A couple years ago, many valued guests asked these questions and offered their support to help me keep this site running while I was going through difficult personal times with work and family.
p.s. I added this info to to the FAQ too
How to Support This Blog
I was (and still am) so flattered that the guests here reached out that way and promised to let them know as soon as I found a way they could support this site without breaking the following values that make this blog what it is:
Keep this site and blog free of advertisements and other types of intrusive campaigns that could compromise guest safety and anonymity
Allow me to maintain creative control and ownership of the content shared here to ensure it is useful, factual, and interesting
Keep any type of monetization and payment options separate from this site to protect guest safety and anonymity
The original plan was to have 2 separate newsletters; one for each website and blog.
But I am only human…
and can barely fit in the time to create new content for both sites, work, send out 1 newsletter, and maintain the rest of my life.
If you want to join the Scent Reflections LLC newsletter, you are welcome to do that. A pop up ad appears within seconds of visiting that site.
Why share that now?
I’m working on some handouts and (maybe) an e-book that consolidates information from posts here and other documents I made for friends and family on the fly to share here and at Scent Reflections LLC.
This March’s exclusive newsletter content (you have to visit Scent Reflections LLC to join) will have a free handout with a list of continuing education and writing resources (includes personal reviews and links to websites) that will eventually become part of a larger resource.
And even though it’s part of the exclusive, bonus material for Scent Reflections LLC, I don’t want to exclude my loyal guests here.
That means: any exclusive content related to Writing & Blogging will also be shared here and available for free whether or not you subscribe to the newsletter.
For the rest of the exclusive, bonus content (including aromatherapy recipes, DIY recipes, affirmation cards, etc), you have to subscribe like everyone else.
The coffee plant is one of my roommates and great source of inspiration.
It and a few other plants keep me company near my work desk.
The stick in front of the coffee plant offers some extra support while the roots settle in after being re-potted.
So why add this image and description to a post about writing and blogging?
Because writing and blogging, like any activity, is not a truly solitary experience. At least, not for all parts of me.
Alters who can move and use our physical body will follow traditional writing methods – like typing or writing outlines and drafts in electronic or paper notebooks. Alters who cannot use our body have their own methods of “writing” and “drafting” posts. Then they pass the information to an alter personality who can use our body to share the post here.
My point being: we can all use some extra support once in a while because it’s really hard to get out of our own way.
Especially when we are the obstacle(s) and don’t realize it.
Sharing my process
Since I couldn’t figure out a way to share my blogging tips without writing a short book, I decided to share the outline with you instead. This way, you can take what you want (i.e. anything that seems helpful), and discard the rest as you work on your writing and blogging skills
Overall Idea, goal, or purpose for this blog
Related topics you can write about
Who you are writing for (besides yourself)?
Are you going to build a community with comments?
Are you gong to not allow comments and keep this strictly informational only?
Do your research
What you know and skills you already have to make this work
Knowledge Gaps and how to compensate for or address them
What platform are you going to use?
How much time and money can you afford to invest in this project?
Choose a hosting platform – Blogger, WordPress, GoDaddy are a few examples
Create an account
Decide on basic schedule for posts and addressing comments (if any)
Keep it simple and build slowly
Will you add web pages too? How will they look? What kind of information will you add here?
Do you want ads on your blog?
Do you plan to use the blog to make money?
Will you add the blog to your social media accounts?
How important is attracting followers? How will you cope with having or not having followers?
Home Page or straight to the blog?
About Me page?
Contact or no contact?
Are you going to add photos?
How long do you intend to spend on writing each post?
For a consistent look & feel, creating a formatting template (or 3) helps
Where do you plan on working?
Is noise a problem?
How can you modify your work space to feel safe, comfortable, inspiring, etc.?
p.s. you can substitute “safe, comfortable, inspiring” for other words that suit your needs
Can you focus on our work with minimal distractions?
Can you take breaks and relax in your work space? Or will you go somewhere else?
Back to the Featured Image
As you can guess, I am often my own worst enemy when it comes to success.
Hopefully this image inspires you and me (all parts of me) to be kinder to ourselves in all aspects of our lives.
This week, all of us in the system have been reflecting on the word “Curiosity”.
It’s come up in a lot of conversations and flashbacks.
And it is the one-word answer to many of the recent guest comments or questions.
So what does this photo collage mean?
I am insatiably curious about everything even if that curiosity does not show in my facial expression or body language. Answers are useful, but not always good at satisfying my curiosity.
You know the expression “curiosity killed the cat”? This got me so scared I stopped letting my curiosity lead me on adventures for many years. I felt like the cat with a mark on her back. Soon as I let my curiosity out, I’d be “killed” in some way – i.e. brushed off, stopped, blocked – and unable to learn.
I prefer the expression “curiosity sparked my imagination” and “imagination flew me out of the box”. The final part? “Discovery led me to my joy”
Yup. That’s it. That is what the photo collage means –
live, think, and learn as you discover different avenues to love, peace, and joy.
Curiosity and Writing
Curiosity keeps me at the blank screen or notebook, typing out words and writing down phrases or sketching doodles until my imagination takes over. The first draft never looks like the finished one. Out of 1000 words, I make keep 3 or 4 words/phrases and start again until it feels right. By the third draft, most of the content is there to be polished (aka editing and proofreading).
My routine is not consistent though. As much as I love structure, I also require flexibility in my routines. So I have time blocked off every week to write drafts and generate ideas for this blog and my aromatherapy work. Sometimes I write or type. Other times I sketch or listen so music while reading about related topics. When I can’t sleep, it’s often because different alters are busy writing drafts in my head.
That is true – for me not all of my writing is done in the physical world because not all of my alters can use our physical body for writing.
But…And this is a BIG BUT…I also write as part of my day job and send email or text to keep in touch with friends and family. That requires writing too.
No matter what anyone says, any and all writing you do counts as learning. The more you write, the more you improve. The more you read/watch/listen to learn about topics of interest, the more inspiration you have for writing.
If you are like me, then writing is a pleasure and a tool to help me share what I learn with others. If not, writing fulfills another purpose in your life. Whatever writing does for you, I hope it also brings you joy.
And why is the text not in a logical order?
Right…logical order. I am illogical at the best of times. Honest. If I ever had to share my learning process with you, I’d confuse even myself.
Way back in elementary school, I had trouble following instructions. Straight lines became slanted and wiggly even using rulers. I liked to do my class assignments and take tests backwards – I mean start at the end and work my way to the beginning of the test. Once in a while, I’d start with the questions in the middle instead.
Back then, all I could tell my teachers is “this feels right to me” or “it just makes sense”.
Now, though, I can tell you that starting in the middle or at the end eased my fear and anxiety of the unknown. I could focus on finishing the assignment, quiz, or test on time because I knew how many questions there were and could estimate how long I needed to finish on time.
Plus, I was curious about all the other questions. It didn’t make sense (to me at least) to leave the questions I read unanswered and start from the beginning after I just spent time reading through it all.
As I got older, frustration settled deep inside me. I asked questions and was told the standard answers. But the standard answers didn’t satisfy my curiosity. So I did what the teachers told me to do…think outside the box. The answers I came up with didn’t make sense or were not what they wanted to hear…so back inside the box I went. Again.
Until I was old enough to learn, explore, get answers and remember not to share them with anyone else…I mean who wants to constantly be made fun of, insulted, or told they are wrong because the answers contradict or open up avenues outside the standard and “correct” paths we’re taught to follow?
To Sum It Up
I’ve been getting a lot of questions and comments about where I get my information, how I learn all of this, if I have tips for aspiring or beginner writers, etc. or survivors starting their journeys.
And as much as I want to give you something concrete:
a) I hate giving advice and will not do so unless backed into a corner
b) All I can and will do is share stories about what inspires me or others I consider role models to keep moving forward to live and thrive on our own terms
Curiosity is what makes the wheels in my mind churn. It connects Spirit with Mind and Body in unexpected ways.
My counselors teach me how to help myself by sharing knowledge, tools, and resources. Then I follow up on my own through self-study or self-learning and hands-on experience (i.e. mistakes, experiences).
You don’t have to be book smart or street smart; a genius or savant; talented or special in any way to learn, explore or live like this.
You do have to be curious, inspired, willing to change, open to discovery, and able to cope with the challenges blocking your path outside the box.
No matter what you choose or how you go about it, please remember I am silently cheering you on wherever we are.
Disclaimer 1: I recently joined the WordPress Affiliate program and will not be promoting the use of other blog and website hosting sites from now on. If you choose to click on the affiliate link here or on my site and follow the instructions, I will earn a small percentage for advertising only WordPress products.
Disclaimer 2: WordPress affiliate links feel safe since they and their products are used to keep this site and blog operating. Other than the WordPress affiliate link and future promotional posts of my other business once it gets going, I do not plan to use other affiliate links, sell products, or include third party advertising on this site.
Writing vs Blogging
Some people will tell you that writing and blogging are basically the same. Blogging is another type of writing like Technical writing or journalism or marketing. I disagree. Writing is involved in a lot of traditional blogging, but some bloggers never write any content at all. Their blogs are based around photogaphy, visual art, videos, music, or other types of sound. And they are incredibly successful bloggers who don’t or seldom include the written word.
To be a writer, you write. To be a published writer, you are a journalist, author, editor, or freelancer of some kind. Maybe you work in business or marketing as a writer.; in this case you can be a published writer, but not under your own name. Or you teach writing classes. Either way, you focus on writing and let others make decisions (with your input) about the visuals and technical stuff associated with publishing. Becoming a successful writer takes patience, persistence, and practice as you work on your craft.
Blogging is more than writing articles with interesting titles and content. Many of the most popular blogs include photos and videos, get shared on social media channels, and have multiple purposes. Unlike print journalism, communications, creative writing, and technical writing, blogging is about more than writing the best possible content. The differences are in how and what kind of content is shared with the audience through non-traditional media channels. Becoming a successful blogger also takes patience, persistence, and practice as you work on your craft.
Visual art and math are my weaknesses when it comes to effective blogging and use of existing software technology. I can sketch and draw, but not with any real talent. Math, HTML, and related topics are essentially foreign languages to me.
Learning new writing software and keeping up with published standards for the main style guides are my main writing weaknesses. I never took formal proofreading and editing classes so feel less than confident about my skills and abilities in those areas as pertains to following Chicago Manual or AP style guides for example.
But that’s me, not you. Your strengths and skills will be and are different than mine. What you bring to the writing and blogging table is uniquely yours and is what defines your authentic style. And that authentic style (aka writing or blogging voice) differentiates you from everyone else. It’s that voice that will draw your audience in and make them want to return.
Full disclosure: WordPress offered me a chance to become an affiliate and make money promoting or advertising their products on my site. Since WordPress hosts my site and has helped me maintain safety for all guests, I agreed to try this option out. If you click on the WordPress affiliate link here or on the website and follow its instructions, I get paid a small amount of money. The choice to click or not click is yours. Please do what’s best for you always.
WordPress offered me exactly what I needed to set up a basic website and blog with minimal technical knowledge and a lot of writing skills. Only after 3 years of blogging with WordPress did I finally decide to invest in a paid account with domain name, more robust technical support, and upgrades for my website. Unfortunately, I still don’t have the money to invest in a site that allows me to embed videos.
What I love about WordPress
Free account available
Easy set up
Free resources – tutorials, knowledge base, community forum, access to bloggers who write about how to use WordPress, themes
Large amount of freedom to customize my chosen website theme and appearance
Two-step authentication option and other security measures against viruses, spam, malware, etc. included in the account
Free (basic) metrics and tracking available to monitor your website or blog’s traffic
4 levels of paid account options
Integration with other affiliate and advertising programs to get paid for advertising on your website
Excellent customer support for all types of accounts – chat and email support for paid accounts are excellent
Ease of use and manageable learning curve for those of us who are not tech-savvy and want to create a professional or interesting blog