A year ago, I decided to focus more on my creative writing projects. After much procrastinating, I created Snapshot Storyteller: an unglamorous and unconventional look into my writing journey (subscribe if you want to stay in the know).
Right now, I want to spend time growing Snapshot Storyteller and working on creative projects. That won’t leave me with a lot of time for The Recovering Pessimist. As of today, the posting schedule will change. Instead of posting every Monday, I will post 1-2 times a month. Wisdom Wednesdays will still post weekly for the rest of this year.
The inspiration for this year’s theme derived from the stack of (at least 6) books that I’ve purchased throughout 2017 and either never started them or started them and never finished them. Oh, and the countless projects that I’ve started (or planned) and never finished them (or execute them). I’m legit disappointed in myself.
With inspiration on deck, creating the theme was as simple as moving some words around. What I came up with was this:
FINISH WHAT YOU START
It’s long overdue. It would be delusional for me to continue to think that I can accomplish goals when I have a tendency to leave things unfinished. This year, I’m hellbent on starting, finishing, and repeat. No more half-assing.
Do you have a theme/mantra for 2018? I would love to hear about it.
It’s the home stretch of 2017. One of my favorite times of the year is to sit down and start prepping for the following year (see here and here). For whatever reason, the last 60 days of the year tend to go by in a blur for me. Sitting down and preparing for the following year allows me to slow down for a bit.
In addition to doing the things I’ve done in previous years (see here and here), the lessons I learned this year also changed the way I prep for the upcoming year.
Creating Theme for 2018
The theme for 2018 is the result of a moment of fed-up-ness (not an actual word, but rock with me anyway). It’s the perfect follow-up to this year’s theme of Stay Ready. It’s one of those things that I’ve struggled with for a while now. The theme alone has me super excited for the upcoming year.
Multitasking has been a nightmare this year. When I’m not at work, I work on a blog post while doing another blog-related task at the same time. What ends up happening is that I don’t finish either of those tasks that day and carry them over to the next day. This is a horrible use of time.
Batching my tasks would be a good use of time management plus it would help me focus on one thing at a time which would make sure that I finish my tasks in a timely fashion. I can choose specific days for blog post writing, blog maintenance, etc. Hopefully, this will eliminate the bouts of burnout I experienced this year.
For the past few years, I write all of my goals for the year and that’s it. I’ve ended the year not accomplishing a quarter of the goals I made. This year, I’m being more flexible with my planning by breaking my goals down into quarters. This makes things a lot less overwhelming and I’ll be more likely to actually accomplish my goals. Plus I can focus on each goal versus all of my goals as a whole.
Taking the time the prepare for 2018 by doing these things will alleviate a lot of anxiety, burnout, and overwhelm. I look forward to whatever 2018 brings my way.
To continue my tradition of creating yearly themes, I come to you with my theme for 2017 (click here and here for past years’ posts).
This year’s theme began as a joke between my friends and I because I hate surprises. Over time, this phrase evolved into a personal mantra.
Fast forward to Q3 of 2016. I sat down to write some ideas, and the only one that made the list was the joke that became my mantra:
I spent a good part of 2016 worrying about the “what ifs”; the inspirations and opportunities that I missed out on. I was thisclose to potential greatness, but of course, I messed up and missed out on them.
How did I miss out on them?
My mindset wasn’t in the right place. I was so worried about what everyone else was doing that I got in my own way. What I should’ve focused on was myself, my goals, and how I was going to accomplish them.
In 2017, my hopes, dreams, wants, and desires are big. I refuse to get in my own way this year. I have too much to do and accomplish. What are you promising not to do this year? I’d love to hear about it.
I love writing about my preparation process for the upcoming year. Many of the things in this year’s post were mentioned in last year’s post. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right?
Without further adieu, let’s begin, shall we?
Create theme for 2017
Having a theme really sets the tone for how I approach the upcoming year. Throughout the year I’ve repeated the same phrase over and over as a reminder to myself and friends when life threw us a curve ball.
Then I had a lightbulb moment. I could make this phrase my theme for 2017 (I”ll disclose the theme in a later post). One less thing for me to work on. Yay!
I created my first vision board last year after hearing folks talk about how vision boards helped them with the manifestation of their goals, aspirations, etc. They were spot on. Many of the things I posted on my vision board actually happened.
This year, I want to take things up a notch with my vision board. I want to take a photo of my vision board, print the photo, and put the photo on the inside cover of my Inkwell Press liveWELL planner. That way, I can keep my vision board with me and stay on task. Genius!
Planning Blog Content Ahead of Time
This year, I finally decided to create an editorial calendar using Google Sheets. I have a place to keep track of all the blog posts (and their permalinks) I’ve written for the year broken down by month. Planning blog posts that are part of a series (e.g., Back to Center, Wisdom Wednesday, etc.) is way easier for me. If you don’t already have some sort of content calendar in place, get one and save yourself the stress.
Write Goals Down
Each year, I have major goals that I want to accomplish. Last year, I used MindMeister to create a visual for all of my goals. It was really pretty to look at, but it wasn’t effective. I also made goal cards for my major goals, which worked initially. However, I stopped looking at them regularly, so that ended up not being too effective.
The whole point of making goals is to accomplish them right?
This year, I decided to keep track of my goals using my 2017 Inkwell Press liveWELL planner. This weekly planner has a lot of areas throughout the planner to keep track of my goals on a yearly and monthly basis. And since I look at my planner several times a day, housing my goals in the planner would be a win-win situation for me.
That’s my planning process for 2017. Tell me, do you plan for the upcoming year? If so, what’s your process? I’d love to hear about it.
I hope you find these Pinterest accounts just as useful as I do. Do you have any favorite Pinterest accounts for bloggers? Feel free to share them in the comments or contact me on social media. I’d love to hear about them.
When I began blogging on WordPress.com, I had no idea what I’m doing. I knew I just had to get started and I’d figure out the rest later. Over time, I realized that I needed to have more control over how this blog functions both on the front and back ends.
About two years ago, I moved to self-hosting for this website and that’s where I learned how complex plugins are. Plugins are like spices. The right plugins can make your blog run smoothly. But if you add a plugin to the mix that doesn’t play well with the others, all hell will break loose.
Running a self-hosted blog has its moments of utter frustration. Because I don’t want you to go through the same headaches I’ve gone through, I wanted to share a few of my must-have WordPress plugins. I hope this helps.
Broken Link Checker
I never realized how important this plugin was until the first time I used it. I can’t remember how long Broken Link Checker took to find the broken links BUT I do know that I had about 300 or so broken links to fix.
If you thought that was bad, it gets worse. It took me about 18 hours over a span of two days to fix the broken links. Some of the links were truly bad and needed new links attached. Others weren’t truly broken & needed to be rechecked to confirm & remove them from the broken link list.
When I tell you I don’t EVER IN LIFE want to go through that again, I mean it! Take it from me and download this plugin and save yourself now before it gets too deep.
Disqus Comment System
I like leaving comments. What I don’t like are complex commenting systems. I’ve tested several comment systems before settling on Disqus Comment System. It is very user-friendly, both for me and the commenters, which is very important. The occasional spam comment does slip into my comment queue, though. Just wanted to make you aware of that.
Better Click to Tweet
I love Twitter. So much so that I incorporate Twitter into my blog posts. Better Click to Tweet allows me to create a tweet within a blog post that readers can click on the tweet to post it to their Twitter timeline. Brilliant! The key is to make sure that the tweet you choose to incorporate in your blog post is catchy. That way, people will retweet, like, etc.
Using an editorial calendar has been a struggle for me. I would write blog posts one at a time, which never really provided me with a break. Downloading Editorial Calendar makes planning blog posts way easier. I can see all posted and scheduled blog posts along with scheduled blog posts that are in draft status. In addition, the plugin provides a list of unscheduled drafts that you can either leave on the screen or hide them.
You can hover over the blog posts in the calendar and see options to edit, quick edit, delete, and/or view. This saves you time from having to find the individual post itself. Also, you can drag and drop posts throughout the calendar to your liking. How awesome is that?
Revive Old Post
Last year, I was trying to figure out a way to automatically share my blog posts on Twitter. It took a wee bit of research but I ran across Revive Old Post. I use the free option and it’s packed with features. You choose how many posts to share at a time & the minimum time between shares. You can choose the minimum and maximum ages of posts to be eligible for sharing. There’s also an option to exclude and/or include specific categories to share from.
That’s all I’ve got for now. If you have any questions and/or comments about these plugins, let me know in the comments. I love sharing what I know and getting feedback from you.
[bctt tweet=”You can’t help anyone by hoarding information. Share it!” username=”MsWalton”]
Blogging is pretty awesome. I get to talk about the things I want to talk about in hopes that somebody will learn from my mistakes and/or experiences. But that’s only one end of the blogging spectrum. On the other end, blogging can be overwhelming. With so much information accessible from multiple sources, you may not know how to apply it. Or, you may be unsure if you should even apply it.
I’m all too familiar with that feeling of overwhelm & I don’t want you to go through it. Below are a few tips I’ve acquired on avoiding blogger overwhelm:
You Can Only Plan So Much Before You Launch
There was no launch plan for this blog. I came up with the domain, grabbed a (free) theme, and started writing. In hindsight, I should’ve at least planned somewhat & saved myself some time and/or energy. Besides, if you find yourself waist-deep in planning mode, you may never launch because you want everything to be perfect. And you know how perfection goes. insert eye roll here
[bctt tweet=”Perfection doesn’t exist in general, and it definitely doesn’t exist in the blogging world.” username=”MsWalton”]
Don’t Get Wrapped Up in the Money Game
Being able to make money from your blog is awesome. The internet is full of sources for you to learn how to make x amount of dollars from your blog. It’s also misleading. Rarely did I read/watch a blogger be truly honest with how they made x amount of money in such as short amount of time. Regina blew the lid off of that mystery by writing an awesome blog post about avoiding getting caught up in the six figure blogger gang.
Which brings me to the next point:
Just because it sounds good, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Don’t just take the information you read and/or hear at face value. Question it. How does this apply to you? Can you afford the good/service? If not, can you find an inexpensive way to get the good/service?
[bctt tweet=”Question everything. Your time and money are valuable. Be critical of who/what you spend it on.” username=”MsWalton”]
You Gotta Work to Gain AND Keep Subscribers
Gaining subscribers is one of the top goals for many bloggers. Makes perfect sense. But let me let you in on a little secret:
[bctt tweet=”You can’t treat subscribers like trophies on a shelf. You have to work to keep them. ” username=”MsWalton”]
Simple and to the point. And speaking of subscribing…
Don’t Subscribe to Every Single Newsletter if It Doesn’t Help You
A few months ago, I looked at my email inbox and I kid you not, I had at least 14 emails from different newsletters I was subscribed to. Mind you those emails were from one day. Of those 14 maybe three or four were of actual use to me. Most of them I subscribed to in order to get a freebie and then had no use for the newsletter afterwards.
My inbox and I deserve so much better.
So I finally went through them and deleted all but maybe four or five. I don’t sigh and roll my eyes anymore when I look at my inbox now.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t feel like you need to subscribe to every newsletter you come across. Be critical of your inbox space” username=”MsWalton”]
I hope you find these tips useful. If you’ve suffered from blogger overwhelm, how did you get through it, I would love to hear about it.
Blogging while working a 9-5 is difficult enough. There are things I must have to blog successfully, such as a decompression period, to keep me sane (click here and here).
When I’m getting ready to blog, I like to set the scene. I want to get myself mentally prepared to write some goodness. There are a few things that help me set the scene to blog:
I’m usually pretty good at multitasking. However, I can’t multitask when it comes to blogging. I waste too much time doing blog-related tasks if I’m watching TV and/or doing other things on the laptop. To avoid wasting time, I turn on the TV or at least mute it. If I’m working away from home, I wear headphones to block out the sounds around me.
I like to listen to music while I write. I’m a sucker for piano instrumentals. My favorite Spotify playlists are Piano Chill, Piano Moods, The Piano Bar, and Peaceful Piano. These playlists help me focus on the task at hand and makes the creative process smooth.
Gather Snacks & Beverage of Choice
In addition to having all my blogging tools at hand (click here and here), having snacks and beverages on hand is just as important. Fruits like cherries, apples, and bananas are my favorite snacks to have on hand. When it comes to alcohol, sweet red wine is my favorite.
These are a few of the things that help me set the scene to blog. If you’re a blogger and/or writer, how do you get yourself mentally prepared to write? How to you set the scene? I’d love to hear about it.
This year, I’ve been working on a lot of goals. Many of these goals need a lot of research to make the goals a reality. Not bad right? I filled up notebooks, created many Pinterest boards, and created Evernote stacks to keep it all (somewhat) organized.
You might not think that’s a bad thing. And I understand why you might feel that way. But trust me, it is. And here’s why:
I ended up worse off than I was when I began. Something had to be done and it had to be done soon. I needed to rid myself of the source(s) of my overwhelm/stress. It began with the newsletters. At one point, I had 15 newsletters subscriptions. Why? I subscribed to many of them after seeing a post that caught my eye on social media. I figured if one post was this good, why not subscribe for more posts like this?
Sounds okay, right?
Some of the newsletters were too niche-based, which isn’t something that I can relate to. Others were aimed towards those who were at a different stage than I was. I ended up deleting more newsletters emails than I kept for future reference. No need to have my inbox clogged up by emails that aren’t useful.
Fixing this hot mess express took two steps:
I went through my inbox and unsubscribed from about 55% of the newsletters. Not only is my inbox lighter but my nerves are much calmer. Everyone doesn’t belong in my inbox and that’s what let to the next step.
I became more critical about the information I come across. Instead of subscribing to the newsletter and/or saving the information, I ask myself (sometimes several times) if this information is really useful to me?
Once I applied these two steps to my inbox, I realized how these steps also relate to life. Sometimes you have to weed through all the noise that’s around you to get to what really matters to you.
[bctt tweet=”What works for many isn’t always going to work for me, no matter how good it sounds. And that’s okay.” username=”MsWalton”]