May 3, 2013 § 6 Comments
As my bio states, “I’m wild about words.”
So when one of my yoga teachers shared this video explaining the common mispronunciation of the word yogini (the “super common way” to reference a practitioner of yoga, which I consider myself to be) I watched and listened with that ooey gooey feeling only word nerds get from lessons on language.
I won’t try to recap, because Ina does such a good job explaining the Sanskrit definitions and meanings, specifically the foundation of the words yoga and yogini (you must wear your thinking cap or forget it).
But the highlight of the video is the shocking realization that the word yogini is in fact not pronounced like linguine or ballerini, but actually sounds more like guinea.
Like, as in guinea pig.
This might be the one word rule where I choose rebellion over rightness.
I’d much rather be a yogini linguine ballerini over a yoguinea pig.
April 24, 2013 § 9 Comments
In college (twenty years ago) I took a course called “Better Business Practices,” where having a plan was lesson number one.
At the time of this course, however, I had my eyes on New York (a different plan) and didn’t pay enough attention to the good advice of Mr. Knowledgable Teacher.
These days, floating in between two worlds; the married stay-at-home-mom world and the your-own-your-own-babe world; I realized I’d better get serious about what it is I’m choosing to do with my time.
Unfortunately, my forty-one years of life on this planet has ingrained some behaviors that have been somewhat tough to kick.
Stubborness a.k.a. I’ll do it my way, mixed with seat of my pantsness?
Life on your own babe means that usual procrastination is over. Better organization is the key to the future, and time management is a must (get control, girl).
Based on loads of research and a year and a half of willy nilly blogging, here’s what I’ve learned, some of which has already been accomplished.
1. Get a LLC.
LLC stands for limited liability company. Sounds complicated, but isn’t.
Like a corporation, a LLC is “its own entity” and therefore protects its owner’s personal property should the LLC ever have debts it can’t pay, or get into legal trouble for which its held responsible.
Once you choose your LLC’s name and pay the fee, you receive a tax identification number, open a bank account, and do business all under the company’s new identity (this protects your personal privacy, too).
After lots of google searching and conversations with blogging buddies (who’d already created their LLC’s), I chose to go the Legal Zoom route, which was so easy I was able to do it over the telephone in the back corner of my bustling Starbucks. I settled on Wills Media Group, of which I am the CEO.
In one month I received a complete kit inside a box, with my LLC etched in gold letters along the spine.
For now, its been tucked away as I line up the rest of the necessities to get this business ball rolling.
2. Complete your press kit.
My press kit’s been done for months, but I’ve been sitting on it, afraid to send it out.
The truth is that my numbers didn’t look that great; my bounce statistics need some attention, and I’ve got to find a way to recruit returning users (looks like I need to do a newsletter, but ugh to newsletters).
I’ve recently gotten over myself enough to send out a few, but so far no bites.
After another round of discussions with my blogging buddies, it turned out that I didn’t have my stats correct. Foolishly, I’d only included my page hits since moving to self-hosting.
Since I’d only had google analytics since January, I neglected to mention that I’d actually had over 40,000 page views. My messed up stats told a different story; one of a baby blogger with hardly any readers.
Press kit cleaned up, I’m again sending them out like resumes. My old school opinion about job procurement is that if you send out a few a day, someone will become interested. Let’s hope this holds true in today’s struggling economy.
3. Figure out what you’re selling.
When I started to blog, creating a business was nowhere on the radar. I wrote as I ran, documenting the story of pudgy girl who liked to run, and always wanted to race that magical mileage, 26.2.
This re-awakened my love for writing.
Which then re-awakened my love for learning.
One of the biggest hurdles for me has been to get my brain around what it is that I’m trying to do.
- I want to write a book, must make the time.
- I must continue to blog, not only because I love it, but because of the contacts and friends I’ve made. It also keeps my name relevant; any business owner today needs a blog/website.
- I want to use my skills in writing, editing and marketing to help people with their businesses (have you entered the Little Bits Giveaway yet? Do it for a friend if you don’t have a baby!) .
- I want to rule the world.
D is a little joke, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I wanted my expertise to be noticed and utilized.
4. Get a schedule.
If you asked my mother, much to her chagrin, she’d say I’m on the computer all day.
Yes mother, I know.
Social media is a time suck, because the information coming through the web is lightning fast. The ginormous amounts of literature on any subject becomes a force field that learners have trouble separating themselves from.
Most of the folks you’ll meet in social media are life-long learners. We learn from each other’s mistakes and triumphs, each other’s techniques and experiences.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, heard often, is that an editorial calendar is key.
With my LLC waiting patiently on a shelf, nothing else can move forward until my calendar has been planned.
Google Documents has loads of free editorial calendar templates that I’m presently sifting through. The trouble is finding one that works for my business, which encompasses many areas from book writing to marketing to editing to straight blogging, and the always important attention to social sites.
Looking back over number 3 (above) is imperative to your plan. Here’s what I’m working with …
- Schedule blog posts, 2-3 per week.
- Schedule time for book planning.
- Decide what times and for how long will I give to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr.
- Figure out when I’ll collaborate. Write Christine’s guest post? Meet with Lauren (LouLouBean) about giveaway number 2? And so on.
- Do research.
- Read and respond to other blogs.
- Answer job listings via Craig’s List (or other job offering sites). You’d be surprised the connections I’ve made with up and coming companies looking for writers and marketing assistance in my area.
- Analyze blog settings, widgets, etc. Periodic clean-up is necessary to keep a blog looking fresh.
5. Get paid for my work.
At this point, the payments are trickling in. Just this week I printed out and sent my very first invoice for two hours of content and copy editing, done for a business owner who reads my blog.
To say it was fun is an understatement. Getting paid for my work; empowering.
Other ways that bloggers (and I) get paid is through joint marketing and blog advertising.
Last month I worked with BlogHer Publishing Network to help promote the re-release of Disney’s Moulan, and there are more opportunities coming down the pike.
I signed up, and within days was given approval for some of my favorite brands’ ads now linked to my site. When a visitor clicks on an ad, they’re taken to the website, and if a purchase is made, I can make a small commission. There’s not huge money in this unless your blog is receiving a ton of traffic, but it is something and important part of blogging as a business.
6. Accept that I need a real job.
This one was tough. When you like what you do, it’s all you want to do. But starting a business not only takes time and hard work, it takes cold hard cash.
Looking at my skill set I’ve chosen to focus on areas that will bring satisfaction, but also allow me some time to continue to work on my first love and passion; my biz.
What’s your plan? Have you taken any of the steps above? Please share!
April 16, 2013 § 8 Comments
All I’d like to do is sit and write a post about the many things I learned this weekend in what turned out to be a love-filled three days of quality time spent with family.
But as I imagined might happen, life sucked me back into its flow and the must do now list has left blog posts for last.
With the ten minutes I have to myself, I’m watching the clock for pre-school release, waiting in my air-conditioned car, for the first time writing to you via mobile means.
When I have more time (and a much smaller list of necessary to do’s), I’ll post in a more familiar manner.
For now I leave you with the thought that’s confronted me yet again; this time coming from the most unexpected place.
Often, the greatness in things is overpowered by the hatred/jealousy/sickness in others.
Living in light is the test, then, to ensure you don’t let it/them/fear win.
I think I did okay.
March 10, 2013 § 11 Comments
If you saw the list of unpublished blog posts that have stacked higher over the past few weeks, you’d know something was going on. Having sent a few of those unpublished pieces to friends who “could handle the truth,” and whom I knew would then shine the mirror back for me to see, openly shared that I might want to sit on them for a while. Things like this should never be published in the spur of the moment.
It became ever more obvious to me that what I’ve been writing aren’t blog posts at all, but journal entires; a different kind of writing for a totally different purpose.
My history with journal writing is intermittent, because I can’t stand the process. I’ve had only two periods of intense journal filling in my entire life. Both times I hand-wrote hundreds and hundreds of angst filled pages, until the day I didn’t have anything more to say, and the books were shut and hidden in closets (under beds, in storage, always exactly where I can get to them if I need to).
The thing about journal words is that they hold value while they’re being written, and maybe even a few days later. But they’re also like clouds that float on by, and once they’ve disappeared, are wisps of the past. They aren’t lies, necessarily, but perceptions of reality that sometimes hold less weight once they’ve been released.
Authentic journal writing is stream of consciousness. Other people’s feeling don’t matter. It’s a purely selfish and healing process.
For the sake of truth in writing, and because of a conversation I had yesterday with the wise and beautiful Monica, I am going to post a segment of a piece that I wrote a few weeks ago entitled, What it Feels Like to be Adopted, which I carried around for days until I found myself in tears over it late one night in a dark corner of Starbucks.
When everything gets stripped away and you find yourself in a place of confusion, fear and worry, how can you begin to heal in the tornado of that storm?
It’s not possible until the storm has passed.
Instead, you must care for yourself gently and without too many expectations, difficult for a person like me, absolutely full up of “self-pectations”.
If you can, you should write. Don’t add to the worry and fear and confusion about what it means, but accept it as a tool to lift you out of the pain.
Do you write in a journal?
You don’t look like anybody, so you never really belong anywhere.
Since you don’t look like anyone, you feel like the ultimate black sheep, but you’re born blond and pretty so you don’t look it on the outside, so you just stay kind of quiet, except when you throw temper tantrums because the crazy has to come out somehow.
You are very careful and loving, because you know that you are lucky to be there, and you’re pretty sure something’s crooked on the inside. But you’re a child, so your mind just goes through the motions. Days and nights.
You are loved and you know it. You are living in the 1%. Life is perfect.
But it is your life after all, and maybe the apple isn’t meant to fall so far from the tree, and I did fall from her, and “perfect” she was not, and so ended that fairytale. In its place something got fragmented, which seemed to fit better anyway.
I got used to it anyway.
My sister’s answers filled in the holes that I didn’t realize needed filling.
And suddenly it made sense.
Some people say that adopted people are the lucky ones because they were chosen, but you are smarter than that and they must think you’re really stupid, because the truth is that you were given away by a selfish mother who didn’t want you. She was more worried about her after-life and what God would have to say about the sins of abortion.
Who knows why the first two weren’t given away? They should have been. Boy, should they ever have.
When she woke up and realized that God was a good guise for forgiveness and redemption, she read his words and sang his praises and Lord did the people come to flock.
But her daughters were damaged and she never made amends and I’m the one left who holds the anger that no one else has the strength to carry.
I’m good at holding anger. I’ll harness it for all of the others who’ve dismissed it because they can’t understand it, for the one who is too far gone to understand it, for the one who is too loving to understand it.
I’ve been told it’s not mine to hold, but it is.
It belongs to me and I hold it in the same place I hold my loving God and all of the prophets that serve Him in their way. All those loving prophets help me hold the anger and lift it to the heavens and carry it around and sometimes release it and sometimes use it as a shield.
I might have been saved from it for all of those years; frolicking on sandy beaches, summer trips to Europe, pricey private girl’s schools and fancy houses. I didn’t have to wash my clothes in the bathroom sink for school the next day. And worse. Much worse.
What it feels like to be adopted was a bad title for this post.
It should have been titled, What it Feels Like to Learn the Truth.
February 15, 2013 § 4 Comments
My modern-day funk-filled soul kept my body in the seat of the car yesterday after pulling into the driveway, pulsating to Florence Welch’s collaboration with Calvin Harris. My girls were strapped into their car seats having ingested a pound of sugar hearts, while reading Valentine cards with their friend’s names spelled out in different sized letters.
This morning, my funk-filled nose is keeping me from tomorrow morning’s yoga practice. A bummer, certainly, but I will not infect sweet Katie or the baby girl cooking in her belly with this annoying nose funk. It would not be fair or right, and totally against my deepest belief in doing what’s fair and right.
As far as being in a funk about that, I am not.
My mood is fine, and my spirit is actually on high this morning.
The sun is shining. It’s my mother’s birthday. My girl’s are excited about getting to choose four of those big Whole Foods cupcake’s (a grandmother birthday tradition).
I’m trying to keep the ball rolling from yesterday’s Love post. It’s very hard when you live with your separated spouse (God give me strength and please light a fire under the editors at Huff post … they really need to publish that article already).
I’ve got to keep my eye on the good, the light, the things that are fair and right.
How’s your funk?
Warning: This video is an artistic interpretation of the song. If you are old-spirited or closed-minded you might find the visuals too violent or irrelevant to the song. It’s called art!
January 28, 2013 § 4 Comments
With all of the crazy weather keeping me home on the nights that I’m supposed to leave so that Daddy can have Daughter Duty, I’ve been missing my Sunday night programming, usually watched under the heated blanket over in mom’s cozy, warm bed.
The new episodes of my favorites cable shows have begun. But with children in close proximity, my viewing pleasure has been only been possible in ten minute increments (thank you DVR) when my little ladies are out of earshot.
And then yesterday, like a gift from the Barbie Gods, the girls were playing in another room long enough for me to catch back to back episodes of House of Lies.
Don Cheadle is still king.
Kristen Bell packs a powerful emotional punch with her sweet face and whip-sharp delivery.
The writing might be the smartest on television; keeps me on my toes.
All signs point to a stellar second season (Jeannie on the turntable locking eyes with Marty!) and then …
When the twenty-second clip for next week’s episode aired, I sad-sighed over the incorrect use of my biggest grammar pet peeve; the overly mis-used, yet easily corrected with a second of forethought, me versus I dilemma.
Wrong! “There’s nothing going on between Marty and I!”
Right! There’s nothing going on between Marty and me!”
One day the world will get it right, and I won’t feel badly (about feeling badly) that it’s my duty to highlight the error.
Do you have a grammar pet peeve? Why is this one so hard for the world to learn?
January 17, 2013 § 4 Comments
I’ve been listening to the debut novel Girlchild, written and narrated by Tupelo Hassman.
It’s the saddest, yet most intriguing story I think I’ve ever read. It’s sad, because of (Girchild) Rory D’s early suffering, the result of her place on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder. It’s intriguing because Tupelo’s words and voice are so true I’m having trouble accepting that the author and the young heroine aren’t one and the same.
Ms. Hassman is that good of an author.
Last week I saw a doctor with lots of framed diploma’s hanging on her walls (eight golden-framed diplomas) who spent an hour and a half talking with me …all about me.
“Why was I there? How is my sleep? Tell me about your upbringing?” etc.
They were all the usual questions a doctor asks a patient sitting uncomfortably at the end of a very soft leather couch and I answered each inquiry to the best of my ability, glossing over stuff that’s so old it doesn’t seem relevant anymore.
Often I was surprised by doctor lady’s physical reaction to my half-hearted attempts to sound completely fine with things that may not be.
“Oh dear,” said the sad eyes peeking over the laptop screen. ”Not fair,” said the furrowed, but soft and caring brow.
When she spoke the words, “that’s trauma,” words to match the eyes and the brow, I was surprised.
Trauma? If you say so.
In one of the last chapters I listened to today, Girldchild was discussing the directions you follow to draw a bird, any bird. You begin with an egg shape, because all birds come from eggs and so they fit in that shape.
The chapter went on to discuss how if a bird begins in an egg, and lives its life still shaped like an egg, then maybe all of us are like birds, permanently shaped from the places from whence we came.
But she reminded the reader that inside eggs are also wings that give the bird the ability to fly. They fly away, but can’t ever fly far enough to lose their egg-like shape; the shape that made them to begin with.
“You bet your sweet ass,” would have been R.D.’s response had someone else spoken those very same words; had they come to the very same conclusion.
She might have been poor and abused, but those truths didn’t negate that Tupelo’s Girlchild kept putting one foot in front of the other, was blessed with a reader’s mind, and was right about more than most people whose lives began glossy and never stray from the pretty.
Even if she never escapes the trailer park, I think this is the equation for a life well-lived. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, only where your going (even if it’s only in your mind).
I hope I’m not wrong.
My sweet ass is betting I’m not wrong.
Have you read Girlchild?