Five-day marketing challenge for freelance writers [beta test]

Are you a writer? I need your help! I’m launching a beta test of my five-day marketing challenge for freelance writers and am looking for people to test my challenge and offer feedback. Interested? Opt-in below.

five-day marketing challenge

Want to boost your online marketing?

I know, I know. You don’t have time for marketing. You’ve got deadlines, you’ve got research, you’ve got kids/dogs/a day job!

But here’s the truth, if you want your business to grow, you need marketing.

Marketing helps future clients find you—enough with responding to Craigslist ads or cold queries. Put your best digital foot forward and help people notice how amazing you are and how lucky they’d be to work with you!

I know you know this, but I also know you’re overwhelmed.

  • Where do I start?
  • Do I need to do *all* the social media?
  • Do I need to pay for a website upgrade (wait…I need a website?!?)?
  • What’s worth doing and what’s a waste of time?
  • What about an email list?

What if I could show you how you could incorporate marketing into your day—just a bit…a manageable amount—and then teach you how to streamline and automate it so you could reach your freelance writing goals without adding more to your to-do list?

Well I can, and it all starts with my free five-day marketing challenge for freelance writers.

Are you up for the challenge?

Let me know by filling in the form below. You’ll secure your spot in the beta test running April 10-14, 2017.

I’m up for the challenge!

* indicates required

About Robyn Roste

My name is Robyn and I help freelance writers with marketing, which is important because it allows them to build their platform and helps them make a living doing what they’d rather be doing…writing.

I’m building a 30-day course teaching people how to set up and automate their marketing efforts so they can create a platform of raving fans and happy clients. This five-day marketing challenge for freelance writers is the first five days of my course.

Are We Happy Yet? [book review]

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life

Are we happy yet

What would you say if I told you there’s a formula for happiness? What if I told you happiness is available to all but isn’t something you’re entitled to? Would you believe me if I told you happiness comes from inside and not from anything external—not stuff, not people, not circumstances?

What would you say if I told you the keys to unlocking happiness were available in paperback?

Are We Happy Yet? author Lisa Cypers Kamen says happiness comes from the transformative power of self-mastery, and that happiness isn’t the destination but a byproduct of the journey.

Curious? There’s more.

In her book, she confronts common objections for why we aren’t or can’t be happy. Trauma, genetic depression, real problems, etc. Not discounting the challenges we face, there are ample exercises and quizzes to help us gauge where we’re at happiness-wise and arm ourselves with the data we need to move forward, towards a happier life. She challenges us to deal with the mental horde of stuff packed away in our attic and take a more emotional minimalist approach—let it go!

Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life

  1. Life is tough, but happiness is available to us all
  2. Your inner child is your inner sage available to guide you
  3. More is not always better
  4. We cannot control life, only ourselves
  5. Our happiness is our personal responsibility
  6. Choose activities and people that foster happiness
  7. Treat yourself the way you wish to be treated
  8. Happiness is an inside job. Happiness is your inside job

Each of the eight keys is defined, explained, and unpacked using storytelling, clear language, and motivational exercises. If you’re wondering where your happiness roadblocks are, this book will help you define, deal with, and move past them.

The new revised edition of Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life releases March 20, 2017.

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life is an exciting fusion of science and heart, offering a guide in creating our own personal “happiness revolution.”
Lisa Cypers Kamen, an internationally known applied positive psychology coach, lifestyle management specialist and Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio show host, gives us the keys to her breakthrough system for cultivating sustainable wellbeing and happiness in our lives from the inside out— regardless of external circumstance. Lisa’s techniques combine mental, emotional and spiritual muscle-building training for greater resiliency, self-mastery and optimal living.

Her inspiring and practical tips, keys, and exercises will boost your “Happiness-Factor” to new levels and show you how to tap into the joy and peace you deserve.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Accept the past for what it is—a reference point, not a destination
  • Embrace the truth that while life is tough, you can be happy
  • Transform your relationship with yourself from enemy to ally
  • Appreciate why less is often more
  • Focus on what’s right with your life, not what’s wrong
  • Control the only person you can—yourself
  • Invest in yourself to become more mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit
  • Use your newly discovered joy to become a more positive and productive influence in the world—and much more

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life is available at your favourite neighbourhood or online bookseller.

Four Ways to Outsmart Daylight Saving Time

Four ways to outsmart daylight saving time

Four Ways to Outsmart Daylight Saving Time

Spring Forward. It affects many of us in this world and seems to bring with it a sense of fear and trepidation. And grumpiness. However, there are ways to conquer the impending loss of sleep and even feel good about getting up a bit earlier. To help, here are four ways to outsmart daylight saving time, based on what I learned from getting up at 4:30 a.m. for 21 days.

  1. Make all your decisions the night before
  2. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m tired I can’t think. At all. What has helped me not only get up pre-dawn but spend my time writing and doing other productive tasks is deciding everything the night before. What will I work on? How will my morning go? What will I eat? What time will I leave the house? I’ve learned not to leave anything to chance—future Robyn can’t think when she’s tired so present Robyn needs to help her out.

  3. Prepare the night before
  4. In the same vein as deciding what I’m going to do, I also know I need to prepare as much as possible the night before. Packing my lunch and everything I’ll need for work is the first step, but I take it to the next level by putting things in my footpath to trip over if I need to remember it before leaving. Is it garbage day? Then the recycle bag is hanging on my doorknob so I have to pick it up in order to leave the house. Am I going to the gym? Everything is packed and in the car, including my gym pass and water bottle. By preparing the night before I give myself better odds for having a good morning.

  5. Go to bed earlier
  6. I’m a night owl so if anyone understands resisting early bedtimes it’s me. But there’s so much to be gained from going to bed earlier it’s a must-do. You know you’re losing an hour of sleep. Stop with the protesting and give yourself a leg up. Go to bed earlier. If you have trouble winding down at night then begin a bedtime routine at least 30 minutes before bed. Here’s what I do: drink a nice, caffeine-free cup of tea, turn off my screens, slow my mind as I pack and prep for the next day. Going to bed earlier helps your body adjust to its new wake-up time, which leads me to my last point…

  7. Get up at your usual time
  8. Yes, daylight saving happens on Sunday, but I’ve learned sleeping in “because I really need it” doesn’t do me any good. In fact, my body fails to adjust and I end up struggling for days and days. So I say get up at your normal time. And think about this, if you plan ahead how you’ll spend your tired morning with one hour less sleep, you’ll be eager to wake up so you can do it. At least, that’s what happens for me. I’ve grown to love the slow, quiet mornings. What do I plan for this year’s spring forward? I’m going to make a big pot of coffee, sit in my favourite chair, put on a record, read, and wait for the sunrise to peek over the trees. It’s going to be great.

I think these four ways to outsmart daylight saving time make up a good plan. However, going through the motions will still leave you grumpy. You do need to have a good attitude about losing a bit of sleep and find the positive spin. And you may as well, because holding a grudge against your clock only hurts you. Your clock doesn’t care. So get over it and have a great March 12.

How to Make a Flowchart (and Decide What to Do for Lent)

Today is a two-for. How to make a flowchart and how to decide what to do for Lent. Wow. I’ve just doubled my audience reach here guys. Wow.

How to make a flowchart

But first, let’s address the elephant in the room. Why would I ever suggest creating a flowchart? Aren’t I a writer? Wouldn’t I always suggest writing and never suggest flowcharts?

Of course not. Design is important for effective communication. Sure, words are my trade but design brings everything to life. And sometimes words and design need to work together to help a reader visualize.

This is the situation I encountered when writing an article about Lent (a season in the Christian liturgical calendar focused on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God). I wanted it to inspire mindfulness and prayer but felt there were some obstacles since a lot of people treat the season like a “resolution reboot” and a lot of people do things like give up television, chocolate, and pop.

Which is fine, don’t get me wrong. But I wanted to go a bit deeper and get to the root of Lent. In 650 words.

My creative process

It didn’t take long before I realized a flowchart was in order so I started sketching. It was difficult to take my big ideas and shape them into a streamlined process but after a few tries I had something I could live with. I also had to take the concept to my editors and the graphic designer for approval since I needed half of my article space for a graphic. A graphic directed by a writer. Can you imagine? Well, maybe you can’t but it was quite the pitch let me tell you.

When to use a flowchart

Here are some situations where creating a flowchart will help you.

  • When you’re defining/communicating a process
  • When you’re identifying bottlenecks or waste in a process
  • When you’re problem solving
  • When you’re improving a process
  • When you’re making a decision

Why you’d use a flowchart

  • You can explain a complicated decision-making process on one page
  • You can standardize a process
  • You can make decisions faster

Whiteboard Flowchart

How to make a flowchart

  1. Determine your flowchart’s goal. What’s the desired outcome once someone’s read the flowchart? Start simple and grow from there
  2. Decide on your steps. How many steps are there? Is it a Y/N type thing or is it a walk through?
  3. Put your steps in order. Decide where it starts and where it finishes
  4. Test, test, test. This is where you’ll figure out if you need more steps or you’ve got them out of order. Run it until you’re convinced it’s complete
  5. Press publish! (Or pass it to your designer to make it…good)

There are all types of ways you can build your flowchart once you have the content but I’ll leave it for you to Google. I’m no designer.


If you’re curious about Lent or how to use this chart, the article is posted here. Or if you want to take it for a spin, download the flowchart below.

Lent 2017 will start on Wednesday, March 1 and will end on Thursday, April 13 (wow, what a timely post).

Jeff Herman’s Guide To Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents [book review]

If you want a lighthearted yet no-nonsense guide to traditional publishing, look no further than Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents 2017: Who They Are, What They Want, How to Win Them Over.

No, really.

I love writers and publishers guides. They’re on my Christmas list every year. But this is the first one I’ve read cover to cover and come back for more. And that’s saying something.

Laid out like any other writers guide, there are essays and articles on writing advice, publishing information, and an introduction to planet literary agent before getting to the good stuff. The listings. Who’s buying, who’s selling, who’s looking for what and when. It’s all good stuff, and I can’t get enough.

Jeff Herman has a wonderful sense of humour, which helps make typical writing and publishing advice come alive and keeps the reader engaged. The listings follow an interesting format, with the agency or agent answering a series of questions. It gives you a good sense of who they are and what they do and each get equal space in the book.

Agent Questions

  • Describe the kinds of works you want to represent
  • Describe what you definitely don’t want to represent
  • How do you want writers to pitch to you?
  • Describe your education and professional history
  • How did you become an agent?
  • Knowing what you do now, would you do it again? If not, what might you do instead?
  • Do you charge fees? If yes, please explain
  • When and where were you born, and where have you lived?
  • What do you like to do when you’re not working?
  • List some of the titles you have recently placed with publishers
  • Describe your personality
  • What do you like reading/watching/listening to on your own time?
  • Do you think the business has changed a lot over the past few years? If yes, please explain
  • What do the “Big 5” mean to you?
  • How do you feel about independent/small presses?
  • What are your feelings about self-publishing?
  • Do you think Amazon is good or bad—or both—for the book business?
  • What do you like and dislike about your job?
  • What are ways prospective clients can impress you, and what are ways they can turn you off?
  • How would you describe the “writer from hell”?
  • Describe a book you would like to write
  • Do you believe in a higher and/or lower “power”?

Thorough, right?

There’s also a section dedicated to Canadian publishers, which I heart.

Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents 2017: Who They Are, What They Want, How to Win Them Over is available now from Amazon, Chapters, and anywhere else you buy books.

Jeff Herman’s Guide To Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents

The Writer’s Best Friend and Bible!

Writers, agents, and editors all agree that Jeff Herman’s Guide is the must have, go-to reference for everyone who writes. This book will get you past the slush piles and into the hands of the people who have the power to publish.


With Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents you will learn the names and contact information for hundreds of agents and editors, and will be given the “code” for how to win them over. More comprehensive than ever, this 21st edition will give you all the insider information you need to get published, including how to write knockout pitch letters and proposals, as well as an expanded Canadian section.