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Currently Browsing: Blogging Along

Jane Said

We “met” during an online blogging course given by Holly Becker of Decor8.  I think I have a sixth sense for fellow Virgos and her familiar passion for creating, cooking, and mothering felt like home. Mostly, she’s honest and sweet and I am always excited to see what the next step she’s taking with her blog. Because she’s fearless and very impressive.

Meet Jane Gilheaney Barry, blogger and creator at That Curious Love of Green and Momma living in County Leitrim in North West Ireland. I am always impressed and inspired by her. For her tenacity to write a book in the wee hours of a winter with little ones in the house. And to pick up painting and driving within the same year. We are both proud late bloomers and have embraced so many of the same growth and creative concepts within the same time period.  We both had no idea what blogging would gift to us. One of those gifts was connections with other bloggers around the world. Back when I was pregnant, we even Skyped once without sound. She was charming as heck in that long distance live silent movie moment. As her then 2-year-old fished into her purse she typed, “oh was that my new lipstick. Oh well.” But that I could have heard that fabulous accent too.

Peruse her site and you’ll find her very honest and open. From her journey of creative self-discovery to her love of cooking, country, family, and farming, she’s a delight to know, or stalk. And her pictures of her beautiful daughters and house are candid and charming too.

Recently, in this post she wrote called Even More Books,  Jane responded to a comment by a woman named Melissa with the kindest most enthusiastic and truthful response to a stranger that I was moved to share this on my blog. This is what we do as human beings, lift one another up with our experiences. I may not see what I do for others but I saw this and felt lucky to have done so.

Dear Melissa,

I’m what you might call ‘truly artistic’ and it took me 39 years to really get started. I’d say I was the same as you, writing and drawing as a child and so on. I truly believe everyone is creative and some uber so. From what you describe you’re in the ‘uber’ camp, no doubt in my mind. For years the most creative thing I did was cooking too, and before that dressing, the days when I had a bit of cash. And all times I felt these things you feel and I knew I wanted to write, to paint but I just did not know HOW to do it.
That idea, ‘if you are creative you will create no matter what,’ is not as clear-cut as it seems. In one sense you already ‘are’ creating no matter what, the cooking, the searching, in your ideas and the way you think I’ll bet. But it’s not enough and you know that, like I knew that. My problem was I had no frame of reference for these things. I just did not know HOW to write or paint, where to start.
My best decision was starting the blog, that leap was the trigger I needed. Once I began I felt I had to blog at least once a week. I wondered what I’d ever find to write about but quickly found once I sat down the words came!

Then the terror of sharing, of putting myself out there, being vulnerable, oh the fear! But then that got easier. Then I noticed a style start to emerge, who knew! Each new discovery, each step took me further, to wider reading on the subject, to greater immersion in art in general, the list goes on.Jane in her library on the curious love of green from shalavee.com

Then the big one, the idea for the book and I knew now to trust it, to just go where it lead. When I started, terror! I froze, the seeming impossiblity, the sheer scale of it. Melissa, I forced myself. A strict rule of, at first 300 words a day, eventually up to 1000, in other words commitment, work. Then, the magic really started. I won’t go into it here as this is already so long I’ll just say as I’ve said here many times before, that writing the novel, trusting that process was what made me brave enough to start painting with the month-long daily PUBLIC challenge. The difference was this time I knew what to do, just start, commit, keep going. I refused to miss even one single day and the experience was out of this world, life changing.
Now I’ve definitely gone on enough about myself but my point is that NOW I will create no matter what. If I’m not writing I’m thinking about writing or still writing, only in head. I will find a way to write every day and do. This is because I ‘started’ committed, built a habit, felt the magic and then boom, obsession!
You have to find a way to make space for your creativity in your life, this is HARD for an adult! As Ken Robinson said,

‘Creativity is like many natural resources, buried deep.’

But once you start to take it seriously and give it time and space in your day you will find yourself in that place where you will create no matter what and it will help with the stresses too.
If you would like to send me something via email …(you are) welcome. One last thing. I think a lot of the time we are so concerned about not being good enough, we think we should be great from the start and of course we hope we have this potential, that’s natural. The sad thing is it stops people just out of the gate. This happened me hundreds of times, if only I’d had the knowledge to put all those hundreds together!

Now I hope and fully intend to be a great writer, of course, I’m thinking if I write every day for the next, oh five years without fail I will get there.
So you have started! That is wonderful! Most people never do. Keep going! Build a wall of positive thinking around you, blast every negative thought that you can’t or you’re not good enough with this thought ‘But I’m doing it,’ or, another favourite of mine,

‘Every negative thought is a lie’

I use that one a lot.
Finally, I really mean finally this time! There is another reward, that is you become enchanted with the process, not the goal. It is the work you will love. The joy really is in the journey. I sincerely hope this helps, write any time , I would love to hear how it all goes, I’m excited for you! You’re in such an exciting place.

Love Jane xox

Of course, I was brave and made sure I said Bravo to all of this. Because when something hits home, you should shout “Yeah!” And then the lovely woman to whom she wrote responded. And I quickly grabbed that and put it here. I certainly hope she doesn’t mind but I feel as if I witnessed a lovely gift exchange and I wanted to share.

Jane, thank you so much for taking the time to respond with such caring thought and kindness. I continue to be amazed by you! Shalagh is so right, I am indeed lucky to have found you Jane. I am inspired by your multi talent and also your kindness. Wow, I needed to hear those words, they resonate with me at a very deep level. You’ve definitely given me something to think about. I appreciate the invitation to write to you so much, it means a lot, more than I can adequately express in words.

<3 Thank you.

If you like my creativity, positivity, and wonder, you’ll love Jane as well. I suggest you visit her Facebook page where she has developed a great following and is endlessly posting lovely pictures and thoughts and encourages people to share their creativity on Fridays. She really is an incredible inspiration. And I am flattered to be considered a friend.

More posts from That Curious Love of Green that make me marvel

The Artists Way – A Book Review

Feed Four for One Week 45.40 Euros

Chapter 1 of My Book – Read it Now

Corraleehan

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Wrapping Up My Blogging Workshop

My blogging workshop finally happened last weekend in musty little building back in the woods on the waterfront property in Easton, Maryland known as the Evergreen Cove. I arrived before the 9:30 start time and early enough to bake up a tray full of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls to smell up the place and then went to greet people at the door.Spring at Evergreen Cove in Easton, Maryland on Shalavee.com

Mr Gerald Sweeney, aka Mr. Gerry the current President of the Eastern Shore Writers Association, introduced me to my class of 15 with such fanfare and accolades, he made me laugh at how awesome I sounded. I told the attendees if they didn’t enjoy the workshop, it was all his fault for talking me into it.My blogging workshop on Shalavee.com

The majority of the attendees of my workshop entitled The Why is the How: Intentional Blogging 101, were seeking a basic understanding of blogging. The hows, always the hows. And what I made sure to insist in the beginning and throughout was that those are secondary. It’s your whys, or maybe your why nots, that will lead you or thwart you from your blog beginning. We agree to our bossy fears blaming our hows. I can’t because “I don’t know how” is subterfuge.water view from the Evergreen Cove on Shalavee.com

I gave everyone the best of my knowledge, the personal stories of the gifts of my unexpected blogger friendships, and my near fatal technological errors. And I did this all with the humor and compassion that I am made of. The most important fact to impart to these lovely people was that they can do it for themselves and I will be here to support them. Because I didn’t have a mentor when I needed one and everyone deserves a mentor.The stone path at the Evergreen Cove in Easton, Maryland on Shalavee.com

I am a huge fan of ‘Drops in the bucket’, ‘One foot in front of the other’, and 15 minute increments. Or “Just start” as Mr. George interpreted afterwards. He was my star pupil. This very intelligent intuitive gentleman and scholar, and a spry 80-year-old, picked up everything I was putting down. And graciously bestowed compliments on me afterwards. I will forever be devoted to him. His emails these lovely comments to me.

Shalagh,

As I fully expected you made a fine presentation. It was humorous, informative, practical, energetic and you made my most ominous enemy look less fearsome. I’m ready to face my dragon. I think I’ll take him on this week.”

And then …

I thought your comment about being clear about ‘why’ I might want to do this was profound. That is the heart of so many dreams that get stalled – we’re not sure of just what we want from the dream.

Best,

George”

I plan to do future meet-ups for bloggers where they can ask follow-up questions of me and create further support and community with each other. Mr George said now they know enough to come up with intelligent questions to ask next time we meet. I followed up the class by sending out and sharing more resources and email addresses. I’ve done all that I could.Me and Mr Gerry after my blogging workshop on Shalavee.com

I so hope that each of these lovely people find their personal whys and a place to stand permitting them to jump into this blog journey that I have so unexpectedly enjoyed. There are moments when you do wonder what you were thinking when you started, much like parenthood. And then other times you wonder how you could have lived with out the title of blogger and the gifts and privileges that go with it. Life sometimes takes a while to show you the truth in your actions and yet you must have faith that there’s a story brewing worth telling at some point.

Writers Need Blogs

As writers, we not only need to write, but we need to be read. I am not sure I’d believe a writer who said otherwise. Here’s the rub : no one will read what you’ve written if they don’t know you, like you, or especially if they’ve never heard of you.

While the nature of a writer is to be antisocial, locked up inside his imagination cavern churning out a book he hope one day will be read by others, the irony is that the work still needs to be publicized, outside of his brain. You can be the most amazing writer ever and still you need to increase the odds of people knowing you, liking you, and hearing about you to eventually be read by them. How do you accomplish this? By blogging and becoming an identity separate from your book. Or a compelling entity that compliments the work you do.

Wa-Ka Wa-Ka on Shalavee.com

Today’s writers know that the market is glutted with all sorts of starry-eyed writers whose stuff doesn’t suck but will never be promoted by a “proper” publishing house. Maybe that is still a possibility some day but promotions are up to you now. And you will have to work on them as slowly and steadily as you did your writing, one connection at a time. One post, one new friend, and one interesting tidbit at time.

Eventually, you will need to be seen as a human to be the talented star that you know you are. But until that happens, you just need to give your future readers a chance to know you and let them discover your work as well. Writers need blogs.

As usual, I had to learn all this the “hard way”. What began as just online writing practice for me,  eventually became writing work I wanted to have read. But it’s tough writing to a mute audience without faces. Eventually, I knew for certain that I had a small audience which lead to more writing and more socializing. And now I’m conducting a blogging workshop this weekend. Slow and steady wins the race.

Slow and steady on Shalavee.com

The title of the workshop is “The Why is the How : Intentional Blogging 101″ (Click the link for the details). And my focus is on the concept that our reasons will dictate our next steps, whether it’s blogging, marriage, schooling, or book sales. We need to really want what we’re working for to make it count and take the right steps to progress.

Social Media and an online conversational platform of any sort will only carry us as far as our goals can foresee their need to. And blogging is a lovely medium when the person’s aim is true. So I urge you to do all your research and then do it anyway. And I will be happy to be your online friend and steer you toward whatever resource you’ll need to grab the gusto and go for the connections that will grow your audience.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

My Face Revisited : The Story of My Journey Onto Facebook

When I forget what I’ve been up and how much I appreciate my writing, I end up reading something and remembering.

I felt very privileged to have written this piece entitled My Face for the Talbotspy.org here. In honor of its three-year anniversary, I’m republishing it on my blog. Enjoy the fun read.

If you met me at a party, you’d notice my laugh is the loudest. I’m extremely social. Yet this fun time Charlotte has had a whole lotta nada for the social networking. I figured Twittling and My-facing were perfect ways of busily avoiding intimacy like the plague. I wanted no part of that universe made of desperate ego maniacs with short attention spans. The over reaction gave away the doubt beneath.

Like so many people of a certain age, I defensively declared I had no need for this Facebook phenomenon. Perhaps this was a knee jerk reaction to new-fangled technology making me feel stupid. Both fear of the unknown or of assimilation by the Borg are still fears. I have heard many fearful declarations to this specific anti-alliance. And sometimes we encounter our destiny on the way to avoiding it.

I was writing and publishing articles online and chose to rise to a new terrifying challenge of creating my blog. I fully understood I needed to socially network for this cause. And I was anxious. This was the ego-maniacal unnecessary and unacceptable activity. And my precious privacy was hard-earned. But I was seduced by the ability to pontificate to an enraptured audience. My ego “liked” this. Therein lay the carrot.

I asked my (very popular on Facebook) friend to convince me to join Facebook. She said flatly, “Three years from now, Social networking will be a given and this conversation would be ludicrous.” Just do it. Everybody’s doing it. She reassured me no one could see or speak with me there without my permission. Vampires need an invitation to come in.

So my angst and I joined the Facebook extravaganza on Friday May 20th, 2011, at around 2PM. I was typing away about my fab self in my profile when, Wham! , I get a friend request… from an ex-boyfriend?  One of these search buttons must be for all the people you’ve schtooped.  I don’t hate this guy but I had no plans to ‘party hardy’ ever again in a tavern of his choice. I rode out the panic and nausea and you know what I did then? I “friended” him. Because that was what this exercise in mass marketing and conquering fears was all about.

I returned to the FB flame on Saturday, finally found the link back in my spam folder, and, Wham! , it happened again. My all-time biggest crush ever from long ago and far away was requesting my friendship. My present husband was the long awaited exception to this boy who gave me hope when I wanted to give up on men altogether. I felt guilty for even reading the benign message from crush-man. In a ten minute span, I went from stunned to giddy to devastated. Of course he was married and had two beautiful children. I shut the computer down. Either these Facebook people were a specific kind of crazy or I was missing something.

I queried fellow members about the true meaning of the Facebook “friend”. Die hard FBers were bewildered by my bewilderment. It was a true friend who said she too had been freaked out initially when she joined. Now it’s her nighttime ritual. She kindly added that, in an ideal world, I would be allowed my fantasy crush forever. So it’s still me, I thought. I endeavored to try again and to pursue this friend-making thing with zeal.

After a month, crush-man became a human being. As his real life continually popped up on my news feed, I was able to release him from my heart to his happiness. Simultaneously and slowly, I sent “friend requests” to people from schools, social gatherings, neighborhoods, and workplaces of my past and present. As I connected with more people, I began to see my real deal.

This precious privacy I’d clung to and coddled was also known as isolation with a capital ‘I’.  I‘d chosen to hide my life, ashamed for growing old and fat because, you know, I was the only one getting old and fat. Who’s crazy enough to deliver themselves on a silver platter for the judgment of the free world? Apparently me.

I had worried about dredging up past resentments with this reconnection with people from my past. Instead, I found myself cheered by them. Our lives connected in unexpected ways. I caught important news I would have missed, like the birth of one friend’s twins and the loss of a beloved old cat for another. Snail mail cards went out immediately. I saw that Facebook is friendship “light”, a safe way of sharing without having to invest much. Showing up outside of this medium is how you solidify the “real” friendships.

As similar pieces of a larger machine, we need to connect to fellow human beings. I recognized how it’s not always about me as the interconnected web of humanity was scrolling up my screen. This online community cleverly coaxes people out of dark corners, away from the whisper of past shames, to a place where they are empowered to speak and be heard. I was blown away by the hope this deceivingly simplistic medium brought into my life.

Gratefully, I reconnected with the used-to-be-me, one person at a time in a memory lane parade of where I’ve been and who I’ve become. I missed the girl these people seemed to still think well of, or at least didn’t dislike. Today, I’m still timid at requesting the friendships of complete strangers but I’m gaining courage. Remember, I have a baby blog I have to feed.

When the next ex-boyfriend found me, I was ready. I asked why he had friended me and he professed he wanted to see if I was doing well. I sensed he also wanted to show me how well he was doing. Maybe, when they put my name in that search box, my ex-boyfriends sought the closure and self-forgiveness I had yet to seek. Or maybe I was a good schtooper. I am good with either possibility.

Attend My Blogging Workshop

Due to the very stubborn insistence of a very nice old man, I’m teaching a blogging workshop on the “art” of blogging on April 18th , 2015, at the Evergreen Cove in Easton, Maryland. Presented by the Eastern Shore Writers Association, for which the stubborn old man named Gerry is the President, this is a 2 ½ hour workshop that will run from 9:30 am to Noon on that Saturday with a little break at around 11am. And I’d love for you to attend.

I titled it “The Why is the How: Intentional Blogging 101” because I truly believe that the Why will get you to the How and the how is somewhat superfluous when you are committing yourself to the size of a project like blogging or marriage. Commitment is half the battle to making it work.

According to the summary of this workshop, I’ll be defining the concept of “blog”, discussing social media usage and branding, addressing technology phobias, and answering the question,”How do you make money blogging?”

snapshot of myself staring at a computer screen on Shalavee.com

As usual, I will tell you like I see it as I only have my perspective to draw from. But I will guarantee that you will come away having formed a supportive community for your blogging endeavors. And that is more precious than knowing how to blog.

The workshop is open to the public. The cost is $25.00 for ESWA and Evergreen members and $35.00 for non-members. Registration is available at www.evergreeneaston.org or call 410-819-3395. Seating is limited. I am hoping to fill the room. Tell your friends.

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