Ever have so many ideas brewing that you don’t know where to begin or end?
Have a to-do list, a save-the-planet list, a save-the-world list AND need to make lunch too?
Join the club! You’ll love this question I received:
I want to start a blog for women who are recovering from physical and emotional abuse. I’m thinking more in terms of a site that would help women rebuild their lives after they’ve gotten out of the abusive situation (there are so many professional resources out there for women who are in the midst of the abuse, I don’t think I could offer anything that could compare to those resources). The abuse doesn’t end when the woman leaves the abuser. There are so many other aspects of the abuse that linger, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
I’d like to focus my blog on the after effects of abuse – self care, single parenting and helping children recover, building self-esteem, etc. Additionally, once the blog grows, I’d love to have monthly calls where everyone can just relax and share their stories with anonymity. I love to write and have had a children’s book idea going through my head for years. The main character would speak to children (8-11 yrs old) in an age appropriate way on how to cope. I have absolutely no idea where to start any of this. I am going out on a limb and wanted to see if you could offer any advice to me on the best way to proceed with my idea.
1. WHOA COWGIRL!
First of all – yay you for having loads of idealistic ideas.
Since you asked for my advice – I’ll give you a mini lecture. Ready?
Number one – stop a minute and write down a list of all the things you want to do.
Just have at, make the list as long as you possible can.
Put it all in there.
2. Focus On YOU First
I know the feeling all too well of wanting to stop everything in your life to help others.
Been there. Done that.
What happens is that you fall flat on your face and tend to lose energy, family time, money and sometimes friends!
So I can share some of my shoulda-coulda-woulda mistakes with you.
I got this great advice way back in the day from Rosie O’Donnell. She really tried to knock this realization into my head.
But did I listen? No. I went boldly forward, putting everyone else’s needs before my own.
I ended up in a wheelchair, in insane physical pain, lost my house, car and all my savings too – AND got accused by haters for only doing this work to make money.
HAHAHA! Yeah, right.
It took me 10 years to wise up and it all went back to Rosie and one of those “if I had only listened to her…”
Maybe you will listen!
Here’s the thing – I know your own story that you did not include in your question and I have this to say
– by you moving on in your life you ARE helping others.
Did you read that and let it sink in?
By You Moving On In Your Life You ARE Helping Others!
Your life is a teaching tool.
3. REREAD Your Own Question
You always know the answer to your own question.
Yep. It’s true. You intuitively know what you should do.
Think about those things you “knew” back then like: I knew I shouldn’t have gone there or I knew that was the wrong man for me etc etc.
Well, if you know it in the future, you know it right now.
You just need to really listen to your inner guidance.
Reread your question and then your long idealistic to-do list and see what resonates with looking after YOU.
What on that list enables you to be balanced with your creativity, family time, eating well; taking care of YOU body, mind and spirit?
Again – when you are living a balanced life and taking care of yourself – you are helping others.
4. Start Your Blog
Before you even go down the path of setting up webinars and weekly calls and all the things your long list of wishes, ask yourself again what YOU want to share with the world.
Blogging is no easy feat and can be very time consuming.
- WHY are you blogging?
- Do you have something you need to share?
- What do I have to offer that is different on your blog than others out there already?
- Are you ready to feed the blog? (you need to post daily, weekly or monthly)
- Do you have a product like a book, ebook, or organization you want to promote and why?
Those are things to ponder before you jump in there all gung-ho and then get overwhelmed with all you have to learn.
When you’re ready to start your blog, here are some great resources to help you along your way.
There are many ways to start too, from Blogger to WordPress. I prefer WordPress.
Check out some sites I’ve built.
See What Else is Out There
Check out other blogs doing similar things and see if you can become a contributor or author on them.
They will have more traffic than you just starting out and you can find your blogger voice and see if it’s something you want to spend more time on.
There is SurvivorManual.com of course, along with many others!
There are also some helpful Facebook how-tos once you have your blog – you’ll need to integrate all the social media sites too! Fun fun.
Derek Halpern with SOCIAL TRIGGERS has fantastic advice, great webinars and newsletters.
MARIE FORLEO has awesome videos, blogs and her B SCHOOL rocks.
PRO-BLOGGER has tons and tons of advice and resources.
and my favorite NEIL PATEL who is a genius.
Before you go buying things or signing up for classes or webinars, look through all of their blog posts and videos first.
They all have tons of resources to help you focus on the best moves you should make without spending money.
If you do have money to spend, Marie Forleo’s B School is fantastic.
4. Get Your Book Together
Yay! I love hearing that you want to write.
If I were you – mini lecture again – I’d switch around your to-do list and put your book first and then your save-the-world to-do list afterwards.
Check out all my Writing Advice from doing your outline to get published.
There is a long list of links to read up on to help you get started and to finish.
When you are done, you should charge money for your book. Even if it’s .99 on Kindle.
Making a living doing what you love is the most rewarding thing in the world.
Okay, sometimes you don’t make a living and have to keep the day job. But seeing sales trickle in is also very rewarding because you wrote it and people want to read it and share it.
As a writer it gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling.
5. Stay Balanced
Think of your to-do list like your finances.
If you’ve read any of the money books – you have to cover your overhead first, then any debt, then do something for fun, then give 10% away to things you want to support.
Same goes for your creative energy.
Think about that! Lord knows it took me a LONG time to get it.
If you take care of yourself, your health, well-being and family first, then you get out of debt (that’s fun!) then do something fun (it shouldn’t all be bills and debt, go see a movie or something), then give your energy away (because you’re healthy and happy and HAVE ENERGY!)
Happy writing and blogging and helping others!
After I posted this and sent it to the woman who asked, I received this amazing response:
I read your post. Then went back and re-read it in order to let it all settle in. As I first began to read the post, I felt a little sinking feeling, like my balloon had been suddenly popped. I’ve been so wrapped up in the IDEA of doing this venture and being someone that could turn lemons into lemonade for the masses. I realize now that my ego was in the driver’s seat. I think on some level I thought that I’d go from zero to 60 mph and turn into you or Oprah overnight!Then I get to the part of your blog that said “by you moving ahead in your life you ARE helping others”. I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I read this. I seriously thought about that statement for the first time in my life. The truth of what you wrote resonated with me deeply. By moving ahead I HAVE helped many, many others in too many ways to count and I continue to do so just by simply living my life day-to-day as I do. I didn’t need to start a formal worldwide revolution to do it either!Thank you for giving that gift of realization to me, Angela. As silly as it sounds, this was the first time in 51 years that this thought has ever occurred to me.I’m going to check out all of the recommended resources this week. I’m also going to take a deep breath, look at that list I’m going to create and figure out the best way to move forward. I’m feeling the book project is the perfect place to start, along with guest blogging.I don ‘t know, maybe it’s a bi-product of growing up in an abusive environment or maybe it’s simply the way I’m wired, but I never, ever put myself first. I continue the pattern of giving away all that I have to others before giving to myself. Leaving me drained and empty. Reminds me of the flight attendant’s speech and how they advice to put the mask on yourself first before you try to assist others.I had no idea that you suffered so much in the beginning of your work with finances and health. I feel fortunate that I was able to get your ‘been there, done that’ real world advice. I’m sure that you’ve saved me from depleting both my sanity and my finances. I was just in the beginning planning stages of all of this and already there were cracks in my armor starting to show up (arguing with hubby, no time for friends, stressed, etc.).Thanks for saving me a ton of pain and aggravation, for pulling together that incredible and thorough list of resources, and for your sage advice! I am taking every bit of that advice. That sound you hear now is me taking a few steps back, breathing a sigh of relief and beginning to rethink the path to my vision. I’ll drop you a line in about 6 months to a year and let you know how things are going.Sending you much love and gratitude!