Earlier this year, I celebrated the milestone of being a blogger for 6 years. But that is small compared to reaching 300 posts. It is for me, anyway.

Yes, this is my 300 post, but that doesn’t count the 20 or so drafts I should have deleted, but decided not to, for whatever reason. Many are the result of rants I went on, after which, coming to my senses, decided against posting. I don’t need to spread all that negativity. I’m a lover, not a fighter.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t stand up for what I believe in. I’m just not as naive as I once was.

I have learned a lot since publishing my first post, “Note to Self,” in 2010.  For example, I can’t control how people feel about me. I used to bend over backwards for people who didn’t respect me, trying to gain their favor. When it didn’t work, I thought there was something wrong with me.

It took me a while to figure out that that’s just who they are. It’s nothing personal; they treat everyone that way. And with all the different personalities in the world trying to work and live together, people are not going to agree on everything, no matter what you do.

Oh yes … you can do everything to accommodate them, but that only reinforces what you already think about yourself; that you are less than they are, and that’s just not true.

We all start out the same way. Our personalities, our environments, our family, friends, and experiences shape us into who we become. And if our personalities are such that we look outside ourselves for approval, well, we’re kind of screwed. Because no one tells us this. We may go years trying to please others to gain acceptance, when in reality,  there’s just no pleasing them.

Ricky Nelson knew this when he sang it in his 1972 hit, ‘Garden Party.’ “You see, you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.”

You can’t make everyone happy. You just can’t. You will be disappointed if you try. All you can do is be true to yourself and live your life the way that makes you feel good about yourself.

We have to accept who we are, all the good parts and bad parts, and either change the things we don’t like about ourselves, or learn to manage them.

And if you make a mistake, learn from it, even if it takes you a few times. It’s ok. It’s called being human.

Another thing I have learned, is that we are capable of so much more than we know. Once we wake up to this fact, once we open our minds and challenge our beliefs and look at what is possible, nothing is impossible! As Audrey Hepburn once said, “Nothing is impossible; even the word itself says, ‘I’m Possible!'”

In the book, “Conversation with Gods,” by Neale Donald Walsch, the Almighty Him/Herself states that life is energy in motion. I take this to mean that life is all about creating. And we can create our lives to be whatever we want it to be.

It really is that simple.

Blogging by accident

Happy 6th Anniversary to me!

Happy 6th Anniversary to me!

I was informed by WordPress yesterday that I have reached a milestone in my blogging history. I signed up for WordPress 6 years ago. But looking back, I didn’t write my first blog until almost a year later.

My memory is kind of foggy,  but I remember it’s because I didn’t know what to write. I looked at other blogs to get an idea, but my life, at that point, isn’t what I would consider exciting.

I started attending classes at Mount Mercy and my professor told us that blogging would be a requirement in one of his classes. He suggested we acquaint ourselves with popular blogging sites.

My first blog post  was a letter I wrote to my younger self. I got the idea from a book that was given to me. It was compiled of letters that women celebrities wrote to their younger selves.

Though I only wrote the one blog a week that was required by my professor, I continued to write even after the class ended because of something he said:

“Write every day, even if it’s just a few paragraphs. You can’t help but become a better writer.”

He was right. The more I wrote, the more comfortable I became and the easier it was. And somewhere in the middle of it all, writing became a part of me.

When I want to unwind from a busy day, I write. When I have a few minutes while waiting for the doctor, I write. I even “itch” to write, which could be considered either an obsession or a passion, depending on how you look at it.

I also read as much as I can. I believe it also makes me a better writer. I am inspired by my fellow bloggers, and their stories help me look at life from different perspectives.

It might have taken a little while for me to get used to the idea of blogging, but the desire to write was no accident. It’s something that has been inside of me all my life. And when I die, I will most likely be at my computer, typing out my last words.



Turning over a new blogging leaf

I’m borrowing this idea from my good friend, Joe, who recently wrote about his blogging resolutions.

I promise to take more pictures, too, if that's even possible!

After receiving my “blogging report” from WordPress, I find that I have some resolutions of my own to make. It showed me that as much as I think that not many people look at what I write on Facebook, some do take time to read my blog posts. With that being said, my first resolution will be to post a blog on Facebook every week.

The report also showed me that I wrote 84 blog posts last year. (I wrote my 100 blog last year, too) This was better than the year before, but still I think I can improve. My second resolution will be to write every day, even if it’s just a few lines.

My last resolution, (because I don’t want to over extend myself) is to look at the content I’m writing about. I try to write about a variety of issues that I care about, and think I make them interesting enough. However, I think I need to look at how I can broaden that spectrum, to reach out and learn about things I’m not familiar with, and explore the unknown. This will be tricky because in less than two months, my first newspaper issue will be going to print.

But, hey, not all resolutions are meant to be successful, and at least I can say I tried. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a great year for blogging.

A writer writes-Week 22

I am celebrating a few things today. My daughter’s twins are doing well and are at home after being born a week ago. I am in Week 21 of my quest to start a newspaper. And I am writing my 100th blog.

Me, holding the twins, Gianna and Natalie

I have been contemplating what I would write for this special blog, a feat that seemed unimaginable when I began writing my blog in July 2010. My advisor suggested that if I wanted to become a good journalist, I should start a blog. “Practice writing; it doesn’t matter what, just write,” he told me.

He also said that blogging and online writing was the direction that journalism was going in and that all journalists need to blog.

Well, I have never done anything just because everyone else is doing it. In fact, I was always one who was a bit reluctant to follow the crowd. But if starting a blog would help me become a better writer, I was willing to try.

I searched back through my 99 blogs and found the first one I ever wrote. “Note to Self” was written on July 26, 2010. I had written this as a personal story but decided to use it as my first blog. I had  read a book about celebrities who wrote stories about what they would tell their younger selves if they could. I was inspired by the thought of it and decided to write one of my own.

I found out a lot about myself that I wasn’t aware of.

“…should I tell her that happiness could not be found in another person? Or that she needed to look inside herself to find the answers she was looking for?

Or maybe I would tell her that college really was that important.  Should I also tell her that if she decides to skip school and go straight to starting a family it won’t turn out the way she expected?  That fairytales don’t really exist?  Maybe I would mention that life gets really hard for a while and there are times she may want to throw in the towel, but she shouldn’t give up; she would come through it with a better understanding of how precious life is.

But  maybe I won’t tell her those things after all.  Maybe I’ll write a letter that tells her how proud I am of her for never giving up.  How sorry I am that she had to go through so much pain and heartache, but life does get better.  I will tell her that I am glad she never lost sight of her dreams, even though they seemed out of reach.  I will tell her that she has made me who I am today; a strong, independent and courageous woman.”

As I write my 100th blog, I realize how important writing is for a writer.  It was hard getting into the habit of writing a blog at first, but now I look forward to writing it.  Sometimes I only have time to write one blog a week, but I generally try for two. I make up for it by writing articles for the Mount Mercy Times or for my own website, the Hiawatha Advocate.

The Hiawatha Advocate

A colleague of mine asked for advice because she had writer’s block. “It’s so frustrating because I don’t know how to start it,” she said.

I told her, “Just start at the beginning.”

There are times when I, too, stare at the computer screen, hoping that something will pop into my head. I wrack my brain trying to figure out where to start but I’m at a loss. But as soon as I begin typing, anything, the story just seems to come. My journalistic instincts take over and I soon find myself writing the story with no problem.  I know there are some things I still  need to work on, but I know this is what I was born to do.

Week 21 has me thinking about how much writing has become a part of my life, and by practicing everyday, I have definitely become a better writer.

My advisor was right. If you want to become a good journalist, you have to practice writing. And I have….a lot.