Recently, I’ve written quite a few posts on the theme of friendship.
Reflecting upon this aspect of our lives has brought me to the realisation that there is a unique, shared and comforting experience in being part of the blogging ‘community’. While we don’t have blogging ‘chat rooms’ or spaces as such (or at least not that I’m aware of. I know there used to be such shared spaces hosted by WordPress with daily challenges, community hubs and so forth, but they seem to have disappeared from my view – if they are still there somewhere please let me know 🙂 ), we still have avenues of interaction with each other through comments, likes, sharing and collaborative posts.
I’m over two and a half years into my blogging adventure, and some of you have come to be familiar ‘faces’ in this journey. I have become familiar with some of your blogs, and have learned a bit about you as individuals from what you have shared, and often look forward to seeing your updates, as well as seeing you interacting with mine.
In a recent post on friendship I reflected upon the benefits of friendships and long term trusted connections in our lives.
And I have come to realise that this online shared space where we can express our deeper thoughts about our lives quite freely is in fact a real blessing, opportunity and comfort as we journey through not only our blogs, but in a remote yet potentially significant way, our lives together.
There is something about sharing the human experience that makes us feel less alone, don’t you think? And while nothing can replace face to face and real time connection with people we care about, blogging adds an extra dimension to our lives in which we can communicate some of our deepest thoughts and express parts of ourselves that perhaps we can’t do so freely with the people we meet with face to face, or at least not in the same way.
I realise that I really value this, and all of you, as we encourage each other in our blogs, and also our lives.
It is a gift and a blessing to share this journey, even in some small way, with you. Wouldn’t it be something if in years to come we have a community of people who mutually encourage and edify each other as we go through life?
As I approach my third year of blogging in a few months, I am certainly grateful that I began this adventure and journey of discovery and am very glad that I can share some of it with you. x
Welcome to all of my new followers, and thank you to those who have been with me for a while for continuing to drop by.
I just thought I’d mention that I’ve added a few new ‘widgets’ that you can find on the Right Hand Side of my blog to make it easier to navigate (it took me long enough to figure out where to find these add on features, I know!) – calendar, monthly blog archives, and a drop down menu of categories which supplements my main menu at the top of the page.
So, I hope you are able to find something you enjoy reading from the many topics that I write about.
“Go the extra mile with your work, with a good attitude.”
Think about the people who have had the greatest positive impact and influence on your life, and think of their qualities that have touched and inspired you.
What are the most inspirational people to you actually like? Do they stand out because they are ruthlessly determined to achieve success at all costs? Are they gregarious, charismatic, ‘people pleasers’, who know how to network, ‘sweet talk’ and connect with people at the top in order to get to the top themselves? Do they put other people down to make themselves look better? Do they gain recognition by taking credit for other people’s hard work? Do they always put themselves and their own needs first? Are they always outspoken, having something to say about everyone and everything?
Hopefully, your answer to most of these questions would have been “Of course not!”. That type of ambition does not so much inspire authentic and genuine people, as it does repel them.
So, what am I getting at with today’s ‘lunch bite’? What if you were to be the kind of person that inspires other people around you? Today is a good day to think about how you can ‘go the extra mile’ in your work, not for selfish gain or ambition, but with a good attitude. Think of the person or people who have impacted your life for the better, and allow their influence, whether or not they are still in your life, to continue to encourage and inspire you to be someone who encourages and inspires others.
You don’t need to make your difference in a noticeable way. That’s not the point, and if you are thinking only of the outcome then that lacks authenticity and genuineness.
Instead, work diligently, quietly, courageously, respect others, work with a good attitude, and strive to do more than your best, and not for the reward you may get. Be helpful, kind, cheerful and positive, keeping in mind that the people working alongside you, whatever their attitude may be, are people too with their own issues, ‘hang ups’, fears, pressures and problems.
You don’t have to be a noticeable hero to be heroic in one person’s life. Remember who inspires you, and strive to inspire and encourage someone else today in a way that is real, authentic and natural to you. And remember, people change the world around them one moment at a time – and that includes you. What positive difference will you make in the world today? xx
Ok, so I’m not actually going to be staying in a cute and cosy log cabin in the woods, but I did feel that in line with my teenage dreams from years ago a picture of a log cabin was a necessity – don’t you agree? 🙂
As per my earlier post on planning a retreat, I have carved out some space and time for myself to focus on a couple of projects that are important to me. I am fortunate enough to live alone and have a cosy flat which affords me the opportunity for creativity and solitude. I have also taken three days off work so that I can focus more seriously on my writing, and also intersperse that with a couple of other creative projects, and taking that time off means that I have given myself a sense of accountability to use it well. I had tried to plan working writing time into my after work time in the evenings and at weekends. However, this didn’t quite work for me. There would be days when I’d feel particularly productive, creative and motivated and I could use the time well, but on the whole that plan and intention just seemed to slip by the wayside. After work I’d come home and would have to organise dinner (however quick and simple that might be for a bachelorette! 🙂 ) but I’d also want to use the time just to unwind, or on a good day maybe go for a walk or do some exercise inside, and of course I’d get caught up in frittering away my time online. Additionally on one night of the week I’d attend a Bible study and prayer group, and throughout the week I’d also make time to pray, so really the writing after work plan wasn’t fitting in with my lifestyle and concentration levels after work. I have in the past taken time off, 5 days I think which in addition to the weekends gave me a lovely 9 day stretch of time to focus on working on my book. I don’t know about you with your creative or other pursuits, but I feel that with creative projects you can’t merely schedule in a little bit of time every day to really do your best work. Blogging helps me to write regularly, and it doesn’t require the same amount of emotional and mental concentration as writing my novel does, but it is so helpful in keeping up the practice of writing on a reasonably regular basis (although I apologise for the times when I seem to go ‘AWOL’ due to life getting busy). I also write regularly as a part of my role at work doing policy and research work, but that involves formal business writing, which although I am quite proficient in, for the most part it isn’t such a passionate affair for me as creative writing is.
For me, setting aside focused creative writing time involves a build up and a cool down in a sense. The build up, or preparatory time is moving out of the zone of my Monday to Friday work schedule and easing myself into a more creative ‘space’. Over the past few days, since Thursday (it is Sunday as I write this) I have been gently easing into this by blogging about preparing a personal retreat, and then getting my home organized a bit so that I won’t be overly distracted by pending housework (although there is still some stuff needing done, but isn’t there always? It’s important to have some set aside tidy space to be creative, but at the same time to ensure we use the time fully even if that means we need to attend to other less pressing ‘chores’ in other rooms at a future time. Boundaries need to be drawn around our set aside time so that we can pursue our dreams and not lose them in the midst of the day to day of our lives). I also spent some time sitting quietly with my thoughts, processing some emotions including difficult ones, and I have been spending time in prayer and resting, walking outside and engaging again in adult colouring in. These things may seem unrelated to the task at hand, but it sometimes takes a little time to allow our minds to inhabit a focused creative space to engage more fully in a specific project.
However, I also realise the importance of not allowing ‘preparation’ – both internal and external – to become a distraction from what I actually want to use the time for. And it can so easily become a distraction, because for some strange reason we can tend to find reasons to not focus on the things in life we love to do and create.
So, all in all, this blog post is me giving myself a bit of accountability by sharing it with you. This is ‘life as it happens to be’ for me right now, and you are all an important part of that journey. So hopefully this will allow me to move more determinedly out of the preparation space and into inhabiting a focused creative space. I may or may not leave my home over the next three days, we’ll see, and hopefully if you don’t see much from me on my blog over the next few days that will mean I am being productive and creative elsewhere, and will have more to share with you on my ‘return’. If however, you do see more of me here, feel free to give me a sharp reminder to stay focused and stop procrastinating, and get back to it! 🙂
So, over to you – do you have any creative projects or ventures planned this year? I wish you all the very best with them, and with your reading and blogging. xx
Writing Goals: For the sake of keeping myself accountable, I think I should specify some writing goals to achieve during my time. As much as I’d love to say my goal is to write for, say 8 hours a day for the next three and a half days, that may be a little unrealistic and discouraging if I don’t meet that. It takes time to read over what I have already been working on (for the past several years!) and quality is important, not just quantity of time or words. So instead, I’ll set a minimum standard and aim for writing (not including re-reading time) at least 15 minutes every hour for a minimum of 7 sessions a day. I hope and intend to write for a few hours at a time, but at least this way I am not adding extra pressure to myself during the creative process, but am setting goals and boundaries to ensure that I don’t just fritter away my time and not get anything done. Here goes….wish me well 🙂 x
I received a lovely notification from WordPress today, wishing me a ‘Happy Anniversary’: it’s my 2 year WordPress blog-anniversary, and I’m delighted to be able to share it with you. I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for being part of my journey over the past two years, or for however long you have been following along, even if you have only just joined me. I appreciate each and every one of you, for after all the art of blogging is as much in the reading as it is in the writing, and you all make it worthwhile.
It may be a modest achievement to have reached this stage, but I also want to encourage each and every one of you to recognise your own achievements without comparison to those seemingly ‘greater’ achievements of those around you.
For me blogging is not about numbers of ‘likes’ or followers, although it gives me a boost each time I see your lovely comments and contributions. It is about making a difference and putting something of worth back into the world so that I might help or encourage even one person, because each of you are so valuable in and of yourselves. For me, in a sense, my humble blog is quite an accomplishment, because I started it at a time when I was struggling massively with my health and in particular complex-PTSD, depression and anxiety…I wrote and threw myself into creative pursuits, partly because creativity is essential to who I am, but also as a way to help conquer my health battles.
Blogging has also given me a creative outlet and has provided me with insights into some of your wonderful worlds. Isn’t it amazing to be able to catch a glimpse of real lives unfolding in other parts of the world in a variety of cultures, and yet lives that share the same deep and common thread of humanity? Thank you.
As I have continued on this journey, I feel I have found not only an outlet for myself, but the gift of being able to form connections and deepen my understanding of myself in this world, to use my painful experiences hopefully to help someone else and in doing so to feel more purposeful through life, to share with you the joys, and simple wonders of life as it happens to be, and of course, to express my Gratitude and to share my faith.
So, ‘don’t despise the day of small beginnings’ if you are starting something new, or if something you are putting your heart into seems to be taking time. Things will blossom in their time.
For now, thank you dear readers / blogging friends, and thank you WordPress for the many doors you open to make life online a little more wonderful. xx
So, not too long ago, I discovered the term ‘social media influencers’…I had been aware of the work of such people, but wasn’t as yet ‘au fait’ with the terminology.
As mentioned in a previous post, my generation was the last generation to grow up with technology such as the Internet, but also be able to remember a time when it wasn’t a thing in mainstream society. I see myself as very fortunate in this regard, for the perspective it gives me and others – we are kind of caught between the old and the new….although that isn’t necessarily a matter of age or life stage so much as being able to interact with changing developments, while being able to analyse the potential effects of them in a wider sense as well. Those of an ‘older generation’ may find it hard to engage with technological and societal changes and may have no idea what their children and grand children are talking about when it comes to new opportunities that they see for themselves. They may not consider a ‘proper job’ to be anything less than something you have trained for professionally or academically for a number of years, gained a qualification in and can thereby contribute to society in a 9 to 5 world. This could include being skilled through an apprenticeship, ‘on the job’ training and such like, but to them a ‘real job’ has nothing to do with social media. Let me clarify, that with regards to this perspective, I have a ‘real job’ and have never earned an income from social media, and I don’t earn a penny from anything I write on this blog, although I see the potential in exploring avenues elsewhere for my photography that might free up a bit of extra time so that I have more flexibility with the types and ways I work. I love my job, but it is more analytical and I do write a lot as part of my role, but it is business writing. That is only one part of me, and I therefore find outlets from my creative side which is a huge part of who I am through writing my novel, writing my blog, photography projects, arts, crafts, adult colouring, music, (easy) jewellery / bead making and other similar projects on the side, all of which I do as hobbies.
The generation coming after me is unlikely to remember what it was like to not have social media and technology as a central part of their lives. People now joke that babies come out of the womb knowing how to use a smart phone! It may sound ridiculous but by the time a child is a toddler, they may be more efficient at using social media than their grandparents! The ‘GenZ’ generation as it has come to be known as, unlike the ‘Millenial’ generation to which I was born into in terms of time frame, not necessarily values overall, is exposed from day 1 as it were to a world where technology is most of what they know. As such, many younger people see their lives and their future opportunities as coming from online ventures. And many are making money – A LOT of money from the myriad of opportunities available to them online. There are bloggers, and some of you – older and younger – may be part of the community that does manage to make an income from your online blogs, and I’d be very interested to hear about your experiences and journey if you’d like – there are ‘YouTubers’ and Instagrammers and a whole host of other people using a myriad of platforms to make a name for themselves, their brand, or their message.
Advertisers and big businesses have seized upon this potential and ‘social media influencers’ – those, particularly young people, who have a significant ‘following’ are prime investments as it were for companies to draw in more customers. Influencers may be setting new trends and those who follow and look up to them will want to emulate them.
In my experience, and correct me if I’m wrong, social media influencers tend to be particularly dominant in the fields of beauty, make up, fashion, gaming, health and fitness, diet, food, wellness, and in providing opinions on merchandise of various sorts. Maybe even travel, but I find that probably beauty and fashion and lifestyle are more predominantly represented – what are your thoughts?
The potential to influence others is massive…incredible really. This can be reflected partially in the hefty figures that represent their takings from 4, 5 and even 6 figure sums. Influencers shape trends, and reach sometimes millions of ‘viewers’. Yet, are they using their platforms effectively for what can really influence the generations to come?
Fashion and beauty trends come and go. Products, likewise gain and lose popularity over time. So while for a short time this influence has an impact on their audience, and their pockets and their own lifestyles, which I don’t have a problem with, does not influence also bring with it responsibility? I have seldom seen young people who are prominent in social media, in terms of being influencers, using their platforms for issues of humanitarian concerns and social justice. Yet, what a platform they have! Occasionally, I have seen people reflect upon a tragedy or situation in world events, but very rarely and usually as part of a ‘trend’ so that they are also seen to be involved. I haven’t been exposed to much of what seems to be part and parcel of their central work or message. And that’s a real shame and a wasted opportunity. I have seen ‘Youtubers’ who are in this ‘mid-generation’ using their voice to raise awareness of social issues and personal struggles, not in a self indulgent way but as advocates for change. I am a bit of an ‘oldie’ when it comes to changing trends, so please do educate me if I have got this all wrong. I know a lot of young people are very vocal about climate change and sustainable living but I don’t know if they are the ones with these massive platforms…?
But if what I have perceived is an accurate reflection of the times then surely there is a need for a ‘new wave’ of social media influencers. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they should leave their passions for beauty and health and other such things, but to use their platforms to also advocate for change in terms of the myriad of problems facing society today: if you are a health vlogger, and talk a lot about diet and fitness, could you also use your platform to encourage individuals and industries to care for the homeless and those without food, similarly could fashion influencers reach out to those who have nothing to wear, literally, not figuratively? Could those who speak about home and lifestyle and living their ‘best life’ raise awareness or use their connections with followers and businesses to improve the welfare of the most hurt, marginalised and distressed children in society? And what can we do, even those of us who have a limited sphere of influence like myself, and who have no connections with industries, and who receive no payment for what we do online, can we also use what voice we do have for the benefit of humanity and not merely the outward and fleeting trends that are popular for a moment and then gone the next?
All original content on this blog is copyright (c) including written material, photographs, illustrations, etc. Where I have used images from WordPress library or Google Images or any other source these have been referenced, and adult colouring books are copyright material of their authors and creators which have also been referenced.
Have you ever worked really hard on something, spent time thinking about it, maybe planning and reworking it, digging deep within you and drawing upon personal experiences that perhaps have taken great strength for you to overcome? Have you written something from your heart, or worked on a photography project, or created some original content, only to see something very similar posted by someone else shortly after you?
It can be frustrating, especially if you yourself are careful and work hard to produce original content and connect deeply and authentically with your readers.
Have any of you been in such a position, and what did you do?
However, rather than let that mar your experience of creating and blogging, if someone is copying your ideas rather than blatantly stealing your work, try to take a step back and see things in a positive light. Some say it is a compliment when someone tries to emulate you or what you do, and we are here to authentically inspire others. Be graceful and mature, reflect upon your own practices and help each other do better with the utmost integrity as we continue to learn. Keep researching and learning ‘what’s what’ in how to present your material, and be yourself….you are authentically you, and even if someone tries to glean from that, take it as a compliment….you are an original and your original authentic creativity will always shine through, and it will draw in the right people for the right reasons, and you will continue to inspire others to be their authentic selves. It’s ok and even encouraging if someone gleans inspiration from your or my work and uses it on their blog….but only if they acknowledge that and don’t pass it off as their own. Am I right? It is also courtesy to link to the original blog, and quite disrespectful otherwise. I have been made aware of a pattern of someone copying my content a few days after writing and posting mine, and I hope they have a conscience about it and don’t continue, as it does dampen the joy of the blogging experience and has an impact on the blogging community in general.
There is so much I’d like to learn about how others manage these issues, so if you have encountered anything like this, or have any tips or advice, please let me know, as I’m sure it will help other people too.
Love to you all….keep being originally, authentically you, and don’t let anything dull your spark! 🙂 x