This is really great advice.
“Is your writing going to be a lover in the center of your life? The thing you pulse toward, the fever in your soul? Or is your writing life more of a casual crush, something you think about, but don’t do much about? You know how when you are in love, lying with your lover, time stops–goes so fast and doesn’t move at all? You feel mushy and goopy, and you are wet and hot and cool and loved and lovely, all at the same time?
Here’s the thing, there is one way to make time stop. And only one way: Fall in Love.
When you have a lover or a baby, you fall out of time, and into the beloved. Love is the only time in our lives when we are out of time. To create a writing life, you will need to fall in love–deeply, seductively, passionately–with your writing life. It will become not a habit or a job, but a lover. If you keep it a second-string lover, your back-up lover, your Tuesday night sex-as-friends kind of lover, it might always be cranky with you. But if you make your writing life so lovely you can’t take your eyes off it, you will space out during meetings, and dream about it as you go through the day, just like when you’re in love. – Heather Sellers, Page After Page, Chapter 3
Heather Sellers is an Award winning writer and professor who has taught writing workshops for twenty years, has a Ph.D. in writing and is an associate professor of English. Her book, Page after Page, is a great resource for writers looking to jump-start, begin, or keep the writing juices flowing. She presents great advice on how to dedicate yourself to writing, enjoying the process, and writing exercises to help keep you passionately, seductively, and totally in loooovveee with writing.
“You win some. You lose some. But you live, you live to fight another day.”
The famous quote from the movie Friday is true to life. As I was reflecting yesterday, I thought about the inevitable failures we encounter on our journeys to success. When I say success I do not necessarily mean the house on the hill. I mean success as defined by whatever we choose to define it by. For some success may be getting out of bed today, for others it may be writing a blog post. However you define success in your life is a personal decision and reaching that goal is your gift. The good thing about failure is that it strengthens us and teaches us what we should not do. It is kind of like conviction, that beast that always let’s us know when we’re wrong. I also thought, however, about ways we can help decrease our chances of walking into failures when it comes to our businesses and even our blogs. As I thought about this, I thought about Louisiana’s triple digit heat and, consequently, how we should keep our ideas nurtured just as we keep our flower beds so that they may grow to produce the kind of fruit (success) we’re looking for.
I’m really bad at this because I happen to have lots of ideas floating around in my head and I get so excited about them that I do not always take my time and it is to my detriment. My creative mind is always on the go, slipping and sliding around and trying to force its way into existence. Sometimes it’s a really bad idea and sometimes its a valuable idea. Either way, if I’ve learned anything about making mistakes and avoiding stumbling blocks its the power of patience and nurturing ideas before promoting them. Sometimes we have something really good and promising but because we have not taken the time to get to know that thing it does not grow into the full manifestation of it’s potential.
Promoting these ideas when they have not been completely nurtured can lead to great mistakes that could have otherwise been avoided. The same can be true of blogs. Be patient with yourself. Some blog posts have really great potential, but the idea for the post had not been nurtured or groomed in any way before pressing the publish button and that really good blog post idea never could reach its full potential. How much time have you spent drafting the post? Did you proofread it? How relevant is the topic in relation to your blogs purpose? All of these questions can be asked prior to publishing to prepare us to reach the readers that we intend to reach. In short, it is always best to wait and to water these seeds (ideas) so that they can bring forward the right kind of food. Otherwise, being impatient with our ideas will only leverage it’s chances of failing.
“Stay true to your integrity. I can’t tell you how many times I have said no, even though it sounded like such a good platform-building opportunity. You are good enough doing exactly what you are doing.”
– Dr. Lissa Rankin, Author
In the world of Self-Publishing there are so many ideas out there. Everyone has something to say about what to do and how to do it. This supersedes Self-Publishing however, and can spill over into Blogging and Life in general. One undesirable of the internet is that you can always find someone to agree with you or to support your idea even if it is a false reality, makes no sense whatsoever, or is obviously weird. You can find any expert, and any article that will explain in sophisticated detail something that will support your point of view. The problem with this is that eventually the views of experts will cloud the view of the individual until you’re listening to everyone instead of focusing on why you began doing this in the first place. I write because I love to do it. And I believe that you put your all into those things that you love doing. You also put your all into those things to which you want to expand. Like a blog for example. Whatever personal goals you have for your blog, in order to reach them you have to put your all into it. That’s just common sense.
What I think we’re forgetting however, is to excel at being ourselves. Professional advice come a dime a dozen, but there is only one you whose going to do it the way that you would do it. In the end I believe a lot of us forget to stay true to our personal integrity and to make sure that we are not sacrificing that veracity for the sake of gain. But gain is interesting in itself. When I speak of gain I’m not talking about trying to be seen of men. By gain I mean excelling in whatever it is you wish to excel in. Whether it is a promotion at the job, a best-selling book, a new business idea, or a new blog, success consists of one key thing: those who excel at being who they are. They find something they enjoy doing and they do it well without giving too much of that self into the opinions of others. Whatever you do just do it well because it was your personality and talents that drew us in, in the first place. Be not mistaken: WordPress did not convince me to follow your blog or buy your book, and neither did your platform. The fact that you posted a thousand pictures on Instagram did not convince me to follow you, you convinced me to follow you. Marketing and Promotion is simply a leverage to help us to find you, but in the end we have to like you for who you are in order to truly support you. This is what I believe a lot of us are forgetting. That your personality, your writing, your talents, and the effort that you put into what you love will attract others who also enjoy what you love. Your light attracts the light of others.
I see it. The ease of being overwhelmed by following every Self-Published book idea and implementing everyone’s blogging idea. But the truth is that what worked for them may not work for you, and that you’re actually already doing it the way you are supposed to be doing it. I agree totally with Rankin. In that I have turned down opportunities for the sake of preserving my integrity. There are just some things I am unwilling to sacrifice because it will not be me. I love writing, but there are lots of things I love more. My truth is one of them.
The fact that someone thinks I should do something a certain way to be successful is irrelevant, especially since it depends on one’s definition of the word. My success is not yours and your success is, nine times out of ten, not mine. Thus, someone else’s concept of how it should be done does not move me. What moves me is the love I have for it. If I enjoy Twitter more than Facebook, then Twitter is the platform to which I will mostly build. And if I am lead to interact amidst the blogosphere, then Blogging is the platform to which I will mostly build. These are just examples, true examples as I do enjoy blogging and twitter, but examples nonetheless.Eventually, you will find that if you find one thing you love, and you put your everything into that one thing, it will work wonders for you.
The point is not to resist advice. For he who resists advice is nothing short of a fool. Advice is information. It is guidance, correction, instruction. The point is that whatever you choose to do, do it wholeheartedly. Do it well. It is wise to accept advice. And it is wiser to implement that advice into your daily life. And since this post is kinda advice in and of itself, it does not speak against it. But be cautious of the temptation to do more than what it is meant for you to do for the sake of “doing it right”. It may just be that you have struck gold in a particular area, and that everyone else is actually doing it wrong.
Just be yourself. And be good at it.
• It’s like asking someone to love you.
As many are polishing and re-polishing their blogs for what 2015 has in store, there are people on the internet contemplating starting a blog. They may be tying up the loose ends and deciding on a template this very moment; or categorizing a host of topics to cover. Some of them are writers, poets, chefs, professional business men and women, teachers, lawyers, publishers, or just people who would like to share their thoughts with the world. Wherever they are we will soon meet them. For this reason there are some tips I think we can all use to help increase productivity, or ideas we would like to share with future newbies or old heads looking to expand and or increase traffic.
One tip I would like to offer from my tiny corner of the Blogosphere is a suggestion: One Reason to Never Ask Someone to Follow Your Blog. While I admire the courage it takes to step out on faith and all, and give it the old college try, personally I think it’s kind of tacky, screams of desperation, and that we’re all worth so much more. I do not want to thrust my words into your mouth and force you to swallow them and I don’t expect to be forced to do the same. I will never write specifically for your approval because I’m not built that way. If you disagree you have a right to do so and on to the next one. But to ask you to follow me is disingenuous. While the person may just follow you because they investigated what made you bold enough to ask and decided they actually want to follow your blog, the offering side of that coin is not so bright. I imagine we all want people to follow our blogs or to interact with them in some way because we all have something to offer. Even if it’s just a blog created specifically to vent, to rant and to rave about how much life sucks, you still have something to offer otherwise you could have just bought a journal and scribbled till your fingers grew numb. But you didn’t. You decided to browse the internet where millions of people live and share your thoughts with them. Call it therapy, or call it a hobby, whatever, but don’t pretend feedback isn’t encouraging for you because otherwise why are you here? My point is that even if you’re content with one follower, I think he or she is worth all you’ve got to give. I’ve had to do lots of things that required an audience and only had a few people to show, but I’ve always believed that no matter how big or small, it was my responsibility as the host to give one-hundred percent. People are drawn to passion, so give them some—but show, don’t ask.
You want people to interact with your blog because something you said drew them in and they simply could not resist themselves, not just because you asked them to. In this way you already have their attention as opposed to trying to grab their attention. You must strive to keep their attention of course, but you do have them in this moment. No matter how weird and quirky you are people like what you have to say. My suggestion is that you grab them first and let them decide if you’re worth following; it makes for a much sweeter victory. Let us fall in love first before deciding whether or not to make this a commitment.
“Tomorrow has its own worries, wrapped up in its own time. For that, this moment is what you make of it.” – Yecheilyah
In the world wind of routine and 24 hour clocks, we forget about the power we have to control this very moment. We spend 95% of our lives worrying about what the next day, the next week, or the next year will produce. In fact, we spend so much time thinking about the future that our present is cloaked with uncertainty, and we give birth to idleness. Idleness in turn leads to a loss of direction and diminishes our satisfaction for life itself. For some, it even leads to depression, for he or she has lost track of the vision. The performance of right now and the endless possibilities utterly escape us as we lay the blueprint for the next day. Always remember that we always have the power to choose and nothing is really a distraction (it is only a distraction if you’re not paying attention). Even when there are circumstances that appear so out of our control, such as emotions, there is still a choice. If I’m sad today it is because I choose to be sad. If I’m angry today it is because I choose to be angry. If my reaction to disrespect is a loss of self-control I have chosen to lose control. As such there is no one to blame for missing the opportunities each day holds because we are the ones who decide to make the decisions that lead to the outcome of every single moment. The funny thing is that this can also help with blogging. I know there are a lot of you participating in National Blog Posts and Novel Writing Months and whatnot, and you’re scratching the surface of your brains for something to write to complete the days post. But just relax, and earnestly think about what you have in this moment, and it’ll be a lot easier than just trying to put something out there. You will instead put something out that not only fulfills the challenge, but also something that will be of substance to the reader.
While planning ahead has its blessings, let us make sure that we’re also nourishing this very moment; for tomorrow has its own worries, wrapped up in its own time. And for that, this moment is what you make of it.