The image above is the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Dr. Angelou’s passing. It’s vivid for me because it was the first time I’d ever heard of her and it wasn’t by choice. Not only because of the major news coverage of Clinton’s inauguration, we also had to do a dreaded homework assignment on the poem.
“The poem’s so long!” we whined to our teacher. “What is she talking about?” Besides having to do a writing assignment about On the Pulse of Morning (also known as the Inaugural Poem). I had to get used to the fact that it wasn’t going anywhere. She wasn’t going anywhere either. I had to familiarize myself with this woman and her work anyway. It was like her words followed and faced me at significant stages in my life. Phenomenal Woman spoke to me so vividly at a time when I needed to be lifted up and feel good about myself. When I wanted to express myself properly to my significant other on a special occasion, cards usingher words were always in sync with what was in my heart.
I just wanted to share a quick homage to a woman who’s words resonated with so many people, including myself. She will be missed.
I know I’ve already posted for today, but I came across the Daily Prompt after the fact and just couldn’t resist. 🙂
I love lists, I use them for just about everything, all the time. So when I saw the Daily Prompt’s assignment to make a list of something it made me dig a little deeper. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m trying to develop my personal voice in the world of blogging. So, here it goes!
1. How to show affection.
2. Relationships aren’t only defined by who does favors for you.
3. Hold your own.
4. Emergency funds!
5. It’s not “unchristian” to speak your mind.
6. God is a person, not some wizard or genie in a bottle.
7. Secrets can kill.
8. Cherish good people and their friendship.
9. Let shit go – it’s not that serious.
10. Be real – open your heart and let emotions flow. It’s not a weakness to do so.
I was doing my usual channel flipping the other day and came across one of Oprah’s programs (I can’t remember the title). They were talking about “the here and now” and it basically sent my mind racing. It triggered various thoughts as the the words resonated with me.
I thought “hmmm, I think I get it…”
A lot of the times we worry about what’s going to happen, what we can do about it and how everything is going to play out. Because of worry and fear, we make a lot of bad decisions to gain insight into the unknown. Bad intentions also develop because of this type of fear. A person may work themselves nearly half to death just for the sake of having a safe cushion financially. This is fine but when do they actually take the time to enjoy the fruits of their labor? It’s pretty pointless to keep such a mindset if you never have peace of mind. How about if you’re trying to lose weight? You’re focusing so much on your target weight that you get frustrated in the process and just give up after a while.
The reality is, we can only control what we are doing today. Sure, it’s great to set goals and aspirations, but those are vastly different from trying to form and control the future. From my experience, we can only take one step at a time. Get rid of each bad habit and develop good ones….one day at a time.
Do what can be done TODAY.
This is where the self-discipline war comes into play and a lot of folks fail or just give up. The fact of the matter is you won’t be able to skate your way to anything good no matter how much you pray, how good of sweet talk you may be or how magnificent you are at plotting and scheming. Again, I’m speaking from experience. At some point you need to nurture the drive by strapping on your boots and getting to work. No one can help you with that. Its about what you can do in this moment. Over time, it just may set you up for tomorrow and things will be taken care of.
So what are you going to do? Are you going to stay comfortable in your habits, which include worrying about the future, or are you going to tackle it a day at a time?
As a writer, there are a few things more important than having an opinion. Think about it; those articles or books that grab the most attention and make the most waves are often the result of an author who has a clear opinion of their own. Even if it means going against the mainstream population, they’re ready to express what they think.
In a way, it’s often disturbing how those who’s opinion differ from the masses are often attacked or berated for having a different view from everyone else.
Calm down people. It’s just an opinion.
Express Yourself Truthfully
It’s a waste of time to put effort into writing material that agrees with what everyone else thinks. Where’s the originality and insight? If everyone liked the same thing, life would be pretty pointless. So standing out from everyone else shouldn’t make one dislike what others think. Their perspective is just different and they’re not afraid to express it. Just because the view is different does not make someone a “hater”. When this term is used, it’s often to say that the person is just jealous and carries a different view out of spite. For example, it’s seen all the time in social media when someone has a different opinion about a favorite entertainment artist or passionate topic. Even if your work doesn’t gain a lot of attention, at least be true to yourself with the intention to express your thoughts in accordance with your views and experiences.
The Other Side
As a writer, it is also important to be open-minded to others and their own views. Not everyone will agree with what you write or say. How will you handle the naysayer? What about the nasty comments that may come your way? Something for both you and I to think about in our journey as writers.
Please keep in mind that the moral is to ignite everyone’s emotions and be offensive, it is just wise to stay honest within yourself and the views you choose to express. Whatever the topic or issue may be, having an opinion is not about being hateful.
There’s nothing more annoying than people who just talk about doing something all the time but never get around to doing it. Either they can’t (or won’t) make up their mind or they just want to blow steam…or maybe they just like hearing themselves talk.
Do something already!
On a personal note, I’m currently going through career changes for the better. For almost two years I’ve been dissatisfied with my work situation for different reasons. Simply put, I was not happy and was exploring what options were out there for me. I would vent to friends and co-workers about it, but they would just dismiss it as me whining or complaining. Nonetheless, I took the steps I needed to take to change things. Now that those changes are taking place, I’m moving on in my career and they’re floored and frankly, I don’t understand why. I wasn’t just running my mouth when I expressed what I wanted; I was also working on it. I guess they didn’t connect the two. They got the message now!
My whole point is, if you have a vision action needs to be taken at some point. When I decided to start writing/blogging, it came after a fair amount of debating and thinking. I stalled for a little bit but I eventually jumped on my laptop and got to work. It’s actually been a relief for me now that I’ve finally started writing again.
Have you been debating or struggling to initiate something that you’ve been meaning to work on? Please don’t let the time continue to pass. The moment you start being about it, there will be relief and you will feel good about yourself.
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….
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?