How Life Is – My Favorite Poems

Life has dealt a rough hand to someone really close to me. Although there has been no change in my life but the differences are all too apparent.

I am in no condition to write but did not want to miss this week. So, I decided to share 3 of my favorite poems with you.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF- Thinking by Walter Wintle

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Believe in yourself
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If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But soon or late the man who wins,
Is the man who thinks he can.

Lesson: The importance of self-belief is evident in life’s small and big successes. Fake it till you make it. True for a smile and self-confidence.

DON’T SETTLE – The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

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Don’t settle
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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Lesson: Never ever be afraid to do what you want to even if it’s not a popular path.

NEVER GIVE UP – Don’t Quit by Anonymous

Never give up Image Credits

Never give up
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When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low and the debts are high-
When you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit:
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!

Don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out!
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow-
You may succeed with another blow!

Success is failure turned inside out-
The silver tints of the clouds of doubt;
And you can never tell how close you are-
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit:
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit!

Lesson: It is in the times of deep worry that success seems so elusive. But don’t give up even though you want to. Success is just near the corner. Go for it and live it up.

 What are your favorite poems? Share with me in comments. I really need some good recommendations.

P.S. – Our June Gratitude Challenge is going on full force. Participants have already started noticing the benefits. You can know more about our FREE challenge here. 😀

How to Never Miss a Blog Post Again

I publish my posts on Tuesdays. But last Tuesday, I did not publish my post. All this despite the fact that I absolutely adore writing.

So why did this happen?

I could not write because of 2 reasons:

I was craving perfection in writing.

I wanted my blog post to be perfect. I wanted to write something that can be appreciated by my readers and friends. I wanted to write a gem that shines. All this actually prevented me from writing in the first place, let alone editing and fine-polishing it later.

I did not want to stop doing the activity I was already doing.

I was reading a thriller. In the midst of all the suspense, I just didn’t feel like switching my laptop on, writing a post, searching for an appropriate image, putting links and then publishing it. After all, having a blog is more about than just writing. So, it became all the more easier to skip a post in favor of finishing the important chapter of the book.

After feeling guilty for some days, I learnt my lessons (after I finished my thriller :P) The lessons I learnt are the ones that are applicable to you too. I sincerely hope this helps as consistency is very important for us authors.

#1: Write a shitty first draft

Everyone who has wanted to write has often come across this term by Anne Lamott. Although this is a common saying but nothing truer could be said. It is very important to write a shitty first draft. I am not asking you to purposely write a bad draft, just reminding you that keep on writing even if you feel you are writing shit.

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Embrace the non-perfect writing. There will be time later to edit it and make it presentable but at this moment all you have to do is to get the thoughts on paper.

Golden rule: The only rule on becoming a writer is to write and keep writing shitty first drafts. The golden rule here is to write when you feel like writing and write more when you don’t feel like writing.

#2: Edit

I have seen many authors publish  a badly edited post. If it is important to write a pathetic first draft, it is mandatory to edit and fine-polish it till you strike gold- a piece of writing that makes sense.

Each post you write is your introduction to the world. Make it a good one.

A writer friend once confessed to me that he had made 14 revisions to the post that is now among his “best posts ever.” I usually go with 4-5 revisions while fine polishing my writing. I have found that usually 60-70% of the content is re-written while editing and re-editing.

Golden rule: While editing do away with all those words, sentences and paragraphs that do not add to the text at all. Ask yourself this simple question,”If I remove this word(or sentence or paragraph), would there be some deterioration in writing?” If the answer is no, chop it right away.

#3: Be consistent

It is important to edit but don’t be stuck in the process craving perfection( like I did last Tuesday) Go through a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 15 edits and then take a decision on it, whether you are going to publish it or trash it. Do not save it for later.

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” ~ Anthony Robbins

CONSISTENCY is the most important thing that a writer has to learn. If you have a choice between writing not-that-great-a-post on schedule and writing a great post but missing the schedule, I would recommend choosing the former.

Golden rule: Decide on a schedule before hand and stick to that schedule no matter what. The schedule must be specific enough like “publishing  a post each Wednesday” not something vague like “writing whenever I get time.”

#4: Prepare a backlog of posts

You begin with your journey. You are very excited and swear that you would never miss a post. After all, you are not like the others, you are actually serious about this stuff. But then, life happens. You not only find out that have missed writing for 2 weeks straight but also that you are uncomfortable in writing itself now. It is then that this helps. When life takes its twists and turns, be prepared with a backlog of at least 25% of your total posts in an year. If you write once a week, ideally you must have 13 posts already written ready to be used in case you are not able to write as usual. Another way this helps is by providing you clarity relating to your message. If you write 13 posts about a single topic, you will obviously find out whether it is the right pick for you or not.

Golden rule: Before you decide to start your blog, write 25% of your posts already. It will not only give you something to fall back upon if life happens but also provide you with much needed clarity about your topic and writing in itself.

#5: Write well in advance

This is the most important practice. I write  the first draft of my posts at least 3 days before it has to be published. This helps with two things.

  • I get enough time to edit and re-edit.
  • I am well prepared with my writing even if some problem occurs at the last moment.

Ideally, there must be a month’s gap between writing and editing the first draft. But I make do with at least a day’s gap. A day’s gap is required so that you give some time for your writing to settle in, to ensure that you do not fall in love with your first draft. Plus taking a look at it after some time will bring fresh perspective to it. The simple errors that you weren’t able to point out earlier will be clearer.

Golden rule: If you publish Tuesday, make it a point to finish first draft on Friday. After all, you only want your best to go out.

#6: Make it short but make it

This is the crunch of everything. First of all, don’t get caught in the process of publishing. Make it a point to devote time to hone your skills. Do not write unnecessary words to make it a long article. Write only what is necessary. Hack away at the unessential. And do not avoid writing, make it even if it is just 4 lines.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Golden rule: Do not avoid consistency at any cost. It is so important that I wrote about it twice. Make it short but make it.

Now a quote to get you by:

“You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won’t really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we’ll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.” ~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

What are your tips and techniques to never miss a blog post again?