Author: lauramccain

I like to write, dance, create arty stuff and learn as much as I can about all sorts of things. I am someone who wants to do more. I have a lot of interests and not enough time to pursue them. Mostly I'm trying to figure out how to navigate my way through this existence. Writing helps me to read the map. I live in Bloomington, Indiana and work at Indiana University. I've been in Indiana for 13 years and I'm still surprised that I live here.

The not so common cold

I think I’ve been suffering from a cold for the last week or so. It’s hard to tell with me. When I think I have a cold, I get a little post-nasal drip and congestion behind the eyes. I don’t get the traditional stuffy nose. My energy level is lower than usual, and I need to sleep longer than I usually do. During these more prolonged periods of sleep, my dreams are more intense and involved.

I think that my colds last longer because I have MS.

Do a search on ‘MS and the common cold,’ and you’ll find tips on avoiding a cold like staying away from sick people and washing your hands. Some sources hint that a cold might trigger a relapse. When I see that, I start to wonder if I’m having a relapse. I tell myself that probably isn’t the case and then start Googling.

So much and so little

It seems like there are tons resources for learning about MS. It seems that way, but I keep running into the same info. Maybe I’m looking for something that will apply to me specifically. That’s not going to happen, because MS is different for everyone who has it.

Rest is important

All of the experts emphasize the importance of rest. I was looking for something definitive about overdoing it and having a relapse. I couldn’t find anything, but it seems like it’s a good idea to treat yourself well. Get regular exercise, but don’t push yourself to exhaustion. That’s good advice for all of us.

Here’s a brochure from the National MS Society on managing MS fatigue. It doesn’t have the personalized answer that I’m looking for, but it gives me permission to take a few naps every day. I might just give that a try.

The quote is from Lalah Delia. Learn more about her here.

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Here’s an idea

So, I was browsing around on Instagram and I clicked on an offer for a free “Essential Blog Promotion Checklist” from Ruth Soukup. I understand that when you sign up for something “free,” you’re joining yet another email list so someone can try and sell you something. I was already getting email from Soukup. Might as well get more.

When I go to download the checklist there’s an offer a free webinar from Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy. Of course, a free webinar is going to be a sales pitch for something that isn’t free, but I figure I might learn a little something. I did.

Here are the webinar’s key tips and what I think I can do with them:

  • Refine your message

      • Make it clear what the blog is about
      • Write with a clear focus
      • Make a good first impression
      • Have a central idea
      • Give the audience useful ideas and illustrations
      • Have a strong conclusion
      • Tell a visual story
    I’ll admit, my blog is a hodgepodge. It’s about me and the billion things I’m interested in. The experts say that successful blogs need to have a focus. If I ever want to become a full-time blogger, I probably have to heed this advice. I’m not sure I can do that.

    Grow your audience

    • Develop your elevator pitch
    • Not all metrics matter
    • Grow your email list
    • Make your email list a priority
    • Focus on one social media channel at a time

    I don’t have an email list. If I ever have a focus, maybe I’ll put out a monthly newsletter. I send out news about that thing that I’m focused on.

    Monetize for Platform

    • Ad networks (not lucrative unless you have tons of views)
    • Private advertising
    • Affiliate sales
    • Selling a product
    I’ve made about $3.00 with WordAds since July, so there’s that. I want to sell digital products for scrapbooking, but I’m still building my skill in making things. My jewelry making career is probably over. I’m all about a hodgepodge.

    Build your Business

    • Your blog is not your business
    • Learn to work smarter not harder

    This takes me back to selling a product. I think I’m going in circles.

    Next steps?

    It may be time to do some soul-searching. Do I actually want to make money as a blogger? Should I pick a blogging lane and stay in it? Can I grow an audience of people who are interested in my life as a dabbler in a bunch of different things?

    Should I just stick to writing poetry and a bit of fiction?

    I named this post “Here’s an idea,” but it seems like I don’t actually have one.

    The main thing I learned from the webinar is that I’m not willing to pay over $800 to join the Elite Blogging Academy. Not until I have some semblance of focus.

    I found a review of the Elite Blogging Academy written by someone who tried it. You might find it useful.

    Elements for digital scrapbooking.
    Working on my digital products.

    Now

    Pocket watches hanging on chains
    You can't get ahead
    It's not possible
    Not in any lasting tangible sense
    You may think you're ahead
    But you've only caught up
    Because the thing that is finished
    Must be replaced
    With something fresh and new
    Sit back and rest for a moment
    You have to rest
    Breathe for a minute or two
    It's what you must do
    But realize that time is always marching forward
    You are losing ground
    Now
    Now
    And now

    Instant Comfort

    I tried another Instant Pot recipe, Healthy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese from The Girl on the Bloor.

    The ”healthy” component of the dish is broccoli. You could add other greens to up your veggie game. The recipe called for regular pasta. I wanted to use whole wheat, but I found none at Walmart. I used the Colby/Monterey Jack cheese I already had in the fridge instead of the white cheddar on the ingredient list.

    Overall, the cooking was quick and easy, and I got a little more comfortable with my Instant Pot.

    The flavor wasn’t spectacular, but it tasted good and did feel like comfort food. Switching to a tastier cheese might improve the flavor.

    I’m liking the Instant Pot more and more. It’s helping me to make healthier food choices for myself. For me, better eating means less trouble with those everyday MS symptoms like fatigue and the dreaded ”brain fog.”

    What tricks do you use to make healthy eating happen?

    Writing on a Timer

    I set the timer for 20 minutes. I was afraid to make it 30. The goals is to just write. It occurred to me yesterday that I could surely make myself take 30 minutes each day to write. I’m starting with 20. A start is a start.

    A co-worker of mine died last week from something unexpected and rare. He was 33. I’ve known him only the two years or so that I’ve worked where I work. We weren’t friends, but we talked from time to time.We communicated in the project management software environment.

    I didn’t know him well, but I knew he was one of the good people in the world. I’ve been thinking about him a lot. I dreamed one night that I was weeping for him.

    I believe that he may have planned to end things this way while he was on the other side, between earthly incarnations. Now that I believe in reincarnation and pre-birth planning, I see death in a new light. I want everyone to read/listen to the books I’ve listened to on this topic. In fact, I’ll give you a list right now.

    I managed to use most of the writing time making that list. That’s okay. It needed to be done.

    This wasn’t much of a writing exercise. Don’t worry, I have more to say. I always have something to say.