The secrets to great blog posts? [+ my struggles with them]

I’m still in disbelief of the enormous response to my recent blog post. If you’re a ‘big’ blogger you might be used to that happening on the regular but for me it was a shock. Albeit of the positive kind. The reason why I didn’t expect anything like this? This very post was probably the least edited and touched up I’ve written to date. All it was meant to be was a reminder to myself. A reminder that while recovery isn’t easy and I have ‘those’ days everything is better than falling back into old habits. Skinny can’t hold a candle to life.

Thank you

Thank you once more for commenting and sharing – and by that I don’t just mean via social media but sharing your own experiences and stories in the comments. It meant the world to me.

In trying to understand why the post went viral I noticed a few [apparent] ‘secrets’/reasons so they’re what I’ve been thinking about [and only now out loud].

Maybe it sounds ridiculous to an outsider – wait for it, I’ll explain in a moment – but my first thoughts were: How in the world could that post be my most shared, commented and recommened yet? Don’t get me wrong. The post, the message – it was 100% me and meant that way. But: I’d spent a fraction of the time I work on many other posts on it. No writing and re-writing it for days. Yet – maybe that was the secret? Maybe you related so well because it was raw, authentic and not me trying to meet any expectations of myself or anybody else?

Thinking-Out-Loud

Write just for yourself and like nobody’s reading. Like I mentioned above that post was written for a simple purpose. I hadn’t planned it nor did I edit much. It just came about while eating dinner on Monday night and looking back I honestly can’t see why I published it.

Keep the editing to a minimum. This one’s really hard for a perfectionist like me. But looking back at why some of my past posts didn’t feel like ‘me’ anymore once published and why the response was shy I saw: I’d out-edited my personality. If I couldn’t recognize myself again in these – how could any readers?

Don’t be afraid of speaking your mind. We can never please everybody else [old news, I know] but that’s actually what keeps blogging – or any kind of socializing – interesting. How boring of a world would we live in if everybody agreed with everything we said? No, thanks, bring on the discussion!

 

The reasons why I haven’t been following these rules in many of my previous posts? For one, I’m still not feeling confident enough in my writing. I’m not a native speaker and sometimes feel I can’t articulate the exact points I want to make as well as I would in German.

More so, however, there’s a worry that was implemented throughout my ED: the fear of not pleasing others or – worse – rubbing them off the wrong way. It makes no sense when you think about it. I want to be easy-going, speak my mind – and all too often let perfectionism hinder me. Realizing this now I could have published a lot more posts that are 100 % true to me – a peek into my drafts folder would tell you – if it wasn’t for my inner critic stopping me. Saying that somebody else has said it better before or will potentially do in the future. And yes, the pond of blog post ideas might not be endless so a topic we pick up could have been featured elsewhere before.

But it’s about the individual spin. No  two people and their opinions are exactly the same and not every of your readers will have seen that post about  [insert topic] by [insert blogger] before. So let’s be bold. Go out and say what we feel like saying. We’re writing for ourselves after all, remember? So that post I talked about recently? It wasn’t last week’s. But now it will see the light of the day. Maybe nobody will care. Maybe some people will disagree. It shouldn’t matter as long as it’s genuinely what I feel like sharing.

Dance like nobody’s watching. Write like nobody’s judging. It sounds pretty good to me.

Happiness-inducing today: Some good news on a day that overall wasn’t too amazing. It’s about focusing on the little things [broken record but true].

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Following along the spirit of this post and Thinking out loud: Speak your mind!

It’s okay [to cry]

Note that yes, I realize it’s the second post in a row having a heavier topic but with a positive outlook. If it’s not for you I promise I’ll be back with more light-hearted posts during the remainder of the week.

Another one of those posts that I’ve mulled over sharing or not. Ironically, in this case, because the reason I pondered not doing it was shame while the topic is promoting to not feel ashamed. Or no, I actually don’t feel ashamed for addressing it but just wasn’t sure how to go about it.  Crying. It’s probably not as taboo as some other topics but I feel we still shy away from talking about it. Because isn’t crying a sign of weakness? Of an inability to control our feelings?

 

But there I was, crying at my mum’s shoulder the day before my birthday [and apparently that’s normal …]. Not Maybe you’re thinking: so what? Why even mention it? What made this special for me was that I hardly ever cry. Even if you spent a longer period of time with me chances are you would never see me tear up at. Somewhere in between childhood and teenage years I worked towards suppressing tears in public – and after a while even when I was alone. I didn’t want to be the shy, easily hurt girl anymore but have a thicker skin that [on the outside] protected me from any mean comments and the likes. Yet – the outside can be deceiving. We can pretend not to be touched by hurtful comments on what we look like, the way we act and are – but that doesn’t mean we’re actually oblivious to any and all criticism let alone invulnerable.

Source

Whatever you might think I’m convinced it’s important we let go, let it all out at times. Bottling up our feelings because we’re trying to maintain the image of a strong person will only backfire in the end. Though looking at it more closely crying does in fact not only not make you a weak but actually a strong, smart person. Reaching out for help – or simply a shoulder to cry on – isn’t easy but it shows we’re taking care of ourselves and our emotional health. Those who know me more closely will hear or have heard it at one point or another: I believe that the only true, real friendships are those where we completely bare ourselves. Where we open up about feelings and … In fact, I don’t judge people for talking about their struggles, asking me for a hug, to lend an ear or shoulder to cry on: I respect them even more and feel honoured they are opening up towards me. Because I know I won’t share all of my feelings with everybody but those whom I deeply trust only.

Writing this post and simultaneously – guilty of multitasking –  catching up on my blog reader a little I saw this amazing post by Chelsea. Vulnerability is human and by showing that we’re not flawless we become even more relatable and lovable to others. That still doesn’t mean I’ll be an open book when it comes to my feelings and share them with everybody just like that.  But none of us has to be superwoman [or -man] and hold back the tears. If everything gets too much to bear it’s healthy to cry. It helps us to move on and live life happily again.

Happiness inducing today: Sleeping in.

No questions today – just whichever thoughts you have on the topic.

When a binge turned into a blessing

When you’re reading this I’ll have gone back and forth between whether or not to post this for a while. My final decision to publish it came when I remembered how it have been just these kind of honest posts by other bloggers like Heather or Sarah helped me in terms of recovery. They made me feel understood, less alone in my struggles, realize it’s okay and not feel ashamed because I ‘slip up’ at times. That being said …

It’s time to talk about Christmas once more. Only not in the way I did before. While not lying when talking about Christmas before I focused on the marvelous parts of it leaving out the not-so-awesome happenings.  Because that’s life. We all know that life has its ups and downs but it’s up to each of us to make the good parts those we remember at the end of the day. Hence why I chose to highlight my favourite parts of Christmas, the ones I should remember when thinking about it later again  – the blessing and joy of spending time with my family – instead of grieving over the bumps in the road. The reason I’m bringing up one of the less stellar moments now is the lesson I learned from them which in itself holds a lot of positivity.

Fast forward to Christmas Day – the day of the amazing walk on the beach – we had the traditional cold dinner buffet at my grandma’s house. I truly love my grandma but these kind of dinners honestly don’t rank on my list of favourites. While I assume I enjoyed them a lot more years ago when I was still eating meat action they aren’t a taste experience these days. Beautifully arranged plates of vegetables, cheese, yogurt-based dressings and bread basically sum up the vegetarian fare. Probably not the most unsatisfying meal if you eat all of those. However – and yes, call me picky for this one – I know I’m someone who needs warm meals and when lunch is replaced by cake and cookies a dinner like this really doesn’t cut it for me. I’ve tried it numerous times before – only to notice it doesn’t. Adding to this ‘problem’ is trying to stick to vegan dishes when my fully vegan cousin’s around. Explaining the whole background here so I’ll just keep it to saying I added the additional pressure.

Remember me mentioning this not being a taste experience? This – among other occasions – was what I factored in when making my resolution to ‘Just live’. Breaking the day down it was actually about bonding with the family. The main memory and major happiness for me that day was feeling [and, yes, even exclaiming it aloud] joyful and blessed. For once not worrying about my future but living in the moment. And that’s what mattered.

Source

Despite what happened after dinner: I binged. Binged on the chocolate ice cream I’d restricted myself from because my cousin had been around and I kept telling myself I’d eaten enough treats before already. While I’d have rather done without the scenario above it helped me learn more about myself again. Going overboard on ice cream was a sign. Just when I started typing this post I remembered a passage from Intuitive Eating which I’ve been rereading during the past weeks. Though then referring to the use of food in a way to deal with emotions I feel it fits in this context, too. The authors call those sudden ‘slip-ups’  after eating normally for a while  “a strange gift”.

“Overating is a sign that  stressors in your life at that moment surpass the coping mechanisms that  you have developed. […] So, you revert back to eating as a familiar way to take care of yourself. […] When you find this happening, it may be a signal for you to reevaluate your life and find ways to put more balance into it.”

Interpreting it in the context of my experiences I assumed I’d eaten enough throughout the day only to see I hadn’t. So maybe, yes, it was a blessing my intuition came through taking care of the ‘issue’. We can’t learn if we don’t struggle. If I’d gone for a bowl of ice cream in the first place when the rest of the family was having it I’d likely have kept it to an ‘normal’ serving size instead of going overboard. And I’m not going to lie. There are still days  when I continue to ‘slip up’. In fact, I did again after the ice cream incident. That time, though, I already felt calm. let go and ate more knowing it was a sign I needed it.

It really is. Nobody said recovery was easy but I feel [and hope] that every of my struggles will serve as a learning experience and ultimately help me proceed on my way to recovery. Every step forward counts.

Happiness inducing today: My mum reassuring me on a work-related issue.