Tag Archives: goal setting

Work as a Creative? Make Sure to Use Your Timer

We creatives really don’t like clocks. They often cause stress and make us feel like we are not accomplishing anything when we have actually done bucketloads of work.

So, why is this creative writer and marketer telling other creatives to use a timer at their work?

Why You Should Use Your Timer

This is specifically for people who work as creatives. If you are taking an evening to paint for yourself, ditch any semblance of a time-tracker before heading to the studio. But, when we work, we always need to mix up the fun stuff, the creativity and the engagement of our emotions with the mundane.

If I never send invoices, I don’t get paid.

That emotion is worse than any clock.

Seriously. Because we would rather be writing, creating a world in our favorite digital sandbox, or modeling real clay on a wheel, we need to use timers to ensure that we have full creative license for a period of time.

For this article, I am writing it in 15 minutes.


Partly because of the challenge the clock gives me. But, the bigger reason is I am tutoring a student on SAT prep in one hour. I have to finish discussions with a potential client, and attempt to do several other creative things in the meantime.

Do Everything, So You Can Stop Everything But

If we do not give ourselves breaks and PAT time (look it up if you want a study in classroom management), then we either never create (tolling the death knell for a creative) or never get clients to pay us (a death knell for anyone).

So, whether you write for yourself or for someone else, get comfortable with creating the time for you to create. And if that really stresses you out, make certain you take time during the day to stop everything but ….

If you love reading, get your work done for the day and then stop everything but reading.

If you are a game designer or tester, get your work done for the day, take some time to engage with physical people, and then… stop everything but the game you have been wanting to play.

During your required work, give yourself time for creative tasks by using a timer. Look up the urgent/important quadrant for a good idea of what is required if you work for yourself.

I had 15 minutes to write this blog, and did it in 12. Now I will edit, publish, and have a 3 minute celebration that I beat the clock!

Now, go write, paint, draw, create something.

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It’s Only Day 5, It’s Not too Late for NaNoWriMo!

What is NaNoWriMo?

Short for National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo is an organization that encourages people to write through some really great and fun challenges throughout the year.

Their biggest challenge is of course the challenge to write a novel in the month of November. Since they are not associated with any publishing organization and are funded mostly by donations, NaNoWriMo participants are encouraged to do more than just write novels.

You can set a challenge to write 50,000 words of any type of genre, including a content-marketing challenge to write that many words in one month.

For myself, this year, I intend to attempt a journalistic styled expose of my legacy, titled White Man from a Slave? But, since I am a content marketer and I have neither time nor creative energy to do all my normal writing and an additional 50,000 words on a novel, I am including blogging and other job-type writing in my word count, just because.

So, it is only November 5. You can still get a really good start at writing that novel you always wanted to, getting a really meaty blog going in one month, or writing your autobiography, because everyone needs at least one.

What Do You Want to Write This Month?

So, I am writing a autobiographical expose, and thousands of words in blogs. What are you going to write this month?

Head on over to nanowrimo.org/  to get started in the community and experience a great month writing this month!

Also, leave your comment below on what you are going to be writing this month.


ps. I just happened to move last week and was not able to get started quite yet. What’s your excuse?

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Filed under About Paul Davis, Content Writing Tips

3 Questions to Ask Before You Look at Metrics


Before you wonder what is wrong with your sales and marketing stats,

Before you look at your SEO and SEM,

Before you split-test your CTA or headline,

Before you consider whether you have the right target market,

Ask yourself these questions:

Do I really understand what I am offering? 

If you do not know what product or service you are offering, your metrics will not help you. Find something that you can do that other people want before you look at metrics. For example, I have started a board game company, a book publishing company, and several network marketing endeavors, but none of those were things that people would actually pay me for. Then I started blogging and got paid.

Find something you do that other people want, before you wonder what marketing statistics are.

Do I think people need this?

If you don’t believe in what you do, why should anyone else? One of my current marketing clients spent some time blogging for other people on Blogmutt and then decided that an outsourced content writer was not her cup of tea. So she started writing Greater St. Louis Parks, and now has a site that she and I can recommend to anyone who travels through or lives in the greater St. Louis area.

Do I love Doing My Service or Using My Product? 

Again, you may think someone else needs the product, but if you have no means of connecting with your target audience, then you become a push salesperson.

Take some time to really consider these questions before any other question in your business. Only when you know that you do understand your product or service, you see that people need it, and you love the product as much as your customers do, only then can you truly succeed in marketing it: you understand your business, your product line, and most importantly, your target market.


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How To Use Trello For Planning Blog Posts

Writing is difficult. Writing multiple posts a day is even more so. That is the primary reason I use Trello for planning my posts and organizing content, marketing plans, and more.

Whiteboard for Agile

Trello is an app made for Agile process management. In software development, there are two main philosophies of development: waterfall and Agile. Waterfall process management gives each person on the team one task to do and the development flows from one station to the next.

As each designer is done their section of the program, they send it on to engineers, engineers to coders, coder to testers, and so on. Once the entire software is developed, it is released to the world. Agile, on the other hand, has a team of people who are experts in various areas but work on an entire section of code together. This requires intense levels of communication and planning so that the software can be developed without hangups and so that team members know what they are doing each and every day.

This communication process requires whiteboarding of each day’s task, as well as weekly and monthly goals. When you are managing a team with remote workers, it can be very difficult to communicate who does what, when over long distances. That was why the Trello team built their app. Trello gives people the tools to manage tasks and planning as effective as a whiteboard, without having to physically be in one place.

Trello for Freelancers

While Trello is designed for teams, a single writer can use it incredibly well. I would guess that a solo writing act needs the organizational tools of Trello even more than a team does. With a team, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, which means that eventually the job will be done. When you are working alone, you can always find some new shiny thing that needs doing, and never get to the jobs that bring in an income.

A freelancer and solo writer has to always do two things, and do them well. We have to provide quality writing to our current customers, and we have to be working on marketing, networking and sales to be getting new customers. Even if you never plan on growing beyond your own writing abilities, you need to be marketing because current writing projects end.

That’s where Trello comes in. It gives me and you the tools necessary to plan our business activities. I use Trello for planning out my daily activities, my weekly and monthly writing schedules for various customers, as well as specific projects I am working on.

Using Trello to Plan a Post A Day

Trello uses “Lists” to organize a single task, time period, or other grouping of activities. For planning my monthly posts, I created 4 Boards – One for each week of the month. Their next level of organization are cards. These are the activity or task level organizing tools. I created one card for each post I was planning. Seven cards per list, 4 lists per Board, planning out one month of posts.

I also created one list for post topics that got bumped as I was planning and changing things day-to-day. Some days news, comments, requests, or other actions gave me ideas that needed to be written about that day. So I could keep ideas in the queue for later, even if I did not want to use them in my thirty days of posts.

That is how I use Trello to plan my blog posts. What organizational tools do you use to build your content writing schedule?

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Who Is On Your Team?

A freelance writer  is always wearing too many hats.

Entrepreneur. Writer. Marketer. There are many more roles an individual must fulfill. Here are a few of mine:


Being a Dad



Being a Lover




Being a Player


It is always tempting to try to do it all, but I was reminded of the need for team members today when I was struggling with mid-week brain fog caused by too little sleep (the whole being a dad thing) and a need to refresh my business focus.

Cue a phone call from my other half, an administratively-minded, creative person who loves to make lists (See her beautiful face kissing mine above). She was able to take 20 minutes out of her day and help me think through mine as I took a walk around the block (thus increasing my vitamin D intake for the day and getting some needed movement in).

Types of Personalities on Your Team

It is tempting to always do things on your own when you are bootstrapping a writing career, but it really does help to have other people to listen to you, to help you think through your business, and even to work on projects with you. These are some of the personalities that any freelance writer may need to find:

  • Designer – Yes, we writers tend to be creative. No, we don’t have time to do it all. An art and design portfolio is different from a writing portfolio. When it comes to creating logos, websites, color schemes and more, we often will need other people to look over our work or sometimes offer us a much needed “save.”
  • Administrative Assistant – Ever sit at a computer, staring at Facebook, thinking: “I have a reason that I logged onto here?” I do it all the time. Many times my administratively minded wife offers a great save by reminding me of what is on my list today.
  • Idea Sounding Boards – Thinking is hard work. When you surround yourself with people who wish you well and who engage in their own creative processes, you will be able to come up with great ideas and increase them through creative interactions. This post was an idea my aforementioned wife gave me. I also have an idea for a post on creativity that came from my son telling a story about how Nemo touched Captain Hook’s boat and then he and Dory fled from the crocodile by hiding in the whale (Creativity does not have to be creating something new, just improvising).
  • Financially Minded People – Accounting is hard work. I love math and accounting, but it is still hard work. When you are busy writing, you need to have people around you who understand finances.
  • Legally Minded People – Ditto.
  • People Persons – Many writers choose the business because they are introverts who love the idea of hanging out by themselves and writing. If that is you, you will need to ally yourself with some good friends who are extroverts; they would love to introduce you to their friends who need a writer.

Places to Find Helpful Personalities

OK. You get that you need help on your writing journey, but where do you find these people, especially if you are an introvert? The following are places that you can easily find people who want to help you with your business.

  • Coworking Spaces – I just landed a new client because of a contact I made in a coworking space. A coworking space is a place to get out from under your children’s feet or find a new place to make connections. If you are a people loving parent, you need to get out from home and coworking is cheaper than restaurants. If you are an introvert, you need connections, and a coworking space will encourage networking.
  • Family – Spouses, children, parents, cousins, and even your great aunt are all great sources for proof reading, sharing content, and other necessary parts of a successful business. One of my best posts on The Writer’s Cue connected with several of my extended family members, who then shared the post.
  • Customers – Once you land a customer, they can provide you valuable resources, both in finding new clients (referrals) and in their own creative process (as a freelancer, you become a part of their team).
  • Friends – I had a friend in college who I loved to sit with. I knew that if I sat with Jackie, I would meet someone new. When you make this kind of connection, do not be afraid to stay connected. People like Jackie are gems, because they usually take joy from helping other people connect. There are other friends who have helped me with cars, with non-profit volunteering and more. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

So, even if you are alone, your freelance carreer cannot be lonely. You need help, and there are many people around you who love you and are willing to help you out.


Filed under Content Writing Tips

Finding and Collecting Leads: My Goal for September

Setting and Achieving Goals

How do you set goals when there is too much to do and too little time to do it?

As a business starter, father of two under 5 years old and husband of 6years, there is never enough time to get everything done. Ever.

Maybe you are one of the privileged few who have set an agenda, created daily habits, and regularly plan and execute a limited number of goals to achieve success!

Or maybe that person is a myth.

With real life, habits form slowly and they are often disrupted by the people around us.

Procrastination becomes an essential part of our self-management because it is easier to waste time on mindless tasks than it is to transition to productive tasks when you only have 15 minutes between cars, children, and whatnot.

Setting and Achieving Goals

I often create overwhelming goals. It always helps to come back to my goals, review them, and adjust them as needed.

While my goal this month is to do list building challenges and a blogging challenge, I want to look at the specific goals I have for finding and connecting with actual people this month.

How Many People?

Part of the list building challenge, I am setting the goal for my personal list, one of my customer’s lists, and for views to my website.

  • 25 New Subscribers for My List
  • 100 New Subscribers for Aletheia Christian College’s List
  • 1000 Total Views on My Blog

With writing, editing, teaching, tutoring, dadding, and husbanding, these goals are less than I was planning when I started the challenges a week ago, but a goal that cannot be adjusted in mid-stride is not a good goal.

What are your goals for this month? Who are people that you need to connect with?

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