It was an interesting month after my blog launch. I spent endless hours jotting down ideas and a game plan, only to discover I would never really be ready to launch. So, I just went for it. I went with the “all in” approach. I decided that I would deal with whatever came at me versus trying to have this concrete plan to follow. Being a person of Faith, I know very well that my plan most often doesn’t match up with God’s anyway, so maybe this approach is the one He wanted me to take. Trust and Launch.
The First Thirty Days:
My Goal for the Month:
My primary goal for the first thirty days is consistency. I have struggled for years with a start and stop syndrome of writing. I would be on fire for a while, and then the flame would fizzle out until all that remained was the ashes of my scorched dreams. I was sick and tired of being caught in this vicious cycle. It became a nagging pain deep in my heart, never fully subsiding. No matter what I did, it was there. It began to drill a void so deep that the only option for relief was to find a way to fill it. So, these first thirty days are the seeds of change I hope to plant right in the center of my void.
The first thirty days were simple. Well, kind of. Just write. Write every day. Write my heart out.
What I Accomplished:
I created a Facebook page for two main reasons. 1, to encourage others who need inspiration in their own pursuits and 2, to write every day. It’s much easier to write a quick post on my Facebook page versus my blog. I needed a quick avenue to write if my daily agenda distracted me from writing on my blog. Those are a lot more time-consuming.
The other social media sites were probably the most simple to set up. (Twitter and Instagram) I was already familiar with Facebook but never had accounts for the other two. I’m still probably not fully aware of all their features. I remind myself, one thing at a time. One day at a time. But, between all these details and tasks along with a full-time job, the overwhelming weight piles up fast.
I have been writing. I haven’t missed a single day. Good start.
I obviously needed to launch my blog in the first thirty days, so that has been accomplished.
I also attended a few networking events in the first thirty days. I’ve always shied away from them. The pressure to network and sell myself is unsettling to me. Probably due to a lack of confidence. But, I have had extensive sales training, so what am I afraid of? I know how to do this. So, I march in with this new confidence, only to find myself sounding robotic as I stand up to tell people who I am. Oh, no! Why can’t I just relax? Everyone here seems to have this whole networking thing done perfectly. Their words are clear and pristine and they hold a certain stature. The solution? I go to more networking events. I downloaded the Eventbrite app and started to sign up for more. I have been to three in my first thirty days. They are not getting any easier, but I will keep attending them until they do.
My struggles in the First Month:
Oh, the long journey in launching my blog. I had to literally chase down the original company who designed and hosted it for everything I needed. Finally, I decided that I needed a more reliable company. I sat down with the owner, and we discussed the reasons for my departure. He understood of course. After all, I am not feeding his family with my little blog. He had multi-million dollar companies to service. I got it. Even though we discussed this truth, in the beginning, he still insisted he had the people to provide the proper services with what my needs were. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. And like many verbal commitments and promises, it ends up just being lip service. So, after kindly and professionally pulling the plug with that company, the venture was on for a new one.
I made some calls and met with a couple other companies. It’s amazing how so many people don’t return your calls. Do people not need the work? Finally, I talked with a gentleman who not only seemed to have the services I needed, but we also shared the same sales training. I also learned he was working on the website for the company I work for. How ironic is that? I thought well, maybe God is showing me a wide open door. So, I walked through it.
After a few meetings, we signed some papers, and we launched.
It was only a short matter of time before I found myself playing the same cat and mouse game again. I would email several times before getting an answer. Days would pass before I would finally get a response. “Why? “ I asked myself. I explained to him this was the reason I left the other company. I was reassured that I wouldn’t be treated the same way. I even took a good honest look at myself and asked, am I the problem? Am I too needy? I just needed assistance. The same help I clearly communicated in the meetings. Am I receiving more lip service? No, I am not too needy. I am expecting a service I agreed and paid for.
I even had the same conversation with him as I did with the other company before signing the papers. I told him my blog will not keep him going to the bank and asked for reassurance that he had staff that could attend to my simple needs.
I also explained that in the beginning, I might have many questions. My forewarning was not giving me the green light to be a pest; more so, I was setting the foundation of expectations moving forward. I just need some help.
As soon as I saw this same pattern forming, I quickly talked with him about it. We resolved it and moved on. He got better at responding, but now it has slipped back into several days passing before I get a response.
It is a real struggle to not take it personally. On the one hand, I understand there are higher paying clients that are a priority. But, on the other, I feel slighted because we had a mutual agreement, and I am paying for that contract. I am simply not a priority. I get it. I am not trying to be negative in any sense; I am just honest in how I feel. Actions do tell the truth.
Also, they gave me WordPress to operate on my own. WordPress is the website tool used to create blogs. I have never used or even seen it before. I always just wrote. The previous company took care of the rest. Learning this tool is a good thing for me, but it just seemed like it was a matter of here is your password and good luck. I know it’s not their responsibility to teach me, so, I watched YouTube tutorials and googled much of what I wanted to learn. Being the scatter brain I am, many times I had to force myself to not get distracted by a blink of light while doing this.
So, it is only expected that I would have some questions as I venture into learning this new tool. I’m no expert at this, so diving into features that are foreign to me doesn’t make me comfortable. I don’t want to mess anything up. That makes sense right?
I also had to learn Mail Chimp, which is the service used to track subscribers for websites. For some that might be simple to learn, but for me? Not even close. The tutorials I found showed how to do links within links; pages within pages, RSS feed setups, etc. My eyeballs were literally ready to pop out of my head. But, I kept pushing forward.
I was always just a dreamer. The vision looked so picture perfect in my head. Of course, the vision didn’t include any of the obstacles leading up to it. It was always the finished product. Beautifully polished. But, here I am. The first thirty days, stumbling around to learn features of sites and staying committed to writing. My list of to-dos is getting longer and not enough time to check the boxes. How on earth do people do this? The vision in my head looked so much more appealing. I need a dose of encouragement.
Finding the time to write has been a struggle. My peak writing times are early in the morning. I have a full-time job, so that time slot makes it exceptionally difficult. How is that going to work? Many times I will be driving somewhere, and ideas flood me to the point I have to pull over just to jot them down for later review. And as soon as I think I drained my brain, more tidal waves of ideas come crashing in. Believe me, I’m not complaining. Fresh ideas are good. The creative juices are flowing. God is working. The dilemma? The floodgates are broken at inconvenient times. So, not only do I have a long list of To Dos, but I also have an extensive list of ideas. I look at my clock. 3:45 pm. I need to still go home, cook dinner, take a shower and get prepared for the next day. By the time that’s all done, it’s time for bed. Besides, my peak writing times are not at night. They never were. Ugh, but I will keep moving forward.
I have also developed this unhealthy habit of playing Spades on my phone. It’s an online card game. So, when I do find a window of time to hammer at my list, I find myself engaging in multiple games of Spades. The whole time I am telling myself I need to work. I need to write. I need to research. I need to read. And then I decide to play just one more game. It’s always just one more game and just one more habit I need to break. I keep moving forward.
Staying Focused on God:
More God. Pray. Trust in Him. Repeat.
Thirty days in and I see why I threw in the towel all the times before. But, every time I thought about giving in, that familiar nagging pain surfaced, and there I hear a subtle whisper saying, “No. Keep going.” Is that you God? Is that your still small voice I hear or is that in my own head? Differentiating sometimes is hard. But, I trusted, and I kept going.
I pray every time before I write something. I ask for God to show me, lead me and give me the words. This blog is for Him. This is something I feel He has put on my heart. If that’s the case, then He will guide my every step until something happens. I don’t know what that something is right now, but He does. Trust. Until then, I have to keep crawling along. Even if that means I have to chase people down or sacrifice more time to learn what I need to.
I make my way to our prayer room, where I bow my head and confess and talk with God. I tell him everything. I give him everything. All the details. All my struggles. I thank Him for everything, even the trials. I pledge my trust in Him and just let myself be in His presence.
So, as another day unwinds, I lay there in bed with a wheel of thoughts turning. I know God would not want me to stir in my mind. So, I reach out to him, asking him to just hold me and quiet my mind with his presence. The next thing I know, I am greeted by a new morning.
The first thirty days soon merge into sixty. This dream chasing business is tough. There is no sugar coating it. I haven’t even begun to face the real hard stuff yet I’m sure. But, with every struggle and obstacle, I see it as an opportunity to learn. God teaches us some of his greatest lessons through our obstacles.
I refuse to turn back. That’s all I have ever done before, and it does nothing. The only thing it does is brew the violent inner storm of regret and wonder of our dreams. It’s a haunting way to live to have this raging storm everywhere you go. So, I head towards the sixty-day mark hopeful and trusting that I am one step closer towards calmer weather in my heart and in discovering God’s plan for me.