Plan. Share. Do Your Thing. Yo.

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So. There’s this thing that you’ve been thinking about sharing.

Photos. Art. Thoughts. What. Ever.

But, you don’t just want to push it into the void, have it fall on deaf ears, and lie at the bottom of the proverbial internet well. You want it to be seen.

Maybe you have a small business, or you have aspirations to be in entertainment… or you just want to be a force on the internet. No matter the reason, social media is a resource you can’t afford to ignore. But, it can be difficult to begin.

I once had a wonderful music teacher who said, “The first note you sing is the hardest, everything after that, is easy.”

True, Mr. Cotter, very true. I have trouble singing that first note all the time.

Worrying about making mistakes is normal, but don’t let that keep you from doing anything at all.

Trust me. I’ve made that mistake, so you don’t have to.

Starting a social media account that has a purpose is daunting. What about analytics? What about photo quality? What if no one takes me seriously?

So. What.

That stuff will get better over time and you shouldn’t worry about it. What you should worry about is making a simple plan and sticking to it. That is how you build your audience.

Don’t know where to start? You know what they say: everything you ever needed to know you learned in Kindergarten. And what did we learn on the first day of kindergarten? The ABCs.

A is for Artistry: All social media that makes an impact has one, specific thing in common–there is some kind of artistry involved. This does not mean you have to be an actual artist! It’s more about perspective. It’s about style.

Think about what you want to share and why you want to share it. Artistry is about bringing perspective and focus to your content. Maybe all your photos on Instagram are super close-ups. Maybe you wear funny tee shirts in all your YouTube videos. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just think about why you want to share and who you want to share with. And then do the thing.

(Hot tip: For photo-heavy sites, like Instagram, try to limit yourself to one, maybe two filters. This is a super simple way to focus the look of your feed without needing much professional art or photography background).

B is for Branding: Branding is everywhere in our lives. We wear it, we eat it, we gravitate toward it. And, when it is done really well… we know it without even having to read a brand name. We just know.

Red dot with a red circle around it. We all know that symbol. They don’t even have to print “Target” on the bag anymore. Two golden arches. An apple with a bite taken out of it. A white bird in a blue box. I could go on.

This doesn’t have to be complicated at first, because, like all brands, yours can grow stronger over time. Here is a very short checklist:

  1. Choose a style. Bold and Graphic. Clean and Simple. Futuristic. Pop Art. Vintage. No choice is inherently wrong. Think about your content and think about your audience. What expresses you and draws them in?
  2. Choose a few colors (limit three!) that compliment each other and speak to who you are and who your audience is. Your colors should compliment your style choice. (Don’t forget to note the hexadecimal value of each of your colors – that is the little row of numbers/letters that show up when you choose colors in almost all digital design software – including MS Paint. You can use this number across most programs – including WordPress, Wix, and Canva – to make sure your colors stay consistent).
  3. Make some simple rules about font usage. For example: I use only sans-serif fonts. I stick to plain, clean fonts with only one or two, very specific, cursive fonts thrown in for interest. This lends a focus to the visual elements of my content without being too specific. In time, I will probably purchase one or two fonts and begin just using those consistently. But, I am using free resources at the moment, and I will grow this part of my brand later.

C is for Consistency:  Basically, make an appointment with your audience – and then show up. Don’t ghost your followers one week and then inundate them with content the next.

This is, honestly, the part of the ABC’s I struggle with the most… and it is probably most important thing when first starting out. But, I’ve been getting better. How?

  1. Get a Google calendar and schedule your posts.
  2. Schedule in time to prep for your posts.
  3. Decide way ahead of time what content you want to share. (And write it down when it comes to you!)
  4. Create templates for each platform that conform to your brand vision.
  5. Batch task (i.e. write more than one blog post at a time, take more than one set of photos, or shoot multiple videos in one afternoon.)

You might also consider finding a fellow social media friend who is willing to partner up so you can keep each other accountable. It’s super motivating to see a “Hey, you usually post on Wednesdays, right? I didn’t see your thing today!” in your text messages.

When it comes down to it, you just have to start. Make your plan. Create your content. Brand your content. Schedule your content. Post your content.

Do. The. Thing. You’re welcome.

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Sunday. I. Never. Want. To. Leave.

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

As I look at this picture I can’t help thinking about my relationship with food. Like so many life-long relationships, our status remains the same: It’s complicated.

At one time in my life food felt like the enemy. I love it – the smell, the texture, the feeling really good food gives my brain and my body. But, despite the positives there were so many draw-backs. I am female, have some impulse-control problems, and am from a family of people who struggle with weight and health issues; I’m genetically predisposed to loose in every battle I wage with really good food. So, for a time I thought, why fight in a war you can’t win?

Funny thing is, I’ve never been much for war. So I decided to stop fighting and try for peace instead. If food was not my enemy, what was it?

Food is:

An essential component to keeping a human being alive.

A joyous and cerebral experience.

Art

Delicious

My ally.

Bad food and bad boys – they fall into the same category. In any relationship, when you go for the so-good-it’s-bad, head-rush, over-the-top guy ALL the time and NOT in moderation…it can be hazardous to your health. But a little bit of bad boy – in the right amounts – never hurt anybody. 😉

And that is what I’m spending my time teaching myself. Make good choices, don’t deprive yourself of the good stuff (or BAD stuff – depending on your position), and things that fuel you, refresh you, and bring you joy are good…in the right amounts.

 

 

Religion. Iceland. Humanity.

I think there is room in the world for whatever you believe as long as it is peaceful, nondiscriminatory, and you don’t expect the public sector to adopt laws that uphold your beliefs in spite of how those laws affect others. But the look on someone’s face when you tell them you are an atheist is…actually kind of awful sometimes. I feel the reaction is especially bad if the person feels like they KNOW that you are religious…because “you are such a good person.”

The secret is…I do try as hard as I can to be a good person because my religion is love, equity, peace, empathy, self-love, respect, and kindness. My religion is humanity.

I can’t help but wonder what the world would look like if there were more atheists on every continent. My hope? Maybe more like Iceland.‪#‎myreligionishumanity‬

Fortunes . Futures . And Free Fun .

At lunch today I decided to hop on over to Panda express and suppliment my orange chicken Smart Ones with a few rangoons and a bit of sweet and sour (less than two dollars even if you don’t get an entree!).  As is customary, I was also given a fortune cookie.

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I always thought my ideas were clever, but this OBVIOUSLY confirms it.

Rewards.  Hm.

As I have been doing often during this transition from the midwest to the west coast – I spent this afternoon crunching my budgetary numbers. And I’ve come to a conclusion…

I’m going to have to find some fun, free stuff to do with myself.

So, let us start a list, shall we?

1 – Find a library and get a card. I would really love to find a library near here with a kindle lending program. I love books and I love my kindle – having both of my loves available for free would be excellent.

2 – Learn a Language.  Here in Southern California, working in retail, it is becoming obvious to me that I desperately need to dust off the part of my brain that knew enough Spanish in college to make it through three semesters. My first attempt at doing this for free is going through daily lessons using this fun, free app for my phone called Duolingo. This program is also available over the internet on your regular computer.

3 – Find a good exercise routine using YouTube. One of the first things I did upon landing here in my new home is look for a gym. I know this might be hard for you to swallow – seeing as i don’t look the part – but I actually LOVE the gym.  I find the solitude that I feel just listening to music and sweating is very stress-relieving.  But, the privilege of sweating in an air conditioned building is out of my means at the moment.  SO, seeing as I’m not much of a runner (unless something is chasing me) I decided to turn to my favorite content platform and find a gym alternative.  My favorite one so far is the husband and wife team behind Fitness Blender – full length videos, free, and there are lots of fitness levels to choose from. I love that they actually DO the workout with you – they get winded and tired with you and everything – it’s great!

4 – Practice self-love. Hopefully, in 2016, this isn’t controversial. I believe in the stress-relieving, sleep-inducing, happiness machine that is the orgasm. I’m not much for anonymous sex and I don’t have a boyfriend – I think you can fill in the blanks from there.  BUT if you need more convincing, here’s a list of the positive effects masturbation can have on your health. You’re welcome.

5. YouTube, blog, tweet, repeat. I want to reach out. I want to create content that is interesting and engaging.  I want to create something that makes me really happy and sustains me. I moved away from almost EVERY PERSON that makes me happy – I want and need to make that decision worth it. So now, the only thing left to do is – to DO.

 

These are good ones to start.  What are your favorite free or low-cost forms of entertainment?  Leave me your suggestions in the comments!

 

 

 

Hot Guy . Making Cookies . ‘Nuff Said .

Macarons.

Those sweet, crisp, delicious sins of the tongue.  I’ve decided that I WILL learn to make these devil’s treats – especially because I can’t continue paying $3.00 per cookie at Whole Foods.

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So…I did what I do and took my search to the YouTubes – and holy pistachio cookies – I found my new food OBSESSION.  Enter: Byron Talbot and his YouTube cooking show. At this point I have watched hours – no – DAYS of this handsome devil (and his super cute family) experiment, cook, bake, and sample all kinds of food that I WANT TO EAT NOW.

Wait.  Didn’t this post start out about macarons? Well, if I’m obsessed with Byron – Byron is obsessed with macarons.  He has a whole playlist. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is worth your time.

Take a look. Subscribe. Salivate. You’re Welcome.

(Clicky, Clicky!)  Byron Talbot – “Thin Mint” Macarons