Living My Life: Two Years in New York!

Today is the day! The Big Anniversary!

On March 15, 2010 I became what I had hardly dreamt of: A German moving to New York. The City of 8 million. The Big Apple. The town that offers hundreds of possibilities, there to pursue. My student life had changed 180 degrees as I stepped out of my first cab right in downtown Manhattan. I remember the first street I stood at. Columbia Street. I remember my first (foreing) cab driver, who took it from there and delivered me to the Best Western Hotel in Queens. He was Indian, a professor, and only he knows why he had given up his higher education benefits in his home country to pursue life in the City. However, he gave me the most valuable of advice. Said: “New York has the best of people and New York has the worst of people.” To date, this little wisdom I share with you has proven to be very true. So true, that indeed every time I remember this day and his words, I shake my head in astonishment at how they cannot be twisted and turned but simply apply to life in New York.

Two years in the City. Three different jobs, but none of which are career-worthy. Three different apartments, some of which have proven to catapult me to something I can call home. My discovery of the Flatbush ghetto and then the nice side of Brooklyn called Park Slope. A few interesting roommates later. A few boring roommates later. None of them which I had wanted to miss out on. Friends, heart breaks, coworkers, relationships – they have all guided me through the past 24 months and have formed my time here; created my memories in their own unique ways. Two years later, and I am reflecting.

Have I have become a different person? I have turned into someone else. Unsure yet if if I like the person I’ve become or if I hate what New York has made of me. The safest way is to go with a mix. Some traits have made me survive in all of these extreme circumstances I am walking through day by day, living every moment as if it could be my last. Others I wish I could deal with better. The coldness that comes with you when you have to choose between politeness or rudeness when brushing off the overflow of advertisement, vendors, promoters. I know some New Yorkers can justify being impolite towards strangers. I am still having a hard time with it. At least I don’t care anymore when someone pushes me out of their way on my way to work. Is this a sign that I have truly adapted, though? Or that I have forgotten what manners are for?

Every year has changed me to a degree I would have not foreseen. Only one thing seems granted in this city: Happiness does not come easy. And it most certainly does not come when you expect it to. I’ve found myself torn down after earning more money or going to a show I thought would be amazing – my expectations being too high on this one little thing, underestimating the true factors of life. And then I found this warm, joyful feeling when walking beneath skyscrapers in the Financial District of Manhattan or discovering the West Village on a sunny April afternoon. The feeling I had whenever I looked at the skyline from my second old apartment – indescribable. This City was right there, in its miniature form, and everything had seemed so clear to me. Now I work in the Empire State Building and the New York dream seems farther away than ever.

The one thing New York has truly given me: I have created my life new. I have created myself new. Every day, every hour, every moment spent in this precious city I have indulged in, I have caressed, I have made sure to become worthy to remember. Starting with discovering various neighborhoods: Harlem, Bedstuy, Bushwick – we were quite fearless in the beginning. Meeting random people at bars and on the streets, ending up being involved in night-long talks which came to a close on the red steps of Times Square. Working for three cheap Irish guys who did not even pay hourly wage for their bar employees. My first tears when erring around in a bad area, fearing Russian gangstas or other hoodies might pick me up and shred me to pieces.

Our unbelievable luck in this City. New York has this very specific way of applying Karma to everyone who enters and stays for longer than a few days. You laugh at a person on the streets? Be sure you will trip over the next misplaced stone within the next few seconds. It’s the small things that this city will gladly show you and those are the ones you have to appreciate. It is not about the beauty of this city, because this city is seldom beautiful in the traditional sense. It is about the quirks and downsides that make Nueva York a fascinating place to live in. The rainy mornings that turn into sunny afternoons and warm your heart. The rainbow colors in Central Park. A day at the beach, that is so trashed, you would have never stepped foot on it if you were on vacation in a different country. The annoying paper bags from Trader Joes which always seem to break at the wrong moment. And then of course the random people in the train station that come to your rescue and provide you with so many plastic bags, you don’t know how to thank them.

New York is a City of Extremes. And she has her very special way of showing you when it’s time to move on. Believe me, I have seen it in many people. Some of which have come here for a few months. Some of which have stayed for three years. It all ended in the same way: They got the insight that it is time to leave. To pursue something better. It is just too darn bad that every other city outside of here seems too gray to live in once you’ve tasted the forbidden apple. So be sure you enjoy every single moment here because you never know when will be your last!

This is why I want to cherish today. The date. Hold it tight and never let it go! Happy Anniversary to me and to my dream come true!

Me at Magnolia Bakery in 2010
Me at Magnolia Bakery in 2012

This Must Be the Time….

This must be the time no one likes to blog…. I thought the winter would make it easier to justify sitting indoors and getting some writing done. But instead I find myself occupied with other things and pretending it is not winter anymore! Luckily, I’ve noticed from a few others (right Amanda, Ginger, Elena?!) that I am not the only one to procrastinate in the blogosphere… Free time is simply valuable for me right now. Working out at the gym – reconnecting with Ballet and Zumba, two dances I have ignored for almost an entire year, and doing weights – that’s what my fitness agenda is all about right now. Brunches on the weekend and getting together with a couple of friends long forgotten – such is pretty much my social life at the time.
Work is still challenging and lengthy, which means I love to make the very best out of the few couple of hours a day I get away from it. And the weekends, well they have almost become sacred.

February is supposedly the very last month of this half-a**ed winter in the City. We are actually getting a few more colder days now and then with an occasional flake of snow, but it is not sticking to the ground. Now, mid-February, I am not too worried about freezing and cold wind roaring into my face. I wonder what the spring and summer might be about…

Last week was one good Super bowl game! The NY giants won and even earned their own parade in the heart of New York. The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has started last Thursday. While I attended one show last year, I doubt I’ll get the chance to poke my head in this year. Which I somewhat do not regret. Then, the Grammy Awards today, running in the background as I am typing. Some well-earned awards, some not-so-justified honors (Chris Brown? For realz?).
The death of the biggest inspiration in the Soul and R’n’B industry: Whitney Houston. Present in every generation simply because of her unique vocals and her talent, to be remembered in the (music) lives of many…

Good times and sad times intertwine. I’ll keep you posted on those. Oops, it’s been so long!

My Glorious 100!

Here it is! Right in time for the Christmas season! The one and only, the best, the glorious 100th post!
Wordpress shows me that I’ve composed exactly 100 published write-ups in the past 7 months l’ve been an active member of the blogging community. And while I thought it would happen sooner, be under more glamorous circumstances, and feel different – it simply is what it is! And I can’t quite believe I have opened up this blog only 7 months ago, written about so many diverse topics, and gained quite a handful of a readership. Thank you for following, thank you for commenting, thank you for opening up your worlds to me through your own personal blog.

And as I’ve already done in the Golden 50th Post, I have learned more about writing, more about blogging, more about myself in the past couple of months when coming up with these posts.

1) Take time to write!
Finding time to write can be challenging. My new full-time-job on top of my outdoor activities has really burned a hole in the time I could devote to writing. And, nonetheless, I am torn in between keeping this blog going or just using the time for other hobbies. I’ve so far decided that there is still a ton to write about here in New York and that I will therefore keep it going. It is merely the amount of posts a week I still have to regulate. But I see I am not doing too bad. This blog still gets quite a few hits a day, so not every subscriber has abandoned me yet. I will surely give my best to keep you loyal folks entertained.

2) Get away from the new hype of wanting to be famous!
I’ve noticed this from the beginning, actually. When browsing on other blogger’s sites or reading Freshly Pressed. There seems to be a hype around the so-called-writers in getting their work published. First of all, why would anyone want to be famous with a blog? If writing is the only thing you can accomplish, then sit down and write a book or an article, don’t satisfy this need in an easy blog! And second, why are you hoping to be freshly pressed? Most commenters are always the same on those sites, who hope that the community will boost their own page stats. Pathetic!
Now don’t get me wrong. Freshly pressed is a great thing WordPress has come up with. It is a great way to find other interesting writers and read their stories. But I consider these the only reasons they are of interest. Maybe I’m just blogging for the wrong purpose, though. Finding like-minded people who want to know about experiences in New York and on travels…

3) Don’t be too hard on yourself!
I know I’ve written quite a contradictory point in 7 tips on Blogging. I’ve said that once you push the publish button your post should be flawless. 90 posts later I disagree. It doesn’t kill the flow of reading if you stumble across a spelling or syntax error. Give yourself a break if you’re not 100 percent satisfied with what you’ve written. Of course you shouldn’t take it too easy. Proofreading and letting it sit for a few hours is still highly recommendable. But get out what you want to write about and don’t worry too much about the formalities. Which leads me to my next point…

4) Gain great writing practice!
Yes, I still think blogging in English has given me the best practice in writing I could ever have. I still look up terms and words in the Merriam Webster (online). I like to considerably work on my writing style. And I really do think I have improved over the past 7 months. If not in writing, then certainly in time. To me it is easier now to quickly come up a post in between breaks or on a Saturday morning, for I feel more secure about doing so. So if my writing has not improved, the way I go about certainly has!

5) Accumulate topics over time!
Remember that list of things I’ve mentioned in 7 Tips on Blogging? I still have it. But now it is closer 35 unfinished topics that are still on there. And every time I walk around Manhattan or hear something my friends and coworkers talk about, I write it down on that list. So on top of daily ideas, I do have it as a back-up, which is a really nice thing to have. Eventually I hope all of these will be written down, but that is yet to happen.

6) Write it down when it is new and exciting!
At the same time, when I look down at earlier topic ideas I’ve written, I feel like it will be hard for me to write about these now, just because it’s been so long I had a thought on them. And writing about summer in the winter time or Christmas in the summer time is really not the sense of keeping a blog up-to-date. So if you think you have a great topic, right it down as soon as possible. It is the freshness in your mind and the point of view you had at that time that will make it better than when you scramble for the right words months later.

7) Find different times to be creative!
I’ve noticed that there are different times I truly feel like writing and can come up with a post in a minute, as opposed to times I am just not feeling the vibes. And 100 posts later I still feel this way. But I also know that you cannot give in to your moods and circumstances for too long, and that you simply have to at least sit down and try. Even the most uncreative phases will create something. And if at the least they give you a feeling of accomplishment, is that really nothing to be proud of? But be wary of the fine line to procrastination, which you will just have to overcome by yourself.

8) Connect with people!
I have to admit, I’ve been quite bad in reconnecting with people online lately. Time is a drag! And while I am not sure I have the nerves to “discover” new people online, I will certainly give my best in commenting on my “friends’” blog posts and seeing what they’ve been up to. One subscription e-mail after another shoots into my inbox but I haven’t really had the time to go through them and see what you are up to in the US, Europe or Asia. Hopefully, this will change again in the future. I might even have some time during the holidays …

As you can tell, it still is not hard for me to even write my 100th post in over 1000 words. I guess I should stop blabbing on and wish you guys a MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS instead! Enjoy your time off!

A Word on Creativity

Creativity is triggered by an unbelievable amount of things. Once in this phase of seeing everything in nothing, there is truly no limit to what your head can come up with: A simple word, a thought crossing your mind, a picture you’ve seen in your early childhood years, a long-lost idea you worked out in your dreams.

But one thing I have come to find is that albeit creativity can be easily triggered, it can also be harshly suppressed to a degree at which the artist feels locked in a room or caged in a situation, wanting to escape but not knowing how.

My current job is a great example of the feeling described above. It’s mind-numbing work with not too much upwards-crawling and does not suit my current needs of expressionism. We all know what kind of job I am talking about: Whoever has been stuck in a dull position without any prospect of growth or inflexibility to learn other sides of the industry, whoever has strived to achieve great results and then has frustratingly dealt with the crushing outcomes, whoever has been committed to work not aimed towards a career but simply moneymaking or paying the bills – whoever has done all of this, knows what it feels like to be on the wrong path of life.

What I have come to find is that even though I have plenty of downtime in my current position, I barely get two thirds of the things done I would be able to achieve if I were to have a fully challenging work. Absurd enough the amount of free time I have, but even more paradox the fact that I’d rather spend it on mindlessly surfing the internet, facebooking, or checking out other social networks. Rather than actively using it to my own benefit and applying for other positions or writing up some high-quality blog posts.

This being ironic by itself I have discovered that whenever I have been fully challenged the entire day, I am able to write about topics in about half the time I am here and I achieve more things throughout a two-hour period (perhaps in the morning before I leave the house) than I do here in twice the time. I dwell well on pressure – have always been this way, one of those fellows who wrote up their college papers six hours before the deadline. However, when I know I will do exciting things throughout the day or something that has a high fun factor, I am more willing to focus on the works I want to achieve that particular day.

Has anyone else ever come up with the logic to this absurdness? I guess creative situations stimulate you to a higher degree then dull circumstances which you know are just wasting your time in New York.

Perhaps there is a good explanation to all of this. We all have times during which we feel we can come up with new ideas in a second and then we have times during which we cannot figure out a simple thought or draw a stroke on a blank piece of paper. An article I read recently gave some great tips on how to improve your writing and one of these was to read challenging works before hopping into the writing process (Go to James Altucher’s blog to read them in depth.) . Others’ creativity has the potential to inspire you. Such as other’s indifference and unoriginality can pull you down, if you’re not displaying the right strength to resist the negative influence…

A glimmer of hope is that at least I am still using my valuable but wasted time to produce something I can express myself with and keep for future references – yes, even interact with people all over the world. When I look at my fellow coworkers, who simply utilize this time for dull internet shopping or talking to their friends on the phone, I feel fortunate I am not trapped in their mind set – yet.

So, to all of those fellow artists, writers, bloggers, who have been experiencing difficulties in expressing themselves lately: No worries, I am sure it will fade soon enough and give way to something superior.

You just have to trust your qualities of being creative and your ability to create. Both of these which we need so badly in our world today!

New York, New Yorkers, and Other Thoughts…

Considering my upcoming trip to Europe, I want to stop and look back at how New York has done so far. Here is a poem and a quotation I’ve come across and which both ultimately express and reflect the opinions I share when it comes to the Big Apple.

As cited on Hot Child in NYCity’s blog, I couldn’t agree more with E.B. White’s opinion:

The Three Cities of New York

There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter–the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these trembling cities the greatest is the last–the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York’s high strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion.

-E. B. White, Here is New York (1948)

Despite living here for one and a half years, I have come to the conclusion that I am still not a big fan of the actual people of New York. I’ve made friends with Brooklynites, Bronxers, Queenies, and even Manhattaners, but I am still not drawn to most of the New Yorkers’ mentalities. The people I can usually connect to for having the same personality or traits I consider interesting are, matter of fact, from anywhere but New York: Europeans, Asians, South Americans, West Coast buddies… That’s who I can relate to and I have the feeling those are who I will continue to feel attracted to throughout my stay here.
I don’t know what it is. But New Yorkers do have this tendency of ignorance towards other countries and cultures. Be it that they are constantly surrounded by those 350 different mentalities throughout their life here. Be it that some do not venture outside their neighborhood in the Bronx, Queens, or Brooklyn. Be it that their prejudices and complaints are a simple defense mechanism for something they are afraid of. All I know is that it is sometimes very tedious to argue with these people and I still find it unbelievable to find racist persons in the 8-million-citizen example of ethnic diversity.

There was this guy I met a few times and he uttered the following interesting words.

There are three types of New Yorkers: One who never leaves his city. One who leaves as soon as he cans and never looks back. And one who has traveled extensively and come back with an open mind.

Now, category one is easy to detect. Bronx hoodies who drag their brats behind them and consider TGIF the culinary highlight of the week (yes, I am talking about socially disadvantaged people).
Category two I’ve met on travels, so to say, but I hadn’t had the chance to talk to them extensively.
Category three was the aforementioned guy (as quoted), who did seem to display an interesting mix of cultural awareness and necessary openness. I cannot say I have met too many of those New Yorkers, though, and I am sorry I have to admit this.
I believe when being a child you are forced to be open to all the cultures going on here and you see your life as normal, possibly couldn’t imagine another child growing up differently. But after a certain age, shouldn’t you start looking behind this set mind frame? Shouldn’t you start seeing how many opportunities you have here and take them? Or is this a protection against the constant overflow of information and people you have to deal with on year-long bases?
Nonetheless, I still don’t understand how people grow up here and just take all their amazing things for granted. My friend from Coney Island has never traveled further than the East Coast and just recently made a trip out west (California, so to say). He is 30 something. I cannot imagine when he will book his flight overseas, possibly never. When I look at Europeans, I have many friends who have traveled to other countries, the furthest being Australia. I do suppose money is an issue, as in so many cases, but I also consider it an issue when you only see what is in front of you and not beyond. This is why I hate being in New York for too long and loathe the times I can venture outside. You can truly only appreciate this amazing city when you get out and see what you miss.

Despite these sometimes frustrating encounters with the “locals” I do have to say that New York is so far the only city that has triggered about as much creativity and new outlook than anywhere else I have been. I am sure I am not the only one with this opinion for this city attracts daydreamers, artists, and hopeful dishwashers from everywhere else still to the same degree it did 100 years ago. And exactly this flow of ethnically and mentally diverse people is what makes New York my New York: The good vibes combined show me many different facets I might not be able to experience in any other city.
Just to give you a few examples of these: I’ve been roommates with a singer who performed with Kanye West at one point in time. I’ve also roomed with a girl who got me invitations for my first fashion week show in winter ’11. I met journalists of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal without making the effort of meeting them. My morning radio show is hosted by Nick Cannon, who happens to be Mariah Carey’s huz and tells New Yorkers all about his new twins and life with the diva (take that, Morning Hans in Germany! Oh, how hard it will get used to those fourth–class-moderators after this…). I casually met one of Germany’s biggest TV show moderators called Kai Pflaume on a stroll through Time Square and saw him in a completely relaxed family setting (no one recognizes him over here). Filming and fashion shoots belong to the normal street scene as do beggars and homeless. I considered picking up on writing, photography, dancing, and singing – all of these in less than six months and without having the necessary background or previous interest in them.

Yes, this city is truly a whirling musical, a never-ending theater, one show coupled with another, and it has to be taken in and inhaled as long as possible. Believe me, there is nothing like New York – once you get in, it’s hard to get out!

Life As a Reporter

So, I already mentioned that I had started working for a Brooklyn-based online magazine not too long ago. It is an online guide to events, dining, shopping, and many more things going on in tadaaaa – you guessed it – Brooklyn only. Which means anything going on in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island is of no interest to this magazine.
It was established in spring of 2010 and thus hasn’t been out in the world of online magazines for fairly long but its ideas are great and sometimes I really like to try out the bars or events various other journalists recommend in their articles.

Working for this magazine has been rather interesting in the past 5 weeks. Because I was out to do a few background checks and other types of research, I was able to get to know some great places in my borough. Sometimes I have even been sent to spots I thought I knew just to figure out that I did not know them as well as assumed. Due to interviews I got to talk to some very creative people who managed to take their hobby to another level or to become independent in an interesting business. The founders of Hella Bitter would be a great example of this. The four guys are from California, Boston, and Queens, and were all brought together here in New York. They have their lab and studio in Williamsburg and when I stopped by they were kind enough to mix a variety of the taste samples I needed and took a good chunk of their precious time to answer all the questions I had. This is to date one of my best articles I’ve written.
I was also able to discover dining spots with unique views. When checking out Brooklyn’s finest rooftop bars, I ended up in Williamsburg again and not only did I get to talk to the owners of the places but I also stumbled upon a great brunch location I will most definitely try out myself one of these days. In Carrol Gardens I was sent to one of the most remote spots I could possibly imagine but it was worth it because the Alma does not only offer a breath taking view onto the Manhattan sky line (by far the best in entire Brooklyn!) but also has a supposedly good Mexican cuisine – another point I will have to try out sooner than later.
Even Dumbo took me entirely by surprise when I was sent to Pier 6 – a spot I did not even know it existed until recently. One of the advantages of working with and for Brooklynites is that they are familiar with their hood to a certain degree. And they know far more than I ever could after living in Brooklyn for one and a half years. So we newbies get to do all the exploring, while the old fellows simply tell us where to find some hot spots.

The main editor of the mag occasionally sends out press events for grand openings of new bars or restaurants. Some of these are quite exclusive and a strict guest list is kept on most of them, as they are only meant for VIPs and press people. I cannot wait to attend the next one. I should mention that this is still Brooklyn, not Manhattan, so I don’t expect a five star location but occasionally these are in the basket of events, too. Digital Dumbo was, on the contrary, not a press event but I would have not known of a party like this going on if it weren’t for an insider tip from the magazine.

Writer’s Block

I have been suffering from something called the writer’s block lately. I have been feeling burnt out for a good while already, to be honest. I try to blog because it’s fun but in the pastime it has been kinda hard to come up with a neatly written story.

You might have not noticed my struggles yet because I still try to get those 3 – 4 blogs out every week but it seems more difficult for me every time to give my okay to the stories I’ve composed lately. I have the story laid out in my head, have a great amount of topics I could write about but then, when I finally get around to seeing it in front of me, I am deeply disappointed. I feel like my earlier posts were more productive than my latest one. Maybe I’m too hard on myself – I do aim for the near to perfect work. I don’t know, but it’s starting to bother me like crazy. My thoughts are spinning around in my head and I sometimes lack the ability to put them in a clear order or in the way I wanted them to look initially.

I’ve been also writing an awful lot lately, though. I have found a Brooklyn-based magazine online which has already sent me on a few assignments (so far two articles and maybe another one in progress, I will see) in the past two weeks. Then I FINALLY got around to start a project I should have started on a lot earlier: I wrote the first two pages of a book about my first year here in New York (to not forget how I felt, to reflect what I’ve been through, and to have something I can look back at). I started with English, then switched to German, and now I am confused which language to pick. I am most comfortable writing in German, as I feel I have mastered this language to perfection, and I am able to play with words and phrases in a way I cannot do (yet) in any other language. English is not my prime language and I am still learning a lot when writing. New Vocabulary, grammar errors, sentence structures… a good amount of deal. I am still getting those things right and trying out some new approaces. But when I wrote in German I felt that piece of writing was plain boring and without much passion. Maybe I will go back and stick to English. Just another problem of a bilingual writer!

I’m not sure if I ever got around to tell you the real reason why I began writing this blog. There is an overall reason, too, of course, but what really triggered me to finally realize this “project” were two fine guys my age, whom I had met on a night out in Park Slope (yes, Brooklyn neighborhood). They were both grad students aiming for their Master’s in creative writing so I felt I could learn a lot from them and exchange ideas. Anyhow, we got to talk about some projects and I told them that I really, really wanted to write a book about this life-changing experience but that it seemed so hard for me to realize because I didn’t know how and where to start. I asked them for direct advice. They said I am a great talker but I have to start somewhere. So I started with this first. To see where my limits are, if I experience any improvements in my writing, if I am ready to hold up a certain amount of stories a week….. And now I started coming up with articles (for fun) and drafted a few pages of a book.

Unfortunately it’s not going exactly the way I want it to go and that is currently frustrating and a bit de-motivating. Probably this is completely normal not only for new writers but also for life-long narrators. I guess I am looking for some sort of inspiration. Or an English composition course!

Writer’s block – yup, it got me and I don’t know how to get out of this one!

7 Tips on Blogging

I know, I know what you are thinking! Only two weeks into the blogging process and she wants to give us tips on blogging?! Yes, I agree, credibility-wise maybe not the best! Sorry I cannot show you some well-deserved 5 years of experience. Or 100 blog posts to prove my point. I have merely come to see after 2 weeks of blogging that there are some pitfalls to watch out for and that the following can be taken as suggestions meant to help you become better at what you are already doing excellently! So, what I have come to find is:

1) If you have a topic, don’t push it off or wait too long to write about it!
A mistake made not only by beginners but maybe also by people who have a limited time for writing or other priorities (don’t we all have those!). And by the way, this can be said about all types of writing, from updating your private journal, composing a letter, spelling out an E-Mail, creating your own book and so on …. It is always best to write down the idea as long as it is still fresh in your head and it hasn’t been distorted by other memories interfering with it. If you wait too long, you might be at risk for forgetting the main points or the story won’t come out as smooth and well-written as you wanted it the first day you thought about it (You should have seen my draft inbox – I’ve made a point of either writing them out or discarding them right away, otherwise the posts would cluster up and never get done).

2) Make a list of topics …
…you want to discuss in your blogs or write out the main points of some stories and experiences you want to include in your online identity. This is of advantage for two reasons: First, it helps in sorting your thoughts and finding new, exciting topics while writing them down. You cannot imagine the amount of themes I wanted to discuss the first day I started writing and how I had to pause myself for a sec and to negotiate in only writing one piece a day (which until now has accumulated to a great average of 4 posts a week, not bad, don’t you think?!) Second, in case you are experiencing a case of the writer’s block (very common after party-weekends, sad moments, or in unstimulating environments) you will always have a back-up of ideas you can rely on. Matter of fact, I haven’t finished one third of the topics I included on my list and every time I want to get back to it, it seems like a new topic comes to mind, which I have to attend to first.

3) Give your post some time to proofread!
You should write what comes to your mind, but then you should also give it significant time to settle until you get back to the editing and proofreading part. Don’t write, look over it, and post. Spotting most of your mistakes will usually require you to be away from the post for a few hours; after reading your work again you might notice the finer errors. Best case scenario: Have someone else proofread your thoughts. I know this is mostly not possible for various reasons (and I did not mean copyright issues!), so just do some other work until you get back to the writing part. By the way, this is not only true for a word blog, but also when you include images. The order of the pictures might look better a certain way then when you initially posted it, so allow yourself some time of distraction and then come back to see if it still looks like a creative piece of art or needs some correction.

4) Write whatever you want! But be respectful!
Write what comes to your mind, post what expresses your deepest desires, compose whatever will make you feel better. Just be aware that, unless you didn’t select the “private” option, your ideas will float out into space and eventually reach other human beings, who might be curious to see what your page is about. And yes, after decades have passed since the internet was invented, there still exists something like an online etiquette, even though some people have appeared to forgotten what this means. If you want others to appreciate what you have written, then you have to be respectful to at least the same degree you would want others to be towards you. And, to take it a step further, you should not leave it at that, but start your courtesy at a level well above your normal buddy standards.

5) Be creative!
I believe there is nothing more boring than those awful 2 sentence posts people come up with just for the heck of posting something or because they cannot find the courage to delete their account. These are mostly the pages that are dead and inactive after a few months of blogging. So senseless, if you ask me! If you don’t have anything to post about, then come up with a great story. Or tell us about your life, I am sure it is not as boring as you think it is. Everyone expresses themselves in a different way. In case you haven’t noticed, I like to write lengthy blogs filled with a lot of information. Others care for having a picture blog to show the world where they have been on their travels or what their hometown looks like. There are a bunch of great ideas! My friends have opened up a combination of both while roadtripping through the entire US: They have included their great stories and rounded it off with some well-shot pictures!

6) Don’t take too much time “off”!
I know there are always occasions in which you cannot help it but refrain from blogging. Motherhood. Traveling without access to a computer. Not being near civilization. Blogging blues. A new job, relationship, move to another city. Yes, there are many reasons. But the longer the intervals between the blogs get, the harder it is to find back to the rhythm you had before. It takes motivation to write on a regular basis, I agree. Having an extended readership base or knowing that someone is following you is always helpful. But you have to do some things on your own sometimes and that is to pull yourself together and do as excellent a job as you did before! Just follow the tips until this point, and you’ll be just fine. Promise!

7) Don’t forget the fun factor!
Last, but not least (hehe), don’t forget that this is not a test or a pain in the butt which you have to endure. This is all about showing others what you want to share and what you have come up with in your gorgeous head while sitting in front of a computer. If jotting down a few words seems like a torture or posting images does not go hand in hand with your time limits, then there is not much sense in having something like this. But really don’t take criticism too seriously- after all, it’s about what you create and how you see things that will make your posts a pleasure to follow.