At some point, every blogger, editor, author and novelist should ask themselves this question. For those who are more advanced in the writing realm, their work may speak for itself. But for those starting out (such as me) it might be helpful to see how your writing can be defined. The world of writers has grown immensely over the past few years. Thanks to the avenue of blogging, many aspiring writers have used it as a platform to express their ideas, passions and talents. According to WordPress.com, thousands upon thousands of new sites are created each day its site alone, not to mention the millions of posts that are produced worldwide. Oh and that 44.5 million posts by WordPress users to be exact. It’s safe to assume not everyone posting is being original. They probably figured it would be easier to copy someone’s way of writing to get more traffic or just post for the sake of blogging. So where (or how) do you stand out? What type of voice are you using? Some writers write from an advice perspective, whether it’s on life issues or on writing itself. Some use blogging as a journal of themselves and have established pretty decent audiences. At the end of the day they have a unique voice that causes them to stand out. It’s great to visit other blogs and become familiar with people’s way of writing; it definitely helps you for your own building purposes. But going through the changes, making new decision and knowing your own train of thought is what forms your craft and unique style. I’m learning it’s not an overnight journey, but I am well on my way.
Thank you Jewel and thank you Lifetime Movie Network. Before I rant on let me just say that I generally like all types of music, but I’ve never really taken to country music. The last time I heard a catchy country song was Kenny Roger’s The Gambler.
I was still in elementary school when everyone was singing that song.
Nothing against any kind of music genre, I was just a bit thrown off as I was flipping through tv channels one day and decided to watch the Ring of Fire movie on Lifetime which highlights the life and career of June Carter Cash. It was a good movie, so of course that scene where they’re singing the 1963 hit, Ring of Fire just resonated with me. The lyrics, tune and beat are on point. Again, I usually don’t listen to this type of music so I looked around my living room to make sure no one was watching me jam to the song. After sharing this, I might as well go ahead and download on my iPod. 🙂
So there’s my response to today’s Daily Prompt; as soon as I saw the title the song is the first thing that came to my mind.
“…and it burns, burns, burns,…the ring of fire…”
But wait a minute, didn’t Reese Witherspoon do the same movie with Joequin Phoenix? Or was he in the movie with Jewel? Maybe the Reese Witherspoon version is the one that had the sentimental Ring of Fire scene….
Okay, now I’m confused.
My recent decision to start blogging has definitely come with its challenges. But it’s a decision I’m completely comfortable with since it took me forever to think things through and do it. As I mentioned earlier, blogging is not a full-time activity for me. I have a full time job and it takes up a lot of my time. By the time I want to sit down and put in some work to my websites, I’m too drained to do it – physically and mentally. The past couple of months have been so overwhelming as I research the blogosphere, the do’s and don’ts and what I can do to improve my style. The plethora of information can be confusing if one is not careful. You’re advised to find a core audience, open accounts with every social media outlet in existence, master this app, subscribe to this mailing list, it’s so much. One day I had to buckle down and come up with a way to keep my interest in writing online while maintaining my personal activities.
Honestly, I’ve always been horrible at time management. I procrastinate a lot, so when things pile up I usually don’t perform until the pressure’s on. I know, bad habit. But there are a couple of things I’ve taken on that has helped me manage blogging and my full time job effectively. Everyone has their own system, so if you’re building your own maybe these tips will help:
- Invest in a good notebook/writing pad – take it with you everywhere you go. If you’re a daily commuter like me, you can use your time on the train or bus to jot down any thoughts that come to mind and not have to worry about forgetting them. This has helped me a lot.
- Blogging doesn’t have to be an everyday thing; set one day aside if need be – before I started blogging, I would read through my favorite blogs and be amazed at how much information writers were able to put out on a daily basis. How did they do that? Well, one of the tricks I learned was they don’t write everyday. One blogger told me she sets one day out of the week to write up all of her content, then schedule them to be published throughout the week. Who knew? I sure didn’t!
3. Don’t force anything, the inspiration will come – don’t sit at your desk beating your brain on what to write about next. Just do what you normally do during work hours (whether or not you’re actually working is between you and your cubicle J). The time you spend stressing on coming up with a hot topic for your blog will just pile up more things for you. Remember, there’s a time and place for everything. Once you get a flow the ideas will come one after the other. Keep that notepad handy!
4. Cover yourself: not exactly a time management issue, but an essential as a new blogger. Check with your ethics department at the job to make sure there will be no conflict between your writing and what your employer represents. This is something you may want to consider no more how laid back or sensitive your job may be. That way you won’t have to worry about misrepresenting your employer or yourself. Be sure to get something in writing that will cover your employer not having any problems with you being a blogger.
I’m still learning as I go along, so this list will change or improve. Where are you with your blogging experience? Are you just starting out or are you seasoned in your writing? What tips can you share to help the newcomers?
I recently read a great post about cross-country traveling that gave insight on the beauty of the United States. It’s true – if you’re not too excited about flying from continent to continent, you can get a lot of scenic indulgence in the U.S. There’s a lot to see and a lot to be inspired from. I had my own experience with cross-country when I relocated from New Mexico to Maryland. A friend of mine accompanied me at the time (I was nervous about driving by myself). I remember driving through Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Each state had its own “feel” to it. Their own sights and sounds.
I kick myself now for not doing a better job at keeping a journal because there were so many inspiring scenes to write about. Not even the tourists’ sights, just the windy roadways, the valleys and hills of Pennsylvania, and the run down streets of St. Louis. Other sights were just plain and scary. Completely abandoned gas stations that reminded me of scenes from horror stories, and stretches of roads so plain and quiet the only action they had was tumbleweed blowing across them. When it wasn’t my turn to drive, I could’ve busied myself with pen and paper. Instead, I opted to take a nap. Oh well. I know there will be many other opportunities and sources of inspirations to use in my writing journey. One day I would love to drive from coast to coast and write about the folks I meet, the scenes I witness and the overall experience of a journey.
Have you taken a road trip? What was your experience like?
There were times that hurt, times that caused pain.
I thought to myself “ugh”, I’m walking away with nothing to gain.
Broken heart and a mind filled with fear.
Starting to feel like I need to get away from here.
But after a while time does heal.
The pain the agony I no longer feel
I look back and laugh
I know there is hope, things to look forward to
Not all my days are so gloomy and blue
I know for a fact what the future holds.
They ask how do you know? Well, I’ve become that bold.
The thoughts emotions and vision become one
Looking back? No!
There’s more laughter to come.
Every year the statistics come out – the healthiest cities in the U.S. or around the world, or the best workout states in America. Well I don’t think they’re doing this assessment properly. Or maybe I should say they need to find better ways of exploring and sharing health information. The “top 10 healthiest places to live” always consist of those ritzy coastal cities that consist of folks with high paying jobs who can afford to get massages every other day. Well I live on the east coast (yes, my city has been listed in the top 10) and those surveys give me no insight as to what fitness has done for my area. It’s being overlooked! For instance, in Maryland, there are many cities right outside of DC that are considered to be healthy places such as Bethesda, Silver Spring, Potomac – pretty much anywhere in Montgomery County. But Maryland is a huge state with other counties, where is the information for these other places? Prince Georges County is another popular area in terms of diversity and activity near the DC area. Yes, I know Prince Georges County is notorious for all the wrong reasons such as crime and poverty. It’s been that way for years. But over the past decade, there have been significant changes in the county that are not being highlighted enough. These changes have been for the better and continue to occur with no one saying anything about it.
Being a native of Maryland I grew up seeing a good variety of diversity and perspective towards health. But carry-outs and a good share of crime were prevalent in the area I lived in. With the exception of recreational centers, there were no gyms or real places to buy healthy food. For the most part, health and fitness was not a concern of anyone. People just did what they wanted to do as all the negative statistics continued to rise in disease, poverty and crime. When I go back and visit these places as an adult, I barely recognize the neighborhoods. Not only have they changed for the better in physical appearance, people have taken on new attitudes towards their health. For the first time, I’m seeing the locals being serious about going to the gym, taking strolls around the neighborhood, and supporting local health food establishments (apart from the numerous colon cleanse products!). For example, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is 4 miles distance both ways. People flock to walk this bridge every weekend. Kids, moms, entire families take to running/walking the 4 miles. Some of them go for seconds or thirds without missing a beat. It’s a big deal because it wasn’t like that before. Before they reconstructed the bridge, there were numerous parks all around the area, but they were mostly used for barbequing and hanging out. Now the parks and the bridge are being taken seriously as a way to work out. Another observation that floored me was gym membership. One of the recreational centers in Fort Washington recently opened offering a vast variety of fitness classes, rock climbing and swim lessons. At the beginning of the year the place was packed – from the machines to the studios. Months later into the year the place is still packed, unlike the regular decline shortly after the new year that we’re used to seeing. People of the county are dedicated and serious about their health.
So where’s the coverage? Especially since Prince Georges is always in a negative light. There is some positivity going on that needs to be highlighted; there’s development on the horizon that pertains to economic development, increase of real estate and an interest in fitness. It’s good to encourage the positive in people as they strive to make a difference in their lives. This type of positive attitude can have an overall effect on the area and improve the quality of life for Prince Georges.
What are your thoughts?
A lot of my blogging first started on Hub Pages a couple of months ago. I had an ultimate plan in mind in terms of what I wanted to write and share, and those included my life’s experiences in starting over. There have been significant events in my life over the past couple of years that helped re-shape my mind and perspective on life. One of the biggest steps I took after starting over was buy a new home. At the time it didn’t seem feasible, it was a little over the top and buying the home didn’t provide much outlook into the future for me. Sure I had a steady job, but I didn’t know how I would fare as a homeowner as time went on. Again, me dealing with fear of the unknown.
When I first thought about buying a home, I was bored. I was doing my day to day job, paying my bills and being a law-abiding citizen. I wanted to do something that involved me investing in my future, something that I could call my own. When I would go for my daily jobs in the evening, I would admire the beautiful houses in my neighborhood and wonder what it would be like to live in one of them. That’s when the idea was planted in my thoughts and wouldn’t leave me alone. I started writing down plans, budgets and avenues I could take towards buying a house. I pulled my credit report, started researching and developed a time frame as to when I would like to be in my new home. The journey was incredible. It was filled with excited twists, setbacks, disappointments and endless changes. Although I had an original plan in place, things definitely changed along the way. There was an ideal location, design of the house, and budget ideas – all in place. Those things changed and evolved as the journey went along up to the day I settled on my house of choice. There were a few homes I loved so much and wanted, but couldn’t get because another offer was accepted over mine. When a seller finally accepted my offer, I was ready to move in the next day, but there were still more twists and turns to go thru before finally getting those keys.
At the end of the day, I’m glad of the choice I made and I’m reaping the benefits of owning my home. No, things did not go as planned to the t, but at the end of the day I was satisfied. There’s nothing wrong with planning, just know that things may not always go as planned. If there is peace within and patience, things will work out just fine. There’s a reason why life happens the way it does and we don’t always have the answers.
So why stress ourselves trying to figure everything out? I’m learning that for myself not just in day to day life, but in my journey as a writer. The original plan has been developed, redeveloped, switched, and retraced over and over again. It’s not going to stop anytime soon. The many changes are development and evolvement. It makes the journey that much more interesting and gives me that much more to write about.
So I’ve been blogging for about a month now, and I’m still learning the ropes of the blogosphere. I know there’s a lot more to learn, which is why I decided to enroll in WordPress’s Zero to Hero class. Our first assignment is to write a “who am I and why am I here” type post. I figured since I haven’t formally introduced myself, I’d use this assignment to do so.
Blogging is not my primary line of work, I’m fully employed with a large organization and it consists of writing everyday, from email posts, to letters, correspondences…all the good stuff. But that is not what inspires me to write. Growing up, all I did was read and write. I loved the Nancy Drew series and comic books. I would be away in my room for hours just reading. As I got older, I don’t know what happened, but I really fell off from my writing. My school teachers used to tell me that I should get into journalism because my writing was that good, but instead I pursued the medical field. I didn’t get as far as planned, but I did enjoy my time in public health – I may get back into it. Who knows? My whole point is for years I’ve been doing technical and academic writing that I’ve sort of lost my “personal” voice in writing. That’s one of the reasons why I’m here, to develop my personal voice and connect with people. Exactly how far do I plan on going with it? At this point, I’m not sure. I do know that I want to convey certain messages to folks, such as starting over in life or recreating yourself with a new beginning. I plan on sharing my journey in those areas as a witness that it is possible to make a comeback after delays and mistakes. With that being said I’m trying to develop this voice by running more than one blog at the same time…we’ll just have to see how that goes!
So there you have it, I’m a part time blogger with big dreams and a plan to reach out to folks who’ve decided to take the bold step of starting over. Even if it means cutting old ties, even if it means looking weird to your family…I know it may be difficult, but it is possible.
One of the most challenging things in taking on a new project (or in my case – a passion) is learning how to sacrifice certain pleasures in order to get things done. Since I made my decision to get back into writing, there are a lot of tough decisions I have to make in order to get my writing groove back. On a quick historical note, it’s been years since I’ve tapped into my writing. Growing up, all I did was read and write, but as I got older I really lost touch with it. In order to get back in the swing of things I realize I have to put a lot of bad habits aside and make certain sacrifices. For one, I have to master the art of time management. I hate being on a schedule, but right now it’s necessary in order for me to organize my thoughts and topics that I want to express. Breaking away from tv has never been so difficult – I was never a real tv person until now. It only gets in the way and it doesn’t help my creativity one bit. Perhaps I should just cancel my cable subscription?
Uh, the jury is still out on that!
One thing I can say is that my renewed passion for writing has definitely awakened my desire to read like I used to. It definitely helps feed my creativity and gives me ideas of proper expression. Arguably the most powerful form of communication, writing has gotten me through some tough times. When I was so angry and upset with someone, I couldn’t express myself verbally – it wouldn’t come out the way I wanted it because my thoughts and words were going a mile a minute which equated to a verbal mess. Instead, I would resort to writing everything down – the way I want it to be said. Did the person understand me? Yes. Did I get my point across? Definitely. As I continued to write things down, my ability to express myself verbally improved. I’m guessing it’s because I gave my brain practice to organize thoughts and feelings properly.
So reading, time management, passion and motivation are all at play here. This means new responsibilities, sacrifice (get off the phone and turn the tv off) and challenges are on my to- do list. I’m ready, especially since I’ve enrolled in the Blogging 101 course at the Commons. I’m so excited! I expect to be flowing by the time the course is over!
What motivates you to write? Do you struggle to keep a creative flow? Have you done the Blogging 101 course? I’d love to know – post in the comments, please!
Note: Okay my attempt to just run one blog at my other website is not flowing at the moment. I realize I need to post about my writing journey as well, so I plan on posting thoughts on this site also. We’ll see how it goes!
We’ve all had our upbringings that consist of certain beliefs, traditions, and homages, some stronger than others. For me, once I left my mother’s home for good, I really got to experience life for itself – of course I’m still experiencing. But I’m also finding the world that was constructed/ Ingrained in my mind over the years is slowly being deconstructed. It’s something that has been happening for a while now….much longer than I actually realized. The fact that I don’t “fit in” is becoming more and more prevalent. I’m seeing it in all areas of my life; school, work – everywhere. It’s like the mold is being broken away one piece at a time. My spiritual journey and beliefs have definitely evolved. I grew up in a strict, Christian household going to church every Sunday and carried out all the other notions that come with the typical church goer. These days, don’t ask me if I still go on a regular basis or if I go at all. What happened? Life, that’s what happened.
I plan on expanding on my religious perspectives in a later post. Right now I will just say my take on life has definitely matured over the years because of harsh reality situations (not because of what I had to do every Sunday). I definitely battled with it, the person in me vs. what was programmed in my mind; I tried to keep the principles I was taught as doing a good thing, but after difficulty of trying to belong, it makes me wonder if it was the right thing. So I let it go, after years of trying to stay involved there was simply no chemistry between church and myself. Church just got in the way of God and me. I’ll leave it at that for now.
As for the other areas in my life, I find myself restless at the job. My ideas and concepts constantly battle with the cultural mindset of everyone else. So yeah, some days I just feel like a sore thumb that doesn’t fit in anywhere. It really used to concern me, but not anymore. I just shrug my shoulders at not fitting in with the crowd.
So here I am, using a tool that has always been a comforting outlet for me and I’m glad I chose this path. In fact, that’s the beauty of writing; the starting point can be so scattered and discombobulated but the end product just turns out to be awesome. So I will be scattered some days, others I will be structured while the rest of the days may be a unique combination of both. Who’s to say? That’s the beauty of it. I can’t b defined because I don’t fit in.