The Hot Yoga Experience

Part 1

Right now, I’m going through a stressful time in my life. Not to mention…it’s also the holiday season.

Getting through the holiday season is one thing but adding life’s obstacles can make it even tougher.

So, to stay sane and calm through all of this, I have turned heavily to three things:

While I have good moments and tough moments all within a day, I’ve relied heavily on just trusting my instincts and focusing on my breaths at moments of frustration. But, a few weeks ago I discovered a healthy outlet that is so beneficial if you’re going through some hard times.

Here’s the first part out of three, of my story about Hot Yoga…

On a cloudy Sunday morning I was at home, in my office, sitting crosslegged on the floor. Earbuds in, listening to a 45 minute guided meditation about how to connect with my spirit guides.

I felt like I was completely hypnotized. My imagination ran wild and I envisioned three spirit guides plus a coyote.

Okay, I know that this might make me sound crazy. Trust me, a few years ago I would’ve thought this would be all nonsense or a really active imagination.

But after months of practicing mediation I hit this weird place where I could feel myself going deeper and not overthinking things. So, when this happened, (even though I know it might sounds crazy,) I decided e to accept it and take it for what I feel it was.

When I came out of the mediation, I immediately had one of the strongest urges to go to a hot yoga class.

Hot yoga is something that I’ve always heard of, always wanted to try…but was always hesitant about.

I would hear people say, “It feels like you’re going to DIE! But then afterwards….you’ll love it!”

The part, “feels like you’re going to DIE” is the part that made me hesitate to commit to a class. I didn’t want to be that sweaty girl who ran out of the class because I couldn’t handle the heat.

Years before, I had been to a few yoga classes. I know, it’s a chill environment but I’ve never been in a situation where I would feel like I would die.

So, I’ve always been curious…but honestly never felt I would actually do it….until this day.

As I was still sitting on the floor of my office, and the urge to go to hot yoga entered my brain. The vision of the road side sign of “$5 Yoga Class! Sunday Morning!” popped into my head. I saw this sign about 2 weeks ago, as we were leaving the neighborhood pizza joint.

“It was nearby…maybe they still have that $5 class going on!” I thought as I picked up my phone to google it.

 Cooper Moon Yoga Studio appeared in the search results. I clicked on it, went to the calendar and the $5 class was over.

But… low and behold a hot yoga class was starting in 20 minutes!

I didn’t give myself time to talk my way out of it. I didn’t care about the price, I didn’t care about what it would be like. Instead, I just cared on making the class on time.

I frantically dug around my dresser drawers for workout clothes to put on. I grabbed my old and worn orange yoga mat from my office, slipped on my sandals and went out the door.

5 minutes later, I was in the parking lot, with my car idling. My anxiety was beginning to rise to the surface. My heart was loudly pounding, vibrating throughout my chest and beating in my ears.

I had 10 minutes. So I decided to spend one of those minutes calming my body down.

I relaxed my shoulders and breathed.

In. Out.

In and out.

In…..Out….In…………Out……….

I tried to not think about anything other than the feeling in my chest and making it slow down. After the minute, I was still felt anxious…but not as bad as before.

“Don’t think about it. Just do it.” I thought to myself as I pulled myself up out of my car. “Just breathe and relax” I thought again as I walked towards the front door of Cooper Moon Yoga Studio.

You know you might have a huge anxiety problem, when you have to calm yourself down to walk into a yoga studio, right?

Behind the counter,stood a smiling woman and a smooth skinned square jawline man, who looked like he was the yoga instructor. After pleasant greetings, I found myself admittedly blurting out, “I haven’t been to a yoga in years!”

They welcomed me back and Tina, the woman behind the cash register (who I would later find out was the owner) gave me a towel and explained to cover my mat with it, so I don’t slide from the sweat dripping.

And with that, I put my shoes up on the shelf next to the yoga room, slid open the heavy wooden door to the hot room and stepped in.

To be continued….

Never Underestimate the Power of White Space

When you are blogging, your readers likely are not reading everything that you are writing. Sorry to say! Most of us online readers are skimming the page. It’s just what we all do.
Usually we are looking for pieces of information and just want to be able to find the answers and then move on. So in order to help our readers out, we create a lot of white space.

Remember what your teacher said about writing paragraphs?

That paragraphs are sentences on the same topic, put together in one block. We only start a new paragraph if we are transitioning to a new topic. Remember that?

Well, when it comes to blog writing you can take that advice and throw it out the window!

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In order to create an effective blog you need to create white space and not have your sentences all jumbled together.

If you’ve never heard of white space (aka blank/negative space), it’s all this empty space around these words and in between these paragraphs.

You might be thinking, “Who cares about space?! What’s the big deal?”

Well, it’s a huge deal.

Why White Space is Important

When you are blogging, your readers likely are not reading everything that you are writing. Sorry to say! Most of us online readers are skimming the page. It’s just what we all do.

Usually we are looking for pieces of information and just want to be able to find the answers and then move on. So in order to help our readers out, we create a lot of white space.

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Easier to Scan With Our Eyes

With white space your eyes have a clear layout which allows the page to be easily and quickly scanned. Not to mention doing this also makes it easier to understand as well, providing a better experience for the reader.

Shows Organization

White space allows to visually show how your blog post is organized. It also helps you keeps your place, in case you look up from the page for a second. You’re able to turn right back to the page and quickly find where you left off.

Think if you had the page all jumbled up. It would be too cluttered to scan and to visually map out.

I like to use headers on each topic so that it’s easier to scan as well. I feel like this leads your eye to the important information that you are seeking.

Appealing to Readers

White space also makes your post more attractive and keeps your readers intrigued and engaged. Too much clutter is a post is no good! It doesn’t lead the eyes to important information and instead of figuring it out, your readers will just hit the back button and find a new website to get the answers.

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If you’re unsure of how to use blank space, then look at the blogs that you enjoy reading and see how organize it. While it sounds easy, there are many different ways you can create this blank space and use headers.

And if you’re still reading this then I guess I did something right in my use of whites pace! Remember that it’s an important tool to use and never underestimate the power of white space!

Accepting Feedback as a Freelance Writer

While I was getting my undergrad degree in English, in all my writing courses we would have numerous peer review days. This was when you would give a draft of your story to another classmate and have them review and edit it.

I dreaded these days.

Not another peer review day!

At first, it’s a really scary feeling to give your piece of writing to someone else to critique. I mean, it’s your baby. It’s something that you’ve created and put your heart into. But feeling scared happens when you actually care and are passionate about your writing. So relate the feeling of being scared into a positive factor.

In my imagination I would think that someone would completely mark up my page and tell me I sucked at writing. But, you know what. That never happened. And it won’t happen to you either.

Instead it would just be a few markups, some grammar errors and some suggestions. In fact, most of the time…the suggestions helped me out and made the paper flow and sound better. As I looked around the room, in the sweet relief that I wasn’t told I was a sucky writer I saw that everyone received some type of mark up in red ink on their draft. I wasn’t the only one.

As I continued with my classes my anxiety about peer review day began to decrease week by week.

Overtime, I began to look forward to the peer reviews. I also learned to take suggestions….as just that. A suggestion. Most of the time I felt the suggestions helped the piece and I used it. Other times, if I didn’t like it, I didn’t use it. I mean, ultimately it’s your creation. So you can do what you want with it.

You do you and make your piece how you want

I feel that all people have the ability to offer you great feedback. But, sometimes you have to look at the source of that feedback before taking it too personally.

For example, I had a business owner tell me not to use so much white space in my blogs.  Which, I hesitantly had to accept and follow. I mean, it was his website and if he didn’t like the white space I could limit it. But, what this business guy didn’t care to understand was how important white space in a blog. So, while he wasn’t a fan of white space, I personally am. For his company’s blogs, I didn’t use white space. But going forward with my other blogs, I used white space.

Again, his suggestion wasn’t the say all end all for all blogs out there. It was just his opinion. And just like all opinion you can decide to take it or leave it.

I also look and think about who is giving the suggestion. I have some people in my life that are amazing writers and have grown into being very successful writers. Due to their experience and success I respect and follow their feedback with a higher regard than someone who doesn’t make a living from writing.

In any industry you should always be learning, growing and listening. Feedback is one of the greatest sources to improve your writing and should always be welcomed with an open mind. Again, while it may feel scary at first, the more you do it the more you will feel comfortable and even enjoy the feedback process.

Bloggers: Write Like You Talk

No one enjoys reading a research paper. Even if it’s the most interesting topic you can imagine, putting it in a research theme type of paper, can quickly become snoozefest. If your blog is too formal it can feel like a monotone robot spewing out information. Which, people in academics seem to love but the rest of us searching online need a little bit more fun and engagement.

No one enjoys reading a research paper. Even if it’s the most interesting topic you can imagine, putting it in a research theme type of paper, can quickly become snoozefest. If your blog is too formal it can feel like a monotone robot spewing out information. Which, people in academics seem to love but the rest of us searching online need a little bit more fun and engagement.

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For this reason, when writing a blog it is highly necessary to write as if you are talking.

By keeping this friendly and human tone it shows personality and therefore is engaging. I mean, if you’re still reading this…then I’ve kept you engaged. See? It works!

It also makes you more approachable to your readers. If you’re approachable then people will actually enjoy and look forward to your blog posts. I mean, that’s the goal of writing a blog, right? To connect with other people with similar interest and learn from each other.

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Plus, isn’t it more fun to write like you talk? To show your personality while still giving out vital pieces of information? I think so! Comment your thoughts! I would love to hear them!

Done is Better Than Perfect.

Done is better than perfect.

I wrote down this saying on a sticky note and placed it on my keycard for work, which I pull out and see at least 4 times a day. This is a nice reminder that sneaks into my subconscious mind to remind me that sometimes, it’s better to be done and turn in a piece of writing versus constantly revising it.

Sometimes I feel that I can go a little nuts about my writing piece. I’m never 100% satisfied or confident with what I wrote. Even my published pieces, I feel like I could do better. So, when I’m writing I want to constantly re-edit, re-write and re-edit my pieces over and over and over again. In a world of deadlines and time management, feeling this way is not productive.

man in brown long sleeved button up shirt standing while using gray laptop computer on brown wooden table beside woman in gray long sleeved shirt sitting
Done is better than perfect

Therefore, being done with the piece, is better than it being perfect. Because the truth is…is that it will never be perfect. I think that’s a hard but important lesson for creative writers to learn. It will not be perfect. But you got it to be pretty darn close to it though, right? Right.

While it is important to turn in your best work, you can’t wait keep revising. If you do, than while your busy trying to make it perfect another person is coming up behind you and going to get the spot before you did.

At some point you have just to realize it’s done, submit it and walk away.

Let me know, does this make sense? Is this also how you feel writing or are you able to feel satisfied early on and turn it in?

Tips for Writer’s Block

At some point in all writers’ careers, it’s going to happen. The inevitable writers block. It could last for a few minutes, a few days or even longer.

macbook apple woman computer

I know that sometimes, it can take me a few days to find the right words or the right way to deliver the message I’m trying to convey. I think that’s is sometimes just the creative process. But once I find it, I love it! That’s how I know that while writing can be a struggle, I still get giddy and love the process of finding the right words. So maybe instead of seeing writer’s block as a struggle, just think of it as the process.

One thing that I find helps me overcome writer’s block is my journal writing. This is my own private journal and I allow myself to be completely free when writing it in. Sometimes, I just repeat the same words over and over again. Sometimes, I just describe some object in the room that I’m looking at. Most of the time, I let out all my frustrations or emotions upon my keyboard.

Although, I save the work, I don’t re-read it or edit it. I leave it completely raw. Because that makes me feel like I have more freedom.

fashion woman notebook pen

By completing the journal entry it makes me feel like I accomplished a piece of writing and frees up space in my creative process to move forward and tackle more writing challenges.

So, if you ever find yourself in this situation, you may want to give journal writing a try! I know it’s my trick to overcoming the block.

What about you other writers? What do you do to overcome writers block?

What is Content Marketing?

The old methods of marketing are quickly becoming less effective and instead is being replaced with content marketing.

Content marketing is a strategy where you are giving your customers useful and relevant information in order to attract and gain business.

adult brainstorming business career

For example, REI (which sells gear and clothes for outdoor recreational activities) offers customers a ton of information. There website is loaded with content that is surrounded with everything that has to do with the outdoors, and not just about their products. You’ll find a section with their expert advice and even a journal of news article and interviews.

By having this content, it opens up their website for new customers to discover them. Someone may only be searching for advice and stumble upon their page. As they are exploring the site, they will likely see the products then and be more willing to purchase if it is offered in that advice section.

blogging blur business communication

By using content marketing, it also allows them to share more information on social media and improve their SEO rankings while still being cost effective.

This is why it is important to hire a writer who is capable of accurate research or educated in the subject of your content. When you have a lot of valuable content, customers feel more trustworthy of your company and will likely do repeat business.

Can you think of other companies that use a lot of content marketing?