Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to I Find Time For Blogging

I have two young children and a full time career.  People often ask me, where do I find the time to blog, fold origami, work on my side businesses, so on and so forth…

The fact is, we all have the time.  It’s all a matter of priorities.  People on average watch 4 hours of television a day, go out partying with their friends or just sleep in late on a Sunday morning.  My priority is my family and part of that is ensuring I work hard at my day job to support them.  I’m far from the stereotypical “Super Mom”.  I hate the mundane housework.  My husband does the majority of the cooking and I do much of the cleaning.  My house if far from spotless and there’s always some disorganization.  I should be folding clothes right now, but I’m instead writing a blog post because that’s more enjoyable. 

Blogging every day is not an option. 

What is my secret?   I actually write postings and schedule them.  The elaborate posts might be one I wrote weeks ago.    When I do write a spur of the moment entry, I push out a scheduled one so my impromptu one can take its place.  The real challenge for me is to figure out what to write about when I do put aside the time.  I’m sure you noticed already that the the quality of some of my post varies.  I try to spend time writing on the topics that I feel that’s import like my business advice or my rare how-to.  

Here’s what I do, I hope it’s helpful for you:

Set realistic targets

I try to post once or twice a month a high quality post. My ultimate goal is once a week.  These posts to give my insight or advice to something many of us experience. The reason is that when I check my stats and analytics, those are the topics that gets the highest number of views and as with everyone’s purpose to having a blog in the first place, is to increase readership.

For you, it might be everyday, or 3 times a week, it’s up to you.  If your life doesn’t allow you to post that many in a week then don’t.

The rest of my posts are more general, but again, that’s realistic for me.  My readers seem enjoy the more light hearted posts too and it works for them!

What can you be consistent on?

There are blogs who have regular features like a “Wordless Wednesday” or “Friday Fun” or some sort of news highlight every Monday.  That works great for the regular and daily writer. My schedule doesn’t allow it but I wanted to have a some consistent theme but couldn’t figure out what. Someone recently told me they love my completely random photo series and I just only thought of that a few weeks ago.  Before children, I used to seek out a funny picture or sign and email photos to my friends.  Then thought, why not post them on my blog?  I tried that and in the end I created a new blog for those series all together called Completely Random Photos.

Stop feeling Blog Guilt

I’m sure many bloggers feel a small amount a guilt when they realized they haven’t posted for awhile.  I started to feel guilty when I had to neglect my blog late last year before I learned how to schedule the posts.  I realized that was silly, blogging is not my day job.  There is one blog I really enjoyed but she stopped posting for 4 months.  It was probably due to her upcoming wedding she mentioned.  About a month or so after the wedding month, she showed up on my RSS feeds again.  The best part, she just started to post where she left off and she never apologized for having a life.

Collect ideas

I find it easier to find topics for my West Coast Origami one because it’s very specific; crafts and creativity and Etsy has many creative people to feature.

For Cindy Ho Designs, it’s meant for business ideas, my business and as you notice, many personal entries.  My mind is cluttered with many potential topics but of course no time to write them all.  Instead, I have dozens of topic ideas sitting in draft on my blogs. No content, just many titles.  This way, when I do have writer’s block, I have ideas that I can pick and begin elaborating. 

Just write

People wonder how I write my longer posts.  I actually find it every difficult.  As a business person, I’m forced to ensure my emails are professional and tend to over think when writing.  I was like this when I first started blogging.  Then a friend of mine gave me time saving advice, just write.  This way you get your main idea down and then go back and edit for your audience.  This is a huge time saver.  I found my writing time was cut in half.

I hope this is helpful to you.  I still find it difficult to find time to write, but one thing for sure, I’m writing this during my children’s nap time, maybe a few weeks ago, and I scheduled post.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Feature Shop: Fly Trap

il_fullxfull.146869822[1] In June 2010, I did a feature of Fly Trap who runs an Etsy shop.  Fly Trap designs and produces greeting cards using simple, attractive graphic designs and sharpens their appeal with witty, snarky humour. 
 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Back from Disneyland – My Mr. Potato Head Story

We recently returned from our trip from Disneyland and the Japanese Classic Car Show.  It was the most hectic and fun trip we had in a long time and the first with our entire family. 

My sister-in-law, Charmaine and I got Mr. Potato Head toys for our daughters.  A couple of weeks before our trip, she sent me this link to this Mr. Potato Head Collector’s Page that is maintained by Dennis Martin, a huge collector and self proclaimed fanatic just to show what kind of Disney exclusive parts we could get. 

IMG_0104 You can buy the parts and accessories at the Engine Ears Toys souvenir shop in Disney California Adventure Theme Park.

How it works:  The cost is a flat $20 for a box or $47 for a big Potato Head container.  Whatever you can fit into the box or container as long as you can close it, you buy it.  My recommendation is not to buy the body, it takes a lot of room.  If you don’t have one, just buy a basic potato head at a local toy store.

We tried to fill boxes but we found it was too small to make the purchase worthwhile.  Instead, we decided to split the big container.  It was like a puzzle. I love puzzles so I knew I can maximize the space.  Luckily our families were sitting awaiting for a parade because I spent literally one hour trying to fit two of everything into this thing.  I had to empty out the container twice in order to figure out out the maximize the voids.  I felt the gaze of a woman staring and I swore I heard her thought:

“She is not going to be able fit everything in there.”

Disney Potato Head Disney Potato Head

I was actually starting to sweat.  It was so challenging as the hats and feet where the biggest items.  I really wanted all the Disney hats and HAD to get the Stormtrooper helmet.  Charmaine thought I was crazy when I kept telling her, “There’s still space, get more arms / eyes / noses etc!”  She’s right, how many parts do we really need?  I managed to fit two of everything they had except three items:  Woody boots and Tinker bell hair and feet.   

IMG_0533Here’s the most funniest part.  We desperately needed a Costco run and they were already stocking extra toys for Christmas.  We saw another Potato Head container.  This one comes with a family for $20.  It’s the one with the black hat.  We couldn’t pass it up. 

 IMG_0328

 IMG_0330

Now we have five Potato Heads, two of them are really cute because they are so small.  For the past three days, we’ve been  playing with these toys none stop because of the many different looks you can get.  I highly recommend getting this toy for your kids because the adults have fun playing with them too!

We now have a vacationing Potato Head family.

IMG_0334

Friday, September 3, 2010

Road Trip! - I’ll miss you!

I won't be actively blogging for the next couple of weeks.  We're taking a family trip down to California!  The primary reason was to attend the Japanese Classic Car Show.  My husband is show casing his car down there so it’s going to be a road trip with the kids.  I’ve just taught myself how to load music onto my iPhone.  I would have done that earlier, but honestly, I’ve been lazy busy.  However, on a long road trip, I’m not about to bring along tonnes of CDs!

If you are wondering, we and a group of friends are showcasing first generation Honda civics.  They were featured in Honda Tuning Magazine in March 2009.  I wasn’t in the photo shoot, I think I was working that day. 

Old School Hondas - Street Level - How Canada Preserves Honda's Past

Old School Hondas Group Photo

Well, we are just as excited as this show is near by Disney Land.  My daughter is so excited, she wants to meet her favourite princesses, Cinderella and Belle from Beauty and the Beast!  She has since she saw Disney’s Annual Christmas Parade on TV. 

While I’m away, I do have a blogging application on my iPhone that I’m trying out.  If I find access to free wi-fi down there, I might make a short entry or two! 

 

 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010