Award winning author Lillian Brummet (www.brummet.ca) produces and hosts the Conscious Discussions talk radio show, and manages the Brummet’s Conscious Blog. Although it seems like a lifetime of scribbles and notes have led up to this – Lillian has been professionally involved in the realm of writing since 1999. She began writing poetry as a teenager, which allowed her to express the issues and emotions from a broken home, abusive childhood and being on her own at 13-years old. Through poetry she learned how to see beyond these hurts and discover a world outside of herself, where she learned that her life really did have value and that she had a purpose. Lillian has fond memories of an early childhood in California and Nevada (USA) and grew up in the south-central region of BC, Canada. Her business partner and husband Dave was born and raised in Kelowna (BC) where he met up with Lillian in 1990 and they have been together ever since. Dave and Lillian have collaborated their efforts and have authored 6 books (to date, 2014), with their 7th book (cookbook) coming out in mid-late 2014. In those few stolen moments when she is not in the office she can be found spending time with her husband gardening, indulging in nature, camping and walking the many trails in BC’s (Canada) wilderness. The main focus of everything the Brummets do, whether in their personal life or in business, is to inspire hope in individuals - helping them realize the value of their efforts and encouraging them to become more positive, proactive in life.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself, your blog, your aspirations and your hobbies!!
Wow – that is a big question! Let’s see… about me: I’m a married (for 24 years) 44 year-old woman living in the tourist mecca known as the Kootenay region of BC, Canada. I have an ongoing commitment to living my life in such a way as to leave a positive legacy – every day. My spare time is often spent absorbed in a puzzle or a good book, rolling around with the dogs, spending time in nature or playing in the garden. Professionally I am the author and co-author of 6 books, going on 7 books later on this year. As a business partner of the Brummet Media Group (http://brummet.ca), my responsibilities also include managing the Brummet's Conscious Blog (http://www.consciousdiscussions.blogspot.com) and hosting/producing the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio show (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consciousdiscussions).
Q: How you first got involved in with blogging/writing, are you an imaginative person?
The pen has always been a good friend, always there and non-judgmental… so I have always found getting creative with words was a place of comfort, even as a child. When young I used to write short stories about people with heavy issues that were judged by others who didn’t understand – these won special acknowledgements in school. Later I moved to poetry as my comfort zone where I could purge the emotions that consumed me, brought on by a broken home environment and abuse. As a young adult I was encouraged to submit my poetry to various contests and won several, got published in some anthologies and the like. But it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I took the idea of writing more seriously. I had been involved in a 3-car pile up (I was in the middle) and lost the business I had been running successfully but unhappily for 6 years. I took some career and personality tests, and a career course at the college – and writing kept popping up. It was then that I started thinking of it more seriously, but after my husband signed up for a course about the business side of writing I began taking the assignments along with him as if I was a fellow student. That taught me the basics of how to query, how to market, how to keep records of things, and so on. My first writing assignment from a publication ended up becoming a series of articles that led to a syndicated column – which was published for many years before evolving into the first edition of our first book Trash Talk – It’s Easy To Be Green (now in a 3rd edition).
Q: What do you find most challenging about blogging/writing about your topic?
Marketing or promoting publications and articles is the most time consuming aspect of being a writer. I’ve come to a level of organization that the other aspects of being a professional writer run fairly smoothly and while I’m comfortable doing the marketing end of things, I do find it terribly daunting and time consuming. I’d prefer just to write… and not bother with details, time delays, publication formatting, etc. The creation process in writing is almost like play time or recreation for me. The other stuff is where the real work comes in. Luckily I have a partner (Dave, my husband) to take on many of the technical and graphic aspects of the business, however I do most of the marketing. I actually really enjoy doing interviews on blogs and radio shows, offering filler and promotional content, etc. The time it takes is where I have difficulty… it just sucks up the time like a vacuum on steroids!
Q: Tell me about some of the people you have met while working on your blog?
I meet some of the most wonderful people through my blog and also through my radio show. I learn a lot from the publishers, publicists, agents and marketing PR specialists who connect with me either for networking purposes or for their clients. The guests that come on my radio show offer so much information, such inspiring stories – it is like an online university that focuses on inspiring and empowering others. I’ve created such strong relationships that I still network and connect with people I’d met 10 years ago.
Q: How would (someone) describe your blogging/writing style?
Informative, organized, inspirational, empowering, motivational… and honest. I’ve often been told that I write in such a way that it makes readers feel like we are discussing the topic over a cup of coffee. Some people say that I write just like I talk; however I think I write better than I talk. (She smiles).
Q: What do you do when you are not working on your blog?
There is a lot of behind the scenes activities involved in my office – from bookkeeping, record keeping, filing receipts, etc. to answering emails, phone calls, doing follow-ups, promoting and networking. Those stolen moments out of the office are balanced with maintaining the home life (cooking and menu planning, cleaning, lawn mowing, pet grooming, gardening, etc.) and spending time in nature or with the fur-kids (2 dogs and a cat). I adore strolling along mountain trails and musing lazily beside rivers, creeks or lakes. Dave and I always pack a bag with us and take the time to clean up litter when walking the dogs or spending time in nature – this one act is very important to me, it makes me feel like I am making a difference and giving back to nature.
Q: Where do you see yourself blogging/writing wise in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?
Well, Dave and I just released another book of poetry: Rhythm & Rhyme, which is out in e-book format and will be in print format in a few weeks. Once the various distributors have the book listed in their systems, we’ll have to update our website (again) and start another vein of marketing endeavors. In the meantime I am working on the next manuscript – one that has been in the making for about 15 years actually. This cookbook (possible title: Garden of Flavor) is designed with a purpose – we want to encourage people to purchase locally grown, seasonal foods and to educate them about nutrition, while encouraging gardening and inspiring change in the food production system to a more sustainable, environmentally conscious one. I made the difficult decision to take a hiatus from the radio show in order to catch up on taxes, spring-cleaning and these manuscripts as well… preventing a total mental breakdown (she laughs). When the dust settles from these projects I plan on returning to the radio show and to get back to another manuscript (topic: biodynamic gardening), which is in rough draft format at the moment. I expect these new projects, and maintaining current ones, will likely eat up the next few years.
Q: What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging/writing business?
I network through my blog, my radio show, through forums and social networking sites. When I say, “network” - I really mean that I create strong relationships, ones that I return to again and again. I take the time to think about what I can do for them, how I can support them, what I can offer them… if I hear of a resource, opportunity or individual that I feel could help them, I’ll pass that on to them. It is not just about making connections for today, but for the life of my career.
Q: How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog? Many people struggle with coming up with different articles/posts and they only have one blog.
Ah, yes. Creating blog content and keeping organized - knowing what is going to be published for the near future is a constant task. I often receive submissions in the form of articles, announcements, resources, or queries for interviews – these all make for wonderful content. I use my own previously published articles, once they are at least 6 months old or older – to avoid conflict with publications that used them. I use excerpts from my books as well. Visiting free filler content sites like EzineArticles.com, ArticleDashboard.com, etc. is useful as well. Even though my blog has new content published every day, I have more content then I can use but I keep it on file and work my way through it as space allows. If I read something or find a resource I just make a note of it for the future. I try to balance the content so that I’m not promoting my work too much, but I do put out media event announcements and plug our books only once or twice a month. I also do product reviews, but limit that to no more than once a week.
Q: What is your strategy with your blog in general?
The Brummet’s Conscious Blog is yet another way for us to leave a positive legacy, support others and promote our own work. The main theme of the blog is to offer tips, interviews and resources to inspire hope in individuals; helping them realize the value of their efforts, encouraging them to become more positive, proactive in life
Q: Any specific tips you have for newbie bloggers who want to make it in the blogosphere?
Yes – how much time do you have? (She laughs) Actually the best tip I have is to simply decide, as your last question referred to, the strategy behind your blog. Define your reader – how old they are, what they are interested in, why they would want to visit your blog, what you can offer them, how you can serve them best… that kind of thing. You’ll want to determine how much time you can allot to your blog and stick with that – don’t commit to publishing twice a day and then find out it is too much, figure out what works with your schedule and remember that part of the time managing a blog is responding to comments, marketing posts, and networking. And finally – determine why you are writing the blog, knowing the purpose of the blog will help you determine what you are going to do; if your purpose is to drive traffic to your website your strategy will be different than selling a product, or creating new contacts.
Q: What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?
Content – you can manipulate SEO and obtain traffic or attract readers once you have figured out the content. Your content is like a resume – it represents you and your business and your future image as well.
Q: What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
Respect – respect the fact that of all the things they can do online, they’ve decided to spend some time with you. So make them feel welcome and give them reasons to keep coming back. Let them know they are appreciated and encourage them to share posts that they’ve enjoyed.
Q: A lot of people are interested in blogging/writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging/writing? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
You have to really work at the craft of writing, but then you have to have a strong networking system with your contacts and marketing system in place AND you have to have a strong social networking system. With these three legs you become more balanced and are more likely to attract income streams. You need to show your contacts these legs and invite them to become part of the systems you have in place. Know your numbers (analytics, klout score, etc.) and be ready with those stats when advertisers come knocking. Have advertising space allotted and priced out at different levels for differing budgets. Market, promote and market some more… and don’t be afraid to try a variety of revenue streams.
Q: What motivates you most in life?
I need to feel that I am making a difference, that I am leaving a positive legacy, that my life or my words bring insight and meaning to others – human or other life forms. It is a driving force behind everything I do.
Q: What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
I don’t let an opportunity pass by – if there is a chance to obtain more traffic our way I’m definitely willing to try it out. I’m open to trying new things, but find also that repeated exposure in previous venues reminds their audiences to check us out.
Q: What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?
Time management is always a brutal balance, choosing priorities of the day and setting aside others that you’d love to do but can’t due to schedule constraints. One person can’t do everything, so it is important to make a note of things you want to follow up on later and just do what you can today, what is most important today first – worry about the other stuff later.
Q: Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?
I’m not sure that I have a favorite or least favorite post – I’m very careful about what I put out there and wouldn’t publish something I couldn’t get 100% behind. It is the same with my books, while each book has a special interest or focus I believe strongly in each of the messages and cannot pick a favorite – each of them has a unique but equally special piece of my heart.
Q: Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
Bloggers that are very technologically savvy are definitely enviable. I do what I can to maintain the blog and keep it fresh, but some people really do amazing things because they know more about the technological side of this craft. This is something I aspire to; to rise up to the challenge of learning what they know and do so well.
Q: What is the story behind the name of the blog?
Brummet’s Conscious Blog – partially named to connect it to the radio show, Conscious Discussions Radio show, and partially named to connect to us and our website. The “conscious “part comes from the concept that we are aware that we have an impact with every moment of every day, but becoming conscious about momentary impacts and the proactive participation to make each moment count as a chance to make the world a better place.
Q: Your connection with any Blogger Network like Indi blogger or Writeupcafe or any other and the experience?
Yes I am on a few blog-specific networks including PureBlogger and BloggerLinkUp, and radio host newsletters and networks. I’m also on more than a dozen social networking sites from Wiser to YourBookLaunch, Klout, SkillPages to Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, FriendFeed, MySpace, Pinterest, RedRoom, ReverbNation, SelfGrowth, Shelfari, Flicker, FourSquare… etc.
Q: Five adjectives that describe you.
Organized, conscious, compassionate, sensitive, and tenacious.
Q: What book would you say has made the biggest impact good or bad on you?
Oh gosh – how can I pick just one? Of non-fiction these come to mind immediately: Napoleon Hill’s Law of Success, Second Innocence by John Izzo, Dale Carnegie’s Win Friends Influence People and Great Peace Makers by Ken Beller and Heather Chase.
Q: Do you get easily provoked by positive/negative comments??
I’d consider myself a sensitive – easily absorbing other people’s energy. It is the main reason why I don’t watch or read news programs/papers and protect my mind by filling it with positive information about issues our world faces as opposed to the doom, gloom, destruction, conspiracy or violence end of things. If I didn’t protect myself from that energy I’d quickly feel overwhelmed and get stuck in apathy like a deer in the headlights, feeling useless, helpless, and unable to change things… but that is not the truth. The truth is that each person can create positive change and collectively we have made great strides in making the world a better place. I’m conscious about reading and screening comments on the blog or radio show websites and respond to most of them even if they are on the negative side. Sometimes a person might have a bad day and they took something they heard or read wrong, or perhaps they felt I should have covered another aspect of the issue… so I try to respond diplomatically and explain where I was coming from, always thanking them for their comment.
Q: Are you a judgmental person, do you prefer to take sides instead of standing neutral?
I think we all struggle with judging, we often expect others and especially ourselves to somehow reach up to our highest expectations and sadly our expectations are not usually realistic. As writers we are our own worst critics and it is hard to be vulnerable enough to allow the work to be released and critiqued by others. Sometimes though it is well received and that gives us hope for the future, of what we may become capable of.
Q: Your collaboration with other bloggers, are you much into social networking, tell us everything about it?
Yes, I network with bloggers, radio hosts and writers regularly. I’m also, as I mentioned earlier, on several social networking sites. I have strong networking relationships with those involved in the industries I just mentioned, people behind the scenes like publicity specialists and agents, publishers and editors, etc.
Q: What genre attracts you the most and which genre you avoid?
As a writer, I enjoy poetry and non-fiction the most; as a reader I tend to lean more toward non-fiction adventure, fantasy, intrigue and mystery. But I’ll read almost anything really, I do love to learn so I read a lot of non-fiction – and as a writer I do like to dabble in short story writing. So I guess the answer is: a bit of everything except politics, romance, erotica, hate and racism genres.
Q: Your views on contests and winning awards?
Initially, upon entering the world of writing I felt that contests was a way for me to test the waters – to dip my toe into the river so to speak. They helped me determine what readers liked, deadline and lead-time and also face critics who may or may not get what I was divulging. When you win a few contests and you get a few kind words it gives one the courage to branch out further. Now though I don’t enter contests, I don’t do these because I already have built some name recognition and have some level of confidence in my writing – I’d rather focus on marketing, networking and writing. Winning awards can be very helpful in gaining expert status – when I received awards from the premier of BC, the Recycling Council of BC, Brilliant Earth and other organizations, all of a sudden I got more attention from the media and from readers because I appeared or had the image now of being an expert in zero waste initiatives. So it does make a difference, but does it really inspire people to buy your work more so than they would have before? I’m not sure.