Discover Challenge: Obstacles

blackwhite4“Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.”
Muhammad Ali

Running a creative business is often a means to an end. When you are making little to no money on this, the thought occurs of “what is the point to this?”. But then the other half says, “No, I’ve got to keep going on what I have started because there is so much more to do and so many more people to meet”. I feel like I am wanting to skimp off and do other fun stuff because of what precious time I have left in my 20s. I won’t be young forever. Time is ticking. The pressure to be successful is always there. I am always reminded of someone’s great success story and it is always a slap in the face for me. Oh, this person has written X number of books and has done X number of interviews and made this much money. What have you done?

Oh, I’ve only just scratched the surface.

I’ve recently rediscovered the friendzone turned dating site MeetMe (even if they state otherwise, it is definitely for hooking up with locals now). It has sure changed since the last time I logged on to there. There are no more games and it is exclusively a place now to meet people you are interested in or just want to talk to. The site has been optimized for mobile usage, with a simple layout and four simple tabs called Meet, Chat, Feed, and Me – all very useful. I updated my profile on there and cringe at some of the pictures I took when I was 18 on the site, in an effort to attract attention from the female population (and some guys as well). This is one of those sites that gives an aura of nostalgia and longingness for the past for me. I wish to go back to the way things were, back to my naive high school days when I didn’t even have thoughts about college, but know that is just like wishing water would turn into fire.

In the creative world, my obstacle is overcoming the laziness of not wanting to create something. I sometimes have to push myself to overcome this, have to remember the overall importance of this whole thing. Get those horses going again, get back in the race. You have to get serious again. Stop being complacent. You know you are good. Keep up the confidence. It’s the negative thoughts that get in the way. Banish the negativity. Embrace the positive.

For this week’s challenge, tell us about a time when you had to deal with an obstacle in your creative process, whether it was a bad case of writer’s block, some rigid rules you had to work around, or some other limitation — financial, technical, mental — that set you back. Did you manage to transcend the obstacle, or was it too much to deal with at the time? More important: what did you learn about yourself and your creativity in the process?

Weekly Discover Challenge: Obstacles

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Rockstar Blogging 101

It’s time to reassess my blogging skills. I feel like I’ve been getting sloppy as of late.

I have just realized this past month how my outlook of blogging has changed. It is no longer just an on and off hobby of mine. I realize now that if I am going to become very successful at this, I am going to have to stop messing around and really start following some consistent blogging patterns. I’m getting super complacent on several key blogging techniques. There are some things I have been doing and not doing that have hindered me from getting really good at this game and I feel so stupid for letting those habits get to me.

Number one:

Neglecting to check my stats everyday. This has become more and more important as time has gone on, but I continue to throw caution to the wind and not keep up with how many people are visiting my page, or how many likes and comments my recent posts got. I don’t want to become too buried in the numbers because they will rule my life and I don’t want to run this like a business.

Number two:

Not commenting enough. This year I have probably only commented a couple of times. The social engagement needs to improve. I have a habit of letting my introverted side get the best of me and this carries over into cyberspace. I don’t always feel like commenting and when I have found that this is a general “rule” of blogging, like you’re supposed to be doing it more often no matter if you don’t feel like it on some days, well, I am like “the heck with that. I’ll do it when I feel pleased.”

Number three:

Putting up crappy, worthless posts. Yeah, we’ve all got to have some of them. I’ve got my fair share. I could have one post that performs really well and another that totally falls flat. It’s this troubling experience of mine that stints my blogging growth. I don’t nearly receive as many comments as other bloggers do but I rest my case that with a little more effort I could improve.

Number four:

Not focusing more. I feel like I am always all over the place.

Number five:

That always creeping doubt in my mind that I don’t have what it takes to truly survive in this blogging world. That I won’t succeed in the long run. It’s been happening more and more where I feel like maybe I should seek other passions because this one is becoming a lifelong obsession, which I never wanted it to be but it seems as if that’s the only way to go now. I can’t stop posting everyday because I have developed an OCD with this, and as I continue going down the rabbit hole, I see there is no escape. This is my life now and it will never be the same again. It makes me quite unhappy that as I continue to do this, life around me continues to be pretty much the same. Same house, same people, same jobless situation. I wake up in the morning and nothing has changed. I really need to find myself a girlfriend who’s interested in the stuff I’ve interested in. Writing and other computer related activities. A nerdy girl. That was always my dream.

Number six:

Knowing who my competition is. There is a ton of competition in the blogosphere and it is getting more and more competitive everyday, with the real threats sticking around and all of the non-contenders pretty much throwing in the towel. With all of these podcasts, radio shows, ebooks and guest posts popping up, I feel as if what I’ve been doing so far is no longer enough. That I am going to have to step up my game or risk being left in the dust (which wouldn’t be that bad because I wouldn’t have the pressure on me to succeed). I’m not sure if I will ever make any money off of this (I have read about the process in doing so, setting up ads, etc.) but I’m perfectly happy with this carefree blogging style right now.

A couple years back, I would have never thought blogging would ever still be this popular (I thought it was a lost art to video) or if it would have any significant impact on me and everyone else. But, of course I was dead wrong. It is alive and well in 2016 and is going to new and better heights. I feel proud to be apart of this wonderful place and really hope for the best from me down the road. Where the road eventually leads me, I can only wonder. My eyes have been opened. I am a better thinker because of blogging. I may consider myself a true nerd now. This may be my true calling in life. I kind of always knew I was meant for writing when I was little – I liked to be by myself and enjoyed reading books by myself. I had a dream of writing a book one day, even attempting it a couple times with no success. There was my Harry Potter knock-off, my Planet of the Apes knock-off, and my story about all these people with strange powers that somehow come together to save the world (unintentional Heroes knock-off). These ideas fizzled and died.

There Are No Breaks

 

It doesn’t start with a cup of coffee or any routine exercises. It doesn’t start with making phone calls or pre-planning ideas for the day. In fact, I don’t have to do much at all because I’m always logged into WordPress and posts are always open in the browser.

My blog is on my mind most of the day, just hanging out in a corner of my mind, reminding me that it still is important, even if there are other interests that want attention as well, like video making now (so much fun). I always find time for it, along with other priorities in my life. I’ve been doing this for over two years now and I would be lying if I said I never had thoughts of completely giving up on it a couple of times. There are days when I just don’t feel like blogging and have nothing on my mind. There is the trusty Daily Prompt of course, but after doing that for over a year and seeing prompts regurgitated, it does get old after a while. I just have to remind myself of something another blogger mentioned when the going gets tough: writer’s write. That might seem like a redundant and obvious statement but it basically means you can always find something to put down, even if it doesn’t seem like a very good idea at first.

The path to success with anything starts with consistency. You have to practice something over and over in order to become a master at it: instruments, drawing, writing, speaking, film making, even video games.

Blogging is a prison you can’t break free, or at least you shouldn’t. If you do break free, you risk never reentering the ecosystem ever again, and abandoning your blog and any loyal followers. You risk losing interest and the will to write anything anymore. Starting a new blog is always a great idea though, because you can then apply all the things you learned from your first go around and start off on the right foot to success quickly. Gaining a legion of followers again might be difficult but if you find the magic touch again, gaining momentum and a rhythm wouldn’t be hard.

To be an effective blogger, you need to blog nearly every day, or at least a couple times a week. Going on long hiatuses is not a recipe for success. Your followers will want to have faith that they can expect new posts on a regular basis.

To any new bloggers out there, maybe some that are reading this, I have one simple piece of advice for you:

Be Yourself.

Don’t be pressured to be like another blogger who has had success with a certain writing topic or interest such as photography and poetry. Go with what you are most comfortable with but be willing to try new things just to freshen up once in a while. That’s what keeps readers interested and not subjected to boredom.

I believe blogging has been a real personality builder for me. Before this, I didn’t have much of a way to share my thoughts and rewind. I’m more of an introvert, so I have a better time getting my thoughts out on paper (or digital post boxes in this case) than out loud. I tried video blogging (vlogging) for a while but found it difficult to come up with something new all the time and I couldn’t express myself in words very well. It’s also a chore to make the videos and edit everything together (sound quality is SO important). With blogging, there is no need for highly specialized equipment or worries about audio. I am able to easily put my inner thoughts down without any technical problems or worries about the output. Unlike videos, I can go back and edit a post as much as I like, deleting and adding things that I think are necessary. I feel like I can unlock so many other gears with writing than videos because I feel more like myself than a character I try to play to entertain the audience. Writing is pure; videos are flair. They both have their strengths, they both have their weaknesses. To be truly happy, choose the one that you feel most comfortable with.


Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging.

If you’re a new blogger, what’s one question you’d like to ask other bloggers?

The World Through My Eyes

Landscape

It’s nice to look back and see how far we’ve come and with blogging that is an interesting thing, indeed. Not everyone started off great and may have some traction now while some stormed right out of the gate and haven’t looked back since – your perpetual “superstars”.

My blog’s title was originally just ‘macbofisbil’ in lowercase letters (an aesthetic reason), that acronym that has survived for almost three years now. My tagline was “It’s the story of my life, man”, signifying my attempt to provide a day or week by week account of my adventures. When I started this blog, I used the default WordPress theme given to me for my first two posts and took my blog truly by the reigns and switched to the minimalistic and big text Twenty Thirteen theme. That theme worked out pretty well for me in the months that I used it, motivating me and allowing me to tap into my inner creativity (that may had gone way over the top). Over time though, I realized my blog was starting to fail and becoming quite boring and unfocused, and after months of dismal activity and zero engagement, a change was desperately needed. In August 2014, in order to maybe motivate myself to blog better, I dropped the .wordpress from my domain and then owned my site but I still didn’t have much enthusiasm because blogging seemed like such a difficult thing to partake in. That was when late September 2014 came around.

It was that day in the final weeks of September where I finally hit the consistent posting style that I never had the will to reach before. Along came the Daily Prompt, a wonderful device that I had no idea existed during my first year of blogging, and which opened the doors to a whole new world. It was a godsend, I tell you. With a new theme set (the Twenty Fourteen “magazine” theme) and a fresh start ahead, I had confidence I was going to start using WordPress for real. Shortly after responding to that very first Prompt (which I was a little rusty at), and receiving my very first comment and a number of followers, I decided to change my blog’s title to ‘this is my journey’ in a new approach to refocus my blog around my life and the road I have traveled so far. And the new approach worked, with the last part of September and future months dwarfing my previous run of bloggings views, likes, comments, and followers in comparison.

The World Through My Eyes started sometime in December. I decided to change my previous title to that because it was too narrow focused in my opinion. I chose The World Through My Eyes because of my growing interest in photography and exploring different techniques. I just thought it was a much stronger name and had more opportunity with it. My opinions of the world were an important factor in me choosing that title because I felt I was becoming a more well rounded blogger and would be able to touch on a variety of topics with it, either in just passing form or more detailed. That title has a couple of meanings to it, in fact. It could mean how I look at the world and all the stuff that is happening and how I interpret it in my own words; the pictures I take that describe how I live and attempt to paint my personality; and my struggles living with autism and other disabilities that make me have to take a much different and more difficult approach to moving up in this world, the toughest part being that I can’t drive, having never received my license or even taken my road test, one reason for that being that I have one bad eye that I hardly see out of and makes looking to the side and back of me a struggle.

I think I’m going to keep myself settled with the name of ‘The World Through My Eyes’ because it is a strong and enduring title and just has so much more universal magic to it than simply using my pen name or ‘this is my journey’ which was a little self-centered in my opinion. Oh, and the Sorbet theme I’m using right now is another reason why I want to stick with this name because it complements it so well.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All About Me.”

Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

Social Media Envy – Fight It

Oh, boy, how social media has changed the game for the entire Internet and me. It’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, YouTube, and even WordPress where I’ve come to realize the online world is a HUGE place. And the people with the giant fan bases will exceed and prosper while the little ones will always trudge behind and have to dream of someday becoming an Internet “celebrity”. It’s wild frontier out there and you have to work hard to succeed these days – usually. And with social media comes great jealousy – the reliance on likes and followers, for instance, greatly set the most popular apart from the rest. And it’s funny because before 2010, when I first got on Facebook, I didn’t even care.

I think my green-eyed lady stems mostly from the Internet, seeing people who are enormously popular and seem to be on an entirely different planet than me. No matter how hard I’ve tried, I have just never seemed to get the hang of YouTube and that’s mainly because I’m competing against highly established channels that bring in millions of views per video on upload day, are worshipped like gods in the comment sections of other videos and are mentioned on other sites, and because I’ve never been very dedicated to succeeding on there anyway. And not only has pangs of jealousy come from YouTube personalities like Tyler Oakley and Jenna Marbles, now it comes from these personalities getting to come on network TV (Oakley appeared on The Talk on CBS, Jenna Marbles was mentioned on CSI, and iJustine, another famous YouTuber, will appear on The Price Is Right), and also being mentioned on the radio and the thought that comes to my head is, “Wow, these guys must be really famous.” – which ultimately degrades my well-being.

Seeing people on Facebook that I knew from school get tons of likes on their posts also bugs me, because I’m lucky enough to get one or two, all from my family members. It’s also the friend counts. A couple of my high school mates have over 1,000 friends and growing while I’ve been hovering around 290 for a while now (about 30 of those “friends” are fake accounts set up by my family for games, so the total is a lot lower), and I try not to feel that envy when I see the totals but it immediately puts me on a much lower pedestal. It also doesn’t help when I hear that some of my “friends” are living much more exciting lives than I (going to different countries, attending high-profile colleges, getting to know lots of people), while I just sit on the sidelines at home and watch. One of my friends, his first name Joshua, one day posted that he was visiting Taipei and also was going to attend college there. The results of that post? Over 100 likes and comments. And I tried to feel great for him but a surge of the green-eyed monster outweighed this, and I added another “like” to the boiling pot even though there’s likely no reciprocation by doing so.

With Twitter, it’s a little bit different for me. I don’t tend to have much jealously, except, of course from people I hate such as Justin Bieber and seeing their annoyingly narcissistic tweets. I don’t let the high follower counts and retweet numbers of celebrities get to me because that is mainly what you’d expect. It’s just when I fail to get any retweets or favorites on my individual tweets, some of them I thought were witty and humorous, and others seem to have a lot more success. But hey, it’s all a numbers game in the end, isn’t it?

I don’t get on Instagram at all (not since 2012), so there’s really no reason for envy there.

With WordPress, I’ve come to realize this is a learning process and you can’t expect to succeed overnight. There are a number of bloggers I know out there that have over 4,000 followers and get like counts ranging from 60 to 200, and yes, there does come some jealousy, but I quickly face the facts that these bloggers have obviously been at this for a while and have honed their craft, leading to their surge of popularity. Seeing exceptional, Freshly Pressed worthy writing and the most beautiful pictures from bloggers also puts my work into perspective and I realize I could never copy them no matter how hard I tried. With blogging, it’s better to be authentic than try to live a life that’s not you.

The Internet can be an evil place sometimes. Don’t let the jealousy get to you because it can consume you to the point where you will stop at nothing to reach the pinnacle of recognition and respect. It’s happened to me a number of times – and about half of those followers I paid for on Twitter have since disappeared thanks to Twitter’s great purging system of inactive robot accounts. I’ll never fall for that scam again.

It’s no use trying to conquer the Internet. Just be yourself and have fun; if you feel like it’s getting to you go outside and get some fresh air and remember that the Internet is just an invisible layer that can be shut off at anytime you want.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Green-Eyed Lady.”

We all get jealous from time to time — what wakes the green-eyed monster for you?

I is for Internet

I love these infographics (this one is outdated though)

When I think of the Internet, I think of a giant web (hence the name we call it) that just keeps on growing as more websites are created and more links are created between different places, like portals we can throw around anywhere we want. What’s interesting to me is this whole idea of sharing and syndicating your content – your video can be watched on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google +, and even a blog like WordPress, giving you more chances of it being watched if people aren’t just ignoring it. Same with any content – it can be distributed and cloned across certain points of this system that is like billions of nerve synapses in a brain.

I’ll now leave you with this acrostic poem I wrote:

Interesting developments have led to
Notorious people in an all-out war of
Tenacity and destruction to
Entertainment led by the
Rising stars of tomorrow, while
National news comes quick and
Educational is its purpose,
Technology is rapidly evolving for the next great leap

April A to Z Challenge

BATZAP by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

A is for Auto-Tune

“Wow, you sounded really good in that song, dude! I didn’t know you could sing so well.”

“Me neither, until I got Auto-Tuned.” Ba dum tsss!

Auto-tune, that musical remedy that many of us despise, was invented by Dr. Andy Hildebrand in 1997. The first song to be commercially produced with it was, interestingly enough, Cher’s 1998 hit “Believe”. Since then, Auto-Tune has greatly created a blur between singers who naturally sound good and ones who sound better when the software is used on their voices, such as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. One of the most popular things on YouTube right now is Auto-Tuned videos, ranging from viral news clips to Barack Obama speeches turned into songs such as this one:

Other songs known to have used Auto-Tune:

  • “One More Time” – Daft Punk
  • “These Streets Will Never Look The Same” – Chromatics
  • “Love Lockdown” – Kanye West
  • “Impossible Soul” – Sufjan Stevens

Other inventions that start with the letter A:

  • Air conditioner – invented by Willis Carrier in 1902
  • Air bag – invented by General Motors in 1973
  • Aluminum foil – invented by Charles Martin Hall in 1910
  • Aqualung – invented by Jacques Cousteau & Emile Gagnan in 1942

And a haiku for Auto-Tune:

Auto-Tune my voice
It sounds ten times better now
But fake as wood dolls

April A to Z Challenge