Today is Good

That amazing future and glorious tomorrow. Always enticing us to move time forward so that we may rush what is now for a moment much more beautiful than this. A tomorrow much more gorgeous and radiant than the present. The present. What of this? What of now? What of our quest for some rare and perfect tomorrow when today is already a precious gift? Today is normal but it is here and living and present. We know not what the future holds. In fact, we know nothing but now. This moment. This treasure of breath in mouth. Today is good.

Good evening 💕

No Whining Wednesday – Control Your Thoughts

Welcome back to another edition of No Whining Wednesday where you do not get to whine, criticize, or complain for this entire day. If you are new to this blog or new to this segment, please go HERE to learn more about what this is all about.

 

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

It’s been a while since I’ve done an NWW so although I am traveling this week and preparing to release Renaissance (where did the time go?), I thought it would be nice if we can be reminded not to whine. OK, that’s not entirely true. I also need this! I want to whine about so much today that I decided that if I need a reminder, so do you for we rarely endure different struggles. In essence, we go through the same things, packaged differently. That said, I have the perfect quote for us. It’s something that has been on my mind a lot:

As those of you who have been following this blog for awhile already know (or my email list for that mater) I am big on discipline. I believe it is deeper than inspiration and motivation. I believe that it is deeper because inspiration only lasts a moment. It takes discipline to stretch it and to will ourselves to the next step. It takes discipline to forcefully pull ourselves up. Discipline begins in our thoughts and this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Not just thinking about but striving to put it into practice. How do I control the things I think about? How do we transform the ways in which we think? More so than the act of complaining is the act of thinking about complaining. If we can stop thinking about certain things, then we can stop stressing over certain things. The discipline to stop making temporary situations a permanent part of our lives by ceasing from making them a part of our thoughts. If we can’t control what we think about, then we can’t control what we do. Today, let us focus less on our actions and more on the thoughts that influence them.

The Seed

It’s not always easy to endure, but may today be different. May the seeds of goodness root themselves in your souls. For without seeds the earth is barren land. Do not worry then if things do not start out as tree stumps, for even it started first as a seed. From there the seed grows roots and they lock and load themselves into position, like protest hands before the face of Civil Disobedience, we shall not be moved. Roots are the key, for once the roots have super glued themselves in good soil a seed gives birth and a tiny plant eventually breaks through. When this happens, we say that a seed has sprouted. And so, today, may your seed sprout. May it become one with the soil in which you’ve planted it, and may it root itself. Understand that it must first start off as a seed. Tiny. Unnoticeable. Fragile. Weak. With my fingers, I can crush a seed. Do not worry then if things shake up a bit. If you trial. If you struggle. If you go unnoticed. If you feel at first small, insignificant, and delicate, for once the tree was. And now, see how it towers above us.

Building Relationships

True relationships are not scheduled, planned, and coordinated. True relationships are natural occurrences and are not forced. They blossom from a genuine pull towards that person. It is a connection of energy built upon similar states of mind. It is when two people share the same opinion without an agenda. Building relationships is not a strategy we can put into our pockets and hope will guarantee us some kind of success. Relationships instead are bonds that formed either from tragedy or triumph. Relationships in whatever form that they come rather a man to woman, a business partnership or author to reader, are built upon the vibration of similar frequencies. Humble people do not talk about their own humility just as generous people do not think they are very generous. That is because it is an innate natural characteristic that is real. Real relationships are just the same. They do not consciously seek out the other rather they are connected organically through similar thought processes and experiences. It is when two or more people are drawn to work together because they sense a connection. It is when you don’t have to convince that person that you’re genuine because their energy feels yours. It is not sitting at the cool kid’s table in hopes of being liked but rather letting the silent pull of another’s heart find yours.

I’m Still Here

Just so you know, I have not fallen off the face of the Earth. I miss you guys!!

And, I’ve still been reading your blogs, commenting, liking, and sharing on Twitter and all that good stuff. I just have not been blogging but I am in tune. I don’t think I’ve spent this much time away from the blog since I’ve started! What in the world is going on?

A lot actually. Some good and some not so good. I definitley have a lot on my mind but let’s talk about the good.

Let me get you up to speed:

Blog Posts – I have some articles written up and saved in my files so I have still been writing and will have plenty for you soon. We’ll also get back into the usual blog segments, Black History Fun Facts, Throwback Jams, etcetera.

No laptop – You are not going to believe it but I have been traveling and left my laptop in Memphis! Here’s how it happened: While leaving my in-laws, I saw the bag in the trunk of the car  and thought the laptop was in it instead of checking to make sure it was. Long story short, I won’t get it back until next week sometime so all those blog post ideas we just talked about are uhh….stuck in Memphis.

Introduce Yourself – This thing is growing! I think I may put a listing somewhere so you can see what dates are available. Would you like that? Authors? Right now I am booking for August. (Wait, no. There may be one more slot left for July) That’s just how much it’s grown! Because of this, despite my absence, you can look forward to being introduced to a new author and his/her work every Monday. Those are scheduled to go out so even if I am not around you’ll get those. (This feature also introduces established authors as well or authors who are not necessarily new.)

Travels – So, where did I go?? Out the country? Nope. I wish! I went to Chicago and Memphis but I’ll give you the short version.

Ethiopian Diamond

In Chicago, I sat in on a Lecture presentation at the Dusable Museum of African American History, visited some family and ate at the Ethiopian Diamond restaurant downtown for the first time. (Despite growing up in Chicago I’ve never eaten there.) For those of you who have never been or have never had Ethiopian food, the style is like a community where everyone at the table eats with their hands from a large platter of food (see image). While everyone can order their own food, it is all on the same platter and designed to be a sociable experience. I can honestly say there were no looking down at the phones. There were a few of us so we were at different tables and at my table we had three large platters. On the bottom is a flat, round stretchy pancake-like injera bread with the other dishes on top in a circle.

These dishes include a combination of several stews like key wat (beef stew), tibs (lamb, beef or goat cubes which is what I had), ground beef (those beef patties or whatever you call them were delicious), and several types of lentil and split pea and tomato stews. You basically tear off pieces of the bread and use it to scoop up food you want to eat. Don’t just stick your hands in like I did at first lol. All in all, I enjoyed the food, the tangy flavor of the injera, the stews, salads, and of course, the quality family time.

Coffee – Speaking of which, the restaurant let us take home a container of coffee beans! Hubby and I had fun roasting them ourselves the other day. It was easier than I thought. Just brown them in a cast iron skillet (don’t put anything in it) and once they brown to your liking (dark roast, etc) grind them up in a coffee grinder and bam, coffee.

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I thought it would be stronger since we made dark roast but it was flavorful nonetheless.

4 Ways I Balance My Blogging and Writing Life

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“Where do you find the time?”

Is a question I get a lot so I thought I’d answer it in the form of a blog post so that more than a few individuals can benefit.

I also thought it would be interesting to see if I can write this with a two-year-old around.

With a few exceptions, you can expect a blog post from me almost every day. Is it an obligation? Nope. No one is making me blog and I don’t feel obligated to do so. I actually just enjoy blogging and although we have a long way to go, I like what this blog has become so far. I like the groove I’ve settled into here and the community I’ve built thus far. But, I am also an author and I do have a life outside this medium. I have a career, a husband, and other things to dedicate my attention to.

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Me: “I’m almost finished baby.”

“Huh?”

Me: “I’m almost finished.”

“Huh?”

Me: “Nevermind.”

So, when do I find the time to blog? How do I maintain a consistently updated blog, publish books and not neglect my family?

80 / 20 Rule

I don’t know if it’s because I am getting older or if I’ve learned to love myself more (combination of both?) but I don’t overwork myself anymore. I’m still disciplined but I no longer feel obligated to overdo it like I used to years ago. It’s not necessary. A few hours a day is really all it takes (I am working on removing actually and really from my vocabulary…though I actually like using these crutch words. Work with me here people). Instead, I am always thinking about the 80 / 20 rule and strive to incorporate it into my everyday life.

From Wikipedia:

“The principle was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.”

This means that with just 20% effort, one can achieve 80% results or 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes. (…and my phone rings. Ignore that and keep writing. Ignoring stuff, that’s another point but we’ll get to that another time).

One way I balance blogging and writing are to dedicate at least 20% of my time toward blogging or 20% toward writing and then get on with my life.

Example: 8:00a – 10:00a = 25% of time Blogging

I found this really neat chart HERE. It calculates how much time you spend toward an 8-hour work day. Based on this chart, two hours of work in an 8-hour workday is already 25% of my day. Pretty neat.

My time can now be spent writing, washing dishes, or doing laundry. (1-2hrs is about the time it takes me to polish a decent sized blog post, that’s only about 25-30% of my day.)

“TT…”

“Yes?”

“I wanna take a bath.”

“OK.”

Scheduling Blog Posts

One of the most valuable time savers of mine is scheduling blog posts to go out. I write my blog posts early and if I can’t finish it in a couple hours I leave it alone and go do something else. In the evenings I come back, use Grammarly to edit them (because I’m not rich enough to hire someone to edit my every blog post) and then schedule the post to publish midnight my time (12:00 or later Central Standard Time). This means I may be asleep when it publishes which does two things:

“TT…?”

(1) Helps those outside the U.S. to catch the post early their time.

“TT…?

(2) Keeps my blog active throughout the day as people are tuning in under different time zones.

“Yes, love?”

“Where mommy?”

The only thing I am doing when I wake up and throughout the day is responding to the commentary, reading and re-blogging articles I like, liking and commenting on other people’s blogs and sharing them online. I may also publish other random thought posts but those don’t take as much time as say a post like this one.

Special Blog Segments

Another way that I balance my blogging and writing time is by introducing special segments. A Special Blog Segment is somethi…

“BJ Nooo!”

1o6wox

A blog segment is something I made up to mean blog posts that have a specific theme and is published weekly. I have several:

Monday – Author Interviews

Wednesday – No Whining Wednesday / Writer’s Wednesday

Thursday – Throwback Thursday Jams

Friday – Black History Fun Fact Friday / Movie Night Friday

Though I missed you all last week, I use these themes to keep this blog consistent with valuable content.

Re-spin Old Blog Posts

I’m a little obsessed with this because of how much value I get from it. I have to remind myself not to overdo it. Re-spinning blog posts is an amazing way to update the blog in as little time possible. Every now and again I re-publish (re-spin) old blog articles or poems that have proven valuable over the years. This gives new followers an opportunity to read the content, share it and offer their feedback too. But most time worthy, it gives me the chance to update my blog by not having to write anything new. This only takes a few minutes of my time.

  1. Use WP app to access my WP dashboard
  2. Go to posts > all posts > scroll through old posts (to pick a specific category go to All Categories > choose category)
  3. Choose a post I like, preferably a high value one (or one I think should be high value but didn’t get much attention)
  4. Find one and click edit
  5. Schedule it for a future date

For those who have already seen the post, they may not get new email notifications (it will show in the reader again but I will double check if you will get it again in your emails) for those who are new to my blog, they will definitely get a notification of the post as if it was brand new. It will be like I just wrote it and attract new views. (I’d recommend waiting at least a year before re-spinning posts so you have enough content so readers are not like “wait, didn’t she / he just post that tho?”)

By focusing a small amount of effort toward one task at a time, scheduling blog posts, re-blogging, creating special themed posts, downloading apps that make things easier and re-spinning old posts, you can cut down on your blog time too and use it to write your next book.

Note: How to Blog with a two-year-old: Lock the office door, put non-working electronics in front of him so he thinks he’s typing too, and keep looking back every 3 seconds. Draft your post, save it, give him a bath and put him to bed. Come back later, edit the post, schedule it to go out. 

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