Category: blogging

Some new light

Previously

A few weeks ago I talked about being sick and having extreme tingles. I was beginning to think I might be experiencing my “new normal.” This must be how people with chronic pain feel most of the time.

Getting help

It occurred to me that relief could be found with the help of a chiropractor, so I made an appointment with the doctor my brother and sister-in-law see.

First, Dr. Morrow talked with me about my issues. Then he examined me and found that the range of motion in my neck was far below what it should be for someone my age (almost 48.) He took some x-rays and scheduled me for a follow-up appointment for the next day.

Diagnosis

My neck is a mess! A normal cervical spine has a curve like this:

Case courtesy of Dr. Andrew Dixon, Radiopaedia.org. From the case rID: 32505

Mine curves the other way. It’s called retro lordosis. I also have some disc degeneration, spondylosis, and a few other minor things that I won’t bother mentioning.

The fix

Luckily, things can get better. I’ve started getting spinal adjustments, ultrasound treatments, and traction three times a week. I’ll be getting physical therapy as well.

I’m feeling so much better. My range of motion has increased, and I no longer feel so broken.

I’ve been feeling angry at my body for having MS, being overweight, walking weird, etc. Nothing good can come from thinking that way. I need a paradigm shift!

Moving forward

Now that I’m feeling like a human, I can get back to regular blogging. I never realized how much energy you need to sit in front of a computer and type and think.

Coming soon

I see the Hematologist find out if my MGUS has progressed to Multiple Myeloma.

Sneak preview: My M protein number is higher than it’s ever been. 1% of people with an MGUS go on to develop Multiple Myeloma each year. The odds have got to be with me.

Illustration of dice

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Not quite right and doodling

I came down with a cold, or something that resembled a cold, a few weeks ago. I took a Monday off and then worked the rest of the week. I did the same the next week because I thought I was better. I should have taken a few consecutive days off because it seems that sitting at a computer can wear a person out.

When I sat at my desk for too long I got a pretty severe tingling sensation on one side of my body. This is an MS symptom that I’m more likely to experience when I’m sick or when I haven’t had enough sleep. When I get the tingling it’s usually mild. These extreme sensations make me worry that the disease is getting worse. It probably isn’t, but it’s easy to jump to negative conclusions.

I think the tingle is related to my tight neck and shoulder muscles. I need to look into a way to tame the tension in those areas.

My blogging has suffered because I’ve been too tired to sit at the laptop. I get upset with myself for not blogging regularly. I haven’t had the energy for digital scrapbooking either.

I’m mad at my body for betraying me, but that’s fodder for another post.

I managed to do some doodling while lounging on the couch this weekend. This was drawn by hand with a Micron pen and then scanned and processed with Art Card for iPhone.

 

Doodle digitized

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.

    Do this instead

    My brain could do better

    Lately, I’ve found myself spending too much time scrolling through my Twitter feed. Sometimes when I come across something objectionable I delve into the post’s replies to see if someone out there has something to say that will make me feel better. I know, I’m just looking for someone to validate my worldview. I’m human.

    All of this is unhealthy. I’m damaging my psyche and I’m wasting precious time. Why do I choose to devote energy to other people’s nonsense?

    It is mostly nonsense, isn’t it?

    The Solution

    The way around this dilemma is to do something else! There are tons of things I can do with my time instead of browsing Twitter. Even going to Pinterest would be a healthier option. I made a list of ten worthwhile activities!

    1. Do something blog-related like plan and write posts.
    2. Engage with other bloggers.
    3. Practice playing the guitar.
    4. Learn how to use my digital SLR camera.
    5. Learn some jewelry making techniques.
    6. Draw
    7. Art journal
    8. Read
    9. Meditate
    10. Make more lists

    I could go on, but you get the idea. I should consult this list the next time I’m tempted by Twitter.

    Pencil drawing
    Something I drew

    Planning Happily?

    Artful Blogging is my favorite magazine. You’d think I’d buy it more often, or subscribe. I’m always inspired by the images and blogger stories in the magazine.

    Brittany Sherman of vavoomvintage.net was featured in the latest issue. She talked about using “batch blogging” to keep her content flowing. She also said she uses a Happy Planner to manage her blogging schedule. I’ve been wanting to try using some kind of planner, so after some limited research, I decided to buy a Happy Planner.

    The Planning Community

    There are people whose hobby is planning. Pinterest is stupid with posts about planning and planners.  You’ve got the bullet journal crowd, the Happy Planners, the Erin Condren adherents, and I’m sure there are more.

    Now the hardcore planning hobbyists enjoy decorating their planners with washi tape, and stickers. I love how their pages look, but I wonder how much time it takes to do the decorating. I just want to get my life and blog in order.

    Screenshot of a Happy Planner demo/tutorial
    Screenshot of a Happy Planner demo/tutorial

    My Planner

    I’m planning to start planning. I’ve added some appointments to the monthly view of August. The next step, come up with a plan for this blog of mine. That means looking at the bigger picture and doing the things required for being a successful blogger. I did mention a few posts back that I wanted to get serious about this venture. I’ll keep plugging along.

    IMG_1478
    Riley and my planner.

    IMG_1479
    August stuff.

     

     

     

    Getting Serious

    It’s time to stop being casual when it comes to my various so-called ‘side hustle’ endeavors. I relaunched my Etsy shop several months ago and hoped that my bracelets were pretty enough to sell themselves. That’s not how it works.

    In my job as a social media specialist (whatever that means), I have been tasked with learning how to buy advertising on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a little confusing, but in the end, it’s not rocket science.  It doesn’t have to be expensive either.

    I made a little video featuring the bracelets in my shop using Quik.  I made it a promoted post on Instagram. You have to switch to a business account to do this. Traffic to the shop increased only slightly. Then I spent $50 to promote the video on Twitter. I did this with the “Quick Promote” option, so the run was short and didn’t do much for me.

    My next effort was to do a promotion directly on Etsy. I got one sale, but I’m not sure what did it. I’ll need to do some research before spending any more on advertising.

    Next, I downloaded an audiobook called How to Sell on Etsy with Blogging. The book mentioned an Etsy plugin for WordPress. I’m going to see if I can get that installed.

    The next thing to address is my inventory. My bracelets might not be trendy enough, so I bought a few magazines about jewelry-making to see what’s going on in that world.

    I have a lot of work to do if I want to have a successful jewelry business.

     

     

    Health and things

    Let’s talk about:

    • Multiple Myeloma
    • Weight loss
    • Exercising with MS
    • Herbalists & Naturopaths
    • Near Death Experience
    • Life after death
    • Love
    • Art
    • Writing
    • Jewelry
    • Meditation
    • Podcasts

    That is a list of topics that are swimming around my head. It’s a prompt, of sorts-perhaps a promise.

    I must blog about these topics, or else.

    Or else what? I don’t know.

    Red tulips

    I’ve been meaning to…

    I went to see the Passion of Joan of Arc at the IU Cinema a few weeks ago. It’s a silent film made in 1928 and directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer. My good friend Jason Fickel accompanied the film on guitar. It was an artsy flick, and the accompaniment was fantastic. If I had written something upon returning home from the theater, I might have been able to offer a decent critique. I will say that I was inspired to keep making art and to learn more about Joan of Arc. I’ll need to get around to that.

    Motion picture poster for The Passion of Joan of Arc
    Motion picture poster for The Passion of Joan of Arc

    The world is going mad, so my job is not to be afraid. I will not fear all of the things that the media warns me about. I’m a liberal kind of gal, but I’m not going to panic about the tax bill or the end of net neutrality. I won’t fear the racists either.

    I’m coming to learn that I am eternal.  I’m not sure if my consciousness has always existed, but I think it can never end. When I was a child, I told my parents that I picked them before I arrived. I must have known that. It must be true.

    Did you know that both Edison and Tesla separately worked on inventions that would allow them to communicate with the dead? There’s a book about it.  I learned about the book from an episode of Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast.  On the podcast, the book’s author talked about the competition between Tesla and Edison, and how industry bigwigs made sure Tesla’s inventions that wouldn’t make them money were quashed. Too bad Tesla was a racist.  Anyway, Tesla is said to have fared better than Edison in the talking to the dead department. I got the impression that Tesla created the first EVP machine, but there is no mention of him in the Wikipedia article.  Further investigation is warranted.

    During the two weeks I have off,  I plan to get a lot done. I would like to get the “treadmill room” de-cluttered, but I’m not sure if that’s possible. I can do some cleaning. I will do some cleaning! I will blog, and cook, and make art, and do yoga, and overestimate the number of things I can do during this period. Thinking about it overwhelms me.

    Don’t be afraid!!!!!

    Also

    I thought I might do a daily self-portrait digital art journaling type of thing. I did it once. I took a selfie and traced it in the Sketchclub app. I’m not sure it looks like me.

    27338630009_f4cce468b4_h
    Self-portrait with flower eye.

     

     

     

     

    A Plan

    I have too many blogs. I update this one most frequently. It’s kind of a general-purpose place to document my doings. I have one that’s supposed to be about me doing mixed media and other types of art. There’s another one dedicated to my making and appreciating jewelry. I’ve had many a notion over the months to write in each one of these, but you know how it goes.

    Continue reading “A Plan”

    Phases and Drifting 

    I haven’t posted in a while. Life is busy, and I am lazy when it comes to blogging.

    For a while, I was obsessed with mixed-media art. Then I got onto a memory wire bracelet-making kick. From there, I moved on to stretch bracelets and then multi-strand stringing wire bracelets. My technique on the latter kind needs work.

    Continue reading “Phases and Drifting “