02 June 2010

the panel topic: blogging zen

saturday morning, i arrive at the big cbc conference. all excited and jittery. i get there with five minutes to muster up some courage and meet the other two panelists, destri (fabulous blogger behind themotherhuddle.com) and susan (who owns the business, first impressions handprints). both are super duper sweet and friendly and serious about balancing their time wisely. they are beauties with brains and i feel like i'm in good hands. thanks to my mom who jumped in as our impromptu moderator with two seconds to spare. she was brilliant.

destri and i are like old penpal friends finally meeting in the flesh. we hug and she tells me she thought i'd be taller. this makes me laugh. (i have some cute photos residing in my dad's rebel camera, once downloaded i'll do some posting.) for now i'll attempt to give you a selection of what we discussed. we had lots of audience participation, so it was nice to have lots of give and take. my favorite question from the audience was, "at what point do you hire an assistant??" and destri quickly quipped, "when you have the money for it." wouldn't we all love an assistant at times? here are my tips on the subject, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box. thank you.

01. How did you begin balancing your online life?

take a good look at your priorities and categorize them. see which ones are urgent vs. which ones aren't so urgent. where are you placing your energy? which priorities seem to get the most attention? realign your priorities so that they match up to coordinate a balanced and complete life. we all know what it's like to have surfed the internet for hours with nothing to show for it. be productive and make your moments count! i LOVE having bread baking or have groceries put away or dinner in the crockpot while i blog. i feel like i've already accomplished something real for the day.

set up a routine for yourself. if you want to have a successful blog, like anything, you have to give it enough time and attention to bloom. own up to being a blogger and make it a priority in your life. map out plans and write posts ahead of time, if you have to. carve out the time to do what you love and still live a full and happy life.

02. How did you prioritize to create more balance online?

my main tip will differ from what others may advise. this method works for me and perhaps will help you too. it's simple. reduce your usage of online forums. limit your social networking. i know, it may be crazy to say that in this booming business online world. however if you can't keep up, you should pay attention to your needs. we do not all have a team of assistants who can keep us afloat online. if you're like me, YOU are posting on your own blog, YOU are answering your own emails, YOU are photoshopping your own photos, YOU are keeping up to date on your favorite blogs, YOU are trying to comment and spread the love online, YOU are maintaining your etsy shop, YOU are creating your one of a kind products, YOU are researching craft fairs, YOU are trying out new recipes, YOU are planning birthday parties and writing thank you notes, YOU are trying to keep on top of the dishes and laundry and hard water stains. YOU are trying to be a nice wife, a patient mama, a hard worker, and eat right, and keep fit and much much more. listen to me, YOU don't have to do it all. my number one tip; you don't have to do it all to be successful at what you do do.

if you spread yourself too thin, it will show and your online image will suffer. pick and choose your favorite forums (facebook, twitter, blogging, etc.) by deciding which of them will lead you to achieving your goals. for me, my blog is my favorite way to communicate online. it encourages my writing habits, gives me design practice, is a fun creative outlet and breeds enough business for me. it's a no-brainer for me to opt out of tweeting and facebooking at this point in life. i don't need one more thing to add to my time online. yes, i may be missing out on the big tweeting party but the balance it creates for my life allows me to unplug. which is so worth it.

03. Do you utilize cell phones in your online life?

at one point, an audience member questioned us on the topic of cell phones. do we prefer cell phones with internet and email access? good question! most of these panelists said they prefer living without one. destri said her smart phone fell in the toilet and that was the best blessing ever. knowing me, i'd be on it all the time, if i had one. i like going out to dinner and actually being out to dinner. if it works for your business, than it can be a great time saver and tool. however, i see it as one more temptation to let your real life get blurred. know your own limits and tread wisely. but please, keep it out of sight on dates, while driving or at the movies. seriously.

04. What tools help you in your online & offline life?

gmail, of course. i've told you about my love affair before. google reader, my tutorial about that right here. browser bookmarks. i have a bookmark that says to blog about and tag anything i want to share. write and schedule posts ahead of time to keep up with your blog. destri mentioned delicious and shareaholic and google alert as great online tools. i keep two paper lists going at all times; to blog about and projects to conquer. i jot something down and can forget it. i also keep mini clipboards all around my house so i can capture my thoughts on the page. give yourself a break; if you go on vacation, have a big deadline coming, are moving cross county, you don't need to feel like you have to blog daily to keep your audience happy. find a posting rhythm that works for you.

05. Last thoughts...

find joy in what brings you joy. if you love blogging, keep it up. make whatever you're passionate about fit within the frame of your life. you may have to cut out a few activities to fit in the important things (don't forget to prioritize who you love too). remember that you're unique, you have a story to tell. the best blogs are the genuine ones full of personality and originality. don't be afraid to share who you are. do what you love. love what you do.


a lot more blogging & business tips can be found in my workbook download.

24 comments:

Little Mrs. P said...

It's nice to find someone who loves gmail and google products as much as me.:) Thanks for the post.

shopgirl said...

Awesome post and great advice!

Always love reading your posts Marta!

xo

Kami said...

I loved your advice about having dinner ready/bread baking/groceries put away before you feel good about sitting down to blog. Great advice from all three of you.

Thanks Marta! So fun to meet you too! I wish we had more time to chat.

Diane L said...

I'm sorry I couldn't attend the conference. I'm enjoying your recap, and I love your advice.

Abby said...

Great advice. I love that you always stay true to you!

The Mother Huddle said...

sigh....I wish I could have spent more time with you. I loved your advice, and I don't know why on earth upon meeting you that was the first thing I said. It should have been, "wow, you are even prettier in person" and really I am not just saying that to make up for the first thing I said.
I am doing a post friday, glad you have this up for a recap because I cannot remember a thing!
Evidently I was more nervous than I thought, I tend to block out those moments. Hmmm.
I hope you don't mind but I took part of my ten minutes on Twitter and linked you to the cbc hash tag...so your a twit for the day.

Becca said...

Marta, Not sure I could have become a bigger fan then I already was but it happened! Yiu were such a highlight and I wish you were either my neighbor, sister or everyday friend!

Thanks for your wonderful class! Hugs!

Katie said...

It was a great workshop and I really appreciated your comments and your blog, of course! It was also comforting to know that I wasn't the only one at the cbc conference who doesn't have a Twitter account.

Jen said...

Wonderful, wonderful post, thank you so much for posting. I ate up every word and am printing to post in my studio. Balance is the question of the day for me! You are a great writer, it's why I love your blog.

Melissa Allam said...

Sounds like a great presentation Marta. Wish I was there to here you in person. You have great advice to keep living life and have fun too.

Feather said...

for some strange reason, i needed someone to tell me that i don't also have to facebook and twitter. what a relief! thank you for this post, it was just what i needed!

Cason and Marie said...

I just have to say you have such a beautiful family!!

vanessa said...

So sad I missed meeting you!

Brooke said...

I'm a huge fan and it was wonderful to meet you after your great class. You were so refreshing and friendly and real and adorable. :) You did a great job. Thank you for your insights at CBC and of course your fabulous blog.

Jen said...

I just sort of signed up for that class since I noticed you were Liz's SIL, but I just LOVED it. There was so much great advice from all three panelists, and much of what you said really spoke to me. Thanks!

Travelin'Oma said...

It was a surprising honor to moderate your panel. You three were so well prepared and full of wisdom—you were the best class I went to!

One bit of advice I'm implementing as we speak (or type): the world will not stop if I take a little vacay from my blog. For some reason, I feel like I'm neglecting some huge heavy responsibility when I don't post. I needed to be reminded that it's unnecessary pressure I'm putting on myself. Thanks for putting the zen back in my online life!

Eeny said...

Great post, thanks for all your advice, Marta.

Janssen said...

I so agree about not having a smartphone. I am such an internet addict anyway, I don't need it COMING WITH ME.

Jeanette said...

Oh boy, I need to keep reading this over and over. Have read #2 three times already. Thank You. Thank you.

summer said...

wisdom abounds over here. i just love it! thank you, miss marta. i'm gung-ho about making those two all-important lists for myself now. (to blog about & projects to conquer) why should i make lists for all the little things and skip out on the big ones? silly me.

and speaking of being silly, i just recently found all the benefits of scheduling posts. why was i afraid of it before? i'm kicking myself now. i still enjoy the spontaneity of off the cuff posts, but really, scheduling is too nice to pass up.

Shavanna said...

Love your site...I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you at CBC10 but I'll be following you. I love to write and hopefully I will learn some things from you, on how to share the real me.

Erin @ Letter Soup said...

As a new blogger, these tips are so helpful.
Thanks!
I just found your blog last week, and it's quickly becoming one of my favorites!

Brian and Kendra said...

Marta,

I linked to this post {and a few others} while I was blogging about my blog & business. I cannot tell you how motivating your posts are! Thanks!

Courtney {a thoughtful place} said...

Amazing advice. Just found you through 6th street and I am in need of all these pearls of wisdom as I get my little blog rolling! finally found my passion! thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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