Being Silent….

I read an interesting blog today, about how being a silent reader constrains the ability to gain traction in the blogosphere. It got me thinking, why am I so silent on here? I post frequent enough, I read enough and always give likes to posts that I enjoy, but very very very rarely do I ever stop and take the time to leave a comment, and thus have put myself into the category of silent reader, but as the writer of this other post asserts, did I unintentionally constrain myself by not becoming talkative on other blogs?

The answer to this is simply, yes, I did. Just maybe not for the same reasons that are pointed out by this other blogger. Working as a social media specialist for several companies (yay freelance work!) I write anywhere from 7-10 blogs a day for companies while at the same time responding to messages and comments and likes on those blogs. At the end of the day, I get to my own blog and find myself not only slightly unmotivated to write, but also completely overwhelmed by the amount of engagement I dealt with throughout the day and instead of engaging my readers as well as my fellow readers of blogs I follow, I casually scroll through reading posts that, though I find interesting, I am out of energy and commitment to blogging to write comments.

This of course does very unintentionally put huge constrains on myself as a blogger (at least, for my personal blog, my clients are set for life on engagement). The blogger of this post also pointed out that he (along with countless others) were very late to the blogging party and have thus found themselves in a sort of limbo, or in his terms, the cool kid tables and the not so cool kid tables have already been established. Where do you and I fit into this then? The people who enjoy reading blogs but decide writing comments is just not for them or do not have the time, or maybe you just don’t have anything to say really on the subject even though you did enjoy the post.

Limbo, that is where it puts us until we unequivocally make a change in our mindset to not allow ourselves to be labeled. I do not see myself as in limbo as to what table I will sit at, I see myself sitting down and starting my own table, of those who just recreationally enjoy writing blogs, reading blogs but not having to pressure ourselves into engaging other bloggers if we do not feel the need to. Of course, this does put us at a huge disadvantage when it comes to gaining followers and likes, because what better what to get noticed then to post comments to attract that blogger to you, and anyone else who reads and enjoys the comments may come along as well.

Do I need to break the mold to be a great blogger? No, not really. Does what I write need to be the most originaly in the world? Not at all. Do I need to comment on every single blog I read to start more of a follow? Possibly. Maybe not every blog I read, but I think it is time that I get up the energy to not only engage readers on my clients blogs, but on my blog as well. To do this, I’ve decided to not put off my own blogging until the end of the day anymore, from now on, my blog will be the first thing I do every morning. Whether this means writing a new post and engaging in comments on the blogs I follow or just the later of the two, I do plan to engage a little more for my own personal blog.

This does not mean that I will be commenting on every blog I read. That is WAY too many comments even for someone who blogs for companies professionally and responds to every comment (even if it is just a generic Thank you for commenting). It does mean that a few comments on blogs that I find really interesting is needed though. No one should feel forced to comment, no one should ever feel forced to do anything really, but if you like the post, leave a quick comment not just a generic like. If you enjoy the post give that person a follow also, I know I always follow back when I gain a new follower and I usually find that their blog extremely enjoyable for me.

Well, time to switch into professional blogger mode, hope you all read this and take the steps needed to stop being the silent reader and make your own voice heard and seen a bit more.

 

~SKG

Follow this link to check out the original post by The opinionated man

Advertisements

It’s been a while….

That is just not referring to my little hiatus from blog writing. It is referring to a lot of aspects of my life. My writings, my career, my friends. It has all slipped through the cracks over the last month or two. Today was the first day that I had the time and energy to dedicate a full work day (roughly 8-10hrs) to my still budding web design and social media marketing business. A friend of mine needed a new website built for his carpet cleaning and commercial office cleaning business, and though I have been slowly putting it together over the last two weeks, I have just not had time or energy to fully devote time to it. While working today I took a fifteen minute break to contemplate what happened over the last two months and why I let it happen. 

My writings. By writings I mean everything from the continued editing of my fiction novel, my blog and the ongoing process of attempting to get a book deal for the novel. What happened? I actually quite my nanny job so I had more time to focus (well, okay I quit because the parents were bat shit crazy) and I have found that since quitting I have done less work than I did when I had 12 hours of my life taken away from me each day by my nanny job and then probably another 3 or 4 by my web business. No progress has been made, no query letters have been sent, no editing has been done. Where did my grand goal of trying to get some kind of a book deal within the next year go? What happened to me?

My budding career is hit and miss lately. I have been on a roll having project after project, but nothing really too steady. Mostly it is websites, which I LOVE doing because it is fun, it is different every time and well, let’s be honest it makes me the most money. Nothing too steady though that I can depend on day after day, month to month though. The only person I have to blame for this is myself. I have slacked so bad on marketing my marketing abilities. Redundant huh? Part of that is my blog. As much as I am sure you all love reading all the thoughts that are in my head, the blog is part of marketing my abilities as a writer for freelance writing jobs. I tell every client that they should be posting minimum 1 post every 10 days or so and I can not even get myself to post that often.

My friends are a whole different can of worms. Unlike the other two things I have let slide, I am fully aware of the almost sole reason I have kind of pushed them all to the side. I canceled my wedding. Nobody freak out, I am still engaged and super happy with my fiancé and can’t wait to be a Mrs.! but, things (that will be detailed in a moment) happened and my family could no longer afford the insane cost of a wedding. My four best friends and I had gone dress shopping (yes, I had my princess moment and cried when I put on the dress), they had looked for brides maids dresses, I had found a venue, my friend who is a DJ had agreed to do my wedding for just travel expenses. It was all planned and then BOOM! reality check. Life just is not nice when it comes to this type of thing is it?

So, I guess it’s time for the explanation of my life crumbling out from under me for months. It started the first week of May. I lost my grandmother, the only grandparent I ever had. She fought for as long as she could, but with already life threatening health problems, her diagnosis of rare and aggressive lung cancer and 8 weeks to live was still hard to handle. I will never forget the phone call. It was a Sunday, my fiancé and I were having a lazy day and my dog Hades was acting odd. He was extra snuggly and would not leave my side, Hades is normally a very lackadaisical dog. He will occasionally get up and remind you to scratch behind his ears, but on this day, he was in my lap refusing to let me out of his sight all day. The call came early afternoon. My phone rang and I went into my bedroom, as my phone was on the charger, and saw it was my mother. My heart immediately skipped a beat as I answered. I heard it in her voice as I heard her say “Sara…” She really did not need to keep talking. I collapsed right there. I had rug burn where my knees hit the floor. The first thing I felt was Hades nudging me to make sure I knew he was right there for me. After a few moments, and saying goodbye to my mother, I pushed myself up to face my fiancé. His mother passed away a few years ago from the same thing and he knew the look on my face and immediately jumped up to hug me. This was the beginning of two weeks of on and off grief and the end of my wedding plans. As I let my life spiral momentarily out of control in the wake of my grief, my mother and my aunt dealt with the cold truth that is burying your loved one. The only thing that is even more insanely expensive for no reason than a wedding is a funeral and burial. Except that now we were being screwed by an insurance company in the process. Over $15,000 later, we are fighting an insurance company that only wants to give us $200 for it all. Losing my wedding would not usually cause me so much grief, but the last thing my grandmother said to me, the last time I saw her (a week before she passed) was to keep planning my beautiful wedding and that when I walked down the isle she would be with me. It was not so much about losing my dream wedding as it was I felt like I let my grandmother down in some way by giving up the wedding plans. It is pain I still feel, I don’t think I will ever stop feeling as I am still crying about those words at this very moment.

The other reason my life has slowly gotten away from me? Moving. FUCK. MOVING. Please excuse my language as I typically don’t write in a profane manner (I do enough swearing when I talk, it does not need to spill over into my writing), but fuck moving. We started our house search about two months before the end of our lease. This was about the same time last year that we began our search, so we did not think much of it until any place that we liked REFUSED to hold the house for more than two weeks. Seriously? I had my last home on hold a month before we moved in and NOW these jerk faced property managers want no more than a two week hold? FINE. Have your two week hold. We lost two places we liked because of that stupid policy. We lost the place of our dreams because they property managers did not like our application as much as they liked someone else’s and without so much as an email to me or my realtor about it either. Memorial day rolls around, at 7am I got a property search notification and the house was PERFECT. It was in the neighborhood we wanted, it is less than five miles from my fiancés’ job and we moved so fast that no one else had a chance to even look at it before our application was in. We got them to extend the damn 2 week hold so we had a few extra days and everything was moving along wonderfully.

Once everything got moved is where my lovely career was derailed slightly. My office is where all the boxes of stuff we did not know what to do with were put. My office is literally just a pile of boxes. It is hard to work when you have no where to work. I despise mixing my spaces. My bedroom is where I relax, watch netflix, play video games and sleep. My living room is where I watch television, play with my dogs and entertain. My dinning room is where I eat meals. WHERE THE HELL AM I SUPPOSE TO WORK WHEN MY OFFICE IS JUST A PILE OF BOXES?????? Yes, that sentence really did deserve all caps. I have been sitting in literally the same chair all day in my living room using a large ottoman as a desk space to build an entire website.

So here I am, at the end of my work day, making my first attempts at getting back on course after my two month detour. First of all, I AM A WRITER! have articles you need written? I CAN DO THAT! No really, I have degrees in communications, I went to graduate school. I even presented papers at regional and national conferences. I know what I am doing! I do websites! Websites are fun! I do not have to be in your area to help you out! I am great with phone meetings, I LOVE google hangouts and Skype which allow me to screen share so we can be on the same page when going over the site! Contact me (hence the whole contact page thing in the menu up top!) No seriously, do it! I am cheaper than most firms you will talk to since I am freelance! I also do social media marketing. I am awesome with business pages on Facebook and twitter I can turn $100 of your advertising money into 150+ likes and follows in less than a month (no guarantees but that is the average I have achieved!). And again, I’m cheaper than any reputable firm!

Step two, I am going to go write and edit and figure out my next move in becoming a published author. Going along with that, if any of you have ties to agents or publishers or are published, leave me a comment or contact me through my contact page because I would LOVE some advice on what to do next and how I can up my chances of getting a book deal. Would love it! 

Step three, tell my friend what happened and accept the sympathetic looks and talk I will have to go through when I tell them that I lost my grandmother, I lost my wedding and I was too afraid of how many tears I would spill telling them that I waited two months to say it. 

Thanks for reading my ramblings. Hopefully I will stick to my ten day timeline and have some more to write about in ten days or less!!

~S~

Balancing act

I remember my parents always telling me that life was a balancing act. I never really understood it until the past few months. I guess I was spoiled by the fact that I never really had to work that hard other than in school. My parents were cool enough to always support me when I needed to focus on school and could not work. Do not take this as I never worked, trust me I worked as much as I could, but when you are going to school for two different majors, two minors and then go into graduate school where you end up teaching at the university (for a small amount of pay each semester), a full time job just sometimes is not an option. 

Upon leaving graduate school, I thought it would be easier with school out of the picture. I was done, I was out and I no longer had to worry about if I read the 100 pages my professor assigned for that week, or if I had a test or paper due that week. How hard could work be with the headache of school out of the picture? Yeah, I was definitely wrong about that. 

I wasn’t even out of graduate school when I met Jesse, the boy of my dreams. We dated for 1 month and 1 week and he asked me to marry him, a year later I am in the midst of planning a wedding, working fourteen hour days, writing my first novel, cooking dinner most nights for him and trying to find time to play with our two adorable dogs. I can’t remember the last time I worked a normal 40hr, 5 day work week.

I probably put in a good 80-90 hours of work each week between my jobs. Freelance is NOT easy. It is so up and down that it can be impossible to keep up with my half of the bills and pay for a wedding. Solution to this problem? Take on a supposed easy job that would allow me plenty of time to do my other work while earning a steady paycheck. Enter, nannying. How terrible could that be? I have to say, the kids are sweet and I adore them, even love them. The parents are a headache, demanding and just do not pay attention to half the things I say most of the time. If the mother had her way, I would literally live at their house and would not have my own family to attend to. I do have a high respect for anyone who does do live-in nannying. Doing live-out takes a huge chunk of my day away that I wish I could be spending with my family. Live-in nannies I feel are literally giving up their own lives to do their job. 

My novel is making progress, which is good, but at the same time, if I could I would spend the whole day laying in the most comfortable place in my house or by the pool writing. Maybe I will get to that point where I am literally paid to write books. That is a dream come true, but let us face it, the odds of me being the next J.K. Rowling is pretty slim. Do I want to publish my book? Absolutely! It would be a dream come true! I’ve wanted to be an author since I was little, but I know it is a long shot. 

My freelance work is tedious at times. I do Digital Media PR. Basically I control company social media pages. I run ads, write posts, write blogs, maintain websites and interact with fans on behalf of the company. Which also means my computer is constantly dinging at me and I constantly have people who want questions answered, responses to comments and retweets. That is not even going into the meetings, proposal writing and the best part about any sales driven job, the rejection. I do not even react much anymore when a potential clients decides to pass me by for a giant corporation. 

Then there is my family. I have an amazing fiance who understands that I am only doing this all until I am really established in the digital media PR world. Does that mean he doesn’t miss me when I do three overnights in a row at my nanny job because the parents are both in Europe for work? No, he misses me terribly, but he allows me to do my job and earn my paycheck. I am not sure my dogs are as understanding. I have an amazing three year old Husky/Chow mix that is my entire world. I have had that dog since he was just three weeks old and to him, I am god. My other dog is a two year old pomeranian mix that my fiance and I adopted a year ago. Rescue dogs are hard, they don’t fully trust you all the time and when I go missing for days you can bet my dogs know it. 

Somehow in all the chaos I find time for me. The ten minutes I spend writing blogs, or doing my morning yoga is pretty much what I live for. My fiance and I have taken to sitting on the balcony off our master bedroom and drinking our morning coffee out there before I go to work and he rests up for work (he works nights). It is a crazy life, and I would in no way say I have it all balanced out all the time, but that is how life is I guess. No matter how hard you try one part of your life will always push everything else out of balance, and once you get that figured out another aspect of life is pushing you over the edge. There are always those small moments, nanoseconds really, when everything balances and comes together and you find yourself in pure bliss. I call these moments, bed time. 

 

~~SKG