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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.

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.

The Daring Young Girl On the Flying Trapeze

Thought I’d catch you up my lovely reader on where I am and what I’ve been thinking about.

Year of Making

I’m committed to A Year of Making. I am keeping a list and pictures of my everyday making but my documenting system needs a little tweaking. When you do all the creating and the mothering all in the same day, you need really great systems. And I just don’t always feel like I have the clarity to create those. But I keep on keepin’ on.

goal board

I did however clean out my craft room. And updated my goals mapping wall piece.

And speaking of goals, I put out the newsletter I’d been dragging my feet about creating and ironically did so on the day when Fiona was sick. If you aren’t signed up to receive my newsletters, you can put your name into the sign up space on the side bar of the blog. I will be sending these out more often with original extra content. We’ll talk.

Sticking My Neck Out

The daring young girl continues sticking her neck out and in less than 2 months time I’m teaching a workshop on blogging. I fought against doing this. Told the man I wasn’t his gal. He insisted I was. So I bring what I know from my personal perspective and know that at least they’ll be entertained and feel supported in their efforts.

Shalagh of Shalavee.com

I learned blogging in dribs and drabs with a steep learning curve. As I was driving us back home from our Valentine’s date through snow blind conditions last night, I was explaining to my husband that I had needed to find out who I was while I learned how to blog. These happened simultaneously. I was committed to being a writer and my blogging led to reading and learning and reflecting and friending. And that has all lifted me up to such a different place in my inner world. My self-esteem has risen and my anxieties have diminished. Yes I feel scared but more sure that the tasks I posted up to that goals board are the right ones for my future. I am constructing a future of work that feels good to me and that I’ll be proud of.

Feeling vs. Thinking

I intend to do more writing with more feeling instead of thinking. I will continue to be the best cheerleader I can be for me and everyone and if that means I’m a leader, I’ll learn to like that term. And I am about to really look hard at my value. Read over my stuff and decide what value needs to be offered elsewhere. Stop looking outwards in hopes that someone will come tell me why I’m here. And look hard and long at the value I have already produced and created with 575 posts.

Hot pink coat from Shalavee.com

I’d like to feel like I’m wearing a hot pink fake fur coat with a butt warmer when I’m out doing my thing being the super cool productive how-do-you-do kinda me.  I want to feel safe and cozy and happy doing my thing.  These have been my thoughts of recent. Thanks for listening.

 

Blog Suicide

Don’t stop me if I’ve told you this because I’m going somewhere different with it today. A thoughtful and somewhat sad place but I can’t stop thinking about it.

I started blogging with truly no clue about blogging. I did it because someone I knew said I should. I’d never really even read a blog. And I just began. What’s followed is a lot of blood, sweat , and tantrums.

I have stayed the course though and am glad I did because of the growth I have experienced both as a writer and as a human being who needed to prove my worth and the value of human connection. But you don’t get to enjoy the lessons unless you go the distance.

This can be a very solitary practice. So many sources of input vying for your attention that I feel lucky if anyone reads my blog. Please don’t feel bad that you don’t comment either. Those that can do. Purposes of entertainment are personal to everyone. And I can remember being reluctant to comment once too.

I have been online now long enough to see some of my fellow bloggers discontinue their blogging. One gal got a full-time job. Two just sort of stopped publishing posts and show up to “like” something every once in a while. But the one that upset me the most was a gal who I almost met this past Summer at the Blog U conference. She committed blog suicide.

I was just about to write a piece on how upset I was about her abrupt disappearance when Robin Williams took his life. And the death of this wonderful and beloved man seemed too tragic to even use the word suicide in any other context. But I do feel a kind of concern for this gal’s welfare and here’s why.

There’s a community here online and when you connect with people, they’re just like the people you know from your everyday life. Like your mail carrier or your bus driver. They make you happy when they chat with you. But then what if you heard them start to say that you were so pretty and that they could never consider themselves pretty. Or that you were smart and they just knew they were dumb. And then one day they were missing from their job permanently.

This gal praised me and I was so flattered but I felt that shift into implosion. Suggestions of unhappiness and unworthiness and anxiety. And then wham, she was missing. She had deleted her blog address and all of her social media outlets. I wanted to scream out, why? One of ours was gone. Many of us new bloggers have felt that wavering doubt of that first year of blogging. I understand low self-esteem so well. I comprehend comparing myself to other bloggers and writers (and designers) and feeling crappy about me. And I guess I am reminded again of how I love doing this and how tenuous our bonds with others really are.

So Jean, if you are still reading my blog, know that I heard your distress and felt absolutely powerless to help you. I did notice you go missing. I am not a more talented a blogger or writer or mother than you are. I hope that you and your children are well and looking forward to a happy holiday season. And that if you ever needed an ear or anything I have to give you, I am still here. Imprisoned in this box but also out in the world contributing my soul and gathering happiness anyway I can.

Sincerely,

Shalagh

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