Go with what you know

So, some of you know that I started a new job last Monday.   Holy Guacamole  – to say I’ve been a little busy would be an understatement.

The thing is … I’m still doing my old job,  and I’m navigating the new one, too.  And, truth be told, I’ve done a quite a bit of it for some time now.

Somewhere in the quiet part that is Sunday evening a little voice whispered to me: “Hey you, the forecast is nasty, and you have an awful lot of calls scheduled, so how ’bout a bit o’ lunch?”   I dug out a bruised Gladware container and assembled a beautiful salad of fresh greens, tomatoes, English cucumbers and grilled chicken. Then I wrote myself a note so I’d remember to take it with me today! 

And it was a good thing I did because this day took off like a shot and it was 2:00 before I remembered that I even had a lunch to eat.

And in that moment, I caught my breath, laughed out loud and thought, “Go with what you know.”

The situation was really no different than when I started blogging two years ago.  I remember getting all caught up in the excitement of it, the newness of it, and the desire to take off on the journey and see where it would go.

And I remembered how, later on,  I found myself stepping back and, in the end, giving myself permission not to know everything. To not have it all together. To do it my way.

So with that, I’m revisiting that post tonight.

I’m taking a page out of my own book and I’m going with what I know.

 * * *

Write what you know

by Emjayandthem

Asked about blogging, it hit me what I’ve learned from the experience:

1. Write as often as you want to but resist the pressure to publish every day.  Remember that you do this because you enjoy writing.  Example:   At first, I obediently followed the mandate set by my instructor –  to write and publish daily.  I know she meant well because her point was to keep it fresh and avoid too many days between posts.  But now, looking back, I can tell the difference between my “going through the motions-posts” and those that were really me –  at my most authentic.  And if I could tell, I’m pretty sure others could, too.

2. To that end, let your posts breathe.  Not all of your readers are “online” at the same time and when you post something new, older posts get pushed to the bottom.  Give each one its due.

3. Read (and be inspired) by the work of others:  Be moved by the posts, dreams and the designs of the many talented writers here in the blogosphere.  When I feel “stuck,” all I have to do is click & read.   In no time at all, I’m laughing, smiling, crying, nodding my head in agreement and commenting.  In no time at all, I’ve forgotten about my little blog and have subscribed to several more.

4. Commenting on blogs is a wonderful way to connect but there’s a tiny line between being interested and supportive and just being there to promote your stuff.  People will find you if they’re interested and they don’t … then they don’t.     The self-promoting commenter makes me think of that snot-nosed kid who dumps his milk at the dinner table on purpose: Look at me, notice me, see me, I’m here.   Geez, I get it already now knock it off!

5.  Mind your manners: respond to comments and acknowledge those who took the time to weigh in.  However, if someone chooses to swear at me, their comments will not see the light of day.  Constructive criticism – bring it on but general viciousness? Hell to the no.  My blog – my rules.

6.  Take the challenge:   The topics I care most about are the hardest for me to writeSo when I find myself feeling that pinch, I dig a little deeper and keep at it because I know I’ve hit the good stuff.

7.  Slog through:  Often, what I feel most passionate about can leave me feeling vulnerable and it’s tempting to self-censor…. but then I can easily lose the point of my post.  However, what I’ve learned is that the most difficult posts to write have become my favorites. Maybe not the most read, but.. My. Personal. Favorites.  And that counts for something, too. 🙂

8.  Be open to ideas:  Ideas come in all shapes and sizes and often at random times. Keep a list.  You can email ideas to yourself, record messages on your cell phone or, like me, scribble notes down on the backs of envelopes, post-its and grocery lists.

9. Have fun: If writing starts feeling like a chore, step away and do something else.  Chances are something else in your day will inspire you.   We’re not curing Cancer here, people!  Step away, mix it up, come back & let ‘er buck!

10. Write what you know:  Lastly, lots of blogging “authorities” will tell you to “become the expert,” or to find out what you’re an expert on.  Well, the only thing I am an expert on is me, my life and my experiences … and all of it is a work in progress anyways.

Have you ever stepped back from something only to discover that what you already know is actually … quite enough?  What have you learned to trust yourself with?

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, fear, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

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39 thoughts on “Go with what you know

  1. This was a fabulous post. I nodded my head right along to all your points. I agree it’s important to know when to step back or take a break. I’ve found that I have the most fun when I go with the flow of things. I try to post when I feel like it. A set schedule has never worked for me. And I love your point number 4: there is a fine line between blatantly promoting yourself and being genuinely interested in a blog. I wouldn’t be blogging if it weren’t for the real connections with others I’ve made.

    • Thank you, Darla. I can see you nodding your head (in my mind anyways!). I couldn’t agree with you more – it’s the connections that keep us coming back for more. What a community! 🙂

  2. Excellent thoughts and advice. Thank you, MJ.

    • Thank you, Butch — I think the sentiment can apply to a lot of situations. We know more than we think we do (except for when we don’t – ha!).

  3. Awesome advise, MJ… I’m cutting and pasting to my “notebook” on my iPad as a reminder!!

  4. Thanks for the reminder, MJ. Hope the new job is working out well for you.

    • It’s coming along … and it’s exactly what I wished for .. and more! A little overwhelming at times but I just take a breath and remember, to trust what I know.
      Thanks Patti!

  5. Hey, good luck with the new job! And take a breath now and then! I know you’ll be great, and bring amazing things to your new situation. ~ Sheila

    • Thank you Sheila! You know what this level of “change” is all about … it’s exciting and exhilarating and exhausting all in one 🙂


  6. ooo–I remember this post that taught me so much — especially #2. No wonder you got the new job. You’re a leader here in our community and in your career. Thank you for just being you.

  7. This post was just what I needed. It’s been a little while since I posted and I was feeling kind of stuck, and this really helped me today, in a lot of ways. Thanks for re-posting 🙂 And good luck with your new job – I hope you’re enjoying it!

    • Thank you, Dounia … I can relate to being stuck and have learned to just step away. It always comes back .. sometimes in a torrent!

      PS I am enjoying the new job, I will enjoy it even more once I have a replacement! MJ

  8. Sounds like you are one busy woman! Wishing you the best with your new job. Thanks so much for reposting this. It was just what I needed to read this morning.

    • Thank you, Piper, for weighing in. I think we’ve all been in situations like this and, for me, it’s important to take a deep breath, step back and look at what got me there.
      Bests to you!

  9. Hurray MJ I did not know you began a new job. I hope you can get past this extremely busy spot soon 🙂

    • Thank you, Anna … it’s been a whirlwind — in a (mostly) good way. I have a lot of “stuff” going on in my home life, too (oldest boy’s marriage falling apart, grand-babies I worry about etc) and so you know how that goes — it all lands at the same time!

      Bests to you

  10. cooper

    It always surprises me (naive) when total strangers leave nasty comments…as if I would approve them. Knuckleheads. Great post…

  11. Wow! Congratulations on the new job. Sounds like a promotion and I am sure it is well deserved. And yep, you are right on with the blogging tips. I have learned so much from you and I’ll say that you are one classy blogger! Write on!

    • Thank you very much, Renee. It was a promotion and one I have worked years to get … I’m very glad for the opportunity and look forward to things settling down a bit so I can actually “do” the job not just put out fires.

      As you say, “write on!” 🙂

  12. Great post, MJ – I do believe I remember it from before! It’s timeless advice, though. I’m sure you are doing great in the new job (while still continuing in the old one).
    I’m glad we’re bloggin buddies!

  13. I never read this post before so I’m glad you republished it. it is full of great insight. One of the things I appreciate about you MJ is when you comment on my posts I can tell you’re genuinely interested. You’re the real deal. Thanks! DM

    • Thank you so much, DM, that’s easily the best thing anyone has said to me of late! I yam who I yam … authentic, ridiculous, me.

  14. MJ, this is some really excellent advice–especially number 9, at least in my experience. If I don’t write down my ideas as they occur to me, they get lost in the day. Sometimes only a few words is enough. Good luck with the new job!

    • sometimes I’ll find myself absolutely overwhelmed with ideas .. other times it’s like a desert … and you can see the tumbleweeds blow by! That’s why I keep a teeny tiny notepad in my purse … for jotting down inspiring ideas 🙂

      Our minds are magically deep aren’t they?


  15. Congratulations on the new job! I can relate to that desire to dive in and want to do it all, know it all, right NOW! I work with data and have ample opportunity to learn new things, figure out patterns, etc. When I get onto something, I don’t want to be disturbed or do anything else. I just want to dig and dig until I’ve found the answer.

    You’re so right about blogging. It took me a while to find what works best for me. I need to write regularly to keep finding that place from which I write most sincerely, but not so often that I’m forcing myself.

    • Yep, I knew you and I would be right on the mark on this topic – I sense our work style is very similar — get in, get it done, and make it work! I have little patience for all the b.s. and fluff and I have to resist the urge to say out loud what I think about it … and like blogging, I learned to trust my own instincts because the majority of the time, they are spot on.

      Cheers to you Terri-girl. Hope Lucy-pie is continuing to mend well 🙂


  16. Stellar advice to anyone juggling a lot in life.

  17. I’m so glad you reposted this! Great advice! How is Frankie? Still on the Earth?

    • Thank you, Lissa. Mr. Bear (Frankie) is doing great .. taking a long term pain med called Tramidol (sp?) and 12 is the new 8! He’s got a zip in step now 🙂


  18. Pingback: Random Five Friday ~ You can do magic | Emjayandthem's Blog

  19. Pingback: Random 5 Sunday – 5 years | Emjayandthem's Blog

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