Words Do Real Damage – 3 Questions to Ask Before Speaking

Words Do Real Damage –

3 Questions to Ask Before Speaking

Words do real damage. Sometimes we learn this life lesson by things that are said to us, and sometimes by words we say to someone else. Once a word is spoken, it can never be taken back. Even the most sincere apologize will never truly heal the wound.

With this in mind, it is important that we think first before speaking. Especially in a moment of high emotion or anger. Here are three questions you should ask yourself.

 

One of my favorite stories is about a little boy with a bad temper. Everything I found online says the author is unknown, so I will only be crediting the site where I found the story.

Nails In The Fence – Author Unknown

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

The little boy then understood how powerful his words were. He looked up at his father and said “I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you.”

“Of course I can,” said the father.

Story found on: Inspiration Peak

 

Life Lesson Learned

This story illustrates an important life lesson. Words can do damage. Words spoken in anger are like the piercing of a nail. A sincere apology might remove the nail, but the scar is now forever there.

Like the little boy in the story, there is something we can do to make sure we are putting as few nails as possible into the fence. Ask yourself these three questions before you are tempted to say something in anger.

Would I Write It Down and Sign My Name to It?

Internet trolls and cyber bullies have done their best to make social media a hostile environment. The common thread among these harsh critics is that they typically speak anonymously.

It’s easy to say something hurtful or disparaging when you know the words won’t be attributed to you. But if you don’t want your name attached, should you be saying it in the first place? Most likely not.

 

 

Take a minute to think the next time you are inclined to write or say something negative. Imagine yourself one, five or ten years in the future. Would you want these words attributed to you in your life story? Would you want them to be the words you are remembered for?

We never know which of our words will be the ones that will stick with someone. That is all the more reason to choose them carefully.


How Would It Make Me Feel?

Next, switch roles for a moment before speaking. How would you feel to be on the receiving end of what you are about to say?

Cruel and heartless comments have become commonplace today. High ranking people in positions or authority are setting the worst example by their careless use of words.

Don’t follow their example.

Would you want to be called fat? Stupid? Crazy? Lazy? Incompetent?

Then don’t say those words to someone else. Don’t post them on social media.

 

Would I Want It to be My Last Words?

The sad reality is that someday we are all going to die. That’s a life lesson we are reminded of every day. We may live to be 100, or we might die in a freak accident later today. The six people recently killed by a bridge collapse in Miami were just going about their daily life. They had no warning that their time was up.

If today were your last day, what were the last words you spoke to your loved ones? Is that how you want to be remembered? Would you want those words on your tombstone?

In other posts I have talked about how I lost my wife suddenly. In the decade since, I have often agonized over our last conversation. Trust me when I say that it is not a burden you want to carry.

In conclusion, remember the fence as you go through your day. It might take a while for you to stop putting nails in it. Likely you will never stop. But you can reduce the number of nails by thinking carefully about what you are going to say next.

I hope you enjoyed this life lesson. Do you have questions you ask yourself before speaking? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Until next time….

 

10 Blogs to Visit Today

10 Blogs to Visit Today

Every Wednesday (well, most Wednesdays), I try to take a few minutes to promote other writers and bloggers through my Wednesday Writer series. Here are ten blog posts I enjoyed recently.

 

Click on the title to visit the blog.

1. Sneak Peek: Opening scene from Scotch Mist: a Dottie Manderson mystery

Are you looking for your next great read? The upcoming instalment of the Dottie Manderson mysteries is due out on 30 April 2018, and is a novella called Scotch Mist. In this post, author Caron Allan shares a sneak peak into her new work.

2. Soundtracks Could Be Uniquely Positioned To Succeed

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.

3. sometimes

Poetry is an important and quick diversion. From Tornadoday comes a dark and haunting poem with notes of abandonment and untimely death.

4. Question of the Day #4

For a fun idea, Sara in Lalaland offers a question about the zombie apocolypse. Be sure to read the comments of how her readers would survive the apocolypse.

 

Interested in starting a blog? Check out the FREE resources on Billionaire Blog Club.

5. How To Build A Solid Relationship With Your Readers

The most important thing for any blogger or writer is a strong relationship with your readers. Rachel Poli shares a post about some of the best ways to build this relationship.

6. Ham House, Richmond

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.

 


7. What’s up Monday

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.

 

8. But wait, there’s a twist …

Remember The 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.

 

9. “I’m Not A Man But I Love Your Blog”

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.

 

10. Here is my interview with Douglas L. Wilson

Fiona Mcvie interviews author Douglas L. Wilson and gives us an inside look into the man behind the name.

This is a collection of just a few of the posts I have enjoyed recently. Is there a post you have really enjoyed? Feel free to leave a link and why you liked the post in the comments below.

7 Reasons to Never Give Up

7 Reasons to Never Give Up

There are many ways to be taught a life lesson. Often the best teacher is also the most painful. Trials, struggles and adversities can teach a great deal if we can survive them. The key is to never give up.

Quotes are important to me. I love to write them down and refer to them for inspiration and comfort. Today I will share seven of my favorites and how they can help you to never give up.

 

This writer has had his fair share of struggles and disappointments. Most days it feels like more than a fair share, but we are all living with our own private hell.

Rather than focus on the struggles and negative, today I want to concentrate on how to keep going.

 

Focus on the Light

A light appears to be at its brightest when everything around it is dark. The trouble is that when things in our lives are the most dark, we often feel we can’t see past the darkness. Light is always there. It might be a small speck in the distance, but it is there.

Look for the light. If you see even a hint of light, focus on it.

Frequently, when things are at their worst, we tend to close our eyes, at least figuratively. Things are so bad, we can’t bear to see anything else. I have been in that darkness more than once. I’m sure I will be there again.

Have you ever watched a sunrise? I don’t mean just the last few moments before the sun crests over the horizon. I mean starting from the dead of night.

The first hints of light are barely discernable. But then, as if by magic, light begins to infiltrate the sky.

Keep looking for the light and you will find it.

 

It’s Okay to Start Over

I have failed at three businesses. It’s important to me to share that so you can understand where I am coming from.

Many times when everything falls apart, we can’t help but keep trying to put things back together. But sometimes Humpty Dumpty can’t be fixed. And that’s okay. Maybe he shouldn’t be.

Relationships, businesses, creative endeavors all may fail. Sometimes it’s an epic fail. So, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”

Many times, it is not really a failure. What may at first seem to be a fail may actually prove to be milestone on the road to your success.

Thomas Edison became famous for saying “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

Learn from today and start new tomorrow.

 

Struggles Produce Strength

This quote provides a life lesson most easily illustrated through exercise. Starting an exercise program can be difficult and painful. But the only way to achieve that beach-worth body is to push through the pain.

Here in Tennessee the weather has started to warm up. A few days ago, I plunged myself into work in preparing my flower beds for spring.

Evidently, I have not stretched the muscles in my thighs and hips for most of the winter. Too much time spent writing, I imagine. After just a few hours spent squatting in the flower beds, I had the pleasure of hobbling around the next few days like an 80-year-old man.

Should I stay out of the gardens? Of course not. My body will adjust again to working in the yard. There might be some pain along the way, but it is worth it in reaching the end result.

If you are suffering through something right now, look for ways to gain strength from this experience.

 

Difficulties Produce Success

This quote by Samuel Smiles is one of my favorites. You could never reach the top of the mountain without climbing it. Why would we expect any other success to be different?

Let’s think for a minute about marathon runners. No one would just wake up one day and decide to run a marathon. The Boston Marathon is just over 26 miles. I’m not sure I could even walk 26 miles. In fact, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t. Some days driving 26 miles requires an effort.

Marathon runners train for months and years. They get up early to run in snow, rain and dark of night. They know the struggle is integral to reaching their goal of completing the marathon.

That’s an important point. Not every marathon runner, in fact most I would imagine, runs with the hope of winning the race. For many the goal is simply to finish the race.

Keep your eyes on your goal. And your first goal should be realistic.

If you were starting a new business, you would never expect to become a millionaire the first year. Yes, it does happen, but it is very rare. Very rare.

Instead, your first goal might be to be profitable. Most new businesses are not profitable for 2-5 years. Being profitable is a very realistic and important goal.

It’s the same for anything else. Yes, you may struggle. It may feel like you are always going uphill. But keep your goal in mind and you will attain success.

 

Success Requires Sacrifice

Intentionally, I am going to misapply this wonderful quote by Dr. King. While he was talking specifically about pursuing justice for all, the gist of his words can apply to any struggle.

Meditate on a few of the expressions he used. Requires sacrifice. Tireless exertions. Passionate concern. Dedicated.

Success in endeavors or in life does not happen without effort. If life sucks right now, well, I’m sorry. But that is part of life. Giving up now will get you nowhere.

Suffering is an important part of the journey. Many of us best learned empathy and compassion as a direct result of the terrible things we experienced.

Dedicate yourself to reaching your goal. Whether it is achieving a healthy life or writing a book, dedication and sacrifice will be your footholds to your ultimate goal.

 

Success is a State of Mind

I would have liked to meet Napoleon Hill. Over the years I have collected dozens of his quotes. Many of them keep me going from day to day.

You will never truly fail until you quit in your own mind.

One of my favorite stories is that of Captain Ernest Shackleton and the loss of the ship ironically named Endurance. I may even dedicate an entire post to it later on.

The Endurance was crushed and sunk in the South Atlantic by pack ice. Shackleton and a few of his crew set out in their small lifeboat to reach a whaling station. Terrible conditions forced them to land the boat 20 miles from the station.

With no climbing equipment and subzero temperatures, his small party treked uncharted, snow-covered mountains to reach the station and rescue the rest of their crew. It took 17 days.

None of his crew were lost.

What kept his crew going despite seemingly hopeless odds? They believed their captain would keep his promise to rescue them.

How did Captain Shackleton keep himself going? His primary ambition was to save every one of his men. Failure was not an option. His mind was determined on success.

The mind is more powerful than we often give it credit for. If you believe you will fail, you will fail.

But chance to believe you will succeed? You may just rescue your entire crew.

 

Refuse to Stop Fighting

Personally, I am not a fan of boxing. I’m sorry if that offends you. But I don’t understand two people senselessly beating each other to a pulp.

Boxing does teach us an important life lesson. The winner of the match isn’t necessarily the strongest or the biggest.

The trait that creates winners in the ring is the refusal to stay down. Hit them over and over and over. (Seriously, why do they do this?) They keep getting up.

Life is often like a dirty boxing opponent. It breaks the rules and hits you in the most sensitive areas.

Keep getting up.

The end of a relationship might flatten you.

Keep getting up.

Closing a business may be devastating.

Keep getting up.

Serious health conditions may overtake you.

To the extent you can, keep getting up.

You got this. I believe in you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this life lesson from the I’ve Learned series. What keeps you from giving up? Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments.

Until next time…

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 3

Tale of a New Blogger – Part 3

Tale of a New Blogger tells the true story of a blogger experience. This series shares the real stats, triumphs and epic fails experienced along the way.

It doesn’t seem possible that it can be time for March Madness already. Bring on the excitement!

It feels like I have barely blinked my eyes since writing the last installment of this series and now it is time to write again. What a month it has been!

My March Madness post this week is all about my blogging journey. This is part of a series where I am sharing my first year, and hopefully many years thereafter, of my experience.

Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2.

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.

I made three main purchases in February.

 

 

Carly Campbell – Mommy on Purpose

First, I decided to learn more about Pinterest from someone who is rocking the Pinterest world. So I bought Carly Campbell’s book, Pinteresting Strategies.

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.

Billionaire Blog Club

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.

Canva

I discovered Canva.

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.

 

Other News

 

One exciting tidbit is that Gundi Gabrielle reached out to me on Twitter after reading my review of her book series. I was so touched! It inspires me to keep writing and publishing.

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 Paradise my primary focus.

How was your February? Please share your news in the comments below.

Resources to improve your blogger experience:

Billionaire Blog Club

Carly Campbell’s book, Pinteresting Strategies.

 

6 Blogs to Brighten Your Wednesday

6 Blogs to Brighten Your Wednesday

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.

Here goes!

 

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.

Click to read:

How Life Changes as a Published Author

 

Top 5 Lessons From Bad Writer

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.

Click to read:

Top 5 Lessons From Bad Writer

Be sure to check out Allison’s books by clicking this line.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

From Fictionophile, this review of How to Stop Time will have you reaching for your Kindle or running to the book store.

Click to read:

“How to stop time” by Matt Haig

 

Blammo and The Abandoned City

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!

But until then, until this wonderful story.

Click to read:

https://johnjvinacci.com/2018/02/20/blammo-and-the-abandoned-city/

Interview with author Sam Boush

From Today’s Author, Sam Boush gives an inside glimpse into the writer behind the thriller, All Systems Down. This is another book you need to ad to your reading queue.

Click to read:

Interview with author Sam Boush

Want to dramatically increase your traffic from Pinterest? Check out Pinteresting Strategies, the book that tripled my traffic almost overnight.

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines –

Papal Dispensation, the joys of maturity and birthday cake

Saving perhaps the best for last, get a few chuckles from Smorgasbord with this collection of funny stories and senior humor.

Click to read:

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Papal Dispensation, the joys of maturity and birthday cake

 

Reader participation time. What post have you most enjoyed this week? What types of posts should I feature next week? Please share links and comments below.

Why We Should Share Books

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.

All the more reason we should share books.

For my Monday Musings post this week, I want to talk about a book that had a huge impact on me, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep The Little Things From Taking Over Your Life. It did change my life in many ways and probably is at least part of the catalyst for my I’ve Learned Series.

“You gave me peace of mind.”

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.

Read about my journey as a blogger by clicking here.

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.

It was then that she reminded me about lending her Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff.

“That book changed my life,” she told me. “And in the end, it is all small stuff.”

Life Lesson Learned

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.

Until next time…

4 Ways to Beat Procrastination – With Frogs

4 Ways to Beat Procrastination – With Frogs

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.

Read Lesson 1 in the I’ve Learned series

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:

  1. Things that had to be done today
  2. Things that needed to be done soon and
  3. 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.

Takeaway

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.

Until next time…

Review: Beginner Internet Marketing Series by Gundi Gabrielle

The following books are exactly what you need. If you are new to blogging, or even not so new, you should read Gundi 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.

 

Book 6

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 Google is 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.


Book 3

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.


Book 4

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.

 

Reviews by Wolfe

 

Book 4 IS. FULL. OF. LINKS.

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 a resource 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 my Kindle Unlimited subscription. There was no interaction with Gundi Gabrielle prior to writing this review.


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 of Gundi Gabrielle’s books? 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.

5 Posts to Improve Your Day

5 Posts to Improve Your Day

Disclaimer

 SELRES_0e3ffaff-72c4-47ee-a850-9110ee4fc52cSELRES_218b801c-e252-4c4e-9248-2b2ce74aac84SELRES_699ddfef-aa3a-4145-beb5-078f0da65bbfSELRES_868a4714-9a0b-4201-9b50-9c5d976e95c0SELRES_e124c60e-aa81-4e01-a032-e5bea1a16bf7SELRES_d512317e-66ba-461c-b5a4-8d815f8e1be3SELRES_b959905f-09d9-4a13-92fd-a7466eb5873dSELRES_5683315f-a5c3-43dc-9d97-ff9d86c0ea70SELRES_641929f0-88b9-4989-905b-288ed142d164SELRES_9ccb10a0-009f-47bb-a8e7-c3c8398b8115SELRES_6d08e0b0-8aa7-4388-91a3-2e384d9be0b2SELRES_1eeba409-5c0f-4869-87c7-5018ffda089dFor today’s Writer Wednesday edition, I have decided to share a few of the blog posts with writing tips that I have enjoyed over the past few days.SELRES_1eeba409-5c0f-4869-87c7-5018ffda089dSELRES_6d08e0b0-8aa7-4388-91a3-2e384d9be0b2SELRES_9ccb10a0-009f-47bb-a8e7-c3c8398b8115SELRES_641929f0-88b9-4989-905b-288ed142d164SELRES_5683315f-a5c3-43dc-9d97-ff9d86c0ea70SELRES_b959905f-09d9-4a13-92fd-a7466eb5873dSELRES_d512317e-66ba-461c-b5a4-8d815f8e1be3SELRES_e124c60e-aa81-4e01-a032-e5bea1a16bf7SELRES_868a4714-9a0b-4201-9b50-9c5d976e95c0SELRES_699ddfef-aa3a-4145-beb5-078f0da65bbfSELRES_218b801c-e252-4c4e-9248-2b2ce74aac84SELRES_0e3ffaff-72c4-47ee-a850-9110ee4fc52c

First up is a post by Writer’s Edit with thirteen ways to help indie authors. As an indie author myself, it is a subject very near and dear to my heart. This post has some great ways that you can help other indie authors and gain their eternal gratitude.

5 Posts to Improve Your Day

via 13 Ways To Help An Indie Author With Their Book Release

 

Twitter banner 2

 

Next up is a post from Yuan Yuan Writes about benefiting from constructive criticism. Our writing is like our children so when someone criticizes it we may quickly become angry or defensive. This post has some great tips on how you can turn this negative into a positive.

via Taking Constructive Criticism Like a Pro

 


 

The following post by Claire Smith addresses one of the biggest struggles all writers face: writer’s block. There will be days when writing is the last thing you want to do. In this post Claire gives nine tips to keep writing.

via 9 Tips To Write When You Just Can’t Even

 

 

John J. Vinacci’s post answers the question on where he gets his story ideas. It is a great question to mediate on from time to time and John would love your feedback as a comment to his post.

via Where Do You Get Your Story Ideas?

 

 

 

Last, but certainly not least, is a post to add a little fun to your day. This short story by Liz Jeffries is a fun and brief diversion. Oh, and it includes chocolate. What could be better than that?

via Some Short, Short Short Story Fun For a Wednesday Night. Warning: Mentions of Chocolate

4 Lessons I’ve Learned About My Blogging Journey

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.

Wave

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.

Book Pile

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.

You can read the complete list on Backlinko’s website by clicking this line.

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.

Learning

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.

Another great SEO resource is Gundi Gabrielle’s The Sassy Way to Ranking #1 in Google – when you have NO CLUE!: A Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization. This is book 6 in her blogging series. I have read four of the books, including this one, and they are full of valuable information. If you have Kindle Unlimited you can read them all for FREE.

3.    Social Media Takes Time

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.

Ana from The She Approach just released a great new FREE 5-day affiliate marketing course. If you are looking to monetize your blog, this is the advice you need. I’ve learned so much from her that I have to recommend it to others.

Enroll for Free Now

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.

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.

Fiction, Poetry, and Life Lessons Learned for Bloggers and Writers

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