Tuesday, November 15, 2016



If I could tell young people one thing, it would be-- make ritual in your life.

Why ritual-- what is it.
Scheduled. More or less obligatory.
Requires participation.

Could be self-imposed-- raising flag in Cape Giradoux.

Why does it fall away?
Move away.
more work-- if you live 40 minutes across town.
Even annual rituals get hard.
Scattering-- meet at grandma's house for Xmas. What happens when Grandma dies?
Competing --- What happens when Grandma moves to Florida?
What happens when you BECOME Grandma, and you still have to visit your parents-- what ritual for your kids?

Family reunion-- huge amount of work.

Someone has to do the work. Easier if it's a community thing and expectation.

Competing entertainments. Passive entertainment-- too easy, always right there.
Limited vacation time. Do I go home for Xmas? Do I go to in-laws? Do I go skiing with friends?

Can make ritual yourself-- what you do in the morning when you get up.
Will take work. Like all good habits, easily broken. One Sunday you decide not to get up for church, that could be all it takes.

Even TV and music are no longer a ritual. No one gathers to watch Buffy on Tuesday nights -- you can watch it any time. No one gets together at a friend's house to watch a video or listen to a new CD he just bought-- we can stream any video or listen to any song on our phones or tablets or TVs.

There's no incentive to leave home. Wall-E comfortable dystopia. 

Buy season tickets--- remember about the Indians and the end of the season, and all the season-ticket holders getting hugs from the vendors...

Friday, October 21, 2016

facebook meaning question

I'm thinking of writing an article about "making meaning in your life." I haven't gotten very far-- just taking notes-- but I was wondering-- what does "meaning" even mean? And what is meaningful? I'm thinking both long-term projects ("I learned to play the piano over the last two years") and moments ("My younger kids were singing a Beatle song together last night as we drove home.")--

Do you have any examples in your own life? What would you say was a meaningful thing that happened to you or you did recently or in the past? What experience would you say was memorably meaningful, and why? I know about the big ones-- birth of children, weddings-- but what about less "life-heavy" things?


long term/ short term


magic moment

Forget success-- make meaning

When we're younger, we might plan for success-- we want to be rich and famous, or do great things.

But at some point, most of us don't. And we see people who have achieved what is popularly called "success", and we think maybe it seems shallow and trite-- a real estate developer with a young trophy wife and a billion dollars, ....

Success in that big worldly form-- winning elections, making a fortune, getting awards-- might not be achievable, if you haven't spent decades being lucky and building a particular foundation. Most of us didn't live like that-- we just lived.

Make meaning instead. Meaning-- define--
more about meaning
Why it will work?

The meaning is... meaning

The hardest realization humans face is-- we know we're going to die.
And in some ways, that seems to destroy all our meaning. What does it matter if I do this or that, achieve this or that, if I'm just going to die anyway?
This is easy enough to ignore-- it might even be a spur to achievement-- when you have decades yet to go. After all, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy your achievement and reap the rewards.

But mortality isn't a distant existential anxiety at this point. It's a reality. We've had parents die, even siblings. We've tried to help friends through dread diseases, seen them fight and struggle, only to lose in the end. We've seen older people linger, their bodies going on long after their minds have deteriorated.
We know what the end might look like.
And we know that what we do now, we might not have decades to enjoy.

Do it now....

What? What would give meaning when it seems sort of meaningless?

Helping others
Leaving a legacy
Doing what you want to do
Discovering new aspects of the world and you
Getting over some personal flaw that has always bothered you

Boomer alert-- routine and affiliation

Something many Boomers didn't like much were routines and joining.
"Keep your options open" -- moving around, moving on. Even if you stayed in the same town, you probably aren't in the same groups. You probably don't do the same thing every Tuesday.

Far easier to break a good habit than a bad one! Sleep in one morning rather than going to swim laps at the pool, and you might as well have quit, right? The discipline is broken.
Routine is hard....


Point of this decade is... making meaning.

Older generation affiliated-- Masons, Moose Lodge. Jeff talking about the BR "boys night out" group-- meet every week for decades. (Older)

We are more likely to join for a while, then move on when it's no longer useful. (RWA)
More into new experiences, new sensations.

But there's usefulness and meaning in familiarity, in making the time to do the same thing.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Quotes about age and stuff

Bruce Springsteen: “A good song gathers the years in. It’s why you can sing it with such conviction 40 years after it’s been written. A good song takes on more meaning as the years pass by.”

grandma's wisdom

I found myself washing a baggie (in my defense, it was a ZIPLOC!), and thought, I have become my grandmother (who would wash bread bags and use them). Of course, it's quite environmental, but also a bit.... compulsive.
Anyone else do something like their grandma?
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Mary Ann Clark Guilty of washing Ziplocs. And sometimes reusing alum foil. My nana did wash and reuse alum pie plates, but I rarely have those. She also "saved" the "good dishes" and "good towels" in case she had company, while I prefer to use and enjoy things in the present.
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Alicia Rasley I save the "Good china" for special occasions, then forget to use it!
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Mary Watson I wash and reuse large Ziploc bags if they've held something that isn't terribly messy. Not if they've held raw meat. I also rinse off sheets of aluminum foil and reuse. I tear old t-shirts into rags for cleaning and polishing (nice and soft, don't scratch). Cut buttons off shirts before they go to the recycle center. I'm crocheting a rug from old jeans torn into strips (so far I've used 5 pairs, and need to go to the thrift shop for more as I've run out of jeans). But I grew up recycling. My mother did out out of necessity. I still wear jeans my younger son (now 43) had in 8th grade. 
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Alicia Rasley Mary, that's pretty impressive! My grandmother used to make rag rugs-- braided, I think.
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Cassandra Curtis Grandmum used to say two cups from one tea bag is the rule, and then save the old tea bags for use in drawing down swelling. If refrigerated correctly, they'll keep for an extra week before the have to get tossed. Even then, she'd place the old used up...See More
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Alicia Rasley Cassandra, I remember teabags refrigerated and put on the under-eye area reduces puffiness. 
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Mary Strand Like both my grandmas, I like a nice cocktail. 
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Alicia Rasley What kind of cocktail? A "highball"? (Whiskey and ginger ale. :))
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Theresa Stevens Just don't let me catch you wrapping sandwiches in old newspapers. There are some depression-era behaviors that we can let die out!
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Alicia Rasley The newsprint would transfer to the bread!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Feel good by doing good-- even in a minor key.

Think about ways to create small amounts of joy-- to yourself and others. In fact, the best way to create joy is to give it away!

For example, I witnessed this phenomenon today when I delivered Meals on Wheels in my neighborhood in Indianapolis. This activity allows me to meet a lot of elderly people, most of whom are homebound. Most of my grandparents and elderly relatives died in their sixties, so I never really have known old people close up. Delivering the meals gives me a chance to interact with some kind of routine basis. Sometimes it's depressing. Some clients are in pain or fatigued, and they give the impression that there's no joy in their lives, far from it. As I said, I'm not experienced with older people, and I find myself thinking, "I can't blame them. There's a point when there's no joy left to find."
Well, that depresses me too, especially when I look forward to the future! Is that what I have ahead? Infirmity and apathy?

But then I'll deliver a meal to someone like Mr. Wilbert, and he reminds me that there's always some joy left, even if you have to make it yourself. 

Mr. Wilbert is over 80 and in a wheelchair, and only gets out when his aide comes to take him to the doctor. Even on the prettiest days of the year, which today definitely was, he can barely get out onto the porch, much less out into the sunshine.

But he doesn't let that keep him from creating joy. I noticed today as I came up his walk that he was out on the porch. He was bending down in his wheelchair, but looked up guiltily when I approached. He shrugged and sat back, and I could see what he'd been doing. He was putting out little cups of food and milk for the feral cats who live in the neighborhood. 

As I watched, a whole family of pretty little grey kittens and their mom sidled up. Mr. Wilbert turned his wheelchair and went back into the house, calling back over his shoulder, "You better drop my meal off and get back in your car. They won't come up on the porch if they see us here."

And in fact, as I retreated to my car, I looked back to see the mother cat leading her kittens up onto the porch, and one by one to eat, they bent delicately to each what Mr. Wilbert had left for them. He sat in the doorway and watched them. He knows that feral cats won't let him come out and pet them of course. But he doesn't mind, because he can watch through his screen door, taking such pleasure in his kindness.

So here is a man who is poor enough to need subsidize meals, and  infirm enough to be wheelchair-bound, and confined to his home. And yet he has learned that doing good for helpless creatures makes him feel good, and he also knows enough to get job just from watching them eat and accepting their fear of humans without taking  offense.

If a man in his situation can get pleasure out of doing good, so can we all.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

resources for courses, blogs, ebooks


Slide deck
Toolkit and O-townINCLUDED LENSES




What do I send to my email list?

I talk constantly about the importance of setting up an email list. It’s the single most important thing you can do to build your author platform.
I make this very clear in my book Your First 1000 Copies:
“Your #1 goal as an author should be to grow your email list as much as possible. Write that on a post-it. Recite it to yourself every morning. Tattoo it on your forehead. Do whatever it takes to make sure that developing your email list is the #1 goal of your platform strategy.”
So let’s say you’ve got that working for you.
You’ve set up an email list with a solid email service provider, and you’ve started getting subscribers.
Now what?
What do I send to my email list-
Most writers let those subscriber names just sit there, gathering dust. They never actually email them.
Or they only email them right before their new book comes out.
Which begs the question …

How often should you email your subscribers?

The conventional wisdom is, “Don’t email them too often, because you don’t want to annoy them—they might unsubscribe!”
However: Take an even halfway logical look at that statement, and you’ll see it’s false reasoning.
I’m subscribed to the email newsletter NextDraft, which sends me an email every day. And every day, I read it.
I also get emails every day or two from an online clothing store I like.
I’ve kept my subscriptions to both of them. I’m not at all annoyed by the frequency of their emails.
Because here’s what I’ve learned:
People have a high tolerance for receiving useful, entertaining content.
It’s not about frequency. Your goal is to focus on sending content that is compelling.
My definition of marketing is:
  1. Creating long-lasting connections with people (getting people onto your email list)
  2. Being relentlessly helpful (sending them useful, entertaining content)
So what does that mean for your email list?
How often should you send? What should you send?
If you’re not sure where to start, here’s what I suggest:

1. Set a schedule

Remember, the schedule isn’t for your readers. It’s for you.
Most people are not going to be checking their in-box every day, waiting for another email from you.
You need to stay in touch, and setting a schedule ensures that you don’t go six months between emails.
If you don’t have a schedule you’re sticking to, it’ll be too easy to just stop sending emails.
Then suddenly, when your next book is about to come out, you’ll start spamming them with messages to buy your book, even though they haven’t heard from you in a year.
You don’t appreciate that sort of non-involvement from the people you subscribe to, and neither do your subscribers.
So pick a schedule, and stick to it.
My Suggestion
If you don’t know what schedule to set, here’s what to do:
Send two emails a month.
Send the first email on the first Tuesday of the month, and the second email on the third Tuesday of the month.

2. Decide on the Content

It’s important that you decide early on what type of content you’re going to send your list.
Every week, Shawn Coyne publishes a new blog post at StoryGrid.com. And every Tuesday afternoon, he sends out a link to that new blog post to everyone on his email list.
He doesn’t have to decide every week what he’s going to send. He decided what content to send a long time ago.
He just has to send it.
My Suggestion
If you are sending out two emails a month, here’s the content you should be sending:
  1. First email of the month (1st Tuesday): Send new content. Whether it’s a short story, a new blog post, a book review, or a new podcast episode. Make this email a “give” of newly created content.
  2. Second email of the month (3rd Tuesday): Send an author update. Remember that your subscribers signed up for your email list. Make sure you let them know what you’re working on. Include an update on your latest book, links to anywhere you’ve been interviewed, places you’re traveling to where they can meet you, upcoming interviews.Let them know what’s going on with you professionally.
That’s only twelve pieces of original content a year, and twelve author updates a year.
That is a very doable schedule, even if you’ve got a full-time day job.
It ensures that you invest in your relationship with your readers, and stay connected to them.

3. Stick with it for 6 months

Do not change your schedule for six months. You need to give it time to see how it’s working.
I’ve seen two types of mistakes that can occur when writers don’t adhere to this kind of set schedule.
First, you start scaling back on how many emails you send.
Maybe you got a bunch of unsubscribes, or got a mean reply from a reader. Or you just got lazy.
Either way, you start slipping and missing your deadlines. The problem with this, of course, is that it too quickly turns into you not emailing your email list for six months.
Second, you send a bunch of emails early on.
A lot of people get excited about the prospect of sending great content to their list. So they quickly write a lot of content, and decide to send three emails in a single week.
Sounds great. But at that pace, you’re going to get burnt out very easily.
You’ll send three this week. Then three next week. Then nothing for three months.
The excitement is good, but breaking the schedule is not.
If you’re inspired to write three pieces of content, go ahead and create them.
Now you’re ahead of schedule, and don’t have to worry about email content for three months. You can work on your next manuscript instead!
If you change your schedule too soon, you’ll not have given it enough time to see how well it’s working.
Wait six months, then step back and evaluate your schedule.
How does it feel? Are people enjoying the emails? Are you enjoying the content you’re sending? What could be tweaked and changed?
If you are easily creating enough content to start sending out once a week, make the change and stick to that schedule for three months.
If you’ve been struggling to get the emails out on time, maybe scale back to once a month, or once every three weeks.
Building your email list is important, but so is staying engaged with your new audience.
So pick a schedule, choose the content, and then stick to it. This will ensure that you’re investing in your audience.
You want them to be excited to buy your next book, and you help them do that when you use your blogs and updates, shared at a steady pace, to keep them engaged with your work.
Because people unsubscribing from your list is not the worst thing.
The real tragedy is not staying steadily involved with your readers in positive ways.

Forwarded Message -----
From: Emily Florence <contact@emflorence.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2016 16:16:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Want to work together?
Message-ID: <1157435738.1549981472588187411.JavaMail.tomcat@highbrow>

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Hi Alicia, 

I hope you're enjoying the last few weeks of summer. The nights are cooling down here in California and I'm finding myself craving falling leaves, sweaters and scarves.

Even though it's been years since I finished my master's degree, there's something about knowing fall's around the corner that makes me want to stock up on school supplies.

Last week, I even bought two FIVE STAR notebooks and a new set of pens!

This is also a time when many of us feel called to take a step in a new direction, pursue a goal and feel a surge of motivation to make things happen in our lives.

For anyone interested in taking a business or project to the next level, earning credibility or sharing your work with the world, I'm happy to announce I have 4 spots open to work with me one-on-one for PR and Publicity Consulting or Business Coaching and 8 spots open in my Media Master Class.

Here's how I can help:

DIY PR and Publicity Course and One-on-One Consulting:

Learn step-by-step how to get in the media so you can take your business to the next level, earn credibility and share your work with the world.

Click HERE for details and to reserve your spot!

Media Master Class:

During 8 bi-monthly 90-minute calls, you'll receive professional feedback on press materials, ideas and advice for story ideas and pitches, plus personal support from myself and fellow students.

Click HERE for details and to reserve your spot!

Business Coaching:

One-on-one coaching to transform your business so you can make a living doing what you love!

Click HERE for details and to reserve your spot!

One of my favorite quotes is by Thoreau. He said, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."

We all have unique gifts and deserve to make a living and life doing what we love.

If you feel called to take a business or project to the next level and share your work, messages and YOU with the world, I'd love to help.

I look forward to connecting!

With love and gratitude,

Emily Florence
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