Quieting My Restless Mind

Brain, computer art
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I spend a lot of time in my head so when I’m having one of those days, one where my brain is so stimulated, I can’t write what I want, its paralyzing.

I had this week all laid out. Starting today, I’d write about Paris. I was excited by the ideas that were coming, made notes, selected the photos but now that I’m to start, I haven’t been able to quiet my thoughts. I feel lukewarm, no, detached about it and frankly, it’d be a struggle to write even the first sentence.

Yesterday, on the subway, I ‘wrote’ an entire post on another topic — in my head. I didn’t want to pull out my notebook and begin writing because I feared the thoughts would float away — they were flowing so effortlessly, I decided to bask in the glow of their energy instead. And I did. (I must have filed them away because I can’t recall them today. But believe me, they were beautiful and oh, so poetic!)

So since my brain’s not cooperating, here’s what I’ll do in the meantime:

  • Write what wants to come out. Writing about something else, takes the pressure off and frees up my brain so it can continue to bake the idea/s that want to come out or clear the clutter.
  • Do something physical. Like cleaning (which I need to do), walking, gardening, exercising, etc., that engages the other side of my brain and frees me up so the ideas can flow again.
  • Review the events of the past 2 days. By reliving the weekend’s events, I can connect with and process the emotions and the sparks I got. I had a weekend full of activities and each was a potential blog post. I can also plan the coming weekend’s activities.
  • Talk to someone. I do have a few calls to make that are totally unrelated to my writing. Those will also take my mind off of the matter at hand.
  • Breathe deeply. Breathing deeply forces me to concentrate on my breath, not on the confusion in my head. It’s also quite relaxing.
  • Listen to music. When I listen to music, I’ll sing along or dance and that takes my mind off the noise in my head.
  • Watch a funny movie or cartoon. It’s no understatement – laughter is good medicine. It’s the perfect antidote to stress and relaxes not just the facial muscles but the entire body.

What technique do you use to quiet your mind when it refuses to do so on its own?

Woohoo, I’m Versatile Blogger. Thanks, Judith!

Woohoo, I’m a Versatile Blogger!

My fellow blogger, Judith Baxter at Growing Younger Each Day just nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks Judith!

I wasn’t sure what or who a Versatile Blogger was but I would soon find out. This is actually a very cool thing. It’s also the first time I’ve been nominated for anything since I began blogging in earnest late last year so it’s very special to me. Once again, thank you, Judith.

I just discovered Judith and my eyes lit up when I saw that she was a life coach. (Life coaching isn’t a job for just anybody – she went way up on my respect meter.) I also enjoy reading her posts. Check her out here.

So what’s the Versatile Blogger Award?

It is an opportunity for a blogger to recognize fellow bloggers who they admire and enjoy.

Next, the bloggers who’ve been nominated have to link back to the blogger who gave them the award

Share 7 things about themselves

Choose 15 other bloggers to pass the award to and inform them that they’re passing the award on to them.

So here goes.

Seven things about me

  1. It’s still very difficult to talk about myself because there are so many other more interesting things and people around me. Seriously.
  2. I registered my blog 3 years before I posted anything. Now, I can’t go a day without posting something. (Who said I had no discipline?!)
  3. I love art, books, music and travel. True story: I had minor surgery recently and my doctor told me afterwards that while I was under the anesthesia, I carried on a long conversation with them about books and art. (I’m an avid reader and in my other life, I’m a book publicist.)
  4. I love Masterpiece Theatre and I never tire of watching Keeping up Appearances, As Time Goes By, Ms. Marple, Hercule Poirot with David Suchet. My ‘new’ fix is M1-5. My guilty pleasure is The Young and the Restless and General Hospital (soap operas). And for competition and armchair travel, I love the Amazing Race.
  5. I realized how good my French was when I was able to tell off someone in French. (It would get even better if I practiced more.)
  6. I’m looking forward to owning a backyard, a dog and parrot – exactly in that order. Oh, and a garden near the ocean.
  7. I’d love to spend a year traveling to sacred places around the world. You could call it my personal year of living dangerously?

The 15 Bloggers I’m Giving a Versatile Blogger Award to:

In no particular order, these are the blogs I look forward to reading everyday for inspiration, for humor, for their refreshing content.

Drumroll, please!

My Versatile Blogger Awards go to —

  1. Tony Newboult – Tony’s my first blog buddy.  He blogs about music but right now he’s doing the A-Z Blogging challenge.
  2. First Year of Freedom – Despite the differences in our ages, I love reading Mozes Sanchez’s posts. Mozes, who’s in high school, blogs as First Year of Freedom. Reading his posts is like looking over his shoulder at high school life.
  3. Wander Woman – There’s so much power in this name. Carla’s posts are an interesting mix of travel and everyday stories. Always fresh, and refreshing.
  4. Hakea – I depend on Narelle to bring me the good stuff. She’s also made me add Australia to the list of countries I want to visit.
  5. Heather‘s stunningly sumptuous photographs are a feast. And her posts are just as sweet. She inspires me to be a better photographer.
  6. Queen of Zoom – I love reading Theresa’s posts about her family and her view of the world from the back of a motorbike. I’m taken back to my teenage years riding on the back of my uncle’s bike.
  7. Polly’s Space – Polly’s photos are powerful, her writing gentle. Check her out and see what I mean.
  8. Journey Through a Writer’s Life – Cheryl’s poems move me by their simplicity. Don’t be fooled, writing poetry is hard work. She just makes it look easy.
  9. Pass the Douchey channels my irreverent and decidedly liberal political side. I wish I could be as eloquent and as prolific.
  10. Marge Mercurio’s latest series of posts is focused on using the internet to find goodies. Please check out the really cool things she’s found.
  11. Grown up for Real – You know just by looking at a blogger’s page whether you’ll like what they post.
    D. Rene does it all – career, a blended family, home.
  12. My English Thoughts – Isabelle is bold and gutsy to write a blog in a language not her own just so she can learn. I wish I could be as gutsy and write at least one post in French! Read hers here
  13. Wandering Around – John is the kind of traveler/blogger I hope to become – one of these days, hopefully not too long from now.
  14. Leeswammes – I live books. Judith blogs about and reviews books. Nuff said!
  15. Amusing Elephant – Anyone who loves Sunday Brunches is worth reading. Jasem writes about food and life in India.
Now, do the same and pass the Virtual Blogger Award to some bloggers you admire!
Thanks for stopping by.

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What do you want to accomplish with your blog?

Treasure Beach boats

What do I want to accomplish with my blog?

This is a pretty simple and straightforward question but one to which I’m finding the answer to be a bit more difficult to pin down than I thought.

When I first started, the idea was to write about Jamaica, the place where I was born, the place I’m discovering with adult eyes and after several years of not living there.

I wanted to share the Jamaica I yearn for when I’m homesick, the Jamaica beyond the well-known stereotypes – reggae, jerk, ganja (marijuana). I wanted to show readers who have never been (and even some who have) that Jamaica, the one that’s rarely seen by those who don’t venture beyond the carefully circumscribed environment of the all-inclusive resorts.

While that is the main purpose of this blog, my travel interests are much broader. And I realized quickly that I couldn’t write about Jamaica and not include all the other fabulous places I visit.

But the thrust is the same: to go beyond the usual tourist traps and get an appreciation for what a country is about.

If I’m able to do that, then I’ll consider that a major accomplishment of this blog.

Let me know what you think.

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Interview with Blogger, Ozias Sanchez, First Year of Freedom – Part 2

Interview with Ozias Sanchez, who’s also called “Mozes,” First Year of Freedom, Part 2

Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working on your blog?

Well, I don’t spend too much time going around from blog to blog, so the only blog I look at regularly is Marcia’s blog: Inside Journeys. And I have to say, although I really don’t have a particular interest in traveling, her blog is a lot of fun to read.

Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?

Well, like I said, I don’t actually read other people’s blogs, so I don’t know anybody in specific I look up to, but I’d have to say anybody who gets more than 1000 views a day.

Do you think Pagerank plays a vital role in a blog’s life?

Any blog that wants a steady access of new viewers, yes.

What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?

In all honesty, content. I don’t really care if tons of people read my blog or not. I mean, yes, it’s nice to have people stop by every once and a while and leave a comment, but I’m more concerned with practicing my writing than actually getting people to come see it.

What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his/her readers?

Something that they can read to get away from the world, or relate to. Nothing beats the feeling like somebody who feels the same way you do.

A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interested in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

Money from blogging? If this is your goal, don’t get your hopes up, this is definitely a hard goal to reach. All I have to say is, if you want to make money from blogging, you better have an interesting opinion on controversial subjects, or be an expert at something used every day. Unless you’re somewhere along those lines, don’t expect much.

What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?

Probably the theme of the blog, because it’s the biggest part about your blog that you have to keep consistent, so I was having trouble deciding something like that.

Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?

My favorite post is my Lady Gaga one, because it got tons of views, and I’m really proud of it, and my least favorite one is probably the one about the aliens. I had nothing to write about, so I had to pull something straight out of my… well, never mind. I mean, the post is still truthful.

What’s your take on sponsored reviews?

Don’t pay to do something that can be easily done on your own for free.

If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?

Don’t blog about what you had for lunch, unless it was still alive.

Any final thoughts?

Nope, just thanks to Marcia for the interview!

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Interview with Ozias Sanchez, First Year of Freedom – Part 1

Ozias Sanchez aka “Mozes,” who blogs as First Year of Freedom is one of my blog buddies. Mozes and my other buddies have been very supportive in helping me stay on track on this Postaday2011 blogging challenge.

A few weeks ago, I did an interview with Mozes. Here’s what he had to say about blogging, writing and Lady Gaga. Since the interview is a little long, I’ll post it in two parts.

Here’s the first part of the interview:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Kansas City, MO, but I’ve been living in Colorado since I was 8. While I don’t meet the technical definition, I like to consider myself a Colorado native. I’m also very mature and pretty soft spoken.

Are you a full time blogger?

Well, I’m part of post a day, but I do what I can. While I see blogging as a chore, it’s also fun at the same time. Just one of those things, I guess.

What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?

Actually, a really big hobby of mine is collecting postcards. But since the post office has very inconvenient hours, and I don’t own a car, I’ve not been able to trade as many as I’d like. So, I just play Xbox or something.

How did you first get involved in blogging?

If I remember correctly, the real reason I got involved into blogging was through myspace. Myspace lets you have a blog as well as a profile. I always looked at it, but I never knew what a blog was. One day, I finally looked it up and got really interested in the idea of keeping an online journal.

How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog?

Oh, let me tell ya, it isn’t easy. Actually I’m constantly paranoid about running out of ideas for my blog. But to keep on track, I’m always writing questions and interesting things that pop in my head throughout the day; one idea could be extremely different from the next, but both are interesting.

What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?

Well, until my “official” topic of blogging about college actually comes around in August, I think the hardest part is actually sticking to one topic. I’m the kind of person that finds something interesting in everything, and I don’t know if I could not write about something for the sake of sticking to a specific topic. Well, as long as I don’t have to write every day that is. As for college, I think the hardest thing will be finding the time to blog, and having something interesting about college everyday that’s more than just college drama.

How do you describe your blogging style?

I write exactly how I talk, so I’d consider my blogging style (just like my topics) very relatable.

Do you find it more difficult (or easy) to write about personal topics as opposed to what’s in the news?

That’s a good question. I’ll have to go with personal topics, because though the news can have a lot of interesting things to write about, I commonly find some topics, like a state election, or the revolution in Egypt, boring (but still important).

What’s your strategy with your blog in general?

Would I find my own entry interesting if I came across it? And I usually try to make it more than 400 words.

What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?

Commenting random people’s blogs can get me quite a bit of views, but I usually just advertise of Facebook.

Read Part 2 of the interview with Ozias Sanchez here.

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I Wasn’t Sure I Could Do It

I must admit, I wasn’t sure I could do it – post everyday for a week, let alone a year but I was willing to try.

I like a challenge.

But I’d taken on challenges before….

I don’t think of the year. I think of a day at a time.

Sometimes, ideas come quickly and often, other times not so.

Sometimes, I bang out several hundred words in no time flat. At other times, a few hundred seem to take an eternity to emerge.

Used to being more comfortable behind the scenes, I’m learning how to bare myself to the scrutiny of others and not become paralyzed by my fear that they won’t like what I say, think I’m a fraud or worry when they don’t comment.

And they’ve been surprisingly (to me) generous, receptive and supportive.

Now posting everyday has become a habit I don’t want to break. (I’m writing this as I wait to see a movie.) Three months just flew by!

There’s no prize at the end of the year, just the sense of accomplishment I know I’ll have.

Thanks to my blog buddies and everyone else whose comments have encouraged and propelled me forward.

To the next milestone.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Content Block?

Collaborative writing exercises—such as the cl...
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Is this content block?

For the first time since I started this challenge to post everyday in 2011, I don’t have a topic I want to write about.

I have a few ideas but I haven’t had the time to develop them as I’m in the middle of two writing projects – one with a fast approaching deadline.

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that the ideas aren’t popping as fast or as furious as they usually do. And for some reason, I’m not feeling any of the suggested DailyPost topics.

So rather than break my perfect postaday2011 record, I’m writing and hoping to clear my head because all I can think of is my deadline.

I can’t wait to get back to writing about my travels.

How Will I Postaday When I’m on Vacation?

A few weeks ago, I was speaking with my 80 year old aunt who, except for a spell in Canada, has lived in the U.K. since 1954 – way before I was born.

Lebara SIM

I’m not sure how the conversation veered towards her trip from Kingston, Jamaica to London but for the first time I heard that she and 16 others had traveled on the Reina del Pacifico, the ocean liner aboard which a former British Prime Minister, James MacDonald, had died and King Peter of Yugoslavia had sailed.

But that’s not what caught my attention. According to Aunt Connie, her voyage had lasted three weeks. Three weeks?!

Could I survive being unplugged for that long? I doubt it seriously.

When did I get so connected? Every so often, I leave my phone at home intentionally or turn off the television.

But I’m getting ready to go on vacation and remaining connected is my biggest concern. Always has been.

Living in the U.S., I’ve become so used to being always ‘on’ that I take for granted the limitations of technology elsewhere.

On my last trip, my laptop traveled with me as it always does. However, in two and a half weeks, I got online for only a few minutes. When I did, it was like winning the lottery – miraculous and unexpected. My first few days had been tortuous. Like quitting smoking cold turkey, I felt ‘whole’ again once I got online.

So how will I be able to postaday when I’m on vacation?

My phone

I plan to have a few posts queued up and ready to go but I love to share my experiences shortly after they happen – not when I get back. So I’ve spent the last day trolling the Internet to make sure there’ll be free WiFi hotspots near my hotel (T-Mobile tells me I can turn off the data service and connect using WiFi but I’d rather have my phone off completely) that I’ll be able to find a convenient location to buy a SIM card when I arrive (I have an unlocked phone that I use whenever I travel) and that my adapters will work (They didn’t in South Africa). I’ll buy a few minutes on Skype so I can call home in case there’s an emergency or use GoogleChat.

I’m confident these steps will keep me connected so that I can keep my commitment to postaday while I’m away. I’ll know for sure once I arrive.

How do you stay connected when you’re traveling outside the US?

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Guess I’ll Pat Myself on the Back Now

Exactly a month – 31 days – ago, I responded to the challenge to post everyday for 365 days.

I did it on a lark.

This blog was registered back in 2007 and though I write (almost) everyday for work, I hadn’t been able to muster up the energy or enthusiasm to post even once a week.

That is, until I saw the challenge. It said to me: Dare to write. Dare to be original. Dare to be authentic. Dare to be naked emotionally. Dare to be controversial. Dare to be funny. I dare you!

So I write and I read and I comment on other bloggers’ blogs and I strive to be a better blogger, a better writer.

And I’m having fun! Just like I used to in writing classes. I look forward to coming up with topics to write, share my stories and craft eye-catching headlines.

I also look forward to receiving comments. No, I love receiving and reading comments. There are so many blogs out there, I’m thrilled when you stop by mine and let me know what you think. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

But today, I’m also patting myself on the back to mark this important milestone.