Currently Browsing: Blogging Along
Nov 14, 2013
Where do I begin?
For the last 48 hours, I have ridden a roller coaster of adrenaline and anxiety like I haven’t experienced in a while. Maybe not since my last big crisis. Like the driver’s license debacle. Or the stove thing (not created but definitely fretted over). Or the time I gave the church a $300 check and thought it was a $30 check which sent my bank account spinning.
But the place that gets me the worst for possible upheaval is this computer. Several posts have been written about this weakness.
On Tuesday I attempted what should have been a simple upgrade. And it turned into a heart stopping nauseating 2 day ordeal in which I lost my blog as it is now, and all of my pictures. The content was backed up but everything else was gone.
First, I acknowledged that my baby was OK. Besides then recognizing the many cliches I can pull into the story like ‘resistance is futile’ or ‘we often meet our fortune on the way to avoiding it’, and ‘it is what it is until it isn’t anymore’, I remembered life lesson #34 ; knowing what you don’t want to do is as important as knowing what you want to do.
I did not want to stop blogging. It has become such a part of who I am, like my beloved Bally Eden, that I may be more ready than I thought I was, to step it up to the next level.
Thankfully, I had a friend who was kind enough to offer her calming voice and assurance that, one way or another, we’d do something to carry on. I was to enjoy my baby for a few minutes and then call the web host and ask to have my blog set back to a prior date/time. I was still extraordinarily nervous as I awaited this conceptually positive outcome.
More wisdom from this “occurrence”? ‘It’s over when it’s over’ and ‘soon this will all be a nightmare’. My faithful readers, I love you dearly for sticking with me. I will rise like a phoenix from these ashes. And will be back to regularly spewing my own Shalagh flavored drivel with pretty pictures on my regular rotation which has been, and will remain, thrice a week.
Nov 10, 2013
The problem with coming out of such an active month (October…crazy posting every day) is that I think I should want to not do anything for November. But my creative brain wants no part of a forced hiatus. So what I got is a dust cloud in my brain. Moments of clarity are followed by a haze that won’t lift on demand. And the haze is created by all the coulds, shoulds, can’ts and cans which built up while I was focused elsewhere.
At night I stay up to get a handle on it. Catch up. Get ahead. It’s not too late. To whip it, whip it good. And then in the next day’s light, the charm is gone and I’m watching my baby crawl and thinking again of stolen time I won’t be getting so that I can’t get ahead. Sigh. No clarity there.
4 hours of babysitter time each week isn’t enough now. No way to get the many jobs I am responsible for completed incompetently and keep the baby alive at the same time.
Recently, I feel the need to be extremely clear about where I am headed, what it’ll take to get there, and then make that happen.
That is going to take extra thought and effort. It’s called creating goals and I am scared.
I am inspired by another online e-course on blogging with Decor8. And by some wonderful blog posts I’ve read recently on courage and faith. And creativity. Do not forget creativity. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy. Just ready for the next chapter is all.
My plan is to go deep and clarify my thoughts through the next couple days. And come out with a better perspective.
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and devotion. I am stunned by and grateful for it.
Sep 16, 2013
I had the privilege of attending a creative meetup in Baltimore at the end of August courtesy of Jennifer Cooper of Classic Play and Kara Johnson, creator of a blog called A Creative Reality. After meeting at a blogging conference,these two dynamic women conceived and created the Cone Collective, a group for the benefit of uniting creative people. And I am a happy creative member. Named after the famous art collecting sisters whose collection comprises a whole wing at the BMA, they’ve created a club of creatives and throw parties, or meet-ups, for all of us to meet one another and be creatively inspired. I was there for this 5th meetup and it was held in the Spur Design Studio in my former hood of Hampden. ( I will delight you with pictures of our quick spin on the Avenue in my next post.)
Jennifer’s on the left.
Spur Design Studio was super cool.
Prints for sale
Everywhere I looked there was pretty
There were guest speakers on several aspects of being a professional creative. Andrea Pippins names her co-panelists and sums up her panel participation and her walk away inspiration wonderfully on a post on her Flygirlblog. Other guest ‘discussers’ were Caroline Urdaneta, blogger and Mom of four, who’s Salsa Pie creative kid crafts projects are now mini videos produced by PBS. She and her videos are very sweet. And the young Alisa, location director for Raw Baltimore, a showcase event for all sorts of artists, many of whom need promotional help for their art and through these events, they get to shine.
Here’s two thoughts I took away. Video is the now thing. And don’t underestimate your value to large brands. Ms. Jennifer is blogging for the likes of Pepperidge Farms and Disney. And she too has gotten a video opportunity with PBS. And she believes in pay it forward. These are bloggers who are hard at work and still are making the time to be here for the rest of us. Stellar gals all of them.
Today, I wanted to share the questions and answers from Jennifer about why she organizes these meet-ups, what drives her, and if there’s such a thing as enough?
Cone Collective Meet-up/Questions for Jennifer:
Me : This is your fifth meet-up? What is your reward in continuing to organize these meet-ups? Is there a personal satisfaction or a professional perk in doing this?
Jennifer : A bit of both. Professionally it was good for me to get out there in front of people. It’s not always something I’ve been great at. It also gave me (insight) into just how difficult it is to pull off events and pull them off well. As far as personal satisfaction goes, I crave the energy that comes from hanging out with other creative types.
As far as reward, it’s really comes down to those personal connections I’ve made. I know, so self serving, right?! It also makes me happy to hear that other people got something out of it too.
During the panel discussion, I noticed everyone agreed they were “happy” after answering the question about sacrifice to make the creativity happen/pay-off. What is your definition of “enough” success or creative productivity? And what’s the relativity to the happiness factor? Can you be happy in the process?
Ooh, you ain’t pulling any punches are you? Okay, full honesty here: I don’t know if there’ll be “enough” creative productivity. At least, for right now, at this particular point in time, I can’t envision what it’d look like. I’m still in the process of discovery and becoming. Maybe that’ll be a process that never ends. And the happiness, for me, comes with doing. I’m not thinking of things I could be doing, I’m doing them. Granted, I’m not doing them all well (some of them are a right hot mess), but I’m doing.
I absolutely heard your “people said I’m clever” comment. Can you repeat that comment and explain why it’s not a compliment. Is what you really want to be recognized as talented or capable? What is that?
You know how we all have something that bugs us? Something that’s not entirely rational? That clever thing is one of them. It’s silly, but to me, it sounds diminutive. So yeah, I suppose what I wanted was to be recognized for being talented or creative. Clever reminds me of some sly fox, and we all know the sly fox is the butt of the joke in the story.
Is the drive to be successful, as with many of us, a need not to be seen solely as a Mom (not that there’s anything wrong with that)? Or is it the fear of non-achievement, illegitimacy, or incapability that drives us?
Hmm… I’m not sure. It’s kinda hard to psychoanalyze myself, but I think it’s two-fold. First, I really do want to help make people’s lives better. That’s the empathy component. And the more successful you are, the more people you reach, and the more change you can affect in people’s lives. (Maybe that’s a God complex? I hope not, because that’d be a huge burden) Second, yeah, I suppose it’s that I have an aversion to being defined by such rigid constraints. We could look into that further but I’m afraid you’d have to charge me a therapy fee.
Was there a point, after you’d busted your hump to establish a product and presence, when you could relax a little?
Not yet. In fact, and this is something I’m struggling with now, but it’s had a snowball effect. The more work I produce, the more work I seem to have. I don’t want to complain right now though because after taking so many years off to raise the kids, it’s amazing to have the work. But I do fear I’m starting to spread myself too thin.
What do you think about the balancing act of being mother and artist? How do you balance being good mother and productive artist?
I love this question. I love it because I think that by being a productive artist, I’m showing my kids that their art (and I use that term broadly) is important too.
Thanks again Jennifer for your efforts and your time. Many people aren’t as nice. I wonder why?
I am thankful to Jennifer and Kara for their dedication to other creatives. And I agree wholeheartedly that it’s in talking and communicating with one another that we are inspired to up the ante on our creativity. We become inspired and accountable to people in a way that you don’t and can’t conceive of sitting behind your computer screen. And what I didn’t mention to her, or anyone save my husband and a friend or two, is that I’m thinking that this epidemic of meet up events may need to land a spell on the Eastern Shore. And I know just the gal to pull something like that off.
Sep 11, 2013
Before I began to craft my blog in 2011, I’d like to tell you I was an avid follower of many other fabulous bloggers. But I wasn’t. I happened into this in a lurching sideways manner. Over these past couple years though, I’ve read and followed a fair number of them. The best of which have remained in my “blogs I follow list” which may or may not be in the sidebar to the right. I was particularly inspired by one very popular blogger who, every October, does an entire month’s worth of posts around a chosen subject. That is a post a day for 31 days.
This concept intrigued me on several different levels. That you could write on any one subject 31 times and have all of them be different. That you could use the blog as a place to be accountable to your readership with promises of whatever sort you can conceive or create. And that you can challenge yourself and rise to your creative potential. Wow. Plus you have to use the schedule option to mail these suckers out because it would be way easier.
For most of these past two years, I’ve sent these posts out “by hand” thinking that was the truest form of blogging. A purist’s way born of truth and inspiration. Ah malarkey. Yes, I’m not as excited about the post when I actually publish it as when I wrote it. But you don’t know that. It’s my enthusiasm of the subject I’m writing that matters. And the pretty pictures.
Which brings me back to 31 days of Pretty Pictures. I have always intended to put many more pretty pictures on Shalavee. And I’ve decided that to do this concept justice and have some fun, I’m willing to set myself to the challenge of doing so for the month of October. And my readership who enjoys that sort of thing will get such a dose that their heads might pop off. I’m listening to your needs here.
So to recap, as of October 1st, you can enjoy 31 days in a row of Pretty Picture Blogs. Meanwhile, you may have to just suffer September with some chat atcha posts. Love Ya’, Need Ya’, Can’t Live Without Ya’. No really, I mean it.
Sep 9, 2013
From those that don’t blog, I get this bewildered look when I tell them I write a blog. A what? What do you do exactly? Why? How do you make money doing that? All great questions I certainly had as well before I started to write a blog. Ever notice how the vantage point changes when you begin to walk around a place?
I write because I must and blogs are a fabulous format to dither on about whatever you’d like in whatever fashion you want. Like an onion, there are layers to their development and purpose. After blogging for two years, which have felt long and short depending, I have come back around to the Why. Why am I writing a blog?
I again have asked myself what I need/want from this experience. The differentiation between need and want will require deeper thought later.
And here’s my list.
Why Do I Blog ?_______________
Esteem and Self-Esteem
To Make A Difference
To Meet New People
To Show and Tell
Bigger Writing Opportunities
Collaborate with Creatives
To learn new skills
So there you have it. From the deeper pages of my journals, an official list of the whys. We all have our own brain hurdles that lay in our paths. Mine include being shy, not wanting to act like an egomaniac, and thinking what I say makes no difference to anyone. Add your own dysfunction here.
I had to showcase this profile picture I found on twitter. She’s doing all the right things to work this social media system. So please don’t think me unkind when I say I get the feeling, if she spoke to you, you could smell the desperation of being acceptable and perfecty perfect on her breath. I want to get work and I want people to like what I do but not this badly. What I really want is to make genuine friends and connections with people.
Blogging can bring this feeling of constantly needing to be ‘on’ for the public. A continual performance on the social media stage. But it can kill the creative that feels the need to step off the stage and spend time in uninterrupted silence creating and comprehending oneself. I spoke of this struggle for popularity vs. creativity on a past post called Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don’t Care. “Getting caught up in numbers takes you away from the reason to blog in the first place”. And Sandra of Raincoast Creative Salon started the conversation in this post, Never Enough “Likes”.
Yet there’s a drive I’ve noticed with fellow bloggers. We sense that this is just a necessary means to accomplish our further goals. At times, driven by the fear that I may not find myself happy for my efforts. I’m overwhelmed by the infinite possible tools (apps and social networking) to become better and more popular. And I am exhausted before I even go to the places I’m supposed to be online to do all the infinite aforementioned tasks. Sigh.
With any direction one takes, you have to get down to the nitty-gritty. Figure out exactly what to stand for, what that will take, and find people of like minds who dig that. And then get someone to pay me to do what I already do and honestly believe I’m worth the effort. Did I say “one”? I meant me. You can include yourself if you want but this is me doing a talk through.
So I’m going to ask the Universe for some more specific help. What I specifically need. Manifest destiny. Here goes.
I Need The Following:
1) To be more debt free. Having half of my mortgage paid off would be nice but I‘d settle for not feeling overwhelmed every month.
2) Two days of baby help.
3) A friend who wants to help me redesign/ redecorate my house.
4) A new prettier reformatted website that I love and reflects me.
5) Garden help.
6) A blogging mentor.
7) A magazine submission mentor.
Notice I didn’t say ‘getting the work’ because I feel like that will come. And that would certainly help with the debt. The two marked in orange are wishes that I have been granted already, even before I publish this windy little post. I had them in my head and I asked for the help and I got it. I have put in requests for a couple others so we’ll see. Apparently, you need to ask for the help first before you can get it. And you have to know what it is you want to then know what help is needed.
So to those who continue to read my drivel, thank you so much for humoring me. And if you have any thoughts on how I might acheive any of my other goals, do tell. Eamon says I ought to play the lottery more often. Good call Eamon. That would be one way of increasing the opportunities for number one to be fulfilled.
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