Do you like soundtracks? Some of my favorites CDs (and yes, I do still listen to CDs, even in this digital era) are soundtracks. I also enjoy soundtrack stations on Amazon Music.Chris Thilk takes a moment to discuss soundtracks from recent movies and how they have have been dominating the album charts.
Do you like travel posts? The Traveller offers beautiful pictures and details from the Ham House in Richmond. Some day I will make it over the pond to visit great attractions like this one. Until then, I thoroughly enjoy the pictures.
James Edgar Skye, through blog posts, shares his journey both as a writer and as one successful coping with bipolar disorder. In this post, he talks about some changes he made to become more productive.
RememberThe Sixth Sense? For me, it was a deeply profound movie about how we often cannot see what is right in front of us because of being distracted by other things. Paul Greenamyer shares his thoughts on how the movie changed the world of writing.
Dadding Depressed is one of my favorite blogs. Through humor and sober facts, the author uses blog posts to shine a light on a world where many men experience depression in silence. Today’s post offers some feedback from many of his readers. Even if you are not a man, you will love this blog.
There are all kinds of great things to share today so let’s jump right in.
Where Did the Time Go?
First up, as planned, I faithfully kept up with tracking my time throughout February. It seems unreal, but I devoted 134 hours to blogging in the month of February. 134 hours!
That is mind blowing especially since my last month of working full-time I only worked 128 hours. And, in addition, I also did a number of freelance gigs during February.
Something had to go, so I gave up sleeping.
No, not really. Though I am sleeping less.
I am a huge TV fan. For the time being, that is the sacrifice I am willing to make to produce a successful blog. I am way behind on all of my favorites shows. I may have to start reading episode highlights until I have time to watch again.
Now where do I find time to read those? Hmm…
Here is a breakdown of how I spent my time:
It is important to me and my blogger experience to track where I spend my time, and for two reasons.
1. I want to be able to look back in the future and tell people truthfully what it takes to start a blog.
2. I wanted to give me readers a glimpse into what it takes to have a money making blog.
As you will see further down, I am far from making money with this blog. FAR. FAR. FAAARRRRR.
But I know that will change, and in time I can refer back to these posts as I continue to tell my story.
Frankly, the people saying they spend four hours a month on a highly successful blog are full of crap. Either that or they have a whole team of people doing the work for them.
The biggest lesson I have learned so far is that blogs take time. A LOT of time.
Where Did the Money Go?
Despite my original plans, I did decide to spend more money on blog courses in February. I do not regret that decision at all.
Carly has a completely different take on Pinterest from most other courses and her method is really working. It is not uncommon for her to get 8-9k views a day on Pinterest. A large number of those click through to her website.
I purchased this course on February 22, so I can’t tell you a whole lot about the successes so far. I can tell you that on Pinterest I went from averaging about 100 views a day to 800.
You can see I started to implement Carly’s method immediately. I decided to try her methods for just a couple days. The impact is undeniable.
Unfortunately, I have not been disciplined about working the system the way I should be, but the possibility of the impact is really exciting. I will share more with you on this journey next month.
My other big outlay in February was for Billionaire Blog Club. I am not taking this course myself, but I paid for my personal assistant to take it. He is interested in starting his own blog and will be working on improving this one.
BBC offers it’s own unique blogger experience. If you buy in, you get a lifetime membership to all of Scrivs training and entry into a large and supportive community of likeminded bloggers.
Right now he is only eight days into BBC’s course. There will be an update on this journey next month.
You can test drive BBC by signing up for the free 12-day blogging boot camp found on the top of the main page.
Third, I have a new obsession. This is the biggest reason I got sidetracked from working Pinterest the way I should be.
Note: I am not an affiliate for Canva, but I would love to be in the future.
Several bloggers have pointed me to Canva, but I was perfectly happy with using either Powerpoint or Publisher to make the graphic images I needed.
Man, was I missing out!
If you like designing and creating your own graphic images, you have to check out Canva. Even if you don’t especially love graphic design, if you have any need to create images, no system is easier than Canva.
What Happened on Social Media?
I didn’t spend nearly as much time on social media as I had the prior two months. My growth in followers will show that. A blogger experience is primarily about changing and then changing again. Or so it seems.
Of the 30 hours, much of that time was spent on implementing Carly’s Pinterest methods.
Still, there was growth.
The positive takeaway is that there was growth in every area. I am most surprised by Facebook and Instagram because they were definitely my neglected step-children this month.
And The Money Kept Rolling in…
So, here’s the part I am not as excited about. Income, money earned, changed very little in February.
I knew that I was looking at a six month or longer period before my blog produced any income, but I truthfully hoped it would happen quicker for me.
The grand total for February, and this is earned, so not even in my pocket yet, is $3.05. And that is all from Google AdSense.
This means that optimizing my posts for both SEO and monetization has to priority this month.
Sorry, but at some point this blog has to pay the bills. I will try to keep ads to a relative minimum.
If you haven’t already noticed, I started sharing my current science fiction project in February. The working title is Paradise and Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 are now available to read and the plan is to publish a new chapter every Tuesday.
Please keep in mind this is a first draft, so there will be some obvious errors. I want your comments, though, so please let me know what you think.
On the freelance side, I was able to get a few gigs going and make some real income in February. This will be a pet project for the time being as I intend to keep the blog and Paradisemy primary focus.
How was your February? Please share your news in the comments below.
For today’s Wednesday Writer Spotlight, I have a hodgepodge of great posts from other blogs. Please forgive me that this is a little less organized than I would prefer. Life seems to be getting away from me the last few weeks.
So even though I started this post two weeks ago, I am feverishly formatting and publishing late Tuesday night for a Wednesday morning post.
How Life Changes as a Published Author
This guest post by Abigail Shepherd on Tibetan Lemonade shares Shepherd’s take on how her life has changed, and not changed, since becoming a published author. Her thoughts are some that all writers can related to, published or not.
Allison Maruska, from her author website and blog, takes us on a humorous trip with her Bad Writer alter ego. If Tweets and Posts on social media with horrible spelling and nails on the chalkboard grammar drive you crazy, you will really enjoy the fun Bad Writer brings with her terrible advice.
From John J. Vinacci came a notalgic and heartbreaking tale of the land where imaginary friends go to live when there creator’s outgrow them. Vinacci uses both humor and realism to make you take a look at your own life. Let’s bring back imagination!
Helping others is important. You know that. Writers are one group that we can all help. Many of their new followers and readers come from the recommendations of others. A lot of work goes into writing, giving each of us the responsibility to share books with others.
Book sales, especially on online sites like Amazon, are largely predicated by the reviews left by readers. If you are not in the habit of writing book reviews, please start today. Even a one or two sentence review can do much to help a writer.
Books are amazing things. They can take you to lands you have never seen, take you forward or backward in time, and bring inanimate objects to life. You laugh with them and cry with them. They become part of you. Some change you forever.
Years ago, I leant my copy to a very dear, older friend of mine. It is a frequent occurrence in my life to share books with others. As a result, I often forget what books I shared with each person.
This book touched my friend. Let me tell you how this book came back up in conversation so many years later.
Picture it: Cicily, 1943. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Seriously, picture two older women in Home Depot. One is 90 and going blind. The other is her unwell 60-year-old daughter. They were trying to buy a dishwasher.
…nefarious and unscrupulous…
Two nefarious and unscrupulous men approached them, all smiles, wanting to do their good deed for the day. They offered to help the women pick out a new dishwasher and to even deliver and install it.
The women were overjoyed by the offer. They knew they would have to pay someone to do those very things, so this sounded like a Godsend to them.
As a result, the two men did deliver the dishwasher, and they did install it. Incorrectly, I must add, which is something that led to further repairs not long later.
The men chatted up the older women for a while before “noticing” a few “small repairs” that needed to be done around the house. Those small repairs led to the women dispensing almost $12,000, their entire life savings, before any of us close to them knew what was going on.
In true charlatan fashion, the work was never completed, and the men never returned. These two women were left with no savings and repairs that still needed to be completed.
Those of us close to them stepped up and did what we could to finish and fix the work those two men (and I want to use a much different word here) had either started and not finished or had done incorrectly.
A few weekends ago, I went to check on the ladies to make sure everything was all right. The mother, now 92, told me that I gave her peace of mind about their terrible experience.
“I did?” I couldn’t imagine what I might have done to help them. My handyman skills are seriously lacking, and I did not have the means to help them much financially.
I was very touched. I remember now sharing the book with her. When I first read it, I talked about it a lot to all my friends. It was a calm in the storm that I really needed at the time. But I had no idea how it had affected her. This will be a new life lesson learned.
In addition, this experience also teaches me that we can continue to learn and improve no matter how old or young we might be. It was about twelve years ago that I shared the book, which means that my friend was already 80 at the time.
Do you share books or what you are reading with others? If you don’t, change that today. You never know when you are going to change someone’s life with a shared book.
To close today, what are your favorite books to share? Please comment below.
Have you had your frog this morning? That probably sounds a little insane, unless, of course, you are someone who likes to have frogs for breakfast.
Hey, it’s possible. Maybe.
Let’s try another question.
Are you buried in to-dos today? If you are a blogger, writer, mom, worker, etc. most likely you are. There is ALWAYS something to be done. If you are like me, you have a post that is due today or tomorrow that you have not started. This post goes out Saturday morning and I am working on it at 6:20 PM Friday night.
It could be worse. At least it’s not midnight. Yet.
Procrastination is a curse that most of us contend with on a daily basis. Why do today what can be done tomorrow? So goes the procrastinator’s motto. The only problem with that philosophy is that now you have added additional stress to tomorrow.
Stress is never good. You know that.
So stop procrastinating! How? Learn this lesson about frogs.
Now you are thinking, “But what does procrastination have to do with frogs?”
Good question. Bear with me a moment while I give you some background for this post.
In the last two months, I have been spending copious amounts of time reading advice online and off about blogging and working as a freelancer. In one of the posts, and forgive me that for the moment I can’t remember which one, the writer referred to this quote by Mark Twain:
The quote has been stuck in my head ever since I read it. Mr. Twain, or Mr. Clemens as the case may be, was not really advocating for the eating of live frogs.
Well, at least I don’t think he was. Not having known him personally, I can’t say with certainty what he meant.
I have chosen to believe that the point he was trying to make was to stop procrastinating. If we would tackle the worst thing we need to do first thing in the morning, everything else would be downhill from there.
Are you guilty of procrastinating on the tasks you don’t want to do?
I know I am. In the corporate world, I often had three piles on my desk:
Things that had to be done today
Things that needed to be done soon and
Things that were very low priority.
I often put things in pile 2 that I did not want to do. They would often stay there until I was coming up on a deadline before they made it to pile 1. I spent more time dreading the jobs I didn’t want to do than I did actually doing them.
One day I woke up and realized what I was doing to myself. It was crazy for me to cause extra stress by putting off tasks I didn’t want to do. I made a change that day.
I had not heard the quote from Mark Twain at the time. Perhaps if I had, I would have been moved to action sooner.
The change to my day was undeniable. My stress level dropped considerably. I was still having to deal with difficult people and mundane tasks, but by getting those things completed first thing, the rest of my day went much smoother and with much less dread of the remaining work on my desk.
Back to Mark Twain’s quote. He also supposedly said that if you have two frogs to eat, you should eat the bigger one first or something to that effect. I could not easily find this latter quote on the internet.
Again, the point is, at least in my mind, to do the worst things first. Get that big, ugly frog off your plate.
Nothing against frogs.
Here are four important lessons we can learn from this quote:
1. Schedule Eating Your Frog
You have a million things that need to be done. Besides whatever you do for work, you have a home, family, and friends calling for your attention.
Add to that all the little distractions in your day. That, “Oh, my friend just posted new pictures on Facebook,” that turns into hours of browsing. You know what I mean.
Make yourself accountable. Schedule those tasks you don’t want to do just like you would schedule any other appointment or job. Go ahead and put it on your calendar. And be sure to schedule it early in the day so you can stop dreading it.
When that time comes, do the task. No grumbling or complaining. Do it and move on.
2. Prepare Your Frog in Advance
You can take a lot of stress out of your morning by planning your day the night before. Taking just 10-15 minutes at the end of the day to plan the following day means that tomorrow you can wake up and start the day without having to think about what needs to be done. You have a plan and a schedule.
Many people do this already with lunches or planning outfits. I’m not a morning person so the fewer things I have to do in the morning the better. That means ironing any items the night before is a necessity. Fortunately, now that I am working from home, there’s a whole lot less ironing to be done.
3. Don’t Eat Every Frog
There are dozens of tasks calling for our attention in a typical day. Lessen some the distractions by choosing to ignore some of them. Not every task deserves your attention. And not every decision is life altering.
Some people find some relief in this regard by making consistent decisions by the day of the week. For instance, many busy moms have a weekly schedule for meals: Monday is spaghetti, Friday is pizza, etc.
Mark Zuckerberg made an interesting comment about unnecessary decisions in this interview from 2014. He was asked why he was so often seen wearing the same looking t-shirt or hoodie. His response?
“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.” Zuckerberg felt, at least at the time, that deciding what to wear was a decision he didn’t need to spend mental energy on.
So he bought multiples of the same items. With only one color shirt in the drawer or hoodie on the rack and you don’t have to decide what to put on.
This may be an extreme example, but there are likely little decisions in your life that you can stop making. Take some time to think about it.
4. Don’t Let Other Frogs Distract You
How many social media alerts have you gotten just while reading this post? As soon as you finish reading this, go turn off ALL of those notifications.
Stopping what you are doing every 5-10 minutes to read updates is only causing you more stress.
I’m serious. Go turn them off. You will thank me later.
This doesn’t mean you should give up social media entirely. It’s fun to see what others are doing and to interact with your friends and followers. But set limits. Just like you wouldn’t let a real frog hop everywhere in your house, set boundaries for social media.
Read Lesson 4 in the I’ve Learned series
For many people setting a timer helps. Start an egg timer or set an alarm on your phone and give yourself a reasonable amount of time to play, say 30-60 minutes. But, when that timer goes off, so should social media. Get back to work and ignore social media until your next scheduled play-break.
Rooting procrastination out of your life is an ongoing process. Don’t get discouraged if you find yourself frequently slipping backwards. No course to self-improvement is always forward motion.
What’s important is that you keep working on it.
Every time you tackle those difficult tasks first thing, give yourself the right to celebrate a little. Give yourself a pat on the back or a high-five because hopefully the worst part of your day is now over.
Remember that good feeling and remind yourself the next time you are tempted to procrastinate.
What tips do you have for overcoming procrastination? How did these tips help you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
The following books are exactly what you need. If you are new to blogging, or even not so new, you should readGundi Gabrielle’s Beginner Internet Marketing Series. The series is geared to beginner bloggers, but there is a lot of information and resources that will be of benefit to any blogger.
My original intention was not to review these books. So far, this blog is mostly devoted to fiction, and I read the following books for personal growth, not for entertainment. The more I thought about it, though, I decided it was crazy not to write a review.
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 contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission or referral fee, at no extra cost for you. Thank you for your support!
While none of the books in the Beginner Internet Marketing Series are a huge time commitment, they did take time away from the books I should be reading and reviewing. There are three books in my queue right now that I had hoped to have reviewed long before now.
To keep up the consistency of blogging book reviews, I decided it best to go ahead and review what I was reading.
Let me start by saying I love the books I have read in this series. To date I have read three.
There are at least five books in Gundi Gabrielle’s Beginner Internet Marketing Series. I say five because only five of the books specifically have that tag on the cover, but there are other books with similar covers that may be intended to be part of the series.
Often unconventional in my approach, I started the series with Book 6, SEO – The Sassy Way to Ranking #1 in Google. There was a method to my madness. Initially, I was originally only interested in learning more about SEO. Since I got so much quality content from the SEO book that I decided to read some of the others.
If you have ever wondered how sites make it to number one on search pages, you should read this book.
SEO – The Sassy Way to Ranking #1 in Googleis an excellent book for beginners. In it, Gabrielle does a stellar job of giving you the basics about SEO in a way that makes it easy to understand and implement into your site.
One of my favorite parts in the book is the description of white hat and black hat practices when it comes to SEO planning and ranking. The wrong practices can damage your ranking or get you banned from search results completely. There are some SEO games you don’t want to ever play.
Overall, it takes about two hours to read the book, but there is such detailed information and numerous useful links that you will want to go through it more than once.
Next up I read You Started a Blog – Now What….?, Book 3 in the series. This book covers topics like writing viral blog posts, steps to grow your audience, and how to monetize your blog.
The main point I picked up from this book was that there is a difference between writing styles for general writing and blog writing. Before now, it never had occurred to me before. I spent some time looking at popular blogs and now I can clearly see the differences.
No doubt you know, blog writing is an evolving process so continued training and modifications are necessary. For continued growth. Gabrielle points out some great resources to improve blog writing skills.
On the subject of monetizing a blog, Gabrielle goes over some of the different options and how to get started with each one. If you recently started a blog and are stuck on what to do next, you will find your guidance in this book.
Finally, the last one I read was Book 4, Social Media Marketing when you have NO CLUE! It delves deep into the main social media platforms: YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Each platform has a section of the book devoted to it. An overview is given of each platform. Then best practices and additional resources are discussed.
In addition, Book 4 includes step-by-step instructions are included from setting up your initial account and profile, to how and what to post, to the best daily routine for each platform. Specific advice is given to how your posts should vary from one site to the next and which posts will do the best.
It only takes about two hours to read the book. However, you will want to spend more time with the dozens of links listed in the book Gabrielle has aresource page on her website that you can access from a link in the book. That page goes into even more detail on how to prosper with social media.
Most of all, it is important for you to know that this is not a sponsored post. I am an Amazon Affiliate. As such, I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link on this page. I read the books with myKindle Unlimited subscription. There was no interaction with Gundi Gabrielle prior to writing this review.
My primary reason for this review is that I truly enjoyed and benefitted from these books. I have plans to read the other books in the series. In the future, reviews for other books will be posted as they are read.
In conclusion, Gundi Gabrielle’s series caught my attention because of my Kindle Unlimited subscription. I cannot emphasize the value that a Kindle Unlimited subscription provides. There are thousands of books included and so much to learn. Sign up through the banner below.
Please share this review with others.
Have you read any ofGundi Gabrielle’sbooks? Please list your favorite and why in the comments below.
As I stated earlier, I had no interaction with Gundi prior to writing this review. however, since then I have joined her Facebook group. The group is a great resource for all authors and bloggers. Be sure to check it out.
Disclaimer: Wolfe Butler 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 contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission (or referral fee), at no extra cost for you. I only promote products that I use and have benefitted from.
It is overwhelming. The shear volume of information available about blogging could fill an entire library by itself. I would describe it as a tsunami but that word may not be a big enough metaphor.
If you are thinking about starting a blog you should do it. Anyone can do it. You can do it. I believe that wholeheartedly. Like achieving most things of value, a successful blog requires lots of time and hard work. And, as this blogger is finding out, lots of learning.
In the past month I have spent over 40 hours just learning about blogging.
Four items stick out in my mind from the last few weeks. I wanted to share them with you today.
1. Blogging About Blogging is Not for Me
While I am very interested in sharing my journey as a blogger, I have decided I do not want this to become a blog about blogging. This may be a crazy idea as there seems to be a lot of money in blogging about blogging. My passion doesn’t spring from writing about blogging. If I let blogging become my niche, I fear I would quickly run out of enthusiasm.
Fiction writing is my true passion. Second to writing is reading. I love books. I mean I really love books. I have more book cases in my home than all the other furniture combined. And still some books are piled in corners around the house.
Great writing and reading are the identity I want for my blog. My intention is to hold true to that vision.
This does not mean that I am going to end the Tale of a New Blogger series. I enjoy writing that post once a month. It gives me a chance to take stock of my progress and to renew my enthusiasm about my blog in general. Look for that series to continue.
2. SEO Requires Real Effort
The letters SEO meant very little to me just four months ago. I knew they stood for Search Engine Optimization but little more than that. One of my projects for February is to learn more about SEO and to update my existing and future posts accordingly.
But WOW. You won’t believe how much there is to know about SEO.
First of all, there are some 200 rating factors Google uses in SEO. 200! I had no idea. As I read through the list, I knew about five of them.
Just reading the complete list took considerable time. Brian Dean does an excellent job listing all 200. He gives a brief description of each item making it easier to understand all the rating factors.
The good news is that now I can honestly say I understand SEO.
Well, sort of.
The time and effort comes in with using SEO correctly. The best way to increase your SEO results is to do research before you write your post. That will take some time, especially when you are first starting out like I am. This is an item I will come back to in future posts when I am better qualified to offer advice on the subject.
Yeah, yeah, we all know that. Who of us hasn’t wasted an entire evening catching up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Trying to grow a blog following on social media is even more time consuming.
I am thrilled with my results so far. I have grown a considerable number of followers in just a few months. That said, trying to keep up with commenting, pinning, liking, sharing, etc. is more than a bit daunting. It can easily take up the whole day.
Setting up time limits seems to be helping me keep social media under control. If I know I only have an hour, I don’t spend a lot of time writing lengthy replies or looking at kitten videos. Yes, baby animals are my weakness.
4. Writers Need to Write
This blog has taken up the bulk of my time for the last two months. I am not complaining. I love writing blog posts. And I love learning new things so learning about blogging is a fascinating adventure. But I don’t want my fiction writing to ever be sacrificed for the success of my blog.
I love to write. I NEED to write. That is the number one priority.
I haven’t really given a writing update for a while. I am currently working on two novels. Plans are also rolling around in my head to write a non-fiction book on mental health experiences. And I want to turn my I’ve Learned series into a Kindle book.
My goal is to publish all four books this year.
This year? I know that sounds crazy, but we’ve already established that I am crazy.
Bear with me a moment. I have the circumstances right now to write nearly full-time. Some of my time is going to freelance gigs. It probably doesn’t have to be, but part of my brain is panicking about no money coming in. But the majority of my time is free for writing.
Since that is the case, there is no excuse for me not writing.
I was disappointed to realize last week that I had not worked on my primary WIP since January. For over two weeks I had not even opened the file. The books I am planning will never get written at that rate.
Toward the end of last week, I set out to rectify that problem. On Friday I decided to write before I did anything else. I wrote for less than two hours but knocked out almost 3,000 words! I am ecstatic about that.
It proves to me that my true love doesn’t need to be neglected for the success of my blog.
To give myself some accountability, I will share my goal. I intend to have the first draft of my sci-fi adventure completed by the end of March. In future posts I will comment more on that writing journey.
What lessons have you learned recently? Please share your comments below.
Disclaimer: Wolfe Butler 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 contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission, at no extra cost for you. I only promote products that I use and have benefitted from.
Today is going to be a great day. I received this wonderful review this morning in my inbox. This wonderful review was posted on Good Reads and Amazon.
For years I have scribbled short notes to myself regarding life lessons learned along the way. I have a box that is full of those notes. They are the reminders that even in the worst times there are important lessons to be learned.
Many people have the luxury of spending their childhoods and young adult years not thinking about losing people. They imagine that the people in their lives will always be there.
Personally, I only remember one funeral before I was thirteen. I’m sure that I lost other people I knew before that time, but death was not a real concept.
At thirteen, I lost my grandmother, my favorite person in the world.
Death became very real and my luxury of ignorance was forever taken away.
It is one of the hardest lessons for you to learn. That’s why it is so important to tell your loved ones every day what they mean to you.
It was a Tuesday when I lost my beloved wife, Laramie.
She was out running errands and had called to see if I had any special requests for dinner. We had talked for a few minutes, mostly about a friend of ours that was again doing something stupid with his life.
I was busy, so I tried to keep the call brief. We were going to talk more that night. Tuesday night was our date night, and we looked forward to spending that time together.
It was only 45 minutes later when I got the call that forever changed my life.
Actually, it was the second call.
The first one I did not answer because I was busy and felt the friend calling would not have anything important to say.
When the same friend called again less than five minutes later, I knew I had to pick up. My gut told me something was terribly wrong.
The tone in my friend’s voice only reaffirmed my sense of dread.
Life Forever Changed
My friend didn’t tell me what had happened. She only asked that I come to her house as soon as possible.
I was out the door before we even ended the call.
In my heart I already knew what I was going to hear, but I prayed fervently on the short drive that I would be wrong.
An inattentive driver had crossed the center line on the highway, and my dear Laramie was gone in an instant.
I don’t remember much of the next few days. I planned a funeral, picked out a casket and welcomed hundreds of her friends to the funeral.
Once the rush of activity was over, I started reliving the last days of her life. I mediated on the conversations we had, the text messages we sent and the quiet moments we shared. I tried to remember every breath, every word, every expression that had passed between us.
Try as I could, I did not remember the last time I told her I loved her.
Disclaimer: Wolfe Butler 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 contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission (or referral fee), at no extra cost for you.
That missing piece is probably the most painful. Part of me knows that Laramie felt how much I loved her. She knew me better than I know myself.
We often joked that we shared a brain. Most of our conversations only had half sentences because we generally knew what the other was thinking and going to say.
However, another part of my heart scolds me daily for not having told her more often how much I love her. I never imagined that last conversation would be our last.
I do remember clearly that I did not say, “I love you,” before I hung up.
Months of Tragedy
In the next 18 months, I lost fourteen more friends, seven of them dying in horrifying accidents. It got to the point that I was so numb that I could not cry anymore. In an attempt at levity, I commented to a friend at one of the latter funerals that I had worn out my black suit. It was a devastating period, but it reaffirmed this important life lesson.
With each new loss, I struggled with remembering the last time I had expressed affection to my friend. When had we last talked? When had we last spent time together? When did I last let them know that I cared about them?
Too many times I have found that I cannot remember. That is a terrible burden that I will carry the rest of my life.
In time, I gained some relief about Laramie. Some closure came from sorting through the items she left behind.
It was quite some time after I lost her before I felt I could invade her privacy in that way.
One of the things she had kept was a card I had given to her years earlier. She had been going through a difficult time emotionally because a dear friend had let her down terribly.
In the card I wrote, “You might be only one person in the world, but to one person, you are the world. I know who that person is.”
I didn’t even sign the card, but it meant enough to her that she had placed it in her special box of keepsake treasures. After crying new tears at this find, I placed it gently back in the box where it remains to this day.
Think about the loved ones in your life: husbands, wives, children, parents, grandparents, and close friends.
When is the last time you told them just how much they mean to you?
How long has it been since you last told them how special they are? how much you love them?
When did you last hug them? kiss them? hold their hand?
Can you remember the last time?
If you can’t, today is the day you need to start telling them. And don’t ever stop.
To my blog friends, who is someone that you lost before you could tell them how much you loved them?
Although painful, this is a great writing exercise. That raw emotion can later fuel a character in your writing. If you decide to create a post to answer that question, please come back and let us know.
Until next time…
For more life lessons learned, be sure to Click Here to read the rest of the I’ve Learned series.
In a continuing effort to share my true blogger experience, Part 2 of this series looks at my blog 60 days into the process.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
It is unbelievable that another whole month has already gone by. I started this blog in November 2017, thinking I had a good grasp on what owning a blog would be like, only to be quickly shaken to the core with the reality that I did not know anything. Not. A. Thing.
Still, I am having a blast and truly enjoying my blogger experience.
More than once in the last few weeks I have been overwhelmed by the ocean of information available about promoting and monetizing a blog. The latter had not been my original intention. I am quickly learning that I will not be able to concentrate on my blog and other writing like I want if I am also having to concern myself with making an income.
Writing will have to become my income source, as it should be, because that has always been my dream.
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As I stated last month, I think it is important to post actual numbers. Most bloggers only start sharing their blogger experience and stats when they are making $500 or more per month.
For many of those blogs, they were six months to two years into their journey beforethey saw that monthly income. What happened during their earlier months? That is what I am most interested in learning right now and what I plan to share.
Maybe I am doing everything wrong, but I am making progress, and that makes me very excited.
500 Page Views!
Let me start with my blog. Total page views for January 2018 were 612, up from 210 in December 2017. That is a 290% increase! That number will not create, and did not create, any substantial income, but it is an excellent step in the right direction. Total visitors grew at almost the same percentage going from 88 to 260.
My very first blog goal was to hit 500 page views in a month. I am ecstatic to have reached that goal in my third month. My next goal is 5000.
About 70% of my blog traffic is coming from social media.
Promoting yourself on social media takes A LOT of time, or at least it has for me. I started this blog with no real social media background.
In fact, I did not even have Twitter or Facebook accounts before November of last year.
Everything is brand new, and while I am happy with my progress, I still have much to learn.
In the beginning weeks I spent most of my time on Twitter. What excites me most about my Twitter followers is that the majority of my followers are writers and bloggers. They have been a tremendous source of inspiration and encouragement.
Pinterest is a bit of a different animal, and I am struggling some figuring it out. I am optimistic, though, because even with only six followers, I had over 1000 views and a 10% engagement ratio. My engagement ratio on Twitter tends to hover about 2%.
Invest in Your Blog
Investing in yourself is one of the most important things you need to do as part of you blogger experience.
In the past 90 days, I have visited hundreds of blogs and read dozens of ebooks trying to set up best practices that work for me.
One of the items I enjoyed the most in January was a live cast by Ana Savuica, owner of The She Approach.
Ana was incredibly engaging and motivating in her presentation, so much so that I purchased her bundle at the end of the presentation. I cannot recommend it enough.
Ana’s ebooks are well written and full of important and relevant information for growing and monetizing a blog and improving your blogger experience. She has an abundance of valuable free information in all her blog posts.
If you have not already visited her blog, I encourage you to do so today. I am thrilled with what I am learning from her. Click the picture to learn more.
For February, I am starting something new. One of my biggest struggles has been with time management and trying to schedule how much time should be spent on which activities. I don’t know how much time I have been spending on each task and that is important to know what needs to change.
To help myself focus, I have downloaded a time tracking app on my phone. When I am writing my March post, I will be able to look back and see how much time I have invested into my blog and growing my social media base.
I am tracking things like writing and formatting posts, time spent learning about blogging, and time spent interacting on social media.
Show Me The Money
I have saved the monetary details for last. If you are thinking you can start a blog and quit your traditional job tomorrow, you need to reconsider. While there are some who had quick and substantial success, for most bloggers it is a process of at least six months before they see any real income from their blogs. As you can see from the graphic below, I am going to fall in that category. Still, my blog produced some earnings for January and that is empowering.
It is encouraging to me that you have chosen to come along with me on my blog journey. If you haven’t already, please take the time to connect with me on social media.
I am posting my links below and will be happy to friend or follow you back. I would also love to hear your feedback. Are there questions you would like me to cover next month? Please leave comments below or send me an email through the contact link.
Be sure to take a minute to go visit Ana Savuica’s site, The She Approach.You will find an abundance of great blogger resources to help you improve your blogger experience.
Also, be sure to check out my newly designed Resource Page with essential tools for blogging, being an indie author, and posting on social media.