Tag

writing

Why is it so hard to write?

Some days (many days) I feel the urge to do something creative. Something outside of the everyday tasks of motherhood. For me, that something is almost always writing of some kind.

I see videos about the regrets dying people have, for not taking the leap, finding your purpose, being brave with your creativity. I read books and I dream about writing a novel or at least writing a blog post once a week and I think about the legacy I want to leave for my kids. I think about what it is I want to do once this phase is over. Will I go back to school? Will I get a job? Will I continue to stay home? I dream about possibilities that I’m not quite brave enough to admit.

And yet, days pass and nothing gets written.

And I feel like a part of me wants to feel something like remorse about it. Sure, I’d like to be writing more, creating something. Sure it doesn’t feel great to have the impulse to write and not follow through with it.

But the truth is, when it comes down to holding the sleeping baby or picking up the computer, I’ll pick the baby. When it comes down to playing the same game on the floor with the toddler for the tenth time today or writing a blog post, I’ll pick the toddler. When it comes to starting a project with the six year old or starting that novel, even if I’m exhausted and everything is a mess and I’m not sure how I feel about starting a project, I’ll pick the six year old.

And I don’t feel like I’m giving something up.

Because even though I have dreams and plans beyond motherhood, my greatest dream and plan still IS motherhood.

You see, I’m not staying at home because I’m being noble and giving up my career. I’m not even staying at home just because I think it’s what’s best for my kids.

I’m staying at home because it’s exactly what I want to do.

At this point in my life, motherhood IS my purpose, my dream. There is nowhere else I’d rather be. I’m not putting my life on hold to raise my kids. This IS my life. It’s a life I feel privileged to have, even on the hardest days.

It may be hard to write most days, but that’s only because the choice between writing and spending that time with my kids isn’t hard at all.

 

Why I Blog

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What good does blogging do in the world? Does the world really need one more mommy blogger? These days the Internet machine is full of people sharing their opinions and experiences on blogs. It can be overwhelming to try to read and keep up with it all. Do I really want to join an already crowded parade where my words are just a drop in an ocean?

Plus, I’m no expert. I mostly blog about things I DON’T know about (which in the ever-shifting land of parenting feels like most things). So why should anyone read my stuff? And am I even ready to put myself out there like that? In case you haven’t notice, the Internet can be a little harsh sometimes. Why set myself up to get rejected by bigger sites and picked on by trolls?

Honestly, sometimes I’m not sure. All the arguments against blogging that I just listed feel like really compelling arguments to me.

But here I am anyway.

Because the truth is, I love to write.

I write because it challenges me to think and to grow. It challenges me to keep learning, about everything from new websites to how hosting/domain names work. It helps me to look at the world more carefully, to appreciate experiences more intensely. It exposes me to other perspectives and opinions.

I love writing because it helps me know myself. I love staying at home with my kids, but anyone who’s ever done it knows it can be isolating. I love my mama friends and our playdates, but it can be hard to make meaningful connections when the kids are asking for snacks and the toddler is waking up from nap. In my writing, I get to share my own authentic uninterrupted self.

I write because I suck at scrapbooking and journaling. I love the idea of leaving a piece of myself and of my family for my children to see–a real authentic piece that is honest about who I am both as a mother and in addition to being a mother. I love the idea that they can one day look back on our family memories from my point of view and maybe know who their mom is on a deeper level.

I write because I care, damnit. I care about the world I live in and I care about the world my children will grow up in. I want it to be a better place, a more loving place. I want it to be a place where we appreciate people for who they are rather than trying to turn them into something else. I want it to be a place where we cultivate healthy relationships with feelings, with boundaries, with relationship and friendships from an early age. I want it to be a place where education inspires curiosity and authenticity and growth rather than simply being a place to sit still and memorize because that’s what we’ve always done. So I write about these things. My voice may be small but I speak up because I care.

I write because it means I connect. When others read my work and agree, we connect. When others read my work and disagree, we still connect. The more I write, the more people I find that I connect with. I see other writers who encourage and support each other. I see people writing about the same stuff as I do. I see people writing different opinions and it makes me stop and think. I write because it’s my gateway to this amazing community of people who are writing because they care and so they speak up. They share recipes because they care about nourishment, nutrition, health, family. They share stories because they care about legacy and love and spreading hope. They share beliefs because they care about people, about the world.

I write because it reminds me I’m human. Not everything I write is going to be great or even good. Some posts turn out to be massive failures. Sometimes I look back on what I wrote a year ago and I wonder what the heck I was thinking. I don’t write with the intention of creating a masterpiece. I write with the intention of always growing and getting better. I got a lot of silent rejections when I first started sending out my work to be published. But instead of letting it defeat me, I tried to let it make me stronger.

I write because it reminds me to let go. Once I put something out into the world, it’s not really mine anymore. People will take it and do with it what they will. People might love my work and share it or they might hate it and bash it. They might read the first line and form their opinion without ever even reading it all. And that’s ok. It’s a hard reality but at its core, there is a valuable lesson about love.

I write because right now, it’s what I have to offer. There will always be reasons not to do something creative, something scary, something new, something that feels meaningful or something that you fear is meaningless.

But at the end of the day, those reasons start to sound a little hollow.

This week a young man who played football for the Huskers died in a car accident. A fellow writer responded with an article titled, “We Don’t Get to Decide When We Play Our Last Game”. And my first thought was, at least he had the courage to play the game in the first place.

We change the world by having the courage to do what we feel called to do, even if there are a million reasons not to. I don’t want it to be fear that keeps me out of the game.

5 Things I Want My Social Media Friends to Know About My Blogging

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Hey Friends! Last week I had my first article run on Huffington Post. It was a pretty fun moment for me. And you all were so amazing. You read the article. You commented, you celebrated, you encouraged, you shared. You all are one seriously amazing community of people and I’m so deeply grateful to be a part of it.

As I was sitting in awe of your badassness over the weekend, I thought of a few things I want you to know…

1.I want you to know why I do this. I write because it keeps me sane. I write because it’s like a scrapbook for my family. I write because I love to write. And I wanted you to know that it isn’t always easy. It is still scary to put myself out there. Every time I write a post I have to build up the courage to share it all over again.

2. I want you to know that we can still be friends, even if you disagree with what I write. I don’t write to try to change your opinion. I don’t write because I think I know something better than someone else (in fact, I’m certain that I don’t). I write to share my perspective, to share what I see, to open up an opportunity for us to connect, either by how we are the same or by how we can grow from our differences. I still like you even if we see things differently. 🙂 AND…

3. I want you to know that I’m totally open to any comments and conversation, as long as we can be nice to each other. I love it when people share their opinions back, even if it’s an opposing opinion. If we are friends on social media, I trust you to be respectful if you’re commenting on my “space”. I am almost always curious about different opinions and would love to hear another side of things. If you’re also curious and open to hearing new perspectives, we could have a great conversation.

4. I want you to know that I really do try not to bombard your news feed with my stuff. Here’s the truth: I get paid for some of my work. As a stay at home mama that’s a really cool thing for me. I don’t write for the money at this point, but it is a nice perk. When I get paid, it is based on how many views my article gets. That means, the more views, the more I get paid. And it’s really hard to find the balance between over sharing and under sharing. Sometimes when I share something, a lot of people miss it. So you might see me sharing something more than once. But I promise I think very carefully about how much I share so I’m not hogging your news feed. One of the hardest parts about blogging is promoting your own work, but I’m trying to move out of my comfort zone on this because, as a writer, it’s how you build your resume. If I didn’t plug my own work, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to be published on Scary Mommy and Huff Post.

5. Maybe most importantly of all, I want you to know that it really means a lot to me when you read, like and share my work. It’s not something I take lightly at all. There is a LOT of stuff on the Internet these days, so the fact that you took the time to read something I wrote is a big deal to me. I can’t tell you how humbling it is to have people comment on something I put my heart into.  Sharing your work for other people to critique and opening yourself up to the possibility of negative feedback is hard, but you all are always so incredibly supportive and I could ramble for days about how deeply grateful I am for every single one of you but I won’t. Just know it’s true.

New Look!

So for as long as I can remember I’ve had AT LEAST two blogs. I’m a weird version of Type A and have always felt the need to have spaces designed for specific things, so my blogs usually have a specific purpose. One is a place where I put my best writing an ideas, another is a more real-life “catch all”, etc. That’s what this space started out as. If you want more details on the evolution, check out my About page which is newly updated. 🙂

But after months of feeling bad for neglecting the other “fancy” blog in favor of this, my “yoga pants” blog, I finally bit the bullet and imported the content from the other site to this one. So there is a ton of new content hidden back in the archives.

And because the archives are now somewhat more complex, I decided it was time for a layout that allowed for a little more user-friendly browsing. Hence, we have a new look!

I’m loving the new features and the new look, and it feels great to finally be in one writing “home”. Hope you like the new space. 🙂 As always, thanks for stopping by!

Daily Photo excuses. Sigh. 

It’s been one of this weeks. First it was one of those “I can’t put down this book so don’t expect me to get anything accomplished” weeks. (Read anything you can reach by Jandy Nelson. You can’t go wrong.)

Then it was one of those “I started crossfit even though everyone who goes there looks like a superhero and I still look pregnant and not just a little bit cute pregnant like frumpy why can’t I lose weight pregnant so now I’m too exhausted to even lifty arms. Seriously. Pumping the soap dispenser to wash my hands hurt” weeks. 

And then it was a “oh crap I am hosting a birthday party in like three days and my house is a disaster because I’ve been having one of those weeks (see above)” weeks. 

And then it became a “I dropped my new iPhone 6 on the cement and it shattered and now it searches for rand things on the internet and calls people I haven’t called in months when I’m not even touching it so now all my pictures are hijacked and my main tool for blogging is shot” weeks. 

So. I’m blogging from an old phone. Only have some of my pictures. And I’m letting myself off the hook when it comes to catching up. So there. 

The Doing

I’m a list person. I always have been. I love the visual feedback of accomplishment when I make a list and cross everything off. I always have a “to do” list. Always.

Now that I am in sleep-deprived mom-of-an-infant (when do they stop being considered a “newborn”?), I am even more dependent on my lists, both for the validation that I am doing something with the days at home in yoga pants and for the help they offer my distracted brain.

One of the things I do is write down lists of things to blog about. The days are busy and a thought will come to me and I’ll write it down for later.

The problem is, later never comes. I keep going with the endless chores and lists and another idea comes along and I add it to the pile and just keep pushing it aside. I have thousands of blog posts waiting to be written. Hundreds of moments that have now passed… What it was like to worry about becoming a mom of a second child in the midst of a blended family, what transitioning from work to staying at home was like. All moments passed. All thoughts unwritten.

I have plenty of excused, sure. But how valid are they really? Sure there’s plenty of stuff to get done and there always will be. But it only takes a few minutes to push pause and write. And this blog isn’t intended to be a perfect specimen of writing. It’s intended to be real. Scattered thoughts from the middle of the night because the baby is awake, typos because I’m writing this from my phone during a gymnastics class kind of real.

So I’m working on doing rather than just planning to do. I had the idea for this post and went to write it in my journal but stopped. The four year old is playing alone in her room happily. The baby is sleeping. The laundry is running and the crockpot is cooking supper. Now is exactly the kind of “later” I have been waiting for.