A Sweet Milestone & a Giveaway

Celebration time! This post marks the 500th blog post I’ve published on this site. It’s a sweet milestone. One I wasn’t sure I’d ever reach. But big or small, bitterly won, or sweet–milestones should be celebrated.

image of fireworks to help me celebrate a sweet milestone.

Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.

–Nelson Mandela

Looking Back 

When I sat down to write about my 500th blog post, I reviewed this blog’s history.

Listing your personal milestones is like storing a pocketful of sunshine for a rainy day. Sometimes our best is simply not enough…. We have to do what is required. 

–Winston Churchill

I’ve learned a lot. About writing. About discipline. And about blogging.

Jump in With Both Feet

I took an online blogging class from the incomparable Kristen Lamb in the fall of 2011. I learned a lot. But some things I ignored.

She recommended we have a month or two of blog posts ready to go before posting. I couldn’t wait. 

My first blog post went live on October 14, 2011. Mostly because I had no idea what I would blog about from day to day.

It’s not a bad method, but you need to understand that you’ll experiment with lots of ideas. And many of those ideas will be failures.

Blogging and internet savvy experts would say get rid of those posts that were failures. I say that not all failures are the kind to hide under the rug. You can learn the most from your mistakes. At least, I know I do.

Life Happens

In 2013, life had several surprises in store for me. The good included an illuminating Master Immersion Class with Margie Lawson. The unpleasant surprises included my husband’s struggle with multiple health issues that grew larger and more life-threatening at every corner. Caring for and being there for him, maintaining a full-time job as a pediatric nurse, writing my novel, and writing a blog became too much. Overwhelmed and out of spoons, I quit blogging. Even my fiction writing slowed down. 

My husband’s health still has its ups and downs. And I’ve retired so I don’t have outside obligations. I’ve learned different ways to cope, and I’m kinder to myself when I miss a blog post or a day’s writing.

An Incredibly Support

Oh my gosh, my classmates during that blogging class were and remain an incredibly supportive group of individuals.

Some of them found that blogging wasn’t a good fit for them but have done amazing things. 

Others have unbelievably popular blogs. Many have found a level of success that works for them. Others, like me, have had to learn our lessons more slowly but are finding our own successes.

And many of them—big or small—continue to express their support, for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you WANA 2011—you know who you are.

Having Readers Is Motivating

Image of a first prize trophy--like the one I feel like I've won when you read my posts.

When I started building my email list (way later than recommended), I discovered that it’s easier to post regularly to the blog. I have readers! You may not keep track of every blog post, but I sure don’t want to disappoint you. It’s incredibly motivating. You give me strength. You make me feel like I’ve won a grand prize every time you click on a post, click on a link, or comment. Thank you.

Write to Your Strengths and Your Weaknesses

I love history and science and everything about reading and writing. Those topics are easy for me to write about. 

One of my favorite posts is when I talk about a flaw of mine. I am consistently inconsistent. I’m not proud of it, but I am human. 

I’ve also shared when I’m discouraged or my routine’s disrupted.

Blogging Helps You Know Yourself

It took several years for me to get to where I can blog about what I want to blog about. Is that selfish? Maybe. But I tried writing what I thought readers wanted me to write. That doesn’t work for me—or for most people. Through my mistakes, I’ve learned who I am as a blogger. An ongoing process, I assure you.

If you’re a blogger, especially when starting out, you have to do it for you. Readers and comments don’t come quickly. Maybe not at all. But, I’ll tell you what, when readers comment–that brings a special kind of joy.

Another Milestone

In addition to the 500th blog post, I’m celebrating my first time being interviewed. You might have seen this on Facebook if you follow me there. I was invited to be a guest on Mysterious Goings On, a podcast by Alex Greenwood. Alex is the author of the Pilate series of mystery thriller novels. His podcast focuses on reading, writing, and creativity much like my blog does. I was pretty nervous about doing it, but Alex is a great host.

Grateful

Hands forming a heart over the pink & gold sunset symbolizing my gratitude for you--my reader.

 When we celebrate a milestone, we are reminded to give thanks for the rest of our everyday moment.

–John Stahl-Wart

Reaching the milestone of 500 published blog posts wouldn’t be possible without you. And what fun is celebrating without including you?

So From now until October 14th I’m running a giveaway at KingSumo. Grand Prize is an autographed copy of both My Soul to Keep and Fellowship with a surprise gift bag. There are also runner-up prizes. 

Current newsletter and blog subscribers are welcome to enter (No worries—you won’t get two copies of every email from me. And if you enter, you’ll be credited with having subscribed). Enter here:

https://kingsumo.com/g/5j0ysz/win-autographed-books-and-a-willow-tree-figurine

ETA: Sorry early viewers. King Sumo didn’t allow me to start the contest earlier than 12:30 CDT.

Most importantly, please accept my heartfelt thanks for reading, for commenting, and making this a sweet milestone possible.

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