Patience is Clarity

I’ve learned to make more moves and less announcements. To not announce my plans or to declare anything before it is done. To listen and to watch. To grow silently.  I’ve learned that there is movement in stillness and that  patience is clarity.

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One Week to Go!

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OK people, we have only one week before we go Beyond The Colored Line, so what are we doing about it? I’m not sure. I have been pondering how to culminate to Launch Day and I’m not exactly sure what I want to do. So I’m asking for your help. Below is a multiple choice questionnaire for you to help me decide what to do by telling me what sounds like the most fun. This will only work if everyone participates. I will be making a decision based on the poll no later than Wednesday. That gives everyone a little over two days to vote. The book comes out next Monday. Should I:

a). Hold a 3 Day Giveaway (8/19 Wed-8/21 Fri)

b). Hold a 1 Day Giveaway the day of Launch (8/24)

c). Create a Contest with one grand prize winner announced on Launch Day

d). A and C

Please use this form to submit your answers. I will respond by launching the winning letter Wednesday. If for any reason you have trouble with the form just hit my email directly at ahouseofpoetry@gmail.com.

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From the Foundation of the World

We bask in decisions we have already made and dance in the reward of work we have already put in. My unborn children are dancing circles around my womb. I am pregnant with goals that will give birth to the life they will one day live. Does the life you live today prepare you for the future? Have you ever wondered what makes up your final destination? Considered that the decisions you make today will determine the outcome of your life tomorrow. Or, to go deeper, that the decisions you make today will determine the outcome of my tomorrow? I am someone you do not know and you are someone I have never met, and yet the result of our decisions may very well cling onto one another as if torn from one flesh. What is my reward for being respectful today? For being considerate, for being mindful, or for being innovative. Will this be credited back to me? Can I depend on someone to love me when I am old and incapable and if so, how did I solidify that future today? Will my offspring reap the benefits of my labor? What eternal existence have we created out of the dust life birthed us with from the foundation of the world? Will we gather the elements of success into our hands so that we may mold the outcome of someone else’s future? Or will we allow the rains to devour that final taste of hope as if relinquishing our breaths to the sky in place of Noah’s ark.

Does Your Blog Reflect Your Purpose?

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This is a question I ask myself often. I must admit it didn’t turn out to be what I initially intended it to be, but that’s a good thing. Personally I think it’s important to be reminded of the answer to this question every now and again. It doesn’t just help me to stay focused on my objectives, but it can also help to produce post ideas. I know that the primary challenge to blogging is to come up with ideas to surround a post. The funny thing about this though is that many of you already have a lifetime worth of post right there in your head. The challenge then is not to consider what to write about, but to dig into your purpose for writing in the first place and connect that with the moment at hand. There’s this exercise I like to do when I’m stumped on what to publish each day. The exercise is that I pretty much just sit around! It looks like I’m staring out in space sure, but there’s a lot actually going on here. I’m digging into the moment. I stop and think about what is happening right now. It may just be the hum of a heater, the ticking of a clock, the whispered conversations of others or the constant stream of updates from CNN. Silently and attentively all of these seemingly unrelated happenings can easily culminate in a nice short story, a poem, or a random list of whatever.

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I’m not sure what direction this blogging thing could go. I would like to add more short stories, more poetry and more insight into the Self-Publishing world for sure. I also plan to continue with the daily quotes that concludes each days posts. Speaking of which, quotes were not part of my initial purpose for this blog. The quote thing actually came from how I usually interact on Facebook under my personal account, where I post lots of inspirational quotes. I decided later to add them here because there is more room to expound, plus I don’t like Facebook like that. As I polished my goals and plans for this blogging thing, I decided that since I like happy people, why not implement something for that purpose. So I think quotes are important to keep up with the inspiration aspect of my purpose.

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Quotes from other authors, writers, and poets are such a refreshing part of the motivation a lot of people need to keep going. Reading other people’s work is also one of the best ways to learn a new skill. And let us not forget about Recipe Sundays! For a little over a month now I’ve been posting delicious recipes to this blog every Sunday which was definitely not part of the plan. How exactly did this begin? To start, I just happen to love recipes. I’m actually not much of a cook (my husband’s the chef around here) so recipes helps motivate me to cook and to find the easiest, yet most delicious ways to do so. The Sunday part is simply because I’m usually at home on Sundays. Because of my already hectic every day schedule, Sundays have become my day to do it all, cook, clean, and anything else left lingering around during the week. I didn’t create a category for Recipe Sundays because I wasn’t sure if I could stay consistent with it, but maybe that is something I will implement to make it easier to find.

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In the end, my hope is to produce quality posts that are not just words to publish for the sake of publishing, but words of substance, of flesh and of bone. Words that don’t just capture your attention but come frequently; complete with all the hunger and thirst that is needed to stick around. I suppose my hope for this blog is that I can transform it into the living, breathing personification of all the symbolism that embodies Pearls Before Swine. We’ll see where it takes us.

New Month, New Goals

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My, how this year has passed; a lot has changed, and a lot has come and gone. I’ve ended a blog and began one. All in all the experience has been worth both the good and bad. What are experiences for anyway if we can’t learn from them? Today I just want to speak briefly on blogging goals. I know I know who am I right? Why does this small blog of barely 300 followers write like she’s got 30,000? Who am I to give advice with all these splinters in my eyes? Well I’m glad you asked; I’m no one actually. Just another writer thriving on nothing but a bowl full of passion; I do not desire you to know my name or pity my story, I just wanna right, is that alright? I think so.

Have Fun

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So here we are. Since we’ve come to the end of the year, I just want to spew a couple of words of inspiration for all the new bloggers who will be joining us next year as well as old bloggers who are still struggling to drive their blogs in the direction intended for them. I don’t know what your goals are but the word today is Goal. What we really want to do is have both a Primary Goal and Sub Goals. There are two parts to the Primary Goal. The first part is just to have fun. Remember that this is your blog after all and your happiness will determine the level of passion you put into your posts. Do not over think this blogging thing, just blog and have fun doing it. And that my friends, having fun, is what keeps me writing. I do not desire a spot next to the red carpet. Yes, it will be nice to kiss the sky and tread on the clouds below me but there’s a time for that and it is not now. Right now I’m just taking it a step at a time and enjoying the moment, being ecstatic about the little things like those who join this blog, who like this blog, who interacts with this blog, and who view this blog. That’s why I can give advice and share poetry and write stories because I actually enjoy what I’m doing so I have no fear that I have not reached the level of “professionalism” some may deem necessary.

Primary Goal

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The next part of your Primary Goal is to actually have one, the objective for your entire blogging presence, the thing that brought you here. For some of you, maybe it’s just an outlet, for others perhaps it is business oriented but no matter the reason there must be one. The funny thing is though, you really just have to know what you want to do next. You don’t have to over-complicate it, just outline what you want to do next. It doesn’t matter the kind of information you seek to push, whether you are a descriptive writer, or a poet, whether you are here to persuade or to inform, no matter the reason remember that you are interacting with people. Do not let the massive World Wide Web fool you into thinking you’ve become a microchip inside a computer, and that you are not made up of flesh and bone. You are a person, and as such you are interacting with people. For this reason it doesn’t matter that you are just here to spread truth or push agendas or religious doctrine or whatever it is. Even so you must still realize that blogging is an online platform from which you are interacting and networking with others. Remember that no one likes to be preached to. You must use this opportunity to instead inform in ways that will attract people. Do not get so far on the high horse that you cannot relate to those of us still on the ground. It’s ok to laugh and to share some of your life experiences, your joys, your woes, or the new puppy you got yesterday and at the same time tie it into whatever message you have to give to the people. Never compromise your identity, never change who you are, and never let others change who you are, but in the midst of simply having fun make sure you keep the primary goal at the forefront and tie it into your blog identity.

Sub Goals

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I also think it’s important to have Sub Goals. Sub Goals are like Sub Titles; those small messages under the bigger message. They are those short term goals you wish to achieve to ultimately achieve that primary goal. For example: If your Primary Goal is to drive book sells, maybe your Sub Goal is to publish at least two short stories a day. What this will do for your blog is help to begin an organization of it so that you have something to offer to the people. You may want to include those features your Blogging 101 just talked about. I have something called Recipe Sunday for example. It is not a name I actually created a category for, but it is a feature I include on my blog every Sunday under the Audience Participation tab. In this feature, I feature recipes for various foods and snacks that can help those of us who are not chefs to better whip up some delicious meals. I love recipes and using them when I cook so this also gives you a taste of who I am as a person so your not talking to fingers on a keyboard with no hands attached. Does this mean I want to become a chef now? Does it mean I have compromised my identity as a servant? Does it mean I no longer want to write poetry? Of course not. It’s just another avenue to which I can engage and interact with my audience. This helps me to build because I will then get subscriptions from those people who are into food, who do like to cook, and who are actually chefs while simultaneously putting my message into a physical manifestation of being. It’s not just about telling people stuff, it’s about showing them and organizing your posts can help you to be that example and organization starts with Sub Goals. Decide on how many posts you want to publish a day depending on your schedule. Keep it fun so if that’s one post a week so let it be. The plan is not to stress out about it. Stressing out about it means worrying which means no writing for you and that’s not what we want. What we want is for your message or goal or whatever to get out there so no pulling your hair out. Just think carefully about how often you want to post and stick to that schedule as closely as you can. Then decide on what kind of special feature to include. This can be something as elaborate as a picture or as fancy as a list, your blog, your prerogative. Then put everything in its own folder, we call these categories in the blogosphere, so put everything in a category. This is just the basics though because you want to also scan the community a little bit too. The best way to drive traffic to your blog is be what you want others to be. If you want someone to treat you with respect do the same for them. So get on out of the corner and walk around the neighborhood. Participate in blogging challenges, follow some blogs, comment on some blogs, and like some blog posts. Incorporate this into your schedule as well; give the people some variety, something to look forward to. So you may decide: I will publish one post a day, like 5 blog post by someone else, and follow 10. That’s a schedule and sticking to this schedule as closely as possible will help to increase traffic to your blog and increase the chances of you accomplishing your goal. Like I said, if you think your too good to get involved because the content on your blog is so great then keep doing what your doing and bringing your goal to nothingness. If I have a computer I cannot use why do I have it? If I have something that cannot produce fruit, why do I have it? If you created a blog to reach people, why are you still blogging if you don’t want to reach people? The truth is that your content may just be great, in fact, it may be salvation itself, but even when you’re spreading the truth you still have to be able to reach people. You can’t just throw a ball into the air and hope that someone catches it; you have to get out there and be the change you want to see in others.

Complaining Announcements

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The last thing I want to speak briefly about is complaining announcements. I’m not talking about a blog post of you complaining, that’s your thing and if you want to complain be my guest, that’s your business. What I am talking about is this: If for whatever reason you could not publish the one post you dedicated yourself to, don’t announce it. No one cares until you announce it. You have a life, we get it, we understand. If I spit a piece you’ve never heard before and I mess up the poem no one will know unless I make it known that I have erred. So relax people. You don’t have to come back and apologize for not writing yesterday. Instead, take that energy and write twice as much today to catch up. If your goal was one post published a day and you missed a day, publish two posts the next day. The content can actually be about what held you up, was it your sons’ baseball game? Did he win? Was there a fat guy whose head was too big for you to see the fields? How was this experience? Tell us about that instead. Hold yourself accountable for staying true to the schedule so that you can achieve those little goals. It is not big steps that get us to the finish line faster, it’s the energy and dedication we put into those tiny steps we take every day. Remember:  slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.