2017 Direction of My Blog Decided

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Love the remnants of this sign I saw on the highway. 

I am choosing action and positivity, despite the ugly, misogynistic, racist, ranting posts, emails, and behavior this election has spurred. I have un-friended, defended, commented, ignored, and now decided it is time to engage, influence the change in direction of the conversation.

On my last post, I wasn’t sure what to do with this blog. But, now I have a plan for 2017. Each week my posts will focus on something to get us through these turbulent times.

I asked my family and friends on Facebook for some ideas of what to write about. The initial suggestions I threw out were: family, inclusion, action, exercise, technology, activism.

Here were some wildly varied and unexpected ideas inspired by people who read that post, in no particular order:

  • Nature and my photography
  • Reasonably prices wines and champagnes (there were a couple suggestions for this topic. You know me well, my friends!)
  • Exercise and healthy eating during the holiday season
  • The art of a civil conversation when there is disagreement
  • Favorite places to travel and why
  • Choose a word (like ‘peace’, ‘inclusion’ ‘determination’) and tell a story around it
  • Find an inspiring person and tell how they have moved me
  • Research my past and find a lasting impact a relative has had
  • Good books to read
  • Gift ideas for 20-something aged children
  • Favorite holiday traditions – how and when they came to be
  • Acts of Kindness that I see in the world
  • Charities and groups that need attention and help

What creative ideas, many that I would not have thought of! A couple people also volunteered to help guide some of the posts (ie. a friend who is a nutritionist/trainer).

Now I need to decide if I should use this blog as the forum for 2017, or if I should start a totally new one. Feel free to add other ideas below! I welcome other ideas, since I have 52 weeks to fill.

A new direction, a changed journey.  How exciting.

C

Where Does this Blog Go Next and other New Year’s Resolution Conundrums

I resurrected my blog this year as part of my New Year’s resolution to spent 10 minutes a day (10MaD) to “explore the arts” in 2016. The idea came from an article by Eric Zorn in the Chicago Tribune. 
My resolution included writing in this blog, my work blog, and taking photographs. You can read about my first blog post about my 2016 plans here. I wanted to also start on a novel, but the time is too fragmented to do much more than flush out characters.
What have I enjoyed? 

  • Verbalizing my opinions and ideas
  • Sharing my essays
  • Writing poetry again
  • Taking personal photo assignment days to improve my work
  • “Meeting” other bloggers
  • Keeping my business site, along with the personal site, current
  • Coming up with new ideas to write about
  • That 10 minutes often turns into 30-60 minutes of creativity.

What has been stressful?

  • Carving out that 10MaD during travel or very crazy days
  • Coming up with new ideas to write about
  • Sharing my ideas and thoughts with friends and strangers, opening myself up for criticism

The next month I will be reviewing the type of content I have added to both my sites this year. What topics resonated? what formats? Interestingly, many more people post comments an my Facebook and Twitter links. Should I keep this site active in 2017? Start something new that focuses on one topic?

 I will certainly keep posting on my business site. I often share those posts with clients, prospects can learn from it, other industry sites have shared some posts, and I get feedback from other database marketing industry professionals. 

If you have any ideas or feedback, I would love to hear from you.

Who do you write for?

Who do you write your blog for? Your poems? Your stories? You or your potential readers? I sometimes toss this thought around if I am struggling to find a subject to write about, when writing for myself.  When working on a business assignment, the thought process is completely different for me.

When I share my personal blog posts on social media, I am often surprised at which ones generate the most shares, reads, or feedback. Yet others I think are passionate pass by with nary a discussion. Interesting to note what hits people’s emotions.

My business blog subject matter is easier to identify. I write about issues impacting marketing, emedia, publishing, audience development, database management—areas I work in every day. The blog is a great tool to share ideas and opinions with customers. It also shows perspective clients my areas of expertise and some of my thought process. Other marketers can also learn, explore, express, provoke.

I recently read The M Train by Patti Smith and Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker. Both books were autobiographical–short vignettes in each chapter with connections throughout. Completely different in tone, I really enjoyed both, but I felt a bit more allowed into Patti Smith’s life.

Both of these books had very authentic voices. Maybe because the authors wrote about what they really felt and believed, rather than focusing on their audience during their writing process? Their stories were filled with sentiments from the heart. Thinking about these books now inspires me to continue to write in my personal blog what interests me today. Next week. Next month. And I hope you will continue to join me on my journey.

Keep it real with words and pictures.

C

Julie & Julia & Friends & Dreams

Short notice, but five neighborhood friends went to see Julie & Julia this week. I loved the way the story was told, with two tales simultaneously developing, intertwined and funny and downtrodden and quirky.  We sputtered and laughed and hoped for success for both protagonists, as they followed their food-filled (and too meat-filled for me, sorry Patty who sat next to me) dreams.  The costumes and sets were perfection, and the film made me want to return to Paris NOW.

Meryl Streep was, as always, incredible with the lilting accents and mannerisms and movements that I remember from when my mother used to watch Julia Child on TV, when I was a child.  Debonaire Stanley Tucci was her husband, so in love and involved as she wrote and cooked and wrote and cooked and…  Amy Smart was funny and neurotic, a bit over the top at time, but sweet.

As much as I loved watching the story develop,  it made me sad.  The dreams  I once had, fading as life  moves forward and I am caught in the wave of time and children and mortgages and jobs and mopping the floors and and volunteer work and keeping on top of  the family schedule with military-like precision, until rain changes three practices, and aging families and friends in need.

How many people are staring at their screens after watching that film, trying to write their first blog searching for quick fame, with blank thoughts, no stories to tell?  And don’t realize how challenging it can be to write day after day?   How many other brilliant writers are out there penning away, unnoticed?  What makes a blog catch fire?  Sometimes it’s the real, sometimes it’s the fraud–like the woman who claimed to be pregnant, got all kinds of sponsors and uh-oh she wasn’t pregnant.  What? someone lied on the internet?

We would all love to come home to 65 phone messages like Julie, with offers and names and deals and opportunities to do work we dream about.  A smidgeon of extremely lucky people do what they love each day, not the masses.  We might live through them, while following our own paths.  Even as we grasp at our dream remnants we can only hope for the support system of spouse and friends from the film, cheering each zig-zag step forward.

In my mind, a successful film is one that makes me forget I am sitting in the dark–transporting me to become an invisible participant–gives me reason to feel true emotion while watching, to talk about it afterwards, and to make me think about the major and/or minor issues in it long after the screen is dark.  In all of these goals, Julie & Julia succeeded.   C

Over 4,100,000 Blogs and Counting

4,145,998 blogs, 140,622 new posts, 35,412,832 words today–that is what it said on the log-in page of my WordPress blog today.

That’s staggering–over 35,400,000 words written in one day about everything and more than we can imagine: politics, sports, celebrities, parenthood, education, religion, sex, nothing, pictures, family, rants, lifestyles, fashion, technology, travel, media from art to film to books to photographers to theatre.  Why?  Who has time to read it?  Who delves into it without being overwhelmed?

We are a hungry people worldwide, wanting to share our thoughts and ideas and humor and anger and hopes and expertise with ourselves and others who find their way to our sites.  We can tell that there are some silent viewers who come regularly and some who are enjoy being a part of our online writings. 

We must be starving to have over 142,000 blogs updated just today. If we can write about 900 words per hour (sometimes it’s more of a struggle, sometimes just a photo post), that calculates into a whopping 38,888  man-hours today we spent writing.  

What did we do with our free time before? And what to we hope to accomplish?  If someone can answer the last question, let me know. C

Micro list of Awesome Things

I stumbled on my new favorite blog yesterday, titled 1000 Awesome Things, as it was linked to one of my posts.  How brilliantly simply to list 1000 awesome things, day by day.  It is witty and clever and makes me laugh out loud. The thought of listing 1000 of anything is daunting enough–names, places, planets,  counting leaves on trees, animals–but coming up each weekday with one new awesome thing makes for a brighter way to look at life.  1000 may be small when compared to 1,000,000 or 1,000,000,000, but LISTING 1000 of anything would be tough, especially with the details.

Lots of comments on the site have people listing their awesome things. I came up with a couple of them, but I am not nearly as humorous as the blog’s author.  My starter list:

1. My girlfriends.

2. When all traffic stops for a family of mama and baby ducks to cross the road.

3. The calm of walking into the empty barn early in the morning, horses munching away.

4. Finding a perfect shell in the ocean, or sometimes a smoothed out piece of turquoise seaglass.

5. The first bite of farmstand corn in the early summer, cooked to perfection and slathered with butter and salt.

6. A rainbow after a storm–how about a double bow in the sky?

7. REAL ice cream.

8. What my son can create with 1000 Legos.

9. An unexpected hug or “I love you” from my daughters.

10. A handwritten letter in the mail.

There is my short list for the day.  Think about what to put on your list; I promise it will make you smile. C

Keep on Blogging

My dad has asked me a couple of times “Why do people blog?”

I am certain there are numerous reasons–to share our stories, to practice our writing, to have our voices heard, to make money: it’s a job for some, to promote a cause-business-sport, to rant, to chant, to lament, to laugh, to think out loud. Maybe just because we can.

Some blogs have a distinctive format, while my voice tends to alter tones depending what I am writing about:  my thoughts, my book/ film/museum reviews, places I have been, my family, my hobbies, my diatribes (not too often), my photographs, and daily happenings. 

It’s been an amusing and educational journey with some of the people I have spoken with online, comments from strangers on my site,  conversations friends have started with me about certain posts including some who I didn’t know were aware of my blog, and visits to other blogs.

What’s missing?  More photos, perhaps.  Some days I have many page views, some almost none, but I am learning so much about myself and the world around me, the tiny details that used to pass me by, that I will continue this exploration longer.   I would  be interested in hearing others’ thoughts on blogging–and my blog–as well. C