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The Perfect vs. the Placeholder

How often do you not follow through, not write it down, not say it out loud, or not make the commitment, because it’s not perfect. Is it enough to know that there’s a silliness to this way of thinking to stop you from thinking this way?

I can’t go to college and earn a degree unless I know the exact career I’m going to have when I graduate. I don’t know if this guy is Mr. Right so I may not want to continue dating him. I can’t commit to a blog because I don’t know what I’d write about. And what you find is that the perfectionism starts to feel like some horrible brain constipation and your lack of permission to move forward for the sake of perfectionism can become painful. My husband cleverly says, “Do something, even if it’s wrong.” And so when I come to write a thought out, my trick is to think of writing anything as a placeholder for the real writing to come.arting in the foyer on Shalavee.com

Writing on the page fills the writing space and commits me to further thinking and writing on the thought I’m expressing. This way, I’m allowed to write total crap. Because now I have permission to come back and replace every word. It is well-known that good writing is all about the editing. So if I shift my expectations to writing crap at first knowing, I have removed it from the place it was lodged in my brain, it’s even more wonderful when I return to read it and it’s not as crappy as I thought.Tunnel on shalavee.com

As for the life “knowing” perfectionism I mentioned, I believe life is much like a curved tunnel. You can see a little in front of you but your knowledge tells you that it goes further. You really can’t see the end and you’ll have to make a choice or two along the way but you know you’re headed for a destination. The college degree is really just a badge of hard work and achievement. Not always about the real major. And the boy who seems perfect when you meet him and then you find our is human and not perfect, he has the ability to make choices too. To go with you to your destination with honor and integrity.

And the blog that was my vehicle for writing and turned out to gift me so many wonderful gifts of friendship? It’s not perfect and I don’t see the bigger picture yet but it’s holding my place until I figure out what I want to be when I’m 49. Knowing is cracked up to be the mental Nirvana. But unforeseeable factors always jump in and can mess up your plan. So I’ll just hold this place in my life with grace and gratitude, do the best I can, and keep prying the perfection expectations from my clammy grasp.

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.

Getting Out Of My Way Again

My life’s forest has always been invisible but for my own trees. I’ve always known I can’t see me but now I believe I’ve blocked my view. I need to get the heck out of my way. Maybe you knew this about me and I thank you for keeping it on the down low until I figured it out. I can tell you I have stood at the edge staring at where I thought my forest was for a long while. But there’s no chance to appreciate the beautiful forest if it’s invisible.

I feel like I’ve been waiting for others to tell me what I have that is of worth. To tell me what’s interesting about me. As Po’s Dad in Kung Fu Panda said, to tell me what my “secret ingredient” is. But what I really have craved is my recognition. My affirmation of me and that internal faith that whatever “it” is, it’s there.

Like the child who is so desperate for her parent to like her and pay attention to her. “Please, Mama, can you tell me what you like about me. Tell me what I’m good at.” As Supertramp sang, “please tell me who I am.” Whether you have kids or not, you are your own parent for the rest of your life. And that parenting includes giving yourself the recognition you crave.

Hansel and Gretel in the forest in Shalavee.com

I have often felt so impatient about my blog, my writing, and finding my purpose. I wanted to hire someone to help me get on with it. Hurry up and become already. And then it began to happen. I started to hear what people were saying, what they enjoyed, and which things inspired them. And slowly, the person that I already am, that I want to be, that I want to work hard to become better at being, is emerging. She’s just been hiding among the trees in the invisible forest.

It’s dawning on me that I’m not too sucky. And I may have a talent or two that are slightly impressive. If I step back and give myself the time and space to see it, I just may see the forest for how really beautiful it is. Purpose and positivity only help when you recognize and value them.

I find danger to my self-esteem comes when I’ve compared myself to others who are in another league. For example, in the design world, people who constantly devote their lives, money, and extreme experience to design are going to have great spaces. And of course stuff done on the fly cheaply is going to look sucky compared to people with a lot of money, experience, and taste. So I think I can’t even stick my pinky toe into that stream of water with those people. And it’s such a good excuse to avoid doing this kind of work or anything that you love.

more of my forest on shalavee.com

Yet my vision and creations are good, just practiced in a smaller league way. Experienced blogger and coach Kathleen Shannon points out that we’re all at different levels of doing, blogging, or writing. I’m a B girl looking up to the A girls who don’t really see me because they’re looking upwards to their A girls. Kinda like it was in high school when you admired your upperclassmen and they didn’t know you existed. But I can shine if I hang with other B girls and I look pretty kickin’ to the C girls. It’s me comparing my Bananas to their Apples that’s freaking me out.

Who cares what anyone thinks really. If it’s crap, it’s still my crap to be proud of. And I suddenly felt a bit better when I realized all of this. And I’m ready to put that part of myself out for review. Because not only is everybody doing it, but I’m an original. I’d like to give myself a hard time for having to do everything so differently but that is what keeps my style so interesting and endearing. Did you catch Fiona’s bedroom makeover? Stay tuned for more design fun.

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.

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.

 

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