Finding community

dance-430554_1920.jpgI’ve been asked a few questions recently. How do you stay motivated to keep blogging? How are you still taking dance classes? How do you work out consistently? And while there are many reasons why, the one overarching reason is community.

The reason I’m still attending dance classes is because of the people. Everyone is welcoming and inclusive. The instructor is fantastic. He’s very patient and has a great sense of humour. And while people tend to rotate in and out of the beginner class, there are a few regulars I see each class. It’s been fun to connect with them on a weekly basis and chat about dance and life. The studio also offers dance socials each weekend, and though I’ve yet to attend one, I’m planning on it eventually. Getting to spend time with people who like to dance gives me both the mental and physical contact I need.

But being part of a community doesn’t even need to happen in person. I’ve received so much kindness and support from the blogging community here. There are people I may never meet in person but still consider them good friends. Thank you so much for all the likes, comments, and follows. The only reason I’m still writing is because of all the positive feedback. It encourages me to keep going. I’ve been feeling a bit of writer’s block lately but I’m going to try to post more.

People are also surprised I’ve managed to work out for as long as I have (nearly 5 years). I don’t have a workout partner. But I don’t think you need one to be successful. It just means you need to be disciplined. But I will chat with my brother and fitness-minded friends. We’ll swap PRs, workout routines, and fitness goals. We get to connect in a shared passion and that helps to keep things fresh and exciting.

Having consistent contact with positive people is so important. When I first moved to a new city, I knew a few people but didn’t have many connections. I was living on my own, which was fantastic (and I still prefer it). But I would often feel isolated. I started blogging and working out and it helped. More recently I started dance lessons. These different avenues gave me the social connection I was missing. Community is the family and friends you discover and choose for yourself.

What communities are you a part of?

3 blogging tips

typewriter-801921_1920My blog is nearly three years old, I can hardly believe it. But the whole reason I’ve made it this far is because of you! I really appreciate all the support I’ve received through the years. Whether you’ve followed my blog, like and comment on my posts, or just stop by every once in a while, thank you.  It really means a lot.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Write about what you love.
We all write for different reasons. I wanted to connect with other introverts and highly sensitive people (and anyone who stops by). I also wanted to share my experiences and lessons in the hopes that I could make someone else’s journey a bit easier. Some write as a way to process their thoughts and feelings. Some write to share their expertise. When you write about things you love, or that are close to you, your sincerity shines through. Writing then becomes enjoyable, rather than an obligation.

2. Connect with others.
I started writing to connect with others. To know that I’m not alone in my experiences is incredibly encouraging. To gain the wisdom of those who have figured out things I’m still struggling with has been so valuable. I’ve been completely blown away by the warmth of the community here and I’m grateful for all the connections I’ve gained. As an introvert, being able to connect with people online, without the overwhelm of in-person interaction, is pretty awesome.

3. Have fun.
Blogging should be enjoyable. Have fun with it. Experiment with different kinds of posts and figure out what you like writing. Try out personal posts, short stories, opinion pieces, quotes, pictures, tag posts, etc. Write the things you want to write. Not the things you think other people want to read.

Any other tips to share?

Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine award

I was recently nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I wanted to thank both Joanna Lynn and Aurora so much for this nomination. This award is a way of recognizing bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others. There are several ‘rules’ associated with this award.

 

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Answer their 10 questions.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers.
4. Write 10 questions for them to answer.
5. Notify those you nominated.

As I’ve been nominated by two people, I’ve chosen 5 questions from each to answer:

1. What do you feel most proud of?
The fact that I’m living a healthy, active lifestyle that includes homemade meals and regular workouts. While it hasn’t been easy, its helped improve my physical and mental health. Its also given me confidence which extends to all aspects of my life.

2. If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be?
My phone (and charger) so I could stay connected to my friends and family. My camera (and charger) because photography is one of my favourite hobbies. Lip balm, I’m constantly using it as the air is pretty dry where I live. Toothbrush and toothpaste, as I don’t feel ready for the day until I’ve brushed my teeth and washed my face. Teapot and tea because I love tea. Even the act of making tea can be a calming ritual.

3. What feels like love to you?
That comfortable feeling of being with someone you cherish and enjoying their company. Conversation isn’t even necessary, just sitting quietly with them is calming and comforting.

4. What makes you, you?
Hmm, I’d have to say my warm smile coupled with a dry, slightly sarcastic sense of humour. Everyone around me always comments on how I’m always smiling, but those that know me best know I can be pretty funny.

5. What feels like home to you?
For me, home is being surrounded with those I love, regardless of where I might be. But I recently visited Scotland and felt a deep attachment to the highlands. It felt like I was coming home, even though I had never been before.

6. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’ve already visited Ireland and Scotland and want to go back. But my next trip will likely be to Japan (and South Korea if I can squeeze it in). I’ve always loved Japanese culture and can’t wait to explore all the beautiful forests, shrines, and temples.

7. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know the answer to this one 🙂 I’m definitely an introvert and proud of it! Being introverted comes with so many amazing benefits and strengths.

8. Do you usually follow your heart or your head?
I’m incredibly analytical and will usually follow my head. But at the same time, I try to take into consideration how my actions will affect others.

9. Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?
I’ve never specifically wanted to get involved in a certain career growing up. But at the same time, I’ve always been creative and loved art. So getting to do graphic design work is along those same lines.

10. What’s your favorite food ever?
If I had to pick one item, it would have to be dark chocolate. Its one of my indulgences and is actually kind of good for you, in moderation.

Finally, I’ve listed 10 other bloggers that really inspire me and bring sunshine into my life. So feel free to check them out!

  1. INFJ Ramblings
  2. Quiet in a World of Chaos
  3. Von Hier an Blind
  4. Mrs. Spike
  5. Peace with my life
  6. Twainwall
  7.  INTP Mom
  8. Scrubs and Stuff
  9. KattieKate
  10. INFJ Reflections

I really enjoyed answering the 10 questions above, so if you would like to accept this award, those are the ones you can answer too. As always, please don’t feel pressured to accept this award if you’d rather not. This is simply one way I can share my appreciation for what you share with the blogging world 🙂

How I create a blog post

MovingI wanted to write a quick post to let you know I’m still alive haha. I’m almost finished moving. As you can imagine, things have been really busy. I should be able to get the last few boxes moved today after work. Since I haven’t posted in a while, I wanted to share my writing process when I blog. Hope you enjoy!

Step 1: Come up with an idea.
When I’m thinking of an idea to write about, I’ll usually do a number of things. These include, but are not limited to, browsing the internet, checking out other blogs, checking my email, doing errands around the house, listening to songs on Youtube, making tea, drinking tea, and anything else you could imagine.

Seriously though, I have a list of blog ideas, so I’ll usually browse though those to see if any of the subjects pique my interest. I like writing about things that have happened in the recent past. Or I’ll write about how I’m feeling. Its a great way of separating myself from the situation so I can view it more clearly. And the advice and encouragement I’ve received from the community has been incredible. I find that the hardest part of writing a blog post is coming up with an idea. Once you have that, the rest comes together much faster.

Step 2: Write stuff.
Once I have an idea, I’ll sit down and write whatever comes to mind. For an average blog post, that’ll usually be 500-600 words. I’ll write about the idea, give background information, explain how things happened, how I was feeling at the time, etc. At this point, I don’t edit anything.

Step 3: Edit like crazy.
After I have a ridiculous amount of text, its time to go in and cut. I’m pretty ruthless when I edit, taking out the fluff and making sure my spelling and grammar is decent. I’ll also move paragraphs around so it makes more sense to the reader. Once I’ve finished cutting stuff out, I’ll do several re-writes before I’m satisfied. This is definitely the step that takes the longest.

Step 4: All the little details.
Once I’m happy with what I’ve written, I’ll find a picture to accompany the piece. I use the Creative Commons images on Flickr, but there are tons of other options. Then I’ll edit my tags and categories. Before I hit ‘post’ I always preview it to see what it’ll look like.

Step 5: Publish!
Once I’m satisfied with everything, I’ll publish my post. I’ll usually peruse the finished piece for last-minute grammatical errors, just in case.

How do you create a post?

Image credit: “moving house” by Nathan O’Nions is licensed under CC by 2.0

Blogger Recognition Award

bloggerrecognitionawardThank you once again to Warrior Freya for this nomination. Its so encouraging to know that others enjoy what I write. I really appreciate it and it motivates me to keep on writing. If I hadn’t been nominated by Warrior Freya, I would have nominated her as well 😉

The Rules:

Post an image of the award
Thank your nominator
Nominate 15 blogs
Comment on the blogs so they know of their nomination
Write a brief description about your blog
Write 1-2 pieces of advice for a new blogger
Provide a link to the original BRA post

A brief description of my blog:

A twenty-something blogger shares her experiences of being introverted and highly sensitive and the things she’s learned along the way.

I initially started blogging so I could connect with others who were also introverted and highly sensitive. To express myself creatively and in an accepting environment. To gain catharsis by writing about things that frustrated me. To try to make sense of what is going on in my world. I wanted to write about the things that I’ve learned and record it somewhere other than in my memory.

Advice for a new blogger:

1. Write about something you love or are passionate about. Your passion and emotion about the subject will inspire you to create and share interesting posts. Or if you want to use your blog to record things that happen in your life, that’s awesome too.

2. Get involved in the community. The people I have met online through blogging are amazing. This community is incredible and being able to connect with people is probably the only reason I’m still blogging right now. Best ways to get involved are to read blogs, comment on other blogs, and reply to comments on your own blog 🙂

Some lovely blogs I’ve nominated:

Authentically Aurora
Scrubs and Stuff
Ben’s Bitter Blog
Salvageable
INFJ Ramblings
AS I PLEASE
The Mad Plant
New York Insomniac
InsanityBytes
desk nest shelf
the hidden voice
Creating your life journey
Peace With My Life
Silently Outspoken
Poetry, photos and musings oh my!

As always, please don’t feel obligated to accept  if you don’t want to. Just know how much I enjoy and appreciate your posts 🙂

4 reasons I love blogging

Reflective

Writing and maintaining a blog can be challenging. Some days inspiration strikes hard and there’s so much to write about. Other days, its hard to get motivated, or you just can’t think of the right topic. Too often I get distracted by the busyness of life and the blog gets forgotten. Its definitely a labour of love but I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far. Here are a few reasons I love blogging:

1. I’m an introvert.
I express myself best through writing and my writing is far more polished than my speaking. I can choose the perfect words to convey the exact meaning I’m trying to get across. I share more of myself online than in person. It may take years for me to share some really personal things with someone face-to-face. I’m far more comfortable writing about them on my blog. And connecting with people online isn’t as physically and mentally draining as in person. You get the personal connection without the crippling exhaustion.

2. Meeting awesome people.
Blogging is an amazing way to meet people from around the world. I’ve been able to connect with other introverts and HSPs which has been lovely. It really helps me realize that I’m not alone in my experiences. I’ve been so inspired by people who are going through difficult times. I’ve been encouraged by those who have gone through things I’m still dealing with. It reminds me that these things will pass. I love being able to share my thoughts with others and see what others are thinking about. And I can do so in the comfort of my own room or at work.

3. Its a cathartic experience.
When I experience something negative, discouraging, or frustrating, writing about it helps. It helps me process all the thoughts and emotions running through my mind. It also puts things into perspective. Its a non-destructive way of dealing with my negative emotions. I’ve gotten so much good advice from people who have gone through similar things. And seeing things from another’s perspective can be eye-opening and makes you consider other angles. And sometimes, just knowing someone is listening helps.

4. Its a creative outlet.
There’s something special about creating something that didn’t exist before. Writing is one way I can channel my need to be creative and my desire to make things. Writing is an amazing way to express myself. To share parts of me with the rest of the world. To talk about things that I love or experiences I’ve had.

Why do you love blogging?

Image credit: “A Reflective Moment” by Chris Ford is licensed under CC by 2.0