This is my 100th blog post. Wow, how did that happen?!? Well, I know exactly how it happened…one article, one week at a time. Not all 100 posts have been written by me personally. There are guest bloggers who contribute articles and there are some videos thrown in there as well. But still, 100 posts. It’s a milestone, a cause for celebration!
I started two years ago back in August 2016. I launched my online store and wanted to include a blog. I did my research. I remember reading how many people start a blog and then give up after 7 or 10 or 20 posts. You must commit was the advice. Commit to 100 posts. Okay, I was in.
I wrestled over how frequently I would post…daily seemed too much, monthly seemed too little. It came down to weekly or bi-weekly. The timeframe really didn’t matter as long as I continually showed up. Consistency was the key. I finally settled on weekly. To be honest, I have missed a week here and there but only a few.
In the beginning, before I even published my first post, I made sure I had an inventory of articles. I had enough articles written to take me into the new year, 22 weeks’ worth. I thought that was plenty and the plan was to keep writing so I would always have a backlog of posts ready to go. But life happens, and before I knew it, it was January and I was on my last post. No more inventory.
Now I try to batch write as much as possible, one month’s worth of articles at a time. Of course, it doesn’t always work that way. The words don’t always flow when I want them to. I have to be inspired which can happen at any time but not necessarily when I am sitting at my desk with a Word document open. Sometimes I quickly pull out my laptop, or I hop on a note-taking app on my phone, or I grab my bedside journal from the night table, or I scramble to find a scrap of paper and a pen.
I have never thought of myself as a writer and still don’t but I find it's a form of therapy for me. Writing the blog helps me get through the emotional ups and downs of life on the personal front as well as the isolated and often crazy entrepreneur front. It helps to get my thoughts on paper and then to share it out into the world. And if it resonates with anyone or they find it helpful, thought provoking, or even just an interesting read, then that is icing on the cake.
I have had many people tell me I am a good writer, a good storyteller. I am always taken aback by this. When you write something and put it out there on the web, you often wonder does anyone even read this, does anyone even care?
A friend who is a journalist and professor at the Journalism School at Carleton University has complimented me on my writing. She says she reads all my blog posts. Wow, I feel so honoured coming from someone who knows writing well. At the same time, it makes me a little nervous because I don’t always use proper grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, or even words.
Some people have asked how I go about writing my blog posts every week. My inspiration comes from many sources, mostly life experiences - past, present, and future. Sometimes ideas come from books I am reading, or podcasts I am listening to, or conversations I have overheard, or something funny or joyful, sad or painful that has happened in my life.
People ask how long it takes to write an article. I have to say a long time. I can’t just sit down and pound out an article in an hour or two. I will start an article and leave it. I like to write, let it settle, and then revisit it and revise. My best stories have evolved over time. Perhaps, most writers do this. I don’t really know. Probably not journalists though who are always working on a deadline.
I am currently re-reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, for the third time. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it.
She tells the story about a poet named Ruth Stone who could hear a poem rushing towards her like a galloping horse while she was working out in the fields. She would run towards the house as fast as she could to grab a piece of paper and a pencil to write it down before it passed through her. Sometimes she would be too late. It would be gone in a whoosh. But sometimes, she could catch it, barely, by the tail and pull it back in. And then the words would spill onto the page backwards, from last word to first. All sounds a little crazy, don’t you think?
The truth is I feel this way sometimes, not in such a dramatic fashion mind you. But an idea will pop into my head and the words are there and if I don’t write them down right away, they slip away. They may come back but not always, or not in the way they first presented themselves. Hence the bedside journal. I quickly jot down ideas, phrases, sentences. They don’t have to be in any order just as long as they are captured on paper. Then I can come back to it later and rewrite, refine, reorder. It’s a process.
That’s why I like to have lots of ideas in my back pocket which is really a file on my computer. That’s how I work on a month’s worth of articles at a time. They are not all completely written but there’s an outline, ideas formed, and a schedule.
As many of you know, I often write about family. My husband is my proof reader not only for spelling and grammar but also my conscious. My articles often touch upon both him and my daughter. I always get their blessing and approval before I hit publish. The same goes for other family members and friends. If I write about them in name and/or include photos, then I get their permission first.
When I include stock photos that are not my own, I always give attribution. If they appear in my blog that means I like the photographer’s work and it helps tell the story. I want the photographer to be recognized and credited for their brilliant work.
I am slowly building up my subscriber list one subscriber at a time. It will go up by two and then down by one. When people unsubscribe, I don’t get upset and I don’t take it personally. I think the ones that stay are my people, my tribe. They get it and I don’t need a lot of them. So, thank you if you are one of them.
I appreciate you hanging in there with me, watching my evolution, giving me feedback and encouragement in person, by email, or on social media, and contributing comments when something resonates or moves you. I am truly grateful for your support. It touches my heart and fills my soul.
If you like my blog, I invite you to share with other like-minded people. Forward my weekly email, tag friends on social media, or send them to my website, www.cokanna.ca, and they can sign up for my mailing list.
P.S. I am always seeking guest bloggers. If you, or anyone you know, like to write and would be a good fit for “Keeping Abreast”, then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.