Roundup: Writing Still Matters, Work/Life Balance is Impossible, and Lazy Co-Workers

Note: I'm trying something new--a brief curated list of things I found interesting over the last two weeks. These pieces will likely be relevant primarily to storytelling, creativity, marketing, and related topics, but you never know--I may find something related to one of my other passions that I absolutely have to share. Let me know what you think!

Things That Caught My Eye Recently

English majors and economics: Interesting piece about why the world still needs English majors. Enrollment in the major is down 25.5% since the Great Recession, while enrollment in STEM fields is up. But those who take the time to study English and the humanities are often the best ones to turn data and facts into stories, and that's often what's needed to make current events relevant and understandable to the layman.

How to Tell a Scary Story: Some great tips in here about how to craft a good story.

Spice Up Your B2B Marketing: Love these good quick tips for making your B2B marketing more compelling. For an added bonus, be sure to check out the e-mail signatures mentioned in the piece.

Create a Winning Content Strategy: A terrific step-by-step guide to creating a robust content strategy for your blog.

The Discipline/Creativity Connection: This is a great piece about the connection between creativity and discipline examined through the lens of special forces units. Takeaway quote: "Keep the 'why' unambiguous and the 'how' ambiguous; practice problem-solving in teams; and standardize wherever possible to reduce cognitive load."

Writing Still Matters: AdWeek sets my mind at ease by reassuring writers that written content still matters.

Trigger That Reward Center: Interesting insights about the connection between dopamine and content marketing: "The brain produces dopamine in response to rewarding experiences; however, the largest surge of dopamine doesn’t come from obtaining the reward – it comes from anticipation."

The Value of Storytelling: Great perspective on the importance of storytelling: "It should not be seen as luxurious or extraneous to want to learn about other cultures or life experiences. Consuming art and media can have a profound effect on how we view the world. Hearing each others’ stories is what keeps us connected."

In Search of Work/Life Balance

I ran across this article as I was doing research for a client, and let me just say--it gave me permission to breathe a sigh of relief! The big takeaway for me was this quote: "... some researchers think that rather than beat yourself up striving to balance work and life, it might be better to simply embrace the imbalance."

Confession: Ever since I returned to freelancing, I've been trying to figure out how to "balance" it all--work, house, spouse, adult children, teen children, grandchild, pets, exercise, diet, spiritual health, and all the rest. And if you've ever read my personal blog, you probably know that I do all of that quite imperfectly--and I'm not shy about saying so!

So it was a huge relief to me to read that article in The Atlantic and know that it's okay to give up on the concept of perfect, daily balance. Especially as a freelancer--one of the reasons I do this kind of work is because I love the flexibility it offers. I like being able to work early or late or on weekends, and I like being able to schedule appointments on weekdays. If the advantages mean that my schedule will, by design, be rather disjointed, then so be it.

My balance may not look like a world-class cyclist, but if I can just do better than training wheels, I'll take it.

(And maybe fall back on those training wheels now and again if necessary.)

Laziest. Co-Workers. Ever.

This is my all-too-frequent view when I am at my desk:

The blue collar is Sirius. The purple collar is Tonks. Yes, they are named after Harry Potter characters. Yes, it was my idea.

Lazy, yes. But they keep my feet warm when the weather gets cold.


A few quick notes of interest:

  • A long-overdue shout-out to Robyn Hodgdon, Creative Professional. Robyn designed my e-book and infographic. I've worked with her on several projects now, and I cannot recommend her highly enough! If you need design services, contact her!

  • I've updated my Home page and Portfolio page with a few new projects. Take a look!

  • I'm currently scheduling projects for November and December. If you want to get those marketing or content pieces done by the end of the year, give me a call before I'm booked solid!

See you next week with part three of my "7 Mistakes" series!