Tips for writing blog entries

I’ve been blogging for several years and writing reviews for almost as long.  I’ve read some really amazing review and blog posts and have also read some extremely atrocious ones.  Through my own experience and researching some articles, I’ve put together some tips that I hope are useful for you.

tips

  1. Be passionate.  If you are writing about something you don’t really care about, it shows in your writing.  I did this when I was writing entries for a weekly blog contest.  I lost sight of why I started blogging in the 1st place jus to win a few bucks
  2. Post often.  This is the biggest issue I struggle with.  Either I don’t have time or I can’t think of content.  Mostly I don’t make time- I have lists upon lists of content.  Set an alarm if you need to or a specific time of day.
  3. K.I.S.S- Keep it siple sweetie.  Try to keep it short.  Most readers are not looking to read a book.  Often times I write, write, write then go back and delete, delete, delete.
  4. Write how you speak.  Blogs are informal, like having a conversation with a friend.  Don’t try to be someone you’re not because you want to sound smart.
  5. Grab them right away.  Your 1st sentence should be exciting. Once you have a hold of them, use short sentences and simple words.  BE AWARE OF RUN ON SENTENCES!!!
  6. Try to make your post unique.  Someone else has probably already written something similar so put your own spin on it.
  7. When an idea pots into your head, write about it!  Or at least write it down so you don’t forget it (I have a huge list in my memos on my phone).  The sooner you can get “pen to paper” the better.
  8. Write a lot and write often.  You don’t have to post everything you write but the more you do it, the better you’ll get.
  9. Mind Map.  This bloggers explained it best.
  10. If needed, do research.  Unless you are an expert on your subject (or just writing your opinion) this isn’t always necessary.  If you’re not an expert, do research.  Don’t just Google and pick the first article that pops up.  Pay attention to to the website and remember that anyone with a credit card can create their own.  Make sure it’s credible.
  11. Edit.  For the love of God, edit.  PLEASE EDIT!  You don’t have to hire an editor but find a friend or family member who knows basic grammar, sentence structure and punctuation rules.  This is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF WRITING!!!!  If you want people to take you seriously, edit.  I’ve seen people lose credibility because they didn’t take the time to edit or ask someone for help. Fresh eyes may be able to spot a spelling error or help you word something differently.  I used to have my best friend edit every blog post.  I don’t anymore and sometimes I wish I did.  No one is perfect.  Hell, I have read several books with mistakes in them that a highly paid editor missed.  I read all of my posts at least twice before publishing then read them again after publishing them (most of the time).  99% of the time I have to change at least one thing.  I can’t stress the importance of this step enough.  Edit.

I hope these tips prove useful to you.  If you have anymore that you find successful, please post in the comments below!

Did you spot the errors?  Yes, I did them onpurpose.  See how important it is to edit?!

 

Fabulous app…it’s fabulous!

You’d think that with having a large family I’d be super organized. Nope! Recently, I was looking for an app to help get my life in order and right at the top of “organization apps” suggestions was one called Fabulous. I read through the description and thought it was definitely worth a try. (There were others but this list totally applied to me).

I don’t have ADHD but I do have ADD. I’m easily overwhelmed which is why I don’t get a lot accomplished. There are many things I need to do every day and it’s overwhelming so I give up and play a game on my phone, scroll through Facebook/Instagram or take a nap. This leads to mass chaos and mess. I wanted to change.

Fabulous allows you to choose your journey- feel energized, sleep better, focus or concentrate more or lose weight and eat healthier. I chose the 1st one.

My day is divided into 3 parts- morning, afternoon and evening. I chose different “rituals” for each part of the day.

I don’t always accomplish all of my tasks but I do a pretty good job. Fabulous starts off helping you develop good habits. It takes 21 days to change your habits and the 1st one is very simple- drink a glass of water, first thing, every morning. Easy, right? I’m on Day 19 and I now usually remember before my phone makes the sound of water pouring (kind of freaked me out the 1st time I heard it).  When you complete an assigned task, you receive a letter (all of which have been worth the read) and you’ve unlocked a new task.

You can add or remove rituals any time. You can also adjust the times for many of them like fitness or naps. It took me a couple of days to figure things out but I absolutely love the app and am so glad I found it.

For even more cool options, click on the rocket, click “Make Me Fabulous” then you can choose from a variety of activities. These are amazing and so useful for people like me who are easily distracted.

On September 21st, they are adding more options after working with the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University. There has been a lot of scientific study done with developing and tweaking the app since its launch 2 years ago.  Some of these new features will require a monthly subscription but there will still be plenty of free options for you to choose from.
If you want to create some order to your life, develop some healthy habits, sleep better and more, I highly recommend giving Fabulous a try! **edite** I just found out this is available for Android only BUT they are currently working on an iPhone version and you can request to be notified when it’s finished.

 I do wish I could create a separate schedule for the weekends but may that’s something they will allow in the future. As for the app itself, it’s been life changing for me and I look forward to seeing all I can change within myself!

For a more detailed description and step by step instructions, visit Tech Crack.

Miracle of the Moment

https://youtu.be/5Um08QjolRg

^^^^ Listen!!!

Yesterday my family said goodbye to a dear friend. She fought cancer for four long years. As I sat in the service I reflected on my own life and how I lived it. I’m a procrastinator. Big time. I never reach my fitness goals because I’m lazy.

Sandee can never hug her family again. She will never laugh with her friends again. She won’t get to see my daughter dance anymore. 

“Do what she can no longer do” popped into my head. I want to remember this every day not just for Sandee but for my mother-in-law, Granny Pat, Shirley and all of the many people we know who have lost their lives to cancer, to anyone who is no longer with us. 

My husband are not big planners. We tend to be spontaneous which I love. One of the lessons I learned from losing my 1st son was to live every day to its fullest. Life is short. While doing dishes this morning, Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Miracle of the Moment” came on and I was moved to send a message to my fitness moms which led to this blog post.

It’s ok to take a day off. It’s ok to sit down and play with your kids and not vacuum today. It’s ok to take time for yourself. But don’t forget your purpose in life. Don’t let your goals get away from you. Do what they can no longer do- live. 

Behavior change is a learnable skill

www.breathofoptimism.com

“Behavior change is a learnable skill and you can learn it.” I downloaded a new app 4 days ago and that was in a letter to me this morning. I’m still playing around with the app so I’m not ready to reveal it quite yet, but I’m loving it so far. 

One of the many things my fitness challenge moms hear me say often is, “Make small changes, gradually.” We all have things we need to tweak in our lives. Some of the changes are big and some are small. What we need to remember is to not try to overhaul everything at once. We will fail. 

Studies show that it takes 21 days to change a habit. That’s totally doable. Set an alarm, invest in sticky notes, have someone email or text you if you need reminders. I’ve tried several apps and none have worked for me. I’m hoping this new one does!!

A big change most of us need to work on is breakfast. It’s so easy to skip it or grab something unhealthy. Eating breakfast can improve concentration, performance, endurance and strength. We need lean protein to give us a big boost first thing. Purdue University researcher, Wayne Campbell, PhD, says,”Protein blunts your hunger the most and is the most satiating.” 

Great sources of protein include eggs, banana or apple slices with peanut butter, plain oatmeal, a handful of almonds or walnuts and low sugar yogurt. Avoid donuts, waffles, pancakes and sweet starches (everything I love to eat for breakfast). These will spike your sugar levels and in about 2 hours, crash your energy level.

If I can give up Cap’n Crunch and whole milk, anyone can give up sweets for breakfast! Protein- get some! Make that one of your small changes that you start today.

What small changes or habits have you made?

I will….be better

Several challenges ago, I encouraged the moms to decorate a motivational jar. Some of us even got together and had a craft day!

What’s the jar for? This is how I used mine: If I worked out, I put in a dollar. If I lost a pound, I put in a dollar. If I lost an inch, I put in a dollar. Aanndd, if I gained a pound or inch, I took OUT a dollar.

There are TONS of ideas on Pinterest. (Pinterest tip- set a timer!!!! Pinterest is like crack! I’ve never done crack but I hear it’s highly addictive…like Pinterest. You WILL get sucked in and be late starting dinner, miss your workout, forget to pick up a kid or hold up the car loop line).

These are both super cute. Some people like the marble thing- I like money.

My jar used to say, “I can, I will!” but all that’s left is the “I will” part. It’s actually a very important part and I’m glad it’s stuck around. I will…not give up. I will… workout today. I will….be a better roll model for my fitness challenge moms. I will….fill in the blank every day. This can be fun!

My jar filled up pretty full. Then the people living in my house needed cash for various things like lunch money or McDonald’s and my dollar bills started disappearing like Dennis Rodman’s $1’s in a strip club. So I switched to pennies which I convinced my husband to turn into dollars when I reached my goal….which I’ve yet to meet.

Somehow, in a rare cleaning quest, I moved the jar into a corner cabinet and forgot about it. During another rare cleaning quest  (several months later) I found my jar and pulled it out of the dark depths of the cabinet.  This morning I emptied out the dusty pennies to start over.

The jar is now back on my counter next to the borrowed fat percentage checker tool thingy which was placed back in the creepy corner of my roll top desk (yeah, it’s old) and I recently ventured there to retrieve it. I’ve replaced my scale obsession with a body fat percentage obsession which is better than my food obsession. 

The jar works for me. I like money and I like shopping. Try a jar and see if it works for you. Or search Pinterest for other fitness motivational ideas like a dream board. But seriously, set a timer. I will honk and wave my arms (or fingers) at you if you hold up the car line.

Share it Sunday

Two weeks ago I started a new fitness challenge. We once again have a great group of moms and I’m excited to see them make positive changes and lead healthier lives.

In my experience, the more we share the better we do. Honesty is always the best policy. If we cheat and don’t own up to it, we are only cheating ourselves. We will fail. We will have bad days. Those who are most active are usually the ones who succeed. Success is defined in so many different ways. Blah, blah, blah.

Getting healthy is hard. It’s so much easier to sit on the couch and eat ice cream, chips, cookies and wash them down with giant sodas. Who wants to grunt and get sweaty? Yuck. I don’t like eating better or working out. But I don’t like busting out of my clothes either. I don’t like getting winded walking up one flight of stairs. I don’t like looking in the mirror and seeing extra pounds.

I want to feel better. I want to find healthier foods that are yummy. I want to make my own “fast food” (aka meal prep). I want to see my kids grow up. I want to travel when my husband retires and not ride on a scooter. I want to look in the mirror and love what I see.

I started these challenges to hold myself accountable. They have become so much more. I’ve seen some amazing transformations in many of my moms. That’s what keeps me going. They need the challenges, it’s like crack to some of those crazy bitches!! And I love them. I love their dedication, their motivation, their drive. I love seeing them fail and get back up. I love seeing them support each other and cheer each other on. They are amazing. 

Wow. Haha! This was supposed to be about sharing and it took a weird turn. Soooo, anyway…..what changes have you made to lead a healthier life? What made you stop driving through McDonald’s and make your own food? What made you put on your tennis shoes and walk or workout? If you are in my challenge or another challenge, how do you like it? What would you like to see? 

Share it Sunday!!!

Queen of Yeah, That Too

I am the Queen of Excuses. I am also the Queen of Procrastination and Cheat Day. If Elizabeth I can rule 3 countries, I can, too!! But I’ll save the latter 2 for another post.

My fitness moms are aware of my “no excuses” attitude. Some are so afraid of my ruling that they email me, afraid they will disappointment me when they are sick. Sheesh, I didn’t think I was that tough!! I always tell them to listen to their bodies and serious illnesses are legit excuses.

But do I follow my own advice? Shit no. I’m the queen dammit!! But that’s going to change. I am a leader and need to act like one. My biggest issue is scheduling. My family has a sort of schedule. Like my daughter, back to school today, has to be dropped off at 7:15 and picked up at 2:30 Monday-Friday. She also has dance 5 days a week but every day has different times. But, every week is the same. My 19 year old and I have set times for our classes. Aside from that, it’s usually total chaos.

Excuses.

I’m home all day. I have plenty of time to get most or all of my to do list done. But I have no structure. One of my admission from our last challenge tried to help me. I need an assistant- who will work for free.

My biggest issue is my ADD. I can’t even sit down to make a plan because it’s too overwhelming.

Excuse.

I can. I just have to clear the table, clear my mind, put away all electronics and make someone sit with me to keep me on task.

Solution.

Most

excuses are just that- excuses. We need to overcome them and provide solutions so we can tackle and complete our tasks. My #1 priority is scheduling workout time. When I get my butt in gear and get the details worked out I’ll share them. I know I’m not the only one who deals with this!!

No more excuses. It’s go time!!