Dear Beginning Blogger, Learn

Dear Beginning Blogger,

It’s time for another tidbit of wisdom and encouragement from me to you.  Today’s message? LEARN.

Little by little, I’m writing to you with all the things I wish I’d known in those first months of blogging.

Step one: just focus on writing. Get comfortable with words and discover your voice.

Step two: just be awesome on social media. Engage in conversations and not just infomercials for your blog.

Step three: learn.  This blogging thing isn’t easy. There are a lot of different things to learn and you don’t have to do it alone.

It’s not just writing. It’s figuring out all the technical “hosting things”, the fiddly bits of HTML and CSS, and the incomprehensible logic of when to post what to where. It’s all the statistics you slept through in college. It’s the unspoken etiquette on Pinterest and Twitter.

It’s enough to keep you up at night. All night. Every night.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Changes (i owe you awesome)

If you’re a long-time friend, you’ve likely noticed a few changes on my blog over the past six weeks.  I’m not done, but I wanted to give you an idea of where I’ve come from and where I’m heading.

No matter if you’re a long-time friend, a brand new one, a casual acquaintance, or a total stranger, I want you to know

I owe you awesome.

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In which I start breaking rules…

Today, I break the rules.

So I have this big idea that is only half defined.

How big? At the moment it’s covering the wall of my bedroom in those giant flip-chart post-it sheets. Most of them are filled with TINY handwriting. Most of the handwriting is mine, but some of the drawings belong to my husband. He’s listened as my heart spilled out onto paper and tried to sketch in the details as I talked.

It’s messy.

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In which I shut the door…

Last night, the following announcement was made in my house.

I AM GOING UPSTAIRS AND LOCKING MYSELF IN MY BEDROOM. FOR THE NEXT HOUR, PLEASE DO NOT KNOCK ON THE DOOR OR SHOUT THROUGH THE KEYHOLE. NOT EVEN IF YOU NEED TO USE THE BATHROOM. THE ONLY REASON TO ASK ME TO OPEN THE DOOR WOULD BE FOR A FIRE… OR LARGE AMOUNTS OF HUMAN BLOOD.

With that, I ran up the stairs leaving my children in the more than capable hands of my husband. I closed (and locked) the bedroom door and slipped into my PJ’s. With a quick hit to the “writing playlist” and a deep sigh of satisfaction, I finally began to write.

Finally. As in… it’s been months since I even tried to write in peace.

Y’all. It lasted less than three minutes. That’s when my husband started texting me. I am NOT kidding. Granted, it was for a good cause. After almost a year, he finally sold the extra truck that’s been sitting in our driveway. He got his asking price.

(So the next time I lock the family out of my bedroom, the exception list will include fire, human blood, and large sums of cash.) [Read more…]

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Cat in the Hat please come back

A few days behind schedule (thanks to a massive cold), but I’m finishing up my series on writing prompts for grown ups.  Today’s prompt is “Would you like the Cat in the Hat to come to your house?”

The pin is from a blog called First Grade Fever.  The minute I saw the blog, You know how kindergarten and first grade rooms can be amazing spaces with every inch of wall space decorated in an explosion of color and chaos?  The blog looks just like that.   It looks like they’re hatching baby chickens in honor of spring right now.

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Writing Prompts for Grown Ups

The backstory on this post is long (and entertaining), but the end result is that I’m going to shake things up on the blog this week and work from a list of writing prompts for grown ups.  If you want to play along, I’d love to see your response to the same prompt!

If I was really organized I’d have a link party or something, but um… we know I’m not that organized.  If you’re playing along, leave me a note in comments and I’ll promote the snot out of your post for you.  Fair?

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It’s 5am and I’m up.

It’s 5am.  The world outside my window is dark.  I’m famously NOT a morning person.  But I’m up.

I’ve been awake for half an hour.  That’s long enough to stagger into the kitchen and make my husband an egg sandwich while the coffee maker worked magic.  It’s long enough for me to stare hopelessly into the warm coffee mug and feel the caffeine steam kiss my face.

Thirty minutes is long enough to remember that I’m not a morning person and to then subsequently remember why I’m up.

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It’s Monday. Again.

It’s Monday.  Again.  And once again my kids are not in school today.

They won’t be in school tomorrow either.

Sigh.

It feels like there’s no such thing as a normal week anymore. [Read more…]

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and today’s post is…

Today’s post is late.

It should have been written last Friday and scheduled.  But last Friday the city of Houston shut down and closed because it dropped below freezing.  There was a prediction of frozen rain.  We Houstonians don’t know how to drive on ice.

Since it wasn’t written last Friday, it probably should have been written this weekend.  But this weekend the weather was glorious.  The afternoons were warm and sunny.  I spent time watching my kids play in the yard and chatting with a neighbor instead.

Since it wasn’t written over the weekend, it should have been written yesterday.  (along with um… yesterday’s post.  oops.)  But we had this crazy weather thing going and I knew the kids would be out of school again today.  I had a bunch of errands, lunch with a girlfriend, gym time.  It just got crazy busy and there wasn’t a second to think.

Since it wasn’t written yesterday, it should have been written this morning.  But Houston is closed again.  There’s probably ten whole snow flakes on my car.   There is a single icicle on my rose bush that’s a whole quarter inch long.  My husband offered to work from home and keep the kids this morning while I went to the gym.  I don’t think he’d even finished the offer before I was putting on my gym shoes.  Let’s just say it was my longest workout ever. [Read more…]

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Why I write what I write

Based on some recent off-line conversations, I realized I needed to clarify why I write what I write.  My purpose hasn’t changed, and (at least to me) the vision for my blog remains unchanged.

My blog was born on a whim.  The purpose and vision came later.

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