Category Archives: Writing and Blogging

When You Feel Like Giving Everyone the Middle Finger

Yesterday, on the way to the post office, my daughter and I passed two guys walking down the street. As we parked our car the two men stopped on the sidewalk in front of us. We had ring-side tickets to their performance as they thrust their middle fingers into the air and waved them at all of the cars passing by on the road. My daughter joyfully exclaimed, “Those guys are idiots!” as she marveled at their behavior. I smiled to myself as I agreed with her. I smiled because I know that, as humans, we really do feel like giving everyone the middle finger sometimes. Most of us don’t do it of course. Most of us have manners and self-control. BUT…most of us do think about doing it every once in a while. Or maybe that’s just me. I’m probably just one of those seemingly quiet, sweet people with a streak of evil running through her core. Or maybe I just like to think about being the kind of person who freely let’s everyone know exactly how she is feeling in any given moment.

Anyway, I was thinking about those two guys today as I contemplated giving my computer the middle finger several times this morning. Maybe my anger should have been directed at the Internet or my lack of knowledge about html code and blogging guts and all of those letters, slashes, and brackets in my “blog template” that look like a foreign language to me. I was frustrated with my limitations as a webmaster (Yes, I am totally laughing as I refer to myself as a master of anything). Maybe I should have just given myself the middle finger. Maybe I still will…as long as nobody is looking.

You may have noticed a few changes around here. I’ve been accepted into the Blog Her publishing network which means I get to have advertising in my sidebars and maybe find a way to make this hobby of mine less expensive. I am excited about that! The only problem is I have to do some magic stuff behind the scenes to make it happen and I’m not very good at blogging magic. There were tears this morning, the gnashing of teeth, and the ever lovely: Pulling out of all the hair. Even after all of that I’m still not convinced my ads are working correctly on those darn mobile devices. Only time will tell.

The Blog Her ads team is amazing and helpful. I hope they get paid a lot of money as they patiently answer all of my questions via email and try to direct me to solutions. Either way, I am sure I will be driving them to drink before long. I’m practically driving myself to drink and now I am writing about it because everyone needs to know how hard I am trying over here (feel free to send chocolate or to give me your middle finger). I need a blog design intervention. This is almost as bad as when I tried to create my own logo. I say almost as bad because it’s not exactly over yet. It might even be worse. I might not find another Joules Dellinger to ride in on her white horse and save me from myself.

On top of that there is this whole problem with my websites speed. It is getting slower and slower. It took over 10 seconds for this page to load. That is like 16 months in dog years. I’m never going to be operating at light speed at this rate. I might not even achieve the speed of sound. I apologize to all of you who sat waiting for 8 seconds while the pictures in my sidebar came to life. I know what I have to fix, but I don’t know how to do it so I have sent out an S.O.S. to my blogging community. I’m looking for a professional to help me sort it all out. If you know anyone who does this sort of thing please send them my way!

I’m crossing my fingers, hoping for a hail Mary, and even doing a blogging rain dance because I am willing to try anything to get this gizmo working correctly. In the meantime, I’m going to take a break and face another BIG problem I am having. Another overwhelming obstacle to tackle:

When you feel like giving everyone the middle finger.
Fear is staring at a blank 36×48 canvas.

Blank Canvas Blues…it still seems more surmountable than blogging.

Ninja Skills Required For Work At Home Mom

I need ninja skills to work from home. I have to be sneaky. I have to be quiet. I have to be fast. My family seems to have a sixth sense about whenever I sit down in front of the computer to write. They know. I don’t know how, but they know.

I can clean the kitchen, sweep the floor, wash the dishes, scrub the toilets and there is not a single peep out of any of them, but as soon as I sit down they need something. A phone number. A lost shoe. A drink of milk. A toy. Sometimes they even need to be let outside to pee and then let back in again. Four-legged family counts too, right?

The other day I could not get anything done so I gave up. Jim would head to work, eventually Tiny-Small would go to bed, and there would be a 90 minute window starting about 8:30 pm where I’d just have to type really fast. I knew I could do it so I let it go, put my work aside,  and went off to play with Tiny-Small for the day.

As soon as her head hit the pillow that night I jumped on the computer. I went straight to my blog. That’s when I noticed I wasn’t connected to the Internet. So I ran over to my Internet machine (whatever that thing is called) and noticed it was frozen and blinking so I unplugged it and plugged it back in and waited for the Internet to come back on. Finally, success! So I started typing, but then the Internet was off again. It does this when we have cloudy weather, rain, or just because it feels like it. I ran back over to the Internet machine and unplugged it and plugged it in again. It came back on briefly and then of course it went off again. I unplugged it again and plugged it back in again.

So irritating.

Finally it started working again and I started typing. Yay!

But, before I knew it, Jim was home. He was early! He came over to my desk and started talking about his day. I tried to keep typing. He talked and talked. Then my Internet went out again. I ran over to the machine unplugged it and plugged it back in. Jim talking the whole way. When the Internet came back on I started typing quickly and Jim went off to find his dinner.  I took a deep breath. If I just concentrated I knew I could knock the rest of the post out and have it up on the blog by morning. Except, at that moment, I heard a very loud cry.

Tiny-Small was up.

I got her some water, tucked her back in, and ran back to my desk. As soon as I sat down, I noticed the Internet was off again. At this point I wanted to cry, but instead told myself, “Tomorrow is a new day.” I turned my laptop off and went to bed.

The next morning I finished my post with Tiny Small standing behind me on my chair putting Princess crowns on my head. I can type through anything. I can blog through any adversity. Just don’t depend on me to keep a schedule. I can never predict what shenanigans will go on over here or when I will be able to sit down without my family finding out. I really have to learn to move like a ninja and invest in better Internet.

I was thinking about how someone would advertise for my “job” and I am pretty sure it would say, “Wanted: Work At Home Mom (Non-Ninjas need not apply).” Except that might be a double negative. Maybe it should say, “Wanted: Work At Home Mom With Grammatical Expertise (Non-Ninjas need not apply).

 

5 Steps To Internet Detoxification For The Online Entrepreneur

The other day I was complaining about how the Internet was driving me crazy over the latest controversial topic. I mean, this happens all the time. People will fight over anything! Anyway, once in a while it sort of gets me down. All of the suicide posts were kind of putting me into a funk after Robin Williams took his own life and I was moping around the house and really wanted to turn  the Internet off for good. A friend suggested I take a break for a while and I thought about it in a serious way, but then, just when I was getting ready to pull the plug out of the wall I got an email about a painting commission and another one asking me if I was going to be creating an art calendar for 2015.

I realized I couldn’t quit the Internet. It’s my business. It’s my job. It’s my livelihood! I know, I can hardly believe it myself. A couple of years ago I was just writing to myself and Marianne over at We Band of Mothers. How she found my blog I will never know, but I am pretty sure she was my first non relative, non, old friend from high school to read my blog. At the time I was getting two readers a day if I was lucky! Marianne was my first real reader and she gave me hope.

Here I am, two years later with an Etsy shop and a blogging business. My point is, I couldn’t quit the Internet unless I wanted to quit my job. I love my job. I mean REALLY love my job. So quitting the Internet is not an option. Plus, I totally owe Marianne to succeed at this thing since she was cheering me on and reading my posts way before I even remotely knew what I was doing. I can’t let her down even if letting her down is just a figment of my vast imagination, which I am sure it is. My point is there is something special about people believing in you. Giving up is like not accepting a compliment or telling them they have bad taste or bad judgement. I won’t do that to Marianne, even the Marianne in my imagination (no pressure, real Marianne, I swear!).

The thing is, I do get tired of the Internet sometimes. I mean sometimes it makes me want to bang my head on a wall or run away to live on an island. I’d even brave sharks, which, if you know me, is saying a lot. So, I came up with a 5 step emergency internet detoxification plan for when the Internet gets on your last nerve.

5 Steps To Internet Detoxification For The Internet Enterpreneur

Step One: When the Internet becomes like a shark at a feeding frenzy, do not look at your social media feeds for a few days. My biggest problem is with Facebook so I take days off from my Facebook feed pretty often. I still pop on to check if I have any messages I need to answer and I hang out on It’s A Dome Life’s fan page too because I love the people there and I still have posts to write and things to share. I even visit all of my groups to dole out bad advice and “like” other people’s paintings and writing.  I just stay out of the stream. I ignore the huffs and the puffs and the whines and the cranks and the miserable people. I avoid the ranters and ravers complaining about the topic du jour. Usually after a day or two things calm down or I just don’t care anymore. Petting my dog instead of reading my Facebook feed can really change my perspective. It’s also good for business because it’s never a good idea to make important decisions when you feel stressed or burnt out. Plus, you won’t say anything you might regret later to that friend of yours you haven’t seen in 20 years that likes to stir up drama all day long. We all have one, right?

Step Two: Put your email on vacation. Seriously. Set up an automated email response saying you are in Hawaii, but will return soon. Or something. I mean, even if you are just home watching Law & Order reruns in your socks while eating popcorn, nobody has to know that. Sometimes you just need a day or two where nobody needs something from you. That’s when you can spend some time thinking and percolating. People emailing know you’ll get back to them soon because they will get your automated response. It takes the pressure off and you just bought yourself a day of day dream believing.

Step Three: Give yourself a vacation from reading all of the marketing, SEO, blogging for business, how to design a website, everything you are doing is wrong and needs to change right now gurus. It’s never ending. Sometimes you need to stop and enjoy what you have created, warts and all. Your blog isn’t perfect, but it never will be because all of this stuff is constantly changing. You’ll never keep up with it all. You’ll try to a few days a week. We all do. Just remember to give yourself a few days of just being on your blog too. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take time to smell the roses. Quit making yourself crazy and quit staying up until 2 am trying to make a widget dance in your sidebar. Next week that will be the one thing the gurus will tell you to never do anyway and you’ll cry over all of the time you wasted.

Step 4:  While on the Internet, do not click on any ads. Stay away from shopping. Resist the sales and free shipping. It’s just a time suck to keep you from getting real work done. Getting real work done, like writing a solid blog post or painting something (or even adding items to your online store), will make you feel much more accomplished later. Besides, spending hours looking at clothes you can’t afford or aren’t going to buy is only going to make you sad. Clicking on that ad for diet juice is going to make that ad follow you around the internet for weeks infuriating you daily because you still haven’t lost a single pound. While you’re at it, stop taking all of those quizzes to find out what planet you are, what Happy Days character you are, or what city you should live in. Seriously. Stop clicking all the nonsense…just for a few days.

Step 5: Turn off the computer and you cell phone (at least put it down). Make lists on real paper. Call your friend. Eat ice cream. Take your child to the park. Walk your dog. Do a handstand. Get away from it all for at least a few hours each day. No phone checking. Make a schedule and stick to it even if it is for only three days. Sometimes that is enough to give you the break you need so you can come back to work refreshed. Online businesses mean you never go home at the end of the day. You can be available 24 hours a day. Don’t be. Turn off your phone at night too. Do not keep it next to your nightstand. All the alerts will wait for a few hours. It’s OK. People can wait a little while. It will not kill them.

How about you? What do you do to detox from the Internet without completely unplugging?