What do we do next? We bloggers, We artists, We people …

In the digital world of today … how do we not just survive but thrive?

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It’s Tuesday, so what do we know today? We know we have things we have to do – And we know we have things we want to do – We know there is some information we want or need to know more about – and far more information that we don’t have a clue about (what-so-ever, except it’s messing us up a lot) because it’s too much to deal with (emotionally speaking). And “way” too much of the information is negative, isn’t it (TMI- Right?) But, there you go, the above sums things up nicely, I believe.

So what do we do next?

First, understand the nature of the online world; behind the scenes what is going on. Here’s the truth – Many (almost all) corporate/government entities are “crowd sourcing” (gathering information) to create digital profiles. In a nutshell finding out all about you. You’ve made it possible. You’re one of the hundreds of millions online exposing yourself through many little data bytes circulating the airwaves.

And the “Big Boys” of the planet want to know all about you either as a consumer (to potentially buy their product) or as a citizen of their country (How you feel about your country, the issues, your concerns the politicians, etc. Research that will help them raise money and/or potentially influence you to get your vote OR making sure you aren’t doing something subversive, detrimental to your country’s well being.)

Like it or not that is what’s going on, right now. Data collecting of a volume inconceivable for most of us to imagine and each entity (depending on the quality of their “industry cloud capability”) is efficiently organizing the data into a variety of profiles for current or future reference. Is it the big brother era? Well sort of. But we’ve made ourselves willing partners in this intrusive aspect of the online experience, whether we know it or not!

Meanwhile you’re busy doing your own gathering of information, gathering as a citizen and a consumer yourself. So how do you handle all of this information and your awareness of everyone else’s information gathering.

Short of something really bad happening (meteor strike, large solar flare, etc.) all this data is going to continue to be gathered (and much of it circulated). Just a fact and there will be lots of “talk” because that’s what talk shows (in all media – News programs, etc.) do – and much of it is negative because “viewership” (that’s you) goes up when they (talk show hosts and their “expert” guests) talk about ‘what’s wrong’.

So the talk shows are going to talk about all sorts of never-ending stuff that will complicate you life and view of things (if you listen too much) even more. But let’s forget that for right now and get back to you and where you are.

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Turn your computer off and think about your goals, needs, wants and desires. Consider how you might achieve them. View online connections as “how” they may help you. Be specific here. Everyone is giving “advice”, suggestions and in many cases “selling something”. So your main focus should be why you’re on line.

  1. To be Entertained
  2. To Find out information on a subject
  3. To Buy something
  4. To Sell something
  5. Socially connect with other people
  6. Promote Yourselves (through various social networks)
  7. Use any combination of the first six reasons you’re online to assist you in accomplishing your own goals

So where you go next is to make a plan of action to more effectively use your connectivity. Arrange the above reasons and allot a time period (yes – a little discipline is required here).

  • If you’re a student researching – stick to getting the info. before you “game play” or check out the latest trending YouTube video.
  • If you’re an artist, search for “like minded” creative individuals who will help you nourish your creative goals.
  • If you’re selling something, learn about your perspective customers. And how to reach them (online and off).
  • if you’re a professional in an industry and are job searching, focus on those companies and their background so you’re well informed about the company and their goals before you submit a resume! And yes they will be using the internet to check “you out” this process can take many months – so be prepared for this one.
  • If you’re buying something (take the extra time to check out the source before your purchase – be a smart consumer.)
  • If you want to be entertained – go for it, there’s all sorts of fascinating things waiting to be viewed/listened to – out there.
  • and if you just want to “hang”, be social with others, start a blog, join Facebook, learn how to Tweet or find a social media platform that fills this need.

But don’t forget your offline world. Organize your time so your online time has a sense to it with very specific timelines.

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The most important thing to do with your online world of connectivity is to stay in command of both the offline and online you. You need to stay in control of the amount of “data” your mind allows entry to. Integrate this brave new world of communication so it works for you on your adventures through life … not against you!

Have a great day,

~ Penny

My 800th Post! Thank you and what comes next!

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Thank You! The last post I published was my 800th post and with more than 75,000 visitors in the past year, I am more honored than I can say to have received the attention, comments and support from all of you!

In the last few months I’ve seen far more visitors than ever before and I can only thank my loyal supporters who have passed the word on about my blog as the reason for this increase. That these new readers then become followers is, as I mentioned, a sincere honor.

This has become a very busy time for me as well. As a side product of blogging, I have been asked to write a book (yes, the one that I’m way late on getting the final draft ready for) but I am also very busy with a couple of other things as well.

Numerous emails from other creative individuals have given me a new money making enterprise (who knew) assisting writers, musicians and other artisans with their “works in process” (at their request), helping through the planning stages of promoting their works! (I guess having a marketing background can help, lol!)

And finally my own personal projects! One of which is more research into the roots of the writing style of haibun from an historic and artistic perspective, along with the desire to pass this information on to others. Also to have some creative fun with this. I’ll continue to write pennyquotes for “A Penny For Your Thoughts” – as the muse takes me. Regarding my other projects, I’ll keep you posted on them too!

However, as a result of all the above, I will no longer be hosting or judging for Ye Pirate’s excellent “Ligo Haibun Challenge“. Instead, information for the Ligo Haibun Challenge will be found at the new website Haven of Haibun, where I will continue to promote the Ligo Haibun Challenge activities (and of course read all the wonderful entries). I will also be posting other “haibun happenings” as I discover them! The Haven of Haibun is in it’s infancy but if you’d like to check it out – and give me a hand in shaping it’s creative direction – click here!

As for “The Why About This” blog – this is my ‘online’ home and will always present the “me” that I am. I will continue to inspire, encourage and inform … always from the hopeful perspective of trying to make a positive and creative difference for the reader.

Once again my most sincere thanks to all of you. Some so very special to me (And you do know who you are!). All my very best, keep taking care of you,

And I’ll keep doing my very best to motivate and inspire – helping you to reach your own personal goals.

~ Penny

The Thing About “To Do” Lists!

Credit line Photo: © Macchia | Dreamstime.com Graphic "to-do Lists" PennyLHowe, 2013

I’ve discovered the most amazing thing.

In order for the “to-do” list to really be helpful, you have to actually “do” the things on the list! Well bummer, that!

My “to do” list tends to be – “those things that I should have already done but I keep reminding myself everyday to do, by rewriting … and adding to … them” LIST. And then I pare it back down by reviewing the list, thinking to myself “do I really have to-do this one today?”  I’ve come to the realistic conclusion that some things belong in a second “to-do” list. One called. “Okay, so I really don’t want to do these things (at all) but I’d better or something bad is going to happen” LIST!

Now, my “to-do because I want to” LIST … well that’s another story. (Actually I don’t have a “want-to” list). I seem to remember to do those things all by my little ol’ self.

And while I’m on the subject of Lists, have you noticed there are lists for everything under the sun – now. Quantum amounts of lists. You name it – there’s a list for that.

And demographically speaking, you’re probably in a whole bunch of them, you lucky you! It’s called gathering statistics and every single social media platform is a busy little bee or “spider” running around collecting data about you – sorting and organizing, distilling and going after you more aggressively because You ARE on their “to-do” list. It’s all about accumulative numbers, ratings, and percentages for business and organic “online growth” … trust me on this one. If you’re online there is no way you aren’t on one or more lists … somewhere!

So what does any of this have to do with making your daily “to-do” list and getting it done? Not a darn thing. Or maybe it does? Maybe there are too many lists accumulating everywhere (at both home and work, offline and on) and not enough “Just Do It”! (quantitative action). Maybe! Just sayin’.

Photo taken of an illustration in a 100+ year old book! I added the rest, lol! Penny L. Howe, 2013

(p.s. – Now that I think about it there are two lists I’d love to be on – “Santa’s Gift list and the best seller “book list”! LOL

Have a great day. Try not to take life so seriously, we have whole lists of people working diligently on that one – so lighten up, smile and laugh.

Hope my post helped you achieve at least a smile or two today.

Thanks for stopping by,

~ Penny

I honor and trust you! Resetting Your Online Personal Boundaries!

Hello World, I am happy to share and …

“It is my honor to trust you,
just like a child I share with you my inner being …
This makes me vulnerable. Remember my boundaries,
as I remember yours!”

– Penny L Howe, 2013

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Children remind us, through the open nature of their innocence and naivete to tread carefully on their feelings.

Since we’ve learned a few hard lessons, while growing up, about those who abuse the love and trust they’ve been given, we tend to be “tempered” and cautious about letting others in.

When connecting with others online (to have strong and safe connections), you need to set personal boundaries here, as well. Sadly, Facebook and Twitter have set very low standards of behavior. (resulting in, all too frequently, negative, rude, and insensitive written words and images, as well as invasive and intrusive behavior patterns.

There really does appear to be no control (regarding personal behavior – It has become hard to tell the children from the adults.) And if that’s not bad enough, big business has come along to take advantage of these very huge and active social online relationships, for the sole purpose of “making more money”.

Setting Personal Online Boundaries:

First Stay “grounded”. Step away from the computer, your i-phone or other communicating devices when you do not feel good about what is happening with your social interactions. If you are feeling drained and exhausted, emotionally overwhelmed – time to break away.

SecondWhen you share of yourself, do so cautiously, within a place of comfortable safety, Imagine a protective shell around you, think of that space as only allowing love and positive energy within, deflecting any thing else. And then remember to maintain your energy shield.

Third Don’t assume but do be respectful of the space of others. Remember your online friends deserve the same courtesy you want, so do respect their personal boundaries too. Be an example of a responsible online “friend”!

Fourth – With all the above in mind – be true to yourself. Be your own person. Don’t let others intimidate, or negatively influence. Find the fulcrum of balance between sharing and giving even as you keep yourself safe within your own personal online boundaries. By the way, as long as you are respectful of other’s boundaries, sharing love is just about the best thing to do … always!

Thank you for visiting me, have a great week ahead,

~ Penny

Worlds within Worlds – Searching for fulfillment

This …

This then is being.

Cumbersome thoughts assail me. I set aside my imagination so I may ponder my reality. My realness. What I see – the view from my eyes, my living, my taking part in. My truth. My world.

Does my world overlap into your world? How far? Not the fantasy one (although that’s fun) but the real world. The one you live in everyday. How much of my world is your world? Not a lot, would be my guess. We are mostly this way. Our worlds and happenings overlapping with other’s worlds and happenings. But we stay, a large portion of the time, locked within the world of our reality and our making. Adding to or taking away from, dependent on our individual comfort level and need.

So then what do you make of this whole blogging world of things? We all seem to be reaching out, don’t we? What are we reaching for? And Why?

We seem to be presenting ourselves to each other. Visually and with our words. We are searching – aren’t we? What is it that we need so fiercely that we take the time each day to present ourselves, or an especially created version of ourselves to this virtual world.

What’s missing in our lives that compels us to share ourselves in this manner? Do you know? Have you thought about this too?

Do we need to be needed, thought about, supported, encouraged, loved, appreciated, desired …  just because we do? Is this enough of a reason to care, to connect and make a difference with each other?

Yes … Yes it is.

~ Penny

Why do we write Poetry?

What is it about the particular nature of a poem? Whether penning or reading. A poem sets itself apart from all other written words. Various sized packages of contained messages of our thoughts, our feelings, our expressions. We the author and presenter of chosen word and format.

Do we write for ourselves when we write a poem? Do we write for others? Yes and yes.

With poetry we tap directly into our feelings about things, bringing forth those emotions, thoughts and ideas inside of us to be viewed through our written words. We are reorganizing our insides when we do this. And when others read our poems they frequently will do the same thing.

Should you write a poem? Yes?

Why?

Because:

It’s therapeutic. Not only letting out what’s inside, but presenting a microcosm of your heart and soul you can view and share with others.

It’s wonderfully creative. Your journey through your own nature with the poetic word while you find yourself exploring all sorts of creative avenues of expression.

It is encouraging, helping you and others to “Open Up” inside. Writing poetry and sharing your words, creates a stronger environment for learning and growing yourself. Online today there are many *websites and forums – groups actively in pursuit of knowledge and understanding from poets of the past and present.

The Poem

“Such beauty you bless in the form of a rhyme
Such feeling, such rhythm your words so divine
I am lost in your glory, sensation sublime
Sharing forever, time after time.”

Penny L Howe, 2013

So today, write a poem and share with others, read a poem and enjoy someone else’s creation. Both will be uplifting and illuminating … I promise.

Have a great weekend,

~ Penny

*
All Poetry.com
WritersCafe.org
Poetry.com
Ligo Haibun Challenge
ThePoet Sanctuary.net