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Monday
Jul282014

Upcoming Event- Free Webinar on August 5th, 4:30 pm PST!

 

We are very excited about our upcoming event on Tuesday, 8/5, where I will be talking about the most underused Marketing Strategy that businesses rarely use!

  • Do you passionately love what you do, yet feel that you're in a sea of credible people doing the same thing as you and you don't know how to stand out from the others?
  • Do you know that you deserve to earn more, and want a powerful strategy to help you do that?
  •  
  • Have you heard a million times before that it is important to write but every time you start, you feel stuck?

  • Would you like to learn a simple and effective marketing strategy to help your business grow and increase your reputation in the business community?

{You can sign up here}

Join us as I discuss the 5 most common (mistaken) beliefs business owners have when thinking about their marketing. Do you resonate with any of these?

  1. “I don't have anything valuable to say, so why would people want to listen to me?”
  2. “Everyone else does what I do, so why bother since I can't stand apart from anyone else.”
  3. “Social Media is marketing, so if I just spend more time on Facebook/Twitter, that will result in more revenue for my business.”
  4. “I don't have a story to tell. My life is so boring.”
  5. “I don't have enough time to write, and it takes so long to create new products.”

During the webinar, I will show you how this simple marketing strategy will increase your credibility and make you an expert in your field. We would love to have you have a 'virtual seat' in the webinar!

SIGN UP FOR THE WEBINAR HERE!

 

I am Candace Davenport, and I show speakers, coaches and other service based professionals how to take what they uniquely do and build it into a marketing strategy that builds instant credibility and an opportunity to have a greater visual presence both online and in person. I am currently the Publishing Consult and Writing Mentor with Our Little Books.

I honed my writing skills during my 30+ years as an attorney, writing thousands of Court briefs in support of my clients. I've also written two books, co-authored others, and ghost-written even more. In addition to numerous articles and blog posts, I am currently working on my next two books.

Since 2008, after co-founding Our Little Books, I've shepherded and mentored authors through the sometime daunting task of writing their books. I speak on writing and publishing, and during the school year, I mentor high school students as a writing coach. When not writing for myself or helping others write, my passion is capturing and banding migrating raptors.

 

Saturday
Jul052014

Beans and Writing Overwhelm- Is There a Connection?

I just brought in a handful of beans for dinner tonight. I live in a smallish apartment, on the second floor, so all my ‘gardening’ is done on my small balcony. Instead of having rows of beans, I have to plant each plant in its own pot, starting with good organic dirt mixed with my worm castings which provides wonderful organic fertilizer.

I get the worm castings from my box of worms I have up on the balcony as well, which I feed with all my food scraps, cardboard, and various other organic material. Although gardening on a small scale, I am able to get my hands into dirt, plant either a seed or seedling, and the soul-enriching chance to watch what I started grow into a plant that provides me with food whose trimmings then go back to feeding my worms. A truly life satisfying cycle. 

Someone said to me that all that seemed to be a whole lot of work for such a little reward, picking just a handful of beans maybe only 3-4 times a season. While others are bringing bags of extra zucchini and tomatoes to share with their friends (a VERY good thing, I might add as I was one of those people when I owned my home with a huge organic garden!), I am happily content with what I produce given the space/time available. The difference is just size. I still get to play in the dirt. I still get to see my plants grow and I still get to produce wonderful food. I just do it on a smaller scale, and I don’t get overwhelmed as I used to keeping track of my previous large garden. 

The same can be said for writing. People look at writing as a huge task, expecting huge results. This can create what I call writing overwhelm, which then can result in just doing nothing! When I lived in my house with my huge garden, there were times when all the necessary digging, weeding, planting, watering and general tending created garden overwhelm where I ended up getting nothing done. But when I broke it down to weeding or watering one section, then doing another section the next day, it became completely manageable.

Think of writing as a small, balcony garden. Do a little at a time and keep at it. Slow and steady is what is going to bring big results. Set up a time to write, every day, even if only for 10 minutes. But keep at it. Plant your writing seed. If you can’t think of anything to write about, write about not being able to think of anything to write about. Or think of how beans and writing go together! Who would have thought that there was a connection. It is all there in your head. Just nurture it and allow it to come out in small, little bursts rather than getting into writing overwhelm. Keep at it and your ideas will grow into beautiful successes!

 

For those of you who would like more tips on how to deal with writing overwhelm, or how to work with me 1 on 1 to get your ideas down on paper, I am doing a free online webinar on August 5th, 2014, and I will discuss my four step process.

Wednesday
May072014

Guest Post Wednesday - How to Teach Special Needs Children to Read and Write

We are very pleased to have for Our Little Books Guest Post Wednesday, a post from author Tara Health. Tara is a journalist who writes about parents, children and education. Enjoy the post!

 

How To Teach Special Needs Children How to Read and Write

Teaching at any level, to any type of student, is not without its challenges. At times, teachers must modify their instructional strategies to make the material more understandable, more enjoyable or more accommodating. This can be particularly applicable when it comes to teaching special needs children to read and write.

With more and more schools incorporating the practice of inclusion, it is falling to a growing number of teachers to instruct special needs children. Fortunately, many are up to the task. Are you?

 

Roadblocks on the Path to Teaching Special Needs Children

While it can be challenging to instruct any student if they are bored or easily distracted, these challenges are magnified when it comes to special needs children. In many cases, these children are more easily frustrated and distracted. They might be given to emotional outbursts. They may lack coordination or memory skills.

Special needs children might also:

  • Be demanding
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Struggle with following directions
  • Have difficulties staying on one task for a long period of time

Learning to read and write can be difficult enough; to do so when faced with these types of obstacles can make the teaching and learning of these subjects more demanding. Try and come up with different strategies to help motivate the children you are working with and be sure to have fun.

Tricks of the Trade

Teaching special needs children how to read and write may take a different approach than what you're used to. But if you're like the vast majority of teachers, you simply want to see your students succeed, no matter what it takes.

With some creativity, patience and perseverance, your special needs students can learn how to read and write. Maybe not in the manner in which your other students will learn, and most likely not in a manner you even envisioned. But it will happen.

Here are some ideas you might consider when teaching special needs children how to read and write:

  • Use visual learning aids, such as flashcards or overhead projector displays
  • Break down material into smaller increments
  • Use speech-recognition software; it is helpful for children to see words spelled out as they speak
  • Encourage group work, as children can learn from their peers

It is also helpful to be repetitious. Going over and over the same material for a few minutes each day generally yields better results than teaching the material once or twice a week. Also, provide frequent progress reports. Special needs children can relate better between the material and their performance if they have more immediate feedback.

The Thrill of Victory

If it seems the deck is stacked against you, remember that there are several factors working in your favor when it comes to special needs children.

Many of these students tend to be curious, imaginative and often excited about learning. Of course, each student is different. But once you find the right approach for your particular student (or approaches for your particular students, as the case may be), you'll be amazed at the results.

In the end, you'll have your special needs children mastering two of the "three R's" of education: reading and writing. You, and they, will have overcome the challenges. Perhaps few other experiences can as adequately illustrate the joys of your chosen profession.

 

Tara Heath is a journalist who lives in Southern California. She has a passion for writing on topics such as parenting and education. In her earlier years she used to work in a special education classroom as an aid and learned so much from being in that atmosphere, the most important was to smile and have fun.

 

Friday
Jan242014

Being Mindful in Your Writing or How to Win in Tennis

photo by Didier SibourgNowadays, you hear many people talking about being mindful or being in a state of mindfulness. But what does that actually mean? The concept of being mindful finds its origins in Buddhist mindfulness (one of the seven factors of enlightenment) but mindfulness has been also used in many other religions. More recently, Jon Kabat-Zinn made the concept popular in the West when he combined Buddhist mindfulness concepts with Western Medicine in his Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness at the UMass Medical Center.

To me, without getting into the religious or psychological aspects of mindfulness, being mindful means being conscious or aware of things with a present, immediate awareness of your thoughts or actions. For example, I play tennis. When I play well, I realize that I am conscious of my every shot, how I want to hit it and where I want it to go. But that stems not from over thinking or over analyzing, but just being in the moment, being present, being aware of what is going on everywhere on the court. When I am present in my mind and in my body, I find that I make the shots that are the ones that need to be made.

When I am not being mindful, I find that all I am doing is hitting the ball back without any conscious thought to where, when or how. You certainly can still be successful and win with just getting the ball back, but there is a distinct difference in the play and how it feels. There is a different sense of the flow of the game when not being present, more like being in chunks as opposed to flowing effortlessly from one point, one shot to another. And I can tell you that I enjoy the feeling of being in every point as opposed to the feeling of watching from the side-lines (even though I am the one playing on the court)!

Mindfulness can also be applied to writing, of knowing where you want to go with your words, the message you want to convey, how you want to say it and the feeling your want your readers to have. Certainly, like in tennis, there will be times when you sit down and can’t think of what to write, or don’t have a flow so, in a sense, you are ‘just getting the ball back’. And again, like in tennis, you can still end up with some decent writing even without being mindful of what you are writing. But that is not the optimum way to write.

Being in a state of effortless flow, being present and in the moment, not worrying about spelling or grammar or is this the perfect word or should this sentence go next or how should I say this, is where I believe inspiration happens. For most writers, it is not easy. It will take practice to get into the mindfulness of writing. You will find yourself getting caught up into worrying about this or that. But if you can practice being mindful, being present, being in the moment, letting go of over thinking and just writing, you will change your writing from watching on the side-lines to being in every point. Get in the habit of letting go and being mindful when you write.

 

When authors work with Our Little Books to publish their book, part of the publishing package includes having a writing coach and being mentored along the way. One of the coaching exercises is practicing being mindful while writing. If you would like to work with Our Little Books in getting your book out, please contact us!

Tuesday
Dec102013

Musings of a Cruise Virgin - Shop Till You Drop

After our ‘tour’ of St. Thomas via taxi, we got off to look around in downtown Charlotte Amalie, the capitol of the US Virgin Islands. Both Harriet and I were immediately turned off by what we saw…jewelry after jewelry store front. In just one block, there were at least 40 jewelry stores and it went on for several blocks! Each store had a barker out front to entice you into their store. I finally picked one store at random and stopped to talk with the barker. He, (like an excellent front man) got me into the store to talk to the owner who, of course, just happened to want to show me all his wares while he answered my questions.

Picture courtesy of Travel World NewsMy main question was how could any one store make a living since there were so many identical stores. What I gathered (without the owner saying this exactly) was that he would discount any piece in the shop up to 90%. So basically, all the prices in all the stores were highly inflated and it was up to your power of negotiation to get the best deal. But that same 'deal' on the same piece of jewelry could be different depending on which shop you went to.

I asked if he was successful and he said he just opened two more jewelry stores this year. I guess the answer was a resounding yes! Their patrons were 100% from the cruise ships as they would not even open if there wasn’t a ship in port. (We were the only ship in port and several places were closed, so apparently, it didn’t pay for them to open unless there was MORE than one cruise ship in port!)

The main street clearly put me on jewelry overload! So, unless you really wanted to shop at all the duty free jewelry shops, you had to go down secret side streets to find cool stores that had other things than jewelry. We found a store called SOS Antiques- which stood for Shipwrecker's Ocean Salvage. Now this was a REALLY cool store; a fascinating antique maritime gallery which specialized in nautical items. There were all manner of maps and charts, maritime prints, instruments such as sextants and barometers, cannons, swords, flintlock pistols and daggers, most of which dated from around the 16th century. Either the owners or other people would find the items from diving or washed up on the shores of the island and bring them in to be turned into cool pieces.

There were collections of treasure coins both local and from other shipwrecks around the world. I began to imagine the stories behind the items--- real-life pirates who once walked the streets and sailed the seas of St. Thomas, complete with wooden legs and eye patches. (Did you know that there was a real reason for the eye patches, and not just because all those pirates had lost their eyes? When they boarded a ship and went below where it was dark and gloomy, they’d switch the eye patch to the other eye so they could immediately see and not be beheaded while waiting for their eyes to adjust, and vice versa so they would not be blinded when they went back up on deck!) What was also fun to see in the store was that even the broken pieces of nautical antiques were creatively used. For example, I saw a broken piece of pottery that they had turned into a really cool looking lamp!

And here I succumbed to the lure of treasure when I found a piece of jewelry that sang to me. It was a delicate bracelet made of silver and Larimar. It had a broken clasp and the saleswoman took it into the back room to get fixed. Shortly thereafter, out of the back room came my now fixed bracelet carried by this little old jeweler complete with lamp/magnifier head gear, so I knew that this was not a cheap piece from China. Of course, never having heard of Larimar before I had to learn all about it and the sales woman was very accommodating in telling me Larimar’s history.

In 1916, a Father Miguel Domingo Fuertes Loren found some blue gems along the beach in the Dominican Republic and requested permission to mine the stone. He was denied his permit and nothing more was heard about these gems until 1974 when a Dominican and a Peace Corps volunteer found a piece of this blue stone on the shoreline. As I’ve discussed from the history posts of the other islands, the indigenous people of the Dominican Republic were the Taino. The Taino called the gems, Blue Stone, because they believed the stone came from the beautiful blue sea. Based on this, the Dominican then named the stone for his daughter, Larissa, and the Spanish word for sea, ‘mar’ based on the beautiful, clear blue Caribbean waters and thus, Larimar was named.

Larimar has many healing attributes associated with it. It represents peace and clarity and Healers use it as a calming stone for Earth healing, as well as an aid in communication and the expression of emotions. Larimar picks up our needs and quickly aligns with our own energy field. It is associated with the crown, heart, third eye and throat chakras, which cleanse emotional blocks resulting in peaceful and positive emotions while facilitating inner wisdom and outer manifestation. Finally it teaches respect, love and nurturing, soothing and uplifting hurt, fear, and depression with love.

Larimar also has a direct connection to the lost island of Atlantis. Edgar Cayce predicted that on one of the Caribbean islands, (being what he believed was left of Atlantis), a blue stone of Atlantean origin would be found with extraordinary healing attributes. So not only is Larimar used in healings but also to access the lost knowledge of Atlantis. Finally, Larimar is often times called the Dolphin Stone. Dolphins are frequently associated with Atlantis and Larimar was used as a tool to enhance communication with them. What’s fascinating is that Larimar often shows patterns with dolphins, angels, and Greek columns, although my stones in my bracelets are small enough that I can only pick out a Dolphin eye here and there.

So I am very happy with my shopping! I have a beautiful Larimar bracelet. I learned about a brand new gem. I am being soothed by this gem and I’m connected to the lost city of Atlantis! Now, how cool is that?