Productivity

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  • Pirates, irate customers and post-blogging tips: A few of my most recent client blogs and guest posts

    I like to share some of my work with you, in case you feel you don’t get enough of me on my own sites. I’ve been busy writing my way across the web, with often humorous results! I had a lot of fun writing this post – Writing Tips from Blackbeard the Pirate – for […]

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  • The Short and Sweet Guide to Setting 2013 Goals

    2012 is no more. The Mayans were wrong, and thousands of conspiracy theorists the world over are scratching their heads in confusion. We were blown off our campsite (winds up to 160kmph – we were literally blown away!) so had a New Years party in the city this year, and now I have a fridge filled with camping food that desperately needs to get eaten!

    This year is going to be one of the biggest and craziest of my life, both in terms of my business and my personal life. This year I make the transition from city girl to country lass. This year I embark on an exciting new publishing challenge (more about that later), and this year I grow my business bigger and brighter than I ever thought possible.

    The New Year is a time to reflect on the last year, and to plan for the year ahead. But with family overstaying their welcome at your house, kids home for the holidays, and a gazillion other demands on your time, it can be hard to find a few minutes to sit down and think strategically about business. Before you know it, it will be the end of February and you haven’t started anything for the year yet.

    Here’s my solution – a short and very sweet guide to 2013 goal-setting.

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  • It’s Raining Chickens, and Rethinking Your Regular Blog Schedule

    For years I’ve been an advocate of a regular posting schedule for your blog. I reckon if you set a goal to write a post every day, or every week, and you work hard to stick with it, you become a better blogger. Because you’re forcing yourself to practice everyday – in the same way a guitarist noodles away every night no matter how shite his day at work was or how much he’d rather finish that George R. R. Martin book – you’re going to get better. Right?

    Not necessarily. Sometimes you just get pissed off.

    Sometimes you don’t have anything to write about. Sometimes you’re terrified of facing that blank page again. Sometimes you think, “Goddammit, if I have to write ANOTHER word about death metal/weddings/cat pictures/personal finances/zombies/tofu recipes/chicken coops today, I am going to stick that chicken coop so far up the universe’s backside it will be raining chickens in Russia.”

    How many blogs do you actually read? I mean, really read? Not just add to your reader, skim the titles and think “oh, that sounds mildly interesting, I’ll come back to that”, and never do. How many writers are so awesome they create something new every day or every week that you have to devour, word by glorious word? How many?

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  • Creative Office Organisation (For Anyone who operates a floor-based or “piling” filing system)

    I swear by the gods there is a black hole in my stationery drawer.

    Pens go in, and never come out. Art supplies are purchased and promptly lost into the abyss. Staplers that I SWEAR I saw in there only a few days ago disappear without a trace.

    After the umpteenth time I barged into his office yelling accusations of stationery theft, my husband (not-so)gently pointed out that maybe “they’re hiding somewhere underneath the piles of crap on your desk.”

    “‘Piles of crap’? What ‘piles of crap’?” I cry in indignation.

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  • Email: My Secret Shame, and Improving your creative business in the New Year

    I am shit with email.

    There is no sugar-coating that baby, no making excuses or blaming it on the cat. I am shit with email. I come home from work, all ready to write my little heart out for the evening, and there it is, that seething bulk of communication, and I am grateful for every single item that comes into my inbox - new albums for me to download, guest posting, client enquiries, press releases from strange and weird places, ad requests for Gothic Wedding Planner, replies from editors about pitches, newsletters … – so I, in my excitement, read them all, think “I’ll reply to that later, when I’ve given it some thought,” file it away in a folder, and promptly forget that I need to reply to it.

    Sometimes I look at that counter that says “54 new emails” and I go and listen to my husband’s band practice, instead.

    I frequently leave people hanging for days – sometimes even weeks. I accidentally delete things. I send emails and forget to attack stuff. I send enormous files without noticing. I am a bad, bad emailler. 

    If there were email gods, they would smite me where I stand.

    The first thing that I wanted to say was that if you’ve been a victim of my email-suckyness, I apologise. I am so, so, so sorry. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m an unorganised, scatterbrained hazard to myself.

    The second thing I want to say is that it’s going to change.

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  • From punk rock princess to creative business coach: Epic Interrogations with Michelle Nickolaisen of LetsRadiate.com

    Do you know Michelle Nickolaisen? I have a feeling that in a couple of years when I ask you that question, you’ll be saying “of course!” Michelle is one kick ass chick – she’s been a blogger for several years, and her latest effort – Lets Radiate – is a love letter to creative folk who might be struggling with workflow or getting all their amazing projects off the ground.

    What does Michelle do better than anyone? She gets stuff done. She says “I have this great idea!” and then she goes out and gets it done. And she helps other creatives to work through blocks and figure out their workflow issues. And, since I’m bloody good at having great ideas, but not so good with the whole workflow things, I’m truly grateful to have her here to talk about running a small business, finding your people, and getting your business running as sweet as mustard.

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  • Epic Interrogation with Vail Joy of FutureNoir – designer behind steffmetal.com and grymmandepic.com

    If you’ve admired the bad-ass graphics and design of any of my websites, you’re should direct your compliments to Vail Joy of FutureNoir.net. Vail is the epitome of a grymm & epic businesswomen, running her creative design studio out of Slovenia, where she can indulge her bird-watching obsession and attend as many metal festivals as she wants, the lucky wench.

    Over 18 months ago I was thinking about updating my Steff Metal site and sent out a message to all my readers asking if anyone knew of a good designer. Vail answered the call and I’ve been bugging her with projects ever since. She’s friendly, super easy to work with, has the BEST ideas (have you SEEN my Cthulhu-themed copywriting packages? That’s all Vail’s work), and I recommend her to everyone I know planning a website – especially if you’re even a little bit alternative.

    vail-joy-future-noir

    Vail’s come over to Grymm & Epic today to talk about being a creative freelancer, money managing tips, and how to find the time to get to all the best heavy metal concerts.

    Firstly, we just want to know who you are, and what you do. Can you share your journey from mini-Vail to FutureNoir?

    Well, I am a transient cat herder and long-time lover of music, but make a living as an independent writer and designer. FutureNoir is a niche design studio focused primarily on web solutions for the creative industry – music, authors and artists.

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  • How to Write Without Colour

    I don’t talk a lot about my eyesight, since it seems kind of irrelevant when we’re not talking face to face. If we were, you might notice that I don’t make eye-contact, that I seem to stare at a spot over your shoulder, that I blink all the time, and that when I go to […]

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  • Announcing My New Ass-Kicking Writing Packages!

    There’s no Epic Interrogation this week. Instead, I’ve got an announcement. A lot of people write to me saying they’d love to hire someone like me to work on their site, but they don’t think they’ve got the budget. I don’t like advertising my rates, but I’ve been thinking of creating some special writing packages […]

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  • Epic Interrogation: Laura Simms of Create as Folk on being an amazing creative coach and how she’s totally not a workaholic

    Another installment of Epic Interrogations, slightly later than I intended because I spent most of yesterday recovering from the Alestorm gig and pirate partying of this weekend (You know this isn’t a typical business blog when I will shamelessly link to a bunch of photos of me drinking mead, dressed as a wench and singing onstage at a pirate metal show). But I have an amazingly awesome lady to introduce to you, and I didn’t want to wait a minute longer.

    Laura Simms runs the awesome blog and creative business at Create as Folk. Laura is one of those people that was BORN to be creative and an inspiration to others. She shares my love of archaeology, but went into acting instead of digging up the dead things, which honestly probably paid more. Now she’s an amazing creative coach and blogger – simply reading her blog gets me psyched about my art. It’s no surprise she works as a creative consultant, helping her clients form their creative careers from their sometimes chaotic lives (she knows our type well, you see). I won’t hog the stage a moment longer – bring it on, Laura!

    Firstly, we just want to know who you are, and what you do:

    I’m Laura Simms, and I coach creatives at Create as Folk. My work with clients is at intersection of where creative career strategy meets quality of life coaching.

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