Old Becomes New Again

Photo Credit: Dustin Lee
Photo Credit: Dustin Lee

Once upon a time, I thought I might try to increase my followers here on the blog and try to use my writing to earn a little extra money for our family.  The first thing to do, all the best bloggers said, was to move over to a self-hosted site.  So, I did that.  However, I soon discovered that I just didn’t have the kind of time and energy that is needed to monetize a blog.  I also wanted to stay true to myself and write on my own terms.

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to go with my blog and the truth is, I’m not really sure that I want to go anywhere.  I mainly just want to write about my life and my experiences so that I can stay in touch with family and friends and so that I can leave our history for Evelyn someday.  When it was time to renew my hosting services this year, I started to worry about what would happen to my blog if something should happen to me.  If nobody had access to it and if nobody paid the fee to renew it every year, my blog would just shut down and the people who I most want to share it with would not be able to see it anymore.  So, after some thought, I have decided that it’s time to return to my free wordpress site.  All that means for you is that you can find my writing at a different address now.  Previously, I was blogging at ascenicdetour.com.  Moving forward, you can find me here at ascenicdetour.wordpress.com.  I have moved over all my old posts, so they are still available here and I have been working on a new design and layout.  The plan is just to keep it simple and write about whatever strikes me at the moment.  I’m still working on some details, but if you have been following along, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to keep in touch with what’s new.

I hope to see you as I move forward into this new chapter.

 

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NaBloPoMo: what I’ve learned

Photograph: Capture +/Alamy
Photograph: Capture +/Alamy

Well, I’ve got one more post to write for NaBloPoMo and this is it. Endings can be bittersweet and this is no exception, though I think there’s more sweet than bitter in this situation. I’ve always been a 3-4 posts a month kind of person, so daily posting proved to be quite a challenge for me. There were definitely times when I wanted to quit, but then I’d tell myself, Suck it up, ninny! You’ve gone this far. Finish something in your life already!

So, I pressed on.  I posted some things I’m proud of and I posted some things that I may be tempted to go back and delete later on.  But I posted every. single. day.  I definitely learned some things about blogging in the process.

I have no idea where I want my blogging to go.  I have reflected on this quite a bit over the past few months, and even more so during November.  Sometimes I think it would be great to build my blog as much as I can and try to earn an income with it.  Other times, I see it as just a hobby and a way to document the everyday mundane stuff that only my family would really want to read.  At this point in time, there is no way that I could devote the kind of time needed to really try to make it take off.  I prefer to write things I really care about, use a few small strategies to publicize what I write, and if it gets attention, that’s great.  All I know for sure is that I don’t want this to feel like a job.

Daily posting messes with my creative process.  Ideas for great posts come to me when I least expect it.  The words pour out when I am really passionate about what I am writing.  I don’t really have control over when I will be inspired.  Posting every day feels forced and insincere to me.  I found myself writing half-passed posts that could have been much better if I had allowed myself more time to reflect rather than feeling the pressure to post something, anything.  Going forward, I will probably try to post 2 times a week.

A little fluff is ok.  While I wish I could write something profound every single time, I know that there are times when I just don’t have much to say.  It’s fun to write lighter pieces when I don’t have much to offer and it keeps readers engaged and lets them know I’m still here.

I love/hate to explore other blogs.  I do love to see what other people are doing with their blogs.  At the same time, I tend to compare myself to others and it does get overwhelming when you start to realize just how many blogs are out there and how easy it is to get lost in the sea.  I have to just remind myself to be who I am and try not to be too hard on myself.  I think that the most important thing is to be sincere and write about what you love and what you know.

Overall, I’m glad I did this.  I’m proud of myself for completing it, but dang, I’m glad it’s over.  Especially considering the time of year.   I have a lot of crap to do, folks, what with Christmas and a very special birthday coming up…

frustration

Well, I had a lovely post all set and ready to go. It included pins from Pinterest, which I had to first learn how to embed into the post. Then I somehow managed to navigate away from the page and lost all my hard work. Since I am beyond frustration at this point, I have only to offer this photo that Michael took this evening. I’d say it an accurate depiction of how I am feeling right now.

frustration

 

Is is wrong that I am counting down the days until NaBloPoMo is over?  (It’s 5, by the way.)

4 posts I wish I’d written

I’ve been dealing with some serious writer’s block over the past week or so of this NaBloPoMo and I’ve been spending a lot of time reading other blogs for ideas and inspiration.  In my search for interesting topics, I stumbled upon several blog posts I wish I had written myself, mainly because I completely relate to the content.  Here are four that caught my attention this week.  Enjoy!

What are You Talking About? by Elizabeth Comiskey of Lazy Hippie Mama

I often find myself thinking what the…??? or shaking my head thinking I just don’t get it.  Fortunately, I am not alone and Elizabeth states it oh so eloquently without being offensive.

10 Simple Strategies for a Clean and Organized Home by Sarah Kooiman of Arena Five

Are you up to your eyeballs in laundry?  Are your closets overflowing?  Sarah has some awesome (and hilarious) strategies to help you out.

Ten True Things About the First Year of Parenthood by Karyn Thurstonof Girl of Cardigan

The first year of parenthood can be overwhelming and lonely and amazing.  This is a very touching post to read over and over.

If You Shop on Thanksgiving, You are Part of the Probelm by Matt Walsh of Matt Walsh Blog

I don’t think anyone could have possibly said it better.

 

losing steam

tired
This is how I feel about blogging today.

I’m starting to lose steam on this NaBloPoMo.  No, actually, I think I’ve hit a brick wall.  I really don’t want to quit, but I’m just not feeling it these past few days.  I have a bunch of great ideas for posts, but they are topics that will take time and thought and reflection and I don’t want to half-ass them.  My only time to write is late at night after Evelyn goes to bed.  I work all day, take care of dinner, bath, and bed, and by the time I sit down to my computer, I am mentally exhausted.  I find that my most brilliant thoughts come to me when I am driving the 1/2 hour commute to work in the morning…or on the way home.  I should really take advantage of the voice recording feature on my phone, but still, I usually only come up with fragments of content that need to be strung together at a later date.  So, here I am posting about not being able to post.  But, I’m pressing on, even if it has to suck for a few days….

NaBloPoMo (what I’ve learned so far)

About a week ago I read about NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and decided to give it a whirl.  All that’s required is to post once a day on your blog for the month of November.  Sounds easy, right?  Wrong.  It’s really not.

I have been blogging since 2009, when I was laid off from work for a short time.  I was sitting around the house, wondering what to do with myself, so I started blogging.  But it’s only been during the past 6 months or so that I have been really sharing my blog with other people and actually encouraging people to read it.  I thought this would be a good way to get more exposure for my blog and to have a chance to explore other blogs and connect with other bloggers.

I knew going into this that it would be hard.  I figured I’d probably end up quitting in the middle (or maybe even a few days in).  I can’t even finish a month long photo-a-day project.  How in the world am I going to finish this?!  Well, somehow I made it through the first week so, what have I learned so far about daily blogging?

At this point, I’ve learned that after this month, I will not be posting daily.  My life is just too busy and I have too many things on my plate to post quality work each day.  I will probably be a 1-2 posts a week kind of gal.

I’ve learned how to create and maintain an editorial calendar.  In fact, I just filled up the whole month with ideas for posts, so hopefully, I won’t run out of inspiration.

I’ve learned that every post does not have to be deep or profound.  Sometimes it’s fun to just write fluffy content…and this should be fun.  If not, why bother?

I’ve also reaffirmed (because I already knew it) that I am far to hard on myself.  I am too critical of my own work and I stress about it too much.  Again, if this is more stressful than it is fun, what’s the point?  So I guess I could say I’m learning to relax a little bit about blogging.

Well, I think that’s it for now.  It’s only been a week, but I am looking forward to finishing out the month.  Hope you’ll follow along.

10 songs I’ll listen to for the rest of my life

billie

Ok, I ain’t gonna lie.  This posting every day thing is harder than I thought it would be…and I thought it would be hard.  Today I resorted to looking for prompts online.  Don’t judge me.

I generally hate prompts that ask you to write about your favorite anything.  Art, music, movies, food, books…I mean, really.  Who can choose a favorite?  I certainly can’t.  But 10…I can do 10.

I realized as I was choosing these songs, that the process became less about my favorites and more about the music that tells the story of my life.  Each of them take me to a different time and place and some of them represent people.

So, without further ado, the 10 songs I’ll listen to for the rest of my life:

1. You Are My Sunshine – one of the first songs I learned as a child, and I still love it.

2. Amazing Grace – this one speaks for itself. spiritual.

3.  Black Dog (Led Zeppelin) – skipping school and spending the day by the pool at my friend Kelly’s dad’s house.  Good times.

4. One (or any other U2 song) – see?  I can’t even pick a favorite U2 song.  This one takes me back to high school.

5.  Good Morning Heartache (Billie Holiday) – I was a weird teenager, listening to 1940s jazz tunes.

6.  Silent All These Years (Tori Amos) – ah, the college years.  the angry, man-hating college years.

7.  C’mon on Eileen (Dexy’s Midnight Runners) – fun!

8.  Je t’aimais, je t’aime et je t’aimerai (Francis Cabrel) – even if you don’t understand French, this is a beautiful song.  I never tire of it.

9.  Broken (Jack Johnson) – my love.

10.  Sweet Baby James (James Taylor) – this is Evelyn’s lullaby.  We have been singing it to her since she was a few days old.  Also, anything James Taylor reminds me of my mom.

Wow, that was harder than I thought it would be!  Ask me again tomorrow and you might get a different list.  Can you name 10?