Liebster Award Nomination

Leibster Award, New Blogger

I blog to share because “sharing is caring”. I’ve said that before. It’s therapeutic for me to just share whatever I’m passionate about in the moment and if other’s join me on my journey, wonderful. If they comment and share back, even better. Yesterday though, I received a gift that I never dreamed of. I was nominated for The Liebster Award. An award to spotlight new bloggers and to allow them the opportunity to pay it forward. I’ve seen the badges on other blogs but never thought I’d get to put the badge on mine.  Well guess what?  Today, that all changes.

I need to thank Beth Wylie for the nomination.  She is a fellow blogger (Life in the Past lane) that I met a few months ago through blogging and Twitter.  On her brief bio she is described as:  “an Arklahoman- an Arkansas native who became an Oklahoman by marriage. She’s on a mission to shake all of her ancestors out of her family tree even if it takes a lifetime. When she’s not researching family history, she’s busy being a healthcare administrator, wife and mommy to a precocious three year old”.  Through brief conversations over blog posts and twitter, I derived that we have much in common.  We are both Gingers, which in itself creates a unique bond, we are passionate about our family history, we love to blog despite upholding demanding careers and busy families and we love Outlander.  Practically twins if you ask me.  I love to visit her blog to hear about a family history search South of the border.  I am truly grateful, honoured and thrilled that Beth nominated me.

There a few rules to accepting a Liebster nomination:

Leibster Nominee, New Blogger

 

My Nominator’s Questions:

1. What motivated you to start your blog and how long have you been blogging?

I am a journaller.  I think I got my first diary when I was 8 and from then on, I was writing my feelings.  I have a subconscious need to get my story out.  I’m not sure why or where this comes from for I have always had a need to do this.  In my early twenties, it became therapeutic when I suffered a few identity crises.  With the onset of blogging and social media it was a natural progression to take to the internet to get the stories out.  As I mature, my writing has a more meaningful purpose and blogging has helped with that evolution.  I’ve been blogging for about 4 years but only 1 seriously and consistently.

2. Where do you get the ideas for your blog posts?

Good question.  I don’t always know.  I make lists but I rarely choose from my list.  It is usually a surge of inspiration that will come at random times.  The Crestleaf 12 Month’s of Fascinating Family Finds challenge has been a great way for me to stay on track with my family history.  I have lots of great stories to share about that and the challenge gives me the focus to do it.  I’m pretty certain I have ADHD so any help with focus is great.

3. Do you ever get “writer’s block,” and, if so, how do you deal with it?

I have yet to experience writer’s block with blogging.  I used to suffer it immensely with university papers.  It helps when you write for yourself.  When I have to write to someone else’s expectations, it’s much more difficult.

4. What is the best advice you can give your fellow bloggers, especially new ones?

Read all you can about creating a blog and then toss it all away.   Take what you understand and make your own rules.

5. How do you network with other bloggers?

Twitter and by posting on their blogs.  I’m interested in taking it to the next level and start going to blog conferences to actually meet some of my “Blog World” friends in person.  I’ve met so many unique and wonderful characters in the Cyber World but it makes me long for a physical face-to-face chat over a cup of tea or coffee.  As great as it has been to meet so many people I’d otherwise never get to know, I love the energy of being with another person in the physical realm.

6. What is the best feedback you have ever gotten on a blog post?

One where someone read a post about a lost family branch and actually knew my family and gave feedback on sources of more information.  It was like finding a chest of rubies in the shipwreck you’ve been trying to uncover for years.

7. What kind of writing experience did you have prior to starting your own blog?

Bachelor of Arts in Drama.  I thought I’d be doing more acting but ended up writing a lot of papers about plays.  I’ve also written a few magazine articles about graduates for the post-secondary institution I work for.

8. What is one goal you have for your blog in the next 12 months?

To finish all 12 months of the Crestleaf challenge without missing any months.

9. What is your favorite blog?

I have many favourites for different reasons.  I like Life in the Past lane because I feel I relate to Beth’s genealogical journey. I like ADHD Kids Rock because of challenges myself and my son face with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). I like A Bowl Full of Lemons because I like organization and DIY stuff.

10. Who is the one person (not related by blood or marriage) that has influenced you the most.

Richard Branson.  I love his “Screw It, Let’s Do It” mantra.  And I love his philosophy that if you take care of the people they will take care of you.

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. First female ice-resurfacing machine operator in the Township of Norwich (the Zamboni driver)
  2. My favourite food all my life has been spaghetti
  3. I can clog
  4. I love Macaroni and Cheese loaf
  5. Christmas fanatic
  6. I’ve written 3 (maybe 4) major papers about George Bernard Shaw
  7. My first album was Destiny by The Jacksons
  8. I saw Michael Jackson in concert when I was 11
  9. I am fussy about food textures
  10. I have a secret crush on Hugh Jackman and Robert Pattinson
  11. I’ve seen every episode of Friends at least 3 times

My Nominees

Wear Out There, Christina Proctor

 

  1. I am an Image/Leadership Consultant on the side and I’ve fallen in love with Christina Proctor‘s blog Wear Out There.  For me, it’s (somewhat) local – I’m Canadian in a Southwestern Ontario world so I relate to many of the local business and style recommendations.  I also connect with her on her “About” page.  I believe that choice of style and expression can be the difference in the pursuit of success.  Congratulations on a great blog and presence Christina!

 

On Becoming a Wordsmith

 

2.  On Becoming a Wordsmith is a special blog to me.  It was created by my high school English teacher, Elaine Cougler on her “journey to publication and beyond”.  After high school, I ventured off to the world of post-secondary education, established a career and a family and several years later reconnected with Elaine.  She had since retired and told me about her dream to publish.  I enjoyed following her blog about all the steps she took to make her dream come true.  The first book of her trilogy “The Loyalist’s Wife” is a remarkable telling of a story of a young couple’s struggle to start a life in a new world with a looming Revolutionary War.  The young man in the story, John Garner, joins Butler’s Rangers in the fight for Loyalist freedom.  “So what”, you say?  My 6X great grandfather, William May, was a member of Butler’s Rangers.  It was like reading my own history.  Not only am I so very proud of my teacher’s pursuit of her dream but she has been a huge inspiration to me in following my own.  Congratulations Mrs. Cougler!  (I know it’s Elaine but there is a certain amount of endearment that comes from referring to you as the teacher who helped instil a love of literature and writing in this girl’s heart).

 

My Travels, Crazy Aunt Susan, Susan McLachlan

3.  My close friend and colleague, Susan, started a blog a while back, My Travels, to capture her travel experiences.  She only blogs when she travels but it allows me to almost be there with her.  With a busy family of 2 young boys, I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like so it’s a great way for me to feel a part of it.  Unlike other travel blogs, for me, I know Susan and can imagine her experiences.  I am nominating her blog and hope it encourages her to continue sharing her journeys.

 

ADHD Kids Rock, Jeff Rasmussen

 

4.  I don’t think my next nominee qualifies as a small blog but I believe it is relatively new.  Jeff Rasmussen is a 15 year old individual with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder).  He has had significant challenges going through school and at 13, he created a web site and blog to share his experiences, strategies and stories to help other kids who have similar challenges.  I love visiting his blog ADHD Kids Rock, because someone close to me is one of those kids.  Jeff embraces his ADHD and celebrates his gifts.  It’s a unique perspective.  Often, when I am researching ADHD to understand how to work best with its challenges, the focus is on “how to deal with it” or “what are the symptoms”, “how to medicate it”, “how to feed one with ADHD”; most resources are about reacting to ADHD and not accepting it.  Thank you to Jeff for having the courage and the drive to go forward with his vision.  He has certainly touched us and given us a positive place to go to learn about and embrace ADHD.  Congratulations Jeff!

To my nominees, I pose the following 11 questions.

  1.  How has blogging changed your life?
  2. Where do you get ideas for your posts?
  3. What 3 tips would you give new bloggers?
  4. What do you find the most challenging about blogging?
  5. Has blogging brought you any surprises that you didn’t expect when you started?
  6. Which social media platforms do you use (if any) to promote your blog?
  7. How did you gain your expertise on blogging?  Did you take courses, have someone assist you or did you just jump in?
  8. What is the single most rewarding thing you get out of blogging?
  9. Have you attended any blogging conferences?  If so, what did you gain from attending?
  10. How do you nurture relationships with your followers?
  11. Which of your strengths has helped you the most with your blogging?

I hope you enjoy your nomination as much as I did.  Thanks for your inspiration and your stories.  I wish you abundant success as you continue on your blogging journey.

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Be King of Your Content

Content is King

CONTENT IS KING” is the message that resonates through the social media know-how kingdom.  What does that even mean?  There are so many thoughts out there on what one should think about when preparing content for social media that I found it difficult to sift through it.  “Connect emotionally with your audience”, “use video on your site”, “be sure to use as many ‘keywords’ as possible to ‘optimize’ your ‘search engine optimization’, “use a content calendar to strategically post at times when your audience is online”, “use plenty of images”, “don’t use too many images”, “use other’s content”, “don’t use other’s content”, “hashtag everything”, “be careful how often you hashtag”, “here’s 22 things to include as content for your blog …” etc. etc.

 

I thought “there’s too much to know, I can’t do this effectively, why even bother”.  Despite those feelings of inundation in the beginning, I carried on.   I eased myself into the vast, evolving and ever-changing world of social media much the way one might enter the water from a sandy beach; step-by-step, adjusting to the water as I gradually gained confidence to take the next step.    Getting different perspectives on expectations for a credible social media presence was good but I’m glad I didn’t let the different schools of thought squash my desire or need to get out there in the social realm. From my experience so far, I’ve surmised 4 key things that keep me forging ahead and striving to be King (or Queen) of my content.

 

  1. Allow Myself Time

I am of the type to want to reach perfection instantly.  The learning curve is not my favourite part of a journey.  I want to start out an expert.  When I was reading up on content, I thought I needed to write the best posts and capture the best of other’s content so that I would sign in as a superhero of social media immediately.  I wanted to have a hundred posts ready to go so that I could post continuously while creating new content.  I had to take a step back and give myself permission to take time to grow as a social media persona.  I know I have a long way to go and I’ve accepted that.  The journey is providing me with learning opportunities.  If I waited until I felt I was an expert, I’d never be here, creating content on feeling confident to create content.

  1. Keep It Sweet and Simple.

This is one rule that I come back to again and again in all areas of my life.  Content creation is no exception.  I think back to my years of textbook reading.  If a page was solid text, I was less enthused about reading it but if it had lots of pictures, graphs or tables with text boxes and quick bullets of information, it was much more appealing to read and digest.  The same thoughts happen with any kind of media content.  Visual appeal with quick points are more likely to entice me to continue reading so I keep that in mind when preparing content.

  1. Stay True to Myself

When all else discourages or overwhelms, I stay true to me.  Sometimes, I just have to ignore the hyperbole and go with what my heart tells me to write.  Of course, I need to give consideration to my audience to entice them to return but if it isn’t true to me, the audience will see through it and I may lose valuable trust.  In my opinion, it’s best to be transparent.  You’d be surprised at how many others were just waiting to hear something that resonated and your content was it.

  1. Use a Scheduling Tool or Calendar

It seemed scary to prepare a content calendar at first.  What content would go where over the course of a month seemed like a lot of work.  When all was said and done, it saved time and more importantly, anxiety.  It helped me organize thoughts and keep creativity flowing because I wasn’t stressing over what to post and when.  You can go online and source out content management tools or create your own in Word or Excel.  It’s worth it.

 

Despite all the blogs, posts and information out there on all the things to consider when creating content for your social media presence, these 4 ideals have helped put it all into perspective.  Are you King of your content?