A Christmas Wish List for Bloggers

Yep, a Christmas wish list post.

This post is NOT shameless self promotion.  It has nothing to do with my recent declaration that I’m not as popular as I want to be.  Nope.  This isn’t about me at all.

(Although it IS an effort to be helpful and solve problems.  I’m at least TRYING to solve problems on my blog this week.)

This is a helpful list.  I’ve got a few suggestions for what you can give your favorite blogger (who isn’t me) for Christmas.

(psst… bloggy friends.  you can share my post if you’re too shy to ask for these things for yourself.  i’m helpful that way.)

[Read more…]

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Writing Prompts for Writer’s Block

If you’ve written or blogged for any length of time, sooner or later you face writer’s block.

It happens to all of us.  Sometimes you sit down in front of the screen and just stare.  Sometimes, everything else just gets in the way and seems more important.  Sometimes, pure exhaustion sets in.

For a variety of reasons, writer’s block just happens.

Every writer has their own way of dealing with it, and I’m always looking for new ideas.

Here’s what I’ve found that works for me: [Read more…]

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I’ve been given the sunshine blog award

I’ve been nominated by the sunshine blog award by my friend Crystal at Tidbits of Experience.

Whenever I’m tagged in one of these awards blog meme thingy’s (that is the official title, right?) I invariably feel like Sally Field… [Read more…]

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Lessons Learned from 31 days

So… last year I joined hundreds of other bloggers in the Nester’s 31 days challenge.  It ran the entire month of October, and for 31 days straight I wrote about Finding Joy in Motherhood.

I loved it.

I hated it.

I almost quit partway through. [Read more…]

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Dear Spammer – About your grammar….

I’ve been having a bit of a fit this weekend about grammar (or rather, the lack of it by Spammers).

If you follow me on Facebook (and you should) you may have seen a few snarky remarks.

If you follow me on Pinterest (and you should) you may have seen me throw a pin fit as I created a new board dedicated to the subject.

(that was Saturday night, right as Pinterest stopped working for all of my friends. i may or may not have inadvertently broken pinterest. oops.)

Before I launch into a full blown rant on the subject, I need to get a few details out of the way. [Read more…]

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Ch-ch-ch-changes….

Oh come on admit it… you remember the song about changes.  The one by David Bowie?

So what about the Turn Turn Turn song?  The one by The Birds that is direct from the book of Ecclesiastes?

In some ways, both are talking about the same thing.  Life comes at us in seasons.  At a certain point, there comes a time for change. You can either embrace it and move on, or you can fight it.

I don’t recommend fighting it. Just… trust me on that.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-changes?

It’s time to make some changes to my blog.   Again. [Read more…]

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To my friend who doesn’t blog

to my friend who doesn't blog

Forgive me while I write an entirely self-serving post to my friend who doesn’t blog.

Given that I’ve had bits and pieces of this conversation with several friends over the past few weeks, I’m hoping my friend won’t recognize herself.

(and if she does, i’m hoping my friend won’t get her feelings hurt. girl – you know that’s not how i roll.)

See, my non-blogging friend thinks my blog is a waste of my time and talents.  She doesn’t even see it as a cute little hobby or an ego-centric online diary.

No.  She sees it as a giant time-suck… a distraction from important things… a total waste of my time.

This goes beyond her criticism that my blog does not make any money (it doesn’t – the rare gift card isn’t enough to cover my expenses).  It’s her assertion that my time could be better spent on activity that actually does make money.

My friend who doesn’t blog has me quite upset.

At one level, I understand what she’s saying.   Blogging is (quite frankly) a giant time-suck.  Writing, creating artwork, marketing my blog, spending time on social media… it can consume as many hours each day as I let it.  Even after all of that is done, there’s still back-end maintenance, the total redesign of how the blog looks, networking with potential sponsors… the list is endless.

So yeah, I get it.  On the surface, it looks like I’m wasting a LOT of time on something that offers very little return on investment.

I understand her point about there being only so many hours each day.  Trying to run more than one home based business (blogging and direct sales) demands more hours than exist in a week.  I get that.

Trust me.  I get that.  The juggling act lately has been insane.  Crazy.

I get it.

But….

There’s no way I’m giving up blogging.  Not now.  Not when it meets so many of my needs and makes my heart sing.  Not when it seems that every part of my life weaves together and makes sense because it all ties back to one little spot on the web.

The direct marketing thing?  I can give it up.  I have fun with it. I love being a bit more sociable.  I love how it lets me encourage other women and invest in their lives.   I love how it gives me more interesting things to blog about.  I love how it stretches and challenges me to turn weaknesses into strengths.

And…

Here’s the deal.  I know the juggling act is a bit much.  I understand that there is a limit to how effective I can be at anything because I just don’t have time for everything.

So I quit.

Yeah.   Just like that.

I quit.

You know what I’m going to quit?  I’m going to quit trying to survive without maid service.  I’m going to quit watching that vapid show on television.  I’m giving up pretending that I can do it all.

So there.

Problem solved.

One last thing?

Just for my friend who doesn’t blog.

How in the name of all that is rational and logical can you spend twenty minutes berating me for my giant time-suck of a blog and then turn around not an hour later and ask for my help starting your very own blog… because you’ll use it to make money?

How?

Seriously.

Did you not even appreciate the irony of my response when I referred to helping non-writers start a blog as a giant time-suck that didn’t seem like it would make me any money.

I really was taken aback when my response hurt your feelings.

After all, I was just quoting you.

why i blog

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A no excuses kind of post

When I started blogging, I made a promise to myself that I would never write one of those “I would have posted except…” posts.  I promised myself there would be no excuses.

And even though I’ve missed posting twice this week, there will be… no excuses.

Now that I’ve been home from vacation a week, you would think things would be back to normal.  I had certainly planned for them to be.   By now I had every intention of being caught up on the laundry, throwing a 31 party, cleaning my bathrooms, and generally being caught up with the universe.

It hasn’t exactly been that kind of week.

Even without the double whammy of VBS and writing camp, it wouldn’t have been that kind of week.

It’s been the OTHER kind of week. [Read more…]

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It’s my one year blog-a-versary!

It’s my one year blog-a-versary and I’m celebrating by unplugging for the week.

Not really.  The fact that I’m on vacation in a spot that doesn’t even have cell signal is living proof that my life does NOT revolve around my blog.

I know it’s traditional to do a give away to celebrate a year of blogging.   I promise I’ll do that later this month.  I’m in the mood to give away a bag from Thirty-One Gifts (that’s my store, feel free to check out the catalog.  the large utility totes are on special this month).

In the mean time, I thought I’d entertain you by digging up my first posts and making fun of them.

happy blogaversary to me

I said Hello World

You know that first post that WordPress puts on your blog?  The one that’s titled “Hello World”?  I still have mine.  Only… I edited it.

Hi world.  It’s me.  Happy Mom.  (waving).  Welcome to my blog.

I have no idea what I haven’t deleted this post yet.  All it does is prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m a total and complete dork. To be honest, I think I leave it there so I have an easy way of keeping track of when my blog started.

I was self conscious

About five minutes later, I wrote a second post.  Probably because I could.

… about that first post.  I know it was a little short and dorky.  So what.  Who actually reads first posts anyway?  It’s kind of awkward, sitting on this side of the screen.  As much as I’d like to imagine an eager audience for my every post, I know that’s just not the case.  I’m pretty sure no one will read my blog for the first month of so.

That’s OK.  I feel MUCH more comfortable making some basic blogging mistakes and commit who-knows-what kind of faux pas (pronounced FOX PASS by my kids) knowing that no one is really looking.  It’s kind of like talking to my kids.  After the first minute, they aren’t listening… I’m just talking until I feel better.

I can see the beginnings of my writing voice even in this post (note the parenthetical aside).  But I’m clearly self conscious about the whole thing.

My favorite part of the whole post is when I tweeted it.  I had ZERO followers.  Not even a creepy one.  I tweeted for a week with absolutely NO followers.  I didn’t even realize it.

I tried something that failed.

The next thing I wrote was a how-to post.  Believe it or not, I started out with big plans to be a how-to DIY kind of blogger.

I wrote a post called Introducing the Points Project.  It has my very first photo for my blog.  I even pinned it.   I still get a handful of visits each month on the post, and it occasionally gets repinned.

Here’s the deal.  The points project didn’t work.  It was a colossal failure.  All it did was give my kids some good math practice and then help them fine-tune their negotiation skills.   It did NOT lead to cheerful happy children who were motivated to do their chores.  I did not get to skip past the part where I alternate between being a drill sergeant and being… worse.

The part that worked is the part that always works.  In the summer, I give my kids more money.  Whether they earn it through chores or just are given an allowance, the amount goes up in the summer.  I then expect them to pay for their own Lego kits, video games, trips to fast food establishments with playscapes, and whatever else they want that isn’t in my budget.  It does a great job of curbing the “gimmes” and teaching them some basic money management skills.

Happy Blog-a-versary to me.

I have to confess that as I’m tying that phrase, I’m hearing the  “A very merry un-birthday” song from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.

Come on, sing it with me.

 Tell me what bag you’d like to see me give away when I get home from vacation.  I’m open to suggestions.

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