Tag: 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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This week in goals

I’m going on record with a list of things I’d like to accomplish this week. We’ll see what happens.

  1. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day
  2. Try making stickers with my Cricut
  3. Write and schedule at least 3 blog posts
  4. Finish my Instagram presentation for work
  5. Do some digi scrapping
  6. Avoid compulsive news consumption
  7. Don’t beat myself up for not getting it all done

One thing is guaranteed. I will compulsively create designs with the Assembly app.

Abstract vector art

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

Me being me

I think of so much to write about when I’m in bed at night. I think deeply and poetically. Now, with the iPad on my lap, I have little to say.

I was posting a lot to the blog a few months ago. I felt I was at the threshold of bringing my blog to the next level (whatever that means). Then I slacked off. I told myself it was okay not to post several times a week. It is okay.

I wrote about watching a Ruth Soukup webinar on blogging. What I learned from the webinar made me wonder if I really do want to be a full-time blogger. Would it be enough to continue being a hobby blogger? I wouldn’t mind earning a bit of extra money with ads and affiliate programs. Am I giving up because it might be too hard? Maybe.

Here’s an article with advice for bloggers interested in affiliate marketing.

It’s always the same for me. I have too many interests, and not enough focus. A couple of weeks ago I got excited about digital scrapbooking—again. I’m paying for monthly unlimited downloads from Pixel Scrapper Digital Scrapbooking. Am I going to make it worth the money? I really don’t know.

I’m probably not going to magically transform into a person who focuses on one hobby. I’ve been like this for almost fifty years. I need to learn to embrace my quirks. What else can one do?

I reckon I’ll keep on keeping on. I’ll try and entertain the world with my hodgepodgey all over the place musings, poems, artwork, etc. I can only be me.

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.

    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.

     

     

     

    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”

    A Bit of Success

    Yesterday evening I sat down and listed a few of my husband’s basketball cards on eBay. I felt so productive! It’s a lot of work. I have to take good pictures of the front and back of each card and crop them in Photoshop. I name the image files and add them to an online collection on Omeka.net as I’m listing them on eBay. The majority of the cards we have don’t go for that much money, but we have sold a couple of expensive ones. Maybe someday we can get a bit of income from sports cards. My Amazon book sales are extremely slow. I would do better it I paid the professional seller fee. To make that worth it I would need a much larger inventory. I don’t have the time or energy to be a real bookseller at the moment.

    I’ve wanted to write more blog posts for work. I finished one last week and started another today. My goal is to start acting like a writer. That means I will write more.

    In anxiety news, I’ve been listening to an audiobook about dealing with anxiety. It’s called Self-Coaching, Completely Revised and Updated Second Edition: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety and Depression. I just reached the section where he starts talking about the actual self-coaching exercises. I decided to switch to listening to The Girl on the Train for a while. I think I’m going to like it. My anxiety is still with me, but it comes and goes. I’m able to eat, so things have improved.

    The two canvases I’m working on look like this now.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    And my interest in making jewelry is coming back.

    So basically I’m realy uneasy about the world and my place in it, but I have all of these things that I’m still interested in. Seems like a paradox, but I’m not sure if it is.

    Open

    The writing prompt is open. I like the word because it feels right now like everything is open. Things are up for grabs. I don’t know what the future holds for me. Of course, none of us can really know that we have a future. One could be hit by a bus, or swept up in a tornado, or swallowed by a sinkhole. You would think that given life’s uncertainty, I would be able to enjoy each of the precious moments that I’ve been given. No, what I’ve been doing is spending most of my waking time in a state of anxiety.

    The world’s tragedies are wearing on me. I’m wondering if I can give myself art therapy. Are there any “do it yourself art therapy” books? I’ll have to look into that. In the meantime, I plan to get more serious about my art journaling. I started a new blog to share my experiences with making art. I’m hoping my art blog will be the one that eventually makes money. The first post is about the fact that my cat room doubles as a studio.

    I’ll be able to blog more since my summer class is over. Speaking of the class, I wrote in another post that I thought this class was the last one I needed before graduating. I was mistaken. I need one more. I plan to take Digital Curation in the fall, and it’s actually a class I’ve been wanting to take, so it’s all good.

    Here’s wishing that I’m open to new possibilities in the coming week.

    Digital artwork
    Possibilities

     

    Finding a Way

    It’s time to face my fears and take some action! In a previous post, I said something about making money from blogging. The idea has been on my mind for quite a while, but it has remained only an idea. If I want to move forward, I must start doing some concrete things to achive my goals.

     I’ve been giving thought to what my money-making blog would be about.  The topic should be something that I care about deeply. I’ve been interested in web content curation for a while, but it’s not really my passion. If I were more of a reader I could review books. I thought about library related stuff, but I’m not a working librarin and don’t plan to be after I get my degree. I wouldn’t have the requisite street cred. 

    I think it comes down to jewelry and mixed media art/art journaling.  I mentioned that I suffer from anxiety and depression. It occurs to me that if I started using art journaling as a therapeutic practice I could blog about it. I could learn new techniques and share them. It seems the most sensible thing. 

    I figure I’ll get started with the blog and see how it goes. If it seems like it will take off, I’ll start taking steps to monetize it.

    That’s a plan. Time to execute.

    In other news, I saw the doctor today and he increased my Fluoxetene dosage from 20 to 40 mg. I hope it kicks in soon. I’m tired of the misery.

    I finished my paper about Thomas Fountain Blue over the weekend. I think it’s a bit mediocre, but there is not a lot of information to be found on the man. I should have picked a different topic. Oh well, it is what it is. 

    Here’s the most recent journal page I worked on as part of Donna Downey’s Inspiration Wednesday. Maybe I can be the next Donna Downey after my blog takes off!