Apparently, I’ve gotten stuck on the number six. I’m not sure it’s such a bad thing, June being the sixth month of the year, and all. So, I think I’m going to ride this most current wave to see where it gets me. And that suits my personality just fine.
I am not a planner. There are people who are planners, and I’m so grateful God made them. We need planners. Are you a planner? We need you. Thank you. I used to feel guilty for not being a planner, but somewhere around my 43rd birthday, I began to embrace the person I am. As far as I could tell, God wasn’t expecting me to be something I’m not, so I’ve been comfortably flying by the seat of my pants ever since. I doesn’t always work out well, but, I’m sure the planners would attest, things don’t always go as planned, either. C’est la vie.
So, here we are, in June, with me embracing the number six. Today, I’ve got six links to share with you as you settle in to your weekend. As one of these links will tell you, blog posts and web site articles seem to get the most shares over the weekend. When I think that through, I think it may mean most people do the bulk of their online reading over the weekend. And that makes sense. So, while I’m not trying to get this post to go viral or anything (that word—viral—has always been suspicious to me, anyway) I did want to take advantage of the fact you might be looking for some good reads over the weekend, and offer a few good words I found this week:
1. At The High Calling, we issue an open call for you to submit articles based on a theme, or a prompt. This week’s invitation is for the theme Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype. Linkup with your post, based on this theme. Then, beginning Monday, our editors will feature five posts, chosen from the linkup, and those five posts will be featured on the home page of The High Calling, which reaches more than 120,000 subscribers and followers every day! For submission guidelines, or to linkup your post, click here.
2. Every now and then, I do a little bit of research on how to improve my web site. I do this because I enjoy good design, and because I see this web site as a collaboration between me, you, and God. That means I want to offer the best I can, when I can. I don’t always have the time to read and implement much of the good research that’s been done, but I can scan (which, apparently, is what a lot of us are doing) and pick out a few good nuggets to add to the mix. This article about the anatomy of a perfect blog post, is one of the most comprehensive articles I’ve read on the strategy and science behind what works and what doesn’t when building an article for your site.
I want to be better at Pinterest. I love it over there, but the site also intimidates me. Clearly, there are Pinterest experts who use the site in strategic ways that I will never understand. Mostly, I use Pinterest to store recipes. If Pinterest ever goes away one night while I’m sleeping, I will be doomed. A friend of mine clued me in to the fact there are pin sizes that work better when trying to get people to find and repin your content. You’ve probably noticed this when you visit Pinterest yourself. Some pins stand out more than others. There are many reasons for this, but pin size is part of the formula. This article about perfect Pinterest pin sizes gave me just enough ammunition to feel good about experimenting with different pin sizes. So, if you’re following me on Pinterest, look for me to put some of these tips into practice.
I’ve found a new favorite web site! A few weeks ago, when I had high hopes about my garden, I asked my Facebook friends for their favorite gardening web sites. This one, Beauty that Moves, recommended to me by Lore Ferguson, has quickly risen to the top of my list. It’s not just gardening, but gardening does comprise the bulk of her content. My garden, unfortunately, is failing, but that has more to do with bad soil and not enough sunlight, and nothing at all to do with Beauty that Moves. If you’ve got a garden, or you just want to look at pretty pictures of a garden and gardening things, this is the place for you.
I hope it’s not tacky to include an internal link here, but this guest post by Cindee Snider Re is chock full of excellent tips (six, of course) that you can implement right now to improve your photo-taking skills. Cindee is also offering a giveaway, and you can enter until we announce a winner on Monday morning!
Tsh Oxenreider is a genius! That’s the short version. The long(er) version is that she’s written a little ebook with ten writing prompts. The book was originally designed for Tsh’s daughter to use over summer vacation, and then Tsh made it available to the rest of us. Tsh writes, “This PDF can be made in to a printable journal, filled with room to brainstorm and scratch out stories to her—and your child’s—heart’s content. It also includes a low-key explanation of the five elements of a story, the five elements of a plot, point of view, and a pep talk about why writing is fun. I also may or may not reference Harry Potter. (I need to emphasize my hipness with the youth.)” Tsh is very hip. And, while this little journal is designed for children, I think it would be an excellent summer companion for the writer in each of us, too.
There’s one more thing I’d like to share with you, and it has to do with that book I’m writing. Last week, when I told you I’m writing a book, I was so overwhelmed—in a good way—by your response. Your encouragement and support and cheers mean the world to me! I’ve been terrified of the book contract, and convinced I just can’t do it. I was so afraid, I didn’t even want to talk about it, hoping my silence would make it go away. But, when I shared the news with you, and you responded with such enthusiasm, it was as if you unlocked the door to the words! I’ve got about 20,000 words written so far (I know!) and I credit you with getting them out of me.
Here’s the thing: I don’t want the book to take over this blog, because I realize not everyone is interested in what’s going on with the whole book journey. But, many of you mentioned to me you’d like to know details. You want to know how this happened, how did I get an agent, what was it like to write the
proposal, how does the process work, and how does a person even write that many words. So, I thought I’d share in a newsletter. If you’re a subscriber to this blog, you’ll receive updates about The Book, once in a blue moon. I won’t inundate you, I promise. So, if you’re interested in hearing more about this part of my story, and you’re not already subscribing by email, you’ll want to sign up to receive updates. You’ll find the signup field in my sidebar. And, if you start getting updates about The Book, and you don’t want them, just send me an email to say, “Hey, I don’t mind getting your blog updates in my inbox, but I’m not all that interested in the book.” I’ll completely understand, and remove you from updates about The Book.
In the best case scenario, you’ll be too busy this weekend, relaxing and laughing and drinking glasses of lemonade and riding your bike and swimming and doing actual gardening, that you won’t have time for any of these things I’ve shared, here. I pray your weekend is sweet and restful, and that you find peace, every step of the way. And, if you happen to click through a few of these links, that’s just the cherry on top of it all.