Hello World! One Year Later …

WordPress

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

Happy Blog-o-versary to me … One year ago I started blogging after three months of prep time.

I spent almost three years debating: should I or shouldn’t I? Once I decided I should then, came the other hard part:

  • Choosing a blog name
  • Picking a theme
  • Determining a publishing schedule (ha)
  • Writing posts (just in case inspiration didn’t hit on schedule)

I remember reading all the information WordPress had for new bloggers. And there were a few suggestions or statements that stuck with me.

  1. Blog often
  2. Like and comment frequently
  3. Make it a year and you’ll have staying power

It’s been an evolution and not the revolution I expected. Some how I anticipated that I would “arrive”, but understand now, it’s a journey.

Walk on the Edge

Walk on the Edge (Photo credit: Lel4nd)

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

And it’s on this journey that I’ve found a supportive community … I’d like to say thank you to all the writers, creators, artists, innovator, and dreamers. You’ve made this year worth every moment. Thanks for each “like” and comment and follow. Thanks for reading and sharing. Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey and engaging me in conversation.

Although it’s been everything I hoped and nothing I expected all at the same time … maybe this next year holds the best!

Happy New Year … Anniversary … Birthday …

Images from Zemanta via WordPress

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Twitter Feed Tells All

Twitter Logo

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about being boring. Part truth, part joke conceived in a moment of weakness.

Thanks for the outpouring of love from the WordPress world to assuage my fears.

Sadly (and quickly) I find myself standing at the crossroads of uncertainty and hilarity again. Maybe I will gain some knowledge with this one.

I’ve finally taken the leap into twitter and I have to say I don’t get it; yet. My writer self knows I need to build a platform so maybe that’s part of my apprehension.

But what does my twitter account say about me?

  • Boring?
  • Conservative?
  • Publicly private?
  • Unavailable available?

If I had to wager a guess, my twitter account probably conveys “undecided” more than anything.

Don’t get me wrong I find it fun and challenging to make a compelling statement in 140 characters. Sometimes I can. Sometimes I can’t. I enjoy following close friends and seeing what they have to say throughout the day.

What I’ve realized is my interests are limited. There are very few things I am so vested in that I want to have it streaming to me at all times.

  • Stuff on writing? Sure.
  • Family and friend feeds? Absolutely.
  • Blog buddies? Yes.
  • Everything else? Undecided.

Like the beginning of my blogging life, I don’t know the etiquette; twitter-quette if you will. For example, I don’t believe in automatically clicking follow for someone who follows me. And, when I follow someone and there are too many tweets (about stuff I’m undecided on) in a short period of time it becomes white noise. So almost immediately I unfollow.

Plus it’s a place of promotion; self promotion which I am not good about doing. I’ve noticed people will tweet the link to their latest blog post multiple times. Not sure I’d be comfortable with that … It would be helpful if I only post once a week but still.

Then I agonize over the gaining and losing of followers (again due to writer platform) like I’m day-trader. I shouldn’t worry I know.

Social media is where it’s at … but I will have to have limits. My writer self has a blog and a twitter account. My personal self has a Facebook page. One of my selves will eventually need to be LinkedIn. That’s all I think I can do or handle.

For now, help me move through this latest intersection of concern. What’s your best twitter advice for a newbie like me?

Thanks in advance.

Gail @Undecided @twitterchallenged #confused #amlearning

Welcome to Boring …

I want to be tweet-able and retweet-able. (Okay, so I just opened my twitter account this week.)  I want to be Facebook stalked (only a little). I want to be Freshly Pressed worthy.

But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I won’t.

Why?

I’ve finally figured it out. It’s something I already knew. It’s what I, as a creative type, fear most. Fear of being uninteresting …

Then I remembered one of the first things I wrote for the Jotter’s Joint … it was a practice run and I never posted it (till now). I hadn’t decided if it was a post or my About page. I thought it was funny.

Re-reading it makes me laugh and it makes me feel better because I was managing my own expectations. I didn’t have grand ideas of success. I set the bar low enough to accomplish my goal.

Here’s what I wrote:

Welcome to Boring …

Why read this blog? 

Because you don’t have anything better to do. You don’t have a life. You’re friendless and alone. You’re tired of the well intentioned, deliberately positive, motivational, blogs selling happy. Or maybe, you’re a recluse; suffer from paranoia, or worse. Afraid of technology but sitting here reading this with a tin foil hat on hoping I can’t read your thoughts or transmit signals to your brain.

So why not read my blog? 

It fits right in with our “random” loving culture today. In a time when we can select and self deliver the kind of news … special interest stories … celebrity drama to our phones or laptops or iPads. Where we can follow our friends’ every move from waking to sleepless nights via Facebook or Twitter feed or better yet by subscribing to their blog.

Let’s face it … this is just another opportunity in our information overloaded lives for you to examine and criticize, ponder and pontificate on the boring things that happen in someone else’s life; my life. It’s a chance to offer up your opinion on what matters in my world, from the mundane to the monotonous.

Why read a boring blog? 

I have no idea. It’s just the stuff I think about on my drive to and from work. It doesn’t get much more boring than that …

So maybe my expectations were too low here but I didn’t want to be disappointed. Then I started posting regularly and I was sucked into this belief that my blog had to be perceived as great. It didn’t matter if I thought it was great. And it stopped mattering if there were readers, even one reader, who thought it was great. I started measuring my success by the stats and not by how flexing my creativity made me feel.

I will always have pangs of wanting others to claim I’m great but I realize that ‘great’ is a relative term. Being tweet-able or Freshly Pressed aren’t my yardstick (although I would be happy if it happened).

I will remind myself often that I am measured by my enjoyment in blogging and my growth as a writer. When I forget, all I have to do is go back to my About page and read my reasons for starting the Jotter’s Joint. This is one writer’s world and you’re welcome to be a part of it.

So, today, just a reminder … manage to your own expectations!

The Booker Award

Thank you to my dear blogger friend, Jenni, of News of the Times for the nomination of this award. Her blog keeps me informed of issues in the world but not like reporting the news. She also has some stunning pictures that she shares. Take a moment to check out her site.

Accepting this award includes:

  • Nominate other blogs, as many as you want but 5-10 is always a good suggestion. Don’t forget to let your recipients know.
  • Post the Booker Award image.
  • Share your top 5 books of all time.

Listing my top 5 books of all time is more difficult than listing 7 things about myself, but here goes …

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” The injustice that takes place in this story still amazes me. Even with proof we choose the path of ignorance and conformity to maintain our status in a flawed societal structure. We hide behind the law or religious belief and label our crimes against our fellow man as something other than what it is. I read this for the first time in high school with the naïve hope that one day it would not be true. And even though we’ve come a long way there are still places in this world where this type of injustice exists.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

One of the teens in my life suggested this read. It’s a great book for generating discussion around topics like teen pregnancy, adoption, abortion, and government involvement in such issues. It shines a light on how our decisions for the sake of humanity can be just as horrific as the travesty we are fighting against. It has a creepy factor, like slowing down as you drive past an accident. Wondering if you’ll see something you don’t want to but secretly hoping you do.

Earth’s Children Series by Jean M. Auel

  1. The Clan of the Cave Bear
  2. The Valley of Horses
  3. The Mammoth Hunters
  4. The Plains of Passage
  5. The Shelters of Stone
  6. The Land of Painted Caves

Book 1 is my favorite in the series. Watching a young orphaned girl who is different; because she’s capable of forming words and has a rounded forehead, get adopted into a nomadic family who communicates without sounds. It shows us the first structures of authority we learn:  familial hierarchy, community, and then world. It gives us the chance to experience being different to the point of being ostracized. I have to admit that I haven’t been able to read Book 6, which came out in 2011, because it didn’t get good customer reviews and I don’t want to ruin a story line I’ve been following for 14 years. Eventually, I will read it so I can see what’s next for Ayla and Jondalar but for now I am content.

Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

  1. The Hunger Games
  2. Catching Fire
  3. Mockingjay

Again a recommendation from a teen reader, she keeps me in interesting books. Although this story is one of personal discovery, fighting the system, overcoming and a romantic subplot, the real story is about power. How we gain and lose it. How we wield it. How when liberated we may make the same choices (or worse) as those who were relieved of their power. There is a burden of responsibility, to do what’s right or best, that goes with the authority we have over others. Violent and tumultuous but a good way to look at the world we live in today.

Watership Downby Richard Adams

The first time I read this book it was because I wanted to know the story behind the animated movie I watched as a kid. For some reason animation can make something serious seem a lot lighter than it really may be. The struggle to get to safety. The challenge of deciding who to follow and why.

Again, a difficult list to narrow down but hopefully, you’ll add some new books to your “must read” list both from here and from the following nominees, once they’ve posted their lists:

Thank you again to News of the Times for giving me the chance to share favorites from my bookshelf.

Happy reading …

Inspiring? Who Me?

Let me say a special thank you to my blogger friend Zen of zenscribbles who graciously nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Zen is a writer and a foodie (usually desserts). She tells quirky stories which keep life interesting. Please take a moment to visit her blog.

Accepting the nomination includes the following:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post the award some where on your blog
  • Tell 7 things about yourself
  • Nominate 7 blogs

So onto the hardest part … 7 things about me … that I haven’t already told you:

  1. I squint a lot. Not because I can’t see but because I’m thinking. Squinting makes me think of the TV show Bones in which they call the super smart people who work at the Jeffersonian “squints”. Oh not to imply that I think that I am super smart.
  2. I am obsessed with using imdb.com. I can’t watch anything without looking up the entire cast. It shouldn’t matter but I just need to see who they are and what they’ve done before.
  3. My husband says I snore but I deny it (vehemently) even though I’ve woken myself out of sound sleep before. (Please don’t tell my husband I said that. He’ll consider it an admission of guilt.)
  4. I am a horrid housekeeper, decent cook, and SUPER wife and mother. Well maybe SUPER is an exaggeration so I’ll go with super.
  5. I can read in the car and feel sorry for people who get motion sickness when they try to do it.
  6. I got my driver’s license late in life (I was 20) and I barely passed. Why do you need to know how to parallel park? Anyway, I think my driving is indicative of the “barely”. Oh but I wasn’t driving during the Chicago fender bender (just saying).
  7. My kids have started asking for cereal for dinner. And I don’t have a defense to say no since it’s usually my dinner choice. Did I claim “super” mom-ness? Oh well.

Forgive me for the short list of nominees …

Thanks again Zen!

Uh Oh! It’s Happened … I’ve Run Out of Things to Say

English: WordPress Logo

English: WordPress Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Readers,

I have officially run out of things to say, which may directly impact your reading pleasure due to a disruption in the post schedule.

I am surprised I made it this far before getting this feeling … It’s been a little more than 3 months of me posting every few days.

When I thought about starting a blog the first time (3 years ago) I abandoned the idea because I didn’t think I would possibly be able to come up with enough content for a weekly post schedule.

But when I decided to take the plunge into the blogosphere 3 months ago I found I had lots of things to say, enough to post almost daily.

The beauty of blogging is that you can say whatever is on your mind and hopefully someone will read it, but if it sits unread you’ve still expressed yourself. Right? It doesn’t have to be profound or witty or pithy.

But I’ve spent the past week or so wondering about what I have to say. And I realized that the posts I like most are the ones where the topics are closest to my heart or my curiosity or my worries.

Now I have to figure out how to deliver my passions – these curious heart worries of mine – in a way that others will relate to or enjoy them. It’s daunting. I’m sure some of you, as fellow bloggers, feel my pain.

And for a woman who thought she’d be blogging in oblivion I wasn’t initially concerned about readers. The WordPress world gave me more than I bargained for … it gave me community … it gave me all of you. (Thank you for all the support and love.) Now I carry the weight of disappointing people or “pleasing” people, when I originally thought maybe a few family and friends would even care to read what I had to say.

So this post doesn’t really match the title because I’m doing a pretty good job of rambling on about not knowing what to say …

My dilemma is that I want to say things that are worthy … interesting … authentically me. To achieve a level of sophisticated simplicity in my writing that will resonate with you as well as with me. (I guess I better go live some life to make it happen.)

I’m holding out hope that inspiration will come – quickly.

Sincerely,

Blog-Author-Trying-to-Figure-Out-What-to-Say-Next 

It’s Lovely to be Recognized …

Thank you to my fellow bloggers:  Whitney of A Serendipitous Happenstance and Amanda of By Amanda Leigh for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award. I am flattered because both blogs inspire and encourage me in my writing journey as they share their journeys.

The rules for accepting this nomination are:

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
  • Post the blog award image on your page.
  • Tell 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other blogs.
  • Let the nominees know they been chosen.

Seven things about me:

  1. Success and failure incite the same emotions in me:  fear and anxiety.
  2. Parenting is the single most difficult job I’ve ever had and it’s the only one I won’t ever quit.
  3. I recently found two brand new pairs of shoes in my closet. Both are at least two years old and never been worn. Not sure how that happened. This week will find me wearing them.
  4. I am a packrat … thankfully my husband is not. And only have my house is cluttered.
  5. Please don’t touch me, speak to me, or look at me funny until I am on cup of coffee number two. I am NOT a morning person. I need to ease into my day.
  6. Typically, I prefer the book to the movie except for In Her Shoes. My favorite line: “When I feel bad I like to treat myself. Clothes never look any good, food just makes me fatter. Shoes always fit.” So you’ll usually find me in the shoe section not clothing.
  7. When I focus on writing things that I perceive will be received well … it creates fear and anxiety. Only I don’t have control over the outcome:  Success or Failure. So forgive me if I just create without regard for receptivity.

In attempts to share the lovely I won’t be nominating my usual suspects. My favorites are always honorary nominees for me whether I specifically name them for an award or not. You can see them in my blogroll and they are definitely worth the visit.

Today, instead, I will nominate blogs that I’ve recently visited or may have only visited once or twice. They are worth taking a look at, so please show them some love:

Congratulations to the nominees! Share the lovely!

Humbled, Surprised, Grateful …

Thank you so much to goodoldgirl for the nomination. I was surprised and humbled when I received word that you’d passed this on to me.

When I started blogging a couple of months ago I thought that the people who would read my blog were friends and family. I thought that it would be a way to reveal more of who I am to the people who already love me.

So, I am so grateful for the wordpress world where so many people will take a moment to just stop by and see what I am up to …

The Liebster Blogger Award rules are:

  1. Thank the one who nominated you by linking back.
  2. Nominate five blogs with less than 200 followers.
  3. Let your nominees know by leaving a comment on their sites.
  4. Add the award image to your site.
 Following the rules:
  1. Again, a big thank you to goodoldgirl who’s blog feels like the comfort of home and makes me introspective.
  2. I am nominating the following blogs for this award … I wasn’t able to identify the number of followers they have but I enjoy them so I am extending recognition to them:
  3. Complete
  4. Complete

Thank you so much for the recognition. I am truly humbled and honored for the acknowledgement.

Gail