Blogging has changed so much since I first started in 2008. Back then, it was less about site design, SEO, and sponsorships. There are still plenty of hobby bloggers out there, but blogging is big business, and if you Google “blogging tips,” you’ll find hundreds of thousands of posts about how to be successful. There are more ways than ever to make a little money, or even a full-time salary. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, though, and for lots of new and even veteran bloggers, the scale at which the industry is growing can be overwhelming and even demoralizing.Read More
In addition to glasses of bubbly champagne and (hopefully) a kiss at midnight, New Year’s Eve also brings with it a desire to start fresh. January tends to be a time for cleaning our slate—disposing of baggage, literal and emotional—in order to usher in clarity, hope, and new ideas for the future.
But a few years ago, the constant list making felt off. Although I appreciate the satisfaction that comes from crossing a task off a list or making a triumphant check mark, I was also itching for something that felt more nurturing.
That’s when I stopped setting goals, and started choosing a word.Read More
It all started last month when I spent two hours doing a deep clean of our condo before friends and family arrived for my son's birthday party, and while I was up to my elbows in towels and non-toxic cleaner, I made one very small change in the kitchen. I moved the sponge.
Our sponge rests on a ceramic tray painted in an abstract teal and navy pattern. Its home is usually on the counter, to the left of the sink, but to free up the space and make it feel even cleaner I moved it to the right side of the sink, on the silver lip where the dish soap and hand soap used to be.
It was one of those seemingly insignificant changes that actually made me feel better about life for a few minutes.
But what happened next surprised me. For about four days, whenever I picked up the sponge and dish soap to wash the remnants of our meals, I would place the soap bottle directly onto the ceramic dish.. Within seconds, I realized the mistake, but it got me thinking about muscle memory and change.Read More
We all have them: discarded stories, poem fragments, first drafts of novels we haven’t looked at in years, recipes we never tested, old journals, and so on.
Starting projects we don’t finish comes with the territory of being a writer who changes her mind, grows, and embraces new life experiences, but the process of letting one project go for another isn’t always straightforward.
Before I made the decision to stop writing one food blog and start another one, I struggled for months before making a decision. During this interim period, I was confident I needed to do something new but unsure what the details might look like. My spirit was restless, confused, and hungry, a sentiment shared by others.
We’ve all stood at a crossroads in our writing journeys, wondering which way to turn. Do we walk Robert Frost’s less traveled path, or stay on the road we’re on until reaching a destination?Read More
Running from this to that. Buttering toast. Remembering to switch from slippers to flats. Remembering to take the laundry out of the dryer.
Making appointments, changing appointments, sitting in meetings. Thinking about taking a nap in the car.
Showering. Maybe shaving our legs, or maybe not.
Drinking lemon water on Monday, and on Tuesday. Forgetting the rest of the week, or being lazy because the lemons are not already sliced.
Putting pajamas on our kids. Changing diapers, singing songs, and laughing.
Falling asleep while holding our kindle, three pages in. Checking email one last time before setting the alarm. Doing it all again.
Does this sound like the pace of your days? I know it’s been mine, on occasion.
But something’s missing. This isn’t the kind of frenzied pace that’s sustainable.Read More
Earlier this year I signed up for the newsletter of a fellow creative. I loved her energy, and it seemed like she was everywhere, making things happen. She participated in conversations on Twitter, shared a long list interesting links in her emails, and created valuable content for her audience (both free and paid). She was really magnetic, and I always felt energized after reading her emails.
But then she disappeared.
She abandoned several projects-in-process, reduced her activity on social media, and eventually, took a month off to recharge.
In one sense, she was quite transparent about her process and updated us along the way, but from one creative to another, I felt an ache in my heart watching her attempt to create content at such an unsustainable pace. She went from sending two emails per week and churning out blog posts and workbooks to sleeping on the couch to recover.
She had so many amazing ideas. She wanted to inspire her community and provide tools to help them achieve their goals. But she didn’t have a sustainable system in place, and she burned out.
But there’s another way.Read More
We live in a culture that values speed, quickness, and urgency.
So too, our writing has undergone this stretching in recent years, a moving away from the rhythms and pace of our own spirit towards strangling yet intoxicating internet voices shouting “Create three insanely useful blog posts every week!” “Go viral!” “Do what everyone else is doing!” “Don’t. Take. A. Day. Off. (Or your traffic will plummet.)”
It’s all enormously stressful and confusing for the inspired writer who simply wants to share what’s in her soul, when it feels good. Not because she’s done deep research into Google analytics and discovered the most popular time on her blog is Wednesday evening at 5:36 p.m., or because a well-meaning entrepreneur taught her how to do keyword research to find out what her audience really wants.
No, because she’s been thinking about something for a while now, rolling thoughts over in her mind the way you suck on a sunflower seed before spitting out the shell.Read More
The life of a writer is peppered with milestones. Most are small, intimate moments, like finishing a first draft, outlining a memoir, or finding an agent. Sometimes, there are occasions suited for more public celebration, like publications of any sort, graduations, and awards.
But what happens in-between a mundane moment like submitting poems to literary magazines and an accomplishment like signing the contract of your first book deal?
As much time as we devote to writing, we also spend many hours away from our writing desk. This is both a necessity for our wellbeing, and the responsibilities of our life that pull us from the page, like our day jobs, families, or volunteer commitments.
Writing, of course, involves a lot more than typing. And it's often a process of waiting for the next thing to happen while we go about our lives.
This muddled, middle ground can be an uncomfortable space to be. Perhaps you've finished one project and are determining the next course of action. Or you've submitted an article to a website and are trying to stop yourself from constantly checking your email. We wait, we write, we wait some more.
So, what's a writer to do?Read More