WordPress 106 … Writing and Perception

writing & perception

Railroad tracks appear to meet at the horizon, but a closer walk disproves this. One of the challenges of writing a personal blog is that fantasy is congruent to reality. Take this phone call for instance.

“I just read your latest post.”

“Without me harassing you? Great! What did you think?”

“Hmmm . . . hmmm, was it about you?”

“No, but I draw on my experiences to weave a realistic tale, to find metaphors that resonate—”

“Cut the crap. Was it about you?”

“No . . . why?”

“Thank God. Em, now I know, I’ll read it again and let you know what I think. Bye!”

 

If dinner conversation turns to my blog, friends who don’t read my blog pant in anticipation of the backstory to my posts.

“So?”

“I can’t answer that! I’m a very private person—”

“Who writes a very public blog; puhleeze, answer us!” someone protests.

 

William Faulkner said, “A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.” Some friends think I write about them.

“Stop,” she says using one hand to cover Sola’s mouth. Turning to me, “Swear you won’t blog about it.”

I rise and gather my stuff. Who do they think I am, a gossip columnist? Who do they think they are, The Real Housewives of Atlanta?

“Timi, it’s alright, stay—” Sola frees her mouth and speaks.

I make small shakara, “Look if you guys don’t want me here . . .”

 

Language is many things and writing is powerful. Writers use words to conjure images and evoke emotion. Words are magic; they make zombies run marathons and sprinters limp. Words are make-up; they hide blemishes and paint pale cheeks a rosy hue.

Words confuse too. They make the writer bigger than life; like that boy I had a crush on. He always sat in the car, looking wicked in Ray-Ban, while his friend who drove to my parent’s house, stood and made small talk.  The day he came out of the car, his white crocodile-skin shoes, white jeans, and white t-shirt, did not catch my attention. Leaving his hand hanging in the air, I blurted, “I thought you’d be taller,” and decrushed him for good.

Writers select words that match their objectives. They use words to hint at meaning and sell tell a story unbound by rhythm and verse. With their words, they entice you to dance in a fire you did not light.

My about page is the fourth highest viewed page on my blog so far. I get it. If a piece of writing moves me, I read the author’s bio to confirm or refute my perception. So, you want to know? Let me tell. I’m simple, but my drama has commercials in between. I don’t articulate myself as well as I wish, but I write excellently, the sentences I wish I had spoken. If you live on the fast lane, I will never overtake you. If you sashay to the music that I play, you will find me here in the words on display.

After I draft this, a friend reads it.

“You could have called this, Things You Didn’t Know About Me, and left all the flowery stuff out.” He yawns and reaches for the remote control.

His language is different from mine. He fuels my insecurities. But without him, I would ramble past 800 words.

“Where’s the fun in that?” I argue.

He shrugs, “Writing is a lot like Photoshop.”

Sunday. Doubts nibble on my mind like ants on sugar. I stamp them out. I know I’ve won when the picture of me in your head is the same as the picture of me in my head.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Image credits: avatar by Microsoft

Design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

WordPress 105… Make Money Blogging or Not?

millionaire

The Introduction

You, online service provider, said your product was free. I downloaded it; waited twenty minutes to install, clicked through for another ten minutes to get past the razzmatazz you call introduction. When I got to the main course, you asked me to upgrade for $49.95. I am not angry… not yet.

I decide to uninstall and search for a truly “free” freebie, but you have refused to go. You have been uninstalling for the past sixty minutes.

However, it is when you, my partner-in-crimefreebies, suggest that I should have read the fine print beneath the shiny free banner that my talons come out, long and wicked like Jezebel’s too. Yes you, I am talking about you, my fellow blogger and friend.

The Main Body

You started blogging because you felt you could write. You started blogging after that status update on your Facebook Timeline attracted 67 likes and 134 comments. Never mind that half the comments were your replies. You did not start blogging because you wanted to make money. You already had a real job. Even after your cousin evaded your question, “Have you read my blog yet?” by telling tales of how people were making money blogging, your heartbeat remained the same. You had looked at him with pity; the jester had never held a job for more than two weeks.

But now you wonder. After a tentative start on WordPress, you danced when your first post gained you five followers and a few likes. You twirled with hands on your hips, and then wriggled down. When you almost reached the floor, you remembered that you have back pain and slowly began your ascent. Your cheeks redden at the memory.

At the recommendation of WordPress, you check out some great posts from your new followers. Like strawberries and ice churning in a blender, one thought revolves in your mind. Can you really make money blogging? Of course, ever since your cousin sowed the seeds, they have been growing quietly like weeds in the periphery of your mind. Five followers have invited you to make money blogging.

Three of the five bloggers are attractive guys in their early to late twenties. They have escaped the corporate slave master’s whip and the income they’ve made off their blogs allows them to live the life they’ve always dreamed. Tanned and bare-chested with surfing shorts and six-packs to kill for, they grin at you, and you wonder how long before you can hand in your resignation. You wonder about the six-pack too—did they get it from blogging?  You shake your head to clear the silly thought. Two of them live in Thailand and the third on some other island. You’ve always known that you are living in the wrong country, and true happiness resides somewhere exotic like Bali.

One of your followers is a mum. She quit her job and leads a stress-free life. Her husband works fewer hours, and together they have more time for their daughter who has a debilitating disease. Their family portrait tugs at something inside you and sentimental music plays in your head. You zero in on the mum’s face to fool your tears. Rubbing your chin, you whip out a mirror and trace the lines on your face.

Your last follower is a bald guy with tattoos. You do not bother to read his profile. You do not want to make money blogging so you can become like him.

You note the similarities of the blogs, and brushing a fly away from your face, you draw conclusions:

Money-seekers are from Mars, altruists are from Venus.

Observing life has deepened your cynicism. When your daughter asked your son for a sweet, he quickly plopped it in his mouth and said it had his germs. When you asked to share his germs, he swallowed and you watched his Adam’s apple bulge. The human instinct is to hoard and not share.

What do Donald Trump and Warren Buffet have in common?

If Donald Trump’s apprentices had to endure the humiliation of elimination, making money blogging cannot be as carefree as white clouds floating in azure skies or lounging on the beach in the prime of your life. When Warren Buffet talks about getting rich, he uses “dirty” words like invest, which connotes delayed gratification.  At this point, you reach for a bowl of ice cream and stop sucking in your stomach. Acquiring a six-pack takes discipline, patience, and determination.

Becoming rich begins with watching a video or signing up for a newsletter.

One blogger declares that he wants to help those who are “serious” enough to sign up for his updates. You have never been more serious in your life. As your cursor hovers over the link, the title of a James Hadley Chase novel floats into your mind: There’s Always a Price Tag. Bye-bye Bali!

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

You’ve heard it before and you laugh at the allure that these four letters, E-A-S-Y, hold. The same ideas that sucked people in years ago, now repackaged, suck people in again like a merry-go-round that never stops.

The Conclusion

Thank you for connecting all the dots and for flying with WordPress. If after this post, you decide to unfollow me, I will understand. I have also kissed Bali goodbye.

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Image design: © Timi Yeseibo 2013

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original

What Brought You Here?

what brought you here

The WordPress Stats page is an invaluable tool for bloggers who want to track growth and progress of their blogs. Bloggers receive a summary of blog views by country, top posts and pages viewed, referrers, which are clicks from other sites that link to theirs, and search engine terms, among others.

So far, my biggest referrer is Facebook followed by search engine terms. Search engine terms are words or phrases that people searching the internet use to land on your blog. That search engines drive substantial traffic to my blog is a pleasant surprise because I don’t have an SEO strategy neither do I optimise my content for search engines. It would be too stifling. I would spend too many hours agonising over words. Of course I agonise over words so that what you read flows as effortlessly as rivers over boulders.

The most popular search term that brings people to my blog? Akpos, all things Akpos. Akpos is a fictitious character around whom many Nigerian jokes revolve. I wrote Open Letter to Akpos, a few months ago because I grew weary of multiple BlackBerry Messenger broadcasts of Akpos jokes. Little did I realise that my mini-protest would lift my blog to greater prominence on search engine radars.

Like water on a day when the sun’s heat can fry eggs on car bonnets, Akpos is the antidote to the hassles of Naija life. Unconvinced? Below are a few search terms that brought people to my blog.

Search Engine Terms                                     My Take

Long list of jokes about akpos                     – so you’re currently unemployed?

Akpos meaning?                                            – when you find out let me know

Sweet akpos jokes                                        – are there bitter ones?

Akpos I have a dream                                   – so did Martin Luther King… and                                                                                       Obama had the audacity to change

Akpos bbm pin only                                      – na becos of una I bin write Akpos                                                                                     letter

Akpos jokes of the day                                 – copycat! nor be so Basketmouth                                                                                      hammer; write your own jokes!

Akpos goodmorning jokes                           – for real? wouldn’t you rather have                                                                                     coffee?  

Akpos funny stories                                    – you nor enter molue this morning?

Googleakposjokes                                         – amebo, go find work                     

Best of Akpos at the top                              – please see “my Oga at the top”

Akpos funny love letters                              – run Ekaette, run!

Need story of Akpos                                     – ehnn, for what?

Naija loaded akpos comedy                         – there in four words, the problem with Nigeria!

Since I’ve written about life in Nigeria, I see why search engines referred these searches to my blog.

Search Engine Terms                                     My Take

the beginning of Naigeria                             – this is deep, really deep @Naigeria

God created Nigeria, discuss                       – required essay for secondary                                                                                               school leavers    

I am so glad to know you grew up in                                                                                                     Nigeria. I am from Nigeria                           – nice to meet you too

God of Nigerians                                               – god of corruption, tribalism &                                                                                               comedy

returning to live in Nigeria                           – abeg shine ya eye well well!

Exchange rate Nigeria baits to uk pound   – say what?

Is it legal to urinate in public in Nigeria?   – oyibo, is this your first visit to                                                                                             Nigeria?

I want to wash naija film                              – yes o! wash it clean of the ten-                                                                                           minute credit roll at the start of                                                                                        the movie!

Night+with+naija+full+movies                    – and what a night it shall be!

Don’t ask to touch my earrings                   – okay now! sme sme, I won’t

funny naija post to make my room lively   – sms AkposJokes N10/sms

Lively things to do with my blackberry      – hmmm….

Business woman rides on man                    – nothing and I mean nothing I’ve                                                                                         written on this blog should make                                                                                       anyone land here using this                                                                                               search term! I’m suing Google!

The Body Magic is the post with the highest views on my blog. Perhaps because I expose my insecurities about my weight? Go figure! Not surprisingly, people land on my blog when searching for:

Girl magic weight gain butt                          – need I say more?

Body magic not tight                                   – check the label; made in China?

Body magic won’t fit over hips                   – sis, I feel you

Body magic money                                       – yes, you can make money selling                                                                                     body magic                                                                                                                              #womenarevaincreatures

The body is magic                                     – *wink wink*

Magic in my body                                     – it’s called fat

Where can body magic bra be found                                                                                  in Nigeria                                                                  – send me your BB pin

 

So what brought you here? Search engine? Facebook? Twitter or WordPress Reader? And, what search engine terms drive traffic to your blog? Tell, o tell!

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Image design: © Timi Yeseibo 2013

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gratitude

gratitude1

I know activities dot every square inch of your life. I know your commitments stretch you past breaking point. I know you have been planning and failing to go to bed early, to get a good night’s rest, every night for the last fortnight. I know.

That is why your reading my posts and foraging in the archives, sometimes laughing, sometimes sharing with a friend, sometimes shaking your head, means so much to me. If I stood on a hill and shouted my gratitude, the echo would not reach the valley fast enough, would not carry the meaning trapped between the words, would not overwhelm you with the thing bubbling in my heart. I can’t say thank you enough for your being here, especially in October when I wasn’t really here.

Thank you.

My family of bloggers, who adopted me, no questions asked, you understand me more than most. You know what it’s like to fill a blank page with your thoughts and then do what Stephen King recommends: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” For lifting my airplane with your wings, thank you.

I start blogging again in November. I haven’t finished reading the books I planned to read in October. I have some days left from my annual leave—there is hope! I didn’t complete my half-written posts, you know, the ones I planned to develop later. This Friday night na die!

What did I do? Movies. Food. Friends. Family. Laugh. Cry. Talk. Music. And graphic design. Through it all, I scribbled on yellow post-its. My task is clear—to make new things familiar, and familiar things new1. So, don’t leave me now you know I have half-baked gist to share. Stay with me?

 

Take lemons & make life!

timi signature wordpress

 

 

 

1. “The two most engaging powers of an author are, to make new things familiar, and familiar things new.” Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

 

 

Image Credit: blue European pattern vector background- http://all-free-download.com/free-vector/vector-background/blue_european_pattern_vector_background_278520.html

design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Something New in October

coming soon

I’m doing something different. I’m focusing on Naija life this October. Okay, don’t roll your eyes and go, “duh.” I know, I write about Nigeria, a lot! According to William Faulkner, a writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others. No apologies here, I’ve got Naija in my blood.

What’s different? I won’t be sharing my posts. I’ll reblog posts that made me laugh and cry and think, posts that mirror you and me and your neighbour and that man you’ve wondered about.

While you’re reading about Naija eccentricities, I’ll be back stage reading the novels that decorate my coffee table and writing a post for November. So, enjoy and remember to be as generous on the other blogs as you are on mine. Biko, share and leave a comment—they write their stuff because of you.

If you haven’t already, read Naija Movie Night, get a preview of what’s in store.

 

Take lemons & make life!

timi signature wordpress

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Sepia Film Strip clip art- http://all-free-download.com/free-vector/vector-clip-art/sepia_film_strip_clip_art_23195.html

design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Why I Write

Why I Write

I write because I have something to say. I write with intention. I write to inform and to amuse. I write to inspire conviction that provokes movement, because words are not empty. I write because I can.

I do not write for fun. I watch romantic comedies for fun. I read a novel with a wicked plot for fun. I walk on the beach for fun. I cycle through the woody paths of the Veluwe for fun. I don’t write for fun, however writing can be so much fun.

I write because I like challenges, the challenge of taking something ordinary and giving it wings to fly like a kite in the wind. Watching it sail, I ooh and ah as its colours change. Then I ooh and ah again as I see through your eyes, the medley of colours in the comments you leave behind.

I write because I want you to read what I write. When people say that they write for themselves and not for others, and then publish the writing that they wrote for themselves on a blog for the world to see, the irony does not escape me. I write because it matters to me that you read what I write. If it did not matter to me, I would write in my diary.

I write because I enjoy reducing the tedious emails that nearly nobody reads and a few skim, to bullet points that everybody reads. I write because I love to k.i.s.s. (keep it so simple), and make up, that is, stretch a story to breaking point to test the limits of its elasticity. Snap! And start again.

I write to discover myself. As my thoughts change to words, I see who I have been, who I am becoming, and who I might be. I write because my interaction with the world makes sense when I draw it in word pictures. Blue means peace and green means fruit. If I could not write, I would paint. And if I could not paint, I would sing. I would croon ballads about the fact that I cannot write.

I write because I have time. I write because I make time. I write because I lose time when I write. Minutes tick and become hours and hours race into days. I write because it is easy for me to write. I write because I hear words and phrases in my mind. I write because I dream, lofty dreams about never-never land, perfect rag dolls, and vintage family portraits

I write because the gift chose me. I write because I discovered the gift when I wasn’t looking. I write because writing adds value to my life, turning my whispers into loud cries, enabling me to stand tall on crouched knees. I write because the gift continues to unfold with surprises in store.

Mostly, I write because I can. Why do you write?

Samuel Johnson on writing

 

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

Gosh, are you still here? Reading? For real? Okay, this one’s for you—three offbeat posts about writing:

One, Two, Three.

Finished? Now, go get a life!

 

Image title: oilbased marker 02 vector

Original image URL: http://all-free-download.com/free-vector/vector-misc/oilbased_marker_02_vector_161610.

Image designs: © Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

WordPress 104… In Search of Content

in search of content

When I wake up, I do not panic. I turn around and enjoy the darkness. I capture my enjoyment of it—the silence, my breathing, and tracing the bizarre shapes floating on the ceiling—in long lazy stretches. But too quickly, it slips through my fingers like water in cupped hands.

Pop! And my brain takes over. It is 1 a.m. on Friday and I don’t have a post for Sunday, which is when I update my blog.

My idea book is filled with words, phrases, whole paragraphs even, written when inspiration caught me mid-cooking, mid-vacuuming, mid-driving, mid-praying, and mid-listening-to-the-C.E.O.-at-the-company-meeting. Each spree ends with the acronym T.B.D.L. (to be developed later). Words that I imagined would bring me fame, have lain there, on hiatus, waiting to be developed later.

This small exercise book is a contradiction of who I am, for I am as organised as the T that begins my name. However, here, my words begin inside the margin and jump the lines, leaping over the light blue boundaries that would suffocate my creativity. I recognise the frenzy of inspiration and the rush of words tumbling from my mind, in my illegible handwriting.

As I scan through, in the glow of my bedside lamp, nothing I read seizes my attention. I cannot strike the balance between what I want to write and what I think my readers want to read, so I power my laptop. If I read other blogs, perhaps I will find it.

Browsing is an apt term for what I do. Channel surfing paints a truer picture. I join the millions who roam the internet foraging for content. Too much choice is a bad thing. It can leave you undernourished instead of well-fed. Skimming headlines, clicking links, scanning blocks of text, skimming headlines again, I am a victim of “content anorexia”. I eat, but I do not digest, never able to hold anything down.

After a while, I see the word diaspora. It is spelt with a capital D in the middle of a sentence, a straight line and a curve that scream my name. Something doesn’t feel right. The pieces come together. Aha, I have spelt diaspora with a small d on my blog.

My weakness shows when my strength is magnified. It is painful to watch. Perfectionism drives me to find the post on my blog. Perfectionism drives me to start a Google search. Too much choice is a bad thing. I cannot cover the 3,647,400 results, which Google search engines deliver in 0.29 seconds, but I can try.

Diaspora from the Greek, meaning scattering, dispersion…. Diaspora, often initial capital letter….  Spell check the word diaspora on our website…. the body of Jews living in countries outside Israel…. African diaspora… the slave trade and its effects…. Diaspora cultures … the dispersion of communities throughout the world. The diaspora of English into several mutually incomprehensible languages…. The Polish diaspora amounts to 40 million… How to say diaspora in Swahili…

When my alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., I think about three things:

 

One, that this is the alarm before the real alarm. It is the alarm that I “snooze” while I attempt a half-sleep, punctuated by thoughts of the real alarm.

Two, that I was right. I had spelt diaspora correctly with a small d, which was suitable for my context. This small victory does not bring elation.

Three, that I do not yet have a blog post for Sunday.

 

My eyelids now feel as though cement bags were dropped on them. And adrenaline departs from me in waves, rousing pain in my limbs. I know much more about diaspora than I ever intended to know. In secondary school, a teacher once said that no knowledge is ever wasted. What will I do with all this information I gathered about diaspora, information that is already fading away, slipping as I am, under my sheets?

The real alarm buzzes at 6:15 a.m., and I “dismiss” it without thinking, for nature exacts her pound of flesh.

When I wake up again, I panic. Light streams through the blinds and I know I need a miracle. 7:05 a.m., in the shower. 7:13 a.m., dressed. I have never put on make-up in the train, but there is always a first time. My black bag is big enough to hold my life, so I toss the things I need and the things I think I will need inside, and because I cannot remember if I brushed my teeth, I fling in my toothbrush and toothpaste for good measure.

7:19 a.m., I begin the sprint. I see a man walking his dog, shoulders hunched up, chin half-buried inside his coat, in contrast, my coat is open, its tails flapping in the wind. And for once the cold is my friend.

7:23 a.m., I stumble into the bus. So, what if people are staring at me? When I flop into my seat, I drink in gulps of air and think, Usain Bolt ain’t got nothing on me; no, nothing, except age! Up diaspora!

 

wordpress 104 in search of content

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

Image title: cartoon couple 04 vector

Original image URL: http://all-free-download.com/free-vector/vector-cartoon/cartoon_couple_04_vector_181443.html

Image credit: Center Spiral Notebook by Tom Kuhlmann http://community.articulate.com/downloads/p/667.aspx#

image designs: © Timi Yeseibo 2013

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

WordPress 103… Recruiting Followers

follow me

I log into my WordPress account to check my blog stats. One visitor; one view. Hmmm, Australians are asleep and Americans just woke up. I scroll down to community and click support. I search for how to increase blog traffic. And that’s what you should do because this post isn’t about SEO, publicize, or  WordPress plugins.  Me? I started blogging six weeks ago.

The initial response to my blog humbles me. That you would honour me, an Ijaw girl, whose only claim to fame is that I come from somewhere near Oloibiri  in the Niger Delta, where Shell first struck oil, by reading my posts, I thank you.

Around midnight six weeks ago, I began sending mails to friends on Facebook and Linkedin. If I missed you, I’m sorry. I was struggling to keep my eyes open as I copied and pasted the prototype mail, changing the recipient’s name and customising each mail to take into account the circumstances of our friendship for that personal touch. Ko easy rara!

I sent the original to Yinka first. Then I copied and pasted it on Afi’s mail. I clicked the send button before I realized that Afi’s mail read: Hello Yinka!

What’s in a name? Plenty. People deserve to know that they are important no matter the time and distance that separates you from them. I couldn’t afford any more gaffes. At 2 a.m., I was still jogging my elephant memory, remembering the small details of our friendship and adapting  each copy-and-paste mail accordingly.

Did it pay off? You tell me.

It got to the turn of a friend who is an award-winning writer. The last time I saw her was in 2010. As we exchanged pleasantries, she mentioned an event involving her grandmother. I planned to attend, but didn’t get round to.

I sent this customised copy-and-paste mail to her:

Hello K,

How are you doing? Long time. The last my sister and I saw you was in PH-ou mentioned your grandmother’s burial I think?

I’ve just started a new blog which I think may interest you. But, don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself! Leave a reply, share & spread the word! http://www.livelytwist.wordpress.com

Regards,

Timi

A few days later, I received this response:

Hello Timi, I am okay, thanks. I will check out the blog. My grandmother is still alive.

Cheers.

I wanted to enter a forest so the trees could bury my humiliation with their green leaves. To think that my mail may have hit K as ill-wishes; tufiakwa! K, I only meant well o! May your grandmother live to be 120!

In his book, Axiom, Powerful Leadership Proverbs, Bill Hybels says, “Leadership is a lot about asking. After casting bold visions, leaders ask people to help make them become reality.”1 He writes about projects where the stakes felt sky-high and he had to remind himself to be absolutely shameless in asking people to join him.

So, here’s what I’m doing:

  • Casting the vision – this blog is about us, because we’re doing life together and when we connect, we do life better.
  • Stating the value proposition – every post you read will entertain, inform, inspire, or provoke thought.
  • Inviting you to join me – the follow widget makes it easy to subscribe, so you’ll receive my posts instead of occasionally stumbling upon them.

Recruiting followers goes beyond blogosphere because we lead daily. In my experience, men tend to be hunters, aggressively going after what they want.  Women on the other hand, tend to tell their potential followers all the reasons they should say no, and then apologise for asking.

Man:  I just started this project (goes on to make it sound larger than life), and I want you to join me (exaggerates all the reasons it will be worth your while).

Woman:  I know you’re very busy (adds more reasons why you should say no), but I just started this project (promotes project in humble terms), and I’d like you to join me (gives even more reasons for you to decline).

Well, it’s a new day for me. I’m learning to speak up about what I need and pursue what I want, without losing my femininity. What about you, how do you campaign for what you want?

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

 

1. Bill Hybels, Axiom, Powerful Leadership Proverbs, (Michigan: Zondervan, 2008), 21.

All people illustrations, animes, avatars, vectors by Microsoft

design: ©Timi Yeseibo

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

WordPress 102… No Pressure

woman biting nails with anxiety

It’s the night before the public launch of my blog. Bright lights cause me to blink. Hear me talking; you’d think I’m a superstar. I am, at least my mum thinks so. I’m sure your mum thinks you’re a superstar too. I’m standing in front of the mirror chanting, “No pressure Timi, no pressure. You are a high achiever who leverages her skills to increase the company’s bottom line. You can do this girl!” Okay, I’m not standing in front of my mirror literally. It just felt good to write it.

Pep talks, I seem to be giving myself a lot these days. To grow is to expand and if all we do is what we know, we’d never grow. Challenges stretch us to use what we have, discover what we didn’t know we had, and invent what we don’t have. A challenge can be our invitation card to opportunity. Livelytwist is where I discover if the sky has limits and what lies beyond it.

I don’t know anyone who has never been insecure. Does that make us weak or does that make us human? I think about an incident many years ago in primary school. I was one of the honour students. My class was to stage a play and our teacher was casting for parts. She called me upstage to take the leading lady’s role.

I trembled as I made my way to the front of the class, hitting my thigh against a desk on the way. I collected the script from her and faced the class. Twenty-four pairs of eyes looked on. I focused on the first line of the script. I swallowed. Twenty-four pairs of eyes looked on. It didn’t help that the leading man who stood across from me, was a chubby boy that I had a childish crush on.

When twenty-four lips parted in laughter, I managed to maintain a semblance of dignity. My teacher walked up to me.

“Come on Timi, read it.”

I found my voice at last.

“I can’t.”

I cannot adequately describe the disappointment in her eyes. It was worse than the laughter that crisscrossed the room, which rose to a crescendo and then fell to a hush before rising again to an invisible conductor’s baton. Was she disappointed because she had misjudged the capabilities of her top student? She tried to mask the annoyance and impatience in her voice when she asked me to return to my seat, but I heard it. I felt it. Shame trailed me as I limped to my seat. Once there, I did not cry. I don’t know why I did not cry. I was supposed to cry.

Fast forward thirty years later, and I can talk in front of almost any crowd. I cannot remember when last my mouth locked like the jaws of a spanner.

That’s what I’m thinking of as questions scream in my head—will people read my blog? Will they like it? Can I sustain it? What if I can’t write a post week after week? However, knowing that I’ve overcome past challenges silences the questions. I know that fast forward a few months, I’ll still be writing and you’ll still be reading.

No pressure Timi, no pressure.

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Photo credit: Fear-filled woman biting her nails with anxiety by Microsoft

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

WordPress 101

wordpress 101 (2)

So, I listened. Isn’t that what democracy is all about—a blog of the people, by the people, and for the people? I googled, how to start a blog. WordPress. It seemed easy enough.

First, I had to choose a name for my blog. You know how when you want to set up an email account, you choose a username, then a few seconds later you’re told it’s already taken? Well that’s what happened to me for forty-five minutes. What can I say? I am a late bloomer. I mean, like everyone was on Facebook before me. My sister convinced me to join. For a long time I had only two friends, my sister and my other sister. What did it matter, I was on Facebook. Phew! I ticked it off my list of things to do in 2008.

Thursday night, I burnt the midnight oil. The result? My sister said, “Don’t worry, it’s content that counts; I’ve seen worse. Huh? As if she doesn’t know me. Come Friday, I slugged away again—nothing but the best for you my readers.

I typed the name of my blog in a fancy font. I am a graphic designer wannabe. When my mum stopped my art classes and encouraged me to study something serious, I followed in my dad’s footsteps. I studied economics and worked in a bank. I liked the upfront salary payment in January, but when they told me to bring  N600 million deposit… well let’s just say I wished I had continued with my art classes!

Where was I? Right, the fonts. I chose this cool font and saw the preview. Brilliant I thought. Then I saw the message that lets you know if it’s too good to be true, it probably is:

“This font is part of a custom design. Upgrade now for $30 and make your blog look and feel the way you want.” (My paraphrase)

I’ll be passing my offering plate y’all. Thirty dollars; did I wake up to write this post because of $30? Yes and no. Listen, when I began, I was told it was free. These hidden charges, they come and bite you when you least expect it. The true cost of buying that cheap product is the amount you will spend on maintenance later. Keep reading because the offering plate will get to you. After all, WordPress developers have to eat.

I’m still busy slugging away at the computer and reading WordPress tutorials. I can’t complain. In my résumé, I say I’m a life-long learner who enjoys surmounting challenges. I can see how all this will look when I rewrite my résumé:

A high achiever who leverages her skills to increase the company’s bottom line

2013 – set up WordPress blog independently

Abi, you wan try?

Okay, you’ve been reading and wondering when you’ll get to the funny part, smiling a little as you read along, but frowning and quickly skipping past the offering bit. You were scrolling down the news feed on Facebook and your face lit up when you saw my post. Like seriously, you don’t expect me to be funny all the time? Is my name Ali Baba? Please put your offering in the offering plate jo!

I won’t bother you with the $99 for further customization or the $18 yearly fee to secure my domain name. Forget that I even mentioned the $30. This is all I ask, put your energy where your mouth was when you nudged me to start this blog. Copy your wonderful comments from Facebook and paste them here. Then ask your mother, father, sister, brother, and dog to leave a comment. And oh, all of you should follow the blog. Amen.

You know, I may not have taken the plunge if you didn’t push. I thank you for your support and encouragement.

©Timi Yeseibo 2013

Photo credit: Man wearing glasses with confused look on his face by Microsoft

Word cloud: Tagxedo

Image design: © Timi Yeseibo 2013

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.