blog writing · creative writing · writing

When It Rains, I Make It Pour

Currently on my list of to-dos:

  1. Full-time job
  2. Freelance Project #1
  3. Freelance Project #2
  4. Care for sick mom
  5. Beg child to complete his reading log
  6. Beg husband to put his shoes away
  7. Trip on shoes that husband has not put away
  8. Curse husband
  9. Email weird, random GIFs to friends
  10. Wash, dry, fold, and put away five thousand loads of laundry
  11. Pay bills
  12. Worry about money
  13. Cry because there is no money
  14. In desperation, take on Freelance Project #3
  15. Cry because there is no time
  16. Take dog to vet
  17. Freelance Project #4 to pay vet bill
  18. Cry again
  19. Soccer practice Mondays and Wednesdays
  20. Soccer games Saturdays
  21. Violin practice Thursdays at 8:30 am (Why must parents attend? We do not know.)
  22. Meal planning
  23. Grocery store
  24. Get home and realize I forgot half of the things on grocery list
  25. Back to grocery store

So, clearly, this is a great time to start blogging again!

1-lost-mind
For the first time in over a year, I’ve posted over at The Bean, and it’s just the first post of many (okay, maybe a few). I’m finally starting to pull from the old drafts folder, picking a few to dust off, polish up, and release into the light of day.

1-dove
I have no idea why, after letting the Bean languish for years, I suddenly have this need to breathe life into it again. It could be that the muses are singing into my ear. It could be that I need the creative outlet to keep me upright for all the rest.

Or it could be that huge problem with avoidance and procrastination that my therapist keeps telling me I need to work on.

1-guilty
All I know is that, when the creative bug bites, I have no choice but to roll with it. So that’s what I’m doing.

Might I have a heart attack from the stress before it’s all said and done? Well, sure. But at least I’ll have done another little something I liked before making pals with old Grimmy.

1-grim-reaper
So head on over there if the mood strikes you, and check back if you like what you read. I’ve got plans, folks.

Way too many plans.

Xo,

Beej

 

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blog writing · collaborations · creative writing · web content · writing

Strange Things Are Afoot at the Circle K

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Lots of big stuff is either planned or already happening around here… and since I know you’ve all been on pins and needles waiting for news about my professional life (right? RIGHT??!?), I’m going to go ahead and drop obnoxiously generic hints about all of it here, without including any actual details or relevant information. You’re welcome.

So here’s #1…

I just finished a BIG web project for an AMAZING client, and there aren’t enough capital letters in the world to describe how SO SUPER FUN it’s been or how HAPPY we both are with the final product. I can’t reveal too much right now, but we’re looking for this to go live really soon, and when it does, the cat is popping right out of this bag.

catbagSo stay tuned!

#2 is…

I recently picked up a small gig working with a local fitness group. It’s one of those projects where I don’t really know what I’m doing, but the client has enough faith in me to send me off on my own to figure it out. I’m having a ton of fun playing around with new resources and cool ideas, and so far it’s shaping up to be pretty neat. I have a feeling the client and I are both getting a happy ending out of this one.*

happilyeverafter

*Note to future self: Never ever ever search Google for “happy ending GIF.”

Then there’s #3…

I’ve been talking lately with someone who is crazy smart, super successful, and just an all-around nice guy, about putting together a book. It’ll be an enormous endeavor and take many months to complete, but I am beyond jazzed about it. We’re totally on the same page when it comes to content, creativity, and approach, and I just generally have a great feeling about working with this fella.

I think that together we’ll come up with something fun, imaginative, and completely different from anything else out there. And, assuming that all the wheels stay attached and in motion, we could have an epic end result in hand by next fall.

Basically, this project has a TON of potential. And I’m so excited about it I could pee.

peepeedanceAnd #4!

Creative projects are happening, people. THEY ARE HAPPENING.

Okay, they’re kind of not happening.

In the works are two small art projects that I’ve been working on in little ways for several months now. Both are about halfway done, but keep getting shelved because NO TIME.

I’ve also got two new web sites in the works – three, if you count the foodie site I’m helping a friend put together. All three are totally different and completely stalled because NO TIME.

Every one of these projects is quirky and funky and weird and pure Blythe. Not a single one of them will ever make me any money, and I love them all.

But did I mention NO TIME?

I’m determined to make them happen, ALL of them, at one point or another. I’m just not sure where the time will come from to get’er done.

So let’s all keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

new-fingers-crossed-gif-466

And last but not least…

Speaking of time, it’s just about time to let The Bean, my old humor blog, go the way of the dodo.

Or maybe not?

I don’t know! I’m freaking out!

For way too long I’ve been blowing off any real decision about it, choosing instead to just leave it for dead. But lately it’s been driving me nuts, knowing that this thing is out there just languishing, all sad and alone. I put a ton of work into that blog, it got me through some very rough times, and (regardless of the potty-mouthed, 11-year-old boy approach that many of the posts took) I’m really proud of some (not all) of the writing I did there.

It was fun, and healing, and it meant something to me. Not to mention all the opportunities it presented to me, and friendships that it fostered. But I haven’t posted there in a full year.

I owe it more than this.

I’d love to start writing there again in earnest, but see #4 up there? Yeah. That NO TIME thing is for realsies. No joke.

But when I think about putting it out of its misery… well, it just hurts my heart.

Either way, something needs to happen. And soon. As my Grandpa Lynch would say, it’s time to either sh*t or get off the pot (and thanks, Grandpa, for that incredibly descriptive turn of phrase).

I really don’t know which route I’ll take, but either way the decision will be made and executed by the end of this month. It’s time to bring the hammer down.

hammer3Or not.

So. That’s it.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Keep checking back if you have any interest at all in what I’ve got in the works. I’ll post updates as they come, and might actually give details on some of these projects, once they’re released.

Until then…

STAY COOL, Y’ALL.

coolXOXO,

Beej

 

 

 

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blog writing · books · humor writing · personal writing · writing

A Major Award

lampTwo notable things have happened in my life recently:

(1) My silly little book was named the winner of the Discovery Prize in the Poetry category of the 2014 Book Awards from the Writers’ League of Texas, and

(2) I actually wrote something on my humor blog, The Bean, which never happens anymore.

If you want to know more about both, click on over and read up. And hey — enjoy it while you can, because the last post I wrote over there was eons ago and it’s not likely the next one will come around anytime soon. (But then again, you never know… I’m a loose cannon.)

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Lots of Xes and Os…

Beej

writing

That’s What She Said, Technical Writing Edition

That’s What She Said, Technical Writing Edition 

Every quote below comes directly from technical documentation that I’ve worked on in recent weeks, and each has caused me near-physical pain when I realized there was no husband nearby to torment with my “That’s what she said” victory yawp. 

So I’m sharing them here, because they each deserve a special moment in the sun. Enjoy.

  1. Carefully but quickly screw into place.
  2. Be sure all nuts are secure.
  3. Quickly pull the plunger out of the opening.
  4. Do not pipette by mouth.
  5. Visually inspect for leaks.
  6. Carefully wrap the end of the probe with the plastic provided.
  7. Air will blow out of the rear fans.
  8. Be sure it is properly primed before injecting.
  9. Carefully inspect the rack before mounting.
  10. Place the sheath below the opening and insert in an upward direction.
  11. Moisten the swab before agitating.
  12. Wipe the surface with the moistened swab back and forth a few times.
  13. Wipe the delicate items with a moistened swab; leave others to air dry.
  14. The sheath must be protected at all times.
  15. Slowly probe the bottom opening.
  16. Rinse the probe from the larger end to the narrow end.
  17. The instrument should vibrate vigorously when powered on.
  18. If frothing occurs at the opening, stop immediately.
  19. If the screw does not go in as far as it did before, reposition and try again.
  20. Grab the base and gently pull down on it until it is fully seated.

THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.

(Ah, I feel so much better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.)

(THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID.)

Happy Friday, y’all. 

Love, Beej

 

books · humor writing · Poetry · writing

Something Smells Like Pee

So, I did this thing where I wrote this book. Here it is:

hardcopy

 It’s a collection of humorous observations, told through more than 60 poems and accompanying illustrations. I did everything myself, from the writing to the drawing and design cover and more. Now I’m doing all of the marketing myself, which is about a million times harder than any of the rest of it.

In promoting it, I’ve been lucky to find some terrific supporters, and I’ve gotten a fair amount of press — including being featured in John Kelso’s popular column in the Austin American Statesman and as Cup #82 in Melissa Lombard’s Coffee With a Stranger project. You can follow the Facebook page for it here.

The book description is this:

Humorist/writer/sketch artist/mom Blythe Jewell offers a selection of humor poems and illustrations about everything from being a mom to finding hair in all the wrong places. Random, insane, potty-mouthed and sometimes sweet, it’s a collection that will leave you laughing, crying and occasionally scratching your head.

More than 60 titles include:

– Hair in My A*% Crack
– Lollipop In My Hair
– Shut the F*!% Up About Twilight
– Ugly Baby
– On Our Periods Together
– Neil Patrick Harris Gets the Paddle
– Leave the F*!%ing Cat Alone
– Has Anyone Seen My Glasses
– I Can’t Do Math

… and many more.

If you’re interested in supporting it, the best things you can do are BUY IT and REVIEW IT and SHARE IT with your friends. I’m depending heavily on word of mouth to promote this baby, and getting the word out is by far my biggest challenge. Any and all help is appreciated!!

I’m planning a small launch party and some additional events/promotional projects during National Poetry Month in April, so stay tuned for more news. In the meantime, any inquiries about the book, readings or other events can be directed to me.

I hope you’ll check it out!

article writing · blog writing · marketing copy · writing

3 Steps to Market – Gen Y Style

3 Steps to Market – Gen Y Style

Stressed out about marketing to Gen Y? It’s easy to be intimidated by a group that’s 80 million large, with the kind of spending power that can make – or break – your business. But the truth is, marketing to the younger set is a lot easier than it seems. In fact, just three basic steps can get you started.

1.     Connect

If you aren’t already in the online space, stop reading now. You can’t even think about marketing to Gen Y if you’re not making use of the digital landscape that so many of them call home.

GenYimage1

This is about more than just Twitter and Instagram (although those are great tools and you’d be crazy not to make use of them)… it’s also about making your web site tech-friendly, providing content that’s versatile and interactive, and just generally being a brand that’s easy to find and use. Accessibility isn’t something that Gen Y likes; it’s something that Gen Y expects. Consider this Rule #1.

2.     Engage

When marketing to Gen Y, communication is all about conversation. Don’t just start a social media account – use it to build relationships with your customers. It’s not enough to tell them what to buy; you also have to tell them who you are, why you love your brand, and why they’ll love it, too.

GenYimage2

Above all, give them a reason to celebrate! Gen Yers like enthusiasm, they like to shop and they LOVE a good party. They’re twice as likely to call themselves “Born to Shop” than any other generation… all they need is an excuse. So give it to them!

3.     Listen

Just like any other consumer bracket, Gen Y wants to be heard. This means soliciting – and then responding to – their opinions. It means taking their feedback to heart, and letting them help shape what comes next.

GenYimage3Consider online retailer ModCloth. The company’s popular Be the Buyer program lets customers vote on their favorite styles to dictate future production, and contests are often centered around ideas, rather than just dumb luck. The approach is really a win-win: Customers become active participants in the brand, while the company itself gets great input and finds new ways to keep its line fresh and relevant.

At the end of the day, marketing to Gen Y isn’t really all that different from marketing to any other generation. You might have to embrace some new tech and learn a little slang here and there, but when it comes down to it, as consumers we all just want a little respect. And that’s an easy thing to offer – to customers of any age.

[post for an online marketing firm, specializing in brand promotion among younger adults; written and submitted November 2012]

marketing copy · web content

LibreDigital

Last year I helped LibreDigital, a leader in the digital reader industry, rework some of their web content to better communicate their message. A few of the pages I wrote are included below (click the pic to enlarge); check out the company’s web site for information about what they do.

http://www.rrdonnelley.com/libredigital/ebook/home.aspx
http://www.rrdonnelley.com/libredigital/ebook/home.aspx
libredigital3
http://www.rrdonnelley.com/libredigital/magazine/home.aspx
http://www.rrdonnelley.com/libredigital/ereading/home.aspx
http://www.rrdonnelley.com/libredigital/ereading/home.aspx
http://www.rrdonnelley.com/libredigital/sales-analytics/home.aspx
http://www.rrdonnelley.com/libredigital/sales-analytics/home.aspx
blog writing · humor writing

Cats in Pictures

I struggle all the time with how much I should share here about my humor blog. It’s potty-mouthed, obnoxious and often very opinionated… not exactly the most professional body of work one can present on what’s essentially a resume site. But at the same time, I’m proud of it. It represents a lot of time and effort spent on my part, and it’s told in a voice I’ve worked hard to cultivate over time.

I go back and forth on it because I know that not everyone will agree with the opinions I share there or the ways in which I share them. But today? Today I have no hesitation about sharing this post. Because this one is all about the numbers — and numbers are something everyone can agree on.

My Feelings About Election 2012, In Cat Pictures

The day after the Presidential Election was over, I published this post. Within an hour, it had gone viral. The traffic started pouring in from Facebook, and links spread all over Twitter and message boards across the Internet. It’s been tweeted no less than 50 times (including a share from Battlestar Gallactica star Tricia Helfer). I have no idea how many times it’s been shared on Facebook but I can guarantee it’s a lot more than 50.

In 4 days the post has brought more than 37,000 unique visitors to the site, and it continues to spread. To give you some perspective, the most page views I’d had in one day before this had been about 1,200, and that was nearly three years ago. In the three days after the Cats in Pictures post went live, I’ve averaged 6,300 page views per day.

Basically, it’s gone gangbusters.

Whether you voted for Obama or Romney, whether you agree with my political opinions or not — you have to admit, the numbers are good. And that’s why I’m okay with sharing it here. So — enjoy!

(Be warned, though — this is pretty much the only “safe for work” post you’ll find at The Bean. So if you’re easily offended or faint of heart, you might not want to bother.)

article writing

CultureMap: Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo

Today you can check out my latest piece for CultureMap, about a roadside attraction called Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo. There were a few edits to my original text, but overall I’m happy with the piece and still super glad to be doing work with CultureMap. It was also featured as the Editor’s Pick!

They used stock photos for the article, but here are a few  took on the trip, too. Enjoy!

Me and Sam, at the entrance
Sam and Sophia with a zebra
Making friends with piglets

article writing · reviews

Concert Review: Howard Jones ACL

Written June 28, 2012

Howard Jones: A Little Too Moody at the Moody

I’ve always liked Howard Jones. He’s not the love of my life or anything (Simon le Bon’s the lucky recipient of that honor), but songs like “What is Love” and “No One is to Blame” helped provide a lovely backdrop to my 80s-era childhood, and I’ve always thought Jones’ insightful lyrics and catchy synthpop melodies were some of the best to come out of that time. Besides, his youthful look and signature spiky blonde hair made him adorable, and for a starry-eyed tween in the 80s, adorable went a long way.

So when the chance came around to see him live at the Moody Theater for Austin City Limits Live, I jumped at it. Ticket prices were reasonable and the venue’s a perfectly intimate setting, so it seemed like a no-brainer. With a couple of girlfriends in tow I arrived last night, ready to rock.

Well, okay, not so much rock as sway. It IS Howard Jones, after all.

The usual sense of anticipation set over me as the Welsh singer entered accompanied by only two band members – one taking his seat behind an electronic drum set, the other manning a musical control panel. As Jones and his signature hair (now gray but still spiky) took their place behind the center stage synthesizers, I felt a few goosebumps and leaned in a bit.

But, here’s the thing. This wasn’t your typical 80s retro show, where the headliner covers all the major hits with a few duds and (and maybe some covers) sprinkled in, then exits stage. Instead, Jones performed every song – every song – from the two albums that made him a star in the 80s and as it turns out, a large percentage of the audience (myself included) had no memory of most of them. Add to this the fact that both albums (1984’s Human’s Lib and the 1985 follow-up Dream Into Action) were decidedly moody and introspective to begin with, and you’ve got yourself a pretty low energy show overall. There were a few exclamation points when the trio rolled around to crowd-pleasers like “Things Can Only Get Better” and “Like to Get to Know You Well,” but for the most part this was a show of commas and semicolons. Not a lot of oomph.

To be fair, I don’t think the show was really designed for oomph. With minimal equipment on stage, static players and a backdrop display of streaming graphics that I swear were stolen from my 1996 Windows screen saver, this show was never meant to keep people on their feet. Jones’ running commentary between songs was often reflective and sweet, and after a fairly long break between sets, the second half’s more upbeat songs of Human’s Lib did offer a badly needed boost in energy. And with the encore performance of the super catchy “New Song,” it all ended on a definite high note.

Still, I felt a small tinge of sadness as my girlfriends and I left the theater. Jones still sounds just as good as he ever did, and if you listen to his critically acclaimed 2009 album Ordinary Heroes you’ll find that his songwriting skills haven’t suffered over time, either. The decision to play two older albums in entirety, excluding his newer material completely, left me feeling a little lackluster about the experience. It felt a little like a missed opportunity.

But, hey. Last night was a chance to see an 80s icon perform some of his biggest hits, and I’m still super glad I went. I remain a proud Howard Jones fan, and if he comes to town again I’ll gladly give it another go. Besides, as Jones himself would tell you – from here, things can only get better.

article writing

CultureMap Austin

I’ve recently joined the ranks of contributors at CultureMap Austin, a daily digital magazine that publishes news, reviews and other content that’s centered around Austin and its surrounding areas.

My first piece was published a few weeks ago… a quick list of old school, kid-friendly Austin fun spots the whole family can enjoy.

crmap2

Another piece about New Braunfels “staycations” will be published later this week, and several more are on the front burner. So stay tuned!