The Return

Like most people, when I first started practicing centering prayer, a form of Christian meditation, I struggled with “thoughts.” Centering prayer involves letting go of thought and allowing the mind grow quiet for a set period of time, let’s say 20 minutes. But we can’t really stop thinking – it’s what makes us human. So in centering prayer we focus on a word or our breath and let the thoughts come and go. When we catch ourselves getting distracted by a thought, we gently return our focus to our word or breath.

featherWhich all sounds well and good. In theory. In practice – and least in mine – it often sounds like this. Inhale … exhale … inhale … exhale … inhale … ex – man I am hungry. And I didn’t pack any lunch. Have to go out. Did I bring any cash? Ugh. I hate putting every little thing on my card. I’ll have to run to a cash machine fir—crap! I did it again! Crapcrapcrap. Inhale … damn, and I was doing so good, too … exhale … I don’t even know why I bother … inhale … I should have just gone to lunch early … exhale … If I’d gone to lunch early I could have taken a walk around that park by the river. That would be just as restful as  — crap! I’m doing it again!

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Blogger Level Up: Guest Post Challenge Competed

I wrote a guest post about NaNoWriMo and Resistance for a blog dedicated to romance authors and books. Not my genre by a long shot, but I poked around and there were some other great posts about writing and NaNoWriMo, so it seems I am in good company.

You can read it here.

Blogging is an odd world. At time it feels (and certainly held up as) a colorful, vibrant community of free ideas and new media. Other days it seems full of self-promoters and flimflam artists and people regurgitating someone else’s snake oil and calling it thoughtful insight. (Can you tell I have spent the last 21 days pumping up my word count?) And yet, here I am. Playing the game, peddling my own brand of snake oil. Continue reading

Have You Met the Enneagram?

I am reviewing my notes for this weekend’s upcoming enneagram training. You could also call it finally cleaning up from last month’s enneagram training. Six of one; potato the other. I could just type these notes into Word, file them away in Enneagram/Training/Detroit/Notes feeling proud of my efficiency but knowing I probably never look at them again. I might remember a bit of what I typed, but not enough.

Or, I could use them to create a few blog posts. I have been wanting to write about the enneagram, but starting has seemed intimidating. Where to start? Well, how about my training notes? Response papers, minute essays, return demonstration. All methods I have used to help other people teach adults. Yet it never occurred to me to use them myself. It took Veronica Beaty sharing her learning process on her blog to make me remember what I already knew how to do. Continue reading

Your Own Best Blogging Practices Part 3: Getting Your Words Out There

This is part 3 of the Your Own Best Blogging Practices. Be sure to check out:

The Launch

For me blogging is like a party. No one really wants to be the first guest, but someone has to be. Sometimes someone splashes news of their new blog all over my social media, but when I visit it contains only one post and a half-finished About Me page. That just screams “I got really excited about blogging one afternoon, then I got bored!”

Get the party ready before you send the invites. The key is to make it look like the party is already underway before the important guests arrive. I like to have a few posts up before I announce invite my friends. Then I coax them into making comments (hopefully something better than “Woah, dude! Nice post!!1!!!1!!”). And I am ready to start spreading the word.

Here’s how to begin:

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Your Best Blogging Practices Part 2: What to Write and How

This is part 2 of the Your Own Best Blogging Practices. Be sure to check out:

What should I write?

Ah, the big one. A lot of “How to Blog” posts will tell you to be yourself. And you should be yourself. But we contain multitudes. Your readers probably don’t need to know every random thought you have or random thing you have done. This is your chance to manage what people think of you by managing what they see of you.

The process that follows may seem like a lot of work for something as simple as typing your thoughts into a computer. And it is a bit of work. If it feels too onerous, feel free to ignore it. But before you dismiss the work and move on, consider the fact that by doing this work up front and making a habit of returning to it occasionally, you not only can create a more cohesive and focused blog, you can get a jump on writer’s block.

Also, it’s not really that hard. Trust me on this.

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Your Own Best Blogging Practices Part 1: Why and How to Blog

This is part 1 of the Your Best Blogging Practices. Be sure to check out:

We can get obsessed with the search for The Best. The Best School. The Best Car. The Best City. The Best Diet. The Best Dog Breed.

The implication in that never ending quest is that there is only one The Best. And it is The Best for everyone, everywhere, all the time. And behind that implication is insecurity. “I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what is best for me. Please, O Great Expert, tell me what is Best.”

When I was working as a freelance book editor and teaching classes in self-publishing, I ran into this all the time. Authors had done some research and found lots of advice. Unfortunately, much of it conflicted and none of it asked what seemed to me to be the most basic question: What do you want?

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