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.
Writing these annual write-ups is one of my favorite end-of-the-year blog tasks (see here and here for earlier posts). In the past, I’ve broken down the post into sections (personal/blog highlights, top blog posts of the year, etc).
I wanted to switch things up for this year. The highlights and memories that I experienced this year were awesome. I also had some lows that would’ve broken me. All of that provided me with some valuable lessons that I wanted to share as my annual wrap up for 2017.
Do what works for me.
Comparison is one of those things that you can get wrapped up in and not realize that it’s happening. I would browse social media and find myself comparing where I was in various areas of my life in regards to others. I found myself looking up tips and signing up for all kinds of newsletters, none of which I needed. Instead of soaking up all of this information, I got overwhelmed.
It takes longer to get past overwhelm than it did to get overwhelmed.
To get past the overwhelm, I needed to get rid of the sources of the overwhelm. I unsubscribed from several newsletters and stopped searching for tips on things that I really didn’t need. I stuck to doing the things that worked for me and refrained from comparing myself to others. I won’t lie, it’s not always easy, but I feel so much better.
Leave the past in the past.
I have this thing where I get a case of the “what ifs” regarding people of my past. I go through the motions of wondering if things between us could be different. I would reach out, we’d reconnect, and things would be cool for months. Then, things would fall apart again and we would go back to being the past. This year, I didn’t reach out when I felt the urge. Progress.
No matter how many times I reach out to my past, sometimes the past needs to stay where it is.
I’m a stickler for a routine. When that routine is disrupted, I feel frazzled. I’ve turned down several opportunities because they interfered with my routine. I know how ridiculous that is, but when I decide that I’m doing something at a certain moment of the day, I don’t like to change the plans.
However, I realized that this isn’t feasible.
I have a routine and when that routine is disrupted, I feel frazzled. It would take days to get back on track. I learned to add some room in the routine so when it gets disrupted, I can pick up where I left off. That allows me to partake in the opportunities that pop up while still having my routine.
“No” is not a means to an end.
“No” is one of those things that can make or break you. When you want something so badly just to be told you can’t have it for whatever reason, it hurts real bad. Like when someone takes the last cupcake in the display case that you had your eye on in line. Yeah, that bad. I refused to become discouraged and instead allowed “no” to motivate me to find alternate means to get what I want.
The difference between 'no' and 'yes' is persistence.
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 end of year wrap-up posts (see here for last year’s). It’s a way for me to chronicle all of my ups (and downs) from the year. It also reminds me of accomplishments I have forgotten. Last year’s wrap up post wasn’t as organized as I would like, so this year, I wanted to split the post into two sections: blog and personal life.
Injected more of my personal life into my blog posts.
Getting wrapped up in everyone else’s success blocks my own potential success. Don’t get sucked into that matrix.
Everyone has their own journey, including me.
Make use of small nuggets of time. I can get more work done in 30 minutes than I can in 8 hours.
I won tickets to 2015 Richmond Jazz Festival. The bestie and I went on Sunday night, so we could experience the greatness that is Morris Day & the Time, Tamia, and The Roots. Yes, all of that in one day/night.
Saw Alabama Shakes and Corinne Bailey Rae in concert with the bestie at the Portsmouth Pavilion. Perfect weather for a soul-stirring outdoor concert.
Reconnected with old friends via Facebook.
Took more selfies of myself.
For the record, I didn’t post 90% of the selfies I took in 2016. These selfies were mostly for personal memories and documentation of my wellness journey.
Be open to the unexpectedness of life. Oftentimes these curveballs aren’t as bad as I think they are.
Just because I can’t see it happening, doesn’t mean things aren’t working behind the scenes.
It’s okay to miss the past. However, remember why the past is the past.
That’s 2016 for me in a nutshell. What were your highs (and lows) of 2016? Do you document them (blog post, journal, video, etc.)? 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.