Saturday, January 26, 2019

How to Find Post Ideas When You're Uninspired {and How to Prevent it in the Future}

You ever have those moments when you're thinking like, all day, about what to post about and you still haven't come up with a good idea?

Yeah, me too.

So, I'm here with some solutions for you, and how to (hopefully) (somehow) (maybe) prevent this problem from occurring again.

First of all, ask yourself some questions: what's a category I haven't talked about in awhile? What are some things that I'm currently extra-passionate about? What has God been teaching me about lately? What are some questions that I've been asked recently that I can answer/explore?

Once you've narrowed it down to a generalization, it's time to pick a specific topic to ramble about. Sometimes, if the topic is big enough (or if you just have too many words to say about the subject than will fit in a nice-sized post), you can turn it into a series, not only writing a post for your current needs, but also having your next post planned out—and possibly even written—ahead of schedule! Then you can congratulate yourself on being a wonderful time manager.

Until your second post is past and you realize that you let time get away with you, and you're back to your old dilemma.

So then, you pick another topic.  How to find the best topics? Well, for one, you can dig into your blog's stats and check out your most-viewed posts. But if you're like me, even this could be a problem. See, my father learned that every time he reloads the page (he's got this down pat—something like 20 times a minute), it puts another view on that post. So yeah, now his favorite post has over a thousand more views than any of my other posts.

Anyway, you could also visit other blogs to see what posts have the most comments, or maybe even ask some people you trust what their most popular posts are, or what they'd like to read.
Or, even better, you could write that post that you've been wanting to read/write. What's that little idea that's been stuck in the back of your head for awhile? (Orrrrrr if you're like me, you basically never have a little idea stuck in the back of your head and you improvise at the last minute.)

What are some more specific ideas? Let's brainstorm, shall we?

-Elaborate one a subject you're currently studying, whether you're actually in school or not.

-Share some thoughts about your daily devotional.

-Get political if you like; rant about something controversial if you want a lot of traffic.

-Share some photography.

-Host a guest.

-Compile a list of common myths and bust them.

-Give a demonstration of one of your hobbies and video it, or do a step-by-step photo tutorial.

-Ramble about a random topic like nicknames or bed bugs.

-Have a sense of humor? Do a comedic post!

-Share some favorites, whether it be music or movies or books or YouTube channels.

-Review a book or movie.

-Give some advice on a subject you know well.

-Post a poll on whatever you think needs it, such as where you should take your next vacation, what posts people like to read, or whether or not you should redesign your blog (I'm actually toying around with the idea of redesigning . . . any recs on a color scheme? Or should the blog stay the way it is?).

Annnnnd there's thirteen post topics for you to choose from!

How can you keep from scrambling to find a post idea at the last minute? The answer is simple, really: schedule ahead. But, I know better than anyone that it's super hard. There's so many other things I'd like to do rather than write blog posts in my spare time. But you really have to just do it. They won't write themselves. Something to keep you accountable is to have a blogging buddy to give you a prod in the right direction, and vice versa.

Another way to (kinda) stay on top of things is to make a post draft with the title of a random idea you come up with. Then, when you have time to actually write a post, just sift through your drafts and see if one of the titles catches your fancy. Then, viola! You're good to go.

I hope this whole post helps you . . . and if it doesn't, well, come back next week, and I'll (hopefully) have a special post for you. ;)
(No, Chow, you probably won't be interested.)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Let it Go

Sometimes we're uninspired in a number of ways: maybe we're simply bored and don't know what to do. Maybe we're stuck in that writing slump and just don't know how to go on. Maybe there's that one day that we can't figure out what to post on our blogs. Maybe we open our Bibles, ready to spend time in God's word . . . only to find that we don't even know where we want to read, and when we do read, it doesn't sink into our hearts.

Last year, I felt so uninspired spiritually. I felt like I was just going through the motions, being the good girl that everyone expected. I felt like a fake, which I technically was. I was miserable. I could smile, I could act happy . . . but it was all an act. An act to keep everyone on the outside from seeing what was going on inside me. Because if I didn't even care about myself, why should everyone else? In a way, I felt almost abandoned by God.

But you know what I found out? I realized that I really wasn't abandoned. I was the one abandoning. In 2018, I realized that I was grasping things so tightly, I was cutting myself and didn't know how to let go without bleeding to death. Maybe that's a terrible analogy, but . . . it's kind of the way things were. I felt like I was being left behind by the ones I loved dearly, and . . . I didn't want to let them go. I wasn't ready to let go.

But change happens. Much as we hate it sometimes, it happens. Much as it hurts sometimes, it happens. 

And y'all, it's okay. 

I learned something very important over the new year: let it go. It's so hard to let go of things near and dear to you. It's so hard to trust God with it. It's so hard to say, "God, I don't know what's going to happen, but I give it all to You and I trust You with everything." Oh, my, it's hard. I think I'll be working on that for the rest of my life.

I'm someone who likes to have all her ducks in a row, everything safe and sound, and I like to be the one taking care of it all. I like to be the one that people depend on. I like to be in the spotlight.

But it doesn't work that way.

I need to be willing to step back and let God take control. Let Him take the wheel. Eventually I said, "God, I can't do it anymore. I'm sorry, I should've given it all to You in the first place." But y'know what? It's not just a one-time thing. It's something we do repeatedly for as long as we live. And my oh my, it's worth it, y'all. Let it go. And experience His mercy like you've never experienced it before.

Because even though we mess up, even though we're sinners that will never be perfect, even though we feel like hopeless wretches . . . mercy said no.

Let that sink in for a minute. Mercy said no, y'all.

Oh, thank You, Jesus, mercy said no.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

My Favorite TV Show Themes

I don't know about you, but for me, theme songs are a huge factor in my opinions on TV shows. (I mean, not much, but...some, at least.) Like, have you ever just started dancing during the opening credits to your favorite show because the theme song is just. so. good? Or you listen to it on repeat? Or you sing along because you've seriously seen and listened to it so much that you know every line, word for word? Yeah, I'm going to be talking about a few of those.
One of my favorite things to do with these is, when I find (or think of) another one that I love, I'll add it to my TV themes playlist on Spotify, then listen to them on shuffle and see how fast I can name them.

The Loner
I'm not a huge fan of this show, but I love the theme song, and I was so sad to find that this song isn't on Spotify. 

The Virginian
Ohh, this brings back so many memories. Mostly of watching the episodes on Sunday afternoons during the Summer because that was basically the only time we watched TV.

Again, one of those shows we watched together as a family.

Now, once again, Bonanza isn't particularly a favorite, but the theme song is the bomb.

Mission: Impossible
The show is just as epic as the theme song. And I mean the old show, not those new movies. *shakes head sadly* The old is so much better than the new.

The Pink Panther
I'm not gonna lie, the show drives me insane. But the theme is epic. (And yes, I'm well aware of my overuse of the word 'epic'. Don't judge, Squirt.)

NCIS: Los Angeles
While I love the show, there are some questionable parts. Watch with discretion.

As my sis so eloquently puts it, "I love this song. I love the show too. Almost as much as the song."

Magnum P.I.
I've never seen this show, so I can't exactly recommend it... ;P

Hogan's Heroes
Last, but certainly not least. The show is hilarious.

So there's ten of my favorite TV show themes. Can you see a theme here (no pun intended)? Yes, my family is sliiiiightly biased to the old shows.
What are some of your favorite themes?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

God vs. Braces

This is a post I've had in the back of my mind for quite some time.  I've had my braces off for over two years, but two of my siblings have had braces since then and I'm reminded of the whole process all over again.  So today I'm going to be making some observations of how braces remind me of God.

Now, before you think I'm completely off my rocker by comparing God to braces, let me make my case.  (After all, people use foods like eggs and apples to represent the Trinity, so you can't exactly get much further out than that...)

First of all, you don't realize how much you need braces until you're shown how badly you need them.  Before I had braces, my teeth didn't bother me—until I began to realize that a person's bottom teeth are supposed to be straight, not overlapping.  It made me feel conspicuous and almost afraid to smile.  But then when I finally did get braces, they straightened my teeth out and made them good as new.

In the same way, people are searching for something—or someone—to make their lives complete, whole, and worth something.  We don't realize just how desperate we are for fulfillment until we see someone with a smile and laughter, and we think, wow, I wish I had whatever they have.  We become insecure, and pretty much nothing can make us feel good about ourselves again.  Sure, a hug or a word of encouragement can give us a temporary pick-me-up, but nothing really satisfies our thirst for purpose until Christ enters our hearts.

The second thing about braces is the huge amount of trust.  You have to be ready to give up your teeth's current status and trust the orthodontist to know what they're doing in order to bring about the end result.  I don't know about you, but allowing someone to put their fingers in my mouth and poke around and cement little pieces of metal to my poor teeth.  It's actually a rather disturbing thought, when I put it that way.

It's like asking Christ to come in and do some housework in our hearts.  We're asking Him to come live inside us to do His work in our lives.  The thought really is unnerving, knowing that He'll see everything inside—both the good and the bad—and get to work.  In essence, we're saying, "I'm screwing up.  I'm obviously awful at running my own life, so even though it's a terrifying thought, I trust You and ask You to do what I can't."

What else is there?  Well, for me at least, the whole process is painful.  Not only are we trusting the orthodontist with our mouths, but we're allowing him to cause us some pain so that we achieve the desired result.  Am I the only one that rode home from the dentist with my head resting on my hand, not feeling like doing anything because my mouth hurt too bad?  It hurt, but I endured because I knew it would all be worth it.

When we ask Christ to live in our hearts, we're asking Him to take over and mold us into the children that God created us to be.  And, well, to put it simply, it hurts to give up everything.  It hurts to 'take up your cross' and follow Christ wherever He leads.  It hurts when those around you glare and shun because they don't like what you're doing.  But y'know what?  There's also a deep joy and satisfaction derived from knowing that you're doing your Creator's will and that someday, it will all be worth the effort when you hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

This walk with Christ isn't all flowers and rainbows.  Goodness gracious, I know that.  But keep your eyes on the things above.  Realize how much you need a Savior.  Trust.  Endure the pain, because He will sustain you, and in the end, it will all be worth it.