For my participation in DC Ladies’ Blogtober Event, I’m sharing some things I’m thankful for. Besides, it’s good to sit down and reflect on certain things that have happened to you and why. There’s nothing like eye opening insight, folks!
Another year of living beyond mere existence.
Loved ones – not because they’re family, but because they actually care about me. The love is not out of family obligation. Hallelujah for that type of love.
Improved ability to express myself
Crappy co-workers – they really teach you how to build character.
New friends – networking rocks!
“Mah boo” – thanks for being so understanding!
Twitter – it must be a cold day in hell…that’s all I can say.
The past several months of engaging in blogging have been quite interesting. I’ve learned an extreme amount of useful information and developed some great connections. One of the things I’ve learned is the concept of paying it forward; helping others along the way as I was helped in the beginning. So without further delay, here are 5 important steps every new blogger needs to know (shout out to DC Ladies who are hosting Blogtober this month!):
Get acquainted with social media asap
If you already know your way around the twitters and facebooks, you should be good to go. If you aren’t get knowledgeable as soon as possible. You don’t need an account for every website out there, but you should find the outlets that work best for you, your niche and your audience. Some of the solid ones to start out with are Linkedin, Facebook and Google+ ( depending on your niche others such as Instagram and Tumbler may be more appropriate; i.e. photo blogs). They are filled with endless types of communities that can be a stepping stone to building your audience. You’ll also find folks that are willing to share a plethora of knowledge on building a website and becoming an effective blogger.
Find your audience = finding your voice
There’s no point in logging onto your website every day to write posts if you don’t know who you’re writing to. Why did you decide to start a blog? Who do you want to reach? These are just a couple of questions you need to ask yourself when starting out. From there, it will be easier to build and make the right connections. Once you identify your audience, it becomes much easier to develop topics and posts that will gain interest. It may be kind of slow at first, but consistency and persistence will definitely pay off. As your audience is defined, your voice will continue to develop for the better. As this is happening, you’re not just gaining an audience, but you’re building a solid relationship with them, which is important in the blogging world. You’re not only building your voice from posting, but from interacting with audience as well. Answer their comments; start discussions with them – this will help you develop your vision and voice as a blogger.
Familiarize yourself with SEO knowledge, but don’t obsess over it.
As a new blogger, you’ll come across overwhelming amounts of information – especially SEO tips and tricks. While this is helpful, knowing the basics should suffice for your blog. If you get too into it, you’ll spend an endless amount of hours reading site after site about SEO tips when you could be using that time to develop your blog. You won’t be able to obtain that much information overnight. It comes with time and experience. Google AdWords is an excellent place to start to find keywords to use in your writing. This is especially effective once your audience has been defined.
Hook up with writers who aren’t afraid to share information.
Yes, there are writers and bloggers out there who are willing to lend a helping hand. Twitter is a great way to hook up with blogging communities. If you need additional help starting out, check out writing sites like HubPages, Problogger and Facebook. These sites are filled with blogger and writing communities that will provide tips to get started as a great blogger. The ones who have been around for a minute obviously know what they’re talking about! Here are a couple I would suggest:
If you’re serious about blogging and becoming a good writer, these sites provide excellent information and folks aren’t hesitant to share what works.
Don’t overlook original networking – face to face
This is one step that continues to help me again and again. The best relationships are made face to face, in my opinion. In today’s world of internet interaction, physical interaction is not as popular, but it’s very effective. One of the best decisions I made as a young blogger is join a networking group. Taking this step is extremely beneficial; you’ll be surprised at how many people have the same drive and vision as you. They’re also willing to share their experience and information with you which is great advice. You’ll find people who need guest bloggers – which is another great way to build your blog, you’ll also find people who will direct you to avenues that can make you money and so on. The opportunities that stem from networking are endless.
Are you new to blogging? How has your experience been so far?
Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works. – Virginia Woolfe
After reading tons of blog posts and articles, one has to step away from all of that and check out the writer in the mirror sometimes. “What is my purpose”? “Why am I here”? Those questions tend to come to mind time to time and lately, there’s been a real pressing to answer those questions.
An answer has finally been reached
But it didn’t come easily….. some serious searching and acceptance of a few things took place; one being the love and gift I have of writing. I’m not putting myself on a pedestal by saying that. Anyone can write if you ask me. But the point of me making such a statement is because writing is something that’s been embraced for years. It’s served as an avenue of escape and refuge. It’s earned adoration from friends, teachers and families alike. But there is more to it than that. A lot more.
What’s the purpose?
Any gift or talent we have is for a reason. It’s not for us to sit on our whole lives and not share in some type of way, no matter how unique it may be. In fact, it’s that uniqueness that makes it necessary to share, believe it or not. Writing has so many purposes intertwined and my own writing is no exception. This writer has a story to tell. A story with a specified purposes that will help others and let them know they can be set free. As a writer with a story to tell, a responsibility lies within that continues to grow more and more everyday. It has come to the point where it can no longer be contained or stay quiet.
The story involves pain, reality and reflecting. It speaks of a journey that many can relate to but choose not to speak about for one reason for another. Through the channel of literature, this writer will describe this journey and give readers insight, awareness and even hope.
It wasn’t easy for the writer to get to this point, especially since the intent is not to get huge Twitter followers or make money. It was about a need to release; a need to put this story together and share with anyone who will listen. This writer is used to dealing with things and moving on to the next – not telling a story. So there are feelings of excitement, anxiety, fear and curiosity because this is something the writer has no control over. She’s just letting things take their course, which is one of the hardest things she’s ever done…letting go.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Daily Post. I came across it today and couldn’t resist! So if I had to come up with one question that would determine whether or not I would let someone be my friend, what would it be?
After going through some of life’s hard knocks, one learns a lot at some point and they also are fed up and put up boundaries. Not out of spite, but because they know their worth. The question I would pose is this:
Would you take advantage of one’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities, or would you pounce on it to make you feel better about yourself?
I’m not sure how old the readers of this post are, but at some point in life you reach a place where enough is enough and you have to draw the line. It’s like second nature for most people to take advantage of someone when they don’t know any better or don’t have certain strengths. They jump on the opportunity to make someone feel even worse about a vulnerability they have just to make themselves feel better. It’s like those fights your classmates used to have on the playground where one person got beat up. When that happened they would run home and get their “reinforcers” to come and take care of the situation. Don’t treat people in such a crappy way because when they come to realization about themselves, they come back with reinforcement and you will NEVER treat them that way again!
This is not just in friendships, it’s every where in life, including the type of job you decide to take and what writing assignments you decide to accept (yes, I had to make a writing reference – I’m a freelance writer for crying out loud!).
So if you’re finding yourself saying “no” more or having an answer for someone who comes at you the wrong way, there’s nothing bitchy about it. You’re growing and you’re learning your self-worth.
And most of all – ask questions! Ain’t nothing wrong with that!
Today’s food for thought comes from another African proverb:
“He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it”
This simple saying speaks volumes. I hope it speaks something to you and your life as you read this post. Life can definitely serve some curve balls; and for some, it just started out on a bad foot. But it doesn’t have to continue that way. This saying reminds me of the story of King David. Before he was crowned King of Israel, he knew he would hold the title, but circumstances at the time were the complete opposite. King Saul, his predecessor was in complete denial about losing his position and gave David hell about succeeding him. It got to the point where David had to seek refuge in the fields and hide for a while because Saul was after his life. It was one incident after another – enough to discourage anyone from pursuing what was theirs. But David never relented. In fact, he didn’t really make a big fuss about it because he knew the position was his, so there was no reason to put up a fight with Saul for it. When the time came, he was appointed to his new office and was able to claim his title as king.
Simple, but not so simple.
A certain fixation of the heart and mindset has to be in place in order to have this type of approach to adversary. I personally feel we are all destined for power, but life, family history and other circumstances have clouded that vision and realization. There are certain things in my life that I’m looking forward to. They’re not happening at the moment, but I know for a fact that they will. Why? Because I have to ability to see it that way because I’ve ingrained it in my mind. Of course, reaching this point didn’t happen overnight, and there’s still work to be done in building up my mind and faith. Every little positive thought and prayer makes a difference. For instance, I decided a few months ago to use my writing as a platform of expression and excellent income. It’s going to get to the point where I will watch the income roll in without lifting a finger at times. Am I there at the moment? Nope, but I know that my business will get to that point. I have a plan. I have a strategy and I have the will power to push because I know what I want. But at the same time I don’t go around throwing it in people’s faces to prove a point. I just know it will happen and I will be in a place of comfort and establishment.
And what exactly is power? Let’s visit that for a second because power tends to be associated with the wrong concepts like position and being able to control people. I’m not talking in that perspective at all. I’m talking about real power.
Power is stillness. Power is that quiet strength one has to control themselves, not others. Because of that type of control, they have a positive influence on others and are able to make serious moves. If one can inspire others in a positive way, I consider that power. Not because of the effect they have on people, but because of the quality they carry within themselves.
I’m going to end this with another quote in conjunction to today’s food for thought. Are you in a rut or at an all-time low? Is your business not where you want it to be? Read this quote, say it to yourself, then take a step further and look into the mirror and say it out loud to yourself:
“At any given moment, you have the power to say, ‘this is not how my story will end’ “.
I really do. My friend and I recently embarked on a new eating adventure in an attempt to eat healthier and drop some pounds. We came up with a list of foods to stay away from and read up on foods that would provide healthier options for us. We’re setting goals and making changes one step at a time. In those changes, we’re struggling to let go of pleasurable foods – especially those that satisfy our sweet tooth! But because we set a goal, certain things MUST be sacrificed.
During this “cleansing” journey, we’ve both already made some pitfalls along the way. I have a tendency to really beat myself up when I fall short or don’t stick to what I had planned, not so much with my friend. They simply said we can keep going and just modify more as we go along – no stress because of setbacks. I thought to myself, hmmm…they have a point!
So there are a couple of things I’m taking from this experience. One, if you want something to improve, there are some steps you’ll have to take that won’t be the most fun. This is where self-discipline kicks in. As I mentioned earlier, I hate apples, but I will eat them because they are good for me and I want to be in a healthier state physically. Will I eat them on the regular? Heck no, but I will do my best to incorporate them in my eating habits by substituting them in place of sweets that are not so good for me. I know what I want and will do what needs to be done to get it.
The other point I would like to make is allowing oneself to operate in their human nature. It’s okay to mess up. Mistakes and bad choices will be made, but that doesn’t mean the journey has to stop.
A quick quote:
“If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford
On the job experience
I recently had a rough day on the new job. It seemed like everything I was doing was wrong and kept getting kicked back. It made me feel awful, but it didn’t stop me from asking for help and finding out what I needed to do to improve my work. Once I approached the boss about it, they didn’t hesitate to offer me insight and guidance. They were once in my shoes and made the same mistakes I did and told me I shouldn’t feel bad, just learn from them. Now I have the tools to help me prepare my work with better quality so that it doesn’t get kicked back. I also learned to dig deeper within myself to be more keen and attentive to what I’m doing.
So from apples to heart to heart conversations with bosses, it all boils down to self-discipline and perseverance. Don’t burn yourself out trying to outdo yourself or others, and keep going despite the setbacks you may have. These life lessons are definitely being applied to my writing journey as well. While some doors have opened for me, I’m still not where I would like to be as far as platform and exposure goes. Does this make me want to throw in the towel? Not really, but some days are definitely more encouraging than others. Nonetheless, I decide to keep moving forward.
With that being said, I hope you too decide to let your mistakes teach you instead of bring you down. As a writer, fashion blogger, chef or whatever it is you decide to do, learn from your human nature and make the most of it.
Have you practiced self accountability? If not, what’s the hold up?
I probably should’ve named this post: To Whom Much is Given Much is Expected….oh well.
The past few weeks have been extremely busy for me in a good way. As some of you know, I recently started a new job and it’s been great. There’s the orientation, adjusting, adapting and of course learning. A lot of information is thrown at you and you must catch it and keep up (I think I’ve done fairly well in that area, thank you 🙂 ).
A New Sense of Purpose
A significant part of the reason why the transition has been successful is because there’s been a new need or fresh sense of purpose. I’ve had to redefine my career in a good way and it has caused me to exercise mental muscles I haven’t used in a long time. It’s important to sit and redefine things every now and then. It helps refocus on the goal at hand. Because I’m in a new position I was kind of forced to sit down and redefine the direction of my goals and career.
Letting Go of the Old
The mindset and attitude definitely have to be looked at during this process. It’s so easy to carry concepts from an old situation and carry it into a new one. Most of the time, this can be a hindrance. The past couple of weeks have been a complete culture shock for me; as I learn my new duties and expectations, I compare them to what I did before. In the past, there was continous strain and dealing with way more than I was supposed to deal with. It’s the complete opposite with the new setting and it’s taking me a minute to get used to that. I’ve been told three times already “no, you don’t have to that here” or “no, you won’t have to worry about that – it will be done for you”. Wow! I’m really working on reprogramming my mind so that I won’t over exert myself for no reason; I had gotten so used to doing other jobs and duties outside of my own that I’d come to see it as normal. It wasn’t. Now I had to refocus on my actual position and zone in on that vs. mastering other positions. I have to admit, it’s been a challenge for me, but I know I’ll be fine.
Strap on those Boots and Get to Work
Not just in a physical sense, but mentally to have the right frame of mind to be productive. When something you’ve been wanting finally happens for you, it’s vital that you’re prepared to handle it properly. If it’s something along the lines of a promotion, be prepared to have more demanded of you and be sure to deliver. If the opportunity comes for you to be in charge while the boss is away, be sure to put your best foot forward. Don’t just gloat in the the so-called limelight of being in charge for a day (that’s just ridiculous) put forth effort in every task. I was recently placed in this position and had to sweat in order to meet certain demands on time. It wasn’t perfect, but the effort was definitely noticed and acknowledged.
I attended the 2014 Annual Book Festival in Washington DC this weekend. It was a great experience of course. I attended years ago, so this was the first time in a while I attended such an event since I decided to get into writing. The event was rich resources, from teaching material to author meet and greets.
The Book Festival is hosted by the Library of Congress every year. This year it was held in the Washington Convention Center downtown. It offered a unique collection of poets, photographers, chefs, authors and writers for people to meet and greet. There were also informational sessions and poetry performances. It was a very resourceful even for me as a newbie in the writer’s realm. Politics and Prose, a local DC bookstore and café was hand to sell books from the festival; many of which the author was available to autograph if requested. I stacked up on my book collection since I’ve started reading again and even got to meet a couple of authors. Each state was highlighted in its literary contributions through the Pavilions of the States feature. There was a booth set up for each state and contained information literary contributions throughout history from the state and really drew a lot of attention for the kids. There was also a lot of good teaching educational material at hand.
If I remember correctly, in years past, the festival carried over into 2 days and it was held outdoors. This year it was indoors for whatever reason. It made it a lot more difficult to get around as there was a huge section for children’s books, so a lot of parents were running around with their young children. They also decided to hold the extra poetry sessions and performances on the same day instead of doing them the following day. The hours were from 10 am to 10pm, so it was difficult to wait around for so many hours since a lot of the poetry sessions weren’t until the evening. But I walked away content with the information I obtained. I definitely look forward to next year’s festival.
I’ve learned a lot since beginning this writing journey. I’ve met some great writers who don’t hesitate to help and I’ve even fallen in love with reading again. With that being said, my reader attention has been heightened, taking more notice of words everywhere I go…they resonate with me in a fresh new way. Without further ado, here are 5 quotes I’ve heard over the course of my life that have changed me in more ways than one:
“The head is a beautiful mechanism; use it, but don’t be used by it.” – Osho, philosopher
When it comes to writing, the mind couldn’t serve as a better tool. That’s where thoughts, ideas and wonderful stories are birthed. But I’ve learned of the strong connection the mind has with the heart. It’s important to have a balance between these two components because on their own, both can get carried away. It’s good to have an imagination, but we have to be grounded at the same time in respect to reality.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” The Bible
This scripture has done a complete change in me not just as a writer, but as a person. Trust me; I am NOT speaking from a religious standpoint, but rather a practical one. So many people spend time trying to be like someone else and don’t take the time to discover who they are. It wasn’t until I was ready to do some self-reflection that this scripture came to life for me. Many things in the mind need to be attacked and uprooted because they’re the cause of many setbacks and sad stories. Changing the way you think will open so many doors for you and reveal the path to your destiny. Okay, I don’t mean to sound like some mythical speaker, but it’s true. J
“If you think the grass is greener on the other side, water your own grass!” –unknown
I read this somewhere, and cracked up laughing – but I don’t remember where I read it! If nothing else has motivated me to work on my craft more, it’s definitely this lovely quote. I don’t know who said it, but it makes perfect sense to me. There’s nothing wrong with admiring other people’s work, but being able to circle back around and use what you’ve observed for your own improvement is the whole point. Besides, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side although it may seem that way.
“Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw
Believe it or not, this quote inspired me to begin my writing journey. So many things in other areas of my life have blossomed besides my writing. Once I heard my sister say it to me over the phone one day, it set things in motion for me. I was not going to sit around anymore. Whatever I was dissatisfied with in my life was about to get dealt with. I started cultivating; tending to things I wanted to see happen, and boy, have they started happening! At the same time, I’ve learned that there are questions that won’t ever be answered and things that are beyond my control. So I just work on what I can….I create! Such a perfect tie into writing! There are a few outlets in this world that allow such a powerful event to take place.
“Anything that’s too easy is not good for you.” – My ninth grade Earth Science teacher
Don’t asked me what I learned in Earth Science, because I’d be lying if I told you. That darn class was at 2 in the afternoon and I just remember being spent and ready to go home. Plus her classroom was always hot! That just made it even more difficult for my brain to process any information during that time of day.
But I digress.
During class one day we were having an off-topic classroom discussion about life in general. She decided to through some words of wisdom our way and they definitely stuck with me. I’ve come to understand how I must work hard. When I do, not only is it rewarding, but I know that no one can my my way and discredit me or tamper with what I have. Especially since my reward wasn’t handed to me; I worked hard for it and deserve the benefits I’m reaping from it.
Do you have an empowering quote that changed your life? I’d like to hear about it!
Fear used to cripple me. The fact that I was extremely shy growing up didn’t help much either. But as we all know, life has a way of kicking you in the butt and teaching you a thing or two. Like a cornered animal, I started fighting back after a while. I got tired of missing out on special moments, not being able to tell someone about themselves or having the freedom to express what I really feel. Like I posted earlier, I could thank life or good people for helping me, but nothing has helped me more than fear itself. Little by little I turned that sucker around and used it to motivate me. Before I knew it, I’ve been able to establish good relationships, face oppressors and take on a new career as a freelancer. The good part is, I’m just getting started! 🙂
Yes, I missed out on things, but I don’t have any regrets. I’ve learned a lot and I still have time to deal with fear appropriately.
Fear is a natural emotion. There is nothing taboo or awkward about it. It happens, but it doesn’t stay. At least you shouldn’t let it stay. Use the hell out of it. After all, it’s part of our survival skills since the beginning of time. Fear has saved us from doing some stupid things anyway, so take that to your advantage. Fear is a friend not a foe!