Living Deliberately. Blogging Intentionally.

There’s this concept called “living deliberately.” It means not letting life just sorta happen to you, but instead, controlling everything that happens to you (that you can). Things like when you wake up, if you exercise, whether you enjoy your job and control your workday, or it controls you (your time, your mind, your sleep).

Do you hit the snooze bar? Then you’re not living deliberately. And I’m talking the figurative “snooze bar” on your life and dreams, projects at work, phone calls to friends, as well as the literal snooze bar and when you wake up. If you want to get up at 6am, get up at 6am. Don’t set your alarm for 5:40 and hit the snooze 2 or 3 times and then get a late start.

Imagine a life where you make deliberate, well-reasoned decisions on just about everything. Wake at 5:15am. Walk the dog and listen to something interesting for a half-hour. Shave. Shower. Floss. Make coffee.

For me? This also includes “writing.” I like myself better when I’m writing. Super blogger guy, Jeff Goins, understands what I mean. It’s why I’m tackling his “21-Day Blogging Challenge.” It starts on October 8th. I guess this blog is my jump-start.

But, Don, you say. I’m not a blogger. It makes no never mind. Blogging for me isn’t totally about my becoming a writer. It’s a brain dump. As Jeff Goins also points out in his entry “Why You Should Start a Blog (Even If You’re Not a Writer)”, by organizing my thoughts and forcing myself to coherently communicate them in writing, they go from some random thoughts inside me head to deliberate, clear ideas I can see and read on the page. Some ideas don’t seem so great once you put them in writing and that’s OK. Other ideas turn out to be better and take shape once you force yourself to express them in a way that someone else could understand.

I’ve blogged for a long time. I’m going to keep blogging. And I will accept this 21-day challenge and see how the thoughts look once they get out of my head and onto my blog.

Follow me at @donkowalewski

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Imagination is a Wonderful Thing

There’s dust on the furniture on this blog and it smells of spoiled food (I think I left a half-eaten Jimmy John’s sub behind the cabinet …thankfully not a tuna sub). It’s kinda embarrassing because I still consider myself a “blogger”, but if I’m not blogging (blogging = writing), then what am I doing?

See, what they tell you about blogging is that you have to have a focus on a particular topic and then pound it home. So if you’re passionate about motorcycles, blog about motorcycles. If you’re passionate about life-coaching or sales-training, blog about sales training.

This blog has never had “focus.” Sometimes I feel inspired to blog about being a Dad. Sometimes I feel inspired to blog about my lungs and breathing issues. In my mind, I’m ashamed about how random my blog is which, if you think about it, is the ultimate in unhealthy thinking.

I took a comedy writing class once and the first day the instructor tried and tried to drill home a point – your ideas don’t suck. He opened every class by reminding us of that point. He tried to tell us every idea is a thing of beauty and to think how amazing that we, as humans, can “think” and “dream” and come up with stuff out of thin air.

Like right now …I bet you aren’t thinking of a monkey riding and elephant delivering a pizza to your house. It was impossible that you were thinking that 3-seconds ago. But now … you see it in your mind.

It’s called “imagination” and this writing teacher always tried to say it’s the true miracle of being human …that our minds can invent and wander and daydream. He’s right. And I’ve forgotten it over these past 15 years since his class.

I like blogging. I would like 10,000 readers because it would be good for my ego, but then again, on days when I know not a soul read my blog, I’m pretty OK on those days, too, because I feel like I did something. Meaning, I said, “I’m going to blog about my snowblower” and then I did.

Curing cancer this blog is not. But it’s something. And it’s not like every blog out there is changing the world.

If you take away one thing from this blog entry, take this …your ideas don’t suck. If you think blogging is a good idea …do it. If you think re-kindling your love of building model cars is a good idea …do it. If you think picking up the phone and calling and old friend is a good idea …trust me …that’s the best idea of all. Go with your ideas and the daydreams you’re having.

Monkey on an elephant delivering a pizza.

Follow me on Twitter at @donkowalewski.

Things I Love: Other Bloggers

It’s week three of my #ShareSunday experiment. I had to pick a new #hashtag because #SS is already pretty popular on Twitter, and since I can’t figure out what #SS means (though I’ve concluded it’s not Nazi related, which is a relief), I’ll just write shorter Tweets and go with #ShareSunday.

#ShareSunday is where I applaud other blogs I read, hoping you’ll take a look, and be inspired by them, too. Usually it’s three blogs, but this week, I’m only talking about two.

Jeff Goins: Writer (you might have to try this URL: http://goinswriter.com/clutter/)

I’ve heard it said dozens of times, but if you want to be a writer, you have to read. First, read the type of books like you want to write and second, read about other writers. Luckily for the modern writer, most authors have their own blogs where they “brain spill”. That’s what I call what is written between projects and books. Think of a writer like an Olympic athlete. We see them swimming and sprinting every four years. In between those times, we don’t think about them. But trust me, they’re out there, liftings weights, running, waking up early, skipping sweets and candy, hoping to stay in perfect shape for another shot at medaling or being invited to the next Olympics. Writers are like that. In between critically acclaimed best-sellers, they’re up early writing, jotting down ideas, and hoping to get back onto a best-seller list again.

Well, reading Jeff Goin’s blog is like having a training partner. He’s an accomplished writer, and I’m not really his peer, but his blog doesn’t make him sound like he’s dictating his next book to a paige he hired to record and transcribe his every word while he sails around the world. He’s slugging it out, writing daily, little by little, and sharing his advice as he discovers it.

Earlier this week, I wrote something for my wife on her 40th birthday, but I almost didn’t …until I read what Jeff Goins said. He said, “learn to write for yourself.” I’ve always kinda felt this way, but assumed it was a completely self-defeating way to write. It’s like saying, hey, I’m going to write about myself and when I don’t sell any books and nobody reads my blog, I’ll blame the lack of readers on the fact they don’t ‘get’ me.”

Message received, Jeff. Now, I’m not going to start blogging about how long my shower was this morning (3 minutes 14 seconds, by the way), but I’ll write what I think is important, interesting, or funny and see if readers like me for me.

Here I Go With All My Thoughts by Megan

Every blog starts somewhere. Every writing life starts with the discipline of writing, which involves learning to observe life, notice things others maybe don’t realize they’re noticing, and learning to express yourself in an unguarded way. Megan started her blog, I wanna say, 2 or 3 years ago inspired by the passing of a dear friend, and she wrote it like therapy (that’s how I saw it) and it’s grown into so much more. Part journal, part creative writing, part motivation …what it’s grown into is a story of a Millenial in her early 20s navigating life. I think everyone wants to write a blog and immediately have 1,000 readers and be asked to be on a radio show to talk about the book she’s releasing, but it doesn’t happen that way. Instead, it starts with hard work and being there nearly every day with something to say. She writes from the heart. Her struggles, challenges, and triumphs are familiar, I think, to almost everyone. Megan doesn’t hide from the bad and sad moments, doesn’t sugar coat her feelings, and is proud of her faith and her friends. Reading it reminds me that blogging and writing must be done in your voice.

As a blogger, I like to read other blogs. Big, small, funny, deep, meaningful, and some with pictures of cups of coffee. I hope you’ll add these to your blog roll and read them from time to time.

I sometimes Tweet some other blogs, so if you want to know more blogs I’m reading on a daily basis, follow @donkowalewski.

Things I Don’t Do: I Don’t Have a Niche.

Sometimes I wonder why this blog doesn’t have 10,000 readers and why I’m not already a highly sought after writer, speaker, and humorist. It’s either (a) I rarely post entries, (b) most people don’t want to read about “Don Kowalewski” and his rambling thoughts, or (c) I’m actually dead but because Haley Joel Osment is still talking to me, I think I’m alive and blogging.

That was a Sixth Sense reference, by the way.

Maybe I should offer advice with every blog entry? Like, I’m writing this blog entry about a lack of measurable results and trying to be funny and then …bam …I switch to a “self help” post where I compare my blog-success with any “success”, be it fitness, dieting, or relationships. The analogy would be easy to create.

Maybe I should end each blog entry with a few questions …questions so good and so compelling even the casual reader will be compelled to answer or pose a question of their own. And I don’t mean I’ll ask “should Roe v. Wade be overturned” or “will Obama Care bankrupt our nation?” That would be pandering and appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Or maybe I should really figure out my “niche.” According to the AMAZING Rochelle Melander, who inspires me every week, my lack of readers could simply be because I’m rambling and unfocused.

Is this a blog about…

  • Don?
  • Parenting?
  • Coffee?
  • Writing?
  • Being unfocused?
  • Finding adventure?

I’m supposed to ask myself, “why am I an expert and worthy to write a blog on a specific topic?” Then I need to identify my reader, what they need, and be able to easily list 25 blog entry titles.

Gulp!

My success (or lack of success) in blogging is because I’m unfocused. My success (or lack of success) in my career is because I’m unfocused. My success (or lack of success) in writing is because I’m unfocused. My success (or lack of success) in fitness and diet is because I’m unfocused.

See what I did there? Blogging, like any craft, vocation, hobby, or effort, won’t be what you envision if you lack focus, dedication, discipline, and consistency. And a niche. For the same reason your blog hasn’t been featured on MSNBC, neither has your amazing body or your

This blog, for now, isn’t going to have a niche and as I tell people, it continues to be a blog for me, about me, written by me. If you happen to stop by and love reading it, well, you’re totally awesome. You must love hearing about my birthday wish-list and my lung conditions.

Why do you read this blog? What topics would you like me to delve into further? If I had legions of loyal readers, I’d have a million comments.

I guess the best I can hope for, for now, is that some of my readers are like me and they have a career, and a hobby, and kids, and commitments, and a marriage, and outside interests, and this blog will feel like the voice inside their heads and it will be something light and fun to read while we all navigate our complicated world.

Here’s another song I’ll be adding to my running playlist. Welcome back, DMX.

Things I Think: Why Blogs Fail

Why does anything fail? We have big, grand ideas and right at first, we get all kinds of crazy awesome feedback. “Your blog is hilarious!” a friend might say. 12 people ‘Like’ it. We write 4 posts in five days and we learn about how to set up a blog, we add pictures, read an article about a guy who makes $10,000 each month just by writing about power tools and we think, “that is sooooooo me.”

But dang if it doesn’t seem like 9 out of every 10 blogs I read and ‘Like’ follows the same fate. Here one year, gone the next. Always a promise of “I’ll be back soon and with big announcements” or something. But, they never come back.

Why?

I’m guessing it’s the writing. The pressure to produce written material every day and make it slightly entertaining, a little bit interesting, and with some soul …well, that’s the challenge.

Me? To solve this dilemma, I  started a new blog. For the last 5 years I’ve had “Don’s Ego” which was my miscellaneous ramblings. Sporadic. Unconnected. And certainly not the type of blog that a cordless drill manufacturer would latch on to. So here you go …by the very title of this blog, I hope you realize it’s going to be all over the place (Kaleidoscopic), but when I get going on a topic or something, you can bet I’m going to hone in and focus (Raygun).

That’s it. For now. Oh, I also think “Kaleidoscopic Raygun” is more clever than “Don’s Ego.”