Yesterday I got an excellent and interesting email from a wonderful friend. They had some questions about blogging and shot them my way. Of course I am happy to help; they’re a great friend and they were asking about a topic I’m very passionate about.
I started typing my responses and quickly realized that not only was this an opportunity to help a friend. It quickly became an awesome thought experiment. With yesterday’s blog fresh in my mind I quickly realized this was a “check the temperature of the water moment.” I also saw some clues to my questions from re-reading Grit (the blog post from a few days ago). Suddenly a simple Q & A email became a self reflection device!
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to think and grow like this today! I followed my own advice and wrote from my heart and let the typing flow. In the spirit of sharing, here are the questions and my answers. To keep the confidentiality of my friend I’ve removed any of their personal information.
Enjoy the peak into my brain 😉
What was your vision when you started?
When I turned 39 I realized I had an emptiness/unhappiness in me that I was getting really good at hiding from others. I could feel it growing bit by bit and I realized that there was something missing in my life. To quote one of my favorite songs by The Strumbellas, “There’s something in my mind that’s killing me, there’s something that this life isn’t giving me.” What I realized was that life (or The Big Dude Upstairs) was giving me everything I needed and then some. What was killing me and causing the broken feeling was a lack of gratitude for all of the many blessings I had in my life. I wanted what I didn’t have, I wasn’t focused on wanting what I had. I know, long explanation, where the heck am I going with this, right? 😉
The vision of the blog was for me to find a system/process I could use that was easy to measure, helped me use the power of peer pressure to stay accountable for, and possibly a way to help out even just one person who might have been feeling the same way.
What are your goals for writing the blog?
Similar to the above, but with a couple of twists. The first and most important goal of the blog is to remind me to be grateful; to keep gratitude at the forefront of my brain. As one of the mentors who shaped my faith the most once shared, “If you would be a river first you must be a reservoir.” If I am not keeping my soul focused on living a life of gratitude I am not able to fulfill the second goal; sharing joy with others through gratitude. My hope is that when I blog about something I’m thankful for it causes someone else to pause and be thankful for something in their life they may have passed by a thousand times or to bring back an old memory that brings them joy. The first goal is to keep my joyful through gratitude and the second is to share joy with others.
I haven’t ever set a followers, Likes, or other goal like that. I’m very much a metrics person and a competitive person. Those two traits have their places in other aspects of my life and I leave them there. The reason I share the blog post on several media streams is to help me best accomplish the second goal.
What platform do you use?
I use WordPress as it was very simple and tied things back to my social medias. The free version was great until I filled up the storage space for photos. WordPress is very inexpensive and handle everything I need it to.
How did you get started?
Great question! Here’s my overly short but 100% truthful answer… I sat down and started typing from my heart. I’d had a great day with two teammates in one of my offices that day and I wrote about how they’d done an excellent job. If there’s a piece of advice I’d offer up here, just write. Don’t think, don’t over analyze, and don’t strategize; all that just gets in the way. Just type and you’ll be amazed at what happens. 😉
What do you do for motivation?
Quite honestly, the feeling of living into my purpose is the motivation. There’s a gap between who I am and who I am called to be. The practice of daily gratitude helps me close that gap and brings me a ton of joy. The other motivation comes from the fact that I’ve written each day for over 4 years and I have friends who will give me a really hard time if I stop 😉
How many days ahead do you write the post?
You might be surprised at this answer – NONE. For me the entire focus was to practice intentional gratitude once per day (and now with videos often twice a day). If I wrote them in advance I’d be missing the point of doing it. This means YES, I write every single day come hell or high water. I have to work it into my day and it’s become a part of my life. The feeling of not doing it scares me and makes me shake and squirm.
Why did you choose to post everyday versus once a week?
Once a week just didn’t quite seem enough. Daily helps me focus on it each day and is a repeatable and sustainable timeline. The other thing to keep in mind is that some days I go long and other days I go short – there’s no requirement of how many words I write per day or anything like that. I usually start with an idea (sometimes less than that) and just let my thoughts flow as I type them. Taking time to do this each day has really helped me pause, clarify, and express my thoughts and feelings much better.
What else do I need to know I’m not asking?
Are you sure you want to end with an open ended question to a very wordy person? 😃
Write for you first, your audience second. Focus on writing about things that help you grow and develop and things that fill you with joy. This keeps your heart in it and will also share the authentic you. Other people have similar struggles, challenges, and joys – they will connect with your honest experiences and you’ll help them greatly through sharing of your personal thoughts and emotions.
Get started right away, even if you don’t publish it publicly, just write. It’s too easy to pause and overthink. I still do that sometimes when I try to put together this big grand blog post. I start thinking and thinking and thinking and next thing I know a couple of hours go by and I have nothing to show for it. If I just start typing and let me mind relax it flows out of me. I can always go back and edit afterwards – but only if I have something actually written.
It’s kind of like another comment from the aforementioned mentor, “If your faith doesn’t bring you joy, you’re doing it wrong. Now ‘Joy’ isn’t the same as ‘Happiness’ and is often the opposite of comfort.” It’s okay that it puts you in a tough place, it challenges you, and it is difficult at times. That’s when we’re growing. Through the process there should be a deep feeling of joy. In writing you’re making progress, you’re growing, you’re viewing the world differently, you’re creating, you’re sharing, and you’re living. I’m pretty sure that when it is done correctly The Big Dude Upstairs smiles as He sees you living into your purpose. You’re taking time to think, to feel, to relate, to help, and to create joy. Isn’t that what we were all made for?
Just my two cents… and maybe a nickel.
See what I mean? What a great thought experiment!!!