The Second Thursday of Every Month

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Be sure to tune into your favorite Ape the second Thursday of every month starting next month for my articles. Coming Up: “Enjoy the Journey”, Thursday, February 9, 2017 @ 01:100a London, UK Time.

Sometimes we need to slow down and capture the moment for what it is. Step outside of ourselves and see things play out as if we are not there. Then we can see our actions in their most genuine form, identify our mistakes and most especially, acknowledge those things we have accomplished. We spend a lot of time on what need to be done or should be done in order to reach that level of (place your career goals here) that we envision is representative of success that we do not take the time to appreciate the success we already have. Sometimes you don’t need to do anything. Just be still. Take the time to truly love what it is that you do. Enjoy the journey.

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Re-Spinning Posts: How You Can Self-Evaluate Your Blog

OK so you know that post you wrote last year that only got 3 likes and 2 views? Come on, we’ve ALL been there.

If you are new to this blog (Welcome! Waves) you may notice that I re-spin a lot of my posts. I expect anywhere from 50-100 new followers each month, which means a lot of new faces have not seen older posts, especially those that have really proven to be valuable. I try to re-spin my poetry at least once every year for this reason. I also re-spin posts I’d like to get more exposure. New faces also mean new perspectives.

Re-spinning posts is basically when you re-post a previously posted post (feel like I’m over writing the word post here). When this happens, the post shows up at the top of the reader and it also reaches the inboxes of new  e-mail followers who may not have been around when you first published it. < Please re-read last sentence.

I didn’t start off re-spinning (I still believe you have to be blogging for at least next to a year to build up material before re-spinning so it doesn’t get stale). In fact, I didn’t even know what it was. I remember the days I engaged in conversations with other bloggers about it, trying to understand it. After a year or ten months or so of blogging I decided why not? And I started re-posting previous posts just to test the waters. While I am still learning, so far, one of the main advantages I have noticed about re-spins is being able to self-evaluate my blogs content:

Self-Evaluation

What I have come to understand about blogging is this: There is no one method to doing it “correctly”. There are so many different elements that may make a blog “successful”. Sometimes people have tons of followers but not many views meaning only a handful of those thousands of followers are actually tuning in (Reminds me of social media in general, where numbers can be deceiving. Out of 4,000 Twitter followers, for instance, how many of them are actually valuable followers? Meaning, how many of them, for a business account, can actually provide insight and leverage to that business verses how many of them are family and friends?) Some people have lots of viewers but only a handful of followers. Some people get lots of commentary coming in along the comments section (what’s up with my alliteration today actually?) but not many likes on the posts. Content and social interaction also play a role, time of day, I can go on and on. This is why Blogging Confidence is important because there’s no one way to do it. The more confident you are in your blog and writing in general the more others will connect with you. Lots of followers or lots of viewers can mean nothing or it can mean everything depending on how you look at it.

While there is no one way to do it, re-spinning posts in my opinion has become a great tool in self-evaluating the quality of content on this blog.

The Process

You have to understand that in your mind the post is nothing short of brilliant. You put your whole foot and every other body part in it. The fact that everyone else didn’t understand your brilliance is beyond you. But, if you really want to see if others are benefiting from your writing (besides yourself), here’s what I do to self-evaluate:

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I search through my posts, picking and choosing a certain category. Let’s say poetry. I find a poem that didn’t get much attention. “Hmmm”, I think to myself. “Why?”

I click on edit and look at a few things. Can I rephrase how this was written? Is the photo taking away from the post? (Which it sometimes can). What about those tags? I have come to discover some poor tagging habits in my past! Sometimes the tag just didn’t make any sense and had nothing to do with the price of tea in China. And what about structure? Could it have been formatted differently? (I’m totally in love with the “Justified” paragraph formatting! Everything is lined up and it just looks super neat).

Edit

Before I re-spin a post I edit something about it. This isn’t to say grammatically or the content necessarily but something else about it. The tags for instance is an example of what I usually edit. Rotating the tags also grabs the attention of people who  blog under certain tags and have therefore never seen your post before. After rotating the tags I make sure everything in the content is spelled correctly and makes sense (at least to me). I also make sure the post is in the appropriate category. (If its a poem don’t put it in articles, put it in poetry! If you write poetry and you don’t have a poetry category– unless all you write is poetry– make one now and make sure all poetry is in its own category. This will increase its visibility when people search “poetry” or “spoken word”) Bam, we’re ready. I schedule it to post again.

NOTE: When re-spinning successful posts (lots of views/likes) I wouldn’t edit it too much. It was successful for a reason. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Observation

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This is an important part of the process. If a post that got poor attention before now blows up I know that it wasn’t the content itself, it was just how I published it. Maybe I used five tags instead of fifteen or perhaps it had too many typos. However, if the post still gets poor attention its not that I’m a bad writer, it’s just that the blogging world obviously does not get how brilliant I really am.

Seriously though, if the post is still not attracting attention then you know its time to check the actual content of the post. I have found that it’s not the words themselves, but it is how the words are presented. I have re-spun lots of posts that were poorly written and re-written again. In this process, I have noticed that the re-written article, with slightly different wording, did better than its ancestor.

Blogging and Writing: The Benefits

edit-your-blog-postsI do believe blogging has had an impact on my writing life and that it can do the same for you. While not every blogger is a writer, as a writer I do not separate the two. For me, blogging and writing has a unique relationship. There is something about instant feedback that I believe helps bloggers to improve their writing. Yes, like a critique group of sorts and for bloggers who also happen to be writers, this can only be a good thing. At its core, writing is communication. It is about recording thoughts and while not all bloggers are writers blogging is still a platform that presents people with a unique medium from which to express themselves in writing. To that end, writing  improves with practice. Blogging will not make  you a better writer, but it can highlight those areas where improvement is necessary. It also helps to highlight those areas of strength. For me, blogging is not the key to authored success or anything like that and it is not something influenced by money. What it does instead is help to increase my interaction with readers which has a natural ability to sharpen my writing skills. When you know people are watching you have no choice but to produce your best, and becoming a better writer holds important benefits for the rest of your life—whether you are writing a book, a presentation, a resume, or a love letter to your spouse.

Because the process of writing includes recording thoughts on paper, the blogging process forces you to think about what you’re going to say before you say it, and encourages you to stop and think deeper. You will delve deeper into the matters of your life and the worldview that shapes them and how to communicate this over to people in a way they can understand it. With immediate feedback by way of Likes and Follows, you’ll get to see how others view your form of writing and gain access to instant critique. Blogging can help you to write more, and in so doing stay focused on your writing goals. Blogging can not only improve and change your writing life; it also changes the life of the reader. As you write, the reader gains and because blogs are free for the audience and open to the public, on many levels, it is an act of giving. It is a selfless act of service to invest your time, energy, and worldview into a piece of writing and then offer it free to anybody who wants to read it. You will find your voice, and others will find inspiration.

Dear Me

If you cannot acknowledge changes you need to make in your own life, you cannot demand change to take place in the life of others. If you cannot recognize progression in your own life, you will not recognize progression in the life of others. So (inspired by poet Rudy Francisco), I have put together this list, a letter of sorts to myself. It’s not exactly a poem (yet), but if I had to tell myself about myself, this is the list of 10 things I would advise myself:

• Dear Mind, you’re beautiful. It’s OK to let down some of these walls.

• Dear Hair, we’ve been through a lot together and honestly you used to get on my nerves, but I finally appreciate you, the most beautiful ropes I’ve ever seen.

• Dear Eyes, stop limiting yourself and see beyond what you can see.

• Dear Ears, pay attention. Not with the intent to reply, but with the intent to understand.

• Dear Heart, you dictate my life that much is clear, but like seriously, control yourself.

• Dear Emotions, you take things way too seriously and store them far too deep.

• Dear Hands, the storage place for my thoughts; honestly I like you more than the others.

• Dear Mouth, learn to open in your season and not  a moment before or after that.

• Dear Legs, don’t be afraid to lead.

• Dear Faith, you got roots, but the mountains are still waiting for you to move them. Keep growing.