Random Ramble: 2017 Word of the Year – COMMIT

2017: Word of the Year – COMMIT

Recently I joined a Facebook group: Blogging 101, and the admin, Nicole Floss of UniquelyWomen.net, asked “Today is the last day of 2016! Have you chosen a word for 2017? Mine was: COMMIT

30DayChallengeAccepted

I didn’t start this project to make money, but obviously I would love for it to be successful. But what is my measurement for success? I’m not really sure. At first it was simply to do it. To blog. Literally, the idea (to blog about doing 30Day Challenges) came one night at the end of Aug2016 when I couldn’t go to sleep and the next day I pulled the trigger, because if I didn’t, then I never would. I had no idea what I was doing and I still don’t.

I’ve made goals for each of the 30Day Challenges I chose, and today I realize that I never made goals for this blog.  With the new year, I feel it’s the perfect time. If I’m going to commit my time, energy and heart into 30DayChallengeAccepted, I need milestones to work towards.

So here are 3 measureable goals.

  • Blog site – more consistent views per week and per month.  Since I don’t post daily, I’ll have to figure out the story behind my statistics, but it goes without saying that driving traffic requires me to posts regularly and market through networking.
  • Facebook – Have 200 followers by the end of the year.  Currently I’m at 34
  • Instagram – Have 200 followers by the end of the year.  Currently I’m at 28.

30DayChallengeAccepted Goals

 

 

BLOGGING 30/30: I Actually Did It!

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 30 of 30

I Actually Did It!

My first published post was on 08/09/16.  It took me 33 days to complete this challenge, and I’m not mad at that.  I still can’t believe I actually did it! When I say “it” I mean both 1) a 30 day challenge and 2) blogging.

30 Day Challenge Accepted 30

I’ve tried, but I’ve never completed a 30 day challenge on anything.  Now I can say that I have!  And I created a blog with no knowledge of how.  Here I am… 30 posts under my belt! I couldn’t have done it without the guidance of Sark eMedia’s program.

Here are 5 reasons I think this worked for me:

1. Daily Emails

Blogging sounds like it would be easy, but there’s an art to it if you actually want to see success. The daily emails by Sarah Arrow helped me navigate the world of blogging. The resources she provides were relevant, easy to follow and executable. Before I started, I was already behind – because I was blogging blindly.  There were a few days I skipped.  But each morning an email popped in my inbox, reminding me of why I decided to start this particular challenge.

2. Goals

On Day4 I laid out my personal goals with this challenge.  Goal One was to make and maintain my own space, on the web and in my life, giving myself a creative outlet and stimulating my brain in a way I felt I was missing. I’ve done it by dedicating time each day to enjoy the process of writing.  Goal Two was to be able to put it on my resume.  Blogging is a key element to inbound marketing and building businesses in today’s world. Through this practice, I better understand Wordpress, SEO writing and optimization.

3. Community Support

I have my personal motivators, but was extremely shy about making my blog public.  Sarah Arrow provides a safe space through her Facebook Group page where 30 Day Blogging Challengers share their daily post, and get feedback from one another.  I was so scared that I didn’t join until day7 with my post “Confession: I’m a Closet Blogger“, but since then I’ve shared all my posts.  I’m still taking baby steps out of the closet to the outside world, but have been less reluctant because of the constructive input. There are some amazingly supportive bloggers out there and I’m proud to be part of this community.

4. I enjoy writing

I guess I always have, but I didn’t realize how much.  So I’ve rediscovered my joy of writing.  I’m not the type that likes to hear myself talk, but when I start to type, it flows out of me.  I even created an extra category and posted a bonus blog.  To be able to put structure to my thoughts has been meditative and trying to make my words resonate to a audience besides myself makes me feel productive.

5. Not a business (yet)

My intent going into this was not to make money.  I know blogs have the ability to be monetized, and lucratively.  My objective on the onset has been to create valuable content.  But with Sark eMedia’s lessons, I have the tools available once the opportunity to make this something more presents itself and then I can work even harder to become the boss in my blogging niche.

So, this is the end of my first 30 Day Challenge.  The Blogging Challenge was the perfect challenge to start this side project. I learned so much about myself, which was my purpose for doing challenges.

If you’ve followed me through this journey so far, THANK YOU (you know who you are!). There’s more to come as I continue onto the next one.  So join me for my the next 30 Day Challenge.

 

CHALLENGE: BLOGGING – ✔️ COMPLETED

 

 

BLOGGING 23/30: The Hump

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 23 of 30

The Hump

It took me almost three days to write my post for Day22 (“Who’s The Boss?”).  I didn’t really know what I was writing about, so my confidence with my content wasn’t there.  It took me a while to “research” the topic, which just caused me to get lost in the (inter)net. And I’m mid-marathon of Narcos on Netflix, which is taking up my evenings (especially because the subtitles don’t allow for multi-tasking).  Then funnily enough, today’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge task was overcoming “blogger’s block”.  Sark eMedia can read my mind!

30 Day Challenge Accepted 23

Today’s daily Challenge email is exactly what I needed.  Even before when I was doing 30 day challenges without logging my progress, I know the intervals between Days started get to longer and longer around 20.  I never got to 30.   I don’t think I even made it to 25, ever.  I could never get over the hump. Why do I stop?

Stopped seeing progress – specifically with this blog, it’s a catch22 for me. I’m too shy to share, so I don’t have a following.  I don’t have a following, so I don’t see response to my blog creation.

No motivation or get bored – yesterday I felt like i was over my head. My hobby got too hard. Luckily yesterday’s post included motivational blogs, so within itself I was revived.

Lose sight of the finish line – I forget there’s a reward at the end of 30 Days.  Today I went back and read Day4 where I wrote out my goals of doing this blog.

So, today is my hump day. But today is over.

“When you feel like quitting. Think about why you started”

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 22/30: Who The Boss?

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 22 of 30

Who’s The Boss? 

Day21 I wrote about figuring about who my reader is.  Today, Day22, my homework for the 30 Day Blogging Challenge is to figure out who the leaders are in the blogging space I define as my niche.

30 Day Challenge Accepted 22

Step1 – what is my niche?

From my point of view, I can be narrow or broad. Based on my intent, I can narrowly define my blog as – personal life experiences, specifically doing 30 day challenges.  Based on yesterday’s post, I could be more general and define my space as self-help/motivational.

 

Step2 – who is the leader in my niche?

Unfortunately I can’t rely on my own knowledge since I don’t follow blogs. So I’m going to go to my friend Google.

If I narrow my blog niche category to – 30 day challenge experiential bloggers – I’ve only found a handful and it required digging deep into the SERP pages. When reading through their blogs most didn’t last long and stopped posting years ago. There are, however, endless posts on bloggers’ one-time experiences with a challenge, usually targeted to whatever their blog focuses on, usually fitness.   From what I can see, there’s no main influencer in this space.  Maybe I can be that person. Maybe I can be the #boss.

When I widen the niche net to the broad category to – motivational blogs – the results were a lot more interesting.  Although I was overwhelmed by the lists from the search results, I was inspired by what I came across in the first few minutes.  I’ve actually been seeing over the past 21 days as I learn to blog.

1 TED.com – motivational short videos spreading ideas from though leaders all over the world. If you want to go down a rabbit hole, but not necessary waste your time… take a visit (after you finish reading this post).  And start with this short ~3-minute video with almost 8million views where Matt Cutts speaks about trying something you want to add to your life for 30 days.

2 Gary Vaynerchuk – If you haven’t seen this guy, you need to. Every single “influencer” I do follow has referenced him as a motivator.  He’s the leader in the digital marketing/social media marketing space.  Although his medium is more video, I find his business blog is a wealth of information for a new blogger like myself.  Check it out.

3. MarcAndAngel.com – I discovered this site around 5years ago when I came across a link to their post “30 Lessons to Excel in Life in Your 30s and Beyond”.  It was happy to see them listed in the 2016 Top 100 Personal Development Blogs by StartOfHappiness.com I love the timeless manner of their content.

 

While I don’t have a direct blog influencer in the 30 Day Challenge Experience space, there are some major players I can look up to in the motivational blog category.  The reason for this homework is to follow the influencer’s footprint and figure out what content resonates with their audience… and therefore your audience.  I still have a lot more work to do. But maybe one day I can end up on a “Top” list.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 18/30: I Break Promises

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 18 of 30

I Break Promises

Today’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge tasks is about making a promise, which as a parent I do all the time and break!

30 Day Challenge Accepted 18

I promise my kids that they’ll get something, that I’ll do something, that we’ll go somewhere… just to get them to cooperate with whatever I need them to do for me at that moment. And if I don’t follow through, they will call me out on it. In my mind it’s not a promise, it’s a compromise and not that serious. But there is it… right in the word: comPROMISE.

They might be kids, but they’re teaching ME things about life, constantly.  What lesson am I teaching them by not doing what I say?! I preach to them about consistency, and about keeping your word, and not lying. Yet, here I am on what I feel is a minuscule scale, not delivering on my end. But regardless of the degree of promise, there are consequences.  What happens when I don’t follow through? Distrust. Loss of credibility. Uncooperativeness. Reciprocal disappointing behavior.

Now, I’m being a bit dramatic in order to prove a point.  Truth is, more often than not, I do what I say I will and my kids know this. But when I forget, I never forget how it feels that I let them down.

As a blogger, there’s a fundamental promise we give our readers… that we will provide informative, entertaining, quality content, consistently.  My promise is to happily compromise my time for yours. I’ve stopped following bloggers because their content didn’t evolve.  Or because their personality became too sponsored. Or simply because they stopped posting.  I would hate to be THAT blogger, because I would never forget how it would feel to fail at yet another 30 Day Challenge.  So, see you for Day#19!

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 15/30: Challenges of This Challenge

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 15 of 30

Challenges of This Challenge

I’m half way through the 30 Day Blogging Challenge!

I think this a good time to pause and evaluate my experience so far and pinpoint my hurdles so I can focus on overcoming them during the second half. I’m not going to rewrite my biggest challenge, you can read it here.  I’m going to focus more on the logistics.

30 Day Challenge Accepted 15

  1. Photos – not ready to pay for “free” images
    • I’ve tried so hard to find a photo that captures my message for each post.  Yesterday, I failed.  My go-to, pexels.com, didn’t have the image I wanted and the other sites required subscription, which I’m not ready to commit to.  Being in advertising I knew about licenses and the requirements for that industry, but it’s still an area I need to understand better. I’m glad that one of Sark eMedia reference emails regarding this topic.
  2. Commenting – be a better neighbor
    • I wrote about this in a previous blog, and I’ve tried to comment on at least one new blog a day since. This forces me to check out other bloggers’ site and to find ones with intriging content and style that I can get inspired by too. But I still find myself hesitating. This includes being a better participant on the 30 Day Blogging Facebook Group Page.
  3. Post topics – I’m blogging about blogging
    • I have a editorial calendar as my planning and writing process, and I’m constantly editing it in an effort to have the posts flow day-to-day.  But blogging about trying to blog doesn’t change much in my 24hours.  I’ve done a good job making the time to write each night, but I haven’t made the time to learn new things, ie. WordPress, Facebook, SEO writing that will improve the credibility of this blog I’m trying to establish. Then I can start writing about what I’m doing versus what I’ve been scared of doing.

I’ve personally felt like I’ve stumbled over a few hurdles already and at times was ready to stop.  But like Haiti in the 110m semifinals at the recent Olympics (who completely faltered on the first hurdle! video here), I’m going to finish! I’m going to keep taking on my personal blogging hurdles and make myself proud.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 14/30: Funny How Things Work Out

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 14 of 30

Funny How Things Work Out

I’ve mentioned this guy before – my husband. I wrote about how he’s my support team – both my emotional support and technical support. The funny thing is most of the time he isn’t doing anything.  But I’m not saying this in the tone of a bitter wife. I’m actually commending him, that he doesn’t go out of his way to be my cheerleader about blogging or to make sure things look perfect on this website.  He just lets me be.

What made me think to include him in this post today was watching him on this new toy his bought – a motorized skateboard. While most people might joke that this is mid-life crisis purchase, it’s absolutely the opposite. He’s such a kid at heart and doesn’t care what people think; and trust me – this thing looks ridiculous. He enjoys life, says what he feels, and does what he wants.  It doesn’t always work out initially, but it doesn’t matter, because it works out eventually.

“Opposites attract” is live and strong in our relationship. I think I was born with an old soul; I’ve been serious since I was a kid. My skin has thickened over the years, but I care what people think. I care how I come across (except in the morning when I’m dropping off my kids at school). I definitely take into consideration other people’s feelings and opinions. I try to be careful and thoughtful with my words.  I’m a planner by nature and need to go by a calendar. It doesn’t always work out initially, but it doesn’t matter, because it works out eventually.

Even though he doesn’t ask me how blogging is going and doesn’t check to see how he could help with improving the site, I don’t mind. I think it’s because we both know – it’ll work out eventually.

30 Day Challenge Accepted Blogging

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 11/30: My Motivation: A Tutu-Wearing Rock Climber

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 11 of 30

My Motivation: A Tutu-Wearing Rock Climber

Sure, there are things my daughter is scared of, or pretends to be scared of, like any typical kid –  lighting storms, dark rooms, strangers, and new food.  But otherwise, she’s the bravest little person I know.

30 Day Challenge Accepted 11

Today while at the playground watching her swing across the monkey bars (then up the rock wall, then through a rope wall) with such ease, I remembered an Instagram post from a few weeks back.  It was a photo of her in a tutu, rock climbing… my caption: “When I need inspiration or motivation, I just need to look at my tutu-wearing rock-climbing daughter.” She is the reason I want to better myself and look for ways to explore ways to improve, like doing 30 Day Challenges.

As a toddler, climbing furniture and jumping from anything with height, there was little that would stop her.  She didn’t think anything would hurt her.  Even now, when we challenge her brain or braun, she goes in with unrestraint and majestic confidence. If she does get hurt, after the tears dry up, she shows off her new booboo to whoever will listen – proud of how she got it.

Inevitably as she goes through her childhood and the teen years this will slowly be replaced with insecurities, peer pressure, and the expectancy to conform. It makes me wish I could bottle this fearlessness up and make her drink it later in life when she has moments of self-doubt.  Heck, I want a sip of it now.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 10/30: Comment Sense Etiquette

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 10 of 30

Comment Sense Etiquette

I wrote about how I’m ok with public speaking, but have been taking baby steps to share my blog.  Since I’ve starting sharing my posts with the 30 Day Blogging Challenge Facebook group page and to my closest friends, I’ve been getting amazingly encouraging comments. I’m beyond touched and its fueled me to proceed with this project.  I make sure to thank each person who takes the time to leave such generous words.  But realized suddenly that I’ve completely lacked on doing the same for fellow bloggers!  It’s like I’m back in school and I’m too shy to raise my hand in class.

When you sign up to be part Sark eMedia’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge, in the introductory email one of the housekeeping rules was clearly to be prepared to comment.  The purpose is obvious – feedback and networking. Comments end up becoming an extension of your blog.  Blogging is a community. I need to be a better neighbor.

Moving forward, instead of feeling like I’m too shy to raise my hand in class because I’m scared I’m going to make a stupid remark… I’ll think of it as – I’m raising a glass to to make a toast.

sea-beach-holiday-vacation

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

BLOGGING 9/30: How Public Speaking is Helping Me Blog

BLOGGING Challenge: Day 9 of 30

How Public Speaking is Helping Me Blog 

Right now, my fear is public blogging.  Meanwhile, one of people’s biggest fears is public speaking.  It’s defined as “to give a speech to an audience in a structured manner in order to inform, influence, or entertain.”  Pretty similar, no?

One of the most useful courses I completed as an undergrad was Public Speaking.  I took so much away from it, professionally and personally.  You would think that since I’m somewhat comfortable with public speaking, I wouldn’t have an issue with blogging.

30 Day Blogging Challenge 09

As I build my blog and this brand, I’m reminding myself to focus on that confidence I actually have and apply the takeaways from that class toward completing the 30 Day Blogging Challenge.

They’re There for a Reason

If someone goes to hear you speak, or goes to read your blog, something brought them there.  They chose to give you their time. They ARE interested.

No One Wants to See You Fail

Remember that your audience sees part of themselves in you and wants you to perform your best.  Think about when you watch someone giving a speech.  When you see them stumble, you cringe for them. You don’t laugh at them (hopefully!). You send them vibes of encouragement.  When they are amazing, you give a standing ovation.  Remember that your audience is doing the same.

Don’t Lose Your Personality

Don’t let nerves or the need to be “perfect” take away from being relatable. Emotional connection is a basic human desire. When you share genuine feelings in a genuine way, you get back what you give.

Prepare. Practice. Practice. Practice. Present.

If someone is going to give you their time and attention, then you should be doing the same. Take the time to arrange your words, to communicate your message thoughtfully to your audience. If content is king, then context is queen. In business I say, “it’s not about how you want to sell it, it’s about how your consumer wants to buy it.” And finally, when you present… be present.  Don’t just ‘get it over with’.  Follow through and deliver.

I think the best way to end this 30 Day Blogging Challenge post is with a quote on confidence: “The road to confidence is paved by daily accomplishments.” Good luck!

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Blogging Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE