What Being Featured On A Podcast Taught Me As A Creative

Back in April, I wrote a post titled “4 Podcasts You Need To Listen To Right Now.” Last month, I had the pleasure of being featured on one of the podcasts I wrote about, The PlotTwist Podcast, hosted by my good friend Daniel Coronado. Honestly I enjoyed it so much! On the episode Daniel mentions it briefly, but I have always wanted to have a podcast and was just waiting for the “right time” to learn how to start one. By the right time I meant when I had enough knowledge about podcasting, editing audio, and whatever else it entails and preferably once I got more accustomed to law school. However, after being featured on The PlotTwist Podcast I realized that this is podcasting is something I want to make a reality sooner rather than later.

The right moment doesn’t really exist as a creative. Sometimes you just have to learn from the mistakes of taking action. Some of my biggest lessons in blogging have been through trial and error and I’m sure podcasting will be the same way. One thing I know for sure is I’m done waiting for the “right time” or until I’m “ready.” As Lemon Snicket says, “if we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.”

Click here to listen to my feature on The PlotTwist Podcast on Soundcloud!

What’s one thing you’ve been putting off and waiting for the right time? Let me know in the comments and then go out and do it!

Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

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Ever since I started blogging, many of my friends have come to me for advice about starting their own blog. I love this because it means they notice that I’m doing things and as a blogger, recognition is good. However, having to give advice over Snapchat or Instagram messages is harder and time consuming than I have time for so I decided to write this post. These tips can also apply to anyone in an online creative type of work such as podcasting or running a specialized Instagram page. From one amateur blogger to the next, these are the things I wish I knew when I started blogging.

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  • Put aside a few consecutive hours a week to focus on blog related things. (Really focus!)

Honestly, if you can master this and make it a habit, the rest of these things will come pretty easily to you. My biggest struggle over the last year and half or so has been finding the time to just sit down and work on my blog for extended periods of time, without distractions. I read a post from Mattie James (mattiejames.com) that discusses the concept of batch work. Batch work is basically creating a bunch of content all at once. My effectiveness in this comes and goes but as of lately it’s been something I am aiming to make routine.

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  • Figure out your main topics/focus aka niche (Keep this list small)

When I first started blogging I wanted to talk about everything under the sun: health and fitness, pop culture, social justice issues, self-growth and development, mental health, anything and everything. It wasn’t until after I tried writing about all of these topics and realized that I was headed nowhere fast that I decide to dial back on the topics I was going to focus on for my blog. Now I focus on self-reflection, self-growth/self-development, and goal-setting with a sprinkle of health and fitness and travel thrown in every so often. Keeping your list of topics small is key to avoiding being overwhelmed as a blogger. Even the person who loves writing more than life CAN’T write about everything. I know that once I establish myself as a blogger with a brand, other opportunities to talk about my various interests will present themselves.

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  • Consistently creating content (and posting it) is the hardest thing to master.

It’s so funny because whenever people ask me what advice I have about blogging I tell them “don’t underestimate how hard it is to consistently write and create content.” Many of the time they tell me they’re not worried about that because they have so many things to write about that creating content won’t be hard for them. Fast forward a few weeks later and either 1. They haven’t started their blog because they’re busy or 2. They have started it but only post once in a blue moon (like myself, guilty as charged haha). The thing people don’t understand is that writing a blog post isn’t hard (per say) but what is hard is writing a blog post worth reading. There have been many times I have written a post, read it back, tried to edit it, and just realized it wasn’t even worth reading for me, much less to put out. Creating consistent and worthy content is hard. Don’t underestimate it.

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  • Friends =/= Supporters and that’s okay! (Don’t take it personal)

Just because you are friends with someone does not mean they are obligated to support your blog. I know. That sounds insane. Why wouldn’t your friends support you? They’re your friends! That’s what friends do for each other. I know that’s what we’re taught to believe but the fact of the matter is that friends =/= supporters and that doesn’t make them bad people. Maybe your niche is just not FOR THEM. When I first started blogging I was sad that all of my friends weren’t reading my blog (the clicks don’t lie!) but then I realized that doesn’t matter. I love all of my friends and our differences in interests and hobbies. That being said if one of my friends started a horseback riding podcast I can’t necessarily say I would be tuning in every week to hear about life at the stables. I probably would retweet all of their new episodes but that’s as far as that would go. That doesn’t make me a bad person. Some people won’t even retweet you, and that’s fine too. We are all inclined to support things that interest us. I know my content isn’t for everybody, I focus on writing for the people who it’s intended for.

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  • Reading other bloggers, watching blogging webinars, and whatever else is useless if you don’t apply the knowledge! (Seriously, don’t waste your time)

I tried to read every blog post and watch every webinar I could about blogging when I first started. There where countless Google searches for content about blogging from my phone and laptop. If it was free, it was for me! After reading and watching all of this stuff I can say I have maybe applied 1 or 2 things out of the 25 I’ve learned. That’s because I was more focused on indulging in information to try to imitate the greats instead of reading/learning some and then applying it, reading/learning something else and applying, and so on and so on. I’m sure I would have gotten way farther in a quicker time if I took it one step at time. This whole blogger life is a learning process though and Mara went through it so you don’t have to!

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  • This shit is not cheap/free (If you want to be next level)

Okay so I never knew that I was going to have to spend so much money JUST to make blog appear legit. Between having my own domain, needing a PO Box for my newsletter, paying for stock photos, and eventually attending blogging conventions, this blogging life gets REAL costly REAL quick! If blogging is just a hobby for you it’s not something you have to worry about but I eventually want to take my blog to another level as a source of income like many of the women I admire. If you have similar ambitions as me, it’s going to cost you before it pays you. Don’t get discouraged and make sure you can finance your dreams.

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  • Engagement is a major key.

Okay so something I’ve recently learned is blogging doesn’t stop at the blog posts. In order to have people actually give a damn about what you have to say, you have to engage with your social media followers. I know that is so obvious…how didn’t realize it before? I don’t know, honestly. Even after reading it from many people who blog it never clicked until recently.

This is just a little bit of what I wosh I knew when I started blogging. Even with utilizing these tips there are still so many things left for bloggers to learn. The best thing is to do your research! Here are some of my favorite blogging resources where I read up on blogging tips and sometimes even score a free webinar or two. 

  • MattieJames.com
  • Bloguettes.com
  • LostGenYGirl.com 

If you are fellow blogger or have a postcast/website, I wish you luck and success! It’s not an easy task to be successful on these e-streets. 

Are you a blogger? What is one thing you wish you knew when you started blogging? Let me know in the comments! 

Things I’ve Checked Off Of My Yearly Bucketlist So Far

At the end of every year I set out to ensure that I try new things in the upcoming year by creating a bucketlist and last year was no different! My bucketlist this year was small due to the fact that I had so many non-bucketlist goals I wanted to achieve. So far I have checked off 3 things on my Bucketlist for 2017.

1. Take a pole dancing class (aka channel my inner stripper):

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This year I turned 24 and I wanted to celebrate by doing something I had never done before. While I did do the go out to eat during the day and get hella drunk cliché thing, before all of that my friends and I took a “Stripper 101” class and it was quite the experience. Let me just say 1. I wish I was drunk for this. I probably would have been a little loose and able to do more. 2. Being a stripper is fucking hard. Like seriously, shoutout to all the strippers because that class was not easy. Even with all these things I still had a blast with my friends.

2. Bought my own domain

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This is something I needed to do sooner rather than later because I’m trying to be a successful blogger and develop my personal brand. The .wordpress.com got too be too much to tell people when sharing my blog with them so I finally just bit the bullet and did it. I’m happy I put this on my bucketlist because I was lowkey putting it off for a long time. Procrastination and I are in an on and off again relationship so it’s good I got this out of the way.

3. Participated in a paint and sip class

This was honestly one of the best things I’ve done this year! It was so relaxing and fun. I took my mother for her birthday and we both had such a good time! The wine was great, the instructor was hilarious, and I got to paint something I would have never thought was possible for me prior to going to the class. I highly recommend that everyone does this at least once to see if it’s something you love.

These three things were great to experience. However, I still have other things I want to do before the year is over. Here are the most important things I want to do before the year is over.

1. Go to a kickboxing class

I went to a turbo kickboxing class when I was in undergrad and I loved it but I’ve always wanted to go to a legit kickboxing class where there are gloves and the whole nine. This is definitely something that I MUST do before the year ends or I will be upset.

2. Go to a shooting range

There is something about being able to shoot a gun (without hurting myself) that sounds so invigorating! Hahaha. Honestly, I can just picture myself embracing my baddassery as I fire a gun and hit my mark on a target. I eventually want to get a gun license so going to a gun range is the first step.

3. Run an entire 5k

One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a while is run an entire 5k. I’ve walked in many 5Ks in the past and always wanted to be one of the people who run past everyone. As someone who has never excelled at running long distances, running one would be a huge accomplishment for me. This would prove to me that any of my fitness goals are possible. I hope to run one on New Year’s Eve so I’ll start training sometime next month to make sure I’m ready. Wish me luck.

These are the majority of things on my Bucketlist for 2017. Some of these things are things I’ve always wanted to try and others are things that will get me out of my comfort zone. I feel that everyone should have a bucketlist each year to encourage themselves to try new things and live life to the fullest! It’s not too late if you haven’t made one for this year; we still have a few months left. Who knows, you might find a new hobby you love and enjoy.
Have you ever had a bucketlist? What’s on your bucketlist? If you don’t have one will you think about making one now? Sound off in the comments!

New Year, Same Goals: Implementing Structure to Make My Dreams Come True 

It’s been quite a while since my last post and a lot has changed since my last entry! I’m out of Lorain, OH, I visited San Diego, Christmas and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day have passed us by. We are finally in 2017. While 2016 was quite an…interesting year…it wasn’t the worst year in my personal life. While I did have many low moments (very low moments), I also had some pretty great moments as well! I got a promotion at my job, I won a volunteering award from the City of San Diego, I won the Visionary Award at SDSU, I graduated college, I saw Beyoncé and Halsey in concert, I saw family I hadn’t seen since I was a child and got to spend quality time with my grandparents and I started this blog! I’m not saying any of this to brag but to really try to focus on all the great moments I experienced last year. I believe I’m going to need to look at the bright side the next few years (completely unrelated to any significant country changing things that occurred around early November, loljkorami?). 

My last blog was on making New Year’s Resolutions and how to make sure you are successful in achieving them. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to cultivate a successful blog. While we all define success as something different, for sake of this post I’m defining it as a blog with consistent posting that meets my mission encouraging others to embrace their own life journeys with honesty and transparency with others but most importantly to gain the ability to be transparent with themselves. Because this is my goal, I now have a little bit more structure in regards to how my blog will be going the next few months as I figure out what the hell I’m doing. 

The structure I will be implementing is as follows: Wednesdays I will pick a random thing to post about, Fridays I will post a something Health + Fitness related (recipes, workouts, apps, etc), and Sundays I will post my musings (I mean hello! It is called The Musings of Mara after all!) I’m also in the process of putting together an Instagram account strictly for The Musings of Mara so that people can follow me there too. At some point before my 24th birthday I will also be buying a domain! 2017 is the year of manifesting my brand and I’m going to get it done! 
My purpose of this entry by posting this I will be feel obligated to hold myself accountable or feel public shame (seriously, call me out on my shit if you actually read this blog and notice I don’t post on one of the days I just said.) I really feel that this year will be a great one. 

When December 31st, 2017 rolls around what is one thing you will have wished you accomplished?