The Nocturnal Journal by Lee Crutchley [book review]

The Nocturnal Journal: A Late-Night Exploration of What’s Really on Your Mind

The Nocturnal Journal helps readers live with greater freedom and introspection, providing a safe place to reconnect with the most important, and often most neglected, aspects of self. An engaging, supportive, and emotionally aware resource for night owls and insomniacs, this journal teases out the pressing thoughts, deep questions, everyday anxieties, and half-formed creative ideas that need unpacking, bringing more peace of mind and a richer understanding of ourselves.

The Nocturnal Journal. How fun is this idea? If you’re anything like me, there are nights where your brain spins out of control and although sleep is needed, it doesn’t come. As a teenager, I learned to pour my thoughts from my head into my journal—I don’t know if it was the writing/focusing or emptying my mind that did the trick (perhaps a combination?) but it always worked.

But my journal pages were blank. Lee Crutchley’s new book (releasing September 5, 2017) guides the restless (and exhausted) mind through 192 pages of hand-drawn journal prompts like determining what the clouds look like or writing a letter to someone you’ve lost. There are silly prompts, serious prompts, and everything in between. It’s customized for the late-night-can’t-sleep brain, with drawing exercises, writing exercises, and even staring exercises.

This isn’t the kind of book you read from cover-to-cover or even fill out in order. When you’re up at night and can’t sleep, go to the spot that speaks to you and get going.

An engaging and emotionally aware resource for night owls, insomniacs, and anyone else who finds themselves awake at all hours, The Nocturnal Journal will help you explore what keeps you up at night, and why. Prompts and illustrations tease out the pressing thoughts, deep questions, everyday anxieties, and half-formed creative ideas that need unpacking and exploring, bringing more peace of mind and a richer understanding of ourselves.

Although I don’t wrestle with my nighttime thoughts as often as I once did, I have enjoyed flipping through The Nocturnal Journal and allowing the prompts to send my mind in directions I don’t often go. This is a nice way to journal when you don’t have much to say (or don’t know where to start). It also aids in focusing your mind, getting your thoughts organized, and leaving your burden on the page. So you can experience restful sleep.

On the fence about The Nocturnal Journal? Maybe this will help. If you grab your copy now, you’ll get a glow-in-the-dark cover! I mean, who even does that anymore? What a nice touch.


The Nocturnal Journal Synopsis

An insightful, supportive and creative journal for anyone who can’t turn off their restless minds when the lights go out.

An engaging and emotionally aware resource for night owls, insomniacs, and anyone else who finds themselves awake at all hours, The Nocturnal Journal: A Late-Night Exploration of What’s Really on Your Mind will help you explore what keeps you up at night, and why. Prompts and illustrations tease out the pressing thoughts, deep questions, everyday anxieties, and half-formed creative ideas that need unpacking and exploring, bringing more peace of mind and a richer understanding of ourselves.

On these creative and colourful pages, night owls and anyone else who can’t sleep will find inspiration, comfort, and just the right questions and prompts to help sort through the unfinished business of the day (or week or year), offering peace of mind and a window into what matters most.

Part journal, part balm for restless minds, this insightful book is the perfect late-night companion when the lights go out but your brain won’t slow down.

**Order early for a glow-in-the-dark cover (limited edition only)**

Although I don’t wrestle with my nighttime thoughts as often as I once did, I have enjoyed flipping through The Nocturnal Journal and allowing the prompts to send my mind in directions I don’t often go. This is a nice way to journal when you don’t have much to say (or don’t know where to start). It also aids in focusing your mind, getting your thoughts organized, and leaving your burden on the page. So you can experience restful sleep.

Get the Hell Over It by Sarah Beth Moore [book review]

Are you held back by what ifs? It might be time to get the hell over it.

Get the Hell Over It by Sarah Beth Moore [book review]

Do you have a creative dream but don’t know where to start?

Do you wonder if there’s a book in you?

Do you wish you were doing your hobby full time?

Do you want to put yourself/your work out into the interweb but are crippled by the fear of rejection?

Do you have “the fear” from going after what you want in life?

If you nodded at any of these questions then Sarah Beth Moore’s book Get the Hell Over It: How to Let Go of Fear and Realize Your Creative Dream (Weenie-Proofing the Artistic Brain) is a must read.

Our digital age makes it easier than ever to put your creative work (be it writing, art, music, etc.) out there but it comes at a price—What if no one notices? What if it’s terrible? What if you offend someone? What if you fall on your face?

Yes, all of these fears could come true. What does Sarah have to say about it? Get the hell over it. Let go of fear and realize your creative dream.

I swear, and I’m speaking as someone who had a book deal within her grasp and lost it (but that’s a story for another time). Failures are painful, but they are rarely fatal.

Ouch.

Or…maybe this is exactly what you (I) need to hear.

In this quick 12 chapter book of simultaneous straight talk and encouragement, Sarah takes you on a journey through dreaming, discovering what’s in your wheelhouse, discerning between hobbies and careers, relying on yourself, teaching yourself, branding yourself, selling yourself, and (of course) letting go of fear. She includes personal examples from her creative life, highlighting times she was afraid, times she was brave, and times she failed. Because sometimes you will fail, it’s part of the journey.

But what if I fail?

You might. You will. And then you’ll try again.

But what if I fail again?

You might. You will. And then you’ll try again.

But what if…

But what if you succeed?

What if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?

Do you need some tough love? Get the Hell Over It is a vulnerable look inside a creative’s life and what it takes to succeed in today’s world. Sarah Beth Moore shares the points on her writing journey where she had to “get the hell over it” and be brave, make a hard choice, try, and what happened after.


Get the Hell Over It: How to Let Go of Fear and Realize Your Creative Dream (Weenie-Proofing the Artistic Brain) Synopsis

Finally: The Real Way to Claim the Profitable Creative Life You’ve Always Wanted!

Cravings. We all have them. But these days, it’s easier to indulge your sweet tooth than it is to reach your wildest dreams. At least, it certainly feels that way. And you know the type of dreams we’re talking about, right? Everything from living where you want and building a career you can pursue around the world, to accomplishments that stand the weight of time. These dreams go beyond hashtags and high-resolution photos, and the best part is that they’re well within your reach. In fact, they’ve always have been waiting for you. But when we’re afraid, it’s hard to pull back that huge curtain of fear and see our heart’s desires. Don’t worry; you just need help putting it all together.

Using your creative talents to build a lifestyle that’s unapologetically, delightfully, and incredibly all your own is beyond satisfying. Sure, you’ve seen examples of other people doing this. And you know deep down it can be done. Yet you’re stuck in your own personal adventure-movie quicksand, with no handy tree branch in sight.

That’s where this book, Get the Hell Over It: How to Let Go of Fear and Realize Your Creative Dream, comes in. Short and sweet with plenty of ideas, this book will give you a sturdy branch to grab onto when the quicksand starts pulling you down. New opportunities for a profitable, creative life await you…if you dare to reach out again.

In this book, you’ll learn how to dodge those big boulders of fear keeping you from the life you really want. However, it doesn’t end there. You’ll also learn:

  • The real way to use failure to your adventure (no pity party required)
  • Realistic exercises designed to trigger ongoing action (who really wants to save the fireworks for the holidays when every day can be a celebration?)
  • How to set your priorities in a way that pulls you closer to your designed outcomes (hint: this lets you get all your goals met rather than having to settle for just a few)
  • A great way to tell the difference between a dream, an outcome, and a mere fantasy – and why these differences matter
  • How to sidestep the people who don’t “get” what you’re doing (so you can make room for the supporters that are dying to cheer you on!)
  • And other bits of advice to help you reach for the stars (or maybe just a nice dinner on the town, nbd)

Maybe you’ve already read a dozen books on following your dreams. That’s okay too. If you aren’t where you want to be, could reading another book really hurt anything? You can’t just sit still, watching yet another year roll by without any of those big dreams coming into reality. Check out Get the Hell Over It: How to Let Go of Fear and Realize Your Creative Dream (Weenie-Proofing the Artistic Brain) today!

Do you need some tough love? Get the Hell Over It is a vulnerable look inside a creative’s life and what it takes to succeed in today’s world. Sarah Beth Moore shares the points on her writing journey where she had to “get the hell over it” and be brave, make a hard choice, try, and what happened after.

Five Step Social Media Strategy for Writers

Let’s face it. Social media marketing can be overwhelming. The more experts and gurus you listen to, the more steps there seems to be to reach the social media success train. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s your five step social media strategy, aka what to focus on when you don’t have time to be social.

Five Step Social Media Strategy

Because you’re busy and looking for help NOW we’re going to dive right in. Take what you need and do it NOW. Pro tip: Don’t do this all at once, pick what you can do first and work on it first. Then come back and pick another to work on. Then another. Look at it like building blocks—do what you can, master it, then move on to the next step.

Five Step Social Media Strategy

  1. Decide on your objectives
  2. Your options are endless here, but the key is choosing a goal. What are your social media goals? Why are you posting? You need something to keep you focused on the big picture so you keep moving towards your writing/business targets.

    A few objectives ideas: build your online profile, build brand visibility, networking, reach new clients/readers, stay connected with current clients/readers, launch products/books/services.

    Remember: choose one and work on that first. Once you feel like you’ve mastered that objective move on to another, then another.

  3. Choose your social networks
  4. I know you know. You don’t have to be everywhere. However. You do need to be online. It’s where the marketplace is. So you must choose where to spend your social time/energy. There is a lot of advice out there for which networks have the biggest payoff but you will need to decide for yourself what works. A couple questions to consider when choosing your social networks: Where are you most comfortable online? Where are your clients/readers most comfortable online?

    My two cents. If you’re a writer and trying to build your platform as a writer, I recommend Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as your networks of concentration.

    Twitter

    Yes people are saying Twitter is on its way out and yes it’s not the same as it was a few years ago. However. This is where you meet other writers. You know who else you meet on Twitter? People looking for writers. How you manage Twitter is an art in itself (which I plan on writing about soon) but once you have it set up, you will understand why I won’t let Twitter go.

    Twitter is for quick interactions. It’s great for sharing helpful links, meeting new people, and getting ideas. However, it’s not a place to sell. You build relationships on Twitter, 140 characters at a time.

    Facebook

    Yes people are saying you have to pay to play to get any traction on Facebook and yes it’s not the same as it was a few years ago. However. This is where the largest concentration of people who are on social media are. Facebook. Join the conversation.

    If you think of Facebook as a place to host/advertise events, join writers groups, and share your blog posts and article clippings, it may start to make more sense. However, this is not a place to vent your personal feelings about in-the-moment happenings. Yes you see people doing that all the time, but they’re not trying to build a professional brand and they’re using their personal profile to do that. If you think about your professional goals and aligning what you post on Facebook with them, you’ll know what you need to do.

    Instagram

    Yes people are saying Instagram’s shadow ban and algorithm change are messing everything up and yes it’s not the same as it was a few years ago. However. This is where your future fans and readers are. Trust me on this. It’s time to figure Instagram out.

    Instagram is a wonderful place to connect with people as you build your brand. How? Consistency and engagement. That means YOU are consistent and YOU are engaging with others. You can share your writing, post prompts or inspiration, and behind-the-scene peeks at your writer’s life. Images have a way of connecting people with you that words alone don’t. However, this is not a place to post your entire vacation photo album—not when you’re building your professional brand. This is also a place where you do need to engage and be active. If you don’t post and interact with other posts, you don’t grow.

    Wondering how on earth to do this? Read my post on how to build an Instagram strategy. This is one of my favourite client services and I’ve seen this strategy work time and time again.

    Remember: choose one social network and work on that first. Once you feel like you’ve mastered that social network move on to another, then another.

  5. Complete your social media profiles
  6. Not only complete, but optimize. How? I’m glad you asked! Read my post with five tips for optimizing your social media profiles.

    Looking for the quick fix? Here are the main points.

    • Choose a professional/standout profile picture and cover photo
    • Make it easy for people to know who you are/what you do
    • Link to your website
    • Include keywords about your services
    • Be clear on your location/contact info

    My biggest tip for optimizing your social profiles is consistency across platforms. Each network has its own rules for how long your bio can be, what sort of profile image works, and where your website link goes, but if you can keep more or less consistent then you’re on the right track.

  7. Interact with your audience
  8. We talked about this a bit in the social media section but it needs repeating. The point of social media is to be social. I know, you don’t have time to be social. Do you have 15 minutes? Spend 15 minutes a day checking into your two or three chosen social networks and leave comments, reply to comments, and lend your expertise whenever convenient. Trust me, this will expedite your brand building like nothing else will.

    Reminder: You’re not on social media to sell. You’re here to be social. Offer value, compliments, and help. Sales will follow.

  9. Build your promotion strategy
  10. All along we’ve been talking about how you DON’T sell on social media. But you do need promotion. There is a difference.

    In most cases, clients/readers need to know, like, and trust you before they’ll hire you/buy your book. In a virtual world, how do you make this happen? You need a strategy for converting warm leads into clients and retaining existing clients.

    If you can stay in touch in a consistent, helpful, positive way, people who visit your website or connect with you on social will get to know you and will develop trust in you and your brand.

    I know it as a “keep in touch strategy.” I first heard about it when I read Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling. He suggests building an automated strategy using customer relationship management (CRM) software. While that’s something you can build to, there’s lots you can do before investing in a CRM.

    You’ll need to figure out a few things you can do to make people feel special, noticed, and important. Here are some ideas.

    Passive ways to stay in touch

    • Posting regular blog/website content
    • Posting regular social content
    • Share real-life tips and tricks from behind the scenes of your business
    • Commenting on/liking/sharing others’ posts on social media

    Active ways to stay in touch

    • Build an engaged email list and connect consistently
    • Send handwritten notes or cards
    • Live streaming—doesn’t get much more personal than that!
    • Initiate communication
    • Send an article you think your contact would appreciate (personal touch)
    • Become a connector—in helping your connections cross-promote or develop business otherwise (even if it’s without you) you will build so much good will
    • Share gratitude and compliments—recognize others, say thank you, give sincere, public displays of affection

    Remember: choose one and work on that first. Once you feel like you’ve mastered that strategy move on to another, then another.

There, of course, is more. But you don’t have to do it all today. If you’re feeling like you don’t have time to be on social media or you’re overwhelmed with where to start, then please implement this five step social media strategy. It WILL help you! And if you are just plain stuck then I can help. All you have to do is get in touch.

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Let’s face it. Social media marketing can be overwhelming. The more experts and gurus you listen to, the more steps there seems to be to reach the social media success train. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s your five step social media strategy, aka what to focus on when you don’t have time to be social.

Ben-Hur (2016) [movie review]

From executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes an epic and awe-inspiring story of faith and forgiveness. Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the film tells the uplifting story of Judah Ben-Hur, who is enslaved by the Romans after being betrayed by his brother Messala.  Separated from his family and the woman he loves, Ben-Hur is rescued from near death by the mysterious Ilderim. He returns to his homeland seeking revenge against his brother and an empire, but instead he finds a chance for redemption.

Watching the remake of a classic movie is tricky. On one hand, it’s exciting because you love the movie and want to see it modernized. On the other hand, what if the new movie is awful? Will it be a devastating experience?

I felt this way about Ben-Hur (2016). This is a classic. A CLASSIC! Could a remake do it justice?

Before Ben-Hur (2016) was released I saw a 15-minute preview at a conference. It was still in post production and there were some glitches but it was an impressive preview (they showed the chariot race scene). Feeling confident with the remake, I set my expectations to moderate.

But when I received the new release of Ben-Hur on Blu-Ray I procrastinated watching it. Because the fear. What if the chariot race was the only good part? What if the glitches stayed? What if it ruined the story for me?

Well, of course I watched it. And I thought it was well done. The CGI and filming were remarkable, the acting was emotional and compelling, and the film stayed true to the original story. All good things. It brought out the themes of right versus wrong, love versus revenge, forgiveness and understanding.

I’ve re-watched the film a couple times and although it’s a good film, it doesn’t replace the original. Perhaps they weren’t trying to (and I’m glad about that!). This remake brings the classic story into the 21st century and nothing more.


Ben-Hur (2016) synopsis

From executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes an epic and awe-inspiring story of faith and forgiveness. Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the film tells the uplifting story of Judah Ben-Hur, who is enslaved by the Romans after being betrayed by his brother Messala. Separated from his family and the woman he loves, Ben-Hur is rescued from near death by the mysterious Ilderim. He returns to his homeland seeking revenge against his brother and an empire, but instead he finds a chance for redemption.


When I received the new release of Ben-Hur on Blu-Ray I procrastinated watching it. Because the fear. What if the chariot race was the only good part? What if the glitches stayed? What if it ruined the story for me?

Five Podcasts I Love

Looking for a new podcast? Here are five I'm loving right now and a bit about why.

I love podcasts. LOVE podcasts. I’ve loved them since the moment I heard about them (whenever that was) and have dreamed about having my own podcast for years now. I even built a business plan around a knitting-themed podcast but it never launched (still have all my notes though…).

Why are podcasts so great? Well I think it has something to do with the medium. Because I think radio is pretty great too. Listening to a person speak connects you in a way the written word doesn’t, and that’s saying something since writing is my passion. But podcasting? I love podcasts. I like them all: conversations, interviews, monologues, stories, poetry, scripted, silly, and everything in between. I listen to them while I’m working (if I’m doing a brainless task), while I’m driving, at the gym, while I’m walking, when I’m weeding/watering the garden, and whenever I’m by myself. I will listen with my husband while we’re on road trips, but he’s not so open to any and every podcast as I am so our playlist is a bit smaller.

I often am asked what podcasts I recommend so I thought today I’d share my top five of the moment. I’m always listening to more than five but these are five I recommend over and over.

The Fizzle Show Podcast

Podcasts I love, #1: The Fizzle Show

With this podcast, I have an on-again, wow-I’m-sick-of-them relationship but I have listened since the beginning and am still subscribing, so they must be doing something right! Each week the team at Fizzle uploads a new episode aimed at small business owners who want to earn a living doing something they care about. They focus on modern business essentials, self employment, marketing, productivity, work-life balance, and more. Everything in their podcast points back to their small business training courses, which I have subscribed to for the past two years and have found amazing. I trust this team to give me the tools I need to run my business.

Copyblogger FM Podcast

Podcasts I love, #2: Copyblogger FM

I love everything Copyblogger does and when they started podcasting I subscribed to every show. Well, there were a lot of shows and after a while I dropped most of them (or they got dropped…I’m not 100 per cent certain what’s going on TBH) and circled in on my favourite: Copyblogger FM. This is a short-form broadcast with solo shows and interviews focusing on content marketing, copy writing, email marketing, conversion, optimization, and more. They offer a few courses and products but I haven’t taken part (yet). But I do love their advice and would recommend their podcast and blog to anyone interested in improving their online communication.

Myths and Legends Podcast

Podcasts I love, #3: Myths and Legends

This is a new show in my podcast rotation. My husband and I discovered it while on a road trip earlier this year and while I thought it was something we’d listen to when together, I’ve gone ahead and listened to most of the archive plus all the new shows on my own. So I guess I like it. This is a solo podcast telling stories from myths, legends, and folklore from around the world. Some of the stories I’ve heard before, but I don’t think they ever get old. And yes, there are wizards, knights, and dragons—oh my!

Most of the podcasts in my rotation I’ve chosen because I think they can help me move the needle forward on my professional life. This one? Yeah, it’s pure entertainment. Of course there are valuable tips on how to creatively tell stories and create engagement, so I can still say I’m learning something! There seems to be an entire sub-culture around this podcast but I haven’t checked any of it out. So I guess I’m not there yet.

Online Marketing Made Easy

Podcasts I love, #4: Online Marketing Made Easy

I think I have also listened to this podcast since the beginning. This (usually) solo podcast is a smart, in-depth look at online business. It focuses on all sorts of topics like marketing strategy, email list growth, Facebook ads, and more. I trust what I hear in this show to be a few steps ahead of me and teach me what’s going on in the ever-changing world of digital marketing just before I need to know it. I can’t say enough good things—this one has always been on my playlist and I continue finding great value from it. This podcast also points back to various courses you can purchase. I haven’t tried any out but they sound pretty good.

Under the Influence Podcast

Podcasts I love, #5: Under the Influence

Before Under the Influence there was the show’s precursor, The Age of Persuasion. This show also airs on public radio in Canada and the US and I’ve loved everything about it for as long as I’ve known about it. This solo show is as scripted as it gets and while it takes a little getting used to, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Under the Influence is a behind-the-scenes look at the advertising industry and filled with fascinating case studies from the past and present, showing how marketing and human nature intersect. I think it’s so amazing the moment I learned the host was coming to speak at a local event I dropped everything to go. I booked off work, hustled my way into a ticket, walked 18 blocks in the rain, and showed up 30 minutes early to get the best seat. Yeah. Big fan.


And those are my top five podcast recommendations for you! I hope you can find something new and interesting to listen to—something that inspires you to take action on whatever you’re holding back on right now. Oh, and I’m always taking new podcast recommendations too so if there’s one I need to check out please let me know!

You have something to say…but you don’t know where to start.  You’ve got a story to tell…but you’re struggling to find someone to listen.  You’re passionate about spreading the word…but you’re overwhelmed and don’t know who to trust.  You’ve got your business up and running…but you need clients.  My mission is helping you reach your goals, no matter what your “but” is.