Hey, guys! Welcome back to my blog. I really wasn’t sure how to format today’s post, but thanks to a book (one of the items in my five things) I’m learning that maybe it’s okay to experiment a little and see what works well for me. So today’s post is a bit of a hodgepodge of five things that I want to mention here.
1. The BBC and the Pulitzer Center have published an amazing report (for what it sheds light on) about accusations of witchcraft against children, which are resulting in the abuse, estrangement, and deaths of thousands of children (as young as 3) in Nigeria. This is horrific and a new trend, but the positive side of this (if it can be called that) is that of the shining light of journalism. Nigeria needs to do better, and this report will surely increase international pressure on them to do so. Please read it here.
2. At the end of May, I signed up for a new domain and hosting through GoDaddy. The truth is, as much as I love WordPress.com and blogging here (on Sweet Bliss), there are a few issues that a GoDaddy hosted site solves. The first is that the WordPress.org version of WordPress allows me to control the back end of things, to have more say over how my website looks, but also eventually on what type of content I publish and (if any) what sorts of ads will appear. While WordPress Premiums has been kind to me in that sense as well, I don’t find there are nearly as many free themes here, and there are also no widgets unless you upgrade to a business account—something you automatically have access to with WordPress.org. And metrics can be a great indicator of how well you are actually engaging with your audience, whether you are successfully building a community, and where people are finding you in order to fine-tune your strategy.The name of my new blog will be different, but I am still figuring out the nitty-gritty, and while I re-find my voice here on WordPress, Sweet Bliss is treating me well.
3. This is the item I am most excited about and the book you need if you want to become an influencer. Granted, I am only 1/3 of the way through and a proper review is bound to follow, but Influencer by Brittany Hennessy 100% should be on your radar. I am reading an advance copy, but you can get yours on Amazon, here. This is a no-nonsense book from somebody whose voice counts: Brittany worked for Hearst (the huge media company) booking influencers for lifestyle brands. She knows who catches a brand’s eye, who has the ability to engage people, etc. etc.And in this book, she is telling us all that just as it is, and I love the way she has categorized different types of influencers and ways to increase your following, what to do and when, why and why not. It’s actually quite informative, and there are a few pieces of advice and frameworks that I really haven’t seen elsewhere. Beyond all of that, I do find that this book is motivating me to try harder! Sure, I don’t want to be a latte-sipping, perennially summer-dress wearing, beach-posing “influencer.” I never have wanted to be that. But I am learning that that is not the only definition, and that ultimately, we influence people by providing value.In Brittany’s words, the definition of an influencer is essentially that “when you talk, people listen.” Really, so far, I can’t recommend this book enough. Like I said, beyond the informative aspect, this book is actually inspiring and motivating. You know that sluggish time at 1200 followers when nothing you do seems to work (my problem, though not on this feed), well, this book will encourage you to reframe your perspective and realize the value of an engaged following. For $15, this book is a bargain, and I can’t wait to come back and tell you the exact same thing once I’m done reading. For now, read an excerpt from Amazon by clicking the link above (truly my favourite feature. Why commit to a read before trying it out?).
4. I have mentioned writing warm ups before, but that was a bit of a rant post about how few writers understand what personal essays should be about. Today, though, I am just here to encourage you to give the treasure trove that is writing prompts a good try. You literally need—almost—nothing to get started, except an email address from Google that lets you use Google Docs.I prefer to leave my writing warm ups and some other pieces of writing in my Google Drive, through Google Docs, in order to avoid cramping my laptop’s precious memory space.
The truth is that writing warm ups is not only a great way to practice writing and actually increase your skill level and ability by practicing crafting language in ways and about topics you otherwise wouldn’t broach, but it can take your ability to introspect and see your life to a whole new level!Yesterday’s warm up for me was simple. I followed a prompt that said “outside my window.” That’s it. There were really no requests; it was up to me to come up with something. So I looked outside my window and wrote. But it never ends there, does it?What I saw outside my window reminded me of old memories, things that happened nearly a decade ago, the changes that have taken place since then and how they have affected myself and my family. It was really beautiful to be able to express these things just by following a writing warm up. I felt a pleasant but unexpected release, and while not every day is going to be such a success, writing warm ups will never be a waste to me, because they encourage me to write better.
5. Before starting on this blog post, I was working on another blog post about the startup money that it takes to become an influencer. Almost a year ago, I started an Instagram microblog about plant-based food. But then I realized that I was listing a series of barriers that really weren’t stopping me, weren’t insurmountable, and that I was just making excuses. I love plant-based food, and most of my calories come from that. I believe that if we all ate more plants, the world could truly be a much better place; I believe in the ripple effects kindness to ourselves and to animals can have in this world. So even if I could influence one single person to make a different choice for dinner one night, the effort would truly be worth it to me. After all, I also really enjoy the creative side of running a visual blog on Instagram. And it takes a lot of that to get the shots just right.But one problem is that it can also be very expensive to have a feed that is updated often enough. It’s not that I hadn’t tried before, but it can be exhausting. To get the right lights, for example, I used desk lamps with light bulbs that are far too high wattage and covering them with sheer fabric I found at a fabric store to create a makeshift photography light to save a few bucks. The thing is, yes, it is much easier to just spend money when you’re trying to become an influencer. It took a long time to do that, and it takes time to, for example, find tableware from a thrift store instead of waltzing into the nearest homewares department and buying whatever I want.After all, it takes money to stay on top of the trends in whatever area you’re trying to tackle, and if you’re not at the forefront, then why waste people’s time, right? I totally get that and agree with that.
But while I wrote, I also realized that there are also reasonable and doable ways of keeping consistent content without breaking the bank, and writing that post today made me realize that I was making a long list of invalid excuses. So, seriously, write it out!Who knows what type of blind spot you might have that you just haven’t taken a good look at. Don’t be afraid to write about subjects you’d rather avoid, things you’re ashamed of, or things you’re not quite sure you’ll have the answers for. Here’s the thing, you can rip out the page and delete the file if it’s so bad. But I promise you that it won’t be!