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Currently Browsing: Daily Shalagh

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.

Post Traumatic Toddler Disorder

Almost everyday, between the ages of one and two, I had to keep a constant ear out for my daughter’s distress call when she left my sight. I’d barrel forward in my day trying to  accomplish my housework or do anything creative but I was always listening. At any moment I might have to drop my task for that tell-tale scream that meant she’d fallen over and hit her head and I had to run, not walk, to see if she was bleeding out from her head. On one occasion she actually was bleeding from her mouth. The one time you choose not to go and see is that one time you’ll regret it.

Injury is imminent every moment of the day from age one through two. You can not hover and yet you are on alert constantly. And I earned such a good case of post traumatic stress disorder that the twitch has come and gone and returned in my top left eyelid in the past couple months. That feeling of the imminence of the other shoe dropping has made Mommy-hood feel like trench warfare.toddler tantrum

What’s worse is that I’ve got a girl who’s prone to drama. She knows how to lay it on a little thicker to hedge her bets. Good for her. She’s a survivor. Bad for me, twitch, twitch, twitch. Throw in a good fevered sickness which has me waking up several times at night doing the pogo Mommy reminiscent of the good old “trench” days of the newborn’s first three months and I’m beyond exhausted.

I get to feeling a little hopeless. Like this will always be the way it’s gonna be. And I don’t know how I’m gonna do it. Twitch, twitch, twitch goes the eyelid. And then stuff starts to calm down. I get the nap schedule back into place by sitting in her room in the chair until she stops crying at me and passes out. I take a day or two to go out with my friends to chat and do mindless girl things. I get my toes done finally. And I feel a little better. more toddler tantrum

And that’s just enough so that when she starts screaming at 5:30 in the morning, I’m not resentful and know she’s at least safe in the crib. And when she’s begun to cry in the other room with her brother, I wait a beat longer to respond because I know they have to work it out. And when she says Elmo Pooh Elmo Pooh Princess constantly at me to watch a movie, she may need to take a nap or Cookies Candy Cake Cookies Candy Cake at me over and over, you know she may be hungry.

And sometimes the best way to deal with her is just to ignore her however I can. Because it’s a little scary for a toddler to be at the control wheel all the time. Children may become overwhelmed because they have gotten everything they want and will continue to meltdown looking for restraints to make them feel safe. Sometimes she needs her keys taken away. And sometimes she needs to be given a lollipop and plugged into Elmo.

Looking Forward and Back

I noticed today how the world seems to be expanding again.

The light flooding into our houses is slowly drawing us from our dreamy slumbers of Winter. Winter where we were forced to muse our leftover thoughts and wish for a few new ones.

grape hyacinth on the courthouse green on Shalavee.com

Winter where our eyes turned inward and we got cozier with us and our family. We know there is not one season without the other but we’re glad when we’re moving onto the next.

flowering trees on shalavee.com

A relief from the grief, Spring is finally here and we can let go of our held breath.

white violets on Shalavee.com

Out with the old stale air of sad and in with the fresh air of glad. Looking forward to staring hope right in the eyes. Even if it is just for a moment before the stifling air of Summer comes to suffocate our glee.

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.

Rebel Upgrade

I got fired for refusing to serve brown lettuce to a customer. The manager, or maybe it was his pizza making girlfriend, told on me to the owner because I refused to serve the speckled brown romaine lettuce to psycho salad lady. I was the lowly floor mopper and counter girl. I doubt that the manager or his girlfriend wanted to be the ones to lift those iron chairs up and double mop the floor with the nasty string mop. But there was authority bucking going on and I was a threat.

string mop from Shalavee.comAnd so went my short-term job at the Tugboat Annie’s on 33rd Street in Baltimore right next to the Waverly Farmer’s Market and a block down from my childhood home. I was maybe 14 years old and I did need the money. I worked sometimes until 3 am lifting those chairs and swabbing that deck. And I got fired because I refused to sell a customer brown lettuce.

lettuce from shalavee.com

Ten years later would find me working as a customer service representative up the block at the Blockbuster video where I got “written up” by Eric the manager for wearing red high-tops at Christmas. Later I granted a membership to a local drug dealer without proper ID and then rented all the top movies to him. He never brought them back. Bad judgement kept haunting me.

pizza from Shalavee.com

photo by joeb

I was the rebel again at the Cafe Hon in Hampden when I refused to be a mean manager to the same people who I was supposed to work alongside as a waitress on the shifts that made up for my being underpaid. I was paid $300 a week and needed the $100 in tips to pay my bills which included an unemployed husband. You will take what you believe you are worth until you believe you’re worth more but you don’t have to like it.

I am a true believer in fairness and justice and the right thing. Until now, I just never thought it applied to the worth of my soul. Finally at the ripe and wondrous age of 48, I find life is as rich and fair as you create your vessel to contain it. I am at a place where I expect people to respect me but I won’t be offended if they don’t because it’s not always about me. And this feels like a well-earned upgrade.

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.

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