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Have You Seen This?

Have You Seen This?

I was on a panel! I was on a panel!

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That Moment When

That Moment When

That moment when you’re so tired and thirsty you make a cup of coffee and pour a big bottle of water and then you come |thisclose| to pouring half and half into the water and not into the coffee. That moment when you’re so tired you refer to bread as bed. That moment when you say something as ridiculous as, “This is the Swiss cheese of bed!” and you meant bread and that’s not really all that much better. That moment when you forget to bring your antacids to kickboxing and have to keep stopping so you don’t puke on a heavy bag. That moment when you realize you’re really like a 90 year old walking around with your heartburn and whatnot. That moment when you tell someone, “I’ll bring you my card so you can check out my website!” and then you remember that your blog has been nothing but bullshit about your toilet and pesto and coffee and being tired. That moment when you realize you really need to write something you can be proud of. That moment when you realize tonight’s not going to be that night. This is yeah write’s nomo writing challenge Day...
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Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Last year I wrote a post about my goals and stuff, cleverly titled Goals and Stuff. Some years I meet my goals, some I don’t, but I like setting them anyway. If things work out well, I can be all “Hey! Look at me, making stuff happen WOOHOO!!!” But if I fail to accomplish things, I have created something to beat myself up over which is one of my favorite hobbies. In 2014, I set out to do three things: finish the first draft of the memoir manuscript, lose 50 pounds, and empty my house of all nonessential items. I didn’t do any of them, but I’m not quite ready for self-flagellation. I am going to (you might want to sit down here and brace for the shock) cut myself some slack. The manuscript: I have over 90,000 words and I would say, since I’m in a generous mood, I’m about 90% done with the draft. I’m not even slightly pretending that it doesn’t need tons of work still but most of the story is down. When I decided to really get serious about it last January, I had bits and pieces and a loose outline but no idea what I had in any measurable way. It’s not done like I’d wanted, but I feel like I’ve made so much progress and it’s not a wishy-washy “I want to write a book” type goal anymore. Weight: Let’s just not, okay? Empty the house: I had planned to focus on the attic and the basement. The attic is about 90% empty (seems to be a common number for me…). All that’s left is one piece of furniture I have to take apart to throw out (so lazy though), the comic book collection (which will probably stay there permanently), my wedding dress, and about half a dozen bins of pictures, keepsakes, and my mom’s stuff. Considering it was so full I could barely walk up there last year, this is a huge improvement. The basement has been emptied by about 50%. There is still stuff down there to donate or sell, keepsakes and Mom’s stuff to go through and various household items. I can’t empty it fully, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. So what’s on the horizon for this year? I’m keeping the 3 goals from last year but adding a few more areas of focus. 1. Finish the book. Not just the first draft but all the drafts. 2. I need to do something about my weight and health in general. I need coping strategies that don’t involve pizza. I need to exercise regularly. 3. Keep getting rid of stuff. Organize what’s left. Get rid of more stuff. 4. Get paid to write. I landed a few paying gigs in 2014, but this year I’d like to expand on that. It would be wonderful if I could write full time as opposed to finding another insurance job and I suspect that may not be something I do this year, but I want to get closer to it. 5. Read more books and watch more movies. Not a fancy goal, but one that will make me happy. This year, more than anything else, I want to focus on the stuff that matters most to me. I want to stop killing time. At the risk of vague-blogging, I have goals much larger than what I could put into a year-in-review/resolutions post. You’ll have to take me at my...
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Piles of Pizza Boxes.

Piles of Pizza Boxes.

Because who doesn’t like a pile of pizza boxes?

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Unwanted.

Unwanted.

I will make myself wanted again.

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Community. People. Home.

Community. People. Home.

2010 was a difficult year. The first quarter was spent trying to sell our house while my mother’s health rapidly declined. Nathan was three years old and I worked part time both at home and in the office, which was 40 miles away. In April, Mom died and the next day we accepted an offer on our house. Within two months we moved and now that I was closer to my office, I raised my hours to full time out of the house. It was chaos. The fog finally started to clear and the next thing I knew it was the summer of 2011. I wasn’t happy in my job and needed something more. I started writing again and revived my blog, though I wasn’t sure what I would do with it. I had tried my hand at various niches: parenting, frugal living, and minimalism, but most of it didn’t feel right. Something was missing, yet I kept it up. In early 2012, as I was still finding my way, I happened upon a tweet that sounded interesting. I followed the link and at the bottom of the post was a yeah write badge. Ever the curious one, I clicked the badge and discovered a whole new world. Bloggers were writing stories, not just how-tos and DIYs. The focus was on the storytelling and suddenly it became clear to me what I’d been missing all along: my own voice. I had been trying to write as I’d seen others write, never putting my own authentic voice in my work. I was not a frugal living blogger. I did not have the answers to life’s tough parenting questions. I don’t do anything myself that I don’t have to out of desire or necessity. I finally knew what I really wanted to do. I wanted to talk about me. I spent a few weeks lurking before I decided to give it a go. I sat looking at the first post I planned to submit, staring at the badge I finally figured out how to add, and paused to will myself out of getting ill. If I did this, submitted this post, writers would know I was trying to write. My following up to this point had been approximately 3 people. This was some scary shit. I did it, then had trouble submitting and left a comment on the post that sounded yelly. This prompted my first conversation with Erica. I still laugh about that because on top of all of my nerves, now the executive editor was going to hate me. But this is what I do. I make friends wherever I go. I didn’t tank that first week, which was a relief. I showed up the next, and then I kept showing up. I learned. I read every single post – kick off, opening grid, voting. I learned what the editors were looking for and tried to follow their suggestions. I improved. I got recognition. I grew my readership. In 2013 I started opening the moonshine grid and then a month later I took over the Tuesday post. I cannot tell you what it meant to me that the people I so desperately wanted to impress and was so afraid of pissing off a year earlier now had enough confidence in me to let me in on the behind the scenes action. More than the vote of confidence, the friendships I’ve made are invaluable to me. If I couldn’t be...