Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties

Writing & Blogging: Writer’s Block, Affirmations, & Reader Comments

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post. I appreciate your kind words and suggestions. I read all of them just now and tried to at least “like” all of them even if I didn’t reply. Sometimes I’m not sure what to say…

Funny how sharing fear makes it less scary

After I wrote the last post and shared my fears, some of the block disappeared. Still have not written anything yet, but I did find 5 useful articles on PubMed and some interesting references in an aromatherapy chemistry book. Next step, read the articles and start the note taking.

Thanks all of you for reading my post and sharing your stories in the comments. I feel less alone and more connected to a community who can relate to my fears and struggles. That always helps me cope with the fear the crops up whenever I try something different.

Maybe (I hope) it helps you cope with some of your fears too?

Sharing some Affirmations – 2019 reader comments

Back in 2019, I finished a 365 days of Affirmations challenge but didn’t write about it much here. The challenge was a personal one to help me change my perspective about, well, everything going on between 2018 and 2019 when I felt stuck in negativity and trapped. I think maybe 4 posts were dedicated to this challenge and sharing about the “About Page” too, but many guests commented about wanting more posts.

I promised to write more, but not in 2019. The reason? My family of origin came back into my life, and finding balance with them took up most of my available time. Their stories were not something I could share here without permission, and everything I normally would write about was colored by our interactions together.

To make up for that, I’m going to share 5 affirmations from 2018 here. They are yours to borrow and use if you want. Definitely to share too. And, if you’re interested, you can use them as writing prompts.

Writing prompts? Sure. If you want to challenge your skills and your thoughts a lá Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you can use the affirmations as inspiration for journal entries, short essays, stories, poems, your own affirmations, etc.

Perseverance: I open myself up to the universal healing energy that surrounds us.

AlterXpressions

Rainy days give life to plants while making beautiful music.  I welcome all of nature’s symphony into my world.

AlterXpressions

I open my heart to universal unconditional love and compassion.

AlterXpressions

Cooking is an expression of self care and joy.  The combined aroma of cooking food grounds me in the present.  I immerse myself in the sensual pleasure of cooking.

AlterXpressions

I do my best to live within my values no matter what kind of stress fills my inner self.  Self compassion and kindness help me over come my mistakes with people.

AlterXpressions

Guest Comments

Many guests this week asked about my web site theme and Internet browser operating errors. They also asked for some tips about writing and blogging. Since I don’t know what platform you use as a web host, here are some general suggestions:

  1. Check your account’s help sections and resource pages for information. They often have useful articles about how to check for errors on your web site or blog and then fix the errors.
  2. Contact customer service. Sometimes the errors have to do with the platform and not your account. That happened to me a few times in the past.
  3. Review and update your themes at least 1x every other year. More often if you are still working on your design. There are many free themes with customization options to help you create something that fits you.
  4. When choosing themes, look for ones that include mobile browsing options. Both of my sites have the capability to convert their user view to fit a desktop, tablet, and other mobile devices. Not every theme (free and paid) offers this flexibility, so you have to include it in your search criteria.
  5. For Optimization and speed, learn the limits of your account and work within them. Adjust your settings and test them out – by visiting the site yourself or asking others to visit and test the pages/posts for you – and make adjustments. Once you find settings that keep your site/blog safe and allow for optimized loading speeds, etc. you can start pushing those limits.

Honestly, I contact WordPress customer support at least 2x a month with questions when I make changes to either site. In between that, I take the free classes and read the articles to try and figure things out myself first. But I know my limits and the chaos that ensues when I try to fix certain things myself. Lesson learned: know when to ask for help and ask before you make things worse.

If you have suggestions or affirmations you want to share, please write them in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

Writing & Blogging: Writer’s Block from a fear & flashback POV

Flashbacks

This is not your typical “here are (x) number of tips to help you write” post. I’m sharing my fears and vulnerabilities about how the trauma and PTSD affect my writing. You will read about the challenges and the background. But this time I don’t have any coping strategies or techniques to share. If this interests you, please keep reading. If not, thanks for visiting.

Writing & Blogging: Excerpts from the Scent Reflections Newsletter March Bonus Booklet

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Dear Guests,

Earlier in March, I wrote a post about newsletters and updates. In that post, I promised that my guests here at Untangled Connections would get access to any writing and blogging content exclusives that I shared in the Scent Reflections LLC newsletters. But only writing and blogging-related content.

The newsletter is coming out on March 31st, so I’m sharing 2 excerpts here for you to preview. One excerpt is the same as I posted yesterday on Scent Reflections. But the second excerpt is different and more directed to the audience here.

No, you will not have to subscribe to the other newsletter to get the booklet if you are interested in reading more. I will, as promised, make the PDF file available here for guests to download for 2 weeks. After that, you will have to subscribe to the newsletter to get current past bonus content.

Exclusive Excerpt from the “Introduction”

This guide started as a conversation between myself and the young woman cleaning my apartment. We started discussing education based on a mutual love of plants, herbs, and aromatherapy. I felt compassion for this young woman and related to her frustration about finding better paying jobs without a college degree. At the time, I was looking into alternative education tools for my team.

~TJ Hom at Scent Reflections LLC

Exclusive Excerpt from “Types of Resources”

Non-profit, Outreach, Community Centers, and Volunteer organizations

Personal Finance

Back when I lived in Massachusetts (2013 approx), I realized I needed help learning about personal finance and budgeting. My life and finances got messed up when I separated from my family and lacked resources to ask questions. But I didn’t want to fall into the debt hole like so many others did because of living expenses and medical expenses being more than my paycheck could handle.

So I looked around for free financial advice programs that didn’t require me to be in a classroom. Many of the free programs were for people within a certain financial threshold. The rest required payment and a commitment of some kind. Or that I attend their in-person classes.

Eventually, I found a non-profit organization whose financial requirements and lifestyle restrictions I did meet and spoke with a tutor for 1 hour a week over a course of several weeks to get help. This person taught me how to understand personal finance, organize my bank accounts and track spending, and create a budget that made sense to me while also building my confidence and encouraging me to continue learning. I really liked the tutor even though I did not like the other people who communicated with me via email as much.

Safety, Security, Communication, and Legal help

But those communication problems were partly my fault too. Around the time I completed these sessions, I realized that I needed more help to start fresh. That included changing my legal name, getting protection from people tracking me via mail, credit cards, and utility bills, and opening up to different trauma recovery resources that appeared closed in the past.

Up until 2013-2014, I struggled with the fact that I was a victim of abuse, especially domestic violence, because I didn’t fit the criteria listed in many of the “warning signs” documents available through other nonprofits and government organizations. Plus, inside my mind was a little voice telling me that I didn’t deserve help and would get hurt worse if I tried to ask for help. But then I stopped sleeping again. And it was on one of those sleepless nights that I finally accepted being both a victim and a survivor. That one didn’t negate the other. And I deserved to feel safe and secure even if that meant putting my pride aside and asking for help.

So I did ask for help. I reached out to a domestic violence shelter who got me in touch with an attorney who helped me go through the legal name change process and get me enrolled in an address confidentiality program that kept me relatively safe for 2 years. Then I walked into the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and asked for help because my life felt like it was spiraling out of control. They assigned me a case manager and helped me get individual counseling too.

Through the case management program, I was connected to a scholarship program for survivors, a non-profit moving service, and limited government disability support that allowed me to pay the required legal fees for a name change, move to a new apartment, and feel safe enough to make future plans. Plans that included moving out of state for a fresh start.

In case you’re wondering, all these experiences contributed to me starting Untangled Connections.

~TJ Hom at Scent Reflections LLC

Thanks for reading

Nurture, Support, Be Your Authentic Self. Organize and work with...not against...yourself

Writing and Blogging: My Process

Coffee Plant inspiration as I look out the window. A little support goes a long way

Inspiration

The coffee plant is one of my roommates and great source of inspiration.

It and a few other plants keep me company near my work desk.

The stick in front of the coffee plant offers some extra support while the roots settle in after being re-potted.

So why add this image and description to a post about writing and blogging?

Because writing and blogging, like any activity, is not a truly solitary experience. At least, not for all parts of me.

Alters who can move and use our physical body will follow traditional writing methods – like typing or writing outlines and drafts in electronic or paper notebooks. Alters who cannot use our body have their own methods of “writing” and “drafting” posts. Then they pass the information to an alter personality who can use our body to share the post here.

abstract abstract background art art background
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

My point being: we can all use some extra support once in a while because it’s really hard to get out of our own way.

Especially when we are the obstacle(s)  and don’t realize it.

Sharing my process

Since I couldn’t figure out a way to share my blogging tips without writing a short book, I decided to share the outline with you instead. This way, you can take what you want (i.e. anything that seems helpful), and discard the rest as you work on your writing and blogging skills

Concept

  • Overall Idea, goal, or purpose for this blog
  • Related topics you can write about
  • Who you are writing for (besides yourself)?
  • Are you going to build a community with comments?
  • Are you gong to not allow comments and keep this strictly informational only?

Due Diligence

  • Do your research
  • What you know and skills you already have to make this work
  • Knowledge Gaps and how to compensate for or address them
  • What platform are you going to use?
  • How much time and money can you afford to invest in this project? 

Organization

  • Choose a hosting platform – Blogger, WordPress, GoDaddy are a few examples
  • Create an account
  • Decide on basic schedule for posts and addressing comments (if any)
  • Keep it simple and build slowly
  • Will you add web pages too? How will they look? What kind of information will you add here?

Priorities

  • Do you want ads on your blog?
  • Do you plan to use the blog to make money?
  • Will you add the blog to your social media accounts?
  • How important is attracting followers? How will you cope with having or not having followers?

Simple Structure

  • Home Page or straight to the blog?
  • About Me page?
  • Contact or no contact?

Write

  • Are you going to add photos?
  • How long do you intend to spend on writing each post?
  • For a consistent look & feel, creating a formatting template (or 3) helps

Work Space

  • Where do you plan on working?
  • Is noise a problem?
  • How can you modify your work space to feel safe, comfortable, inspiring, etc.?
    • p.s. you can substitute “safe, comfortable, inspiring” for other words that suit your needs
  • Can you focus on our work with minimal distractions?
  • Can you take breaks and relax in your work space? Or will you go somewhere else?

Back to the Featured Image

Nurture, Support, Be Your Authentic Self. Organize and work with...not against...yourself

As you can guess, I am often my own worst enemy when it comes to success.

Hopefully this image inspires you and me (all parts of me) to be kinder to ourselves in all aspects of our lives.

Thanks for reading