Tag Archives: writing

Are You Neglecting Your Most Important Blogging Asset or How To Take Care Of A Creative Mind


 

 

 

This post is something different. I hope it adds some value to your day.

I can’t say it belongs in any traditional ‘Top Tips For Bloggers’ category, that’s for sure.  However, I kind of like dabbling in the alternative, outside of the box slant to blogging and writing, so here it goes…let us know what you think.

Okay, so I could have called this post, Stay Happy and Create or something to that effect. Or perhaps smile, be positive and the writing will flow, but let’s be honest about this – sometimes you may not be feeling 100% energy plus/ soda pop bubbly happy  but you still want to write something (possibly a blog post!).

Your head is telling you – go lay on the couch, read a book, eat something, call a  friend or if those distractions don’t work, why not google something (for fun, not research) or just sit and stare at your computer screen.

Well, doesn’t that sound lazy fazy. Non-productive. Wishy washy. Mediocre. Non action taking.

Maybe, but I don’t need to be a psychologist to know that it is also okay to do it. Good even.

And why? Well, here’s what I think…..

Whilst being the really busy, action taking, self motivated, opportunity grabbing entrepreneurial bloggers that we are is great; sometimes, keeping that level of process and predictability going can be also be draining, destructive and negative. 

Counterproductive even.

Power Vs Force

Creativity is a funny thing. It needs silence. It needs time. It needs to be allowed to take form in our consciousness at whatever pace it decides. Slowly but steadily.

Truth is, creative thinking is not something to take for granted.

It is however something that can be nurtured through silence, rest and time out. 

These words below, from William Penn, aptly illustrate what I am referring to.

True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.  ~William Penn 

 

And in a world where silence has all but been annihilated, making a conscious choice to find some space and quiet is something worth writing about.

So I did.

Was this blog post helpful?

What enhances your productivity?

What do you think – am I over analysing creativity here?

How do you nurture yourself and your creative side? 

 

PS Coming soon….(next time I blog) I share my experiences at the most amazing, wonderful, incredible, fantastic weekend seminar with Rachael Bermingham (Australia’s No 1 top-selling author!!). What a power packed weekend it was – I even got to have some private, one on one, time with Rachael as part of the VIP dinner!!! 

Has this weekend changed my life or what?! There were so many fabulously creative, talented and wonderful people there (hello to any of you, who might be reading this!!) and now, new opportunities are knocking on the door, for all of us who attended!!! Woo – hoo!!!

This was one incredibly productive and creative weekend!!!

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Goal Setting Skills In Action, A Little Revision or The Surprising Power Of Mini Goals


This past week I have been using my time to work toward my BIG goal of getting my book into print. This is no small task and without some sort of plan, realised, I would not find it easy to mobilise myself into action.

So, I set about creating one and now have, what I believe to be, a blueprint for making this book a physical reality.

Along the way however I realised I needed to do a bit of revision in the goal setting area. How had I achieved things in the past, I began to ask? What stratergies had I used when I was losing weight or writing my first ebook?

Since I had actually written extensively about this subject in my ebook, I thought that taking another look at what I had already written about goal setting (in relation to losing weight) might be helpful.

I then thought I might also share this revision with you, so below is a brief extract (edited and reshaped) from Reframe Weight Loss. It is from Chapter 6, Gaining Your Goal Setting Skills. NB The emphasis in the extract is on weight loss goals, but you can substitute your own goals for the weight loss ones and I hope still find some relevance for you.

Start of Extract

Prelude: After discussing my own strategy and then emphasizing the importance  of a goal achieving strategy, I then continue with the following:-

 Chiefly, these strategies were and should be for you:

1. State and express your goal in a positive way. 

2. Be exact!! State exactly when, using a specific date and time that you want to achieve your goal by. A good adage to keep in mind with this strategy is:

3. IT IS IMPORTANT TO TIME YOUR PLAN, BUT ALSO TO PLAN YOUR TIME!

4. Next, write all your goals down on a piece of paper.

5. Place them somewhere where you will see (and review them) often!!

Bite-sized Tasks 

 Okay, so that’s a simple approach to the BIG GOAL. Now, to the real ‘magic’ of goal setting – breaking it down.

It is my belief that no one has ever gotten anything done by sitting and looking only at the BIG PICTURE. That’s not the thing to focus on.

Although it is always important to have that vision alive and vibrant in your mind, it is actually in achieving the many mini goals along the way that is going to get you there. Similar to the BIG GOAL, your mini goals should also have a ‘to be completed by’ date and time. Once again, be precise and be specific.

For  example, your first mini goal may be ‘to lose two kg by the first day of the next month this year. (As I don’t know the exact date that you’re reading this, I’ll let you fill in the more specific month names and year!) After you have a list of all your mini goals, it’s now time to set some even smaller mini goals.

Staying with our mini goal of losing two kg by the first day of the next month, let’s break it down even further. First, two kg in one month is approximately 0.5kg a week.

Great, a much more achievable outcome and one you can ‘see’ clearly and work toward!

From here, the next step is to define the actions and steps you are going to take daily that will get you to that 0.5kg. If you’ve read the preceding chapters of this book, then I think you already know how to do that.

Now however, is the time to get specific. You may end up with about 10 mini tasks that you are going to perform this week, or perhaps a daily ‘to do list’.

Achieving and crossing off these daily tasks will get you to that weekly goal of 0.5kg weight loss.

A review of some of the work we have done so far may assist you in writing these mini tasks. I can set out an example for you of what the first five might look like (they may be familiar to you, as we’ve already touched on them earlier), but it will be up to you to write your own personal and relevant ones. Okay, so maybe something like this:

1. This week, I will continue the exercises I have begun in ‘The Seven-day Plan.’ If I have joined a gym, I will attend three times this week!!

2. For this week, I will only home cook. No takeaway food (this includes snacks and meals).

3.My home cooking will be from my own low-fat recipe book or from my own personal eating plan.

 4. I will replace all my between-meal snacks with fruit, low-fat yoghurt or a low-fat protein smoothie.

 5. I will stay within my calculated ‘calories for weight loss’ and keep an accurate record of everything I eat and drink.

 Important: stay mindful of your mini tasks and remind yourself of them frequently throughout the week.

Setting weekly mini goals is the way to continue, and if at any point even these seem too hard, then take a step back, be realistic and reset some smaller goals; ones that you KNOW without a doubt that you wil.l achieve.

 Gently Raising The Bar

I would like to quickly share with you a simple short story about ‘raising the bar’ that may help clarify for you the effectiveness of ‘mini goals’. It is about a method used in Japan to train children into ‘Ninja Warriors’, and is similar to one that many high jumpers also use to gradually improve their performance. 

For each Ninja child in training a bamboo shoot is planted, and from the very first day that child must jump over it. As it grows and gets higher, the children continue to jump over it on a daily basis. At first, when the bamboo shoot is very low, the task is simple. Then as the canes get a fraction higher each day, the children have to stretch themselves and jump a little higher to succeed. The result however is that they all end up jumping over quite tall canes with surprising ease.

The metaphor for us is clear. Doing just a little bit more, pushing ourselves just a little bit further each day, can amount to huge achievements in our lives, achievements that may not have been possible to attain without a commitment to some smaller daily improvements.

From little things, big things grow!!

I would also just like to add that I have faith that you can find the inspiration (indeed I hope you already have, in this book!!) to achieve each new behaviour, each new habit and each new way to be that you set your mind to. Just like the little Ninja Warriors.”

End Of Extract

That is the extract that I re-read this week and it has helped me to make some progress toward the mini tasks required to achieve my BIG task of publishing my book in print. Just like when I was working toward reaching my weight loss goal (which was a big number of kilos to lose) I am trying not to get overwhelmed with the BIG PICTURE, but rather to focus on the bite sized tasks that are easy and achievable for me on a daily basis.
 But what do you think?
Is this a good way to go about achieving BIG goals?
 
What goal achieving strategies have you employed?
 
Are they effective and do they  make the project (what ever it is) more manageable and achievable for you?
 
Are you working toward some BIG GOAL in your life?
Are there any tips or strategies of your own you can teach us about or add to my list of goal setting strategies?

Blog Posts and Teachers That Changed My Life (So Far) or How To Recognise A Dare To Be Great Enabler


 

The only difference between where you are today, and where you’ll be a year from today, are the books you read and the people you meet. – Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones

For the relevance of this post, please substitute the word ”books” for “posts, comments and emails” in the above quote!

 

Dare To Be Great

During my final year of primary school, I was lucky enough to be taught by the only catholic nun in Australia, who didn’t hit kids in the 70’s. But that’s not all she did right.

Sister Mary Therese was also a great encourager. She had a passion for writing and instead of the textbook poetry and essays that the educational curriculum dictated she use, Sr Therese instead, shared her own writing. Powerful  and original stories and poetry about nature, colour, God, love and whatever other subjects that 12-year-old catholic children needed to expand their horizons in, Sr Therese wrote about it.

Her creations were glued into our workbooks alongside our own poetry and essays – note: they were pasted alongside our creations.

This is where this wonderful person’s teaching became great. 

As you may have surmised, my grade 7 class admired and looked up to Sr Therese (me, in particular for her writing) and when her praise or encouragement was given via a comment on our work (pasted alongside her own) the impact was so uplifting that not only did our grades improve, we were also happier more positive students. Personally, Sr Therese was the catalyst for my first writing submission to (and subsequent publishing in) one of our cities major newspapers.

I was a published author (so to speak!) at 12 – all because of the love and encouragement given by a person whom I admired and looked up to. 

Sr Therese therefore, is always first on my (self-created) list of Dare To Be Great enablers.

Blog Posts and Bloggers

Many years later (after 2 kids, a career in nursing and a stint of tertiary education) I am still meeting Dare To Be Great enablers. These people have not only garnered my loyalty but also encouraged me to keep writing, through their praise and positive feedback and sometimes, just through their own willingness to share their valuable time, energy and wisdom.

Doing some of these things was possibly, to them, like leaving a drop in the ocean, but the impact they had on me, was much greater.

There are many I could mention that I have discovered just recently, but if I was to go start with one significant person, it would be Craig Harper (at www.craigharper.com.au) .

 I was lucky enough to discover Craig’s blog way back in its early stages (before his 45,000 subscribers came along!) and it was then that Craig offered (in response to a comment I wrote) to read some of the articles that I was then preparing for magazine submissions.

His email reply a day or two later left me ecstatic, because yep, he praised and encouraged me. He wrote the words – “Your writing is good. Really good. You’ve got to get published”. I couldn’t believe it. Someone whom I truly admired and looked up to had (again) encouraged me!

Craig was the catalyst for the work I then did in writing and publishing my first e-book (something I’m not sure I would not have ventured into had it not been for his encouragement).

Craig is next on my personal list of Dare To Be Great enablers.

So why am I giving these two teachers of mine such a poetic title when perhaps just ‘nice people’ would do? Because some people rise to  a different level in their willingness to help and support others. Some people do more than just be nice. Some people understand (and practice) the simple power of words, spoken or written, with a positive attitude and given freely for the benefit of others.

These people, in my mind, are Dare To Be Great enablers.

One More Surprising Teacher

I was reflecting yesterday upon these people and the way they have so positively impacted on my life, when something else happened to one of my kids, that I know will have a long and lasting (and very positive) impact on her.

In a way, I view this little episode in her young life, as the universe’s way of poking its tongue at me, her mother, and going “Na, na, na, na – nah!”, but I digress… here’s the short version of her greatest (so far) moment.

My daughter has a You Tube channel which is solely dedicated to her admiration for one popular young artist called…(I have been so sick of hearing this name) Justin Bieber. Like many young girls she talks, sings, dreams and (so I found out) writes and shares comments with her growing number of friends on the channel about her idol. She also frequently visits his channel.

Now to a mother all this can at times, be a little tiring, somewhat concerning and at other times, down right annoying!! Should I have her de-progammed or something? Should I make her close her You Tube account (oh and by the way, this interest has not and is not affecting her focus on school and/or other accomplishments/she is a great student). Yes, all these questions plague me at times, but lately I have weighed it all up and decided to accept and not fight this passing (I hope) stage.

And then yesterday my daughter had one of her uplifting and memorable moments when the young artist himself dropped by her You Tube channel and personally wrote several, very nice lines, full of positive, kind words offering her encouragement and inspiration.

Of course, she cried!

Now whether the person who posted that comment was in fact her idol or whether it was a publicist or another Bieber employee, isn’t relevant.

What is relevant is the wonderful impact it had on her. She felt (and I understand that feeling) so positive after reading it, that I dare say she’ll be dancing and smiling for the rest of the year! Her very first Dare To Great enabler (from a very unexpected source) has paid her a visit and changed her outlook for the better.

So my question to you today is this – Have you yourself ever given praise or encouragement that has changed someone’s life (or day) for the better?

Do you think it is possible that we can all be Dare To Be Great enablers, if we choose to?

Who has impacted upon your life or business in a memorable and encouraging way?

I would also like to encourage you yourself (and I’m going to do this too) to offer some praise today – to your kids, your spouse, a work colleague or friend.

See what impact you have.

Even if we ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
(adapted from Mother Theresa)

Could Having A Multi Niche Blog Expand Your Cyber Growth and Development?


Building a blog, I have come to believe, is similar in some ways to building your own home. First you find a vacant piece of land (a few Kilobytes),  a builder (wordpress.com for me) and then, perhaps a draftsman to draw up your plans (a website designer).

Ultimately though the true architect of your blog is you.

You, The Creator

Just as designing and planning your home gives you the opportunity to leave your own personal imprint on the world, so too does your blog. It is your creation, your energy, your time, your viewpoint and your slant on whatever subject your passionate about.

It is YOU in a cyber package.

Which brings me to this point – YOU are also a multidimensional being.

You have a heart as well as a mind and experiences as well as thoughts. Likewise you have infinite possibilities for what and how much you share in the blogosphere.

So why limit yourself ?

Single Vs Multi Niche

Of course maybe you have a very good reason for limiting what you write  about – maybe what you are really doing is zooming in your focus and narrowing down your subject area – all with good intent and outcome. If so, good on you!!

But can and should we all be doing the same?

I don’t profess to actually have the answer to that question, by the way. Rather, I would like to open up the subject for discussion with you and see if there is some consensus or preference amongst other bloggers.

Some questions I have in relation to this area:-

Do you think it is necessary to blog in a niche?

Is a multi niche blog something you already have or would considered creating?

Do you agree or disagree that we (unintentionally) limit our options by narrowing our focus in one particular area?

Inspiration

Recently I read a post by the gifted Marcus Sheridan, who was guest posting over at The Blogging Bookshelf.  Marcus was (for want of a better term) playing the devil’s advocate, by suggesting that many blogs, now alive and well in the blogosphere, will soon disappear and die, sadly even before their first birthday.

It was a very thought-provoking post and if you and your blog have not yet blown the number 1 candle out on your blogging birthday cake, then I would highly recommend reading it.

It was in fact a post that gave me the impetus to write this one, as I paused to reflect on his observations and the meaning they had for me.

What kept coming up for me (in my thoughts) were the ideas that are now in this post.

Embracing The New

In my first few months of blogging I focussed on providing thought-provoking and motivational tales about weight loss. After writing a whole book on the subject however, I eventually found that I had nothing further to say on the matter; 28,ooo words in an e-book had just about covered what I wanted to share.

I did (and still do) however have a strong interest in personal development which in many ways is tied to the journey of weight loss and better health.

So, I began to expand my content.

Now, 7 or 8 months later and there are many more areas that I now regularly read, research and learn about. Self publishing, writing as a craft, blogging and personal branding are some of the areas I am now studying.

Apart from the personal benefits I gain from this, I also now have heaps more to blog about! A double bonus!

So what are your thoughts?

Is multi niching for you?

What has been your experience and history in the blogosphere?

Has your focus shifted over time?

Seven Surprising Reasons You Should Keep Blogging or How To Get A Positive Blogging Mindset


“I believe the term “blog” means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.” (Michael Arrington)

Do you still love to blog? Yes, yes?? Ahhh, good, then you need read no further.

If however, you are amongst the many who (after a certain time frame) start thinking about quitting their blog or maybe trying something else, then this post is for you!

Reasons You Should Keep Going

1. You're good at it and you have learnt so much!!

Aside from what others may tell you from time to time or maybe what they don’t tell you (not enough of us share our positive thoughts sometimes) if you’ve been working hard and learning lots about your niche, then you probably know what you’re talking about it!!  The very fact that you are a unique individual means that you also have a totally unique ‘take’ on your subject matter. This means you have something very valuable to share!

2. Every blogger is a teacher, too.

 I like to think along the lines that every blogging connection and cyberfriend I make along my blogging journey is someone sent to teach me something. Not only do you gain skills as a writer by blogging, you also gain knowledge by reading what others have to share with you.

3. Blogging itself teaches you to be resilient.

My young children are learning this skill at school. They are taught to interpret their experiences in such a way as to ensure that they always bounce back and are often reminded of Rule Number 6, which simply states “Don’t take yourself too seriously!”

I think these are great thoughts to keep in mind, if you ever feel let down or disheartened in your blogging or marketing endeavours. Just keep on going, you’ll get there!!

4. Everyone is listening.

 Despite that at times we don’t get 100% feedback, I think bloggers have to keep the fact in mind that other people are listening. I have spoken (in the real world) to people who have read blogs (and loved them!) for years and never ever left a comment (personally I couldn’t do that as I love to talk/comment!!).

5. By starting and maintaining a blog, you are leaving a legacy.

Think about this for a minute:- everything you have ever said in cyberspace stays there forever!!

6. Not everyone can do it!!

Despite the fact that there are millions of blogs in the world, not everyone on the planet will write one. For many people even the very idea of writing and being out in a public arena is way too scary. Some could never do it, so appreciate the fact that you can and keep on doing it!! Nurture your own awesomeness!!

7. You're discovering new things about yourself.

At least I think you are. Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree about that one! Whilst I have spoken to many who say they have grown, learnt and changed as people all through blogging and still others who have cherished blogging friendships, I would love to hear what blogging has taught you!

Can you add a number 8 or 9 to this list?

Apart from your own marketing or business success with blogging, what have you gained through blogging from a personal perspective?

Do you see yourself as a teacher or mentor to others?

If so, does this motivate you to keep on blogging?

Networking, Cyclones and Fiction Writing or Why I Committed A Caridinal Blogging Sin


As most of you would know, there are a lot of other “cyber tasks” (apart from actually writing blog posts) that fill up a busy bloggers day ie visiting other blogs, editing and emailing guest posts (my first to go up soon at WriteAnything), researching ideas, cyber networking and leaving comments on other blogs.

What can I say, I like to keep busy!

Anyhow, due to all of the above (and a few other things that I will go into in a moment) last week I happily committed the venial sin (I just downgraded it!) of ‘reposting’ a previous post.

Personally I don’t think there is anything greatly wrong with that.

After all readerships may grow over time and what’s wrong with a little resharing of some relevant and perhaps interesting facts about a particular topic?

Nothing Monica, except I’d read it before, I hear you say. 

Inside The Confessional Box

Yes, well, as I am now in the confessional box, I may as well mention to you another significant factor that affected my (blogging and all other aspects of) life last week. It was called CYCLONE YASI.

You’d have thought that the weather gods may have had enough fun with us Queenslanders lately (with the recent floods and all) but apparently that was just a test run. Just weeks later we found ourselves again under threat, this time from a category 5 cyclone (which had the dubious honour of being the most severe cyclone in our country’s history) . 

I don’t wish to turn this post into a news report about the event as I’m sure there have been plenty of them, worldwide. Suffice to say however that this second disaster did once again, hit heart and home quite badly.

Our relatives in North Queensland experienced a horrendous night (but all are safe) and are now enduring a second week of no electricity and a diminishing city water supply.

Hardship and adversity also hit the many  (sugar cane, banana and dairy) farming communities for the second time in just a few years, so these guys are all doing it tough.

They are all in our thoughts and prayers here in Queensland and please keep them in yours, as well.  I know from my previous post about the Queensland floods, that there are some very compassionate and caring people out there in cyberspace and I thank you in advance for remembering us in this part of the globe.  🙂

Writing Opportunities

Okay, well, moving on to something different now as I also wanted to mention to you a few great writing sites and projects I have recently become aware of. This also involves sharing with you:-

Some Stuff You Didn’t Know About Me

I’ll make these points briefly (because there’s only a few of them!) :-

1) Apart from my own e-book, I also love to write non-fiction.

2) I am always on the lookout for magazine’s and other places, to submit my short stories to.

Anyhow, this all leads me to explain why I was so excited to discover a project called #FridayFlash, which as you might have guessed by the hashtag is a fantastic, twitter born, opportunity for writers. Basically, this project involves uploading your own fiction each Friday and participating in the online community of writers bought together by Jon Strother.

Jon has already published a ‘Best Of #Fridayflash” and is currently considering producing a volume 2. If you yourself are interested in joining in with this project you can do so here.

I myself will be uploading stories  (the stories are already written and on my computer files) as soon as a few hitches with my Microsoft office program are fixed!!

So there you have it friends – a confession, a heartache and some new writing ventures, shared.

How’s your week been?

Have you any writing opportunities or publishing stories of your own to share?

 

Blogging In The Next Decade or Is Blogging Being Reshaped By Something New


 

Hey there. Before I begin with today’s topic I just wanted to say a heartfelt thanks to anyone who commented or shared my last post about the Queensland floods. It will be a long haul before our state recovers completely, but the clean up has begun. Whilst this revival begins it means a lot to know that other people world-wide are empathizing and thinking of my fellow Queenslanders. So thank you for your support. 🙂

Want To Be A Magazine Columnist?

Okay so on today’s post which is about something which has caught my attention recently and got me thinking. Since I said I’d write about it a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was about time I did!  I would also love to know what you guys think about this new vehicle for having a web presence. Would you embrace it? Do you think you’ll use it?

Maybe, I hear you say, but for goodness sake Monica, what is it?

Well, it’s a whole new distribution model called Newsgrape that (so it’s founders, Austrian  residents and media and communication experts, Leo and Felix say) will allow you to reach to a greater audience than ever.

And from what I’ve read and heard, I think it just might.

The web-platform that these guys are building could actually revolutionize the way people share and experience text on the web – just like YouTube has done for videos.

One of the interesting claims (and one that caught my attention) being made by these visionaries it that the time of unconnected, individual blogs is over!  Eeek, I thought, I’d better read this!

What they are building and about to launch is a central place for sharing articles and literary contributions,  whereby people can publish information in a group  under a shared name or  co-create Magazines together.

Different, huh?

What Else Can You Do With Newsgrape?

Well apart from publishing being done collaboratively, by using the magazine system, aspiring bloggers ( like us!) can also join hundreds of magazines as a columnist or editor. Or, we can simply start your own magazine and invite other writers to contribute – both apparently is really easy!

The system they have designed has many other new and different features. They will (as WordPress already does) finds connections within content and also link the best-matching items together.

Unlike current platforms however they will also enable readers to search for  opposite types of posts so they can discover articles of related, yet different content, to be presented as interesting add-ons.

I don’t know about you, but I myself will be checking out Newsgrape when it launches in it’s restricted Pre Beta Phase (no, I have no idea what that means either) in just 16 days!

With more and more people discovering blogging and having fun writing articles on what ever possible topic and even professional journalists, who make their living from writing now appearing on the net (most often on WordPress or Blogger) I am sure the next generation in blogging is set to make an appearance.

Maybe Newsgrape is it?

It might not replace individual blogs, as they say it will but who knows? It has certainly peaked my curiosity though and I am looking forward to finding out more about it as it makes its debut on the web.

I would love to know what others think of this.

Do you think you would use a new platform such as Newsgrape?

What are your experiences with blogging and the different platforms currently available?

Do you have a favourite or a preference for a certain blogging platform?

And lastly, would you prefer still to have your own individual blog or does the idea of collaborative writing appeal to you more?