Tag Archives: 365 days of blogging

Saturday Random: Naps and Flowing with Changes

Guess what? I DID wake up early enough yesterday to go for that 7:15 a.m. walk with my friend (we actually changed it to 7:30 a.m., but still!). And here’s what I’ve discovered: if I’m getting up at 6:30 a.m., I feel very “nappish” at around 4:00 p.m.

But there appears to be an art to napping. I was literally sitting on my sofa, fighting against my eyes closing as the warm afternoon sun embraced me … but when I finally gave in and actually took off my contacts and lay in bed?

No nodding off. Nothing even close to sleep.

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How do cats do it?!

I’m definitely going to have to explore this more. Simply put, I prefer walking earlier in the day to later (not quite as hot, plus I feel more productive). I’ve been waking up earlier as a result (although not quite as early as I did yesterday), and I think adding a nap to my productivity repertoire might be a very helpful thing.

——–

And changes. Ah, yes.

You see, I didn’t blog yesterday. Lately I’ve been wrestling with this whole 365 days of blogging thing. Back in November when I decided I was going to do this, yes I was, I had two main goals: (1) to get out of a blogging slump (or a no-blogging-at-all slump, really) and (2) to prove to myself I had the discipline to blog daily.

Back then, I didn’t foresee all the changes that would happen this year. Like my mom breaking her hip and how big an impact that would have on my time. Or my branching out more fully into freelance writing. Or my taking on a position as a marketing manager with the publishing company Booktrope.

A while back, for Bloggiesta, I wrote a post about how to come up with a treasure trove of blog post ideas. And while I’m still getting ideas for blog posts, there have definitely been days when I was just juggling too much to sit down and do a blog post justice. I’d do it anyway, but I doubt those posts were anywhere close to my best posts.

So yesterday, I didn’t feel like blogging. I’d been to see my mother, and then I ran errands after, adding lots more steps to the ones I’d taken for my daily walk. When I got home I was feeling “nappish” (see above) since I’d gotten up so early. After an aborted attempt at a nap, it was time for dinner. And since I didn’t nap, I was really drowsy by 9:00 p.m.

I was asleep before 11:00 p.m. Really really early, for me. And while I thought about blogging in that time between 9:00 and 11:00, my heart really wasn’t in it. And I really couldn’t see the benefit of sitting down anyway and writing a blog post.

So … I’m going to flow with the changes in my life. There will be days when I have a lot on my plate, and on those days, I’m not going to worry about not writing a blog post. I figure, my 365 days of blogging just won’t be consecutive. That works for me!

A new year: commitment, intention and a little bit of preparation

Photo 2014-12-27, 1 20 10 AM

As we head into the new year, I’ve been finding myself approaching things very differently than I did in previous years. A lot of it has to do with my resolve to institute real change in my life. 2014 has been an interesting year for me. I lost myself several times during the year – especially over the summer months – and the process of having to find myself, over and over, as I recovered from a default mechanism of always reacting to things, was really exhausting.

Back in November, I came to the conclusion that things really had to change. And the only way things could change would be through me. I simply cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

As a result, I decided to commit myself to 365 days of blogging back on December 1. It was a little like putting my big toe in the water, testing the temperature – only in this case, I was testing myself. Making that commitment, setting that intention, was huge for me. I’ve never been disciplined about things. Commitment to intentions requires discipline. It requires courage. It requires faith. While 2014 came with a lot of stuff I would rather not have gone through, somehow the end result has been this: I’ve found the discipline within me, I’ve found the courage, and yes, I’ve found the faith.

I’ve also come to the realization that a little bit of preparation goes a long way in terms of supporting commitment and intention. My decision to blog daily was a monumental one, given my previous blogging habits. But I really prepared, and while I haven’t yet reached the one month marker, I can say that daily blogging has been easy, not hard, not the challenge I’d anticipated. And I owe a lot of that to the preparation I did before hand.

I started posting my 2015 goals a few weeks ago, and I have several more to post. For much of my time off over the holidays, I’ve been thinking about these goals, about what I want the new year to bring. I have been having fun preparing myself to stay committed to my intentions, to be disciplined, to be courageous, to have the faith.

This coming year, I am choosing change. I will be doing things differently and yes, I expect different results. My dreams have been calling to me for years, and it’s time I started paying attention to them.

What about you? Are you finding yourself thinking about goals, about intentions, as the new year draws closer?

The Blog Post Ideas Stash: Prepping for 365 Days of Blogging

As I mentioned yesterday, I didn’t jump into this decision to commit to 365 days of blogging lightly. This has been my year for learning that a little bit of preparation can go a long way, and it’s something I’ll be applying to my 365 days of blogging self-challenge.

I spent as much time as I could tear away from my deadlines last month to gather together blog post ideas. The best part, I’ve discovered, is that collecting blog post ideas is actually a whole lot of fun. Plus I don’t feel as worried about finding something to write about as I thought I’d be. (Well, okay, this is only Day 2, but still … )

These are the main components of my blog post ideas stash:

Brainstormed List of Ideas in My Bullet Journal

I’m trying to work in a new daily ritual which involves regular periods of brainstorming. Most of the brainstorming I’m doing is for my writing, both fiction and non-fiction, but I also set aside some time to quickly jot down blog post ideas. I have a dedicated “collection” of blog post ideas in my Bullet Journal, and I’ve been quite amazed at how quickly the ideas come, even during those times when I sit down to brainstorm but feel like I really don’t have any ideas at all.

My Online Reading

I have fallen in love with Flipboard, and spend time on the app most mornings before I start my day. I’ve also been making an effort to read through my feeds in the Feedly app. I have such fun adding articles to the different Flipboard magazines I’ve created.

But sometimes while I’m reading, an article will spark a blog post idea, in which case I’ll jot the idea down in my Bullet Journal. Sometimes, though, I think I might want to discuss the article. When that happens, I send it to myself. I have Gmail set to automatically filter these emails to a To-Do folder. This folder currently contains all the to-dos that occur to me as I’m surfing online, so eventually I may create a new filter specifically for blog post ideas.

My Read and To-Read Lists

Since I’ve mainly blogged about books here, these two are easy and no-brainers. I add books to my to-read lists all the time – all it takes is some book blog hopping and guaranteed, I’ll add a handful of books to the TBR. It’s easy enough keeping track of these. While I’ve done it digitally before, right now I have a books collection in my Bullet Journal. I would like to link to the reviews that put the books on my to-read list to begin with, though, so I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a TBR magazine at Flipboard. (The Bookish Life is the one I curate about all things to do with reading in general, but curating a specific TBR one would be a lot of fun, too.)

I do have to develop a new habit when it comes to books I’ve read, though. If I don’t write something down about the book immediately, I have a much harder time coming back to it to write about it, usually because in between finishing it and writing about it, I’ve normally read a few other books in between. I’m not sure what kind of system I’ll try out, but it will probably involve my Bullet Journal. (Sometimes I think of my Bullet Journal as my brain on paper.)

List Prompts

Lists are always so easy to write, so I dedicated some time to searching online for list prompts. Most of the ones I found were for journals and art journals, and could be easily adapted to blog posts. If you’re interested in list prompts, this list of 101 List Prompts for Art Journaling is a good one, and can definitely be utilized for blogging, not just art journaling.

I intend to use these prompts when the well is feeling particularly dry, so I wanted to add a more playful, random element to the prompts.

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The yellow file box on the right (I bought a three-pack a while back from IKEA), holds the prompts. The box on the left is where I keep the little slips of paper I use for writing out short stories for my Short Story of the Day box. These papers definitely come in handy. When I come across a great list prompt idea, I just grab a blank piece, jot down the prompt, then toss it into the prompt box.

Blogging Courses

I even went so far as to purchase a blogging course whose only focus is on coming up with blogging ideas. The reviews sounded great, and it was on sale, so I thought, why not? It couldn’t hurt. I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, but I’m hopeful it will be another source of good ideas. I also signed up for a few free email and online-type courses, and some ideas may come from these, as well.

A Continuing System

It’s nice to have a wealth of blog post ideas at hand, but 365 days is a lot, and I certainly don’t have 365 ideas stashed away right now. So I’m developing a continuing system that will hopefully keep the ideas stash at an optimum level at all times. I’m already adding to my stash every day just through those To-do emails when I’m reading things online, and when I go book blog hopping, but I’ll also be making time for brainstorming more ideas, probably once a week, and making good use of the courses I signed up for.

What idea generation methods do you use to come up with blog post topics?

365 Days of Blogging–With Some Caveats

Yes, I’m taking the 365-days-of-blogging plunge.

You know that old saying about the definition of insanity that’s often attributed to Albert Einstein? “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Over the last decade or so, I’ve been guilty of this kind of insanity, and all last month I’ve been thinking about what to do to change things up.

And I realized one thing I really want to do is to blog more often. More consistently. And more meaningfully.

I thought I’d encounter more resistance to writing this post than I actually did. I knew I’d have to write it today – or be behind before I even started – and here it is only 6:30 pm and all I’ve done to procrastinate are: do my social media addiction thing on my phone for three hours, clean my desk,  upgrade my WordPress installation to the latest version, add in a new newsletter subscribe form and change to a new template. And look! I have things to fix with the template, and yet what am I doing?

I’m writing this post.

Yay me!

By the way, I’m quite proud of the work I did cleaning my desk. It might have been for the purposes of procrastination, but it was well worth it:

Desk-before-and-after_thumb.jpg

 

And no, I didn’t do it my usual way (find an empty box and cram everything into it, then stuff the lid on and put it in a corner where it sits and collects dust for a year). I actually handled every single thing on my desk and found a new place to put it! I’m really quite amazed at myself.

So, procrastination out of the way, I’m ready now to formally declare my commitment to this new self-challenge: 365 days of blogging.

The Caveats

I couldn’t, however, commit to 365 days of blogging without some caveats. So here they are:

  1. While my intention is to blog every day, I refuse to write up a more or less meaningless post just because I need to post something and the well’s run dry.
  2. Which means my commitment is to 365 days of blogging, but I’m not going to make myself go crazy and say it’s going to be 365 days of consecutive blogging. There will be days I’ll miss. I’ve already accepted that – it’s built in as part of the whole scheme.
  3. And while the intention driving this whole self-challenge is writing a blog post every day, if I have days where I’m feeling particularly prolific (or wordy, depending on how you want to look at it), I may write extra posts and keep them on hand for those days when I come up blank and can only think of something really meaningless to blog about. Right off the bat, I know this might happen when I’m looking at the stack of books I’ve read and want to talk about.

Tracking

I’m going to keep myself accountable by tracking my progress in my Bullet Journal. Here is my December “habit chains” page:

habit chains

You can see the other daily habits I’ll be tracking this month: writing, blogging, brainstorming, meditation, photo-a-day and create. Although I think I might start the creating habit a little later in the month.

Why now? Why not wait until January 1?

This is a good question, and one I asked myself when I first realized I wanted to commit to this challenge. One thing I’ve learned recently (better late than never, right?) is the value of being prepared. When it comes to plunging into ideas, I’ve always valued spontaneity, but lately I’ve been learning that preparation doesn’t have to be the antithesis of spontaneity – and in fact, the two play very well together.

And that’s why I’m starting this challenge in December. It’ll be a hectic month, and so my caveats may come into play a little more often than I might like, but the thing is, December really is the month for preparing to leave the old year behind and embrace the new year. This is the month I’ll be thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2015, the new habits I want to form, the things I want to do, the things I no longer want to be doing, my One Word for the year (I have an inkling already what that word will be).

In other words, this is the month I’ll be exploring all the ways I’m going to stop the insanity, stop doing all the same things and expecting different results. Decide how I’m going to drive the changes in my life from the inside out. And it seems to me, not only is regular blogging step one in the process, but it’s also a pretty good way to document my explorations.

So fingers crossed – here I go: 365 days of blogging!