Category Archives: Personal Thoughts

Musings and eclectic esoteric ideals.

Make Meaningful Moments

This time of year it seems as though everyone says, “make meaningful moments!” or “Every moment counts!” Between magazines, television and commercials, you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel as though you aren’t doing enough or baking enough or buying enough this year.

Make Meaningful Moments Mine
I lost one of my oldest and dearest friends this April to cancer. He didn’t even make it to 38th birthday. I blogged through my grief (elsewhere) and I’ve included an excerpt of it here. Rereading it only reinforced my resolve: making moments meaningful has, well, much more meaning now. I’ve stopped listening to all the noise, noise, noise, and I’m redefining what it means to make these moments mine – especially during the holidays.

Oh the noise, noise, noise!
Oh the noise, noise, noise!

Here is my previous post from April 2013:

Life is Fleeting (reposted)
I recently lost one of my oldest and dearest friends to cancer. And while I could wax on about how wonderful he was and what an impact he made on my life, I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to tell you how his death has affected me.
Christopher died exactly ten days ago. In those ten days I’ve hugged my children more, tried to find the beauty in the simplest of things, and tell those that I love well, that I love them. My children and I wrote letters to Christopher telling him how very much he would be missed. We drew pictures for him to articulate how we felt when words didn’t do us justice. Then we tied them to balloons and let them go.
Life is Fleeting
This is what his death has taught me: to let go. Let go of the noise. Let go of the petty and the annoying. There’s neither room nor reason for it in my life. And let me tell you: that is a very freeing experience. Where once I was tethered by a sense of social obligation and pulled along the strings of “have to do this” and “should do that”, I am now free to float above the smog. I have become the balloon: once tethered, now set free and floating along my own whims.
I have been remiss in articulating myself. I have been remiss in teaching my children how to love themselves. For how can they be taught to love themselves from a mom that doesn’t love herself? No. That will never do. I am going to take time out of my day every day to write just a little bit more.
Did I Keep My Promise?
For the most part, yes I did. Did I write as often as I wanted to? No. Instead, I went on mini-adventures with my kids. I walked away from a toxic working environment. I went to the beach. I played in the sand. I bought a book just because. I giggled and ate popcorn with my daughter. I went on walks and discussed politics with my son. I fell in love with the man of my dreams.
Christopher, I miss you, but this Christmas I’m also very grateful for you – both your life and your death. In life you brought me many meaningful moments to cherish. In death you’ve given me a new perspective.
artwork by Senta Wilcox
artwork by Senta Wilcox
Moving Forward
I’ve learned to make meaningful moments all year – not just over the holidays, and certainly not by listening to the media. I’ve never felt more grateful, more full of love and life. Give it a try: make meaningful moments of your own that aren’t defined by anyone but you.

Heroic Teachers Deserve a Medal of Freedom

Every now and then I am very pleased with an article. Not necessarily for the artful way in which I may (or may not) have written it, but for the contents of the article. Spreading knowledge, solidarity and hope is so much more meaningful to me than whether or not I liked the newest gadget or if you should leave your pet with a sitter or a kennel. Here’s one of those articles: http://utahfamily.com/article.php?artID=702&sect=25. Please, enjoy!

Image

SEO Writing or Happenstance Writing

SEO Writing
image courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net

So, there’s SEO writing and there’s writing that just happens to be SEO. Both are important, but these days I find myself leaning more towards the second. What’s the difference, you ask? Allow me to explain.

SEO Writing

SEO writing appeals to my rigid, formulaic sensibilities. The part of my brain that won’t allow me to go to bed until I’ve not only checked all the locks in the house, but touched them as well.  There are three basic tenants to SEO writing: you must include your keywords/phrases in three-four strategic places, saturating approximately 5-15% of the body of your text, and not use overtly common words (like “SEO Writing”). You need to include your key words in your meta tags, your descriptions, your tweets, your texts, your posts… etc. Rinse and repeat. Simple enough.

Happenstance Writing

What I love most of all, however, is happenstance writing. Writing that just happens to have SEO within its lovely lines is a thing of beauty. I liken it to me baking: we have a love/hate relationship. If my cake happens to come out of the oven ‘just right’, I am filled with a sense of fist-pumping satisfaction. It looks and tastes great. But, if the cake doesn’t rise – or tastes just awful – I tend to shrug my shoulders, toss it and try again. I’ll evaluate my ingredients and fill with self-doubt. Did I add too much sugar? Not enough baking powder? I will keep at it until I’m (mostly) satisfied with it. Or until I can slather on enough icing to at least drown out the mistakes… but I digress.

You see, I love to read. I love to read more than I love to write. Which says a lot, really. I read/write all day long – it’s how I make a living. It puts food (and cake) on the table for my children and keeps them housed and clothed. I am very fortunate to be able to wield words and successfully turn a profit from them.

Sometimes, I will admit, I don’t love what I write. I’ve sort of ingested the SEO formula and it tends to subconsciously bleed out of my fingertips and into my text. I’ll evaluate the ingredients in my text to make sure I have the correct SEO ratio, etc. That’s okay, for the most part. But it has tainted my ability to read others’ work without honing in on their SEO writing formula/techniques. Critiquing them, admiring them, getting lost in the backbones of the writing rather than the article itself.

Sweet Spot

I admire a writer that has successfully written an article that has kept me captivated without letting their SEO slip show. I love feeling like I can just relax and let the words slip past my tongue like a lovely cup of coffee – revitalizing me. I keep striving for that proverbial sweet spot in my writing.  Some days it eludes me, while other days I can simply let the words flow forth and everything I write is golden.

One of these days, I hope all of my most successful work will feel more like happenstance writing with SEO inside, rather than SEO writing that will be flat and tasteless. Until then, dear readers, you’ve all been duly warned: I’m armed with icing and I know how to use it!