I’ve gotten questions, concerns, and stories from plenty throughout the last three and a half years I’ve been blogging. Scroll through this post and pick out what may apply to you. Enjoy.
(Q) Your writing is sometimes confusing.
Yea, it is. Oddly enough, there are times that I write something that’s even a bit confusing to me. Later on though, I read it again and it makes sense. Part of me wants to say that if something sounds confusing it means that now is just not the time to understand it or there are some borders stopping you from understanding it.
Not all writing can be clear. I view most writing as I do poetry, it’s not up to the author to decide what a poem means for someone, it’s up to the reader to decide what the poem means to them, which is why I study people as much as I do the lessons I share.
Next time you get confused while reading, don’t ask yourself “what did the writer want me to get out of this,” ask “what can this mean for me,” if you still can’t answer that question, ask yourself, “what would I need to go do to be the person this message was directed at?” Often times, you can mentally put on someone else’s shoes.
Always, though, I suggest you get out and experience, expose yourself more. I write about being human. Everything comes from my experiences. If you don’t understand something, it’s more likely that you haven’t experienced what I have or near it. Go give it a try, you might learn more than me. And when you do, shoot me a message and tell me about it. When the teacher ceases to also be a student, education loses it’s value.
(Q) How do you decide what to write on?
There are two ways I do this. The first is that I will write on anything that moves me, anything I’m passionate about or curious about. This is a natural inclination of anyone who puts the pen to paper. It’s why everyone seeking their passion should first start journaling their thoughts at the end of the night. I also know passion matters when someone reads something. Why share anything that is void of it?
The second way I decide what to write on is when I need to challenge or remind myself of a lesson. Luckily, this also falls under the passionate category, but this writing is the most difficult because it revolves around my own failures, mistakes, and I have to exercise humility, which is hard. On top of that, when I suggest a reader does something some way, I commit to do it myself that way. I’ve always been a person that is respected for practicing what I preach and I use that to my advantage, both in my life and in my writing.
I do my best to freewrite each day for 15 minutes straight. Sometimes something worthy comes out of it that I think of elaborating more on the next day on my blog. However, I don’t go back to look at what I wrote in my journal. If it’s worthy, I’ll remember it. I also freewrite to get all my rants and stupid content out of my head. It’s easier to write (more so easier to read) work that isn’t all lovey-dovey or too personal or full of rage or flat-out not relevant to your audience, it’s sort of a filter, time for reflection.
People say think before you speak, journaling to me is my time to think before I write publicly. At a writing conference I was at last year, Roy Hoffman had a workshop on keeping a journal and what to do with it. For him, he often returns to his journal entries for writing inspiration, to use what he’s written. This has worked successfully for him, but I do the opposite. I don’t read anything I’ve written in the journal. The point: How we use the journal isn’t as important as that we use a journal.
(Q) I want to start my own blog, what should I do or use? How do I attract visitors and interactions?
It took me more than three months to start my blog. I thought about it a lot. In that time period I even started a blog at Blogger. I couldn’t stand that platform. Then I researched great places to start blogs and found WordPress. Go to WordPress and create your own blog. Once you have your blog. Write. It’s going to be shit. Post your writings anyway. Everybody poops, your bad writing makes you human.
Keep writing and posting your content. Open your mind up during the day for ideas on what to write about. Edit your writing to make it great, but not perfect. Don’t let edits take longer than 10 minutes. Making it perfect is a waste of time. For the most part, forget attracting visitors. For every blog post you make, go comment on two others, hopefully who have written on something like what you wrote about.
When in doubt, stop focusing on how to attract visitors and look at what visitors attract you, interact with them. Find people you care about. They’ll have friends.
Oh yea, and never look at your stats. The data won’t change your actions.
(Q) Where do I start?
This is one of the most feared questions to ask simply because getting an answer means that you now have to act, and you are finally being held accountable by the person telling you where to start.
The beauty about starting? You can do it anywhere. You can start in your journal. You can start in your car. You can start in school. You can start whenever, wherever, and however. When someone asks me where do I start? I can only reply with, “You choose. Start buttons are everywhere.”
(Q) What is the purpose of life?
I can provide a thousand to four word response to this question: to play, to challenge your fears, to love one another… but at the end of all my responses, what do they add up to? Life.
The purpose of life is to live it, live it with every bit of energy you have and every thought, smile, tear, and wiggle of your toes.
If we go through life wondering what the purpose of it is, trying to find our own, you may find a purpose, but you will have lost life. So to answer your question, no purpose, just life. Or as my friend best puts it, “Why question a beautiful thing?”
(Q) What if it’s something I don’t have control over?
The hardest thing I ever have to do is get people to understand they can’t have complete control over anything but themselves.
However, you can have influence, persuasion, and compassion for or on others.
It’s an all too common thing to give up on something you think you don’t have control over. Ever heard of the saying “if there’s a will, there’s a way?” No point in telling that to someone who believes they are “out of luck and out of control.” The extremely difficult part is getting someone to understand that if they are not willing to find a way, then what they want isn’t worth it.
Control is sticky. The moment someone says “well that’s it, I don’t have any control over that answer.” They get themselves stuck. I suppose they think it’s the perfect excuse to not do anything. Instead of moving on to something else, they stay stuck there, waiting to get a bit of control. Maybe things will change? That’s easier and safer than trying to make it work or just moving on to something else. Instead of using will to find a better way, find a better problem. Find something else. Get unstuck.
(Q) What is your biggest regret?
A lovely friend of mine tweeted the other day “What’s worse than fear? Regret.” A second friend of mine jumped it to tweet “Trying to steer away from regret is just as bad as hating yourself for having it.” In the end I tweeted back, “suppose the only good thing to do with it then is to dance with it.”
People who say they don’t have regrets are masking them. You can be completely thankful for everything that has happened in your life and you can be happy where you’re at in this moment – I sure am – but that doesn’t mean we don’t have regrets. We can say one thing, think another, and still feel something completely different. That’s why my regrets are from times when I didn’t follow my heart.
(Q) I can’t seem to follow all the way through with anything. What should I do?
I’ve been told that I get a lot of shit done. I write a lot about finishing tasks, shipping projects, completing goals. I do so because it’s the most exciting part. I want to apologize for not writing more about the importance of starting. I have recently erased everything on my chalkboard and wrote two things since: 1. Set goals. 2. Start goals. That’s it. Simple as that. The final touches, the shipping of your products will happen on their own. The greatest of writers threw away thousands of pieces of their work. They will finish and ship something when they feel it. You’ll feel it, but don’t worry about that just yet. Set goals and start goals.
(Q) How can I forget? (failures, relationships, mistakes, poor decisions, etc.)
Asking how to forget is just another way to remember. Don’t.
(Q) What was the dumbest thing you believed in?
That people would rather you hold back the truth and just be nice. I believed that you couldn’t be straightforward with people because they would hate you for it, that you would come off as being a jerk. Then, the more people I talked to about life and their problems and concerns and questions, or anything, I am more forward and honest in my responses than ever before. If someone says they are broke, I don’t just say get a job. I tell them every reason they won’t get a job. I tell them all their fears and worries so they have to face them. I believed enabling was a positive action. When in reality, people like you more when you are thoroughly honest, when you care so much to understand and nudge them in the right direction. Call things as you see them, just make sure you do it sincerely. If you can’t do it sincerely, don’t do it at all.
I want to thank everyone, from the kid who spit in my face running through the hallway in middle school to the janitor who I know let me steal keys from him every week. From the girls who kissed back to those who didn’t. To Zig Ziglar. To Seth Godin. To Michelle Welsch. To my family and my significant other. To all those that entered my life just long enough for each of us to make an impact on one another. To all those that have had to put up with me and my craziness over the years. Thank you to the ones that will stay around to put up with more.
If you have questions or want to chat, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
or tweet me @thegarthbox
Fact: I hyperlinked my email and twitter handle because you have 60 seconds before your lizard brain gives you “reasons” to not send the email or the tweet.Quick. Before fear gets you.
Stay Positive & Go Do Something