Happy Earth Day!

Red Clover

Happy Earth Day!

Step outside, take time to smell the roses. In this case it is smell the red clover. Then give our planet a present. Walk instead of taking the car, plant a garden, recycle things you no longer need through Freecycle.org, bag your groceries in recycled bags, etc.

Need more ideas visit EarthDay.net .

What are your plans for earth day? Celebrate year around, not just one day a year.

Psst. . . with Mother’s day around the corner, why not send her a beautiful card printed on recycled paper.

Update Your Website

I’ve posted Problogger’s 31 Day Challenge on a couple forums, but don’t think I’ve mentioned it on my blog. So for those of you who’d like to improve your blog, it isn’t too late to head on over and get started. Start at the beginning and work your way through.

My homework for Day 14 was to update a key page on your blog. I knew my about page needed updating, ’cause I put something like more information coming soon. Then I looked for my about page, contact page and realized that they were both hidden with my last theme update. I’d never added them back to my navigation links.

Updated and fixed. Even added a short little blurb on the sidebar for new visitors to get an idea about the website. At least readers could contact me on various social networks. I can think of several more tasks I can do to update my website. A work in progress, one step at a time.

Besides updating your website, every business should check and update their voice mail, printed material, etc. Imagine calling a company and the voice mail takes you to the box of an ex-employee. You assume they are still working there, leave a message, it never gets returned. You get frustrated and call a competing business and give them your business.

Books for Your Niche

I’ve had the honor this week to be this week’s guest on a discussion involving finding your niche and building your niche, on the Ryze group Women in Networking

Today I listed some books that I’ve found helpful to me, and decided to share this list with my blog readers. I’m sure there are many other book books out there, many of which I’ve not read yet. Add books that you’ve read, which help you build your own niche to this list.

8th Habit by Stephen Covey
Years back I took classes from Stephen Covey and have enjoyed his books. When I read his 7 Habits book, it was deja vu, stories and examples I heard in class. 8th Habit is different, takes things a step further. Shows the difference when someone finally finds their niche, where their unique talents and needs of the world line up together.

E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
You want to own your business, not have your business own you. This book will take you through the steps of getting a new business off the ground to where it is up and running, where it can grow, without overwhelming your life.

Endless Referrals by Bob Burg
Once you decide your niche, building through referrals is my favorite way, beats cold calling and advertising any day. Both this book and the next one are great resources if you love referrals too.

29% Solution by Ivan Misner
Gives you a whole year worth of things to do to build a better network.

Tribes by Seth Godin
Very intersting book. With the internet, word travels quickly and through the use of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. One can lead and create movements easier than any time before. Movements are needed, leaders are needed. Not whoever is the smartest, but whoever is willing to step out of comfort zone and do something different.

ProBlogger by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett
The internet is a great way to market your niche, learn from some pros who are making a great income throught their niche using blogs.

Go for No by Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz
Short little book, couple hours to read tops, once your read it you will understand why we should be collecting no’s, not avoiding them. Helps you make money with your niche.

Connecting with Family Folktales

karen-gonzalesOne of the ways we communicate with others is through stories, passed down from generation to generation, building connections. Karen Pierce Gonzalez, author, writing teacher, and folklorist has developed a technique to keep these treasured family stories and memories alive by creating folktales about them.

1. I’ve heard of writing autobiographies before, but not folktales. What inspired you to come up with that term?
Folktales are very different from biographies. As tales told by people about people, places, and things, they lend themselves to the perspective of the one telling the folktale. In this case, the writer who can simply capture specific elements of someone’s life experiences.

I found that using folktale motifs (categories/themes) in writing assignments allowed the writers to tap into their own reservoirs of personal experience which includes family history. This sidestepped the writing block of having to use facts or historical data that may not be available. It also supported the writers’ desires to express their perspectives rather than the perspective of others (for example, family members).

2. My dad is a great story teller. I remember hearing some of the most colorful stories about his childhood. One time he hid a snake in the flour bin, hoping his mother wouldn’t notice. Or when he tipped over an outhouse, on the door, and someone was inside. My childhood was more ordinary. How can I come up with a great story to tell?

Everyone’s got folktales to tell. We all have experienced one or all of the following: first dates, healing moments, gourmet chefs, holiday dinners, family vacations, tricksters, romance, and more. These are the stuff of folktales, and ironically, the best folktales are those that focus on the ordinary. Take your dad’s story about hiding a snake in the flour bin as an example. What’s unusual about a boy or girl wanting to or secretly trying to hide something from his or her parents? With that folktale motif (theme) in mind, recall times when you tried to hide something from someone. What happened? Did you get caught? If so, how did that happen? Who found out and what was the response?

Here it is important to point out that not all folktales are humorous or endearing. Some, in fact, are sad or bittersweet.
In all cases, however, all folktales often say something about individual experiences of their society’s moral values. These values include honesty, creativity, courage, and kindness (or the lack therein).

3. Time is always an issue, when I think of a story I want to tell, how will I ever find the time?

Folktales can be written in increments of fifteen minutes or less. In some cases, writers can create a laundry list of notes that they fill out as time allows.

The beauty here is that folktales capture only a moment or one incident, not an entire history. They are verbal snapshots of one, may two, elements of a treasured and/or poignant experience.

4. Giving gifts to family members, who seem to have everything they need, not wanting more knick knacks and stuff, would they enjoy a family folktale as a present?

Folktales make perfect presents because people love to be acknowledged for having created or shared special moments with others. Writing a folktale about the time Uncle Bob took you to his favorite fishing spot or about the day Aunt Ellen shared with you the secret ingredients of her Thanksgiving pecan pie affirms that such memories hold an honored place in your heart. It is these moments you will preserve for future generations.

familyfolktales5. Many of the elderly have great stories to tell, and the time to tell them. I’m sure their family would love to have such recorded. A lasting gift. Do you know of anyone who provides such a service?

With today’s technology there are many ways for people to preserve family folktales. As I discuss in the upcoming “Family Folktales: Write Your Own Family Stories” family members can publish their own family folktale books or scrapbooks, they can create pod casts, complete with call-in segments, or they can videotape “live” conversations. In some cases they can videotape several people sharing memories about the same folktale motif (person, place, or thing). There are also many professionals (for example: vidoegraphers) who can engage elders in folktale-related conversations that can be edited as needed.
I would be happy to make individual recommendations.

6. How can our readers get a copy of your book so they can create their own stories?

The book can be purchased online at FolkHeart Press (www.folkheartpress.com) and as of March 28 at Kindle/Amazon.com