I have just glanced at my Jan. 19 Taurus Horoscope to see if I am on track. Without the Blink of an eye this is what I found out.
I have enrolled in Spanish classes together with Ludek. I will be teaching ESL English as a Second Language and writing classes in the Grand Rapids area. My new column about Czech heritage is coming up in the Western Fraternal Life Herald, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
My next book signing of Shifting Sands Short Stories will take place at the LowellArts downtown gallery on Main Street on Feb. 3 from 1 to 4 pm. I will be offering tips on how to start and finish your book in 2018. Sign up on Facebook @emmapalova to win a free book.
For more info on the Western Fraternal Life Association and the Fraternal Herald monthly magazine go to:
You may be intrigued by the prospects of enrolling in a course of study today, but you’re determined to specifically learn something that can contribute to your material success. Although your practical …
Lowell, MI- If we only knew what people really like, the creative business would be much less trickier. It’s not just that we as creators don’t know, but sometimes the receiving side doesn’t know either.
I found out this from my experience while trying to select a movie to stream from YouTube. My husband and I go through hundreds of movie selections both in English and in Czech. Quite often we end up not knowing what we want, and we switch lazily back on the TV programming to do the picking for us. It’s easier than making up our own minds.
But, taste is also a matter of the moment that keeps constantly changing. On the other hand there are nights, when I immediately know what I want to see even before turning on the screen. Luckily, we usually agree on the choice.
That brings me to my major goal for 2016 and that is to write what people like to read.
“What is it?” I ask. “Does it mean that I am catering to a trend?”
Not, necessarily. Gauging what people like and don’t like is important just like in the food industry. Recently, I found out that the frozen Ristorante pizza is not as good as DiGiorno. They look the same, they cost the same, but they don’t taste the same. Ristorante is missing something. What is it? It’s like with a good story or a bad story. What is missing and why is it bad?
Finding that missing ingredient is in the psychology or knowledge of your character and your reader. They have to match up. We need a perfect match.
But, writing isn’t just point-blank, let’s say, for the firearm hunter of deer but for the entire hunting category. Just like the pizza example appeals to a wide group of people, if not to most. But remember that both are frozen.
When I think of writing to a certain interest or maybe a trend, I always think of an entire group or a segment of population.
“Okay, who is going to read my next short story, “270 Degrees to Beach Pines?”
It could be the largest segment of American population. That is the baby boomers. The short story is about aging and what a tragic comedy it is; watching it, living it and trying to cheat it. Totally, Shakespearean or Marquez style. It will be humoresque and very light, almost as light as the “Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Kundera.
It should feel like a feather in the wind, like a butterfly’s kiss as it slowly dissipates into thin air.
Lowell, MI- It’s been 26 years since we’ve landed at JFK on this day, Dec. 22, 1989. The long flight from former Czechoslovakia finally ended. We took the Czechoslovak Airlines flight (CSA). People were still smoking on jets back then.
I was exhausted with two children and from the previous night ride to the Prague airport.
It was a journey into the unknown, although I have lived in the USA in the 70s. My parents were waiting for us at the frozen airport. I only had a Benetton denim jacket on and I was freezing. I was still sporting long hair and jeans from Austria.
We spent the night at a friend’s house in NYC. And then a long trip to Big Rapids, Michigan ensued. Any water tower that we passed, my son Jake wanted to climb on it. Also he insisted on sitting in my lap over and over despite the fact that he had to be buckled up.
“I’ll make you a chock for you to sit on,” said my dad.
The windows of the gray station wagon have frozen up. We were like in an ice cave from the film Elsa. That increased the claustrophobia in me, as well as anxiety.
We finally arrived on Christmas Eve in Big Rapids. We picked up my brother Vas from his trailer with an enormous flood light in Roger’s Heights.
Mom had the festive supper ready ahead of time. The Czech traditional fare for Christmas Eve is mushroom or fish soup, fried fish and potato salad. And of course traditional Czech pastries. The only choice of fish back in Czech homeland was carp.
We opened presents and all I could think of was if I could go to bed. Dad turns on TV and there’s the Rumanian revolution. I just have escaped one, the Velvet Revolution. I participated in it on frigid town squares including Wenceslas Square in Prague. I shouted along with two million other people:
“Havel na hrad.”
That translates as, “Havel for president or Havel to the castle.”
I finally laid in bed thinking about all of this.
“What’s ahead of me?”
My husband received immigration visa to Montreal, Canada. I had to make decisions again what to do, “Stay or leave?”
We moved to Montreal and we lived in that great cosmopolitan city for three years. In 1993 we returned to Michigan. I took journalism classes at the Grand Rapids Community College.
In 1995, we built a house outside of Lowell in Vergennes Township and that sealed it for us.
The details of all of this are in my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” that I have to complete. It is my goal to pick it back up in January 2016 and to finish our story.
Lowell, MI- Leigh Ann Dickey aka Coach Leigh Ann founded Soulpreneurs.co two weeks ago to further pursue her dreams. She is a registered respiratory technician residing in Gainesville, Georgia. Dickey is a freelancer for Learn to Blog and she works with 100 clients in web and blog design.
Emma: When and why did you start blogging?
Leigh Ann: In the spring of 2013 when I had joined the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and lost 35 pounds. I just hit 40 and I wanted to share my story.
Emma: Where did you gain your online expertise?
Leigh Ann: I am self-taught. I have 12 years of website coding experience and I took some WordPress classes. I took a Learn to Blog class in 2014 because I wanted to master WordPress.
Emma: What do you feel was the biggest challenge in the beginning?
Leigh Ann: Determining your niche. I went all over the place. I was posting and sharing, and I started my design business, Coach Leigh Ann.
Emma: So, what do you suggest to WordPress newbies or any blogging newbies? Where should they start?
Leigh Ann: It starts with ourselves, knowing what we like to do all day long.
Emma: What do you like about blogging?
Leigh Ann: I enjoy the process of creating. It plays into my geeky side telling the story.
Emma: What kind of satisfaction do you get out of blogging?
Leigh Ann: It’s natural to get that feedback and I enjoy helping people. Blogging has changed me. It helped me pass obstacles in life and I relate that to overcoming obstacles in business.
Emma: Many newbies worry about analytics. How do you feel about it?
Leigh Ann: Until your blog is fully functional and you have an opt-in page to get emails, you don’t need to worry about it.
Emma: What do you suggest bloggers use for analytics once they’re ready with an opt-in page and the launch of a product?
Leigh Ann: Definitely a WordPress jet pack plug-in that shows where the comments came from.
Emma: What about Google Analytics?
Leigh Ann: Google Analytics is much more involved. Jet pack is more newbie friendly.
Emma: Now the big one that concerns most bloggers not just newbies. Let’s talk about monetization of blogs. Can we make money on blogging?
Leigh Ann: Monetization is complicated. It entails keyword blogging using AdSense and getting that SEO. The best way to make money is with info publishing, creating your own products and services.
Emma: What do you think about affiliate marketing?
Leigh Ann: It’s a good idea to partner with others to promote their product or service along with yours.
Emma: What is the recipe for success? Be it monetization, increased traffic or SEOranking?
Leigh Ann: The best model now is to have a combination of things; blogging, having an affiliate in combo with your own products and services. Affiliate linking is a good way to make money.
Emma: What is the best way to promote your niche business?
Leigh Ann: Building a following on social media so people recognize you as an expert in a certain area.
Emma: Specifically what social media would you recommend?
Leigh Ann: Start a Facebook group not a page, join other groups of like-minded people.
Emma: What helped you get ahead?
Leigh Ann: I did market research inside the Facebook group and that helped me develop products and services.
Emma: Tell us about your most recent venture, Soulpreneurs.co.
Leigh Ann: I launched this membership site because people are hungry for information. It delivers automated info on regular basis. It took me two weeks to solidify my ideas on it.
Emma: How do you balance out your regular job and your online business?
Leigh Ann: I have critical thinking skills with quick decision-making from my RRT full-time job that I can apply in my online business.
Emma: How many hours a week do you spend on your online business?
Leigh Ann: 20 hours promoting and developing the websites.
Emma: Where should newbies start?
Leigh Ann: Create a checklist of what needs to get done now to get the results you want. On the side you list things you want to do. First you find hosting, then create an About page and have the e-mail subscribe or opt-in page.
Emma: What are your short-term goals?
Leigh Ann: To gain social recognition for design. I also set a financial goal to develop a new product each month to keep people interested.
Emma: What are your long-term goals?
Leigh Ann: Teaming up with Clark Hosp of Learn to Blog to offer live online interactive training focusing on WordPress next month.
Emma: What is your biggest accomplishment in blogging?
Leigh Ann: I work with over a 100 clients and I have the Soulpreneurs membership site.
Emma: What do you attribute your success to and what do you recommend to others:
Leigh Ann: To the mentors that I follow and my determination. I have a relentless spirit. I will keep trying until I have success. Stay focused on one path until you get a result and then you can redirect and follow through.
Emma: What keeps you going?
Leigh Ann: Lots of coffee, seven to eight hours of sleep, downtime away from the computer, eating healthy, moving my body and time with my friends.
Emma: What makes you feel good about yourself?
Leigh Ann: Any type of feedback.
Emma: What keeps you motivated? What do you suggest to others who feel like giving up?
Leigh Ann: Having a plan of action. It may be making money online and you might have to get a real job. Go back to why you started doing this? For me personally it was sharing my story.
Stay tuned for more blogging tips and advice coming to EW Emma’s Writings.
Education: associates degree in health sciences-respiratory therapy, certificate in health coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Oct. 2014
Residence: Gainesville, Georgia
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – Leigh Ann Dickey wanted to share her story of losing 35 pounds when she joined the nutrition school. Dickey started out with a page on facebook, Instagram and a blog on WordPress two years ago using tutorials and mentors.
“I developed a nice site,” she said.
Dickey was offering a weight loss product. But when she sustained a head injury on her bicycle, Dickey took the site down.
Since she has always liked design Dickey wanted to master WordPress. She already had a great feather in her cap; 12 years of HTML coding. Dickey completely coded her animal charity site herself from the start.
She took a WordPress class to get up to speed in 2013 & 2014. Dickey joined the Learn to Blog in 2014, but found out that she already knew a lot of the stuff from the WordPress classes.
The biggest challenge of blogging for Dickey was targeting her niche.
“I felt tossed around,” Dickey said in a Skype interview last week. “I was posting and sharing trying to target my niche. I went all over the place.”
She tried health & fitness, business coaching and design. It wasn’t until recently she found that her real passion was teaching and coaching. So, Dickey launched her Soulpreneurs this week. Soulpreneurs is a membership site on the Genesis framework.
But, before that Dickey started a WordPress support group on facebook.
“It used to be enough to have a facebook page two years ago, but now you have to create a group,” she said.
Two years ago with a budget of $150, Dickey could increase traffic to her facebook page to 3,600.
However, two years in an online business is eternity.
“That was old school,” she laughed. “Start a facebook group not a page. Find like-minded people. Join other groups inside of facebook.”
Dickey offered a lot of advice for newbie bloggers. Number one on the advice list is determining your niche.
“It all starts with ourselves knowing what we enjoy doing,” she said, “And then turn that into business. People should ask themselves what is it that they enjoy doing all day long.”
According to Dickey, the advantages of realizing what you really like to do are the following:
You best will know a lot about it.
It will be easy to develop products and services around your niche or like.
Then you have to boil it all down to specific types that is; rather than pets narrow it down to dogs and then go further, different breeds and such.
In response to what she likes about blogging, Dickey was very spontaneous.
“I enjoy the process of creating that plays into my geeky side telling the story,” she said. “I enjoy helping people.”
Blogging was a life changing experience for Dickey who had suffered a head injury.
“Blogging helped me get past something and I relate that to overcoming obstacles in business and in life. It’s just human nature to get that feedback.”
The second part of Dickey’s story with more valuable advice will appear later this week. Stay tuned and feel free to comment with your advice.
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