What To Write

I’m debating whether or not to write more about our lifestyle on my blog. Our lives are very different from most other people’s. When I talk to some people I feel like they cannot grasp what it is we do. Even closer family members reveal, in some small ways, that they really don’t “get” us. But should I post to try to bring to people our peaceful and happy way of life? I guess what I really want is for someone out there to see what we really are and there probably is no way of doing that besides living here. Or should I post about our lifestyle to give people a glimpse of another way of living an “American” life? Families are so different and really don’t think any one way has a monopoly on being right, but my children seem well adjusted and happy and it’s not because they are special minds, or that we were very strict and trained them up right. I’d really love my version of a happy family life to be out there for people to see.

Final Thoughts on “The 15 Success Traits of Pro Bloggers” by Jonathan Milligan

Page 142 “Creative freedom is when you have the time to do your best work.” And that only comes when you have your “to-do” list under control and are able to give yourself that time.

Page 155 “Full of ideas without a plan.” That’s me! But what to do? He’s got lots of ideas that involve planning and a year-long calendar but I really don’t think I’m even at the level yet. I’ve got to just keep a list of ideas and go over them on a regular basis to see if there is anything to start at the moment. Then get started…that’s the tough part. He also talks about a 90-day plan. That might be more manageable for me.

Page 162 “As a blogger I endeavor to use my creativity and coaching to support and inspire others to reach their full potential for the glory of God.” I think he’s doing a great job of that.

Page 171 “Lifelong learners have an advantage in today’s economy. They are able to make adjustments where and when it needs to happen.” That’s what we are at this house! And I don’t mean that any of us will go back to “school” to get an official degree in our next chosen venture. We live and learn on the fly and can adjust to the world around us and the changes within us as well.

Page 173 “Just-in-time learning means you intentionally focus your learning on only those things you need to learn right now. Don’t spend hours learning how to run a successful webinar if you are not willing to host a webinar in the next 90 days.” Like my husband learning each piece of making an app as it comes up. Or my son learning to rebuild a part of his motorcycle. They don’t take a class or sign up for a college to collect information that may or may not be needed in the future. It’s a waste of time.

Page 175 “Be a scientist. Scientists don’t fail – they experiment.”

Page 177 “Your end goal in blogging your passion ought to be to add value to as many lives as possible.” That’s how I feel about my homeschool blog and site!

Page 179 “Too many gurus only share the successes. They forget that their audience will connect with them at a deeper level if only they’d share their struggles too. Leading your tribe well begins by understanding their struggles.” I don’t want to be anyone’s guru or leader of a tribe. I only want to share my experience in a way the inspires others to go out and get an experience of their own.

Page 184 “You cease to serve your audience when you think you’re better.” I may be further down my own road and can see my own past more clearly than I could when I was in it, but I’m no better than anyone else walking down their road. I want my readers to see that I’m not special in any way other than I have a heart to share my experience. Everyone can do what I do if they want to and it’s fine for them if they don’t want to. Too many times I hear someone say that they’d love to have a peaceful life with their family, their children, but they just aren’t as smart or gifted as I am. To me, that’s just an excuse.

Page 192 “Whether you change someone’s day or change someone’s life, you need to make your dream a reality. We are waiting for you. There is a dream that only you can fulfill.”

Inspiring. Right? Now how to put this all into my brain and actually act on it? That is my usual question. I read so much. I write out notes and thoughts about things that touch my heart and make me want more. But I feel like it’s an endless cycle of getting nowhere. I know that’s not true, though. I write here, on this blog, to get thoughts out that aren’t in any order and then some of them I use on my homeschool blog, others I use to live my life fully. Maybe there isn’t anything else. And my life is so full. Why would I want more to come of it? Live in the now. Life is blessed right here and right now. My husband is working on his car. My sons are sleeping away the morning until they are rested and ready for the day. I’ve had my quiet cup of coffee and several hours to read and write as the sun comes up. And now I’ll be heading off to start the rest of my morning routine. I’ll feed my family, clean our house, help them to achieve their goals. I’ll post something to my homeschool group and send out a newsletter to those not connected to Facebook. I’ll “talk” with a friend or two online. I’ll wonder why summer has to be. I’ll be planning a weekend of fun with our parents coming to visit. Life. It’s enough.

Notes on “The 15 Success Traits of Pro Bloggers” by Jonathan Milligan – Part 1

I’m sorry all my posts are about the books I’ve been reading! I swear it will let up soon. I got a bit behind lately so I’m catching up and then I’ll feel better about sitting and writing out thoughts other than notes on books. Bear with me!

This is another book I wanted to read because I heard the author interviewed on a podcast. I can’t remember which one, but I heard it and put this book on my Amazon wish list right away. I’ve taken to making a note on the list where I got the idea to read the book since sometimes it is months before I get to order the book. Listening to the author, I got the idea that I might possibly become a “Pro-Blogger” myself. I was very inspired by is interview and I love reading his blog as well. The book proved to be just as inspiring but didn’t have a lot of “how-to” information. No worries, though! You can always find that kind of information online when you need it. It’s the inspiration to get started that I’m always looking for, and then the inspiration to keep going.

Page 19 “Myth #1 ‘I’m just going to follow the money and I’ll be rich.’”

I wasn’t passionate about the topics and I wasn’t teaching or serving anyone with any value.” Many people write on topics assigned to them for money. It doesn’t go far in the long run because your heart isn’t in the topics. You’re not creating value for anyone by rehashing other people’s ideas.

Page 20 “…stop seeing others as competition. See them instead as people who share the same passion as you.” Fear of the competition can cripple you. That crappy idea in the back of your mind that everyone else is better at everything than you are. I do have something special to offer people!

Page 29 “…pre-profit state; i.e., a length of time (usually longer than we want) during which we consistently share our message without much attention of income.” That’s me!

You are better off with a ‘worldview’ than a ‘niche’…A worldview allows you to share your opinion, vision, and unique perspective, which will cause others to either passionately connect or politely disagree.

Here’s a note I wrote in the margin. My blog is called “Roadrunner Musings.” Why did I name it that? First of all, I love watching roadrunners in my “yard”. The run from one area to the next, keeping an eye out for movement. The look like they are just randomly running, but their goal is food, some tasty something to give away it’s position by movement. It’s a lot like my writing and my thinking process. I’d like to write a post to expand on that idea.

Page 39 “When you get to the end of your life, you will treasure the moments when you decided to push past fear and try something new.” A million people have said that and it’s so true.

Page 42 “People want to hear from you and not a textbook.” Personal stories and thoughts on things speak to people. It touches on wisdom.

I believe the best bloggers are ‘learners’ at heart and not ‘writers’.” You can see why this book really got to me. The bloggers I follow most closely are learners sharing their new found ideas just like me!

Every day before they go off to school I tell them, ‘Make it a great day for someone.’” How powerful is that? I’ve been trying to do with my own family for years. How can I make it a great day for my husband or my children? And I’ve had that mantra with my homeschool groups as well. I think I’ll extend that further out. How can I make it a great day for someone that reads either of my blogs? Or on Facebook?

I wanted to share everything I knew about the job search so that others could stumble upon it and be helped during the Great Recession.” That’s exactly how I feel about my blog, especially my homeschool website. I feel like I’m putting a message in a bottle and setting it out to sea. And it’s so easy for anyone to do these days!

Page 48 On having patience, “You must value the journey more than the destination. You have to find fulfillment in the gap.” You see what I mean? There’s nothing novel in a statement like this. It’s just important because it is being said in the context of blogging and I found it at a moment that was very important to me personally. It found me where I am!

Page 56 “Perfectionism is really just resistance if…’What you are trying to do is more about you than who you are trying to help.’ …Make your focus the message and about helping other people.” My fear of talking to groups of people disappears when I’m focused on helping someone understand something that I feel I see so clearly. I worry that I’m not getting across, that I’m confusing them, that I’m not staying on target when I’m speaking, but ultimately I continue to talk because the passion in me is bubbling over. People do see that and they want that passion for themselves.

There are loads of great “product” building ideas in this book, but I won’t detail them. You need to read this book yourself for that. There are ones that I wrote down and “potential to-do’s” and I’m looking into creating some of them in the future.

Page 87 “Today the playing field is level. In days gone by, you had to either secure a television deal or “pay to play” for some air time through television commercials. We live in a different world.” I’ve been saying that for years! It’s so stinkin’ easy to get your voice out there.

He even talks about the negative voices in my head. This is a big problem for me. At times, ok most of the time, I feel so fragile. Any negative feedback or lack of feedback can stop me from putting my thoughts into words and putting it out there. I can get very excited and filled with ideas and then stop dead in my tracks from fear of looking like I think I know what I’m doing. And I honestly think that’s a symptom of my public education, something I’m determined to stop from happening to as many people as I can in my lifetime.

Page 126 “Circle of Wisdom” “small group of like-minded people that you rub shoulders with regularly” We don’t all need to be bloggers or homeschoolers. I’ve heard Tim Ferriss talk about this before, I think, one of those guys. A group of people that get together once a month or so to talk about progress and ideas, inspiration. Sounds wonderful.

A New Month and A New Leaf

July is here! June was just a crazy month for me. I read a lot but didn’t write much since I wasn’t home much. And I started to have that “falling behind” feeling once I was home that kept me from even getting started. But then I started to think, “What am I ‘falling behind’ in?” I mean, I’m not competing with anyone. There is no due date for my studies. Why not just keep chugging along? Then I found this awesome article yesterday called “Why Constant Learners All Embrace the 5 Hour Rule”. It was just the kick in the butt I needed! I read a lot in the morning and try to get to writing but sometimes I sit there thinking about all the other work I need to do, like housework and the kid’s, so I set it aside and think I’ll get back to it later. It never happens. On top of that, I start to feel like it’s all so futile. How can I possibly get anywhere reading and writing for only a couple hours a day? But it sure looks like Ben Franklin got in only slightly more reading time than I do! And when he wrote, it didn’t go anywhere besides his journals and the small newspaper he worked for. I’m doing something pretty similar! So there is a point to all of this after all. I may just be writing for my own edification, but you never know what may happen in the future. It’s all exciting when you look at it like that.

Here’s the piece I really want to work on, though, “Creating a club for “like-minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community”. Artisans and tradesmen can be pretty loosely interpreted. What if I created a book club that reads and discusses what they are reading? Already done! And now I’m encouraged to continue the idea and build on it. Great stuff!

The other one is “reflection time”, which I’ve posted about before, right?! Still working on that but it’s coming along too. Also, I’m going to start posting my book notes as I write them, instead of when they are done. Waiting is causing me anxiety about finishing them and posting nothing in the mean time. Shorter is better anyway! You’ll have to read in installments.

Processing Power

I feel like social media takes up too much of my processing power and slows me down, frustrating me and causing a lot of stress. I feel obsessed with scrolling through and reading little tidbits of information that don’t directly relate to anything I’m doing. Seldom is there anything I can do with the information I find there. Sometimes I read things that make me angry and I feel like something should be done or said. There isn’t anything I can write in those comments that would change anything really. I’m only putting more information in my mind to process that I can do nothing with. It just runs around in there, raising my blood pressure and feeding my mouth with negative things to say.

But there are positive things there too! I’d hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are positive posts to inspire me, great articles that make me think, invites to events around the area, and don’t forget updates from friends and family. And then there is the person I answered a question for or inspired with my insight into a situation. I really don’t want to lose those things about social media. So I have to find a way to balance this all out.

Yesterday I had time to think and talk some of this out with some friends. We all agreed that a comment thread on Facebook isn’t like a conversation with real people. There is a lack of body language or tone with this medium. You can’t tell if someone is in earnest or being a smart ass. The other thing is that in a conversation we all talk back and forth for a while and when one or more of us has to leave the conversation everyone knows it. It won’t go on for hours or days because no one has the time to sit together and talk that long. On Facebook it can go on forever. One heated conversation can go on for days. I see a post, give my comment or answer, and then walk away. When I get back there is a thread a mile long with all kinds of nonsense in it, some of it directed at me. They don’t know I’m not there to answer. Once I do, all the thinking people have probably moved on. It seems to me that only the angriest and most unreasonable people post multiple comments on a thread, pushing out all the calm and thought out replies.

The ones that have brought me the most satisfaction are the ones I don’t really get involved in. I see someone ask a question and I comment my answer, then walk away. Another thing I really enjoy and see doing a lot of good in the world is blogging here and on my homeschool site. Those out there looking for information seem to find people wanting to help. Social media just seems more like a place to gather a mob of people from a larger pool than to gain insight or detailed information.

So my effort for the next week will be to only check in twice a day. Once in the morning to see if anything cool is going on or if anyone has messaged me. Once in the evening to see if anyone has answered me. I’ve pared down my newsfeed to positive people that I really want to keep in touch with on a regular basis. I’m still going to blog on both my pages on a daily basis. And I will still post something to my Facebook feed when I want to share. I’ve printed my Facebook feeds off each year as a kind of scrapbook and I’d like to keep doing that. I just don’t need to follow the comments on everything I post as if I’m sitting with friends sharing stories. That should free up my mind a bit.

I already feel better today. It’s so strange how busy my mind can get working through information that cannot be of any service to me. You’d think I’d be able to just toss the unusable stuff away, but I just can’t. I think I am but I’m not because I realize at the end of the day I’ve read less of my book, interacted less with my sons, gotten less housework done, and feel overwhelmed because I’ve taken on this “job” of monitoring social media.

I’m off for the day. I’ve done what I needed to do and now I’m off to harass my sons about Forza. I tried playing it yesterday and it makes me ill. First person games. Yuck. Lots more on my list to do today and with my mind clear of extras, maybe I’ll feel like I got something done!

The Problem is…

It’s not really a problem. I started another website with a blog about homeschooling in California but I just can’t keep it up. I’ve been thinking about why and I think I’ve found a reason. There are several groups that cover the legal options here, so it’s redundant on that end. Also, and this is the biggest problem, I just don’t really separate education topics and life. I don’t see the line. It’s all blurred into one big topic. There are things that I want to write about that are specifically “education” but they are usually in the context of public school and are typically negative.

So I’m considering just dropping the site and concentrating on writing here. I think it would be time better spent.

Blogging and Ideas

I started my blog with the intention of writing daily and did fairly well…for awhile. I seem to have lost my initiative though. At first I’d sit down to write what was on my mind and have no trouble at all but I soon ran into trouble. Sometimes I’d have too much to write about. I’d have read something that gave me a couple topics, heard something on one of the podcasts I listen to, or read something online and I couldn’t decide which was more important. Then I’d just give up that day. A few days later, the opposite would happen!

Today I was listening to Isaac Morehouse’s podcast and the subject came up. Someone asked what he does to remember and use more of what he reads. I’ve had that question as well. What makes me really understand and make my ideas concrete is talking. I have few outlets for that, so I write. I’m not the best of writers but at least I think I can get my ideas across. And once I write about them they do seem to be more stuck in my consciousness. He said he stores up ideas in files or lists when he has a lot to write about, just enough to remind him of the feeling and thought and get back to it.

(And now my sons have come in from the garage and started talking and distracting me!)

Another thing that came up in that podcast this morning was something I had heard and have discussed before but about children and learning. When you read a book you don’t need to understand and completely GET everything in the book while you’re reading it. Some of the nourishment is subconscious. You may not think you’ve understood any of it at all. But it’s in your brain somewhere. You just need to keep reading, writing, and discussing. Those ideas will come back around and fit into new information as it comes up.

I’ve used that idea when talking to homeschoolers about reading to their kids. Unlike a classroom, the children in a family are different ages but that doesn’t mean you should read only books the youngest will understand. We read books that are just beyond the level of the oldest child listening. There are many starts and stops and questions, and sometimes the littlest would be playing with toys or a computer while we read, but the information is still there. And when they read or hear something else, the information they have stored up from the past is used to make sense of the new ideas. It’s pretty amazing to see in action, in myself and my children!