Web Marketing and Technology – Don’t Fear the Tech!

Geoff Hoff - Creativity Expert

Welcome to the site. I’m Geoff Hoff. I am a writer, publisher and public speaker and have been studying the process of creativity for most of my life. Out of necessity In the past several years,  I have been delving into the tech of being online, in order to build my websites and develop my courses.

Well, guess what. Bringing my native creativity to the technology has it’s advantages! People started coming to me for their tech advice, help and training. I’ve been called “the Winnie the Pooh of online tech”, which I kind of like. I think it’s because I speak “human” rather then “nerd” and really remember the days when none of it made sense to me, either, so I am very gentle as I guide and explain.

As you wander through this site, let’s explore having a business online, getting over the fear of technology, and, yes, being creative while we do that. You will see articles on a variety of subjects, from writing to marketing, from opinion pieces to tech help and more. As you read, leave comments. Ask questions. I am here to support you in your own web business and tech journeys.

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The Power of Daydreaming

We live in a very busy world and, for many of us, we have so overextended ourselves that we sometimes forget some of the basics of life. How true is this for you?

For the last several days, I have been working in the day, then visiting a friend in the hospital in the evening. When I get home, I’m exhausted, but usually still have more work to do.

Cats Understand Daydreaming

And today, I noticed that my brain was kind of turning off a little. But I know better. One of the easiest ways to keep yourself vital and excited is to make sure to spend a bit of time each day daydreaming. I’m not talking about sitting on the couch with {…Continue Reading}

This Month’s Challenge – List Building

After a successful blog posting challenge last month, I’ve decided to challenge myself once again and invite any who whish to join me. This one is much more toward online tech and online business than it is toward creativity and writing, but it is important if you have any online presence.

My email list was growing steadily for some time until the last six months or so, when I stopped putting any energy into growing it. Since then it has been dwindling slowly due to the normal attrition of the life of a list.

This month, I want to do something about that. Every day in November, I will take at least one action toward building my list. I will add those actions to this post, so the post will grow as the month progresses.

What are some of the actions I might take?

  • Putting up a new squeeze page
  • Writing an article
  • Building up my Pinterest boards
  • Sending out a press release
  • Etc.

My list has two basic segmentations, online tech/business and {…Continue Reading}

Post Number 30

Thirty days ago, I challenged myself to write thirty blog posts in thirty days. This is the thirtieth post.

Am I proud of myself? Yes, actually. But I also learned a lot with this challenge. Sometimes, you say you’re going to do something and it just sort of fades from your mind. But sometimes, you make a commitment that goes somehow deeper and you feel a little unnerved if you’re not on track.

I did skip some days for various reasons. But that nagging feeling would be there and I had to return. Toward the end, I started upping my output and in the last week wrote a ton of posts. One evening, I wrote five!

I have always known I can turn something out fairly quickly if I want to. As opposed to those times when I struggle and slave over every word. Yes, I have those days, too, but I find that, when I need to get something done, I can’t indulge in struggle. I just have to do it. And, when I just have to do it, it becomes easy. The struggle fades. I’m sure I could make it come back if I wanted to, if I felt there wasn’t enough drama in my life, of course. But now that I have this experience of simply getting past the struggle and getting the writing done, will I ever indulge that again? I have a feeling that, knowing I can just do it, it will be too uncomfortable to indulge in.

Some of you participated in this challenge. Some did the whole {…Continue Reading}

When Darkness Falls

I’m a fairly upbeat person, I tend to approach life from a very light viewpoint. So it is sometimes a shock when I write a short story and discover it is very dark. I used to think something was very wrong with me, but I realized that all of us have both light and dark aspects of ourselves. They both must be expressed somehow, so what better way than with a lovely piece of somber, or even foreboding fiction. Certainly better than being an unrepentant downer who sucks the air out of every room he enters.

Your subconscious mind process all the bits and pieces that make up you. It twirls them around and spits them back out to you in the form of inspiration. Don’t resist that inspiration. It’s wrought with gold and platinum, diamonds and rubies. Even if it sort of feels like coal and decay.

So why would anyone want to read dark fiction? It’s surprisingly popular. I’ve heard it said that we don’t know light unless we’ve experienced darkness. There is, I think, something to that. We crave the dark stories so we can more appreciate what lightness we are surrounded by. Stephen King has made a rather fabulous career on that very impulse in the general public.

This is, of course, entirely too simplistic. There must be many reasons we gravitate toward the dark. For some, I imagine, it confirms their view of life. However, I do think the contrast it provides is real. I had a friend many years ago who had been savagely abused as a child. He had spent years pulling himself {…Continue Reading}

Eating Broccoli

I’m taking a medication that forces me to monitor my eating and drinking habits fairly stringently. One of the things I must watch is how much vitamin K I consume. Vitamin K is found in most green, leafy vegetable and things like broccoli. If I eat too much, it makes my test numbers plunge. Too little and they get dangerously high.

There are also things, like ginger and cranberries, that have the opposite result.

It can be mind boggling.

I’ve never had a very consistent or regimented lifestyle. My diet, my sleep schedule, my work schedule, my exercise routine, etc., have always been erratic at best. Now, I am expected to eat pretty much the same thing each week and ave my meals at pretty much the same time each day. As I get more “stable”, I can introduce more variation in my routine.

I am, of course, behaving myself and sticking to the routine as best I can. It is a challenge but the alternative consequences are high. Am I whining about it all? Of course. What fun would life be without a good whine now and again.

Do I need someone to tell me, “you can do it! It will all be okay!” No, but than you. I’m not entirely self-sufficient (how sad for anyone who is), but I do realize that, when I get to the point where I’m whining about something, it’s time to buck it up and get over my bad self.

So. I’m supposed to eat three helpings of veggies with vitamin K this week. I think a nice broccoli salad will do as a fine start, don’t you?

It’s Not What I Do, It’s Who I Am

When people ask us writers what we do, the response is usually, “I’m a writer.” We never say, “I write.” The distinction is important. The simple definition of a writer is, “one who writes”, so if you write blog posts or articles or stories or sales copy, that is more than enough to call yourself a writer. But I think for some of us, it is more than that.

When you say, “I’m a writer”, you are joining a group of people who tend to be obsessive about writing. People who thrive on writing. People who, when they aren’t writing feel somehow disconnected with life and reality.

It doesn’t take much to join that group. It’s not a secret group and it’s not at all mysterious or exclusive, but when you start to think of yourself as a writer, not writing is simply out of the question.

It’s the same, I suspect, with musicians and artists. There is a woman in my building who paints these wonderful canvases. Their apartment door is almost always open and it is obvious that the most prominent feature of their living room is her painting area, which looks very well lived in. She often brings her canvases outside to paint in the sun. I think for her, if she weren’t painting, she would feel only half a person.

And many musicians I know are always making music in one way or another, tapping out rhythms, picking imaginary guitars or playing imaginary pianos. For singers, music is almost constant. They don’t need to carry {…Continue Reading}

This is the Fourth Post

I have been getting a bit behind in my 30 day challenge, so this evening, I decided to catch up a bit. This is the fourth post I’ve written in the last hour. I’ve been posting them as “scheduled” so they don’t all show up at the same moment, they’ll be out throughout the day. It’s been a fun exercise, challenging myself to come up with the ideas and then actually writing the posts.

It goes to show you that, when you set your mind to something, you can do it. I still have some catching up to do. This is post 24 and today is day 29, so I must write six more posts before midnight tomorrow. I think I’m up to it.

This challenge has been eye-opening for me. I see that I do often simply forget to do a step (in this case, writing a post), but that, once I’m reminded, I simply sit down and do it. The first bit isn’t so great, but I’m very happy about the second bit.

As I’ve gone through this month, I’ve started getting back on track in several areas in my life. I’m back up to speed in my business (or at least getting there rapidly), I’m getting back in touch with friends I haven’t seen for a while, I’m doing more writing (not just blog posts) and I am seeing that, at almost 60, I don’t quite have the energy reserves I once did. Knowing that, though, I can optimize the way I use my energy.

I’m in the home stretch with this challenge. How is your challenge going? Have you been keeping up? There’s still time. I will have my 30 posts done by end of day tomorrow!

Sleep Deprived

When you come out of a health issue, often times your body spends a long time adjusting to the new circumstances, which can interrupt your sleeping patterns. After several days of this (or several weeks) you may notice you’ve begun to be sleep deprived.

I’ve had some odd and interesting experiences with sleep deprivation. While in the hospital with pneumonia a few months ago, my breathing was so disrupted that I hadn’t slept the night through in over a month. I actually started hallucinating. It was sort of fun, actually, entering a dream state while still awake.

In my odd state, I would make up these elaborate strategies to be able to continue living – Weird stuff like that I had to count to fifty or breath in a very specific rhythm. The first night that I actually got some sleep after about a week of this, when I woke up, I was surprised to discover these strategies I’d been building were both ridiculous and impossible. It was a relief, but it was also fascinating.

I get very little sleep now (not nearly as extreme as that, I’m not hallucinating… at least I don’t think I am… ) but it has some odd repercussions. I’m studying a couple of new courses and when I sit down to study, I start getting anxious, like I need to be somewhere else, doing something else. I usually let that feeling be and just continue with what I’m doing, but sometimes, I have to get up and walk around the apartment a bit to calm down and focus.

As long as I continue, I seem to be productive, but once in a while, I give in and just lie down for a nap. Those naps are usually very {…Continue Reading}

Seven With One Blow

When I was younger (in my twenties younger, not in my youth), I used to love reading fairy tales and folk tales. One that stuck in my mind was a tidbit called “Seven with One Blow”. It was about a tailor who was working when a ton of flies started bothering him. He killed seven of them with one swat. He was so proud of himself that he embroidered a belt with the phrase “Seven with One Blow” and began wearing that everywhere.

Well, people had their own interpretation of what, exactly, that meant. They assumed it meant that he had killed seven bad guys. Once he realized what they thought, he was too embarrassed to correct them, so he started being know as the guy who killed seven bad buys with one blow.

As you can imagine, his life got rather complicated after that.

We are often thought of in ways that are inaccurate, by virtue of things we say or do, and we usually just let that impression be there. It can be fun, sometimes. It can even be good; we will often grow into what was once a false notion. A little of “fake it till you make it”. Sort of.

I have often been thought of as a very organized individual. I’ve heard people say it about me and it puzzles me, because I’m really not. It’s a notion I’ve never (yet) grown in to. But I’ve heard tell stories of people who fell over backwards into something they never thought they’d even try because of a misunderstanding, and had very successful {…Continue Reading}

Get It Written

You are a writer. You sit down at your computer and stare at the blinking curser. You type a word or two, maybe even a sentence or two, then, after an hour or so, simply give up and go water the petunias. (Or crack open a bottle of Scotch.)

We’ve all seen this in movies, on TV, read about it in books. Writers get “the writer’s block” and simply cannot produce. It is a romantic notion and, since we’ve seen it dramatized so often, we all think it’s true. We think it’s true and necessary to such a degree that, even when we are inundated with ideas, this notion of who and what we have to be presents itself and we stop short.

Well, if you’ve read my writing much, you probably know what I’m going to say. That notion is pure poppycock. There’s always something to write. If you want to grease the wheels or prime the pump a bit, just start by typing nonsense. That will often flow into something interesting, or at least have some interesting ideas within the nonsense words and sentences.

Here is a (slightly edited) stream-of-consciousness bit that I recently wrote to get the juices flowing (how many metaphors can I come up with to mean “get writing”?):

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I am using the exercise that I teach other people to open the creative pathways, whether it works or not. It has usually worked in the past. This is the first day of the rest of my life. This is a very odd illness. I am an infant and an adult. I am at the edge of a precipice and on a solid platform. I am not even trying to be humorous. Or homogeneous. Or heliographic. I don’t even know what that {…Continue Reading}