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.*

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*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

The Bean is Dead. Long Live the Bean.

So, today I posted this on my old humor blog, The Bean.

As of sometime in August, my web guy is killing his hosting service – and I’m letting The Bean die with it.

While there are many things I will miss about The Bean, here is a list of things I absolutely won’t miss at all:

  • Fucking trolls
  • The barrage of spam comments like this: “Hi there, You must have done a wonderful job flange. I will absolutely digg them along with my perspective advocate to be able to my pals. More than likely they shall be took advantage of this page.
  • And this: “Normally I wouldn’t read post for websites, on the other hand would like to state that the following write-up incredibly forced us for you to do so! Your current producing flavour is surprised my family.. 925 Many thanks, extremely good document.
  • And this: “??????, ???????? ?????????? ??????? ??????. ????????? ????? ??? ????, ??? ?????????? ????? ? ????????? ??? ?????? ??????. ?????????? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ????????? ? ????????, ? ? ??????? ?? ?? ?????. ??? ?????? ??????????? ?? ????????????. ??????? ???????????!
  • Monthly autopayments of $9.70 to get spam comments and nothing else
  • Constantly feeling shitty about never posting there anymore

I could go on and on about The Bean; it’s played a major part in my life, and I poured a ton of my soul into it. I worked hard at it, took it seriously, then not so much. It got me noticed, professionally, as a writer, and was directly responsible for the first few jobs I ever had as a freelancer. In many ways, it is responsible for the career I have now, and I am so lucky to have had it.

But it’s time to let it go.

I’ve kept it up and running for way longer than was right. I’ve made a few half-assed attempts to pick it back up over the years, but my heart was never truly in it, and it showed. Other than a few sappy posts on birthdays and anniversaries, it’s been languishing out there for years, neglected and sad and lonely.

I owe it more than that.

So as soon as my web guy kills his server (sometime in August, I’m told), The Bean will die, too.

I’ll forever be grateful for the connections, the friendships, the confidence, and the sheer joy that it gave me. It’s not a small thing, to make people laugh with your words. It’s not a small thing to make people feel anything with your writing. It’s really something quite special.

Of course, I still have all the old stuff and I’m trying to work out what I want to do with it. It won’t all stay dead forever. I’ll probably start by re-posting a few of my favorite pieces here over the next few weeks…I might even create a separate section for that stuff, I don’t know. If you have any suggestions, or want to see any particular posts be saved, let me know.

In the meantime, though, it’s been super fun, y’all. I’m sad say goodbye to The Bean, but I know it’s going to a better place. And I’m excited to see what happens next – I have LOTS of crazy ideas, and you just never know with me. I’m a loose cannon!

I hope you’ll stay tuned. You can always still find me here, and here, and here – or just shoot me an email to say hi or whatever. I promise I’ll say hi back!

‘Til then… Shine on, peeps. XOXO

Love,

Beej

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 · 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

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]

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.)

blog writing · collaborations · humor writing · personal writing

Co-Written With My Five-Year-Old

When I’m pressed for time and just can’t get the creative juices flowing, I often depend on my 5-year-old son Sam to write my content for me. He’s brilliant, hilarious and clearly a chip off the old block. Here’s a post we “co-wrote” this weekend for the grand finale of Funny Not Slutty’s 80s Week:

5-Year Olds Just Don’t Get the 80s

blog writing · books · humor writing

My Funny Valentine: An Anthology

I’ve touched on this in other parts of the site, but wanted to offer a direct link to the book my work was featured in late last year. Adoro Publishing’s humor anthology My Funny Valentine: America’s Most Hilarious Writers Take On Love, Romance, Humor and Other Complications was released in December of 2011 and featured a piece I wrote for my column at FunnyNotSlutty.com. The post was titled “5 Things I Will Not Be Doing to Please my Man this Valentine’s Day” and can still be read, with accompanying pictures, on the site.

To buy a copy of the book, visit its page on Amazon.

blog writing · humor writing · reviews

Rodeo Review

This review was originally posted on the blog Kidding Around Austin back in Marh of 2011. It was written mostly as a casual blog piece and is both obnoxious and potty-mouthed (my humor trademarks). Just a warning!

Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo

Yesterday I went to the Four Seasons for a brunch held by the super awesome folks at PBSKids (more on this later in the week) and got smacked in the face by the SXSW crowds. Once I was able to get out of downtown (which, believe me, was no small feat), I went home, picked up my boys, and spent the rest of the afternoon at the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo.

It was kind of like spending the morning on one planet, hopping a spaceship flight and spending the rest of the day on a completely different rock. I started my day on Planet Skinny Jeans, and ended it on Planet Wrangler.

SXSW is about technology. And celebrity. And being hip.

The rodeo? Totally not about any of that stuff.

The rodeo’s all about cowboys.

And meat.

And I don’t actually know what these things are, but it’s about these things.

It’s also a GIANT rip-off.  The big butt-screw started before we ever even got into the park – ten dollars for decidedly NON-rock star parking.

view from our car

Once you finally make it to the gates, it’s another $7 per adult ($4 for kids 3-12) to get into the fairgrounds. A grand total of $18 for the three of us to get into the park so we could spend a whole lot more on overpriced food and carny rides. Before we ever even walked in, we were nearly 30 bucks lighter. And our feet were already sore.

They make you pay for everything with tokens. Probably hoping those shiny gold coins will distract you from the fact that you’re handing someone nine dollars for a piece of pizza on a stick.

The only part of the fairgrounds that didn’t seem to cost the price of a small child was Kidstown — but that section was so smelly and depressing (with all those poor, miserable petting zoo animals and tired ponies) that I would have gladly paid someone to make it all just go away.

However.

Here are the pluses.

My boy LOVES a carnival.

The rides were fun and the kids had a blast.

And the people watching?  Well, that just doesn’t get any better anywhere else than the rodeo, folks. And that’s the god’s honest truth. Some of the people we saw were worth the price of admission alone.

Two children with glorious mullets

Could we have gone to a regular old carny – the Thomas carnival that just happens to be going on over at the Dell Diamond right now, perhaps – for less money, better parking, and similar entertainment?  Well, sure we could.

But we would have missed this:

Her pink t-shirt says, in huge white letters, “FUCK Y’ALL I’M FROM TEXAS.”
Yes, that’s her baby in the stroller.

And that would have just been unacceptable.

Beej