Copyright: Don Charisma
I’m so grateful to CaveGirl MBA, one of my favorite bloggers, for naming me as a recipient of the Most Influential Bloggers award, especially since my blog is celebrating a birthday this week.
It’s turning three, so still in the Unruly Toddler stage, but it’s been viewed by over 8,000 people in 80+ countries. Not much by some standards, but definitely more than I anticipated when I began this endeavor.
As one of the conditions of the award, I’ve been asked to nominate the 10 most influential bloggers that I follow. Here are the bloggers who inspire me every day:
- Julie at Julie Unplugged for her whimsy, humor, and unfailing support for other writers.
- Christina at Filling My Prayer Closet who shares her incredible knowledge and her faith in a generous and humorous way.
- Mary at Homeschool Antics who is giving her girls an unbelievable educational experience at home, something I could never do.
- Charity at The Wounded Dove whose beautiful prose chronicles a marriage at work.
- Jen at JVKom Chronicles who uses her blog to give to others, including an incredible effort on behalf of her friend and fellow blogger, Carolina Country Girl.
- Sharon at MommyVerbs for making me think.
- Heather at Life’s a Disco Ball who writes about mental health in an unbelievably powerful and personal way.
- Jhanis at The Vanilla Housewife who, like another of CaveGirl MBA’s recipients, Journeys of the Fabulist, keeps me up-to-date on life abroad.
- Jenn at I Make Myself the Queen for making me laugh out loud with her singular style.
- And last, but certainly not least, Susan at Pecked To Death by Chickens, because my blog wants to be hers when it grows up.
If you accept the challenge, the guidelines are below. If you’d rather not participate, then please just accept my compliments and my thanks for a consistently good read.
Conditions For Accepting The Award
To accept this award, the awardee must do the following:
- Display the Award on your Blog.
- Announce your win with a blog post and thank the Blogger who awarded you. Please do not lump this award with any other award in a “basket”, “bouquet” or “collection”.
- Present 10 deserving Bloggers with the Award.
- Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded with a comment (or a pingback).
- Include an embedded video of your current favorite song (YouTube has virtually everything, just copy and paste the link into your WordPress editor). If a video is not possible you can embed a SoundCloud track.
The most difficult part of this whole thing for me was selecting a favorite song – much harder than choosing the 10 fabulous bloggers I want to honor.
So I chose one from my youth – a great, live performance by The English Beat about two things I try to avoid: Sugar and Stress. Namaste!
Well, I did it, I blogged A to Z. Which leaves me at a loss – what do I write about now?
I’ve always written whatever came to my mind, or arose unexpectedly during my day. I could write about something as mundane as what I had for lunch, not because anyone would read it, but just for the joy of the thing.
But Blogging A to Z forced me to actually plan ahead. And schedule posts. I was like a real blogger for a while there!
Now I’ve got a writers’ block of the worst magnitude. It’s as if I hit the reset button on my brain with dire consequences. I’m stumped. I’m bereft. There is a vast chasm into which I must pour something witty. Not feeling it.
So I did what anyone with writers’ block would do – signed up to chaperone 80 junior high band students on a bus trip to Chicago. I imagine I’ll experience traumas of all kinds, but I’m guessing writers’ block will not be among them.
See who else participated in Blogging from A to Z
Read my Blogging A to Z series
As I promised yesterday, a post about proofreading. It took me a while to land on a post for P. Products? Passwords? Pesky pets? It seems I could write about P all day (a joke my 10- and 11-year-old boys would appreciate).
I finally settled on Proofreading because of something I felt compelled to do the other day – send the head of a company a note advising that he have someone review his copy. Preferably someone who can spell.
I know how hard it can be to produce error-free copy (especially in the era of autocorrect) so I’ll typically give an organization one typo. But the communication this company sent was embarrassing – a notification for a conference that contained (with my limited perusal) three obvious typos, including one so heinous it moved me to action. When I sent myself an email link to the conference site, the auto-generated subject line contained a typo, a word any 2nd grader can spell.
Think about it – if I had sent this email to someone else suggesting they attend the conference it would have looked like my error. Horrors! I can’t think of a single one of my charming marketing friends who would have let that go by (I love you guys!) and then I would have felt compelled to explain that it wasn’t my error, leading to a long, annoying email chain.
I don’t really expect a response from this individual. He’s probably more annoyed than he is grateful. But I did him a favor by pointing out these errors. *Waits nervously for someone to point out the obvious typo in this post*
This post is part of the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge. See who else is Blogging from A to Z
Read the series
Read the work-at-home personnel manual
And by that I mean forced downtime caused by the flu. Probably because I was as exhausted as I’ve been in years when the bug hit, my recovery’s been slow. No going to the gym. No gadding about town. No running up and down the stairs all day.
What I’ve done instead is a lot of sitting. And reading. And yes, writing. The big plus – I managed to prep some of my Blogging from A to Z entries (see the full list below), showing for perhaps the first time ever that I can accomplish something I set out to do! Of course, I had to do it in my pajamas and no further than a foot from a box of tissues.
I’ll be contributing the Work-at-Home Alphabet, describing the joys and tribulations of the home office. The positive? All that flexibility so many people dream about. The negative? Other people live here. And they continually intrude on my workspace.
Read the series
A is for Afternoon
B is for Bone-Chilling Cold
C is for Coffee
D is for Desperate Decor
E is for Exercises
F is for Filing
G is for Garbage Day
H is for Housework
I is for Influenza and Other Illness
J is for Jammies
K is for Karate
L is for Leftovers at Lunch
M is for Monday
N is for Noise
O is for Obvious Opportunity
P is for Proofreading
Q is for Quagmire
R is for Rodents
S is for School Supplies
T is for Treadmill
U is for Uncomfortable Utterances
V is for Vacation
W is for Wireless Wars
X is for X-ray Vision
Y is for Yoga
Do you work at home? Do you have a concept you’re dying to contribute? Let me know and if I use it, I’ll credit you in the post.
See who else is Blogging from A to Z
Or at least Shannon Day, who blogs at Martinis & Motherhood, likes me. She’s nominated me for a Liebster Award. Thanks, Shannon, for choosing me to participate! (No, we’re not related as far as we know – no nepotism here.)
The award requires me to share 11 random facts about myself in the unlikely event that you are interested. My truly random facts:
- I was born in Arizona but have lived my whole life on or near the frozen tundra.
- I studied Broadcast Communication in college – did you even know that was a major?
- One of my bucket list items is to travel to Africa and go on safari, which I’ve done.
- Another is to go to the Metropolitan Opera in NY, which I have not done.
- I once edited a taped Tom Cruise interview at a radio station to remove all his “ums” and other verbal pauses.
- And I met Eddie Rabbit. Don’t you want to party with me now?
- My children can trace their heritage back to at least 8 different European countries. So they look like no one except each other.
- Past employers have gifted me with both a picture of one of my bosses posting bail and a subpoena from the FTC.
- I can stand on my head for up to 4 minutes.
- I eat kale nearly every single day because I actually like it.
- 3 of the 5 members of my household are Pisces so nothing ever gets done around here.
Shannon also provided her own 11 questions for me to answer:
- What is the strangest food you’ve eaten? I’m sure a lot of the food I eat sounds strange, but perhaps the weirdest was an omelette made with an ostrich egg at POSH in Scottsdale, AZ.
- What do you cook that your kids love? Believe it or not, kale chips – even the picky kid likes them, and tries to foist them on his friends.
- What’s your exercise of choice? Yoga, preferably Iyengar style.
- Where is your ideal vacation spot? Any beach on the Caribbean.
- How long have you been blogging? Three years in June.
- What is your favourite post that you’ve written thus far? My favorite post was What am I wearing? The black sweater, of course because I heard from so many other women who owned and loved a ratty, black sweater.
- What are your guilty pleasures? Afternoon naps, super-dark chocolate, and coconut-covered dates.
- What gets you down? Driving in rush-hour traffic so I almost never do it.
- What makes you happy? A lazy afternoon and a good book. A rare combo around here.
- What’s your beverage of choice? Black Arts Cellars Le Toille produced by the world’s greatest vintner and brother-in-law.
- What’s the best thing about being you? I have the time to blog, of course!
Part of this honor is to pass it on to deserving others. I nominate the following bloggers to receive the Liebster Award:
Bronwyn Joy at Journeys of the Fabulist
Jean at Mama Schmama
Caroline at Not Enough Wine in the World
Mo at Momfeld
Sarah at The Sadder but Wiser Girl
If you choose to accept, please complete the tasks as set below. It takes a little bit of time but it’s fun and you get to mingle with fellow bloggers and share your blog with their followers.
Here are the questions for the fabulous bloggers I’ve nominated:
- If you could be any celebrity, who would you be?
- If you could be any profession, what would you be?
- What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled?
- Do you come from a big family, or a small one?
- How long have you been blogging?
- Do you still blog the same sort of content that you did when you started out?
- Do you write anything else besides your blog?
- Where did you last vacation?
- Do you have pets? What kind?
- What’s your favorite ethnic food?
- If you had a free afternoon, would you prefer to go to a museum or a movie?
Nominees who accept are to write a blog post (like this one) which includes the following:
- Thank the person who has nominated you and link back to their blog (by posting a link on yours).
- Copy and display the award in your blogpost (save the pink image above and upload it to your own post).
- Answer the 11 questions about yourself, which are given to you by the person who nominated you.
- Write 11 random facts about yourself.
- Nominate 5 – 11 blogs/bloggers that you feel deserve the award. They need to have less than 1000 followers
- *Think of 11 new questions for the bloggers you have nominated and write them in your post.
- Inform the selected bloggers that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and link back to your own post so that they can learn about it (if they don’t already about it) and so that they know what questions to answer.
Thanks, nominees, for the great reading!
A tribute to the beguiling blogger at Blogdramedy who, admittedly, won’t read it because she doesn’t read numbered blog posts.
In her post yesterday, said blogger gave us TEN Reasons Why Numbered Posts Are So Yesterday. As a perpetrator of this once highly-favored writing style, I felt a rejoinder was in order. So here are (drumroll, please) 5 Reasons Bloggers Number Their Posts:
- Some of us are, in fact, so yesterday. My life is all about yesterday – what I ate, why I didn’t exercise, things I didn’t get done. My yesterday so inevitably slips into today that I never really have a today. I am stuck in perpetual yesterday. (If I’m completely honest, it might be the middle of last week.)
- Laziness. Duh. The alternative is to come up with a title that people will actually want to read, ideally accessed through highly-utilized search terms. Come on, that’s a lot of work! I have a day job! Not that I’m working at my day job right now. Because I’m blogging.
- A lack of originality. I’d provide some supporting evidence here but I can’t think of anything.
- It provides order. Many of us are grasping for order. And in the absence of real order, will accept something that looks suspiciously like order.
- We think it’s cute. And let’s face it, many of us (not me, of course, ahem) are blogging primarily for a beloved, niche audience of one – that is to say, ourselves.
One who is reading too much into this might think I ended the list at five (5) in deference to my esteemed blogging-colleague’s point of view. But in fact, I could only come up with five. It’s that darned lack of originality again. It gets you every time.
This month I joined a writing challenge intended to help me develop good writing habits. All it has pointed out, so far, is just how poor my writing habits are. Some of my habits go beyond ineffective to actually counterproductive. Not exactly what I was hoping for.
In case you’re on the same path, I thought I’d share them with you so you, too, can gain the valuable self-awareness I’ve gained.
7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Writers
- Write for an hour while standing in the kitchen at your iPad when you only meant to get a drink of water.
- Write blocks of prose targeted to a certain number of words. Count words. Notice there are too many or too few. Curse. Edit. Repeat.
- Jot down notes on your phone in parking lots across the city. Later, try to figure out what you meant.
- Write in the middle of the night when you should be sleeping.
- Sleep in the middle of the day when you should be writing.
- Get hung up on one particular passage or section. Set the piece aside so long you can no longer remember what it was you were trying to do with it.
- Schedule a whole, precious day to write and then paint the bedroom instead.
While I’m capable of disciplined personal habits this is clearly not an area where I excel. I’m slinking away from this particular writing challenge before my self-esteem takes an unrecoverable blow. Plus, I could use a glass of water.
How do you keep yourself on track when you’re writing?
I’m not really a resolutions type of gal. Resolutions require you to draw a line in the sand, and presumably, at some point, cross that line, an action I’m generally adverse to. I got around this in my resolutions last year by setting guidelines for myself that I largely already meet. Pretty weak. So this year, I plan to:
- Pay attention to what I am doing. If I succeed, I’ll probably notice some of the things I’m doing are dumb and then I can stop doing them. (My version of being present.)
- Do more things just because they’re fun. What’s wrong with having a little fun? I could make an argument that in the last couple of years, I have not had enough fun.
- Stop feeling guilty about #2. Guilt has a way of taking the fun out of having fun.
- Write something every day, even if it’s just a haiku in my Twitter feed.
- Occasionally, write something more than a haiku in my Twitter feed. To keep me motivated, I’ve joined Jeff Goins’ 500-words-a-day challenge.
- Enjoy things. I want more moments in my life to feel like the bliss of a hot shower on a cold day (or a cold shower on a hot day. Can’t decide which feels more blissful).
- I’d say appreciate the time I have with my kids, but honestly, some of the time I spend with my kids is a grind, for them and me. Instead, I’ll focus on trying not to get ticked off about stuff I probably won’t remember the next day.
These resolutions don’t sound very challenging, but I think, perhaps, life shouldn’t be a constant challenge. You can’t win a race – or lose it – if you’re the only one running.
Happy New Year!
Thanks to Tela, Inc. for the bee-yoo-tee-ful visual.
Oh, how wrong I was. Surely, I’m not the only one? I’ve been laboring (pardon the pun) over a Parent Your Business book for over a year. If this was a gestation period I would have given birth to two baby elephants by now. OK, that’s a huge exaggeration, but that’s how it feels.
What I didn’t realize when I set out was:
- Writing a book requires some discipline. Blogging, at least in my case, requires a complete lack of discipline since I typically find myself blogging when I should be doing something else (like now).
- Blog posts can be irrelevant, irreverent, and wacky and people will still read them – and even like them! A book has to have structure and purpose. Plus, the reader should ideally get some value out of it. Hmmm.
- Blog posts are short. You can write them in a few minutes if you’re on a roll. Writing a book takes a long time. (Duh, I should have seen this one coming.)
- Blogging is instant gratification. You write a post, publish it and right away someone will read it. Writing a book feels more like casting out a fishing line and then waiting for all of eternity for a bite.
I think I need a writing buddy to keep me on track. Any takers? Understandably, this will not be fun. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just take some solace in the fact that I’m not a pregnant elephant.
How do you stay motivated to write? How do you keep a project on track? Share, please!