One Year Ago Today

WE HAVE A ONE -YEAR – OLD IN THE HOUSE!

This blog, Notes and Commentary, was born one year ago today.  Looking back on that first post really enlightened my perspective on this anniversary. Because I started, I have something to look back on. Because I started, I have lessons to share. Because I started, I am closer to where I want to be. And because I started, I am not where I used to be. Celebrating the success of starting!!!

We started Notes and Commentary sharing about jotting down the ideas, experiences, and notes on our lives. That focused evolved within the year. We realized our strong love of faith, family, and community is our worldview. The emphasis on noting is still present in the content. The blog reminds us of what God is speaking to us. “Notes are birthplaces of ideas. Notes are content” (Written in that first post).

Within the past year, I started a notebook I labeled “Big Idea Binder” and I asked God to help me stay mindful that I cannot abandon the ideas just because they are not ready to be birthed. I wrote them in the binder and I asked God to teach me to trust Him that He will guide me to bring them to fruition in his timing. ACTION ITEM: Make Your Big Idea Binder. Insert every idea that comes to your mind. Pray over these ideas and ask God to lead you into the next step for each of them.

June is my birthday month and that is what led me to start the blog in June. I promised myself I would write every day for thirty days. Well, I couldn’t keep it up for thirty days. I only wrote eleven posts in June 2016. But 11 is still more than 0. I share that to encourage the writer reading this post. Leave Your Zero Today. (That will preach!)

Here are a few things I learned giving birth to a blog.

  • Just Keep At It. It doesn’t have to be long or brand new content. Use your notes from past experiences. Read and write about what you read. Help yourself by reading blogging insights.
  • Create messages that inspire readers to act. I try to add an action item in all my content.
  • We can research for too long. You will not know everything there is to know about blogging when you start. Most of your development comes from trial and error. So just get started!
  • Use your notes and ideas for yourself and stop giving them away. It is okay to be selfish.
  • Accept help and ask for help. You don’t have to do this alone. Several people offer free information online. Reach out to a fellow blogger. Join a blogging community. I joined a Facebook community of Christian Women Communicators led by Kia Stephens and I love it!
  • Pay for resources. Why do we starve our creativity by being stingy with helpful purchases?
  • Educate yourself. Take some courses on software. Pay for consultation time. Read the fine print.
  • WordPress is not that simple. (Mind you, if I had done the previous action well before I started my blog, I may think differently.) Theme searching is nerve racking. I think new bloggers just wants to load the software, get the theme and get creating. Why does it have to be so hard?
  • Market yourself. Tell people that you are writing (I need help in this area.) Shy doesn’t sell.
  • Support other writers. Publish helpful resources. I often share the resources of those people I follow because it is helpful to me. Michael Hyatt, Natasha Robinson, Jonathan Milligan or Jeff Goins do not pay me a dime to drop their names in my post. Their information is helpful to me and so I share it with other writers. I was never involved in competitive sports. I hate feeling like I am in competition. If God disliked voices being heard at the same time, we would never have heavenly choirs. Be in concert, rather than competition. The role for creatives to play is to find those with whom you can collaborate and advocate for your respective messages in unison.

Henri Matisse said, “Creativity takes courage.”  I also think it takes consistency. I set a goal to write for thirty days last June. Well, that wasn’t a realistic goal. I had a two-year-old in the home and I just started a new job. So I failed in that 30 – day writing goal. By next June, I will have a better sense of my blog schedule and routine. My goal in this next year is to write more consistently in my worldview and establish myself as an authority on the topic of Family and Servant Leadership for communities and non-profit organizations. Notes and Commentary will become a resource hub and so the blog is going to share more applicable information with our audience. More action items! More how-to-teach content.

So there you have it. I have shared our journey from a reflective point of view.

Jeff Goins is right. One year later, I am so happy that I started.

Happy Birthday Blog!

 

 

Real Ways to Engage without Facebook Live

Have you noticed how much “live streaming” is dreadfully disturbing? It is becoming addictive just like Candy Crush. People seem to be hooked on this stimulant that is screaming “watch me, watch me”.

via GIPHY

I will admit that I was attracted to that LIVE LIFE for a while (although I haven’t streamed anything live myself).  Each time I saw a friend “go live”, I was immediately there to check out what they had going on.  But this past week, I realized this “live buzz” is killing us and we need to get back to some real effective ways to engage with people via our social networks without suddenly becoming a witness to a crime. (It really is that serious.)

Social media has its bad points but I believe if we use it socially as it was meant to be used, we can make better use of its good qualities.  Think about how much you scroll through your accounts during the day.  No one has time to read everything posted and truly some of us need to let go of a few subscriptions (but that is a conversation for another time).  However, for the things that we do read, what would happen if you took a moment just to let the content creator know that you were hooked in the scroll?  Just stop to say “keep it coming guy, I liked this!”

Every family has that member that spends their life on social media.

Well, why don’t you employ that auntie to help you out with your reach and expansion?  Ask Aunt Jen to share your content, every time you share your content.  Then tell Aunt Jen to make a comment that says something like “My Niece is Doing Great Work.” Her engagement on your post is going to get others engaged.  If Aunt Jen can share Bishop Jakes sermons and she is not his auntie, why shouldn’t she share your goods? Support is best understood when people give of their resources to another person’s work.  Family members are good encouragers in words. They can be good encouragers in deeds too. 

Speaking of encouragement.  How many times have you read a post on Twitter and loved it but kept scrolling? YES? Well, shame on you.  We are too focused on getting rather than giving.  If the content blessed you, let the content creator know it and encourage them to continue.  We have got to encourage each other more.  I recently joined the 500 word challenge with Jeff Goins.  I have scrolled through a few of the other sites in the challenge and I have taken Jeff’s advice to say hello on the blogger’s site. I haven’t been blogging that long but I know it must make anyone feel great to know that their words reached another human being. I know there is power in my engagement so I don’t mind giving a little bit here and there. Own your power and use it to lift others.

Several people I know are on a path of something new at the start of 2017. 

You all know it is hard to keep the momentum going after January 15th has come and gone and certainly after February 1st arrives.  So, do this for me.  For every person in your life that you know is doing something new, challenging and exciting, text them and let them know you are looking forward to the next thing.  People want to deliver when they know that you are looking for something from them.  So encourage them to keep it going.  Don’t let them give up on whatever it is that they are working on.  Your encouragement keeps them engaged in whatever they have purposed to accomplish this year.  You’re helping them see it through.

Lastly, take the time to encourage those people in your life that serve you.  Recently, my bus driver texted me that my daughter had gotten into a bit of trouble on the bus.  I have told the driver many times that she is free to contact me if she ever has trouble out of my children.  She took me up on my offer.  I responded to her compliance with a hearty thank you and encouraged her to stay safe on the roadways.  Her response, “Thank you. I will.”  Everyone can appreciate encouragement.  Encouragement is the ultimate power of engagement and we have it at our finger tips with these mobile devices. You don’t need to be in someone’s personal space to be engaged.  Invite yourself in by merely saying “I SEE YOUR HUSTLE. KEEP FLEXING YOUR MUSCLE.”  Engagement is a super power.  Don’t give all yours away to live streaming.

My Write Path: “It is Not Too Late for You (or Me)”-Episode 2

I said this is the last episode of My Write Path and it is worth repeating, people are often curious about progression.

Since I started this blog, I find myself reading the posts of other bloggers wondering about their “success path” and trying to follow their timeline.  But as I shared in the last episode, my sitting, reading and watching their work was hindering my own progress.  I am not pointing the finger at them.  I am very much to blame.  I was spending so much time on the sidelines that I wasn’t putting action to what I learned from dissecting their stories.  I read and I listened in on the webinars.  I admit, I kept wishing I had started a long time ago.  I found some old piece of my work in a journal and thought, where would I be if I had gotten off my tuff then?  Well, I am so glad that God heard my foolish thoughts and told Jeff Goins to send me this message, It’s Not too Late.

Why It’s Not TOO Late For Us To Become Writers

I am actually a subscriber to Jeff Goins’ emails but I missed this recent message from him about Sandy.  He was announcing that he would be releasing a 3-part interview he recorded with Sandy Kreps, a student of his who founded the popular blog modernsimplicity.org and recently became a published author.  I had not opened the email yet.  But then I saw two message from another influencer of mine, Jonathan Milligan, who mentioned these same videos with Sandy Kreps.  When Jon sent his message, it made me think, “you probably want to go back and take a look at this if Jon has mentioned it twice now.”  So I did.

jeff-goins-and-sandy-kreps

I actually downloaded the transcript for the first two videos before I watched them.  (Jeff really knows how to do it doesn’t he?)

After I watched them both, I went back and read the transcript of the first one specifically because I was intrigued by Sandy’s timeline on her way to becoming a professional writer.

So here is what I gathered:

  • Sandy, a full-time wife, and art director gave birth to her first child in 2005.  (That probably means we are about the same age.)
  • So in love with her first child, she dove into the world of mommy blogging in 2007.  Her first son ignited the “blog spark”.  But she only considered it a hobby.
  • She was laid off her job in 2010 and wanted to stay home with now two boys because her husband traveled a lot.  She still needed income.
  • The lay-off fanned the “blog spark” into a burning flame while unemployment checks provided a bit of kindling.
  • She signed up for the first Tribe Writers Course with Jeff Goins in 2012.  Meanwhile, hubby is not so sure about all the social media stuff that is going on.
  • She spent 2007-2012 teaching herself “the ways of a professional writer.”
  • With the support of the Tribe Community, she released her first ebook on Amazon called Fresh Start.  More book ideas followed and she just keeps writing.
  • She attended the Tribe Conference in 2015.  During the conference, her table talk manifest into a JUST DO IT challenge and she finished the book she had gotten stuck on in 90 days.  One month after finishing the book, Mommy Simplicity, it was published and on Amazon.  She went from stuck to a book published in print in 120 days.
  • Today, Sandy Kreps is a Lifestyle Business Writer full-time.  She has four books under her belt, 12000 email subscribers, blogging business and repeated writing income.

What the success of another person should mean to YOU

If you are able to read this post and look back on Sandy’s story like I did, guess what?  YOU ARE ALIVE!

The timeline was important to me because it spans eleven years from the time her son was born until today.   Which speaks to the beginning question that Jeff asked in this video series, “Can this still be done today?” It’s never too late.

I paid particular attention to the point Sandy made about the years from 2007-2012 that she spent “teaching herself”.  I think intelligent creatives really think we can “figure it out.”  I read something in Jonathan Milligan’s blog that made so much sense to me regarding our sensation with “gathering information.”  He says, “education without action is futile. I see it first-hand all of the time. People take courses, but never take action.”  When I think how relevant that statement is, it stings like a hornet.

In October 2015, I participated in Michael Hyatt’s virtual stream of his Influence and Impact Summit.  Since that week in OCT last year, I have listened to about 25-30 webinars from professional bloggers and creatives who are using the gift God gave them to get their message out to many.  I wish I started then.  I’m convicted of being a bystander.  However, I plead NOT GUILTY of sitting on my gift.  Not Anymore.  It’s Not Too Late for Me.  You Either.

I’m On My Write Path.

Q.Nikki

This post is dedicated to my loved one who have believed I can write and prayed for me to believe it too!