How to Avoid Major Failure

Have you ever engaged in a difficult activity and lost focus when distracted by someone much better, then failed in a major way? I have. Many times when attempting to fulfill a goal and while ice skating.

Failure happens when we attempt to reach a super tough goal but focus our attention on something else.

It can be as simple as an off-hand glance or a quick comparison. A distraction that causes doubt can result in SPLAT! We hit the frozen lake HARD.

After watching the movie Hans Brinker when I was a kid in Madison, Wisconsin, I wanted to skate just like him. Santa provided the ice skates and Dad drove our family to Lake Wingra.

I was sure I’d glide just like Hans. My mom laced the hooks on my skates in the warming house while some skaters chatted on benches and others clomped past on their sharp blades. Once on the ice, I lost my confidence. My parents pointed out the sharp teeth on the front of my skates. I tentatively pushed ahead.

After a few steps, I looked up as another skater swooshed by. Down I went. I quickly learned that concentrating on my feet was necessary to complete my goal of staying in the upright position. This spared my poor posterior.

Changing my gear

Years later, I tried hockey skates. Seduced by the dark sturdy leather, I asked a friend, Jim Mullen, if I could try them. He and my friends cracked up laughing as I stepped forward and faceplanted on the ice. The toothless blades made pushing off so awkward. After a few quick smackdowns, I switched back to my old skates.

How to avoid crashing and burning

The Winter Olympics

A year later, Jim tried out for the Olympics. He drove to the trials with other skaters like Eric Heiden.

When Jim started his speed skating trial, he flew ahead of the pack. How far ahead, he didn’t know. With the finish line right in front of him, he looked over his shoulder to check. Continue reading

How to Be Discovered on WordPress!

Featured on Discover is the blog award given by the WordPress editors. I’ve been honored to win five of these awards. They have brought thousands of views and lots of new followers to the Wild Ride. Today, I’ll let you in a little secret how you can be Discovered on WordPress too!

Editor’s Picks, Freshly Pressed, and Discover

My first Editor’s Pick was out of 375,000 other posts blogged on a day in October of 2011. I stayed on the editors’ radar and received two more in 2012. Back then, the WordPress awards were called Freshly Pressed. Now they are called, Featured on Discover.

 

Cue the sound of crickets.

One year almost to the day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I won another Freshly Pressed for An Open Letter to My Boobs. That was in April of 2014.

grabbing my boobs

Since then, blogging has exploded.

Very few can hear our tiny voices when they are lost in a hurricane of people shouting to be noticed.

“Look at me! Look at me!” I screamed while drowned out by the roaring crowd. “Woohoo! Over here!” I jumped up and down and burned a few calories. Exhausted, I returned to my desk to write instead.

How to be Discovered

WordPress hosts one-third of the world’s websites.

Billions of people blog. In fact, according to WordPress Facts, 409 million people read 21 billion pages each month! 21 billion?

Assuming my voice would never be heard by the editors ever again, I focused on building my blog readership and community instead. Along with writing about my wild life in Colorado, I studied the craft of writing books. There’s a huge difference between writing essays and novels. I’m still learning!

For a couple of years, I read a lot about how to increase views. Most of the articles said the same thing:

“Write quality content. Your readers will come.”

“The more you blog, the higher your views.”

The beauty of Isolation

I have never been a prolific blogger and as far as quality content, I always think my readers will enjoy my posts. Ha! There is no way to predict the hits and the HUGE misses. I continue to write because it’s my passion and I love my blogging community.

I began to promote my blog more consistently through social media. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Stumbleupon funneled a lot more readers to my blog. I still wasn’t on the editors’ radar. “Over here!”

Here’s the thing. WordPress Editors want to find quality content too.

Enter The Daily Post.

If you aren’t following the Daily Post, you should. Editors like Ben Huberman do a lot of work to help bloggers build community. There are Daily Prompts, the once a week Photo Challenge, First Fridays, (exclusively for new bloggers) and Community Pool on Mondays. The WordPress Editors peruse the blog posts. Sometimes one is Discovered. Imagine!

Once in a while, I responded to a Daily Post. The linkup always brought a lot of new faces to my blog. I’m all about new faces!

In 2017, I reduced blogging from two to three posts a week to once a week to concentrate on book writing. The Daily Post slid to the wayside. It was a helluva year with the death of my brother and then a demon washing machine determined my fate. I traveled for a month while the house was repaired.

When life settled down in August, I wrote my six-year blogiversary post, 18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote Your Blog and Increase Traffic. I had upgraded to a Business site in January and finally tried a plug-in after scheduling the post for the following week. What I didn’t know was that WordPress.com sites change in structure when Business plug-ins are added. As bad luck would have it, the post didn’t show up in the Reader and the views were a yawnfest. I’d spent a full week writing that article. I cried. Seriously.

Then I remembered Community Pool! I brightened a bit. Surely, I could find some new readers. I left the link to 18 Best Blog Tips in the comments explaining how I’d written the post for WordPress bloggers but very few had seen it. I made sure to comment on a few bloggers’ requests to check out their posts or blogs. That’s what puts the Community in the Pool!

I got a notification that Ben Huberman “Liked” my post. My heart skipped a beat. Maybe I had been noticed! How ironic would that be?

Yep. Two weeks later, my views rose. I checked out Discover and there it was. A Veteran Blogger’s Advice on Growing Traffic and Finding Community – 18 Best Blog Tips. I ran around my kitchen screaming. It became a Featured post at the top of the feed for a couple of weeks!

Then I noticed a bump in views at the end of December. First, I checked social media since I spend a lot of time marketing old and new posts. Then I clicked to Discover. Ben Huberman had written a post about the most popular Featured Blog Posts of 2017 – 365 Days of Inspiration: Our Readers’ Favorite Stories About Writing and Building Community.

18 Best Blog Tips was #3. I couldn’t believe it! It still hasn’t sunk in.

One of the most interesting takeaways from the ten posts is that writing, blogging, and inspiration are what resonates with readers.

Should you start responding to every Daily Post to get noticed?

I didn’t. Instead, participate in Photo Challenges and Daily Prompts when it excites you. It’s when we are the most passionate, that the words flow and we inspire others. Check out the Community Pool to see how others use it. Drop a link once in a while. These three avenues might help you get noticed by a WordPress editor!

Here’s the thing. Standing out also means, standing out from yourself. This totally runs counter to the prolific writer opinion.

What?

If you write seven days a week, your super stellar post may not stand out. In fact, your readers may have stopped by the day before and the day after, missing your amazing essay. That would suck. Keep in mind if you start posting constantly on the Daily Post with average work, you risk being passed over for the same reason.

That said, there’s a lot of luck involved in all of this. And there are some amazing bloggers out there who never suck no matter how prolific.

A more direct way to be Discovered.

The other way to be Discovered is to nominate your very best post or another blogger on Discover’s About Page. Scroll down to the bottom to fill out the form.

Use your indoor voice.

Following the crowd by writing about the most popular subjects can also place you in an arena filled with louder voices. I hesitated when titling my 18 Best Blog Tips post for that reason. Luckily, Ben read it. He found my perspective after six years of blogging and building community unique in some way. Thank you, Ben!

I hope this gives you some clarity and lots of hope. In the meantime, keep doing what you love: writing and blogging. You’ll attract more readers, which is the ultimate goal. Perhaps an editor will find you too!

Do you read Discovered posts? Have you participated in The Daily Post? Have you ever been Discovered?

How to be Discovered on WordPress

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

Related Posts:

18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote Your Blog, Increase Traffic, and More!

Discovered with 6 Ironic Twists!

An Open Letter to New WordPress Bloggers

365 Days of Inspiration: Our Readers’ Favorite Stories About Writing and Building Community. – The Top Ten List!

365 Days of Inspiration: Our Readers’ Favorite Stories on Writing and Building Community

WordPress announced their top ten blog posts for 2017. Blogging and community were the most popular subjects. Who knew? I just about fainted when I saw #3. Take a look!

Discover

We’ve shared more than 900 posts on Discover in 2017 — from Editors’ Picks spanning dozens of topics and niches to in-depth interviews with writers and artists. Looking at the posts our readers clicked with (and clicked on) the most, we see one theme emerging: you love listening to bloggers speak about what matters most to them, whether it’s writing, finding an audience, or making a connection with others.

Below are our 10 most popular Discover features of 2017. We share them here as a celebration of the diverse voices that make up our community, and also as a resource for months and years to come. If you’re ever in need of a nudge to create, to speak up, or to tell the world about your passions and struggles, be sure to revisit this list.


Find the right WordPress.com plan for you and give your site a boost…

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This New Approach to Resolutions Really Works!

resolution illustration

I’ve been through a few years of good intentions which paved my road to resolution hell. Even though I started on the right path to check them off my list, I wound up in the shadows of monolithic deadends while overwhelmed with disappointment. I’m done making traditional New Year’s Resolutions and have a new approach to share with you. It really works!

resolutions illustration

 

It all started two years ago when I topped my list of New Year’s Resolutions with a deadline to traditionally publish my first book. As the end of the year approached, I felt that super sick sinking feeling of failure by not achieving my top goal. My children pointed out that I can’t control my fate if it’s in the hands of others.

Last year, I made resolutions including all the projects I wanted to complete. This time, I was in control of the list. What could go wrong? I skipped down the verdant path under sunny skies until I lost my brother and a demon washing machine took control of my life. I missed most of the writing contest deadlines and bummed out.

Enter the Bullet Point Journal.

When I discovered bullet point journaling, I began to make short-term goals and planned 7-10 days in advance. Each week that I used it, I stayed on task and accomplished twice as much. Plus, I crossed off a lot of random chores and goals like meditating and exercise too.

Bullet Point Journal

Build good habits.

This year, I’m taking a different approach. Instead of finishing writing projects as a goal, I want to write more consistently, improve my work/play/exercise balance in life, and continue a routine which I started in the last quarter of 2017.

Create space for being creative.

It’s easy for me to crush writing deadlines, but I loathe forced wordcounts. Instead, I’m focusing on time management. With the help of that beloved bullet point journal, I carve out time to write every day. It really works!

Continue the challenge of becoming fit and strong.

One of last year’s goals that I actually attained was to finally rehab my knee after a partial knee replacement. I had tried physical therapy and working out on my own, but made very little progress. My legs atrophied after a partial knee replacement and became very weak. Without strong legs, the rest of my body weakened.

Then I hired a personal trainer to meet once a week. It made a HUGE difference! I’m still on Anastrozole to blow estrogen to bits (what my breast cancer ate), but it also blows up bone, so lifting weights has an added benefit for me. Weight training is important for everyone since it prevents osteoporosis along with burning fat and the obvious, building muscle. I weigh more this year, but grew a lot of muscle and lost some of the flab around my waistline.

This is the first year I can wrangle the humongous plastic bins full of Christmas decorations. I have enough for ten households. I surprised my husband, Danny, when I took down all of it in an afternoon and stacked those monstrous containers in the basement. He was pretty stoked! He used to be the wrangler of the household.

I won’t face monolithic deadends if I don’t build them.

New Years Resolutions 2018With this new approach in place, I won’t be disappointed with the twists and turns of life’s journey during 2018. I like the idea of building good habits, carving out creative space, and continuing to make exercise a priority instead. A bullet point journal full of activities and short-term goals will result in progress towards completion of projects at its own pace. As long as I keep moving forward, that’s enough for me!

New Approach to Resolutions

Do you make resolutions? Have you tried bullet point journaling? Do you like the idea of short-term goals and habits instead of traditional resolutions?

Click for more of the Wild Ride!

Related posts:

A Tiny Tale of Terror or How to Train Your Resolutions

My Resolution Failures and Why You Should Join The Big Chill in 2017

Super Easy Bullet Point Journaling

I Celebrated a Birthday but Failed to Save a Life.

My Demon Washing Machine is Haunted

When Destiny Packs Your Bags

2017 Christmas Card Reveal and Winners!

My handmade Christmas cards are finished and in the mail, so it’s time for the big reveal! There’s a point every year when I look at my sketches and think, This is the dumbest idea ever! Then I shrug my shoulders and finish them. What else could I possibly do? Buy cards? Send photo cards? Skip the tradition altogether?

Nope.

2017 Christmas Cards

This is always the scary part. Here it is! *gulp*

2017 Christmas Card

And the inside –

2017 Christmas Card Message

Because we all need to break out of our snow globes to enjoy the magic of Christmas, right?

There was only one person who guessed correctly – Linda Seccaspina with SKIING!

The other two were picked out of a hat.

Daya and Unbound Roots won!!!

THEN I PICKED ANOTHER ONE!

Emma from the Emma Edit!

Send your addresses to my email at susielindau @ gmail.com and I’ll send you a card.

Be sure to check out the winners’ blogs!

Now, I’ll don my straw hat for a well-deserved nap and hope only sugar plums dance in my head. Peace and joy to all and to all a good night!

Are you ready for the holidays?

Need Inspiration? Read the Blessed Projects!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this year’s Blessed Project. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these amazing, heartfelt, and inspirational posts. Each one uplifted me in its own unique way. They will inspire you too!

No matter what happens in my wild life, I have always been able to see the beauty of the world that surrounds me. Each smile, sunset, memory and light-hearted moment have reminded me of my blessings. I have a lot to be grateful for!

 

 

Here’s the list of everyone who participated and their entries. I know you’ll enjoy them as much as I did!

Count Your Blessings – Aggy from Inspired Life 101

Ode to 2017 – The Blessed Project– Fall Musings

The Blessed Project – Sarcastic Bohemian

Only Positive Vibes – Blessed Project 2017 – Rated by Hanna

My Blessed Project – Ivalaine Oracles and Adventures

The Blessed Project 2017 – Yogaleigh of Not Just Sassy on the Inside

The Blessed Project – Pain Pals

Christmas Blessings | 2017 – Phoenix’s Life

The Blessed Project: Holiday Season 2017 – The Good Life Concept

All The Ways My Cup Runneth Over –  Must Hike Must Eat

Blessings for All Seasons – Lynn Kelley Author

Grateful – Cozy and Sage

Warm and Fuzzies Comeback Blessed Moments – The Wish Factor

Hygge for the Holidays – Lutheran Liar

And mine! Join the Blessed Project and Get Featured! – Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride

It’s not too late to join us! Write a list of your blessings and drop the link in the comment section. Click on others and fill your heart with hope. We would love to read your Blessed Project too.

Don’t blog? Post your list on Facebook or Instagram. It’s a super positive experience. Everyone who sees it will feel good too!

Please share this post and spread the joy.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Are you feeling blessed or stressed?

Inspiring Blessed Projects

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride.

Related Posts:

Join the Blessed Project and Get Featured!

Join The #Blessed Project!

The #Blessed Projects are in! You will laugh and cry…

Guess and Win a Card!

handmade Christmas cards

Yes, once again, I’ve created my homemade Christmas cards. I hope you can guess what I drew so you can win one.

They are a huge part of my holiday traditions; a labor of love, sweat, and a few tears. I actually balled up a few early sketches and threw them. It seemed like the appropriate, although dramatic reaction at the time.

My cards have chronicled our family through the years. My husband and I ski jumped in the first card, in the photo above. For a couple of years, I made popup cards and almost lost my mind. I missed parties to finish them. What was I thinking??? My latest version is popup-lite.

After a week of work, they’re done. Almost. I better make a couple more…

They are pretty ridiculous, as usual. And once again, they required sketching, drawing, cutting, and pasting, driving to the store for a new copier, glue sticks, stamps, and envelopes.

Guess what our family is doing this year!

Christmas cards

Leave your guess in the comments and win one. If there are more than three winners, I’ll draw them from a hat. Good luck!

I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season. I better start Christmas shopping. Sheesh!

 

Do you send greeting cards? Do you love receiving them? What do you think of the new trend to have a B list that gets the email version?