writing

A Year of 30-Day Challenges: Write A Novel

It is Month 4 in the Year of 30-Day Challenges. This month is all about writing as I write a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Month 4: Write a Novel 

I can’t believe that I have finished 3 months of the Year of 30-day challenges. That is one-quarter of the challenges I committed to tackling at the start of this big challenge. I guess you could call it a Challenge of Challenges. The big challenge is to finish the full year and the little challenges are the individual monthly 30-day challenges.

The challenge of month three was to scroll less and read more.

My goal was to put my phone down and pick up a book more often. At the start of this challenge, I found myself in a position of defaulting to scrolling on my phone especially during the evening hours. I didn’t even notice I was doing it most of the time. It was just something I could do when relaxing at the end of the day and it required minimal mental energy.

The problem was that I knew that scrolling on my phone was not serving me well. Oftentimes, I would end up in a worse mood than when I started. I would sometimes fall into the comparison trap or I read some political discussion that got me riled up or I even allowed myself to engage in some debate and that never goes well. 

At first, I thought I would pick a goal number of books to read in October. Because I am a recovering perfectionist I knew setting that kind of standard could go badly.  

So, I simply challenged myself to scroll less and read more.

That’s it. Simple. In the evening, instead of scrolling I challenged myself to read more.

How did it go?

I read two books to completion and started a third one.

When I started the challenge I envisioned having read a lot more than that. But, I still consider this challenge a victory.

Victories from Month Three: Scroll Less, Read More

  • I now carry my Kindle in my purse whenever I leave the house.
  • I now expect to read just about every night before bed.
  • There were quite a few nights when I actually fell asleep in bed while reading a book. I wasn’t scrolling or watching YouTube or Netflix. I was reading. Win.
  • I challenged myself to read a certain number of pages or percentages in the Kindle and most days I met that goal.
  • I defaulted to reading my Kindle when waiting on my son to get out of activities or at appointments, etc. (Have you ever looked around a doctor’s office waiting room? It actually felt good to be the only person not staring at my phone for once.)
  • My “To Be Read” list grew quite a bit and I’m excited to work through that list.
  • I don’t feel “accomplished’ at the end of the day if I don’t spend some time reading.

What did I learn?

  • I still need to keep working on scrolling less. I confess there were some nights I never picked up a book. I was so tired and it just seemed too hard. Even so, reading a few pages of a book would have still done me more good than scrolling on my phone.
  • I need to read more novels. I love reading fiction. LOVE IT. But, I’ve been reading a lot of business/self-development/leadership books lately. Those are all wonderful and have helped me so much. But, I also need to allow myself to just retreat into a good story. I think having a leadership book and a good novel going at the same time is a good pace. 
  • I need to get away from Holocaust-themed books. I majored in History in college and focused my studies around the Holocaust. I’ve always been fascinated in that period of history. I STILL read a ton about it. The problem is that, for obvious reasons, these books can really pull me down. 

How did you do with the Scroll Less, Read More Challenge? Comment or shoot me an email and let me know what you read!!

On to Month Four!!!

Can I just say that this challenge is the MOST frightening? I thought the BE SEEN Challenge was going to be the most frightening but I was wrong. 

It is Month 4 in the Year of 30-Day Challenges. This month is all about writing as I write a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Month Four is all about WRITING!!!!

You have seen my Write 1000 Words A Day 30-Day Challenge before. 

The Write 1000 words a day challenge is not specific to this year of 30-day challenges. It is something I do when I know I need to boost my writing.

This month I am going way out of my comfort zone. It will be a big stretch in the genre of writing and the amount of writing.

I am officially participating in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. 

The goal is to write a novel or at least get a good running start on a novel in the month of November. You are supposed to write 50,000 words by the end of the monthIt comes down to 1,667 words a day to stay on schedule to get 50,000 words done by the end of November 30.

If you submit your novel on November 30 and it does meet the 50,000-word requirement then you are considered a NaNoWriMo Winner. There are not prizes except the pride of accomplishment. You can buy yourself NaNoWriMo swag as a reward if you want.

I know full well that I won’t have a publishable novel at the end of NaNoWriMo. Most published novels are around 100,000 words, twice the amount of NaNoWriMo novel. The whole point is to push through fear and doubt and do something I’ve never felt possible. Who knows what will come from it!!

Month 4 in the Year of 30-Day Challenges is all about writing! Join me this month for NaNoWriMo. Click To Tweet

Why does this scare me?

  • I have NEVER been one to write fiction. EVER!!! Do you hear me? I want to make sure those in the back can hear me. NEVER EVER have I been one to write fiction. I dream about writing novels but the idea scares me and so I have never done it. Till now….
  • The daily word count scares me. One thousand words a day does not bother me but adding 2/3 of that count to every day of the month does scare me. That’s a time and mental energy commitment.
  • It’s NOVEMBER!!!! We have a lot of stuff going on that month. In fact, we are leaving on a camping trip on the 2nd day of NaNoWriMo. I was laughing with my husband I would be writing on my laptop by the campfire and in the car when driving home. Then there’s Thanksgiving!!  I usually don’t think about writing on Thanksgiving. We’ll be traveling to see family so I’ll have to account for my 1,667 words a day all while visiting family and eating delicious food.
  • I will be completely vulnerable right now and say I am entering this challenge as what NaNoWriMo called a “Pantster.”. That means I am pretty much going to be flying off the seat of my pants throughout this whole challenge. I have no idea what my story is going to be about or who the characters are or whatever. I have the first line and that’s it. This goes back to the perfectionism thing. I know that if I plan too much leading into this then I will find something wrong and will most likely shut down and not finish. So, the fun of this challenge will be letting the story write itself. (Spiritual alert: I strongly believe that God wants me to take this route to help me shed my perfectionism. He assures me there is a story worth writing and it will happen if I trust Him as I write.) Even as someone who isn’t terribly organized in general, taking this route is still scary. 

What habits will I employ to get through NaNoWriMo?

  • My writing will focus on the novel for all of November. Getting my 1,667 words out each day will probably use up all my writing “words” for the day and that means I may or may not get other blog posts out. I hope to get at least another blog post out mid-month but we shall see how it goes. 
  • I plan to write first thing in the morning. I will get up, eat breakfast, have my devotional time, and get to writing. I know that as the day goes along the chances of me writing will go way down. The best time is first thing in the am. Then I can ride the high of getting it done early.
  • I will use Cold Turkey Writer. This computer app blocks out EVERYTHING on the computer for a designated amount of time or word count. If I set it for 1,667 words then the whole screen is blocked out except for the writing program. I can’t scroll social media, check email, or read the news until I”ve written my words.
  • I will set writing goals and incentives. When I hit a certain number of words I will reward myself with something. I’m not sure what those will be quite yet but I know this will be helpful to stay motivated.
  • I will stay accountable on social media. I will post whenever I finish my words for the day. Twitter is the best place to keep up with my daily updates. My profile is here on Twitter.

So, that’s it!

Have you ever done NaNoWriMo?

Do you have any tips or suggestions?

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It is Month 4 in the Year of 30-Day Challenges. This month is all about writing as I write a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
 
It is Month 4 in the Year of 30-Day Challenges. This month is all about writing as I write a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
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How To Write a Great Blog Post Without Losing Your Soul

It can be hard to write a great blog post that is popular with a large audience but also true to who you are in your soul. It is possible with these 6 tips.

Is It Even Possible to Write a Great Blog Post Without Losing Your Soul?

It is an all too common scene in my blogging journey. I sit down to write a great blog post and I can almost instantly feel the battle. There is tension between the desire to write what is truly resonating in my heart and to write what will be popular with readers and create a lot of page views and maybe even a little income.

I sigh and start writing. I am not immune to the pull of the world, to write what is popular and what I know will create the most page views. I also have this intense desire to write from my heart and to write what I believe I am supposed to write. The problem is that what I want to write is often not what is popular in the Google searches and the Pinterest Boards.

Thankfully, I have come to the place where I can do both. I can write a great blog post while staying true to myself. Do want to know my secret?

You can read all kinds of blogs about blogging. Blogs about blogging are definitely the thing to do these days. You can learn about traffic, seo, images, proper writing, social media, etc.

I can tell you that what people really really want from your blog is to hear from YOU. They want authenticity. They want vulnerability. Trust me, readers these days can smell fake from a mile away. They want real and they want the truth. 

So, how do you write a great blog post that people will want to read while not losing your soul?

Here is 6 Tips.

A Great Blog Post Starts with the Habit of Daily Writing.

I have written quite a bit about the importance of a daily writing habit. I confess I am definitely not perfect at keeping this a priority. I slip away for a few days at a time or even a few weeks at a time.  I can tell you that my writing suffers greatly when I am not writing on a daily basis.

Set a goal to write for a certain about of time or a certain number of words each day. Then sit down and just start writing. Write whatever comes to your mind. It does not have to make sense. It does not have to flow. 

Just start writing….and don’t stop until you are done for the day. Stop when you reach your goal or just keep writing if you are really on a role. 

Daily writing is so important for maintaining your voice. Your voice is unique to you and is what makes your writing so special.  The more you write the more you are in tune with your own writing voice. Write daily and your voice will become quite clear.

Blog posts written in your voice are way better and more likely to be successful than if you wrote in an inauthentic way.

A Great Blog Post Has a WHY 

Why in the world did you even start this whole blogging thing anyway? Lord knows blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. It can take a very long time to be really noticed. Not only that, blogging is HARD. There is a big learning curve and it is a job that never sleeps.

There has to be a really big reason for doing something so hard. That reason is your WHY. 

What is that WHY?

  • Is it to spread an important message that is weighing heavy on your heart? 
  • Do you have a cause that is super important to you?
  • Do you want to make money to help support your family? 
  • Do you want to make money so you can donate to a very important cause to you?

If you stay in touch with your WHY and you remind yourself of it daily, it will come through in your writing. Your voice will be heard and your message will be told.

It can be hard to write a great blog post that is popular with a large audience but also true to who you are in your soul. It is possible with these 6 tips.

To Write A Great Blog Post is to be Focused

Turn off the gosh darn social media and other distractions. Turn it all off when you are doing your daily writing and when you are writing your blog post.

I am easily distracted.  I’ll be writing right along and then I randomly click over to Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or YouTube. Next thing I know I am indulging in cute puppy videos or reading the comments on some overly funny or controversial post. I fall down the rabbit hole and when I finally climb out of the hole who knows how much time has been wasted. My focus is gone.

Focus is one thing but if I allow myself to go down some rabbit holes I end up losing my focus on what’s really important.  My emotions get all riled up and there goes my focus, my voice, and my message. I get wrapped up in other people’s business and lose the importance of what I was trying to write.

Stay focused. How do I stay focused?

Promise yourself to STAY OFF social media, news sites, cute puppy/kitten sites, etc. Just Say No.

Promising yourself doesn’t work? Okay. Install a time management blocker program on your computer. These type programs block unnecessary programs and websites during pre-determined times of the day. Even if you can’t help clicking over the program blocks the site and you can’t get access. You can find all kinds of free programs that serve this purpose. 

Can you hack your way past all the blocks of your blocker programs like me? Okay. Go Nuclear.

Install a program like Cold Turkey Writer. I am writing this blog post right now through Cold Turkey Writer. Y’all, this program is epic. CTW literally shuts down everything on your computer for a certain amount of time or until a certain number of words are written. I have tried to hack out of this program and I can’t. I’m stuck. I’m stuck as I write these words. I currently have the program set to 30 minutes. I won’t be able to do anything else on my laptop until those 30 minutes are over. I might as well be writing this post!!

Stay focused so you don't lose your message in the message of the world. Click To Tweet

A Great Blog Post is Vulnerable

A great blog post is one that written from a place of vulnerability. How do you get your message across? You get it across by being vulnerable and telling your story.

Have you noticed how much people love stories from people who are willing to tell everything, the good the bad and the ugly? That’s because people like REAL.

Being vulnerable will help your special and unique voice come out. Being vulnerable will give credibility to your message. Being vulnerable will help keep your WHY alive.

I have learned through experience that when I close the doors to my vulnerability my writing suffers greatly. It becomes fake and cold and doesn’t even flow. You can sense the lies through the page. I eventually lose the actual desire to write and oftentimes stop writing altogether.

Once I allow the doors to open and I am willing to enter the arena put myself out there, my writing takes off. I can’t keep my fingers still. That calling to write comes back to life. 

Always be appropriately vulnerable with your audience. Be a person who struggles and celebrates. Allow your readers to enter into your world. Show them the real you. be real and true. And your readers will thank you for it by coming back over and over again.

A Great Blog Post Does Not Check Itself.

I know that one of the most frustrating parts of writing for a blog is making sure everything flows and reads nicely. If the writing is poor then readers will pop right off your site in one flick of a lamb’s tail. Trust me I know about this. I am that reader.

Even if you do your daily writing, remember your WHY, stay focused, write with authenticity and vulnerability, your blog post still needs to be readable. Punctuation, grammar, and flow all have to be considered carefully. It all matters if you write a very formal post or a very friendly and casual post.

That’s why I have become best friends with Grammarly.

Oh my goodness. Grammarly saves me day in and day out. You can install Grammarly on your computer, as a Chrome Extension, and on Microsoft Word. I have it set up for Chrome and with Word.

Grammarly is like having a proofreader and editor in your back pocket. He is with you every time you sit down to write. You can choose to pay attention to his corrections or ignore them. 

I am a pretty good proofreader and editor in my own right. I was raised by an English major and a professional proofreader who never let bad writing leave the house. I am also not perfect and I always need help.

Instant Grammar Checker - Correct all grammar errors and enhance your writing.

Grammarly proofreads as I write. I can see my mistakes as I go along. I can choose to fix right then or I can choose to fix all the mistakes when I’m done writing.

Grammarly forces me to think about how I am writing. For example, Grammarly hates passive voice. Well, I shouldn’t be using the passive voice anyway so I am grateful for the reminder.

I confess I can be a rather lazy writer. I just want to write my heart’s thoughts and push publish. That isn’t fair to my readers and that isn’t fair to myself. Grammarly does not allow for lazy writing. If I am being lazy about it then Grammarly will let me know, politely.

Just remember, though. Grammarly does not do your work for you.

You will still need to read your writing and make your own adjustments. Grammarly makes suggestions, albeit good ones, and you can choose to use them or not.

Grammarly does not and can not know my unique voice and funny little sayings. That’s okay. It isn’t fool-proof and doesn’t claim to be. Grammarly is a breath of fresh air and a trusted friend. I can count on Grammarly to give suggestions to make my writing better. If I take the suggestion that’s totally awesome. If I don’t take the suggestion because it really doesn’t go along with my voice then that’s okay too. We’re still friends. Grammarly can handle the rejection.

You CAN do this!! You have the tools to write a great blog post that people want to read without losing WHO you are.

This post was proofread by Grammarly    

   
It can be hard to write a great blog post that is popular with a large audience but also true to who you are in your soul. It is possible with these 6 tips.

It can be hard to write a great blog post that is popular with a large audience but also true to who you are in your soul. It is possible with these 6 tips.

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Motivation And How To Catch It

Motivation.

‘Motivation’ has got to be the number one word I hear when discussing fitness and exercise and writing with people.

“I just don’t seem to have much motivation.”

“You most definitely have more motivation than I do.”

“How do I get more motivation so I can actually get this done?”

Today, we will be discussing five easy steps you can take to gain more motivation to get up off that couch and start exercising or getting those words written.

1)

……………………. *crickets*………………….

Nope. Sorry, folks. There is no magic formula for getting more motivation. I sure wish there were one because I bet I could make a million dollars or more if I could bottle it up and sell it.

The truth is that motivation is not an outside force.

It is not something that you acquire. It is not a trait that just a select, elite group of people have. It is not reserved for athletes and those with the willpower of steel. Motivation is not something you can buy online or in a bottle.

The truth is that each and every person has the potential to have amazing motivation. The level of motivation you have is based on how much you BELIEVE you have. I know, that sounds all touchy-feely. It is true. You don’t have any motivation to exercise or write because you don’t believe or think you have it.

What do you do then?

How do you get the oomph to get things done when you REALLY don’t feel like it?

Well, I’m going to borrow a cliche here…you ‘fake it till you make it.’

The best thing to do to develop motivation is to just do what you know you need to do (ex. eat right, exercise, write 1000 words a day, etc) despite how you feel. You dive head first into what your brain knows is best. You follow your logic and not your feelings. It will stink at first because you will have to fight relentlessly against those strong urgings to quit or not even start. Take your feelings or lack of motivation out of it.

You know you have to exercise and eat better. You know you have to actually write if you want to ever get a book published. Then do it!!! Forget that little voice saying, ” *Whine* But, I have no motivation!”

“SILENCE!! Foul Beast!”

You won’t ever get anywhere if you depend on the elusive motivation.

It comes and goes like the wind. Do what you KNOW you must do to make a change.

And guess what?

You start seeing that a change is happening. Getting up each morning and following all the positive habits will get easier. And the next thing you know you actually have the motivation to keep going!!

Voila!! Where did that come from?! YOU made it happen by not falling victim to your feelings. You took control.

Motivation can be yours. Don't wait for it to come to you. Make the choice to make it happen. Click To Tweet

 


 

 

 

 

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

 

Do you need more motivation? Read on to find out how you can get more motivation and your dreams can come true.
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Don’t Rush Your Writing

Recently I was pondering how my writing has changed over the years and over the last few months.

When I was a much younger writer I was in such a hurry all the time. I remember how the ideas would flood my mind and I would feverishly write them down so they wouldn’t be lost forever.

I remember the passion and the fervor.

I also remember how quickly I had to get my ideas written up in blog posts and published. I would often get an idea, write it up right there in WordPress, proofread immediately, and then hit PUBLISH. This took all of two to three hours, at most. 

It was almost like I had to write this awesome idea right then and there or else it would be lost forever. And Lord knows, if one of my ideas is lost then the whole world missed out on something amazing. (** wink **)

I look back on those old blogs and I can see and sense the haste at which I wrote them.

That writing was forced.

There was no discipline or patience.

It is no wonder I burned out within a few short months every single time I tried this writing thing leaving me unfulfilled and passionless.

I have grown and matured since publishing those hasty and rushed blogs.

My love for writing has grown deeper and wider.

There are two main lessons I have learned here:

Write first for me.

In previous attempts, I was so focused on getting my writing out into the world that I pushed it out too soon. There was no time for the words and ideas to mature.

And then there came a time that out of desperation, I started to write for no one but myself. I have no idea how many words I wrote just trying to keep my head above the waters of depression. I just know it was a ton. I probably have a book in there somewhere.

The writing was my therapy. And as I went through that therapy I learned to slow down. I learned to take my time as I wrote out my thoughts and climbed out of that pit.

I learned you can't rush the healing process and you can't rush the writing process either. Click To Tweet

I wrote first for myself.

I found my voice.

And I learned how to be vulnerable and authentic in that unique voice.

I found ME.

And in so doing, I learned…

Don’t Rush the Process

Writing is a process. It is not a once and done thing. How arrogant was I to think that I could spew out words and immediately hit publish and it is quality, truthful, honest, and vulnerable?

Want to know my new process?

  • The birth of a new idea. 
  • Write idea down in writer’s notebook.
  • Ponder the idea. Stew over it.
  • Write about the idea in 1000 words a day writing session.
  • Write a blog post on the idea.
  • Let blog post sit for at least a day.
  • Proofread
  • Add other blog post essentials (pictures, upgrades, etc.)

What was once a feverish couple hour process has become a multiple day project.

My writing process has matured and so my writing is getting the time and respect it deserves.

And in so doing readers are getting the respect they deserve because they are getting a complete ME through my words.

Slow down. Don’t rush.

Give the ideas the time they need to mature and grow.

Write Daily. Write for yourself first.

Respect your audience by giving them your best self and best writing. Click To Tweet

And no matter what….

Don’t give up!

 

 

 
 

 

Stock Image Credit:
Andy Beales

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The Life Cycle of a Blog Post

From a Dreamy, Flighty, INFJ Writer

Imagine this scene….I shall call it the Good L’il Blogger Scene

I have my cup of coffee and I sit down at my computer. Beside me is my bullet journal busting at the seams with blog post ideas and titles.

I open my journal and start to fill in my editorial calendar with months worth of post ideas. Each post has its pic and opt-in planned ahead of time and everything is so perfectly planned out.

With everything perfectly planned out and looking so pretty and satisfying, I open up my Word Processor and get to writing the first blog post on the list.

I get the post written out. I let it marinate for a few hours or overnight. Then I get it proofread and formatted in WordPress. I create my perfectly planned out vertical pinnable image and make sure my opt-in fits with that particular post and that the embedded form is just right.

When all the boxes are checked off, I schedule the post for some date way in the future. Of course, because I have this so well planned that I can write for a month or more ahead of time.

I sigh a sigh of pleasure for a job well done and then move on to the next blog post on my list.

*
*
*
*Belly Aching Laughter*

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

One can only wish that is the true scenario.

I know there are bloggers out there that absolutely operate like that and I applaud them. I don’t judge. I glean wisdom from them and have a ton of respect for their focus and organization. I know my weaknesses so I learn where I can.

But, that is not my personality. My personality is more scattered and dreamy. My husband and I joke that I basically live up in the clouds and that he (just like the blogger mentioned above) holds the rope that keeps me from completely floating away.

Here is the life cycle of my blog posts….from a dreamy, flighty, INFJ writer

I get up in the morning and get the husband out the door.

I have my devotional time before the boy wakes up.

Once the boy wakes up, he and I have about 30 minutes of what we call “Coaching Time.” As a family, we follow our personal coach, Dani Johnson, and we want our son to develop the habit of always learning and always receiving coaching. (link)

After Coaching Time, he gets settled in his homeschool assignments and I sit down at my desk or on the couch. Don’t forget the cup of coffee. The coffee might be the only thing that is consistent between these two blogger scenarios.

I open my current writing document in Microsoft Word. I keep a running document where I do all my writing. No, I do not have separate documents for each post or each topic or whatever. It allllll goes in one place. Lord knows, I only need one piece of writing to keep up with.

When the current writing document hits about 100 pages, I will file it away and start another one. I have lost count of how many of these documents I’ve created. They are all saved in my Dropbox…I think…somewhere.

I start writing at the bottom of the page where I last left off. I just write.

I process what I have to do that day.

I process any thoughts and emotions I’m feeling at the time.

I….just….write.

It gets the cobwebs out my head. Doing this helps me think more clearly. I’m sure the coffee helps too.

I also turn on my favorite Pandora Station….David Crowder Radio.

At some point, my writing will shift from a stream of consciousness about my day to being more focused on blogging topics.

Well, who am fooling?

Actually, sometimes it shifts to being more focused and sometimes it never shifts.

Sometimes it shifts to being extremely raw as I pour my soul onto the paper and there is no real bloggable material to be seen.

That’s alright. I am totally okay with that.

After writing at least 1000 words I feel myself out.

Am I in a good place to stop writing or is there more business that needs to be handled?

Some days I just stop and move on to the next task and some days I know there is a lot that needs to happen on this page. On those days I just keep writing.

Writing…That’s why I started this whole thing, to begin with. If I am ever forgetting the writing and replacing with the business side of blogging then I need to just step back.

I check the Editorial Calendar.

(Yes, I do have one of those. See….I do learn from those more organized than I.)

If there is a post listed on the list that I haven’t formatted and scheduled, I go and find the text for the said post somewhere in my giant writing document. I am forever grateful to the “Find” feature in Word. Then I proceed to process that blog post complete with pinnable images and opt-in forms.

BUT, there are days when I there are no unprocessed posts on the list.

OH NO! What’s a girl to do?! Crap.

Fear not, fearless writer.

Remember how I write every day?

I just start skimming through my giant document. I look through either the current one or past ones. I skim until something catches my eye and I think, “Ooooo….that’s a good one. How did I forget about that one?”

Crisis averted. I plug the post in my calendar and proceed as usual.

Sometimes I will even skim until I have material for several posts.

Then I will copy and paste the text into WordPress. I clean it up, proofread, format, and off we go.

There are plenty of days when I am so unsure what to write. I feel like a desert or a dried up well. And what I have found is that it is usually because there is something I need to figure out and process. All the more reason that I need to be writing.

I write no matter what. And in so doing, I will ALWAYS have content. ALWAYS. Click To Tweet

And when I find the lost blog posts in the sea of words I am often reminded of other ideas that lead to more writing and more blog posts.

Writing 1000 words a day has ensured a steady stream of content AND a healthier emotional state. (links)

Perhaps, this method of writing for your blog makes you twitch a little bit. HA! That’s totally cool. No judgment. I twitch at all the organized methods of some bloggers.

But, It works for me.

And we can all learn from each other, right?

 
 


 

Stock Image Credit:

Billy Huynh“display: inline-block; padding: 2px 3px;”>Mahir Uysal

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Beating Writer’s Block: There Is Always Something To Write About

In the blogging world, we spend so much time making sure our writing fits in our niche and it fits the website. Mind you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is a time and a place for focused writing and growing a specific, niche website is most definitely one of those times.

The problem with super focused writing is that it can lead to seemingly running out of ideas. Running out ideas gets frustrating very quickly. And then comes the infamous writer’s block. GAH!

I’ve been there so many times thinking, ‘There is nothing to write about!!”

I think that is the biggest lie. There is ALWAYS something write about. Yes, always.

Yes, there is always something to write about even if that means writing about not having anything to write about. Click To Tweet

Remember when I wrote about learning to embrace writing garbage?

Here’s the truth in all of this. I’m going to throw you a bit of curveball especially now that you are finally comfortable writing garbage.

There really isn’t anything that is true garbage.

All the words we write have a purpose and should be written. Every word we write leads to something good even if it is merely getting the mind and fingers warmed up.

It all counts.

It isn’t truly garbage because even those words are important.

Why are they important?
 
 

 
 

Every word we write is good for processing our thoughts.

Every word we write is good for getting our brains and fingers warmed up to write the “good” stuff. It’s like a workout warmup. Are we going to say that the warmup is pointless or useless because it isn’t part of the actual workout? The warmup points to the good stuff.

So it is with daily writing.

Sometimes the “garbage” writing is only the first 100 words and then you are revved up and on a roll and can really get to writing. And then sometimes the “garbage’ is the whole day because you just aren’t feeling it. That’s okay.

Just keep writing about how you are feeling.

Write about how you aren’t sure what to write about.

Write about writer’s block.

Open your mind and fingers to write anything. Click To Tweet

And when we write anything that comes out and process the deep recesses of our mind we will find some pretty awesome words to share.

This writing can possibly benefit us in ways we never expected.

When I started daily writing I thought it would be the key to being a successful writer. A successful writer needs to write a lot over a long period of time. Okay, then. Write daily. Got it.

What I didn’t expect was the healing that has come from writing so much. I have allowed some things to come to the surface. I gave words to those thoughts and in so doing I have allowed myself to deal with it. I was able to write it out and let it go. You can read more in my post on The Unexpected Benefits of Writing 1000 Words a Day.

The world is full of things to write about.

We just need to open our eyes.

Become curious.

Observe.

Learn.

There is always something to write about.

Get to writing about everything!!

 

 

 
 

 

 

Stock Image Credit:
Bookblock

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Take A Step Back To Grow

 

When I started this blog a mere three months ago, I had so many awesome plans and dreams.

I had pages and pages of ideas. I carried a notebook around in order to capture all my ideas that seemed to come faster than I could write them down. I went to bed thinking about my big goals and I woke up excited and thrilled to attack those goals each day.

Writing has always been my biggest objective in this whole endeavor. It’s no secret that I consider myself to be a writer before I am a blogger. I have formed the habit to write 1000 words a day in order to stay true to my writing passion, to create a steady stream of content, and to help me think and process this crazy life I live.

I originally set a goal to schedule three posts a week.

That would allow for two posts to go live each week and to put one post in the bank. I had a goal to keep a month’s worth of posts in the bank at all times. I learned a long time ago to always work ahead with blog posts to allow for days or weeks when life gets in the way or bigger projects take priority.

I’ve got the writing side of blogging down.

I also knew I needed to learn more about how to grow my blog through email subscribers, social media, etc. I’m not dumb. I do still believe and will always believe that writing comes first but there are realities in this world that have to be acknowledged. I can’t be a writer who keeps her head in the sand, refusing to learn SEO and marketing. That’s just how it is whether I like it or not.

Come to find out that there was not much margin in my week to keep up the writing load AND grow my blog.
 

 

 
 

I was growing frustrated and disillusioned.

And guess what? I stopped dreaming. The ideas for the blog stopped rolling in faster than my fingers could catch them. I hit a dead spot. Sure, I was writing and scheduling blog posts. I was doing minimal social media when I remembered to do it. But, there was no growth. It was stagnant and I was hating my blog.

And this pressure doesn’t even include where I needed in other areas of my life.

I am determined to make my writing and blogging work but I have been dazed and confused with how to make it all work.

And then it hit me. I was praying for guidance on how to keep writing and to also allow the margin for learning and growth. And what hit me was the last thing I thought possible. I knew in my gut that I needed to back off on posting my writing on the blog.

What? After all this talk about writing consistently, I am actually thinking about backing off a bit. This was crazy.

Now, this does not mean I stop my daily writing of 1000 words. Nope, that’s not stopping ever. It has become such a huge part of my daily routine and well-being.

I’m talking about reducing my blog post schedule down to one post a week and one post in the bank. That merely reduces my schedule down by one post a week. But, the difference is HUGE!

The sweet release that came from that simple decision has been mind-blowing.

 


 

It has been like shaking up a champagne bottle and then releasing the cork. The ideas and dreams and plans have been bubbling over ever since. I can’t keep up with all the bubbles that are spewing forth and I couldn’t be happier.

And now I have space in my schedule to dive headfirst into these ideas and I can commit time each week to learning as well. I can now do all those courses in the Genius Bloggers ToolKit I got this year and I can read ALL those ebooks I’ve been meaning to read.

The passion for my blog is BACK!!!!

How does this relate to you?

Are you feeling stuck? Do you want to grow but don’t think it’s possible?

Do you still dream big about your blog?

If the answer is yes, I encourage you to take an inventory of your writing and blogging.

Is there something that you are holding onto but it doesn’t really serve your big plan?

There comes a time when taking a step back is what’s needed to allow for growth. Click To Tweet

Space for growth does not magically appear. It has to be thoughtfully created.

I was putting such strong expectations on myself and those expectations turned out to be unrealistic. I kept going even when I knew they were unrealistic because I was determined to stick to my output goal. It was killing me and my creativity.

Come to find out that a little ego check was all that was needed for the big goal to be birthed in my heart and mind all over again.

What about you? Are you frustrated?

Try taking a step back so that there is room to grow and dream all over again.

 
 

 

 

Stock Image Credit:
Milos Tonchevski

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2018: Getting Back To The Heart Of Writing

I am a Writer.

I am a Writer before I am a Blogger.

Yes, I write for the internet and I run a blog. I do love having space on the Internet in which I can share my writings. In that respect, I am a blogger.

But, at the core of my being, I am a writer. I write on and off the Internet. I do not write for my blog. I write for myself and then I publish my writings on my website.

If my website disappeared tomorrow, I would still write each and every day.

There are days when I get frustrated with the rat race of blogging, of vying for position on Pinterest and Instagram and Facebook. There are more blogs on blogging to count and all yell about all the perfect ways to do each thing. I hear from every direction how I HAVE TO focus on…

  • SEO
  • Page Views
  • Perfect Pinnable Images
  • Group Boards
  • And perfect email newsletters
  • Opt-Ins
  • And Editorial Calendars

I know all these things are important to the business of blogging and I happily receive the coaching. Lord knows I need the help. 

And yet, I hold my head and shake it back and forth.

 

 

I ask, “What have I become? This is not why I started!! I just want to WRITE!”

Wait….”I just want to write!”

“I…JUST…WANT…TO…WRITE!”

YES!

So, disillusioned bloggers, I am asking you (and me) to do something different in 2018.

Let’s get back to the truth of JUST WRITING. Click To Tweet

Forget the Blogosphere.

Forget incessant SEO obsession.

Forget Pinterest craziness.

Forget daily page view checks.

Let’s get back to writing for writing’s sake.

Let’s get back to creating art with our words.

We are WRITERS!

We paint a canvas with the strokes of our words.

We create entire worlds.

We tap into the hearts of our readers.

We give people permission to say, “ME TOO!”

In 2018, let’s start each day with a blank page.

Let’s look at that blank page not as a chore but as an opportunity. An opportunity to open wardrobes and hearts.

On that blank page, WRITE!

Write with reckless abandon.

Don’t edit. Just write.

Reach into your chest, grab hold of your heart, and let it bleed out on that page. Click To Tweet

Don’t censure yourself. Feelings, no matter how raw, are welcome on that page.

Worlds that you have created in your imagination are welcome on this page. You love retreating to these worlds. So why not open that world up on the page so that it becomes real for all?

Write for NO ONE but yourself.

The only thing that is not welcome here is the details of blogging. No Pinterest. No Instagram. No SEO. No niche. No Facebook. And NO pageviews.

The door is locked while you write. It is just YOU and your heart.

In 2018, let’s bring the authenticity back to our writing.

Let’s be true to ourselves and in so doing we grow our own unique voice that is louder than the constant humming of sameness.

Build your voice by being true to yourself in your writing.

And then, when we have written with the truth in our hearts…

Let’s edit and publish, share and network, with our brains.

A good writer is also a people person. Click To Tweet

I am not dumb, Y’all. I know full well that at the heart of every writer is the intense desire to be heard. Sometimes that desire is so strong it just hurts.

That’s when we bring in the Business of Blogging.

But, when you write from your heart first your words will resound in other people’s hearts and then you will be heard.

In 2018, let’s not lose our writing soul on the altar of blogging.

Keep the first thing first and the rest will come together.

 

 

Stock Image Credit:
Aaron Burden

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Journal Entry: Writing And Running A Marathon


2018 is rapidly approaching and I couldn’t help musing about my top two goals for the new year. I spent some time journaling about it and would love to share. 

I’ve heard it said, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

This has been said to me so many times that I’ve lost count.  I thought I knew what it meant then but it’s not until now that it is making more sense.

You see, I’m going to run my first marathon in 2018.

I made a promise to myself a long time ago that I would finish a marathon before I turned 40. I am just 14 months away from turning 40.

Running a marathon has been on my bucket list for probably 20 years already. I can’t really explain exactly WHY I want to cross that finish line. I just know that there is something deep inside me that says I will always have unfinished business if I don’t run a marathon. I think God has some work to do with me while I’m training.

Could it be that it is more about the training than the finishing? Click To Tweet

So, I have signed up for a marathon to be run in November 2018. That gives me a year to build a base and then ramp up mileage.

Running long distance requires great discipline and focus.

It means putting in the miles when the weather is perfect and when the weather sucks (i.e. cold and wet or hot and humid).

It means getting out of my comfort zone.

It means growing grit and not running away from discomfort.

It means early mornings or late nights of just getting the time on my feet.

It means always coming back even when it hurts. 

It means sucking it up when I just don’t feel like running.

It means my head clearing as soon as I start moving and then learning something new about myself by the end.

It means creating a mental place where I can be lost in my thoughts and work through it all.

Being a marathon runner means that I CAN do this and all my excuses can be damned to Hell where they belong.

It is a perfect pairing that 2018 is also the year that I am diving head first into WRITING.

The parallels between running and writing are astounding. Click To Tweet

Why?

Being a writer means putting in the time at the computer pounding the words out.

Being a writer means early mornings and late nights.

Being a writer means embracing the discomfort.

Being a writer means putting in the time so that I can reach word count goals.

Being a writer means working hard for a finish line that I can’t even see yet but knowing that it is there.

Being a writer means working towards that finish line knowing full well that it isn’t really a finish line after all. It is merely a stepping stone to achieving bigger and greater things.

Being a writer means being comfortable with mining through my soul and giving voice to my deepest thoughts and feelings.

Being a writer means opening myself up to what God wants to do while I’m “out there.”

Being a writer gives me an outlet for all the thoughts I have while I’m outside chasing after that marathon. (And Lord knows, there are plenty).

Being a writer means going after goals even when it sucks and hurts.

Being a writer means leaning in when it’s hard instead of giving in to comfort.

Being a writer means I am growing major Grit.

Being a writer means that I CAN do this and all my excuses can be damned to Hell where they belong.

 
 

 

 

Stock Image Credit:
lucas Favre

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Writer’s Life: Learn to Embrace the Garbage

I believe that one key to success as a blogger or writer is being comfortable with writing garbage.

As writers we want our writing to be GOOD.

Nothing wrong with that. Many of us are perfectionists deed down inside. We want to write and we want to always write well.

Because we want all those things we find it hard to write for an audience. We fear our words not being up to par with what we think they should. We are our greatest critics. It is awesome to be good editors but that makes no sense when we don’t publish anything.

Our perfectionism keeps us from actually writing content. We stare at the screen, waiting for that perfect blog post to come to mind, and when it doesn’t happen we blame a lack of inspiration or motivation. 

But, on the magical days when we do pound out some good “inspired” content, we then go back to read that awesome post and it doesn’t quite read like it was in our minds. Disappointment ensues making it harder to write again next time.

The cycle goes on and on until finally the inspiration and motivation are pretty much gone.

And then the dream of being a writer goes down the drain.

I have dreamed of being a writer for many years.

I think it started sometime in elementary school. I had seen the movie “Dances with Wolves” and was totally smitten with the story. Then I thought, “Hey! I could totally write a story like that. I have thoughts. I have ideas!” That was the first time I got the writing bug.

Then as I went to school I always enjoyed the writing assignments. I could always write a killer paper and I would rather be assigned a paper than take a test any day. I would ace essay tests and bomb multiple choice tests. Then I went on to college to be a history major Guess what that means? Yep. TONS of writing!!! And I loved it.

 

I am good at writing and writing a lot.

So, why not be a professional writer?! The dream grew bigger and bigger over the years.

There was something that always bit me in the butt. I would allow the dream to come up for air every few years or so and would be thrilled to FINALLY be living the dream of being a writer. I would spit out all the articles that I had been wanting to write for a long time.

YES!! Living the dream!!

Then the ideas would start to slow down and the “Inspiration” would go wither up. And with the declining inspiration would go the desire to write.

Then I would doubt my ability to be a writer. A “true” writer would be able to put out a ton of quality content, right? Guess I’m not a true writer then. 

The common element in these seasons was that I would only write when I was inspired or motivated.

I would keep a notebook full of ideas but my sensitive self would eventually whimper and whine that the ideas were no good and would throw the notebook away…again. Yes, I can be extremely emotional.

There is something that sets this time apart from the rest.

I have learned to embrace writing garbage.

I would say that probably about 80% of my daily writing is not even publishable.  My daily writing consists of a whole lot of stream of consciousness, ooey gooey feelings, crying, yelling at God, or even menu planning or marathon training planning. But, in the midst of all those words are words that I write to all of you.

I mine through the rocks and dirt of daily writing and find the gems of writing that I publish. Click To Tweet

See the key point here?

DAILY WRITING.

I write at least 1000 words a day. The vast majority of those words are words that no one ever sees but me. But, in those words are words that YOU get to read. Sometimes you do get to read some of the more raw entries (here and here).

I’ve learned to embrace, and to actually love writing, garbage and in embracing the garbage I am finding the jewels.

 
 

 

 
 

Stock Image Credit:
Gary Chan

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