activities besides reminders, planning, and brainstorming. To prove my point, you can check out the entries in the “Post-it® Notes: One Million Uses & Counting…” contest on YouTube.

Here’s my favorite entry:

(Video Credit: Emaz88)

Meet Maxie a Blogoholic

Today’s guest blogger is Maxie, author of I Hate So Much and member of Twenty Something Bloggers. We’re both taking part in the 20somethingbloggers’ Big Blog Swap. Special thanks to Ben Boudreau for organizing this event and thanks to Maxie for her guest post.

– –

Hi everyone! My name is Maxie and I normally write at I Hate So Much… but for today, the day of the 20 something bloggers swap, I’ll be writing here. I don’t really write about any certain topic on my blog, but for this switch I will be writing about what Stephanie usually writes about– Social Networks and other Internet related matters. This is perfect for me because I’m basically a slave to the social networks of the Internet. The thing I’m a slave to the most? My blog.

Some people may not think of blogging as a social networking tool, but I think it’s the most powerful of them all. When I started blogging it was just as an outlet for my every day thoughts. I never imagined that anyone would want to read it, let alone subscribe to it. The more people read my blog, the more I wrote. I would go and read my commenters’ blogs and give them my feedback and thoughts on what they had written. Even though blogging started as a solitary activity, it turned into much more.

I’ve been blogging for a little over 6 months and I’ve built many friendships with people I’ve met through my blog. My summer is filled with trips with bloggers, blogger meetups, and the prospect of writing about all of it on the place where it all began. My own place on the internet that has turned into much, much more.

For me blogging isn’t just a way to let out your feelings and talk to others– it changes everything. It changes the way I look at things, how I observe situations, and even my plans for the future. It has changed my life in huge ways and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything (other than maybe a billion dollars.) 😉

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