Some Suggestions on How to Defeat Digital Writer’s Block

Anyone who writes or develops content has been here before: At your desk staring at a blank screen and blinking cursor, because despite how hard you try to sit down and focus, nothing is coming out. In other words, you’re trapped in the grips of Writer’s Block.

This problem has plagued creative professionals for as long any of us can remember, but it’s likely worse in our digital age. Since we are expected to produce more content than ever, content publishers and marketers are scrambling to produce as much material as possible to drive visitors to their websites and increase engagement.

Dealing with digital writer’s block is frustrating for most Web workers (trust me), but not impossible. There are plenty of useful tactics that have had proven success for other professionals. So, ease your restless mind for a bit and look at these methods for overcoming the creative stalemate.


When focusing is the problem, brainstorming is one of the best remedies. This is because it can help a writer organize his or her thoughts. In fact, writers should take 15 minutes to jot down all of the ideas that come to their head regarding a specific topic, and then organize those ideas by creating a mind map or an outline. Aside from old school pen and paper, there is also a multitude of mobile apps available to help with the organization process, such as Simple Mind, MindMeister or Mindjet.

Social Media

While most writers use social networks to market their content, these sites should also be used to generate inspiration. However, if you don’t want to spend time sifting through the random content in your feeds, there are many tools available that can help you pinpoint information, such as Monitter, Twitterfall and Inboundwriter.

While both Monitter and Twitterfall can be used to discover and filter Twitter conversations relating to a specific subject, Inboundwriter not only assists writers in optimizing their content for search engines, but can also be used to find insights and popular topics from hundreds of sources on the Web, including social networks.

RSS Feeds

Sometimes other authors can help you get rid of writer’s block, which is why it is important to keep your RSS feed full of publications and blogs that relate to your expertise or topics of interest. After scanning headlines and skimming through a few articles, inspiration should strike. At the very least, you have given your brain a break from the task, which also helps combat writer’s block.

Change your Routine

Routines are tricky. They can help keep someone organized and provide a sense of comfort, but can make life mundane (leaving little room for inspiration). This is why writers should test how changing a few aspects of their normal routine could negatively impact their writing process. For instance, looking at your social or RSS feeds during different times of the day may help you discover content you would have otherwise missed, while even taking a different route to work could present something as simple as a new billboard that could help spark inspiration. If all else fails…

Stop and Wait

Sometimes, when you’re trying to produce the right words (or characters, these days), you can get a little overwhelmed; and the real kicker is that this anxiety usually only serves to prolong your bout with writer’s block. In these cases, the best thing you can do is to stop staring off into your empty computer screen and just take some time to compose yourself and gather your thoughts, because obviously what you’re currently doing isn’t working.

The time you spend not directly mulling over the topic at hand will allow you to free up your brain and get your creative juices flowing again. These kind of mental breaks are an absolute necessity to any creative professional, and if you’re especially proactive, you can even take a few minutes to go for a walk or meditate, which are both proven methods for clearing your mind and getting it ready to go back to work. Plus, there’s always the chance that you’ll stumble upon something that will provide the inspiration necessary to finish your project. It can also help to strike up a conversation with other people; this not only serves as a good distraction for your overworked brain, but can be another source of inspiration, as well.

However, the key to being able to do this is to set strict deadlines (either of your own or from some sort of supervisor). This is because everyone is likely going to fill up the
amount of time they’re given to complete a project. So, despite how much time you need to stop and ruminate on your work, you’re going to have to complete it eventually. As you approach that deadline, the virtual adrenaline will kick in and (hopefully) help you finish, but that only works when there is a deadline in place.

Something To Think About…

Something to think about…..

Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each

morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for

your use. However, this prize has rules.

The set of rules:

1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away

from you.

2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.

3. You may only spend it.

4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with

another $86,400 for that day.

5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can

say,“Game Over ! It can close the account and you will not receive a new


What would you personally do?

You would buy anything and everything you wanted right?

Not only for yourself, but for all people you love. Even for people you

don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, right?

You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, right?


Shocked ?? YES!!

Each of us is already a winner of this PRIZE. We just can’t seem to see


This PRIZE is *TIME* !!

1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.

2. And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited

to us.

3. What we haven’t lived up that day is forever lost.

4. Yesterday is forever gone.

5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your

account at any time WITHOUT WARNING….

SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds TODAY?

Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars.

Think about that, and always think of this: Enjoy every second of your

life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.

So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day.

Start spending…

How to Safeguard Your Electronic Devices

The calendar may be new, but 2018 will bring the same online threats to your money and identity when you use computers and smartphones. Here are some simple safeguarding steps that can go a long way:

Protect those phones and computers
For smartphones, at the very least use the security software that is recommended by your carrier or phone manufacturer. Free products such as Lookout Mobile Security are available for Android and iPhones; AT&T now preloads it on its handsets. Overall, many experts consider Android to be the least secure platform.
Turn off or disable unnecessary features to minimize the “attack surface” of your device. Use encryption features (if offered) to protect stored data in case of loss or theft.

For computers, basic free security software is available from SuperAntiSpyware, AVG, Avast, Bitdefender or Malwarebytes. However, more comprehensive security “suite” products are better. They may be labeled as “total,” “platinum” or “360” vs. those simply noted as “antivirus” or “anti-malware.” For Macs, look into free protection software from Sophos or avast! Many experts recommend Firefox as a safer browser than Internet Explorer or Safari.

Check firewalls
A firewall is software or hardware that examines information coming from the Internet or a network, then either blocks it or allows it to pass through to your computer, depending on settings. Computer operating systems typically come with a built-in firewall. Here’s how to check your settings for Windows and Apple’s OS. Firewall security software beyond what’s in the operating system may offer a stronger defense.

If your home has several computers using the same service provider, you likely have a router to link the modem to each. Routers usually also have a built-in firewall for added protection, but it’s worth spending time reading the manual or visiting the manufacturer’s website to educate yourself on setting options. When buying a router, always change the password from its factory default.

Know your privacy settings
When was the last time you checked the privacy settings on Facebook, Google Groups, Windows or anywhere else?

Never? It’s a good time to start. If you don’t protect yourself, many websites can track your online activity without your knowledge.

Many online services offer different levels of “control” to prevent the potential sharing of your online searches and website visits. Although setting up privacy controls at individual websites can be time-consuming, it’s worth it.

Strengthen your passwords
And of course, lock whatever device you have with a hard-to-crack password. For a smartphone, avoid easy-to-guess number combinations like 1234 or 2014. For a laptop or desktop, use a lengthy password that combines letters, numbers and symbols. You can gauge password strength with free “checkers” such as the best-known from Microsoft, or The Passwordmeter or Ask the Geek.

If you have trouble keeping track of multiple passwords, consider a password manager software that helps you store and organize different passwords and PIN codes. Some allow you to create one “master” password and automatically enter log-in information. Most password managers start at about $20 a year, but some are scaled-down free versions like the one included in the Firefox browser. Some subscription versions are PasswordBox, LastPass and RoboForm.

My Devotional – Law and Order


We’re producing a generation of kids who are allowed to rear themselves with the aid of television, violent videos and the Internet (which can be a minefield). Often both parents work, leaving one child to supervise another. As a result, they become a law unto themselves.

“A child left to himself disgraces his [parents]” (Pr 29:15 NIV).

Most of us are loving parents, but our children need discipline and rules to live by. Love has a backbone – it’s called law and order. Without it, love is just license.

“A refusal to correct is a refusal to love” (Pr 13:24 TM).

Remember the cute cartoon where dad, strap in hand, makes disobedient Dennis “assume the position”? He says, “This is going to hurt me more than you.” Dennis responds, “Don’t feel obligated to hurt yourself on my behalf.”

Enforcing law and order isn’t easy. But the alternative is a betrayal of our children and our God-given responsibility! Failure to enforce law and order to gain short-term popularity with our kids always ends up costing us their long-term respect. Expecting younger children to figure out what’s right and wrong is a burden they shouldn’t have to bear. Their neurological and moral equipment isn’t sufficiently developed yet for such responsibility.

The Bible says, “Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline” (Pr 22:15 TM).

Your children learn to make good decisions from the rewards and consequences of dealing with law and order at home. So don’t fail them!

A Beginner’s Guide To Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows people to sell a variety of products online through their blogs or website. If you are looking for an easy way to monetize your website, you can easily implement affiliate marketing into your site.

The basic concept is signing up for an affiliate marketing network and finding products that are within your niche. Once you find the product that is within your niche, you click on the hop link to add your affiliate ID to the product link. When a reader clicks on your hop link and buys the item, you get a commission for the sale. Although this sounds simple, there are a few things that you need to know before you get started.
Here is a simple guide for affiliate marketing beginners.

Choosing Your Affiliate Network

The affiliate network that you choose will have a lot to do with the type of products that you are selling. Different affiliate networks will focus on different items. Some affiliate networks like Commission Junction mainly focus on selling website subscriptions and services while Clickbank will focus on digital products like eBooks and software packages.

Determine what affiliate network is going to fit best into your niche. For instance, if you’re running a website that offers advice on insurance, you can use a lead based affiliate network to promote insurance quotes. Some affiliate networks are known for late payments and other bad business practices so do your research before hand.

Choosing Products

When you’re first starting out you’re going to be inundated with different products for marketing. There first thing that you need to do is research on the products that you’re going to promote. Unlike your niche where you are focusing on a small market, you can expand your product base and offer a wide variety of products or lead generating links when you’re marketing to readers.

Don’t go overboard, but have a couple of items that are relevant to your niche. Whether these are eBooks or software packages, your readers have broad based needs within your niche so you should appeal to every aspect of their need. Click on the “Gravity” or “Network Earnings” options on the affiliate network for stats on what products are selling the best.

Buy The Product

How are you going to give real information about a product if you have never used it? When somebody comes to your website they are looking for information on the product. If you don’t give them detailed information then they are going to leave the site and probably never come back.

Buy the item so you know the ins and outs of what you’re trying to sell. Never give broad information about a product. You will be glad that you bought the product instead of just trying to fake your way through a review to do online marketing for it.

Be Honest

Affiliate marketing is all about being honest with a product. If there are things that you don’t like about the product, tell your reader. This will differentiate you from the other marketers trying to sell them a product based on the features.

When you explain what you don’t like about the item you show that you actually know what it does and what it doesn’t do. You can easily build rapport with your readers and establish online trust. This will bring them back to your website when they need a new product or are wondering about different websites that you’ve tried out.


Almost everybody knows what a hoplink looks like. When you put hoplinks on your website, a reader is going to know that you’re trying to sell them something. These links are not only telltale signs of a sale; they are not aesthetically appealing to your websites. Cloaking your links is the best way to keep the website looking professional while not coming off as a hard sell.
You can use cloaking tools or you can use an anchor text link. This allows you to embed a link within a certain phrase. For instance, if you’re trying to sell an eBook on acne you can add your hoplink to “Acne Ebook” so that when the phrase is clicked the reader is taken to the product page.

Viral Media

Viral media is an easy way to drum up traffic to your site or blog. If you are going with a hosting plan then you will be able to easily host videos on your site. If you don’t have a hosting plan, head over to HostGator and buy one.

This is very cheap and will give you the freedom to upload and house your videos per your website or blog. Record yourself going over the product or take screenshots of the product to show the different features. Also talk about what you don’t like about the item to keep your readers informed. Video marketing is a great way to generate traffic.

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My Devotional – Healing for Your Grief

One of the most moving scenes in Scripture is Jesus weeping at the graveside of Lazarus. It’s not that He was powerless to change the situation, which He did, bit that He empathizes with us in our time of loss. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” The Lord didn’t promise to protect us from pain and loss, but to bring us through it. Perhaps these suggestions will help:

1. Don’t isolate – Expand your “family.” “better a nearby friend than a distant family” (Pr 27:10 TM). If you don’t have a family nearby, reach out to caring people who are close at hand. As part of a group you discover that you’re not alone, that mourning isn’t sickness or self-indulgence, and that sharing brings healing.

2. Don’t deny your loss – “The memory of the just is blessed” (Pr 10:7). When you’re around friends don’t hesitate to talk about your loss. When you do, you’re saying it’s okay for them to share their memories too. A burden shared is a burden lightened.

3. Don’t try to do it all – “There is a time to cry” (Ecc 3:4 NCV). Because grief is draining, you’ll need more rest than usual. So while your ability to function is reduced, let others help with the everyday stuff like cooking, cleaning and shopping until you feel stronger.

4. Don’t neglect your legitimate needs – Respect your body by using the acronym D.E.E.R. (drink, eat, exercise and rest) to help you stay focused and set healthy boundaries. Nobody knows how you feel better than you, so give yourself permission to say, “no thanks” or “I’ll take a rain check” without feeling guilty.

I hope this devotional message is inspirational to you.

Where Are America’s Wealthiest Communities?

If you aspire to the good life, you’ll find company in these three areas where wealth is concentrated.

Want to know where America’s richest people live?

Between 2006 and 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau tracked where the wealthiest five percent of Americans are living. Defining high-income households as those that earn about $200,000 a year and above, the Census Bureau determined that the greatest concentration of wealth is in three main areas. These three areas are located near, but not directly in, large metropolitan areas along both coasts.

New York suburbs

According to Forbes, while New York City, NY, boasts the largest amount of wealthy residents of any city in the country, the concentration of wealth is higher in the surrounding suburbs of Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Stamford, Connecticut. These areas are located along Long Island Sound about 60 miles away from the city. Here, nearly 20% of residents are considered wealthy.

What draws so many rich people to this area? For one thing, there’s proximity to the city. The Fiscal Times also notes that it’s a lower-tax region.

Silicon Valley

California boasts the nation’s largest population of billionaires, so it should come as no surprise that you’ll also find plenty of wealthy people living in the Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area outside of San Francisco, CA. This area is also known as Silicon Valley and is home to many of the world’s technology giants like Apple, Google and Hewlett-Packard — plus thousands of start-ups.

Unfortunately for the wealthy, it’s also home to some rather steep tax rates. The rich in Northern California can expect to pay about 12.3% in taxes versus the 6.7% rate that wealthy residents pay in Connecticut.

Washington, D.C. suburbs

Back on the East Coast, the third-largest concentration of wealthy Americans is settled around the Washington, D.C., metro area in the Virginia suburbs of Alexandria and Arlington. In these northern Virginia suburbs, 14% of households represent the country’s highest earners. The economy here has been shaped by proximity to the nation’s capital, and the majority of residents either work for the government, the military or for private companies that contract to the federal government. In Alexandria, for instance, the biggest employer is the U.S. Department of Defense.

Curious about the opposite end of the spectrum, as well? The southeastern states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana reported the lowest concentrations of wealthy residents.

For more details, check out the Census Bureau’s complete report:

9 Wonderful Flu-Fighting Foods

Power Eating

Did you know that eating and drinking right can help boost your immune system? Here’s a sample of some of the best flu fighting foods and drinks that can be beneficial to your overall health.


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We all know what flu season means — get a flu shot and do whatever you can to stay healthy. The foods (and teas) I have listed here can help you fend off the flu, and eat and drink well too.


Black-Eyed Peas


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These nutritious legumes are rich in zinc, a trace mineral that keeps your immune system in working order. Pinto beans, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds and wheat germ are other good choices.


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One of my favorites. They’re rich in beta-carotene, which your body uses to ward off respiratory infections. Other good sources are dark green vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash.




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Hibiscus, Green, black and oolong tea all contain naturally occurring compounds that reduce the risk of flu, including quercetin, a powerful antioxidant, and L-theanine, an amino acid found only in tea. Decaf teas contain the amino acid, herbal teas don’t.



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Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods, strengthen the immune system. Not a fan of yogurt? Try cottage cheese, kimchi (a fermented Korean dish made of seasoned vegetables) or sauerkraut instead.



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Vitamin C-rich tomatoes boost the body’s natural defense system in the same way their citrusy relatives do. One medium tomato provides 40 percent of your daily vitamin C, so have a glass of tomato juice at lunch and treat yourself to pasta with tomato sauce for dinner.



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These powerhouses increase the body’s resistance to viral infections by boosting the activity of natural killer cells, a vital part of the immune system. Mushrooms are rich in selenium, low levels of which can increase the risk of developing a severe flu.




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These popular nuts are a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps your body ward off viral infections. To maximize the absorption of vitamin E, opt for chopped almonds, almond butter or almond oil.


Chicken Soup

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It may not prevent the flu, but a bowl or cup of soup can help your immune system fight off the virus in its early stages, thanks to a compound called carnosine. The only catch: You need to consume chicken soup throughout your illness to reap its benefit, says a 2012 study.

Wild Salmon

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It’s high in vitamin D, which the immune system needs to kill harmful bacteria and viruses, says John S. Adams, M.D., professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Farm-raised salmon has less, but is also a good source.



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Here are 7 Pinterest Tips for the Holidays

Anyone paying attention to social strategy knows that Pinterest didn’t spend its “off-season” resting on its laurels and relaxing by the pool. Instead, the company was hard at work all summer bolstering its business features, especially for the e-commerce industry. For this reason, Pinterest could prove to be the most profitable social network for retailers this holiday season.

In order to get the most out of this network, however, Web professionals must optimize their presence on the social network. Learn how to strengthen your brand’s holiday Pinterest strategy with these seven tips:

1. Get Pinterest Ready

The first step for any Web professional is to make sure his or her site is Pinterest ready, which means, at the very least, including “Pin This” buttons on the most important pages, such as product pages and article pages. This tip might seem like a no-brainer, but its importance cannot be stressed enough, as 70 percent of Pinterest engagement is driven by fans according to a Digitas study.

2. Leverage Rich Pins

Aside from making the content on a site easy to share, it is also important to ensure this content includes detailed information when it is pinned. Rich Pins are pins that include more information on content like products, recipes, movies or articles. Product pins, for example, are updated daily and display pricing and availability for retail items, while article pins include links to the article’s source. Retailers in particular should be leveraging Rich Pins because product pins should prove to be very valuable this holiday season. In fact, after its initial launch of Rich Pins, Pinterest announced a “Price Update” feature, which sends pinners notifications when the products they have pinned drop in price. This feature essentially provides merchants with free advertising, and can help to increase conversions on sale items.

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3. Create Holiday Boards

Once an Internet retailer has integrated Rich Pins into his or her site, it is time to focus on the actual boards. By creating holiday boards before the official holiday kickoff, people are more likely to find content when browsing Pinterest for holiday ideas. This is especially true when leveraging keywords and #hashtags on pins. While the type of holiday board(s) will vary depending on a company, there are a few generic themes that will work across a variety of industries, including “Gifts for Her”, “Holiday Style”, “Wish List”, “Gifts Under $25” and “DIY Holiday Decorating”.

4. Launch a Contest

Social media marketers can break up the hustle and bustle of the holidays by launching a contest or a giveaway. This strategy can help a brand acquire new followers, as well as help it obtain more pins and re-pins (resulting in increased visibility). For example, a merchant could launch a contest that requires followers to build their ultimate wish list that includes products from his brand, or simply ask followers to re-pin a product from one of his holiday boards for a chance to win a prize. Retailers can consider using a platform like Curalate to create Pinterest specific promotions.

5. Consider Advertising

Pinterest is currently offering promoted pins. Promoted Pins are Pins that businesses pay to appear where you’re more likely to notice them. The Promoted Pins you see are based on your interests and things you do on Pinterest, or because you visited an advertiser’s site or app.

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6. Cross Promote

After putting resources into optimizing a Pinterest presence, it is important for a marketer to promote their efforts. One should share their contests or favorite boards with their audiences on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on websites and blogs. This can help brands gain more followers, as some audiences may not be aware that certain companies are active on the pin boarding site.

7. Keep an Eye on Analytics

As with any other social network, it is important for brands to monitor their performance on Pinterest. By keeping an eye on Pinterest metrics, businesses can identify the most pinned content items from their websites, their most repined items and most clicked items, and then use these insights to adjust their Pinterest strategies accordingly. While Pinterest offers analytics to business users, they can also consider leveraging a platform like Curalate or a solution like Tailwind, which provides users with information like the optimal pinning times and top brand advocates.

My Devotional – Don’t Lose Control

The word “anger” is just one letter short of the word “danger.” When you lose control you risk losing other thing as well, like the respect of others or the chance to find a constructive solution. Anger toward human suffering in not only appropriate, it’s the catalyst for change. Paul writes, “Be angry…but…don’t stay angry” (Eph 4:26 TM).

The Chinese have a saying: “Anger is the wind that blows out the light of the mind.”


1. Before you react, take a walk. It burns off excess adrenaline and it’s more effective than stewing. It also helps you to think more clearly and handle things in a way you won’t regret. “A quick-tempered man does foolish things” (Pr 14:17 NIV).

2. Recognize the things you can’t control. You can’t control other people’s attitudes and actions, or unforeseen events such as cancelled flights and traffic jams. “What should I do?” you ask. Count your blessings, particularly the fact that you have God, salvation, your health, your family, your job and a car to get to it, etc.

3. Be careful where you vent. It’s one thing to be angry, it’s another to “sound off” at the wrong time. “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards” (Pr 29:11). It’s okay to share your feelings with those you trust and who are not the targets of your anger. But be careful, your words can come back to bite you!

4. Keep you distance from angry people. The Bible says, “Don’t hang out with angry people” (Pr 22:24 TM). Anger, like joy and gratitude, is contagious, so keep your distance.

I hope this devotional message is inspirational to you.