Some Blogging Positive Reinforcement

gottmanbook1 John Gottman, in his wonderful book, “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail…And How You Can Make Yours Last” (1994) discusses the criteria for a stable marriage:

“…it all comes down to a simple mathematical formula:…you must have at least five times as many positive as negative moments together if your marriage is to be stable.” 

So, you might ask, what’s a single mom like me doing reading a research-based marriage book?

Yeah, well, about that.

It has nothing to do with wanting to be married or in a relationship, though I do love Gottman’s work and the way he writes about it. I actually stumbled across Gottman’s work through my own research and study on student behavioral success and creating positive learning environments for all children.  Creating a positive learning environment is not unlike marriage in some ways. If a relationship is to be perceived as positive or stable, there must be 5 times as many positive interactions as negative ones. This applies to relationships between parents and children or colleagues.

So, you might ask, what’s that got to do with blogging?  

Well, yeah, about that.

To be honest, blogging hasn’t always been a positive experience for me.  If you are a blogger you know that it feels great when people comment on your posts, when people notice, etc.  This creates a community of sorts where people connect, comment, share and exchange pieces of their lives.  There is a positive exchange and even if you don’t always get positive comments, hopefully, when things are going well (your blog is getting traffic and the traffic is commenting) you, as the blogger experience at least 5 to 1 positives for every negative.

That’s the positive part of blogging.

If, however, you are not self-employed, or have a flexible schedule like a stay-at-home parent or an entrepreneur, or a job that allows you to blog as part of your daily tasks, or, if like me, you just simply don’t know what the he** (can I say that here?) you are doing, then you might begin to experience some negativity associated with blogging.

If you wish to blog daily, but can’t, tally one negative for the frustration of wanting to write but not having time to do it well.j0433180

If you can’t write daily, tally another negative for the disappointment in seeing your blog stats decline.  Blogging really is an “if you write it, they will come” endeavor. 

If you can’t write daily and your blog stats dwindle, it means you are not getting traffic to your site and you are less likely to get comments or feedback on your blog.  Tally another negative or two depending on how much this bothers you.

If you already don’t have enough time to write daily, you likely don’t have the daily time (except maybe on weekends or vacations) to do the required research and study to find out how to get your blog SEO or to drive traffic to your blog, develop your personal brand or simply get over to other blogs you love so you can keep up on what’s happening in their lives, and thereby comment, create and sustain a blog community for yourself.  Tally, at least three negatives for that.

The positive?  Hopefully you are writing for your own purposes and that is enough.  If so, tally more positives for you than negatives.  If not,  then you’ve just ended up in an unstable blog relationship which might not last if you can’t turn that around for your bloggy self.

Maybe intervention is necessary.

For me, this intervention occurred, in part, when Amber over at Making The Moments Count awarded me the Sunshine Award.  I wrote briefly about it in my post titled Awards, Recognition, Reality & Paying It Forward.

That equated to a number of tallies on the positive side of blogging for me. It was not enough to turn around my faltering blogging relationship but it at least kept me from divorcing my blog…at least for now. 

You see, I do write for my own purposes, but somewhere along the line things changed and it became more than just about me.  It became about what I like to refer to as “The Community”.  It is about the friendships.  It is about the challenges we all encounter and share in life.  It is about the camaraderie, the laughter, the tears, the connections. It became about connecting with the real people behind the print.

The biggest negative for me is that I’ve missed keeping in touch with those other really excellent writers out there who share their stories, their perspectives, their knowledge and their lives through their blogs.  I’ve missed what I gain from reading them.

So, you might ask, where am I going with this?

Yeah, well, about that, too.  Like a wayward toddler in the toy store this post had a mind of its own.  I’m working hard to put it back in the stroller, so to speak, but I’m failing, so I’ll get to the point.

sunshineblogaward1 I am going to pay it forward to 10 other bloggers who bring sunshine to my life, but again time constrains me so I’m going to do it in parts.  What makes the bloggers I’m recognizing today so sunny for me is that they, like me, are not professional bloggers or writers.  They struggle with the time demands of a job (outside writing) that takes up most of their day then they come home to the second shift, often on their own without the benefit of a partner. In fact, they don’t even write daily some of them.  That worked in their favor here and that NEVER happens in the blogosphere. 

So, here we go with the first three of ten to get the Sunshine Award from me. 

Drum roll, please.

The first of these blogs I stumbled across months ago.  The author has a graduate degree in Communication, the same area of study I did my undergrad work in.  I’m fascinated by his approach to planned change and how he’s implemented the strategies in his own personal life to not only change his life but deliberately plan and improve his entire existence.  Give it up for jassnight at The Critical Path. Better yet, go visit him!

The second of these blogs, I stumbled across a while back during my internet excursions. I was encouraged by the perspectives of a dad, who blogs and can cook and lives to tell about it.  This must mean his cooking is tolerable; a quality I definitely admire in a man almost as much as I appreciate a man’s ability to communicate thoughtfully.  He says he’s not first date material, but I’m thinking he’s got that wrong, after all, he has a day job and it isn’t blogging.  Give it up for Travis over at A Culminating Life.

The third daddy blogger, gets the sunshine award for keeping it real and sharing the good, the bad, and the irritating post-divorce single parenting realities.  He works in one of the most stressful professions I could imagine in probably one of the most stressful locations in the country.  I applaud him for consistently trying to be the best dad he can be and for sharing his joys and his disappointments so candidly.  If you haven’t done so already, I’d encourage you to visit Big City Dad.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

So there you have it.  Today’s top three.  I hope they got some positive reinforcement from this award and will now share this award with ten other bloggers who bring them sunshine (however, they choose to define it).  It’s going to be very fun reconnecting and visiting all their great links…at Spring Break! 

Awards, Recognition, Reality & Paying It Forward

sunshineblogaward1

Sometimes life is funny and when you least expect it, it happens.  Whatever “it” is.

I was gifted with my first blog award by my friend Amber over at  Making The Moments Count.  To be honest, she completely blew me away with this!  She awarded me with The Sunshine Award.  She mentions in her post that I pose questions that make her think. I’m pleased that what I write resonates at some level with someone.  On a more personal and direct level, thank-you, Amber for letting me know in such an affirming and public way that my Random Musings means something to you.  Your appreciation means more to me than the award itself.  Thank you!

Reality

I’ve long desired to be recognized as a blogger, but I’ve also been realistic in my thinking.  I don’t have the time available to me each day to really do the kind of consistent search engine optimized writing every day that I need to be doing in order to really be an award winning blogger.  This post is likely a good example of what I’m talking about as I’m writing it at nearly 11 in the evening after a full day at work with kids and then a full evening at home with my own children. I won’t edit effectively, I know.  I get that I can’t devote all my time to blogging and it shows.   I’m also not so certain I am the next  J.K. Rowling or John Grisham of the blogging world.  So be it.  I have to write to please me instead of for other reasons at this time of my life.  I’d given up whatever fleeting hope I had of being recognized in the blogosphere.  And then…Amber.

I’m so honored that I was noticed and recognized by another bloggy friend in spite of the fact that I can only visit and comment sporadically on her posts (or anyone else’s for that matter these days).  I am especially amazed that I received it given that I don’t write daily and blogging is such an  “if you write it they will come” sort of endeavor. 

Recognition

Amber has given me the gift of a positive recognition for something I do that she appreciates.  When she gave out the award, she didn’t just say I was great or that she loved my stuff.  She specifically named what I did that meant something to her. 

Think kids or dogs are the only ones who appreciate some positive recognition and attention?  No way!  I’ve basked privately in this one for the last week (or has it been longer?) since she awarded it.  It means something to me. It means something to me to know that something I thought and took the effort to put in print resonated with someone else.  It especially means something to me that it resonated with Amber, because when I read her blog, I read myself, 19 years ago or maybe 17, with two young girls and I feel all the same things all over again.  Mostly the fatigue!  I’m so grateful I could impact her life positively if only to question, to challenge, to stimulate thinking, because I sure can’t help with babysitting, though, if we lived closer together, I’d certainly be glad to help! 

Paying It Forward

j0430681 Amber received something from my writing and she paid it forward by letting me know.  Now it is my turn to pay ten other bloggers the compliment.  I will be paying it forward in the next few days (I am preparing for a big presentation at a state conference while also preparing for a professional development class for educators next week so, please, be patient). 

Further, I’m going to encourage my readers to consider paying it forward positively as well.  Have you had someone do something or say something that mattered to you in the last week or month.  Has someone done something or demonstrated some quality or skill that you admire?  Has someone made your life better, easier, more joyful in some way?  I encourage you to take a moment and let them know.  It could be that the positive response from you is just the thing they need to hear at just the right moment. 

If it matters to you…if it resonated with you…if it made you think or impacted you …won’t you let the person know?  I’m certain they’d appreciate knowing that their contribution to this thing we call life didn’t go unnoticed.