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Sorting Out Blogging and Kory Woodard’s Advice

Starting something that you’ve never done before takes courage. When I began this blog I had no idea why I was doing it except that I would have to write more. The technical stuff was terrifying and draining. It takes time and energy to worry. But I could only take it one step at a time. And fortune favors the bold.

Little by little I’ve learned about how to do this online blogging thing. I’ve had to sort out what everyone else is doing from what felt right for me. I took two online blogging courses from Decor8 creator Holly Becker to understand more of the basics and build the aesthetic of my blog. My first online friends, people I’m still in touch with, I met through those courses. (Hi Jennifer, Jane, Sheryl, Seraphina, Sandra, Wendy, and Mariana.) The more I watched, the more I wanted to do it “right”. at the grocery store on Shalavee.com

There were blogging events and conferences people were attending that I thought I needed to go and find myself at. I felt alone and sad that I could not afford to join. There were people making money promoting stuff on their blogs. Maybe I needed to do that. My contemporaries were suddenly creating projects and groups and communities and I felt like I was standing still for lack of inspiration or courage to do the same. But I was growing up. And I am finding that all of this has been just as it should be.

In taking your time to choose your path, you listen to your own needs and not those “choices” forced upon you by society or family or peer pressure. When I acknowledged that my strong unique voice was more important than any other element in my blog, I felt sooo much better. When I recognized that I didn’t want to sell or promote anything on my blog, I felt better. I would if it was something I adored but those offers haven’t come.

When I recognized that I was using the blog to find myself, have fun and connect with people, make community, find out what my purpose was, and what all that exactly feels like, I gave myself permission to go at my pace and do it in my way. That numbers can’t always show the truth of a situation. Thousands of followers doesn’t mean they all get you. find yourself, be that on Shalavee.com

And attendance to those conferences is great if you know your niche and want to connect with like-minded bloggers to work on future collaborations. But nobody there was going to be able to tell me who I was. There’s no like-minded until I have a mind. This may not be the best activity for me now or ever. I’ve taken the conference attendance off my goal list until I have another great reason to go. Like I’m speaking at one.

I have never wanted to feel like I was forcing my thoughts upon anyone, selling them on something. The online world constantly says you need an email list to use to sell future stuff. But when I was invited to comment on this subject by Kory Woodard, a very smart young woman who coaches online strategies, I noted she’d mentioned “build a community”. She wrote back and said yes and then wrote a follow-up post that was brilliant. Art comes in all forms on Shalavee.com

Kory says that she doesn’t think everyone needs a list. It’s up to you and here are a few reasons you may want one other than building a psycho sales tunnel. Number one was ,”Help you build a community around your blog or business. It’s sort of cool to feel like you’re part of this group of people who are seeing exclusive content. It’s even cooler when you realize that many of your current followers want even more from you. They want to support you and learn more. Having an email list allows you to create a great community of people who want to be active with your content.” I liked her vision much better.

And number two was ,”Allow your audience to get a greater glimpse of who you are – thus leading them to trust you even more.” delivering more information about yourself makes your community stronger by allowing for trust. I disclose so much anyway that I don’t mind doing it. I have sent out only a few newsletters to my subscribers with positive results. So I think I’m now encouraged by this young woman’s sage wisdom in that I won’t feel like I’m invading as much as offering more of what people already like about me. Finding a how to solidifying my community feels righteous. Saturday morning with a happy clementine on Shalavee.com

On blogging Kory’s advice is,”Above all, be yourself. The blogging world is literally packed with thousands of blogs – really great ones and terrible ones. However, you’ll never stand out or gain ground if you’re just copying what other blogs do. Instead, be yourself. Write about things you love and are passionate about, and people will like what you have to share and follow your blog because they like you and your take on things.”

I feel privileged to borrow the wisdom of such smart and intuitive young women online. My younger self had such a hard time that it feels so healing to receive needed wisdom from young women. Because when a thought feels like home, you need to adopt it. Especially when it leads you to community. I am ever grateful for the ones I am involved in and credit much of my climbing out of my dark secluded hole to these people, mostly “strangers” who have given the gifts of self sight and esteem I never realized I was missing.

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 orPinterest 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.

Janu-Wary

I was feeling the bliss, the rolling high on the “Ok-ness” from the holiday downtime until yesterday when suddenly I felt myself starting to knock all the happy little hope bubbles off the 2016 shelf where I’d so carefully placed them. Exactly 2 weeks in and suddenly there’s nothing new anymore about the year?!

I’ve read New Year’s posts galore and copious word of the year choices. And there were warnings to be careful about resolutions that would fail you as opposed to themes that could guide you. Or meditation that can ground you. Or just plain awareness of your choices to feel bad as opposed to good. Someone wise said beware when the newness wears off. Glad to have that warning because I think that just happened.Janu-wary on Shalavee.com

Suddenly I felt the old thought patterns knocking at the door. Familiar voices calling out to me about my not enoughness. Why don’t I have a clearly defined purpose and a twelve month plan on exactly how I’m going to carry that out ? Like that woman with the shiny blog and an online creative career? Surely if I could just choose to be impassioned by something, my life would completely change and fall right into place.

So off I go to the gym hoping for inspiration and a change in thoughts. I’m on the treadmill and I recognize the familiar devaluing myself based on others cognitive distortion going on. “Comparison is the thief of joy” I chant and “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides” came to mind. Comparison to others is unfair. No I may not know my complete “Why” but as long as I stay focused on gratitude and the creative work in front of me, I am so close, in the zone. Janu-wary on Shalavee.com

If that involves month-long collaborative projects, great! If I feel like I need to have weekly themes, great! But I do not have to be or do anything other than what makes me soulfully happy. That’s purpose enough. That’s really all I have time for besides the mothering of a toddler and a ten-year old and the maintenance of this household. Truly I am enough for just this realm of activities.

And then a friend/acquaintance comes over and scares the heck out of me, as my earphones were mighty loud. She wanted me to know that she’d read my blog post, something I’d written. She says I write really well. And I said “Thank you” and meant it. Thank you for the reminder Universe. My shelf of little hopes remains in tact.

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.

Liebster Blog Award

When I started blogging, I really had no concept of what a blog was. I just started and kept going, watching and learning as I went. Somewhere after the first year, I noted bloggers often give other bloggers love in the form of award nominations. I’d seen the badges on their side bars and thought how wonderful to be nominated and celebrated and acknowledged like this. And secretly, I guess I thought it would never happen to me.

The trick to having friends is to be one. The key to being a part of a community is to join them and value whatever comes your way while showing up and being a friend. I have committed to those practices as much as I have to writing a blog. That these were and still are necessary to my soul development is undeniable. And behold, last week Claire HM, poet and blogger of the Claireylove blog, nominated me for a Liebster blog award. She’s very talented, sweet, and wise. Soul sisters from different mothers.liebster award on Shalavee.com

The mechanics of this passing of the Liebster Award torch are as follows. Claire has asked me ten questions which I answer and then I return the karmic blog love and nominate 10 more bloggers for the award asking them ten questions of my own.

Or simply, here are The Liebster rules:

  • Link back and recognize the blogger who nominated me
  • Answer 10 questions asked by the person who nominated me.
  • Nominate 10 inspirational bloggers for the award.
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Notify your nominees

Claire’s Questions For Me

  1. What is your first memory of writing?I think my first true writing memory was the pen pal letters to my friend Nalisa who had moved away to Tennessee after fourth grade. I so looked forward to receiving her letters and to decorating the envelopes with rainbows colored with markers and sending them off. My journal writing started later at 12 and I became an avid journaller for the rest of my life. My natural voice evolves into my writing style just like that in the letters speaking about what I’m thinking and what excites me. The intimate space between friends.
  2. What is the one book you wish you’d written?I was immediately frozen by this question. My husband answered for me with, “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, as I have made reference to one particular scene several times. And I thought that was as good an answer as I could ever come up with. The themes of humanity, cruelty, and the endurance of the human spirit tied in with some of the richest characters ever. Genius.
  1. Is there a line of poetry that blows you away every time you read it? I am regularly impressed by many things in life that I read but honestly, I haven’t any time to read much but blog posts, some social media and group posts. Having my blog and a two year-old restrains my time terribly. I imagine my elder years will be spent catching up on all the soul expanding poetry I’ve missed all my life.
  2. Do you pray?Not in the traditional sense. I like to take time to consider and write about what I think about life and self betterment, humanity, hope and my faith in the future. My feeling is that however and whatever you pour your thoughts into is praying so my consideration of the well-being of my life and my children’s lives is a type of prayer.Fiona in the playhouse on Shalavee.com
  3. Tell me about five scents that are heavenly. – Coffee brewing in the morning means hope and renewal– An apple pie baking in the oven is always my birthday wish

    – Bread baking, even just a stroll down the bread aisle at the store, is like a forbidden high

    – Fresh pine boughs when the Christmas seasonal magic has finally settled into my heart

    – Coconut suntan oil reminds me of my teen years “laying out” and obsessing over boys

  4. What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you – in a library ? I discovered I was a writer. I walked in looking for a way to connect with myself, with the world, intimidated by all those voices of published people around me. And I told myself to keep going. I was on a mission. Within the stack of books I checked out that day, I found a particular book that gave me permission to write what I had to say in my voice. And that was the moment I was empowered enough to be a writer, something I had been dying to be inside for many years.
  5. What do you think is most surprising about your reading habits? That I no longer read. Where I once always had a book going, I can no longer find the time or permission to pick one up and become enthralled. Baby’s bring very stringent routines and that mindset is hard to break. One day I keep saying.
  6. Winter boots or summer sandals? Discuss. Being so pale and needing a pedicure to enjoy my feet is a drawback to naked toes and legs. That plus shaving. But I never wear pantyhose because I’d rather the breeze on me than my legs to feel suffocated. Conversely, tights and cute boots hide all the flaws of humanity and age and can make even an old lady look kinda cute and youthful. Can’t decide.
  7. How are you planning to spend your winter evenings? Probably no differently than we do now. Making food and eating at the table with the family. Then watching movies or reading books to my two-year old. Grabbing a few minutes to write or enjoy a few tv or blog reading moments for myself ALONE before I pass out and do it all over again.
  1. Which song best reflects how the year is turning out for you so far?

    The Beatles’ Getting Better

    I used to be cruel to my woman I beat her
    And kept her apart from the things that she loved
    Man, I was mean but I’m changing my scene
    And I’m doing the best that I can”

 

Fiona's painted butterfly face on Shalavee.comAnd here’s my questions for my nominees:

 

1.) Did you have that point at almost a year into blogging when you thought of giving up but then chose to keep blogging? If yes, why did you continue?

 

2.) How many posts do you like to have written and scheduled ahead of time? Or do you?

 

3.) When do you do your best writing?

 

4.) Are you really irked when you are told you have a typo published in your piece? Do you tell other people when you see one in their posts?

 

5.) Is there a book that you’ve read twice ?

 

6.) What habit would you like to give up that impedes your creativity?

 

7.) How has the blogging/online community given you?

 

8.) Do you have a muse or a furry friend that is a part of your writing routine?

 

9.) What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

 

10.) What would you tell your younger self?

Fiona reading books on Shalavee.com

And without much more adieu, here are my nominees for the Liebster Blog Award.

  • Jennifer Mullin of The Fiery Redhead blog –  Living in New York, Veggie, cat lover, Food, Wine, Photography, Joy

 

  • Tori Mears of the Toris Tales blog – A regular gal writing extraordinary things from her heart and building a community called the Kindred Soul Village.

 

  • Sam Wheatley of the Wheatley Writer blog – Mama, writer, and a life coach in training, she’s all about Empowerment. And self-love.

 

 

  • Kathy Bosin from her A Chesapeake Journal blog. Living on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland in a community on the water and photographing and writing her life. My first blogger bestie.

 

 

  • Bethany Brooke from Bethanibrooke.com – Mama, souls speaker,writer,  family and Kindred Soul Village community maker.

 

  • Heather Serody from her Big Girl Life Blog . Mama, yoga lover, healthy living, writer, Philosopher, and soul sister. Florida.

 

  • Sabrina Wolf from her Wolves in London blog . Mama, photographer, sewer, knitter, and landscape and plants enthusiast. London.

 

 

I owe a lot to these women on this list. The’ve shown up for me and recognized me and generally are all really devoted amazing ladies. So visit them and tell them I sent you. Congratulations to all for the wonderful jobs that you all do.

Wanna see the whole month of posts? Start here.Yesterday’s post, go here.

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.

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 

(A past event now as it’s 2016)  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.

(A past event now as it’s 2016)


Sunday’s Post

If you were with me last year here on Shalavee, you may remember my crazy post each day for a month stunt. The theme was pretty pictures. And it was nearly the death of me when, in the middle of that nonsense, I found out I was nominated somehow for the best Family blogs by Moms on the Circle of Moms.com site. Yes I reached #36. It was a hard battle because asking for people to support and vote for me does not come easily. So first, please do not tell me if I’m nominated again. I can’t take the stress of asking for people to like me now. But second, if you haven’t noticed, I’m going ahead and posting every day as much as I can for this month. Because why not? So keep you eye’s peeled as I have a bunch of different sorts of posts coming. And please, if you can’t read them all, don’t feel guilty. Read when and what you can and delete the rest. My blog and I do not want to keep you a hostage. I will keep writing, you read what you can. OK?

Blogger Meetup info link

Meanwhile, I’m two weeks out from my first Eastern Shore Bloggers Meet-up . Conceived of and organized by moi, I’m kinda nervous but I know that even if three people come, we will connect and talk and feel cheered and that’s the purpose. I wanted to feel sad today when I realized that I’d missed a deadline to get the word out. I decided that there are always first events and the word spreads and the second event is a little more meaningful. That’s the way I’m rewriting that story. I am not rally good at any of this promotional stuff believe it or not. It’s a science and I’m an artist. But my heart is always in the right place.

the river from the heritage center on shalavee.com

So keep your eyes peeled for the next post from the grab bag and if you live on the Eastern Shore aka Delmarva, and you know someone who would enjoy the bloggers meet-up, let them and/or me know about the meet-up.

Love to you and yours from me and mine,

Shalagh

 

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