Tag Archives: blogging

The Importance of Following Your Inner Voice

inner voiceBy Kristin A. Meekhof

When a well- known author gave me the opportunity to guest blog on her website, I did a happy dance. I had to reread the email several times to take it all in.  At the same time, I was a ball of nerves. I actually felt a knot in my stomach. I worked countless hours on this blog entry, and even confided in a friend, who is an editor, that I was filled with angst.  As a professional editor, this dear friend offered to review my work. I didn’t hesitate to accept this generous gesture.  I felt that a second set of professional editorial eyes was just what I needed.

After exchanging a few emails with my friend, I felt confident that I had the polished and perfect article ready for submission.  My friend’s editorial remarks and insights were nothing short of genius.  Now, my sentences were crisp and alive. Moreover, I felt that I captured the true essence of this blog assignment. I submitted my work, and waited, and waited. No word. Finally, I got a generic email back stating that I was rejected. The words stood out like a black eye. My ego was bruised and my self- esteem tanked.  I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I’ve been published numerous times by a national well- respected publication and now, this- rejection!  In a panic, I contacted my friend. She reassured me that revisions and edits are part of the game.  She kept repeating “No worries”, in a calm tone.  Honestly, I was worried.  I asked the author’s assistant for feedback as to why I received the rejection. No response.  I resubmitted a revised version, and I was rejected- again.

I set aside the article for a day, and went back to reread what I wrote.  I realized that the writing did not sound like me. I had lost my voice. I was intimidated by this “big” author. Wanting to impress others, I tried to write for them instead of myself. In the past, my writing voice has served me well.  After all, it is what earned me this author’s blog invitation. After some hours of rumination, I called my trusted aunt and explained the situation. With a very maternal voice, she said, “Listen very carefully to the (writing) voice inside you.”

I had compromised my writing voice in exchange for something that I thought guaranteed sophistication. When I set aside my own style in favor of a voice that I assumed was fancy and fabulous, I rejected my own voice.  A voice that is strong, that I’ve relied on, not only to obtain other writing assignments, but a voice that has guided me through some very difficult decisions.

I think we all have our own inner voice that guides and teaches us. For some of us, that voice is strong and courageous. For others, the voice is hesitant and passive.  I’m not suggesting that we have all the answers. Of course, there are times when we can’t be afraid to ask for help. In fact, there are times when obtaining outside professional help is necessary. What I am speaking to is listening to that voice within you.  Some call this voice, “a gut feeling” or “intuition”. Whatever you may call it, listen. Listen to its whispers, to its laughter, and to its tears. These are the sounds and songs of the heart. This is what will connect you with the goodness in others, and what will bring out your own truth.  Be brave. Listen.

My intent is to listen to my own voice and to the songs and whispers of my heart.

***

Brief Bio- Kristin Meekhof is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Her writing has appeared in Author online magazine,  Ecclesio, and the University of Michigan Cancer Website blog. She is currently working on her upcoming book– Just Widowed,  and can be reached at www.kristinmeekhof.com

4 Tips for Dealing with Online Haters

shutterstock_76767721-11By: Dr. Kulkarni

With more of the world creating and consuming information on the internet, online behavior, etiquette, and the rules of engagement are becoming increasingly complex.  Basically, online etiquette is virtually nonexistent.  Sitting behind an anonymous computer screen, with an anonymous screen name, many people feel empowered to say things in comment boxes, chat rooms and on boards that would never say in real life.  In some ways, this creates open, honest, unfiltered dialogue.  On the flip side, it really brings out the dark side of people where they unleash all their frustration, anger, and even boredom through their keyboards.

So what to do if you’re an online writer, blogger, tweeter, or anyone who puts any sort of content out there that people can read and comment on?  These are my top tips for surviving and navigating through the world of online “haters”:

  1. Don’t take it personally.  This seems like an obvious one, but it’s good to remind yourself that the people that are writing nasty or negative comments probably don’t know you in real life.  They have not put as much thought and effort into their words as you probably have into yours, and aren’t as invested in what they’re saying and how it might be hurting you.  Most people just have a knee-jerk reaction, comment on the first thing that comes to mind and move on.  Also remember that some of these people are bored, and it’s much easier for them to tear someone else down than to do something constructive themselves.  So keep a cool head, your emotions in check, resist the urge to respond, and move on.
  2. Know what you’re getting yourself into.  When you voluntarily post your work, writing, or thoughts onto the world wide web, you are by definition exposing yourself to the world (or at least anyone that has access to the site you are posting on).  Take this into consideration before you put something out there on social media, a blog, etc.  If you are writing something that you know in your heart is controversial, that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong to put it out there, but be prepared for the backlash.  And don’t act surprised when it comes.  This is all a part of learning how to handle your online persona.  Having a thick skin is a part of it.  The other part of it is understanding how the majority are going to perceive something, and then tailoring your message to reach your audience most effectively.
  3. Realize that disagreement can be healthy and be utilized as constructive feedback.  On the flip side of the first point, if you see a comment that is well thought out, and written in a respectful manner, but just happens to disagree with you, don’t automatically discount that person as a “hater.”  Varying points of view are necessary for productive dialogue, and people reading your words have different degrees of life experience, perspective, and insight.  Not to mention different value systems and ways of looking at the world.  When something goes out to a broad audience, you should expect dissention.  You can sometimes utilize the feedback to your advantage to help you evolve your own point of view or understand another’s perspective, which will only make you better.
  4. Stay focused on your message.  If you’re reading this, you probably understand Law of Attraction basics.  So you know that split energy or negativity within yourself will cause disturbance in your energy and potentially attract haters.  Try to come from a clear, pure space of love and positive intention in all of your work and writing.  You will never be able to please all of the people all of the time, but focusing on your own strongly positive intention and message will help keep you from being brought down by people at a different energy frequency.  In other words, stay in your own positive mind space, and let your work and words flow from there.  The haters will eventually get bored and move on as well.

***

Dr. Kulkarni is a New York City based physician, spiritual author, and personal coach.  Find her @Dr_Kulkarni or visit www.leveragingthought.com to learn more.

Confessions of an Ex-Serial Dater

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 10.07.11 PMIt was becoming fairly routine in the “date night” order of operations: moments before any Friday night date was about to begin, I would do a clean sweep of my apartment and quickly hide any evidence that might reveal who I actually am. Any old photos of me from the awkward years, any Louise Hay inspired affirmations taped to my mirror, and any erroneous object that might imply I had more depth than a kiddie pool was quickly stowed away in my desk drawer.

You see, when I moved halfway across the country about a year ago, I was going on a lot of dates. I’d like to think it was because I was entering a time in my life when men found me simply irresistible, but it was also part of a staunch effort to avoid having to spend any long span of time by myself. After such a significant uprooting, I was sure that if I stopped moving for a moment I would have to face a whole lot of grief and other yucky feelings I was dead set on avoiding. In order to continue hiding myself from myself, I also found it essential to hide myself from other people…particularly men I was going on dates with.

So when about four months ago, one of those dates turned into about six weeks of regular encounters, this man who we’ll call “John” for the purposes of a public post was recalling how I told him I was a writer on our first date. Curious as to why he’d never seen me so much as scribble, he asked me why it appeared I hadn’t been writing since we met.

“Didn’t you used to blog all the time?” he asked. “Why haven’t you been writing anymore?”

“Oh, you know,” I started. “I just haven’t really been inspired to write anything in particular as of late.”

I turned my back to him as I was talking to privately make one of those “oh my God, what just came out of my mouth was the biggest crock” faces to myself without him seeing. Of course, the real answer to his question was:

“Yeah buddy, of course I haven’t been writing since I met you…because then you would find it on the internet and know I’m absolutely nothing like the girl you’ve been spending all your time with.”

Suddenly, the truth was staring me in the face. I’d been working so hard at running away from myself that if this man were actually to stumble upon any of my writing, he probably wouldn’t be able to tie it to its author. I was so wrapped up in whoever it was I was trying to be (I tend to channel simple, needless, quiet, you know: all the things I am not) that I couldn’t even find it in me to do my favorite thing because it would stifle my act. It appeared I only had two options:

I could keep dating, or I could start writing.

I didn’t decide overnight. John and I continued seeing each other for a few more weeks, and after that there were one or two more guys I went on several dates with to no avail. The truth is, had those guys been Ryan Gosling clones descending from on high, I probably still wouldn’t have been interested in continuing to date them because there was someone I really missed spending time with who I was totally neglecting:

Me. 

I told my inner circle I was taking a brief sabbatical from romance to get my feet on the ground, and most importantly to start writing again. Since then, the posts have literally been coming out of me like a faucet I can’t turn off. The first step felt like jumping off a bridge, but the ones that have come after that? Those I would not take back for anything: they are so much sweeter than the time I spent running in the opposite direction. In the end, if it were between dating or writing again, I would pick writing any day.

I suspect that eventually, though, I won’t have to choose.

So You Wanna Be a Blogger? Six Steps to Get You Started.

Phone Home
The blogosphere is blowing up these days. If you’re reading this, you are a part of the movement! Blogging is gaining serious momentum as a social media tool and is lighting a fire to the idea of connection to ignite business and relationships. Ever wondered if you too could be a blogger? You can. Here are six things I have learned from my own experience as a blogger to get you started:

  1. Seek inspiration. Don’t think you have anything to write about? You do! If you are breathing and alive, you do. There is inspiration under every stone, with every glance and with every heartbeat and interaction. Be alert and awake to your own life enough to see that there is a spiritual lesson around every corner. And remember a blog piece doesn’t have to be spiritual. You can blog a “how-to” on new ways to get into handstand…or innovative ways to use coconut oil…or interesting ideas for kid’s lunches to get out of the less than stellar PB&J rut. If you think it, you can write it.
  2. Let other writers inspire you. I received this advice a few years ago, and it has changed my writing. I thought I had to blaze a new writing trail and do it all on my own. It was a huge relief to know I could allow myself to be inspired! Relentlessly read posts and books by authors you admire. Let their style soak into you. Then, make it yours.
  3. Write as though nobody will read it. My most moving and influential posts are the ones I wrote as therapy, and then eventually sent to be published. When you write for an audience, without realizing it you fall into “what will they think?” and you start to hold back. Don’t hold back. What the world wants to see is real, raw passion. Not the cleaned up edited version of reality. Let words move through you to your fingers, edit for grammar and spelling, and set it free.
  4. The piece that makes you want to puke when you think about sharing it is the one that most needs to be posted. Every single time I have wanted to puke before hitting SEND but sent anyway, the results have been liberating to say the least. The things that move us, the things that we’re afraid of and the things that inspire us cause us to feel deep down in our bellies. The topics and subjects people deeply connect on are those that we most are afraid to speak on. Liberate not only yourself, but others, through this connection.
  5. Be prepared to be turned down. For every enthusiastic “YES we’d love to post your work,” there can be several “no thank yous.” That’s OK. It could mean a few things. One, try a different blog site. Maybe your piece isn’t quite what they are reporting on right now. Two, have a friend read your piece and ask for constructive criticism. Be open to their reply. Three, write something new. I have boatloads of essays I have written that I won’t ever submit to a blog. They stay on my personal blog indefinitely. Lastly, do not attach your self-worth to how your writing is received. We are infinitely more than our stories.
  6. Be prepared to be amazed. The universe doesn’t smile on hesitation. Life isn’t handed to you wrapped up in a perfectly square box tied with a stunning gold bow. It just isn’t. Put yourself out there. Research each blog to find out how to submit new writing. Don’t wait for someone to ask. Over and over, again and again, share a piece of yourself. The rest is up to the universe to decide how your blog is received. You may just be amazed at the results. I have been, time and time again. The posts you think will be judged harshly are actually setting you free, one word and one reader at a time.

Shine on, new blogger, shine on.

 

Photo credit: Flickr

Why We Write





There’s a growing desire for self-expression.  But we all use writing in different ways to achieve it.  In a recent workshop, participants aimed to use their writing to create a memoir, to help others in an inspirational self-published book and to to include flashes of stories in a family scrapbookI believe most all of us want to write as a means of communicating something about ourselves and our lives on a deep heart felt level.  And perhaps at the deepest level we seek to understand and to be understood.


In a Natalie Goldberg’s workshop, she gave prompts to get people writing.  “Write about your mother’s hands,” she said and fifty pens began to scratch at notebooks.  “No stopping,” she ordered.  “Keep your pen moving.”  She helps people to discover the wild mind and run with its chattering.  Grasp the details.  Bring the stories to life through snippets of unrealized truth that pop out when given an opportunity.  People are drawn to the magic of her workshops because they yearn not only for self-expression, but also for the nuggets of self-comprehension that emerge.

Something about human nature not only wants to tell stories, we want to tell our personal stories and be the hero or heroine.   Several years ago when I would tell people I was a writer they almost inevitably responded by, “I have a great life story.  You’ll want to write about me.  Let me tell you…”  And if I was sitting in a plane I usually received as much of their life story as the flight allowed.  Now, instead of hearing people tell their stories to someone else, many want to author them.  The democratization of publishing through blogs, e-books, and Twitter make this option readily available to anyone willing to invest time, energy and money.  To many people it doesn’t matter how many people read it.  But just having gone through the process and put pen to paper is reward enough. 

We want not only to express ourselves, but we also believe our stories will speak to others.  Bowkers reports that 2009 marked a turning point when more books were published by print-on-demand companies than by traditional publishers.  Boulder Bookstore in Colorado reported that self published books now account for over 1% of its sales. Even though the store charges a fee to display these books, authors still come in everyday willing to pay the price.  A century and a half ago reading and writing were reserved for an elite.  Now both have become common place and technology has democratized the publishing process. 

Ultimately we seek acceptance and understanding from others.  And this is perhaps why we invest so much in getting the writing out there through publishing and blogging.  If ten or a hundred people read an author’s work, especially if it’s a memoir, there must be a sense of the personal becoming universal and even legendary.  Almost every human heart yearns to be just a little bit legendary and leave a legacy that will inspire others..

This Week’s Call For Content: Connecting With Others Online

This week on Intent, we want to hear your tips, advice and action steps on connecting with others online. How can we use the online tools at our disposal to enhance, rather than replace the human connections that are so important to us? How can we take advantage of the new social technology to create new friendships and explore collaborations in ways that were once unimagined? 

Don’t get me wrong–most of us are guilty of being more plugged in than we should be. We all need to make a conscious effort to unplug from our technological toys and enjoy nature, relationships and life in real-time as opposed to screen-time. However, when we use our online social tools in moderation and with intention, there are so many creative, innovative ways we can create meaningful connections, nurture existing relationships and get more involved in the communities and causes we are passionate about.

Are there any cool online communities, resources or tools that has really helped you connect with others? Maybe you’ve made some great friends by attending Meetup groups in your area via MeetUp.com. Or Idealist.org has connected you to a lot of amazing volunteer opportunities. Or directly and actively engaging with your Twitter followers has really boosted your blog readership and online business. And I know this isn’t for everyone, but I will throw out there that I have at least two friends who’ve met the love of their live via OkCupid.com

Or maybe using online social tools for enhancing our connections is a matter of changing how we use it instead of what we use. Maybe it is a matter of making a personal commitment to use Facebook only when you want to reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while–instead of killing time at work. Maybe it is a personal vow to use Twitter only to spread relevant and interesting information to others, as opposed to simply blabbing about your own personal idoisyncrasies. Or maybe you used a blog or Twitter campaign to really help spread word about a worthy cause to many people. Do you have cool examples of how your online social tools have really helped you form and maintain strong connections with others? 

While we’re on the topic of connecting to others online, we hope that for all of you, Intent.com will always be a warm and inviting space for all of you community members to find inspiration, give encouragement and meet like-minded people who are all seeking to improve themselves and the world around them. In addition to commenting on other members’ blogs and intents, you can interact with other Intent members on our Intent Facebook page and check out other Intent community members on Twitter by following our tweets on our Intent Twitter. (Don’t forget that you can sync your Intent profile with your Facebook account and your Twitter account when you go to My Profile >> Edit >> My Syndication

Join Intent’s mission this week to inspire others with ideas that will help us connect with others online. Tag your blog posts "online connections" and we will be featuring the best weekly content at the end of the week. If you simply want to share a quick idea in the comments below, we want to hear that as well. We can’t wait to read your contributions!

 PHOTO: Flickr / chegs

Fellow/Sister Bloggers Tell Your Truth

MerrieWay attended a panel at the LA Times Bookfair in Los Angeles. Arianna Huffington stated she still reads her newspapers and has no intent of wanting their demise.

 This pandemic concern of magazines and newspapers folding (Boston Globe) with the advent of online coverage begs another question. How to keep responsible journalists in the work-force? With salary crunches professional journalism could become a dying art and we may be leaving our best out to dry.

With citizen reporting we are hearing the ‘Voice of a Nation’ that has been historically apathetic. Keep the conscious connection alive; heartfelt, passionate, healthy news brings hope and responsible action.

Imagine back in the day when the scribes were told of the new invention, the printing press. They held on dearly to their tableaus, not wanting to let go or succumb to the flimsy printed page. Here we are online news coverage and the printed news is facing a similar dilemma. We don’t know where this sound-bite, misinformation, unchecked reporting will ultimately lead.
In the meantime, we fellow/sister Blog-Hogs are on the precipice of history making, and granted most of us are loving every unknown, unpredictable Blog of it. Many of us are developing a ‘see my next’  blog addiction, our fingers growing anxious, pounding the keyboard in search of the next word.

The Voice of citizen journalists ring out near and far. Join MerrieWay and weigh in. Where are we going in the world of failing newspapers, responsible journalism vs. online reporting?
 

Economic Uncertainty Spawns Creative Fecundity

 

NEVER A WORSE BETTER TIME THAN NOW
By: Tim Freeman
If the Recession Blues are getting you down – or if you’re just dreading the countdown to 2012 when the ancient Mayan calendar predicts the world will end – have no fear. Even though you may not have a job, or you have a job but no money, you can take solace in the fact that things aren’t as bad as they appear on the surface.
As we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st Century and realize what an anticlimactic disappointment it all was, we can take comfort in knowing that the world isn’t going to implode anytime soon (sorry Mayans). There is a vast future waiting to be conquered, and history is already unfolding before our eyes. Many of us might not see it, but all it takes is some sifting through the murky haze of blah-ness to uncover the possibilities.
You probably already recognize some of the trends brewing these days without even being aware of it. If not, let me call your attention to some of them:
Jon Itkin
Not since Bruce Springsteen has an artist tapped the American working class backbone with so much originality and intellectual honesty as this 24 year old virtuoso from Oregon. Itkin’s website describes his music as, “A little country, a little rock n’ roll,” but this man’s sound truly defies genre labeling. In “Like a Bruise” off of 2005’s Oregon, Jon laments, “Working ‘till [he’s] sixty then dying of a heart attack.” Not the most uplifting lyrics, but this coffee drinking hick has a way of turning pain into something beautiful. “Bismarck,” from 2007’s Big Gold Guitar in the Sky, is a more upbeat ditty which rants about fathers who are “land-locked sailors” and running away with “a beautiful woman.” Probably the most promising thing about Jon Itkin’s music besides his prematurely-aged wisdom and talent, however, is that it attempts to redefine a certain way of life within a 21st Century context. Itkin proves that cowboys can still be cool and have relevance for all time, if they only adjust their sensibilities every once in a while.
Blog Your Way to a Job
Believe it or not, ennui is marketable. Chances are you and everybody you know (and their dog) has a blog. But did you know that your blogging might pave the way to a career? Yes, what you had for breakfast and your insights about last night’s episode of Big Love can actually land you a job. Emily Gould, former Gawker editor turned blogger, is a perfect example of someone who utilized this bedroom launch pad to make a career for herself in the limelight. Considered a leading authority on the whole blogging phenomenon, Emily is currently authoring a book based on her 2008 NY Times Magazine article about her personal obsession with blogging and being what she calls an “over-sharer.” The blogging maven has even been a guest on Larry King Live and FOX’s Redeye.
Carmichael native and Del Campo alumnus Brenna Hamilton, a self-described “freelance writer and former advertising wondergirl” began studying mass communications after her advertising job was downsized. “There is a huge rift in the mass media between traditional forms of broadcast, cable, radio, magazines, newsprint, books and sound recordings (music) versus the 21st Century digital Internet and mobile/cell revolution,” she says. “What we are experiencing is the end of the line for the traditional media as they struggle to adapt or die in the new age of all things Internet/digital.”
As old school media struggles to keep pace with newer technologies, conditions are ripe for bloggers to move in and fill the gap. What does this mean for us lay people? Let’s say, for instance, you have season tickets to the King’s games. Perhaps you could provide firsthand reporting of all the Arco action on your blog titled Cow BellsSports Illustrated would no doubt be jealous, and who knows – they may even try to recruit you. With so much foreseeable potential in the future of blogging, you need to start asking yourself before you sit down at the computer: Who is going to be reading this and how will it impact me later on down the road?
The New York Invasion
Another foreign music invasion wouldn’t be something to feel optimistic about if it were anything as dismal as the last invasion which brought us such depressing acts as Coldplay, The Vines and the new politically-charged U2. No, the latest invasion of musical genius is actually being generated from within our own borders in a little place called New York City. These new bands share more in common with their older British siblings, bands like Radiohead and Blur who illuminated the alternative rock scene during the middle and late nineties. Acts like the Brooklyn-based MGMT, The Kills and Georgia born Cat Power are spearheading an American musical Renaissance. Add to this domestic juggernaut the Canadian rockers Arcade Fire and a Danish duo called the Raveonettes, and it seems as if the world is musically on the verge of something very powerful and transcendent. If you are someone who thought there was no future to music after Radiohead, think again.
***
On the surface, blogging and a musical Renaissance may seem like meager sea changes in these gloomy times. But we should all take solace in the fact that the economic pall cast by the failures of the shadow banking system could not and cannot kill or dampen human expression and creativity. We will always have these great freedoms and commodities to enjoy, trade and sell.
And when times are toughest, sometimes this wellspring of freedom is all we have.

I made a decision: I will start to Blog & dare to disturb the universe

My first blog entry. April 14, 2009. 11:35 PM

I have been wanting to blog for the longest time.  I have 2 friends who have been encouraging me to blog, I’ve read up on different types of blogs (free vs paying), pros/cons of wordpress blogs vs regular websites, I attended a local networking blogger group, I’ve been posting 140 word Tweets 2x per day (to get into the groove of posting regularly & writing posts that would bring value to people’s lives), I’ve checked different free blogging options & for some reason this Intent.com forum just seemed right, today    What has been holding me back? I don’t think my English writing skills are that great i.e. syntax…but hell the only way to improve is to W R I T E.  So I am going to write. 

I have made a decision to practice decision making; so today I decided to start blogging & dare to disturb the universe (although some Intenters may disagree; for today it’s what I need to do) and to set an intention to join Deepak Chopra in taking a vow for non violence in thought, speech & action ASAP.  I will now sit back a observe how these intentions unravel themselves. 

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