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.

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  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?!

 

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Positivity brings happiness

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“Be genuinely happy for other’s successes in life even when things aren’t going well for you. Give it time and positivity will finds its way to you. I learned this first hand today. #blessed #grateful #lucky

I posted that on my Facebook the other day after a friend reached out to me to thank him for always being supportive of him.  I truly believe that if you express positive Karma, good Karma will come to you.

I run fitness challenges for moms through Tampa Bay Moms Group.  I’ve been doing them for four years now and they are finally taking off.  They are becoming bigger and better and more moms are getting healthier and more fit.  We recently finished a fitness challenge that went really, really well.  I knew something was up when one of the moms removed me from a group chat.  I didn’t think much of it, though, and figured it may be like when you confide in your mom but sometimes you just want to chat with your friends with her out of the room.  This morning I found a package on my doorstep and was shocked at what I found when I opened it.

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Look at the amazing gifts they bought me!!!!  I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I cried.  I was sitting at a stop light after dropping my daughter off at school when I opened the package.  I just sat there crying….until the light turned green.  When I pulled into the driveway, tears were still spilling down my cheeks so I snapped a selfie. Normally, in my Vanity Smurf mode, I’d never take or share a picture of me like this (roll out of bed, throw on dress, drop kid off, come home, roll back in bed- it’s a tough life).  I’m getting over my insecurities and learning to live in the moment- even when my hair hasn’t been washed in 2 days, it’s sticking up everywhere and I have no make up on.

I plugged the Fitbit in right away, popped some batteries in my massager (perfect timing since I just started P90x again), posted a thank you that didn’t seem nearly as adequate as it should and went back to bed.  Here is my message-  My fitness moms are in trouble!!!! I can’t believe you girls did this for me. And I look like crap but I wanted you to see the tears. I can’t thank you enough for all of the work you’ve done during the challenges and how much you all have motivated me. There are no words to express how shocked I am (damn, here come the tears again) and how blessed I feel to have you all in my life. I knew y’all were up to something when Nicole kicked me out of the group chat!!! I love you all so much! heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon. <I guess heart emojis don’t copy and paste LOL>  When I hit the WBFF stage, you ladies will be one of the biggest reasons why!!!!

Here are the wonderful messages these moms left for me:

  • Jenn- <she always makes me laugh> Good. Now, can we get some FitBit challenges going, please?
  • Michelle- We love you! Thank you for your encouragement and dedication to us!
  • Rita- No the Thanks goes to you. I met you that day at the 5k last fall and you have been there for me ever since that day. Helped me get into the group and supported me on this journey when I felt I had no one here to have my back. That is the least we can do for you. You have a heart of gold and we thank you for that!
  • Kelly-You are welcome! It was Nicole’s idea. Thanks for all you do.
  • I wish we could do so much more. You are an amazing friend and I will forever be grateful for the day I typed “mommy friends in Tampa” into Google and found you.
  • Nicole- Xoxo!! Thank you for all u do!!
  • Jessica- You work really hard for us ladies. I send you messages in the middle of the nigh and you always answer. You are a great coach friend and work out leader!
  • Lens- You got me tearing up! Thank you for putting up with us!

I can’t express how amazing it feels to read messages like that and know that they are for you.  Those make all of the hours I spend on the challenges completely worth it.  I’m on a new high to get things set up for the next challenge, too, wanting it to be even better than the others.  Treat others how you want to be treated and see what happens.  Love and respect happens.  Eeeeee!!!!!!  Totally excited.  😉

I already set up a challenge for them and have to get myself moving, too!!!  They might wind up wishing they’d bought me a pet rock instead!

We all go through hard times and how we handle those times defines the kind of people we are.  Things have been rough for me for a while but I choose to be happy for others, choose to be positive and choose to be happy for myself.  As my youngest daughter, Maggie says, “Do you, be you!”

Are you consciously happy for others when your life is down?  Does it make you happy to be happy for others?

 

 

 

Today is a new day. Make it count.

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This is handwritten on a piece of paper and taped to the back of my door.  I tell it to my Fitness Challenge moms often.  I see it every day.

Today,* the sign means more than most days.  February 11th is my new day. It’s my new day every year.  It’s the day I consider my New Year’s Day.

December 15th 1996 I went into labor 2 months early.  I was admitted to the hospital after taking meds to stop labor.

December 16th our daughter celebrated her 2nd birthday in the hospital.  We were sent home later.

January 2nd 1997 we had a gender scan and were so excited to hear we were having a little boy.  But our excitement was short lived.  His measurements were low and it was recommended we see a specialist.

I’ve made myself let go many of the other dates for various tests along with the other times I went into labor (total of six times).

January 18, mid afternoon, we received the call with our amnio results.  Our little boy had Trisomy 18.

January 18th, evening, I went into labor after giving up my meds.  I was done.  Our doctor asked me to wait two more weeks.

February 6th we checked into the hospital about 7 am, had our tiny bundle placed in our arms at 3:46 and said goodbye at 10:00.

February 10th, was the hardest day of my life attending my son’s funeral.

February 11th of every year I’m ready to move forward and make the most of the new year.

February 13th of 1997 (exactly one year and one week from Jacob’s birthday), our daughter, Rachelle (named after Rachael in the Bible) was born.

February 18th of 2004, our 2nd son was born.  Celebrating a new life has helped us heal and made us even more grateful of what we have.  And grateful that our youngest was born in June to give us a little break from birthday parties and Christmas.  🙂

Everyone has difficulties in life.  It’s how we handle them that make us different.  It’s okay to get down, turn to food for a bit, cry or be angry.  Make sure you remember to catch yourself and not let it drag on.  Pick yourself up and start again tomorrow…or on Monday.  Every day is a new day.  Make it count.

*Written on February 11th

Free challenges forever!

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I love running fitness challenges on Tampa Bay Mom’s Group. I get so excited when I see the moms all excited.

Today I was perusing (fancy word for stalking) other fit mom blogs and pages. I discovered that many were Beachbody coaches. I have nothing against them, I almost was one if you read my last post. We’ve had some come on TBMG advertising their amazing challenges but when you ask for more information you discover that they want you to buy the latest workout DVD set and their protein shakes. Again, totally fine but not always financially feasible.

One of the most asked questions I get about my challenges is, “How much does it cost?” I love replying, “It’s FREE!”  And they always will be for the challengers.

I almost started selling Visalus again, I had the form all filled out and ready to go…until I lost 17 lbs. I didn’t lose it drinking any shakes, taking any drops or pills or buying any workout DVDs (yes, I have bought 2 Beachbody sets but I wasn’t using them when I lost the weight).

I hated backing out of my commitment to join Visalus but when I saw my scale flash 129 lbs, I just couldn’t hit the submit button. I want to show my fitness moms that they don’t need any fad diets, quick fixes or to spend a lot of money to get healthy and fit. They just need to make better food choices and take advantage of all of the free resources available to them.

You don’t have to break the bank to be a healthier you.

Nuthings gonna stand in my way

In April I tore ligaments in my knee a couple of months after joining Crunch Fitness Carrollwood. I had to freeze my account. When I was finally ready to go back I had a brand new goal. I woke up one morning and decided I wanted to be an over 40 fitness model.

My former trainer Tiffany set me up with a calorie counting schedule that I was doing well with for a few weeks. I fell off track but with the kids going back to school I was determined to get back into it. I unfroze my account and was excited to start grunting and sweating.

On September 5th at 7:30 in the morning I was taking my kids to school- 0.8 miles from our house. I was sitting at a stop sign behind a bus and an SUV when I heard a loud BOOM! I looked back at my kids and asked if they were ok- both nodded yes, their eyes as wide as saucers. I got out of The Beast (2004 Dodge Durango) and saw that the car behind me had run into me. I still don’t remember feeling the impact but the sound is still in my head.

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The damage to my truck was minimal. I will never again tease Hubby for getting the tow package since it took the brunt of the impact saving the frame and me from further injury. Within five to ten minutes of the accident my neck started to hurt. I told Hubby and my friend Jeanette, who stopped and took the kids to school, it was so cliche- oh my neck! But it really did hurt. A few hours later I was at DPMG getting checked out. I thought I’d be ok in a few days. I hit my head on the headrest so the back of my head was sore. The pain spread down my neck, across my shoulders, down to my mid and lower back. Eventually it also spread to the front of my neck and into my pecs.

Tomorrow it will have been two months. I’ve been going to massage therapy three times a week for 8 weeks. I’ve had to get five different prescriptions and thankfully none were narcotics. I had an x-Ray and MRI which showed a bulging disc. Month one was the roughest. I was in bed, laying down 85-90% of the time. I couldn’t take my kids to school, couldn’t hug them, couldn’t do housework, drive for a while or perform other wifely duties. I fell into a deep depression. Fortunately a dinner date with my friend Kristi, her husband and my family helped drag me back to reality and happiness. But the physical pain remained.

Last week I had a setback and the pain is like it was in the beginning. Yesterday I decided enough was enough. I refuse to let this get me down and rule my life. I have some super yummy leftovers to eat today but starting tomorrow I’m going back to my calorie counting. I was cleared to go back to the gym and dance but have been afraid to. Tomorrow I’m unfreezing my gym account and going back to dance. I’m going to start very slowly but I have to start. I’m resting in bed as much as I can but I will not use the accident as an excuse to lay around and shovel food in my mouth.

I set a goal and I intend to work hard at it no matter how slow I have to go or how long it takes. At this point I don’t think I’ll actually ever BE a fitness model, I’d just like to look like one. I know I am capable of doing it, I just have to refuse to let anything stand in my way.

At the advice of my lawyer, and several friends, I will continue the therapy until the doctor clears me 100%.

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