Well, now it’s Wednesday (at least it still is for me since I am not an early to bed person even when I’ve been earlier to rise), so it’s time for Wordy Winsome Wednesday. On this weekly post, I will talk about writing or my writing and whatever that entails. Maybe I’ll talk about grammar, maybe my struggles with formatting and submitting, or maybe I’ll share excerpts from longer pieces. For this week, I want to share some of the ideas I’ve come up with for branding. More than that, I earnestly seek your opinions on these ideas, so I can finally create a brand from which to focus on future projects and marketing.
My problem with branding (and so many other things in life) is all about my eclectic tastes and personality. I don’t seem to fit into any of the usual molds. I write poetry, haiku, novel-length fiction, short stories, articles, lyrics, haiku, devotions, Bible studies, and have a couple books I’d like to do about bands. Oh, and I’ve got an old project for Christian writers that I’m getting ready to revive. In addition to writing, I edit, photograph, create graphic designs (like wallpaper and kaleidoscopes), do web design, and run a writer’s group. If I added all the work experiences in my life, this post would get way too long.
So, how do I create a brand when my creative desires are all over the map? You might say pick a favorite, but most of them are favorites and all of them have probably been a favorite at one time or another. On my business cards, I finally opted for the following line: “Writer–Editor–Creative Mind” and I added the words in the logo above. I was told by an agent at a conference that “The Lord is My Editor, I Shall Rewrite” is not actually a brand, and she came up with “Stories that Need to be Told” as an option. Most everyone in the group liked that one, but I found it used quite a bit when I did research.
All this brings us to my own brainstorming. I have come up with 10 possibilities in addition to the one from the agent. I created a poll that will allow readers to choose up to three favorites, so I could use a weighted voting technique to help select a favorite. Would you please choose your favorites, and/or add your own suggestions, to help this eclectic gal toward a final brand? In addition, you are welcome to comment on your choices and your suggestions. Thanks so much, and I truly appreciate all comments and ideas.
At one time, I subscribed to a marketing newsletter all about the concept of what the author called “Give to Get” marketing. It talked of things like when banks would offer new toasters and blenders to get new customers. That type of marketing now might be a free e-book download to encourage the purchase of an author’s new release. People always seem more willing to buy if they first know that you are a giver.
For me, however, I read that marketing newsletter more in the interest of how it applied to real life than to sales. And from what I see in today’s reading from Genesis 42:19 through Genesis 43:15, Jacob was a fan of giving to get as well. in the story, Joseph has told the brothers to leave one of them in jail and let the others go back and get the youngest brother, Benjamin, to prove they are not spies. They discuss it amongst themselves, and they do not realize that Joseph can understand the Hebrew language they are speaking because they are using an interpreter. In verse 24, we read that Joseph had to turn away from them to hide his tears over their discussion of how they deserved the current situation because of what they did to their brother Joseph.
They leave Simeon and start the journey back home, but at camp they realize that all their money has been restored. They don’t know that Joseph requested it to be that way, so they think it is more punishment. By the time they get home, Jacob is truly scared that if he lets his sons return with Benjamin, he will then have lost three of his sons. But eventually, the famine is too great to fight anymore, and since Joseph had told them they would not see his face anymore unless their brother was with them, Jacob agrees to send him. Reuben and Judah both promise him they will give up their own sons in the promise of returning Benjamin safely.
As Jacob sends his sons back, he sends them with double the money to make sure they will pay for the first supplies in case it is an oversight. And then (this is what amazed and blessed me) he tells them to make sure to bring gifts with them. He tells them to bring spices, perfumes, oils, honey, almonds, pistachios, and whatever goods they have to bless the man in charge of the food. In other words, he wants to give something to the man in charge in order to have a better chance to get his son(s) returned to him. And today’s reading ends with all of them, their gifts, their double portions, and their youngest brother standing before Joseph.
The giving first idea is so much better than today’s idea of entitlement. It’s better than demanding. It’s better than playing on people’s sympathies. How much more are you willing to help someone who says he will mow your lawn for 5 or 10 bucks than someone who just comes to your door asking for money to feed his family? Even God is all about give to get. He made a world to put humans in. And when we did not deserve it, Scripture tells us that God FIRST loved us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. If we are truly following a WWJD concept, we will also give first. Let’s see, how does the chorus of that Sunday School song go?
Oh, how I love Jesus, Oh, how I love Jesus, Oh, how I love Jesus, Because He first loved me.
In today’s reading from Genesis 41:53 through Genesis 42:18, the prophecy of the abundance and famine is in full swing and famine is upon the whole earth. Egypt has plenty of food stored up for the people, and Joseph is in charge of sales and distribution. At the same time, Israel and his sons are feeling the effects of the famine, so he tells them to go to Egypt and get food for the family. However, he only sends ten of them and keeps Benjamin at home because he is concerned something might happen to him. Of course, something could have happened to any of them, so his keeping Benjamin at home is likely due to the fact that he is the only other son from his beloved Rachel.
So the brothers show up in Egypt, but they do not recognize Joseph even though he recognizes them. He begins to talk harshly to them and accuses them of being spies. They try to explain that they are all children of the same man, and they tell him there are twelve sons but that one is at home, and the other is gone. He tells them they must prove themselves, and he says that without proof he will not believe them to be anything other than spies.
At the end of today’s reading, he locks them up for three days, but then he lets them go with an order for them to obey him to stay alive. He then adds, “For I fear God.” That doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you understand a little something about the history of the scribes who wrote down the old Scriptures.
In brief: First, they were perfectionists. If they made a mistake while writing the words, they didn’t have White Out or a backspace key. The rule dictated that they must destroy the scroll and start over. They reverenced the name of Yahveh so highly that they would not write the name on the scroll for fear some mistake might cause the scroll to be destroyed and the name with it. So, instead of writing the actual name of God, they would often just leave a space knowing that people could insert “The Name” while they were reading the words aloud. Later, they would write the Hebrew word for “The Name” which is where we get people calling God Hashem. In addition, they would sometimes use the label “The Lord” or “God” but because those labels could also refer to false gods, they would omit the vowels and capitalize the first letters. That’s why it is important to me to capitalize the first letter of not only God and Lord, but also He, Him, Himself, etc., when speaking about God. Even C.S. Louis capitalized the “E” in “Enemy” in the book Screwtape Letters because the demons were speaking of The Creator. So, when you see “G-d” or “L-rd” instead of God or Lord, it is just an extra attempt to make sure there is a difference in referring to The Almighty as different from all other gods people may worship.
I said all the above simply to refer to what I believe Joseph was actually saying in that last verse. Because they were visiting a land where people worshiped gods other than The Almighty, I believe he was letting them know that he knew who God truly was. I mean, imagine going to a place filled with people who do not believe as you do but needing something from them and pushing yourself to go through with it. Then, imagine having one among them let you know that you are not alone as a believer in that place. I’m guessing they were quite relieved by that statement, and I believe he actually said to them, “Because I reverence Yahveh.”
We know from the past few days that Jacob was on his way to live with Abraham’s family to find a new life away from Esau, and that he made one little detour to talk to God and worship Him. Now, in today’s reading from Genesis 29:1 through Genesis 29:17, he has arrived in his family’s homeland. The first thing he finds is a group of shepherds gathering around a well with a rock covering it up. He asks them why they are not watering the sheep they have with them. They tell him that they are waiting for all the rest of the sheep from all the pastures because the rock is too heavy to move back and forth more than once.
Jacob asked the men what family they were from, and when they told him they were from Haran, he asked them about Laban and was happy to realize he had found his mother’s family. About that time, Rachael showed up with a bunch of sheep to be watered. Jacob got so excited that he kissed her and then rolled away the stone and watered her sheep for her. She took him home to Laban, and all the relatives hugged and kissed each other and were very happy to be united with their own flesh and blood.
Jacob was so excited that he began working for Laban without requesting any kind of pay. Laban let him do so for about a month and then told him that it didn’t seem right to make a relative work that way, so he asked Jacob what his price might be. The chapter doesn’t end with saying what Jacob’s price was, but it does tell us about Laban’s two daughters. It says Leah, the oldest had weak eyes, but Rachael had beautiful features. Guess which kissing cousin Jacob was going to choose?
We are so used to all the ways in which we can communicate these days–be it from landlines, cell phones, computers, letters, or one day plane trips, that many of us at least virtually see our relatives far more often than they did in Bible days. But even with having so many years between family reunions, and being so excited about meeting Jacob, did you notice how easy it was for Laban to start him working and forget that he was a relative and deserved better than that? I guess it’s part of the human condition, and it reminds me of the time when God Himself had to remind his people to not forget Him for all the benefits He showered on them. Since it is the season when many will be gathering with family and friends for various holidays, I pray we will all be thinking of the value each of those people has in our lives, and that we will not forget these values just shortly after our welcoming kisses and hugs.
And that’s the best I could come up with today because my mind is actually on preparations for an upcoming writer’s retreat and then a whole lot of company. If I reread those Scriptures and God gives me something more, I’ll be sure to come back to share. In the meantime, I did get over 2000 words written for my NaNo novel today, so my total stands at 20,830 words.
Okay, so I’m about to take a plunge and take advantage of the current sale at Pro-Blogger where I can actually learn about this blogging and SEO stuff instead of just doing it by the seat of my pants. I plan to start with the “31 Days to Build a Better Blog” ebook, and I plan to share the basics of what I learn here (without infringing copyright, of course). To make things easier, I’ll link to the Pro-Blogger site from here in case anyone else thinks this can help you too.
What I’ve done to this point is start multiple blog sites, Facebook pages, and other sharing points around the Internet. I have three blogs right here at Crystal Writes (the main blog, the import of my old Yahoo 360 blog, and an image blog I haven’t used yet); the blog I started for my Morning Writer project that found its stagnation in a neck injury and two surgeries; and then the page I set up at Shoutlife (http://www.shoutlife.com/crystalwriter), a social networking site specifically for Christians. My main website, largely static but with an important message, is http://www.41soul.com. And then I’ve got some articles on my Scribd page at http://www.scribd.com/crystalwriter. Of course, I have my Twitter feed, and I have my photo blog at Flickr. Flickr is the one I’ve kept up the most because I love to share the colorful kaleidoscopes and tessellations that I create.
Everything I listed above is important to me, but I also have some extra stuff I’ve done with a hope that I can share the vast prism of facets that describe all of my interests. I have a page on Facebook dedicated to my poem, The Lord is My Editor. I have another undeveloped image page on Facebook. And I have my main site on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/crystalwriter where I spend most of my interactive time. Beyond that, I have groups on both Yahoo and Facebook, custom product pages at Zazzle and Cafepress, and a page on Linked In. Oh, and then there is my very first home page on AngelFire, created when I was still using Web TV. Actually, there are two on Angel Fire since I had a newsletter/group called “God’s Kitchen Sink” and had created a page to archive the old articles.
I am also the webmaster and Facebook pagemaster for our local Christian writer’s group, Louisville Christian Writers, and I do what I can to help other writers in their quests to be published as well as in helping them to learn how to tackle all the technical aspects of having a cyber presence without overwhelming them with technical jargon. This is in addition to being the president of the group and often the newsletter editor if we put one out.
Oh yeah, and then to add some variety to my life (LOL), I decided to start writing for Squidoo. And I should probably consider going back to my Epinions page to share product reviews again since I regularly read reviews to know what I want to purchase. Wait… if I add what I do with reviews, then I must consider my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads as well. And what about my videos at YouTube and Viddler? Yikes, and I wonder why my time seems so limited and why I can’t seem to catch up on stuff. How did I ever play Facebook games before I realized what a terrible time-grabber they had become?
So, I presented all of the above to reach out for opinions and help in finding my focus. I love all of these worlds I’ve built online, and they don’t even cover all the dreams I have for my future–like my design for my own card company and the idea I have for a very unique drop-shipping company. Of course, I want to put together a presentation for helping Christian writers find their place in web land as well, and I already have an outline done on that one along with interest from a web producer who might back the publication. And I can’t forget about my novels. I’ll do a post on their synopses later and gather opinions, but most of them are very rough draft stories put together from former years of doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) contests.
Needless to say, when I add all of these together, mix them with daily living and throw in a strong dose of reading (from Bible reading, to blogs I follow, to lots of books by friends, in addition to thousands of e-mails plus articles I find linked from Twitter & Pinterest), I’m swamped. And then there’s time to take and edit photos, plan for a home sale and moving, and keep in touch with out-of-town family. I’m supposed to be learning how to submit my writing, but just getting stuff written in all these areas is overwhelming, ya know? And then all these people want me to join, follow, or recommend them on Klout and other social influence tools, and I’m thinking how I just can’t figure out how to add one more tool, app, blog, etc., to my plans. But, do I need to put all this stuff into Klout to verify my own level of influence? Or, do I need to just keep with the message of my main page and live every moment as if it could be “for one soul”?
I look forward to your comments, but I’m going to also do my best to follow the instructions from the new e-book and see if I can get this blog regularly active. If you want to see what the book has to say for yourself, you can consider purchasing it from Pro-Blogger through E-Junkie by clicking here. If you buy a copy for yourself and you find any tools that work quickly and without having to read many pages, please share the tips and tricks with me to save me a little bit of time. 🙂 Thanks!
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