Two years of learning. Two years of growth. Two years of adapting and evolving. Two years of writing and blogging. Through the ups and downs, I just want to thank you all for the support over these last two years.
Two-year anniversaries are represented by fiber and cotton. Due to cotton’s durability and flexibility, cotton gifts are given to married couples to remind them to stay interwoven and close with each other throughout their marriage. If I can translate this into blogging for a second then my goal for year two is to remain strong in blogging amongst changes. I must withstand any changes that brings negativity my way and continue this journey of blogging for the reward is greater than the expectation. Not only must I face outside changes, but also changes from within myself. When those feelings of doubt and intimidation start to attack from within, they come to change my confidence in the work that I perform. However, when my confidence is interwoven with faith I am able to drive out those confidence-killers and withstand the forces that are working against me.
As I close out this blog post for the two-year anniversary of The Book of Think Pieces, I encourage all of you who are reading this to be interwoven with your confidence. Let it be such a strong binding together like clothes made of cotton. It may become worn with time, but those fibers of confidence are built to last. Protect your confidence and go out into the world wearing it proudly!
I hope the frigid temperatures from the arctic blast of 2022 does not prevent the warmth inside. With temperatures dipping into the single digits in the South and windchills making it feel like negative temperatures, I write this to thank you all for a wonderful 2022! It was a great, yet challenging, year but we made it! I learned so much about myself professionally and personally.
As we open up the gifts from under the tree, have (or already had) a Christmas Party, listen to Christmas music, toast, and spend time with family, I wish you all the best Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2022! Let’s close out the year on a high note. See you all in 2023!
I would like to take the time out to be thankful. I am thankful every day, but to go with the theme of Thanksgiving, I figured I wanted to express my thankfulness with writing and blogging.
First and foremost, I would like to thank God for granting me life daily and gifting me with the means to write. Next, I am thankful for my wife and son who always support me through my dreams for our family. They are my biggest supporters, and we love each other equally. I am excited to be on this journey with you and look forward to the future. There is no other way I want to spend Thanksgiving to be with you now and forever. To my mom, sister, and family members who are also my biggest supporters, I thank you all. I wish I could sit here and name each and every one of you, but that would take up so much space and time. So, I thank you all. To my in-laws, thank you for taking me in as one of your own. To my friends, thank you for always being there for me as I have returned the favor. To my job, thank you for working with me during the good and difficult times and allowing me to utilize my Chemistry degree with silicone chemistry. My home church, thank you for supporting me. I know I have not been around since my grandparents died, but just know I have each of you in my heart and use your teachings to live a good life. And last but not least, to all my Book of Think Pieces fans and supports, thank you. Yes, we are small, but small with quality is good enough for me. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
And to anyone I missed, thank you all for being a part of my life. On this Thanksgiving Day, I pray you all have peace as you are celebrating this day with your loved ones. Even if you cannot be there this year, just think of all the good times you have and make an effort to be with them someday in the future.
I thank you all for the support. Please take care of yourself, your mental health and each other.
What is a blessing? The best definition I found comes from Vocabulary.com where it defines a blessing as “…a prayer asking for divine protection, or a little gift from the heavens” (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/blessing, 2022). In the Bible (NIV Version) 2 Corinthians 9:8 reads, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
We can never receive enough blessings. Just being alive and well is a blessing we should never take for granted. But what if I told you one of your biggest blessings in life did not come in the form of money, acceptance, or healing, would you believe me? What if I told you one of your biggest blessings once came in the form of rejection? Yes, REJECTION! Let me spell it out…R-E-J-E-C-T-I-O-N.
Rejection is not wanted, but it is a part of our lives just as much as acceptance. No one applies for anything hoping to be rejected. If we knew the outcome would result to this, the odds of us applying would be exceptionally low. Each one of us have been rejected from something in our lives. A relationship, friendship, job offer, promotion, school, anything that helps better our lives. Receiving a rejection often triggers sad and regretful emotions, the feeling of not being good enough especially at the time it happens. It can linger in our mind for days, weeks, months, even years wondering if our worth is qualified to move on to the next level in life. We put our best efforts into getting an acceptance only for rejection to tear our hopes and confidence down.
Take it from me, I have had my fair share of rejections in life even when I needed the acceptance more than the others applying for the same position. Growing up in a hometown where “who you know” had more value on receiving an offer than your skillset and character, I wondered if I had bad luck when it came down to getting offers to better my life and increase my experience. I could not get a job as a teenager despite applying to countless jobs throughout the county, I ran for leadership positions and lost by landslides, not making the cut to join teams to build teamwork experiences, etc. I started to question if I really had what it takes to make it in the corporate world. Then I graduated college only to struggle to find a job during the recession era of America. I had the experience and did everything advised to avoid being unemployed after graduation, but none of that experience helped me during that time. Rejection letter after rejection letter, I began to question if my college degree was worth the years put in since I was not receiving the benefits of earning a degree. I even questioned if I did not do enough in college. Despite the hardship of rejection, it molded me to become a stronger person. I learned valuable life lessons from the experience that high school nor college taught me. I gained skills and character that not only helped me receive a job offer, but also learn how to maintain the blessings from acceptance.
Switching gears here. Rejection can be disguised as a blessing that comes in the form of protection tying in our faith. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) reads, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This means faith is believing something good will happen although you have no clue if that good will come. If good does not come, then faith will convince you that good will eventually come. It may not come how you envisioned it, but the rejection can protect you from the unseen dangers the acceptance never told you about. It is optimism about the future on overdrive. Protection is minimizing the chances of a tough situation that may cause hardship, hurt, or harm physically, financially, and/or mentally from happening in the future by understanding the dangers of a current event based off evidence in the past.
Like a devasting storm that destroys a town. After the storm does its damage, there is a cold period that follows. A feeling of loss and confusion looms over the town wondering how they can recover after the storm, and what will it take to improve the infrastructure. Suddenly good people come to aid of the town after receiving news of its devastation. Before you know it, the town has rebuilt itself better than before the storm. Should another storm happen, the people are more prepared than before. Rejection works in a similar matter when we take the time after it to heal and learn from it. It hurts at those moments and may leave you feeling lost, confused, and down, but there is an unexplained peace that follows.
That is why we must be very mindful of each acceptance. You ever applied for a job, worthless got the acceptance offer, started working the job and a few months in, the job does not satisfy you as it did when you originally started? At some point the money does not matter because your happiness does not align with the job. You find yourself stressed and angry about your job now that you know the truth about it. Anything that goes wrong on the job amplifies your dissatisfaction. Before you know you are back on the hunt for another job. What happened to that good feeling you had when the acceptance first came?
Sometimes acceptance can be fabricated to lure you into a trap. “Accept this job offer. You will earn a livable wage, have a great work/life balance, work with a wonderful staff, and become a valuable member of this team.” That is all you may read before signing the offer letter but read a little deeper and you may discover what is promised may not be reality. Sadly, you may not discover it until you are working at the job. And that is how acceptance can be. An outsider looks at acceptance as a better opportunity from what they currently have. Acceptance will convince you everything will be better, and you got it because you were the most qualified. If we fail to investigate what we are signing up for, we may miss signs that this acceptance is something you should pass on. Before you know it, your acceptance may cause more hardship than what the opportunity was worth.
I am not encouraging rejection. If offered an opportunity in something you worked hard for, I recommend taking the chance. What I am writing is rejection does not always mean failure or giving up on our dreams. We always see rejection as bad; it can be a blessing in disguise. Remember, a blessing does not always come in the form of money, health, or good fortune. Oftentimes, it comes to use as protection. Not just protection from harm and danger, but protection from unseen dangers that may present itself in the future or even protection for our own wellbeing. Sometimes we take on opportunities when we were not prepared and end up more stressed than before the offer was made. Viewing rejection as “God knows what’s best for us” will save us from opportunities that cause more harm than help and life lessons. Allowing rejection to work in our favor can open doors we never knew we were capable of walking through. The main goal is to not allow rejection to make us feel like we are unworthy to success. We should use it as a learning tool to understand why this opportunity that did not work is good and to learn more about ourselves and what we are capable to manage.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, let me say this again. We love to celebrate milestones here at The Book of Think Pieces no matter how big or small it maybe. It takes courage to share your work with the world, so each milestones builds onto our encouragement. It encourages us to keep blogging, keep promoting our work, don’t give up. That major milestone is coming one day, but for now, let’s celebrate every milestone like we won a championship.
The newest milestone to add to the list is 100 likes! It took a year and almost a month to reach this milestone. With more followers, 20-something blog post, an iPhone, and advertising each blog through social media with no actual page, it’s safe to say this particular milestone means I am doing something right with this blogging.
Most important, I did not reach this milestone on my own. YOU, yes YOU, made this possible. My wife and son who are my inspiration to keep writing. My extended family’s who support me. My friends, coworkers, and subscribers. Thank you all for reading and liking my work.
After 100 likes I believe promoting my work has become easier. At first I had to give myself a “you can do this” pep talk just to share on Facebook. Too focus on the “what ifs” I would often delay sharing when all I needed to do was share and send. I put too much emphasis on writing a caption thinking this would capture my followers attention. Now, after I finish a blog, I keep my captions short with a link. The right people will click and like. And…Twitter played a big part to promoting my work. #Writerslift and #bloggertribe really came through. It helped me network with other bloggers and content creators in return for support of their work.
Still growing, still learning, but most importantly, enjoying the blogging journey. Closing out I encourage all content creators to not get discouraged when your best does not get likes. Keep working hard, and one day you will see your hard work has finally paid off.
Hello readers! I took a little time off from writing to be even closer to my family and friends while working at my primary. June was a month of celebrations for us, so taking a step back from writing blogs happened naturally.
I got this notification a few weeks ago thinking to myself “Me reaching 20 post? Can this be real?” And to answer my own question, yes!
What this new milestone taught me was my writing to posting evolution and producing quality work. When I started this blog I may have been too structured, meaning I only wrote and posted what I planned for. Writing a blog on paper one week, proofreading then typing to posting within a month. Calculating every step from the brainstorm beginning to the post ending only to realize when life happens, it often caused delays. Blog post kept being pushed back to later times in order to satisfy some of life’s demands and failing to meet my own dates more times than what I anticipated. Then more topics to blog about would surface in my brain. Before I knew it, I had all sorts of ideas that remained as thoughts only for some to make it to paper while others never had its title written down.
I noticed most bloggers I follow post at least 3 blogs a month or more, some one a daily or a few a week. I asked myself how can I post more? I cannot make blogging my primary at the moment, but I do want to maintain momentum in writing and catch every open opportunity to enjoy my hobby. I have an audience, no need to sit on blogs if I am trying to grow. That’s when I started to skip physical writing on pencil and paper, and started typing my blogs when I felt this think piece need to get published in a short amount of time. Free of the structured restraints I set myself up for I started to see post published within a week. Then life happens, and those free writings would stay saved on my laptop longer than I originally planned. Some of those writings would later be deleted because I found myself missing the time I wanted to post. The topics only worked for trends, i.e. something that happened during a certain time where if I waited too late to post about it, the world and my audience moved on from what was trending, and I would be posting about it when it’s no longer interesting. Aww, the struggles of juggling different lives while maintaining a little free time for myself is no joke.
Which lead me to an even quicker time of blogging that I call bypass blogging. Yes, bypass blogging (I hope no one else thought of this name although I am sure the majority of writers and bloggers do their work like this). We take our smartphones with us everywhere, right? With family and work time in addition to trying to stay healthy while getting a good night’s sleep I do not always have the time to sit down and write a blog. So when I notice I have a little free time I work on my blogs from my smartphone. I can be on lunch break at work and complete a few paragraphs of a blog, save, and finish later. Or, I can be at home or in another town without having to carry my laptop everywhere. My phone is quick and easy, and the app is there for me to type. I found myself starting a blog, completing, and posting on the same day. Quick and easy, just like how society wants everything to be nowadays. I would bypass pencil and paper just to post a quick blog
What started out as structured, by the book writing-to-blogging evolved into different styles of how to post a blog in a timely manner while living my life. I am still learning as a blogger to improve my craft. I take a free course from time to time to improve my writing skills so I can present quality blogs to this blog site. I even seek inspiration from other bloggers when they post improvement blogs for new and experienced bloggers. If I had it my way then blogging would be pencil to paper, editing to typing, final reading to posting type blogging. The process of writing on paper to publishing means more to me than a quick post. I value the time it takes to create a good quality blog rather than posting a large quantity of blogs
Here’s to 20 post! Whether I started a blog from scratch or created a quick blog in a day, I am proud of the blogs I post. More blogs will be posted in the future. Before I close, I leave this advice to anyone starting out in blogging or doing any type of work. Whether you can create 20 products in a month or a year, work at a pace that will benefit you. Sometimes we look at other’s work and become intimidated when they produce faster than we can. It will cause us to question our own work efficiencies especially when others begin to criticize our work or say we could be more productive at work if we did this better, faster, or work like their top worker. Like a wise co-worker once told me,:
“There will always be someone who works faster than you, and there will always be someone who works slower than you. There will always be someone smarter than you, and there will always be someone not as smart as you. But the most important thing you can control is you, and that’s all that matters.”
What this means is faster and smarter does not equal work proficiency. You can be the fastest worker on the job making the most of your time, and still produce poor results. Or you can be the fastest on the job and still make costly mistakes, and vice versa. Your quality of work has no correlation to the work quantity (volume) you can produce. So, work at a pace that works best for you and focus more on producing good quality work.
Once again, I cannot thank you enough for the views, love, support, and subscriptions to The Book of Think Pieces. This blogging journey has been enjoyable, and I have not hit one year yet! Sure there were some ups and downs, a few setbacks, delays, and plenty of writer’s [bloggers] blocks, but I kept going. I kept seeing the good in this blogger’s world and used it as motivation to keep writing. To Kenya, the country, thank you for your views. Then to #writerslift, #writingcommunity, #blogging, and other creative writer’s hashtags on twitter, I thank you! I did not forget about you previously.
So, after reaching the 1000 views milestone, what is next for The Book of Think Pieces? What do I have in store for the views and subscribers?
…Well, the answer is simple. I will keep writing, keep hustling. I will think of more content to blog about. As I mentioned in my previous blog After 1000 Views1I have to keep blogging because I love to write and keep my main audience engaged. I may write about something that creates a debate, or I may write about my experiences. Maybe write a fictional short story or two. But most importantly, I want to do this because writing is my hobby. I want to keep being original. As I gain more followers, I want to support my fellow bloggers. Most importantly, I want to share my work through promoting online.
I thank you all again for the views! I attempt to inspire and uplift my viewers through blogging. I also like to give my viewers a unique perspective about several topics. In the meantime, I hope you all have a great day. Stay great and stay positive. Remember, there is only one you in this world, and you only have one life to live, so make the most of you and take care of yourself along this journey we call life.
Be on the lookout for my next blog post coming soon…thank you!
We at The Book of Think Pieces like to celebrate every milestone. Why? Because small wins lead to a major victory. When this blog was just an idea I knew one thing was certain, I enjoy writing. It’s a craft I developed in the third grade. Keeping a journal from time to time and making long post about thoughts, I knew this was a hobby turned passion.
Life came fast when the Covid-19 Pandemic became official. While working in my primary career as a Quality Assurance Analyst, I wanted to start a side hustle based on a hobby. I have seen peers do it by selling products they make or start something online like a podcast, so I asked myself what am I good at that can work as a side hustle? A year before the pandemic I had a small stint as a public speaker. My primary job’s human resources department asked me to speak to a group of local fifth and sixth graders at their career day about myself, why I went to college to major in Chemistry, my job, and what I do on the job on. After that ended, I spoke at two high schools at their annual career days.
My public speaking days ended when enforced restrictions increased to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Thinking to myself I knew I enjoyed writing but do I have the confidence to share my work to an online audience? Do I have the online influence to have a continual audience? That’s where I thought about starting a blog. It was just a simple idea from my wife and plans to start a podcast that I decided a blog with a little podcast-like influence may work for me as a side hustle. With her support, I began planning this blog a few days after Christmas 2020. Purchasing a cheap notebook and mechanical pencils from the dollar store I wrote my first five blogs. From there I set up meetings for myself to create, research, and organize this blog. I was set on a mission to turn my hobby into a side hustle.
And from my first blog post in June to today, almost nine months later, here I am still blogging with 1000 views and counting. And I thank each and every one of you for your support! Without you taking the time to view my post, I would be just another side hustler who started something but did not finish. I have grown as a blogger since the first post. My confidence is restored, and my blog is growing as we speak. So, I thank you. I must say it was not easy. Fighting self-doubt was a mountain I had to climb with encouragement hoping things getting better. With that being said, here are some things I learned after 1000 views:
“Enjoy blogging because you love to write, not because you’re looking for views.”
Words said by a wise woman, my wife. Once my blog was up and running, I was writing to blog as a hobby. I must admit the analytical side of me began to take over. For a short time I became too obsessed with the numbers. I was checking the stats daily to see if I gained views. When the numbers increased, I was cool. I fed off that energy to continue thinking of topics to write about. However, like anything in life, what goes up must come down. When this happened, I became too focused on self-promoting by over sharing my blogs on my social media pages hoping each virtual friend and family member would click on the link. And if I did not get the views I thought I should I have I would post again. It became a nightmare trying to keep up with blogging while maintain my life outside of blogging in hopes that I would see 1000 views off one post.
“The number of followers and friends you have on social media does not equal to more views.”
Ok, so I have a decent amount of Facebook friends and Twitter followers. What can I say? I joined Facebook when you had to have a college email to join. During that time, I had been active in groups and work with people who wanted to be Facebook friends later, and like any ordinary person during this time, I accept it. Now many of my Facebook friends are family members (I come from a large family) and hometown people. Throw in colleagues from over the years, my college friends (my original Facebook friends), in-laws, and distant relatives…and now the number grew to where it is today.
And you know what happened? Those numbers did not turn into views. I did not exceed the number of followers and friends I have on social media on a single post like I wanted. Thinking maybe I was going about this wrong, I began to wonder if I had the social media influence to gain large amounts of traffic to my site. But, like most side hustlers would say, it may take years to gain a large audience. This leads to my next lesson learned:
“Focus on your main audience”
And your main audience are the day ones. In my case it is family, close friends, and fellow bloggers who follow and post similar content. Attracting a large audience is not easy at all. The problem is it will be impossible to please everyone. You begin blogging for likes, views, and followers, but eventually it can lead to a lack of substance because you will become too concerned with pleasing the crowd. One day you will blog about things you like or what you are passionate about, but when the audience disagree with you blog you will spend more time trying to maintain a large audience rather than blogging because you enjoy it.
By focusing on my main audience, I discovered not only do I enjoy blogging and writing more, but I also do not overly concern myself with views. I do not feel pressured to meet a schedule of when to blog. Focusing on myself and my main audience makes blogging easier and less stressful. It is an undescribed boost of confidence knowing I have a main audience who supports me rather than blogging for views. #WritersLife.
“You cannot piggyback off someone else’s side hustle”
I have side hustling friends, family and colleagues. Their side hustles consist of selling homemade goods, working a second job, afterschool classes, ride sharing, some type of virtual assistant, and others; anything to make extra money.
Here’s me. When this blog I started to gain attention I figured I could “piggyback” off the a few of my colleagues success in their side hustle. I saw how people were willing to pay whatever they could to support their business. I figured if I told them about my free site maybe I would receive the same support. The keyword is maybe. And how did that turn out for me? Let’s just say maybe 10 of those people actually subscribed.
Maybe I was not aggressive enough when promoting my blog or perhaps the same people are not really interested in reading a blog whether it is free or not. I had to learn is my side hustle is not theirs so I cannot except the same people to be as supportive because I know or work with them. Instead, as I mentioned above, I had to continue blogging because writing and blogging is something I enjoy doing.
“It’s ok if my blog is not specific.”
When I told people about my blog, they asked this same question. “What is your blog about?” My replay would be the same scripted line I rehearsed since the beginning, “I don’t know. It’s my thoughts or whatever I feel like talking about.” Audiences like specific blogs. Most blogs out there are just about travel, fashion, food, lifestyle, music, parenting, religion, tv and movies, politics, sports, motivation, and the list goes on. My blog, on the other hand, tends to dabble in different topics because that’s how I designed it. Online blogs warned about this type of blogging because it may not attract a large audience, and I respect that. However, I am fine with my blog not being made for a specific audience. I consider it a free thinker’s blog where I share my perspective on various topics and hope to get feedback.
“The views will come. Be patient.”
Regardless of where I am, one thing I am confident about is the views will come. Yes, through one year and 10 post there were times I wondered if I had it. Putting my post out there for the world took courage, but the views did always add up. Some blogs were homeruns, meaning I posted it and the views exceeded my expectations. Many of my blogs were base hits which tend to be my average. Some blogs struck out meaning I posted it, but the views did not meet my expectations. Instead of feeling down the complements I receive from family, close friends, and fellow bloggers who I do not know personally but we support each other makes me not focus on the views.
As I end this blog, I would like to thank God for making this possible. My wife who supported my dream from day one. My office assistant, my son, who plays while we are at work. My family. When I told them I started a blog, they subscribed with no hesitation. My close friends who subscribed to my blog within the first 10 blogs, I thank you all for that. Then, I cannot forget about all the subscribers, the likers, the commenters, and readers who have provided continual supporters to my blog. I thank you all and wish you the best in your future endeavors!