When We Were Innocent

It took me a long time to realize Rick James Mary Jane song was about weed. For a long time, I thought Mary Jane was an actual woman he was in love with. Every time I heard the song I would smile, my heart melting at the sound of love. Even after watching the movie Friday, where there were obvious clues (such as the song being played as Smokey inhaled three joints at a time that day Craig got high for the first time), I still didn’t get it. After learning what the song was really about, I still liked it but it didn’t have the same happy feeling to it. I didn’t smoke weed so I couldn’t relate. I liked it better when I thought the song was about love.

I miss when we were innocent. Back before we really knew how messed up the world was. Back when the world was ours. Back when my Uncle told me and my siblings we couldn’t watch Bevis and Butthead. Back when the lyrics were still crafty enough to hide the “bad stuff” from the kids. When you didn’t know what the meanings behind the songs were, back when you had to be mature to know what it meant. I miss when we were innocent. Like before you really got to know someone. Back when you were besties just because. Back before we knew each other well enough to be aware of the other’s faults. When you meet someone for the first time there’s an innocence, a respect and a kindness you give because your mother taught you to be kind. As we get to know one another though, it seems like we are no longer as kind, as compassionate, or as merciful.

We take knowledge of the other person‘s mistakes as an invitation to pull back on the amount of love we give. And we do it in the cruelest way. We pull back without communication, without questions, and without checking to see if our assumptions were correct, we just leave. Abandon one another after realizing the other person was human. We didn’t do that kind of stuff as kids. We fought, argued and then invited our friends (the one we just argued with) over for dinner. We didn’t think they were possessed or insane or no longer worthy of our friendship. They disagreed with us but that didn’t mean we were enemies. We knew they were flawed, but that just made us love them better.

As you blog, not everyone will stick around. As people get to know you better, they will soon decide whether you are someone they want to keep up with. And that‘s not a bad thing entirely. People have a right to decide who they want to have around them. That’s life. People come and people go. Blogging is no different. This decision will come, either from you or from them. Somewhere along the lines, you’ll learn you either are or are no longer compatible.

If you‘re new to blogging you better take advantage of it. Those days of people being kind and generous and supportive and of you being loved on won‘t last long. Four and five years into this thing and you will look up to the faces of a completely new group of people, wondering where everyone has gone. This new group will love you now. Appreciate them for it. These are the childlike stages of blogging. The beginning of things, the freshness, the newness. These are the days when we are innocent.

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New Author Tip – Nothing is a Waste of Time

Me and Vivica Fox at her Book Signing yesterday. Be sure to stop by The Medu Bookstore at the Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta and grab your copy of ‘Everyday I’m Hustling’ by Ms. Fox and ‘I am Soul‘ by me!

Dear Indie Author / Self-Publisher, that thing you are doing, that step you’re taking, that move you made….

…is not a waste of time and don’t let anyone tell you that it is. Time is never wasted. Everything is a learning experience IF you choose to see it that way. People like to tell you not to do something because it hadn’t worked out for them or because they can’t see any good in it. If you sow negativity about every mistake then you will reap negativity and nothing will ever work. But, if you sow positivity by turning those mistakes into lessons then you will reap positivity by acquiring a new skill. You will be blessed with an understanding you didn’t have before and the courage to take risks that are no longer bound by the limitations of others.  As an Indie Author you will be bombarded with advice so you have to be very conscious of what works for YOU and what doesn’t. Sometimes the only way to know this for certain is to do the work. Knowledge is only power when it is applied. At some point you must make the difficult decision to stop researching and have faith in the work. Just do the work.

Mistakes

Blog Post Mess Up

If you got it all together, there is no room for growth. If you know it all, there is nothing else to learn. If there is nothing else to learn, there is nothing to strive for. If there is nothing to strive for, there is no hope. If there is no hope, then it is all in vain. Vain. It means nothingness. producing no result. Useless. Are you useless? Let it not be that your existence here is pure poverty; a wasting away of flesh. A joining of bone and marrow, flesh and blood yet dull of emotion, of mistakes, or faults, of trial and error. When you started writing; when you started a blog; when you started school; a new relationship; a job; when you started whatever it is that you started, no one expected you to turn into a robot. Mistakes exist to be learned from and they make up our experience but, when you’re pinched, no one expects you not to feel. Having faith does not mean that you have to pretend as if it doesn’t hurt. If you want to be the best, then there is one thing you must be willing to do: Mess Up. That’s right, you must fall, trip, stumble. If you are to be the best, then you have to make all of the mistakes that are necessary in order to know the difference between what works and what doesn’t. So, fall. Break. Burst forth. This is not your destruction. This is your birth.

5 Common Writing Mistakes That Make You Look Like An Amateur

Check out these 5 common writing mistakes! I’m so guilty of #3! Thanks to one of my dear review buddies, I was made aware of this and am now able to watch carefully of jumping into people’s heads. I mean, how does Sally know what John was thinking? lol

Check it Out Here: http://www.justinmclachlan.com/804/common-writing-mistakes/

Blog Photos: I Scared Myself Away From My Own Post

OK, you may want to sit down for this one.

A couple weeks ago (or was it last week?? LOL), whenever it was, I had a blogger to comment on a post I wrote asking me to go into more detail concerning photos in a blog post. I never consider myself a “blogging pro” or “advice giver” so her question made me feel very positive about the post as feedback often does. Here’s her question and my response:

Q. Can you share more about your thought that sometimes pictures can take away from a post?

My response:

Sure. Pictures are a great way to compliment a blog post but photos in blog posts is about strategy and not just decoration. If the pictures don’t tie in well with the article it can take away from the written content and become a distraction. Photos chosen should have the potential to reveal something about the post even if there were no words because images set the tone for the post itself. Sometimes I decide not to include pics because I want the focus on the words and a photo in this sense can just be distracting. All in all bad image choices can have a great impact on how people see our blogs. 

This morning I did not intend on writing this post, but after scrolling through the reader I experienced something that validates just how important photos are in a blog post. I scared myself away from my own post.

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Yesterday, I wrote a post that included a picture of Flavor Flave. When I scrolled through the reader this morning I was shocked to see that photo front and center on my timeline associated with that blog post (go ahead, take a look). I startled myself because I would not have chosen for that picture to be the one used to feature the post. As I opened with “We all have our favorites…” needless to say Flavor Flave was not a good look. I do not nor have I ever been a fan. I do not take back my thoughts in the article and using the photo in the post did look good when I drafted it because it represents what I was speaking about, but it did not mix well with my opening statements or as an advertisement for the post in the reader.

Did I say advertise? Yes. It may not seem important at the time, but photos in blog posts tend to act as promotional items for our blogs before people actually click to see what the post is about. I wouldn’t say to stress out about it, but whether or not people are clicking to tune into our blogs have a lot to do with the way that people think in general and we all know by now (c’mon, say it with me) “Pictures are worth a thousand words”. Just keep in mind that the first picture used in the post will more than likely be the photo that stands front and center as representative of your post. My little experiment proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that image choices is not just about what looks good, but it is also about strategy because the photography tends to set the mood for the article itself. The photos you use in your post can have the potential to downgrade the quality of the article if it does not blend well with the written content.

Experiment: Conduct your own experiment. Write a blog post and use an image, any image. Go back to the reader and see which one shows up! If your not too chicken to risks a few likes and views, this can help you to see  how the pictures in the post shows up when people are actually scrolling through the reader.

Read Out loud to Detect Writing Mistakes

I totally agree with Ezine Articles (who tend to have great writing tips overall). I have noticed this, the benefits of reading out loud to detect errors, in my own experiences. I wrote an article about it some time ago and just re-spinned the post recently. You can read about my thoughts on reading out loud verses reading silently here.

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If I Could Build a Time Machine

time-machine

Who I am today would melt away like falling snowflakes during freezing winters upon meeting the ground, for I would tear down the foundations to everything that built me. I would go back to change everything that makes me strong today. Arrogantly and ignorantly, I would rearrange days to fit my own endeavors; whatever pleases me that I will do. And those who’ve caused me pain I would exact vengeance. I would avoid hurt as if running from a plague, and strategically erase all traces of my own crime scene. Indeed, if I could build a time machine, I would fill my life with days of sunlight and sorrow would be a stranger to me. Childhood, Adulthood— I doubt if I would know the difference, for innocence and naiveté would cover me like fine linen. As such, my shoulders would not know what it’s like to bear heavy loads. My smooth skin would easily chip away at the sight of danger, my mind would know nothing of sacrifice, and in times of distress I would flood my bed with tears. They would fall dangerously from my eyelids like liquid apologies for not knowing the zip, slither, snap, and thump of a broken heart; for not understanding the crackling crunch of a spirit defeated; for pulling back the wounds of wisdom only to create outlines of invisibility, for I would cease to exist.

Don’t try to build time machines to go back to relive mistakes. Everything you are and everything you’ve endured is what makes you who you are today, flaws and all. That said, never linger on old wounds so much that you wish to go back. What is done is done. Meanwhile, the future has plenty of room for change. Embrace it.