Little Women (2018) Movie Review

Imagine the Little Women you read (and loved) as a child set in modern-day times. Instead of Mr. March being deployed to the Civil War he’s…deployed overseas. Instead of Beth becoming sick with scarlet fever and recovering she’s…sick with cancer and goes into remission. Instead of Amy moving to France and marrying Laurie she…moves to France, becomes a crazy-successful painter and hooks up with Laurie. And instead of Jo moving to New York City to allow Laurie and Beth to fall in love (and ends up falling in love herself) she…moves to New York City in search of a book deal (and ends up falling in love herself).

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So, basically Little Women (the 2018 version) is amazing and although it sticks pretty true to the original story there are enough modernizing tweaks to make the experience the teeniest bit surprising amidst the nostalgic heart bursting and eyes brimming with tears. The. Whole. Movie.

I loved the re-telling and re-imagining of this classic story and I can’t wait to read the book again. In fact, the whole way through the film I was thinking how much I needed to read Little Women again. And Little Men. And Jo’s Boys. And the others.

Even 150 years after it was written, the story holds up. The love between sisters is timeless—no matter how different they are, theirs is an impenetrable bond.

“I could never love anyone as I love my sisters.” Louisa May Alcott

On September 28, 2018 Little Women releases in theatres everywhere.


So, basically Little Women (the 2018 version) is amazing and although it sticks pretty true to the original story there are enough modernizing tweaks to make the experience the teeniest bit surprising amidst the nostalgic heart bursting and eyes brimming with tears. The. Whole. Movie.

Little Women synopsis

Sisters—and dreams—are unique in their ability to inspire, encourage and change the world. For 150 years, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has motivated women of all ages to dream together and celebrate family. Coming to theatres for the first time, a modern retelling of Little Women brings a new generation together with their mothers, sisters and friends.

From girls playing in the attic to women living with purpose, the March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—are committed to always supporting each other. Yet, growing up sometimes means growing apart. An aspiring writer, Jo leaves for New York determined to publish a novel. In the wake of rejected draft upon draft, her editor challenges Jo to write about something more interesting—her family. When tragedy brings the sisters back home, sticking together takes on new meaning. As Jo comforts her sick sister, Beth asks for one thing: a story. Jo knows the perfect one…by heart.

On the 150th anniversary of the beloved classic, Little Women, the first-ever modern retelling, brings the same sisters to a new generation to celebrate dreams, family and unconditional love in theatres September 28.

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Benefits of Having a Literary Agent

A literary agent represents writers and authors and is equal parts opportunity finder, deal negotiator and career advisor. While it’s not required to have a literary agent to get a traditional book deal, most writers recommend having one.

Since they’re up-to-date with the latest book publishing trends and have in-depth market knowledge, literary agents are positioned to handle the business end of writing—allowing you to focus on the writing end of writing.

Benefits of Having a Literary Agent

I met an author who told me how he got a book deal without an agent. I’m glad to meet someone who had a positive publishing experience this way but I have questions. Why did he skip this step? What made him want to pursue traditional publishing on his own? Would he do it again for his next book?

Here are a few ways having a literary agent benefits a writer

Legitimate agents work on commission so they don’t get paid unless you do. Talk about common interests! You can rest assured they have your best interests at heart.

Literary agents have a strong knowledge of the publishing business and have access to major publishing houses. They know they right people working in the right places and can get those doors open quicker than you can.

They read a lot and know what sells. Literary agents know good writing, they know the market and they know what editors are looking for. They know what you need to do to get a book deal.

Think of a literary agent as a connector. They connect authors with the appropriate publisher, negotiate the best deals possible and mediate any issues between the writer and editor that may arise during the book publishing process.

If you want a literary agent take some time researching the different ones out there and make a list of ones you think are a good fit for you and your writing. You find a literary agent through querying your book. While there aren’t really “types” of literary agents they all have different areas of expertise and preferred genre.

it's not required to have a literary agent to get a traditional book deal

Obtaining a literary agent isn’t necessary if you’re self-publishing a book. You may consider hiring a publicist or business coach, but these are different roles than what a literary agent plays.

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Evergreen Content Ideas for Writers

One of the hardest thing about being a working freelance writer is coming up with content for your personal website and digital platforms, which is why you need an evergreen content strategy. Trust me on this, it will change your life.

Evergreen Content Ideas for Bloggers

Writers who want to build an online platform know they should be producing content online, maybe a blog or something similar. And in theory it makes sense—a blog is an excellent way to showcase your skills as a writer and advertise your services. In reality things are a bit trickier. What do you write about? And how do you balance writing for yourself/your site with writing for clients?

This is where an evergreen content strategy comes in

Evergreen content can be described as the foundation of your blog—and this surprises many people for a couple reasons. First, because it’s hard to comprehend how timeless articles can stay relevant over time and second because hardly anyone has heard of evergreen content.

How can evergreen content be a foundation when I’ve never heard of it before!?

I know! But I’ll explain everything and you’ll never wonder what to write about on your website again.

First I’ll talk about what evergreen content is, then I’ll explain how to come up with evergreen content ideas in a way you can balance with your freelance writing workload.

What is evergreen content?

“Evergreen” is jargon but the word makes sense—think of evergreen trees, they keep their needles year-round and the needles maintain their green colouring thus, ever-green. Evergreen content works the same way, it stays relevant year-round and answers questions people are asking years after it was written.

Why you should employ an evergreen content marketing strategy is because this timeless, relevant information will deliver a consistent stream of leads to your website month over month. It takes a bit of time and effort to set up but once you have the wheels in motion this approach will allow you to spend your mental energy on your freelance clients while your website works in the background.

How to come up with evergreen content ideas

The best way to come up with ideas is to know your audience. In a freelance writer’s case, your audience is your ideal client. Think about who you serve and what problems they’re trying to solve. Your website or blog content should solve those problems and answer common questions. The more questions you answer the stronger your foundation.

Here’s what you need to do when coming up with evergreen content ideas: get clear on who you’re talking to (your ideal reader) and what you offer (what’s your goal? What are you trying to achieve?), decide what your topics are, and put everything into a calendar template.

To systemize these ideas (and actually get them written) you’ll need to take your ideas and build a content calendar with them.

Of course we could go a lot deeper when talking about creating evergreen content—there’s SEO, keyword research and virality to consider. But for today we’ll stick with the concept of evergreen content and building a strong online foundation as the base of your freelance writing business. When done well it’s a beautiful thing.

One of the hardest thing about being a working freelance writer is coming up with content for your personal website and digital platforms, which is why you need an evergreen content strategy. Trust me on this, it will change your life.

Bonus: here’s a helpful post on what type of posts work best for evergreen content from Thirteen Thoughts.

Authority Marketing: How to Leverage 7 Pillars [book review]

When you think of marketing what comes to mind? I’m betting it’s not an authority marketing system. I know this because when people come to me needing marketing help they have a specific solution in mind, which they hope is a silver bullet to solve their business problem. And sometimes gimmicks or marketing tactics can be effective but they’re not a long-term solution.

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That’s why I love Authority Marketing from authors Adam Witty and Rusty Shelton. It’s a straightforward how-to for building a sustainable marketing strategy for your business.

The big idea with building authority as a marketing strategy (and authority marketing in general), is it starts with the end in mind—you build your strategy around reaching your business or personal goals and take a systemized approach to achieving them. It’s organized, focused and calm. I love calm.

Witty and Shelton take their readers on a no-nonsense journey through the why’s and what’s of authority marketing before diving into the how’s. Broken into seven pillars, their marketing approach mirrors mine in many ways.

  • Branding/Omnipresence
  • Lead generation
  • Content marketing
  • PR and media
  • Speaking
  • Events
  • Referral marketing

I think the most important thing to notice is these are seven pillars, not seven stand-alone items you can try sometimes. It’s seven elements you need to have working systematically in order to keep your marketing machine running.

And yes, that seems like a lot of work. Because it is. And you don’t get all seven pillars up and running overnight—it’s a long game. You identify your goals, you build your strategy, you devise ways to implement these seven pillars and then you systemize it so it’s sustainable.

This is such an amazing process and once you have all the pieces in place it is awe-inspiring to see how well it works. Trust me on this, if you want a comprehensive overview of what a long-term, sustainable marketing strategy looks like, Authority Marketing is an excellent place to start.


Authority Marketing: How to Leverage 7 Pillars of Thought Leadership to Make Competition Irrelevant synopsis

Learn how to use Authority Marketing® to build thought leadership and dominate your competition by playing a game no one else knows is being played with this ground-breaking book!

Are you the Authority in your field? Are you recognized as a stand-out thought leader, a published author, a keynote speaker, or a media personality? Are you viewed as a commodity? A hard-working expert who is a commodity and has to compete on every level, including price?

One thing is for certain: Authority doesn’t just happen; Authority is built through a systematic process called the Authority Marketing System.

But how can you make this shift in an environment that is noisier and more crowded than ever before? If you are an entrepreneur, CEO, or professional who is frustrated with the traditional approach to marketing and wants to grow your business and make a bigger impact, this book will show you how to use the Authority Marketing System to create a clear and trackable blueprint to shift yourself from a commoditized expert to a highly visible Authority.

In this book you will learn:

  • What Authority Marketing is and how to use it to grow your business
  • The 7 Pillars of Authority Marketing
  • How others have used Authority Marketing to create unimaginable success
  • Why thought leadership is your most important secret weapon

Authority Marketing isn’t about ego or attention—it’s about accelerating the speed of trust so you are viewed not as an expert with something to sell, but as a thought leader with important insight to teach. Start growing your Authority today!

The big idea with building authority as a marketing strategy (and authority marketing in general), is it starts with the end in mind—you build your strategy around reaching your business or personal goals and take a systemized approach to achieving them. It's organized, focused and calm. I love calm.

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How to Create Better Blog Post Images with Canva

In the writing world words are the thing. So when people tell us writers we need (nay, require) better blog post images we recoil in shock. What now!? But I’m a writer! I cannot! Even!

How to create better blog post images with Canva

And a few years ago I would have commiserated with you. Because there was a learning curve if you weren’t a professional photographer—you have to learn design and of course then you had to figure out Photoshop (and pay for it). If you gave up on taking photos yourself then you entered the world of stock photography and, a few years ago, the cost was high and the competition was low.

But the story is tres different today. There are so many tools available to non-designers and non-photographers it’s time to accept your need for better blog post images and hop on the bus.

For creating better blog post images I recommend Canva to anyone who asks. It’s a free design tool for non-designers—and it’s so easy to use. It’s in the cloud so you don’t have to download anything and you can use it from anywhere, including your mobile. You can design your own graphics if you’re inclined, or you can take suggestion from their huge template library.

The first thing you should do is figure out a few image templates you’ll use over and over in your blogs. This cuts down on decision fatigue and helps keep your blog brand consistent. Don’t freak out! This is all a part of creating better blog images. Templates are your friend. And remember what I said earlier? Canva has a massive template library! You’re going to be fine!

When building your templates you may get tripped up on fonts, images and colours. Since we’re not design trained I suggest we don’t trust our instincts. At least, that’s what I suggest to myself. Here’s what I do instead.

Create Better Blog Post Images with Canva

Fonts

First, you need to choose a font, which is no easy feat. There are bajillions of fonts to choose from. In the link I dropped I’ve offered a few ways to narrow it down but here are the main points: choose something readable and stick with it. Now, when you’re creating images you may want to use a couple different fonts—risky stuff! If you want to spice things up font-wise, use Canva’s free font combinations thingy. Select your main font and let Canva show you what will pair well with it. Done.

Images

While you can create graphics without photos there is still a decision to make here—will you be an exclusive image-only blog? Or just graphics? Or a mix of both? Figure out how you want your site to look and go from there. If you’re going with photos, Canva has a large stock photo library—some of which are free to use. There are many, many options online for stock photography these days so you have options if you want to use photos but can’t/don’t want to use your own. Even if you’re not planning on using many photos I still recommend finding a photo style you resonate with (be it nature, lifestyle, flat lay, etc.) as it will help you in your ongoing branding and in colour selection.

Colours

If you’ve chosen your website or blog branding colours then this isn’t a decision you have to make—stick with your branding. However, if you haven’t done this yet it’s time to pick a palette. And, since we’re not designers, how does one know what colours go together? I use Canva’s colour palette generator every time I need one. And I don’t just use it for my blog images—it’s how I chose my living room colours and how I decide the palettes for my knitting projects!

When you find your inspiration image, one that you feel represents the essence of your blog and/or brand, upload it to the colour palette generator and watch it do its magic. Because it’s magical.

In the writing world words are the thing. So when people tell us writers we need (nay, <em>require</em> better blog post images we recoil in shock. What now!? But I'm a writer! I cannot! Even!

As a writer, the subject of website images can be overwhelming. The goal of today’s post is to help simplify it—yes you should have images on your blog and yes, I think you can create better blog post images. Here are the highlights.

  • Use a program like Canva
  • Remember, templates are your friend
  • Build a visual brand using fonts, images and colours
  • Stay on brand!