I have been an avid writer and reader since I was old enough to write and read. I grew up in a small midwest community. Now I am most at home in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Getting Home is my debut novel. Others will follow.
My wife has been with me a lot lately. Actually, she always is. Her voice has been some louder as I wander recently through treasured memories. Maybe it’s because I am nearing the time of year when I lost her. Or it could be that there is some message I’m meant to know. In any case, her voice soothes me and makes me broken heart a little more whole. Occasionally, she even inspires a poem.
She asked me once what was my favorite moment that we had shared. To spur me on, she started first. She relayed a tale about a park bench where we had sat to talk one night. It was a memory I barely recalled as she started her story.
I had left the windows open in the car parked nearby. The radio was playing in the car. At one point there had been a lull in the conversation. In the break, I had started to sing along with the Howie Day song playing on the radio.
I must interject here, I cannot sing. Music is very important to me, and I love to try to sing, but I cannot hold a tune, and I’m sure I am awful to listen to.
My wife went on to tell me, that in the quiet moment, me singing at my worst in full voice, that she knew for the first time that I was willing to drop all my walls and open up to her completely. That brief event told her that we were connected in a way that no one else could ever define.
My favorite moment was an equally uneventful occasion. A group of us had rented two condos on the beach. My dear Laramie and I were not even dating at the time. There was a mutual attraction, though, and we both felt something growing between us. But neither of us had dared to broach the subject.
One of the last nights of the trip, there was supposed to be a “spectacular” lunar eclipse. The sky was partly cloudy and the eclipse was rather unimpressive.
I had stepped away from the group to take a phone call. Laramie came running to me because she had gone to put some garbage in the dumpsters when she came across a family of raccoons. In her story, there were dozens of them, though when we went to inspect I never saw more than two.
To comfort her, I had put my arm around her and pulled her tight. I ended my phone call and gave her my full attention trying to calm her fears. Mostly we just stood there silently in the night.
Something changed in that moment. Laramie was no longer my closest friend. She was my heart’s desire, and we were a couple from that second onward. I will always cherish that night.
A Poem Is Born
That night will probably always be my favorite memory. It was then that I knew how much I loved her, and that we would always be together. Laramie may no longer be with me in person, buy her voice will always guide me.
Thinking about that night inspired the following poem.
Blogger Experience: The Month That Should be Forgotten
It is with much frustration that I write this installment of Tale of a New Blogger. I would love to skip this month from my blogger experience entirely, and that is probably why it is already the middle of May and I am just now sitting down to write about April.
Blogging is a bit of a roller coaster. Some month have amazing highs while others feel like you are plummeting to your death. April was a month of downward spirals.
My intention of starting this series was the write the real experience of a new blogger. True to that conviction, here goes.
Sickness is a Different World for the Self-Employed
April started strong. The end of March saw some increase in momentum. I was finally starting to feel like I was getting into the right groove.
Then the universe decided to see how many things it could throw at me.
First, I had a week of issues from a chronic health condition I live with. Next, a severe chest cold led to weeks of difficult breathing and minimal sleep.
Just when I felt like I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the pollen explosion had me wishing I could literally scratch my eyes out of my head.
Experiencing an illness when you have a traditional job can be a bad experience. But you at least have the comfort that the business will keep functioning and you may even have the benefit of sick or vacation pay.
When you are a business of one, even a moderate illness brings everything to a screeching halt. Production, customer service and income generation all stop as you do.
I tried to keep up with my blog and posted at least one new post each week. Social media got some attention as I tried to get on at least one of the platforms each week.
But, all in all, April and the first part of May were a dismal blogger experience.
Gloom and doom are not typical parts of my personality, so let’s switch gears and talk about the positives of the blogger experience for the month of April.
For one, even with my limited posts for the month, visitors and page views for the blog held fairly steady. To me, that is a huge win because it means the blog has finally developed some momentum and is growing organically.
While page views held pretty flat, the number of visitors on the site saw good growth. The trend also seems to be growing in visitors visiting more than one page during their visit.
My blog now has 110 blog followers. That means I need to finally get an email program up and running. The steady increase in followers makes me optimistic that I am producing valuable and engaging content.
Both Facebook and Instagram were woefully neglected. The small drop in Facebook likes is not surprising.
Twitter continues to be my social media platform of choice. I can’t say why I prefer that platform so much. Part of it is because most of my followers are writers and bloggers. Being able to interact with such amazing individuals and at 280 characters or less brings me much joy and inspiration. I might explore the other reasons why in a later post.
Twitter was also neglected during my illness, but the relationships I have nurtured and the presence I have built kept a steady increase in followers even on the days I wasn’t able to get online.
Pinterest started very strong. The blogger experience lesson learned here is that, no matter what other bloggers will tell you, manual pinning is important.
I useTailwind and am very happy with the automated pinning product. Campaigns are set to pin 30 pins per day at various times. Even with Tailwind working properly, you can see near the end of April, when I was too sick to spend any time online, impressions dropped dramatically. However, I was only pinning about 10 pins per day with Tailwind at the time.
Pinterest was responsible for 12% of the traffic driven to my site for the month. That may not sound like much, but in the previous month, Pinterest only brought in 4% of the traffic. That large increase in such a short period means I will be spending lots of time on Pinterest in the coming weeks.
Be Constantly Improving
Whether you think of it that way or not, a blog is a brand. If you are an author, your name or psuedonym is also a brand.
Brands only continue to grow and gain popularity by buidling new and meaningful relationships with existing and potential readers.
I hate marketing. There’s no sugarcoating how negative I feel about the subject. Marketing is a necessary evil in the blogger experience, and is especially important for bloggers and indie authors.
During my illness, I read a particulary moving post about mistakes that authors, and by extension bloggers, frequently make. Here is the link to the post:
In her post, Meg Dowell discusses three mistakes that many authors and bloggers make. The point that resonated the loudest with me deals with interacting with readers on social media.
I have to admit that I have fallen into the bad habit of primarily using social media to promote either my book or content on my blog.
Meg’s post reminded me that readers follow writers because they want to get to know more about the author as a person. Most followers already read your work, so social media is a chance for them to get to know the person behind that work.
Much effort is being directed at improving this bad habit. I’ll keep you posted on the positive results I see down the road.
The feedback from the chapters posted has been positive and brings me much joy. I would love to have more insight. Please share the story with others you know that like science fiction. Even if someone is not a big sci-fi fan, they will likely enjoy the story because it is mostly character driven.
April was poetry month. While I intended to write a poem every day, I only ended up writing one poem for the whole month. I plan to post that poem later today or tomorrow.
Now it’s your turn. How did last month go for you? What lessons and tips did you learn about the blogger experience? Were there any triumphs? Please share your stories in the comments below.
Success takes time. Time requires that you be patient. Patience is not always easy to achieve, but it is possible.
The last few weeks have truly tested my mettle and patience. A severe chest cold knocked me on my butt. Then, just when I thought I was going to recover, the pollen explosion sent me spiraling back down into agony. To add insult to injury, a freak storm did damage to my property this week.
It is very difficult to write meaningful content when you feel terrible. It’s almost impossible to write coherent material on cold medicine. To keep you from thinking I had slipped into a pattern of heavy drinking, I chose instead to take some time away from my blog and be patient.
And I missed it terribly!
With everything that has been going on, though, I have been reminded of an important life lesson.
Success rarely comes quickly, so you must always be patient. You must never stop trying.
Independent or Stubborn?
Independence is a key attribute of many successful people. Unfortunately, being independent sometimes feels incompatible with patience.
I can only imagine that I gave my parents quite the fit. They did their best to raise me properly, but I didn’t always make it easy.
I taught myself to ride a bike, and refused help even when both arms and legs were skinned, and I had suffered more than one groin injury.
Learning to tie a tie, learning to shave and learning how to care for injuries are all life lessons I taught myself. On more than one occasion, I suffered injuries that should have been addressed by a doctor, but I never told my parents. Instead, I set out to treating them myself with the plan to tell someone only if the wound got worse. Fortunately, that never happened.
It’s amazing I survived childhood.
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Independence and Patience
Being independent should not be a negative trait. In fact, it often leads to ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking. It’s not surprise that so many leaders and inventers were independent people.
Learning to be patient tempers the independent spirit. Patience teaches you to wait and keep trying. It makes you understand that failures aren’t fatal, and that sometimes goals can only be reached with the help of others.
Both of my parents were incredibly stubborn, so I come by my need for independence quite honestly. My wife constantly picked on me about it.
Being stubborn has its strength. In the end, I learned how to ride that bike, even how to ride no handed. I survived all my injuries. My ties now always feature an elegant Windsor knot. I have shaved more times than I care to remember.
Every lesson was finally learned by being patient.
As a child I did not fully understand, but success only comes when you refuse to stop. You may not reach you goal today. However, if you are patient, tomorrow just might be your day.
You can read more about why you should never give up in the following post.
The question, then, becomes, “Is it worth it to be patient?” You bet it is.
My debut novel, Getting Home, is not really my first novel. In fact, I have five other complete novels that I wrote as a young man.
I can’t explain exactly why I never pursued anything with those stories. The writer brain is often a harsh critic, so I never fully imagined that I could make a living with writing. Often I thought that no one would connect with my writing, so there was no point in sharing it.
Last year, I changed that mentality. I decided to throw caution to the wind and tossed Getting Home out into the world. It is definitely not selling at a pace to provide me with a living, but it did set a ball in motion that will eventually get me to that point.
This month’s Tale of a New Blogger post hasn’t gone live, yet. That’s partly because I am very discouraged by April’s numbers. Being sick much of the month is no doubt the reason for poor numbers, but it’s still disheartening.
That said, there is no intention on my part to give up. Six months in, I am still loving my blogging journey. I love planning, writing and illustrating blog posts. Sharing my current Work-in-progress – Paradise – gives me great joy. Recently, I was even inspired to write some new poetrywhich you can read below.
Success takes time. Keep reminding yourself of that fact.
There’s no reason to finish that line. You have all heard in many times before when someone was trying to encourage you to keep going. Maybe it was because you missed the mark of the goal you were aiming for. It’s a very true statement.
So, how do you keep going?
First, be sure to celebrate the small victories.
Building a house is an excellent analogy. The first step in building a house is finding the right property and then the right location on the property.
Next, the site is leveled out and the foundation is constructed.
Sometimes, it is weeks and even months later before the framing begins. After the framing, the home is dried-in, or in other words, the roof is complete and the exterior doors and windows are all put in place. From the dried-in stage, many more weeks can pass before there is further progress.
Every goal is very much like building a house. The foundation is the bedrock of your future. It’s based in patience.
Each step could be likened to the framing of walls, building a roof, or adding doors and windows.
The point is, each step is integral to the final goal of having a complete home.
Writing a book, or any worthwhile project for that matter, is also not a steady forward moving process. Time and necessity (and sometimes illness) may force you to back away for a while. Writing yourself into a corner can take some time to overcome, often because difficult choices have to be made to correct the problem.
And editing. Ugh! Editing is murder. Ask any writer, and they will all pretty much tell you the same thing. Editing is the worst.
Yes, I am sliding a little off topic.
My point is that the final success of building a house or writing a book is built on many smaller successes along the way. That’s an important life lesson.
Celebrate Little Things
Take the time to celebrate the completion of the little steps, and it will be easier to be more patient until you achieve victory. Each mile marker is a move up to the top of your mountain. Celebrate each one.
Now don’t get my wrong, I didn’t see any contractors or homeowners celebrating when the framing or dry-in process was complete. But they could have.
Celebrate when you complete that chapter or word goal. Pat yourself on the back when you rework that particularly difficult passage. Sing from the rooftops when you finish editing a section of text.
OK, maybe not the last one unless you don’t have any neighbors nearby. I wouldn’t want any of my dear readers to be carted off to a padded room somewhere.
But you get my point. Each success is just that – a success. It’s too easy to get fixated on the long-term goal and fail to see the progress being made. Own that success and let it empower you to continue moving forward. By being patient, it will come.
But I’m Still Discouraged…
Some of you might be saying right now that despite the small successes, the ultimate goal seems too unattainable, so maybe you need to quit.
Stop. That. Thinking. Right. Now.
Or, if you absolutely have to have a pity party, give your permission to have that party today. However, that permission has to come with a condition.
Tomorrow, you have to get up with renewed vigor and dive back into whatever project you are working on. If you are writing, get back to writing. Are you are editing? Then keep editing, even through the tears and anguish that inevitably come with it. If you are building a house, go on to the next part of the building process.
For the time being, though, don’t think about your final goal. Instead, decide what the next step in your process should be and focus on that. If it’s writing 500 words or editing a chapter, that is now your goal.
Reach the goal. Celebrate. Pick the next goal. Repeat.
The big goal will come if you are patient and work hard.
You got this.
Yes, it’s true, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But when it was completed, what an amazing masterpiece it turned out to be.
Your work will be no different.
Until next time…
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The internet is a constantly evolving animal. Blogger advice received today might not be accurate tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean there is not lessons about blogging to be learned.
Well, maybe not that quick. It does often seem like things change overnight.
Last year was a huge year for blogging. That knowledge is a big part of what prompted me to start this blog in November.
I’m a big numbers person. If you’ve read my Tale of a New Blogger series, you already know that. In my free time, not that I have a lot these days, I enjoy looking at stats. I know. I told you I was a little crazy.
Recently, I was curious about how many other bloggers got their start last year. There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer to that question. I pulled up estimates from 5 million to 200 million.
Part of the difficulty is that sites view blogs differently. I tend to think of sites like mine as blogs. But many statisticians view profiles on social media like Tumbler, Facebook, and Twitter to be blogs. Hence, the big difference in estimations.
The other reason for no answer is the big blogger platforms have stopped releasing blog stats.
While I was researching this question, I came across two great posts that reaffirmed some of the lessons I have already about blogging and a few new ones. Here are the top 7 lessons about blogging.
7 Lessons About Blogging
1. People Love Blogs
Blogs have become the go-to for people looking for advice, instruction or purchasing recommendations. An astounding 81% of internet users feel that blogs are a reliable source to get this information.
That means that 4 out of 5 people reading your posts trust what you have to say. There’s great power in that but also great responsibility. It’s one of the most important lessons about blogging from last year.
That said, most readers prefer to skim posts. On overage, only 37 seconds is spent on a blog post. Readers tend to skip as much as 60% of blog content.
In further reviewing lessons about blogging from last year, Google states that their top-ranked content from blogs was between 1,140-1285 words in length.
In addition, word count is increasing overall per last year’s stats. The average length of a blog post in 2016 was 1,054. In 2017, that average jumped to 1,142.
Long posts perform better. In fact, if your post is recommending a product or service, 9-times as many leads are produced from long posts when compared to short posts.
Longer posts, even if the reader only skims half of it, engender trust in your reader. Of those readers, 61% will ultimately make a purchase based on that recommendation.
There are some bloggers writing very short posts and being successful. As a rule, though, the longer posts produce more page views and better lead rates. Writing longer posts may be a crucial one of the lessons about blogging from last year.
3. Pictures Draw Traffic
The next of our lessons about blogging from last year is the importance of pictures and images.
Everyone likes a nice picture. Think of the posts you are most drawn to as you are browsing social media.
This fact is sometimes forgotten by bloggers. Stop forgetting. The blogging stats in this area are impressive.
Blog posts with pictures and/or infographics average 94% more page views than text-only posts. That’s nearly double.
Videos, and this was a surprise to me, increase results from organic search by as much as 157%.
You may see videos on this site in the near future.
In regard to infographics, their use grew from 50% utilization to 58% in just one year. Condensed infographics are frequently the top performers on social media as well.
So I’m a little torn on this one. When I first decided I was going to start a blog, I visited many sites that recommended posting every day. When I browsed those sites what I frequently found was an abundance of garbage.
I hate to be brutal, but that’s the truth. Some of the bloggers are getting a lot of page views, but I honestly don’t see how. At least, I can’t imagine them getting much return traffic.
With this blog I’ve tried to follow the quality over quantity mindset.
But I might have to rethink that concept. I hope to never publish garbage, but I am seriously thinking about increasing post frequency.
In the continued lessons about blogging, last year, of more than 1300 bloggers polled, bloggers that posted more than daily saw more than double the results as those posting once a week. Those posting daily saw about a 10% increase as opposed to those posting 2-6 each week.
Again, I’m not sure how I feel about this stat. For one, these results are from a poll, not hard data.
Can polls be trusted?
Some people are not entirely honest when it comes to polls. Two, I can’t help but wonder if the increase in results in not purely just a result of putting out more content.
This brings two expressions to mind. One, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. In this case, even a terrible blogger will produce something of value from time to time.
The second expression is something one of my old bosses used to say in regard to sales, “If you throw enough stuff at the wall, something is bound to stick.” It applies both to sales and to lessons about blogging.
One hard stat I could find was that 16 blog posts a month seems to be the magic number if you can’t post every day. Per one study, posting 16 times in a month produces 3.5-times the results as posting just once a week.
I am going to give this topic some serious thought. Probably I’ll stalk a bunch of blogs to see if I can discern real value in posting every day. I’ll write a later post on what I find.
One caveat, I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my “garbage” comment. If I follow your blog, please know that means I don’t think your blog is garbage. The ones I was so disappointed in will remain nameless. If you visit many blogs, you likely know which ones I refer to anyway.
5. Odd is Good
It seems like I have heard this somewhere before, but it still surprised me. List posts with an odd number of items are 20% more effective than those with an even number.
Yes, that is why this post has an odd number in the title.
On the top of lists, up to 36% of readers prefer a list article over a traditional text post.
I’m more than a little odd, so you will see me continue to be so. At least now I have a valid reason for it.
6. Updates Are Worth Your Time
If you’ve been blogging for any time at all, you’ve been told not to forget your old content. My blog is less than six months old, so I don’t really have any old content. Well, maybe some of the earliest stuff. But I digress.
Taking the time to update an old blog post can increase search result value by 75%. Merely changing the title of an old post can raise click rates by more than 10%. Yes, only about 55% of bloggers revisit old content.
Ask yourself, what is easier? To spend a day, or 3.5 hours on average, to produce a new quality post OR to spend an hour revamping an old post? Actually, changing a post title takes less than five minutes.
The older I get, the more I need things to be easy. This morning I revamped two blog posts to increase SEO and improve quality. It took me less than an hour total to refresh both posts.
I imagine that over time it may be tempting to delete old posts or poor performing ones. That recommendation is that you don’t.
About 10% of posts continue to increase in traffic generation over time. They are referred to as compounding posts and produce around 38% of total blog traffic.
There doesn’t seem to be a clear path to what makes these posts compound. Most were well-performing posts at publication.
Occasionally, and apparently, at random, an old post will sometimes take off. Maybe it’s just a matter of the right person sharing the post at the right time.
Whatever the case, as a blogger you quite literally put your blood (okay, hopefully not blood), sweat and tears into your blog. Don’t diminish the value of that effort by deleting posts.
If the post is truly bad, take the time to turn it into something great. But don’t delete it.
Additional Stats of Interest
Of the posts that go viral, 25% inspire a sense of awe or shock from the reader, 17% make the reader laugh.
A business can see an increase of up to 97% in inbound links from having a blog.
There are a lot of social media, content, and email marketing stats I did not use in this article. If you would like to read those or refer to the site that I consulted for most of these stats, you can do that here.
Have you learned any blogging lessons recently? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Blogs grow in popularity through recommendations. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others or on social media. I will be eternally grateful.
Everyone strives to have a happy family. Today’s world throws a lot at families that makes this an ever challenging goal.
You have likely seen the good news posted by some “experts” that divorce rates are down. Unfortunately, those reports are only telling part of the story. While it is true that divorce rates (at least in the US) are dropping, the truth is that the rate of people getting married is dropping faster.
But divorce isn’t the only problem. With so many distractions and time stealers in this digital age, many children and teens are feeling forgotten and unloved.
What can you do to ensure that you have a happy family? Here are 12 steps you can take:
Lesson 13: I’ve Learned that friends may come and go, but family is forever and must be cherished.
1. Talk to Each Other
Communication is most effective when there is a true sharing of feelings and words between family members. Getting all family members to talk is sometimes a challenge. Teens especially may tend to be closed off and silent.
The matter is not hopeless. Take the time to change a few of the things you are already doing and communication will flow more freely.
Talk when you are together.
No doubt there is time that is spent sharing meals or taking trips in the car of by public transportation. How are you using that time? If you are on your phone the entire time, there is no strengthening of the family.
Instead, take that time to talk to your family. Ask questions of each other and listen carefully as they speak. Try not to react too quickly, even if you hear something from your youngster that upsets you. Stifling them will only lead to more silence.
Phones and other electronic devices are wonderful tools for staying connected to the world around us. They can likewise be large impediments to family communication. Checking text messages or social media alerts when a loved one is speaking will not show them that you care about what they are saying.
Set times for your family that are media free. Turn off phones or put them in another room during family dinners or when your teens come home from school. Take that time to listen to your family uninterrupted and you will draw closer.
Family communication often cannot be scheduled. Your teen may want to talk late at night when you are ready to go to sleep. A younger child may want to tell you everything as soon as you pick them up from school.
Do your best to make yourself available to listen even when you are tired or have other things to do. Granted, you cannot stop every action to give your loved one your full attention. But if they see you making a consistent effort, they will feel valued and more likely to talk again later.
You can read another post about choosing your words carefully in this post.
2. Forgive Each Other
The silent treatment is a go-to response for hurt feelings in many families. This treatment may go on for days and even weeks when one family member refuses to forgive another for some offense.
As a result, this wall creates division in the family. Work hard to forgive each other quickly.
Sometimes it’s a matter of just asking yourself a few questions. Will what hurt me matter in 10 years? Is an apology necessary, or can I just overlook the offense? Am I being too sensitive?
Forgiveness means letting go of resentment and the offense that hurt you. It doesn’t mean that you need to pretend the offense never happened or should minimize it.
Holding on to resentment damages not only the family but you often on an emotional and physical level. It can create a rift in the marriage and distance parents and children.
This means if there has been a wrong committed, you should take the time to sit down and talk it out. Both of you should listen as the other explains their point of view. Then, do your best to move forward. Don’t continue to bring up offenses that you have forgiven.
3. Be Loyal to Each Other
Loyalty is at an all time low in this world. Too many people are quick to throw away relationships at the first sign of difficulty. This lack of loyalty is why divorce rates are high and why less people are getting married.
You chose your spouse for a reason. Continue to show each other proper consideration and love and your loyalty and commitment to each other will grow. Decide in your hearts that you will stay together come what may.
Take divorce and separation off the table from the start of the marriage. Divorce rates were lower in times gone past for that very reason. Most people did not consider divorce to be an option.
Family loyalty starts with your mind. How do you think about your spouse? Do you imagine someone else may be a better fit for you? Are there times you regret your marriage?
If any of those answers show weakness in your relationship, take action now to strengthen ties with your mate. Schedule time together and work on open communication. Examine what areas of your marriage are creating stress and then work together at fixing them
Children that are raised in an environment where their parents are loyal and committed to each other grow up to have strong relationships both with their parents and with their future families.
4. Support Each Other
The expression goes, “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’.” Your family is your most important team.
For a couple, this means changing a mindset from “What do Iwant to do?” to “What would be best for us to do?”
A family should be more than just a bunch of people living together. Make a united front on dealing with money, making family decisions, and child rearing.
Some couples try to keep separate lives in many respects and then wonder later why their marriage failed.
Work toward the success of your team by always working together.
5. Plan With Each Other
Closely associated with teamwork is setting goals. For a plan to be most beneficial, it involves flexibility, planning and plenty of hard work.
Both family and individual goals should be encouraged. Plans may involve necessary things like nutrition and exercise, or a reward to work towards like a special family vacation or weekend trip.
Decide as a family what things you would like to work toward. Pick a realistic deadline and set out the steps that will be needed to reach your goal. Think of any hurdles that may come up and how you’ll be able to overcome them.
In addition to family goals, help your children to set personal goals. Achieving goals can produce more happiness, stronger friendships, and more self-confidence among family members.
6. Value Each Other
Valuing your spouse includes showing them respect. Expressing value is demonstrated in how you interact with your family. Do you frequently criticize each other, or are compliments more common? Are you quick to listen to each other, or do you walk away from or dismiss conversations?
Strengthening your respect for your spouse and family members is a very internal process. Meditate on a list of qualities about your mate, perhaps even writing them down. Then tell your spouse why you appreciate those qualities.
Think too of how you would like to be treated. What actions make you feel valued and appreciate? Think of several areas and have family members do the same. Then take some time to discuss what everyone came up with and how you can do better as a family.
7. Lead Each Other
Parental example is a vital step in achieving a happy family. Leading involves not only stating what you think should be done, but making sure you are doing the same thing yourself.
For example, you may want to teach your children that lying is wrong. Will you later ask your child to tell an unexpected visitor that you are not home simply because you don’t want to speak to that person? Or will your teen hear you call in sick to work when you are not sick?
Think about the guidelines that are important to your family. Do you have rules about what movies or video games can be played? Are there friends you want your kids to avoid? Does your family value words like “please,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry”? How do you act in these areas?
The way you live your daily life will affect the way your family lives theirs. Show your family how they should live by the example you set.
8. Instruct Each Other
Every family has a core belief system. For many this involves honesty, strong work ethic, and politeness.
To have a truly happy family, these areas must be clearly defined and effectively taught.
A good work ethic can be taught from a very young age.
Give your child chores to complete and make sure they follow through. Chores not only teach responsibility but the importance of doing things for others. Learning to care for what’s important creates stronger and more independent adults.
Standards for politeness should also be taught to the very young. Saying “please” and “thank you” and learning to share are essential lessons. Set the example in these areas and your child will more likely follow suit.
9. Trust Each Other
Trust engenders confidence and consistency. Believe in your family and that they will do the right thing.
Learning to be trustworthy is not an automatic process. Teach your children the relationship between trust and freedom. A teen that respects a curfew will be more likely to receive occasional exceptions.
Teach your children to be honest at all times, even when they might upset you. Show them the consequences when they are not honest. Set the example in being honest yourself.
In addition, patience adds to contentment. Rather than giving your child everything they want when they want it, teach them to work towards something and to wait until the right time. Teaching patience can go along with teaching how to handle money and the importance of savings.
Lessons should likewise be taught about being reliable. Teach your family to follow through. Dependability is sadly lacking today. If you assign a chore, see to it that it is completed. If your teen commits to doing an activity, make sure they do it.
Again, set the example. Show that you are dependable in the way you treat your job and commitments. If you make social plans, make every effort to stick to them. Demonstrate your patience by telling your family something you want and then let them see you patiently work toward it.
10. Strengthen Each Other
Standing up for what you believe in is the key to identity. Core beliefs, moral character, and ethical standards all shape that identity.
Help your family develop their identity by assisting them to discern their weak and strong areas. What traits stand out? Which traits need improvement? Consider aspects like generosity, punctuality, and work ethic. Make sure your young one knows their strengths. If they have trouble coming up with a list about themselves, tell them what strengths you see in them.
Teach conviction. Does your family follow a moral code? What is the basis for that code? Why should it be supported?
Have a family discussion about identity. Remind your children that they have both a personal and family identity and that their actions affect both.
11. Work With Each Other
Many devalue hard work. Some have a “gimme” mentality and expect to be taken care of and served.
Teach your family to be industrious. Show them the value in learning to do new things. Help them to feel pride in a job well done. Whether it is homework, a job, or household chores – look for ways to be more do better and more quickly. As skills develop, so will work enjoyment.
Learning balance is about finding the right middle ground between laziness and overworking. Take time for recreation for your family, but also show them how you complete the necessary things first.
The world is a big place. Even small actions can have a mighty effect. Show your young ones how even small chores benefit others. As they grow, this lesson will carry with them and help make the world a better place.
Demonstrate your work ethic by doing more than expected. Show your children how to take pride in their work and that there is often more to a job than just completing it. Taking out the trash is important. Cleaning up any mess that might be created in the process is the extra step.
12. Guide Each Other
Discipline is on the decline. Crime and violence are increasing. There is no doubt there is a connection.
Your family should know that there is right and wrong and that consequences result from doing the latter.
Discipline and guidance are more than yelling and spankings. When your child does something wrong, sit with them and explain to them why it was wrong. Help them to see how the bad conduct affects others. Affirm your love for them while helping them to understand the importance of reasonable rules.
Guidance comes into play with you spouse as well. Is one of you working too much? Are budgets being properly followed? How much quality time is being spent with the family?
It’s too easy to develop blinders to the things you are doing. You should be willing to talk, and listen carefully with an open mind if you are corrected.
Discipline must be consistent. If something is wrong, it is always wrong, no matter where you are or who you are with. Just like the law is always the law. Speeding is speeding whether you see the police or not. Family rules should be the same.
Love Each Other
Love was not included as a step because a truly happy family knows that love is an essential part of all 12 steps. Discipline in love. Speak in love. Forgive with love.
Love is more than just a warm feeling. It’s that effort to always see the good in your family. Peace and calm are fruits of love. Love first, and all the other steps will come easier.
Even in this dark world, a happy family is possible. If everyone works together and keeps love at the forefront, your family will achieve this goal.
It’s been a roller coaster ride. Blogging is a new adventure every day. Some are great. Some… well let’s stay positive. So it goes on the path to becoming a successful blogger.
For the most part, it’s a fantastic journey.
This blog went live in November 2017.In this series, I am sharing my real blogging experience as a newbie and as it happens. Share in my triumphs and downfalls as I continue to learn how to be a better blogger.
Work! Work! Work!
If you want to be a successful blogger, you have to be prepared to work. I continue to be surprised at how much time it takes.
To blog with the ultimate goal of making a living from your blog, you must be willing to put in the time along with the blood, sweat and oh so many tears.
Don’t get me wrong, I am having a blast. Every night as I am preparing for bed, I think about how thankful I am to be living the life of a writer.
I really hated the last years of my career in financial services. But this, blogging, I enjoy every day.
Even the days with less than anticipated results.
In total, I spent just over 100 hours on my blog in March 2018. Just glancing at the numbers I can see some of my mistakes.
Actually, my number one mistake was fear. I am so concerned about money coming in that I am sacrificing my blog time to take freelance gigs.
The tradeoff means that my blog isn’t growing at the rate I would like.
For the remainder of April, my goal is to produce more quality content each week, promote more on Pinterest and to learn as much as I can about successful blogging.
What he has learned so far has been really helpful. Together, we have been working to increase SEO and Pinterest presence following the tips that Scrivs and other bloggers share through theBillionaire Blog Clubnetwork.
If you have thought about joining a blogging community, BBC is the one you want to join. The wonderful bloggers in the community have created an atmosphere or encouragement and support.
BBC is only going to be opened for limited time periods so that the owner, Paul Scrivens, or Scrivs, can concentrate on helping all of the members without being spread too thin.
It’s a great way to get a better idea of whether blogging is for you. You will also see Scrivs style so you can decide if it’s a good fit for you. Being part of the Boot Camp also means you’ll be notified the next time BBC opens to new members.
Blogging is not for everyone, and neither is BBC. That said, I do think it will be an important tool in becoming a successful blogger. We are really enjoying the program so far and learning a lot.
The one area I feel like a successful blogger for last month is social media. My Twitter account has finally reached a point where it continues to grow organically whether I am able to get online or not.
You can see from both images that I didn’t really get serious about Pinterest until near the end of March. But the impact has been phenomenal.
Average daily impressions for the prior month were just 335. But this month they were 1,553, and that’s with not really getting active until the end of the month.
I can’t wait to see the final numbers for April 2018!
Another things that has really pushed the Pinterest growth was addingTailwind. I started with the free trial and fell in love. Tailwind is like having an assistant to handle some of my work for me, and I can’t imagine working with out it.
I upgraded to a higher level to have access to more options, but this investment will pay for itself in no time.
Visitors to my blog were down in March. Page views remained pretty consistent.
I am honestly not sure what caused the drop. There was less content published in March and that no doubt makes up part of the difference.
April is off to a great start and traffic is starting to roll in from Pinterest. These numbers should change a lot in my next report.
As you can see, Facebook and Instagram were a little neglected in March. Both still saw some growth so I am happy with that.
Twitter is probably the channel I enjoy the most. Of my now 7000+ followers, almost all of them are creators and most are authors or bloggers.
Being part of such a large community of writers gives me the encouragement I need to keep writing day after day, and will in time lead me to become a successful blogger.
My hope was to be one of those bloggers that had an amazing income story to tell after just a few months.
The truth is, in March I earned maybe $1.00 in total. I am not even going to look for the numbers because I know they are quite low.
There is no one to blame for this downfall but me. I have been so concerned with immediate money coming in that I forgot the time spent on my blog is an investment in my future to become a successful blogger.
That said, moving forward I am scheduling time to work on and promote the blog each day. The numbers may not increase a lot in April, but I am confident that the May numbers will show results.
In conclusion, here’s a summary of what I learned this month:
Community is important. Billionaire Blog Club is giving me the support and encouragement I need to really grow. Go visit Scrivs site today.
Learning is important. What I learned throughPinteresting Strategies has helped create real and tangible growth on Pinterest. Take a moment to visit Carly.
Investing is important. Really it’s a not a significant amount if you choose the monthly option, less than most people spend at Starbucks each month. Tailwind is growing my Pinterest base even when I can’t be manually pinning.
Recharging is important. Take yourself on a date. Just you and you alone.50 Unique Self-Care Ideas has many great ideas to help you recharge.
Book Review: Mall Hair Maladies by Kristy Jo Volchko
Mall Hair Maladies is told in first-person from the perspective of fourteen-year-old Tanya Sheffield. As she states in the beginning of the book, “All it takes is one chance meeting or moment to change everything.” Tanya’s life is changed by meeting her new best-friend, Randi Gattano. That friendship puts several things in motion that change everything in Tanya’s life over the course of 12 months.
The year is 1985 and Madonna’s career has just launched into the stratosphere. Teenage girls, Tanya and Randi, are on joint mission as super fans to see the star in concert. Along the way, they are two typical teenage girls trying to survive their freshman year and all the challenges that life throws at a teenage girl.
The book is written for the tween audience. For those of us that were children or teens of the 80’s, it is equally enjoyable. Maybe even more so.
Kristy Jo Volchko does a great job of sharing the teenage mind. The book has a quick pace and a sense of urgency throughout as Tanya is ever working toward her primary goal of seeing Madonna in concert. The dialogue is enjoyable to read and keeps you invested in the characters.
My favorite part of the book was all of the 1980’s references. From words like psyche and bodacious, to smoking in the school bathroom and clouds of hairspray in the school halls, many of the references could have easily been pulled out of my high school experience.
As loyal Madonna followers, the girls work hard to have the biggest hair, more jelly bracelets than an arm can hold, and iconic fingerless gloves, even if they must make the latter themselves. There are grooming malfunctions, fashion agonies and plenty of teen angst to keep young readers connected to the story.
Other items that really struck me were the release of Madonna’s movie, Desperately Seeking Susan, and the character reading Flowers in the Attic, both iconic items from the 80’s. Music references from Huey Lewis to Hall and Oates add texture to the tale. I even found myself pulling up an 80’s playlist to listen to as I read the tale.
The Not So Good
Honestly, there is nothing negative for me to say about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the romp through the 80s through the eyes of two teenage girls. I’m pretty sure I was friends with both of them once upon a time. Volchko writes at a comfortable pace with an easy flow. There’s enough detail to let you fully experience each scene without feeling too wordy.
Whether you are searching for a wholesome book for your tween or looking to relive a little nostalgia for yourself, you will be very happy with Mall Hair Maladies. The book is very entertaining and each reading session left me with a good feeling and happy memories.
Mall Hair Maladies is volume 1 in what will be a series. Look for the sequel to be released in 2019.
I am thrilled to give this book a 5 out of 5 stars look forward to seeing what Kristy Jo Volchko releases next.
Series: Mall Hair Maladies
Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: Cackleberry Creek Publishing; First edition (February 2, 2018)
It’s often not easy. Most of the time it is very difficult. There will be obstacles, but the final success will make you forget them. It’s a life lesson you need to learn. Sometimes a motivational quote is just the push you need. Here we will discuss 12.
Learning life lessons is essential if you are to grow as a person. In a continuation of my I’ve Learned Series, today’s post offers motivation for you to keep pursuing your dreams.
Some life lessons will help you cope with tragedy and discouragement. Many will help you live peaceably while being more empathic and compassionate. Still others, the ones you will read about today, will give you the push you need to get started and keep going.
Whether you are dreaming of being a published author, a renowned stage actor or just a few pounds lighter, these quotes will help get you moving.
Motivational Quote: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
It is easy to put off a dream or goal because we are not where we think we should be. Have you ever said any of these things?
· I will do it when I get a little older and have more time.
· I will start when my kids are grown.
· I will start exercising on January 1st.
· I will start when the weather gets warmer.
· I will start when I’m in a better position financially.
There are lots of reasons to put off your dreams. The truth is, there will never be the perfect time or circumstances. Start here. Start now.
Success never happens overnight. Start today in the direction you want to go. Tomorrow, you will wake up one step closer to your goal.
Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services, LLC. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post also contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission or referral fee, at no extra cost for you.
Motivational Quote: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins
A leader with motivational quotes, Tony Robbins gives one of the keys to success.
You already have your dream. The final prize is clearly in your mind. Setting goals is about more than just setting the ultimate destination. Success is achieved through reaching many smaller goals. These small goals serve as footholds and milestones that are an important part of your journey.
Even small goals are important.
Suppose your ultimate goal is to write a novel. Most novels are in the range of 80,000-100,000 words. Very few people could pump out that many words in a day. Most can’t even do it in a week.
That’s why you start with smaller goals.
If you want to write a 100,000-word novel in a year, that means you need to write 275 words per day. Writing 275 words isn’t nearly as daunting as 100,000. Up to this point in this post you have already read 350 words. It’s not that much to commit to writing each day. It’s a realistic and achievable goal.
The same is true for every goal. Use this life lesson and break your goal down into its smallest parts. Then set each of those parts as a goal that you can knock off one by one.
Look for Opportunity
Motivational Quote: “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.” – Napoleon Hill
A few lucky people are born into wealth and privilege. Due to their family legacy, they have all the tools they need to work towards virtually any goal. Or at least the means to buy the tools.
The rest of us usually like to wait for opportunity to find us. Stop waiting and start actively looking for opportunities. That truth makes this one of the most popular motivational quotes.
I got started in the financial services field completely by chance. One day, while visiting one of my neighbors at his office, I noticed an abundance of files scattered around in piles on the floor.
Often not the most tactful person, I made a comment about them and how unprofessional they looked.
My friend explained that he desperately needed a new filing system, but his entire staff was so busy that no one had time to work on it. I had some free time in my schedule, so I offered to spend a few hours a week putting things in order.
That simple act led to a twenty-year career in financial services.
The point here is that opportunity is all around us. Rarely does it come and knock on our door, but if we keep our eyes and minds open, we will see opportunity all around us.
Look around your life for the opportunities you need that will help you achieve your dreams.
Forget Your Age
Motivational Quote: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – Les Brown
A lie that people like to tell themselves, especially as they get older, is that they aren’t the right age to pursue their dream. That lie is complete garbage.
In my life I have had the pleasure of watching friends achieve their goals, even starting late in life. One friend started taking piano lessons when she was nearly 60. She is a very accomplished pianist today. Another friend about the same age started taking art classes. His paintings now garner more attention than those from painters with decades of experience.
Browse the internet and you will find stories of many octogenarians that have started running marathons, taken up sky diving or gone back to school. They learned the life lesson and apply it in their lives.
You are not too young or too old to start a new goal. Get that thought out of your head.
Walt Disney was famous for saying, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Forget your age. It’s only a number. Keep this message with you favorite motivational quotes.
Leave the Past in the Past
Motivational Quote: “The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” – Unknown
Another obstacle people put in the way of their dreams is the past. Maybe you tried to lose weight before but then gained it all back. Perhaps you started a business and it didn’t succeed. You might have started writing a book that you never finished.
All those things are okay. There is nothing you can do to change them. Stop letting them halt your future progress.
Tomorrow is a blank page. Nothing from yesterday needs to color it. Choose for tomorrow to be the day that gets you closer to your goal.
Motivational Quote: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain
Now that the past is behind you, and you have your goal broken down into more manageable parts, it’s time for action.
Do at least one thing every day to move you forward. It doesn’t have to be a huge task. But do something every day.
Sometimes it might be just making a decision.
For instance, if you are starting a blog, one of the things most bloggers struggle with is picking a domain name. Your goal for today could be to make a list of possible names. If you already have a list, today’s assignment could be to pick one and sign up with a hosting company.
Reaching a goal isn’t about making big strides every day. Doing so might get you there faster, but any forward movement is just that – forward movement.
Do one thing today that moves you forward and count today as a win.
Leave Fear Behind
Motivational Quote: “Success often comes to those who dare and act; it seldom goes to the timid who are ever afraid of the consequences.” – Jawaharlal Nehru
It’s a crazy truth, but many people never achieve their dreams because they are afraid of success. Singer song-writers may fear that fame will change their lives in negative ways. Actors may fear that they won’t be able to keep the momentum after one big success. Authors fear that they might not have another good book in them.
Fear also rears its ugly head from the other direction. An author might fear publishing a book that no one reads or likes. I venture that every author feels that way, at least with their very first book.
An artist may fear that no one will understand or like their art. A musician might fear that no one will connect with their songs.
Don’t let fear stop you. Most things we fear will never happen. Learn and believe that life lesson.
There are more than 7-billion people on the planet. 7 billion! Many of them are going to like what you do no matter how good or bad it is.
Think of some of the worst films you have ever seen. Probably they all have some sort of cult following that love the film.
And if you don’t succeed? That’s not even an option. If you reach your goal, whatever that goal is, you have already succeeded. That success will change everything else in a good way.
Motivational Quote: “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore
Imagine that your dream is to build a boat and sail across the ocean. You work hard for months or years in crafting an excellent vessel. If you never put that boat in the water and actually set sail, your dream will never reach its true fulfillment.
Many writers do this with books. They write books, sometimes dozens of them, but then they never pursue publication. One writer share on Twitter recently that she has a whole wall of books she wrote and never pursued.
Most likely fear comes back into play here, but I cannot say that for sure. I myself have written at least five books, but only one is published. Getting that one published with a struggle that I stopped many time. You can read my experience here.
Reaching a milestone is not the place to stop. Keep your goal in front of you always. Then keep moving forward.
Life lesson? If you already have the boat finished, now is the time to get in the water.
Expect Failure as Part of the Life Lesson
Motivational Quote: “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” – Brene Brown
The brutal truth is that failure is an integral part of success. But failure never has to be the end. Just because something doesn’t succeed the first time, or even the second or hundredth time, doesn’t mean that it never will.
Nearly all the biggest achievements in the world arrived with a past littered with numerous failures. Thomas Edison is a famous example. For each of his world-changing successes were thousands of ideas that had not worked.
What’s necessary is to change your mindset. Expect you will have at least some failures during your journey. Then, when they happen, meditate on what you can learn from the failure and move on.
Your dream is still achievable.
Motivational Quote: “Procrastination is the bad habit of patting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” – Napoleon Hill
Perhaps the biggest barrier to success is procrastination. Continually putting off the steps that need to be completed to reach your goal keeps your prize forever out of arm’s reach.
The good news is procrastination is another thing that is in your control. There is a great post about how to beat procrastination. 4 Ways to Beat Procrastination – With Frogs is another life lesson that gives you four easy things you can do to change your procrastinating habit .
Resolve that you will keep moving forward. Set deadlines for yourself and do everything in your power to achieve them.
It’s Up to You
Motivational Quote: “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett
Only you can do what needs to be done. No matter how many online courses you pay for, how many classes your take or how many personal trainers you see, at the end of the day you are the only one that can do what needs to be done. You are the one that needs to write, exercise or eat better.
You have the ability to reach your goal. Remind yourself of that daily. Hourly if you have to. It is possible. You can do it.
Motivational Quote: “Never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill
No matter what happens along the pathway to achieving your dream, don’t give up. There will be bad days. There might be bad weeks and months. I’ve even had bad years. But don’t let anything stop you from moving forward.
Even if circumstances cause your project to stall for a while, as soon as possible, get moving again.
Remember that the small things count. That’s another life lesson.
If your goal was to fill a bucket with rocks, big rocks would get the job done quicker. But even the smallest rocks tossed into the bucket add to the whole.
Acknowledge the small successes as well as the big ones. Each one is moving you toward reaching your dream.
You got this.
Life Lesson Learned
This post contains just a few of the quotes that have helped to reaffirm this life lesson in my mind. Are there quotes that keep you motivated? Please share them in the comments below.
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with friends and on social media.
It’s been another very busy week which reduced the number of blogs I was able to visit this week. Today for myWednesday Writer spotlight I am highlighted five posts that will be enjoyed by all but especially useful to writers. Enjoy!
Jeremiah Trent shares a thought provoking poem about being a stranger in a strange land. Sometimes that strange land is just another part of your country of origin. This poem really spoke to me because I experienced a similar journey.
This post from Wayne Marinovich has been around a little while, but its message is timeless. An author with several published books under his belt, Marinovich shares his most valuable lessons learned from the process.