Personal Space


First, let me say I appreciate all of my readers and followers. You have no idea how thrilling it is when a reader hits like on a post, especially one that I felt was good. Or the elation when I get a new follower, not to diminish all of my followers.  Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder why anyone would bother to read what I write or why  you would choose to follow me. Then after a while, I shrug my shoulders and decide not to look a gift horse in the mouth.  I greatly appreciate that you would  use your time to read my words.

Why do bloggers blog?  For me, it’s because I have something to say. Something that I feel needs to be shared. Some do it to make money. I need to figure out how to do that – how to make money while doing something I love. You may see advertising on my blog –  I don’t know.  If so, I don’t make a dime on that.  I suppose it’s just part of the deal for having a free blog. I personally think WordPress is amazing,  so if they decide to  rent space on my free space I can’t very well argue with them.  If I don’t like it,  then I’ll go buy my domain name.  I have to make a profitable income before justifying that.

Why does a reader choose to follow a particular blog? Because somewhere in the rants and raves, the reader connects with what the blogger says.

I occasionally scroll through  new blogs, different blogs, something new and fresh.  I can relate to a few food blogs because you know, food.  I might find a particular article on a sports blog interesting but I’m not going to follow a sports blog. I read a lot of writing-related blogs  for new ideas, motivation, and to help me improve my craft.

My blog is a place for self-expression and creativity. The fact that it has attracted readers is at times dumbfounding to me, at times  ridiculously motivating, and at other times the only thing that keeps me moving forward and not sit in a corner and cry.

I’m not big on airing my daily struggles. Yes, I have them and have on occasion mentioned them, but my view is that these struggles do not define me. Our struggles are real, they shape us, mold us, strengthen us to become who we are,  sometimes better, sometimes worse. Succeeding despite obstacles  gets me motivated.

A particular blog that I follow is my niece, mostly sharing her vlogs about her gastric bypass surgery. I’m so proud of her, she’s been amazing and has reached a great amount of success. I’m not interested in listening to the other weight loss surgery patients sharing their testimonies.  I’m sure that they would have some interesting things to say,  but I don’t want to spend my time doing that.  This one is my niece – I’m sure you can see my interest.

So, in evaluating my blog  –  what have I done that is successful? what have I done that failed? what could I do better?  what posts do my readers like the most? –  it’s up to me to decide what to post and what not to post.  Occasionally I rant. Hopefully, it’s not more frequent than I think it is.  Occasionally it’s random bits of fun because we all need a bit of silliness, a smile, and a dose of happy. Most of the time it’s something writing related.

I spent part of last month reviewing past posts to see what was most liked,  which ones were fails, and where should I go from here.  The photography A to Z challenge was fun!  I hope that my readers enjoyed it. There are a couple of benefits to photography:

  1. I decide what to take pictures of, for instance,if I want a certain image for a post, I can do it/stage it myself.
  2. I don’t have to worry about copyright infringement or someone suing me over an image that I shared  and didn’t profit from.
  3. Something that I find interesting to photograph may prompt an entire story or flash piece.
  4. Knowing that I am not a photographer I can have fun and don’t take myself too seriously.

The photography challenge  gave me the chance to review things and assess what next. Part of me wishes there was a canned monthly blog challenge somewhere that I could just  go to and  read the assignment and say – Oh, today we are posting about topic A, tomorrow, topic B, and so on. That wouldn’t be  very original though, would it? If that were the case, then you could go to any blog and get the exact same thing with slight variations.

It’s kind of like Pinterest. You can look up any topic, scroll through various ideas until you find one you like. For instance – home office/designs and styles. My daughter is coming home from school next week for the summer and possibly longer. (With only one year left to obtain her masters, I think it’s a really bad decision. She’s 21 –  time she experiences the repercussions of her decisions.) I have to move my desk from the shared space in her room since she will be here full-time now. (See what I did there? Nice segue way, eh?)

Where? Where am I to go with my stuff?  I haven’t had a real office area. I set up the desk in her room and to be honest  the desktop became an instant catch-all for my stacks of books, research information, notebooks. . . yes, it’s a mess.  I  reverted back to setting up my laptop on the kitchen table. Which means that I have to clear up my stuff every single day and move it off of the table for meals.

This is disruptive to creative flow.

A brief period of pondering led me to the conclusion that I have nowhere to go with my stuff.  The hubs wants it off of the table, the daughter wants it out of her room, and I want my own space!

 SOLUTION: make my own space.

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How do you carve out your own space? By tapping into an underused resource – our basement. Up to now,  our basement has been a collect all repository for stuff. All sorts of stuff.

We have a small home. Our kitchen does not have a pantry. It has  traditional kitchen cabinets. We made an area in our basement that is a walk in pantry. Unfortunately,  the pantry contains mostly nonfood items at this time. The laundry area is determined by where the water connection is. But the rest of the basement is unfinished and untapped.  I’ve been furiously cleaning the mess down there. I’m embarrassed to admit the accumulation of  stuff.

  1. I have a yarn problem.  I have filled 1.5 large plastic storage tubs with yarn.
  2. I have a fabric problem. I have  filled 2.5 large tubs with fabric. Oh, and my sewing machine is broke.
  3. Books – oh dear lord, the number of books. I can’t blame this one on the hubs, he only has one shelf of books. I need at least 3 more bookshelves to house my books. More like 4 or 5. SIGH –  maybe I can part with a few of them. OK, ten. I can let go of ten.  Instead of a wall, maybe I can get him to build me a wall of built-in bookshelves.  NO –  I can let go of ten. Maybe I can start with one.  But which one do I sacrifice?

Anyway, I’ve been working and the time is quickly slipping away before my daughter returns home. I know this is a little different  than what I usually share, but . . . this is my blog. There are other aspects to life besides dealing with what the next part of the story is  or how to manage time.

Having your own space is a necessary thing. Part of my clutter problem is that I don’t have a place for my stuff.

Isn’t it ironic,  that  this very obvious  condition becomes apparent to me as I start to put myself first? Or at least occasionally?  I cherish the personal space of my blog.  I plan to make my personal office space my retreat, my  fortress of solitude, my getaway, my zen garden.

NO, I’m not putting sand on the floor. That’s just silly. I’ll share tomorrow about the cat litter on the floor, though.

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How do you define your space? Do you have a place that you call your own?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

What’s In Your Garden?


Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row.

We know she had a nice tidy little garden with flowers.  What does your garden look like?   A writer always has a garden, but it may not be the type you think.  While some have flower gardens, herb gardens, or even a vegetable garden, writer’s often have ideal gardens.

My garden is a year round ongoing venture.  Some ideals are just seedlings, while others are fully ripe and ready to harvest.  I’ve been neglecting my garden lately, and it’s bursting with ripe fruit.

My ideal garden looks like a vegetable garden that’s gotten out of hand.  I haven’t tended my garden properly, because I can tell there are weeds amongst my ripe fruit.  I have a strawberry bed, that’s in a similar state at the moment.  I’ve been limited in my mobility with my knee injury, and the weeds are about to outnumber the strawberry plants.  I’ve already harvested about five gallons of berries – yes  you heard me, five gallons.  You’ve got to have a lot of berries to make jam, not to mention the fresh berries and strawberry shortcake.

With the mild winter and early spring, my plants are doing their job, even though the dandelions and purslane are trying to choke them out.  Now that I’m able to get out there and do the weeding, the strawberries are just about done doing their thing.

My ideal garden has suffered the same plight.  I’ve been having a bit of a pity party for myself, mostly over this injury.  I know, you’d think with all the pep talks and self-help motivational stuff I listen to and repeat back to you I wouldn’t be such a pill.

This past weekend I did some assessment of my ideal garden as we are coming into a new month – tomorrow!

There were definitely some weeds in there.  Unfortunately, the biggest ones I planted myself.  Weeds of  excuses in several varieties.  Hmmm, somehow I think they may be related to the nightshade family.  Weeds of poor time management, bad habits, and past failures.  There were also weeds of the Inner Critic, that nasty little beastie that lies within me, ready to pounce at the first sign of weakness.

There’s the varmints to deal with – the critics that can’t wait to tell you what you’re doing wrong, and the ones that say you’ll never amount to anything.  Evidence of bunny trails crisscrossing my plants were noticed and residue of pests  were also detected.

In natural gardening there are beneficial pests, as well as benefits for certain animals in our gardening.  For example, a snake – as much as I loathe snakes – is useful to eat the mice and rabbits that are munching on your ripe fruit and veggies.  They also keep the poisonous snakes at bay.  Creepy, but useful.

I spent the weekend assessing the garden, seeing what I need to plant, what I need to tend, and what weeds need to be yanked out.  I gave the snake wide berth, I know he’s there, and while I may not like everything about him, he is useful.  It’s interesting, after pulling just a few weeds out, it was starting to look like a garden again.  I got excited!  some of those ideas have been in there for a long time.

Friday afternoon I felt defeated, my best laid plans were cast aside as  “life happened”, you know those parts of our lives like wife, mother, sister, employee?  Yeah, well I can’t very well cut out the paying job to “play” in my writing garden, as it was told to me.  I was ready to chuck it all, cry myself a river, and sit by the bank and watch it all flow away.  What would that get me? Not what I want, so I chucked that ideal – it was a weed after all.

Saturday, amidst the family stuff, I did some research, and organized my thoughts.  I planned  my attack for the next month, and planted a new ideal seedling.  Like a new baby, a new ideal seedling attracts a lot of attention, but I have to focus on my nearly ripe, so close to being finished WIP’s.

I’ve come up with a simplified gardening plan for my ideal garden for this next month.

  1. Do It!  Yep, just like the Nike ad, just do it.  1000 words a day adds up over a week, or a month.  During NaNO I managed to crank out 75K words.  Surely I can manage 15K over this next month.  That would complete Both WIP’s.
  2. Go to my Zen Den.  Mine isn’t an actual hard and fast location, it’s more of a state of mind where I block out all those other demands, and focus my best efforts.
  3. Post the Scarecrow You know what the purpose of the scarecrow is right?
  4. What If?  Every writer knows this is the Miracle Grow to our ideas.  This takes your ho-hum puny plant to be a producing giant with whopper tomatoes!
  5. Game ON!  this means I bring my A-game.  I pour my heart and passion into it the way I should.  Pursue my dream with passion, zeal and fervor.

 

That’s it. That’s the plan.  I’ve got a million and one more things I could say about it and you’ll hear them eventually – over the next few weeks, in progress reports, and updates.  I have some cool things planned for this next month, I hope you’ll stay tuned to find out.

Write on my friends, and write now!