Tag: blogging

Another year, another Nablopomo!

Here we are, November.

My mortal enemy.

Not quite, but I like to challenge myself each year (read: encourage myself to write for non-day-job reasons) to participate in National Blog Posting Month! The goal is to write a blog post every day in November, but for me I will consider this challenge a success if I post a handful of times in November.

Spoiler alert: It doesn’t always go well.

In the past, I’ve used the Nablopomo website and prompts to give me inspiration, but after a quick google search, that doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore.

Are you participating in Nablopomo this year? Let me know in the comments so I can link your blogs in my Nablopomo posts!

So sometimes I’m stubborn

I am pretty stubborn about some things.

A few weeks ago, I rebuilt by freelance website. I hadn’t really touched it since I first put it up two years ago. So I overhauled the entire site, which included adding some new plugins and widgets. Particularly, I wanted to update the security of my site by creating a secure admin login page.

I researched different ways to do this. I read about my plugin options. I made my decision, set everything up, chose a really clever page slug that I would totally remember.

Then I left my fresh site to collect dust for a few weeks.

Last weekend, I went to log in to my freelance site. But I couldn’t remember my new, clever, memorable login page address.

I tried a few different page addresses.  No luck. I tried typing random letters into my browser’s address bar, hoping that autocomplete would help me out.

It didn’t.

I opened up my browser history and went back to the weekend I did my site’s overhaul. I figured the login page must be listed there somewhere. I’d spent hours rebuilding my site. Setting up the new security protocols. Testing it. It had to be there somewhere.

It wasn’t.

Frustrated, I logged into my web hosting admin panel. I figured I would surely be able to easily find the information there. I poked around in my domain management portals. At the very least, maybe I could reset it if all else failed.

I couldn’t.

I was strongly starting to consider deleting the whole website. Throwing my laptop into the fire. And running into the forest, never to be seen again.

I started going through my site’s database, file by file. It had to be there somewhere.

If it was, it was hiding from me.

What an a-hole.

It was now quickly approaching 2am. My partner suggested that we go to bed and give it ago in the morning after I’d had a chance to sleep on it.

But that’s not how I work.

Instead of doing the practical thing, I queued for my web host’s tech support live chat. At 2am on a Sunday morning. And waited. And waited.

While I waited, I poked around some more in my site’s database. I opened every file. I read through so many pages that my eyes were burning. I was going to figure out what my admin page login was if it took all. Damn. Night.

Finally, my chat window pinged. I was next in line for the tech support chat.

At the same time, buried deep in the files of my website, I found what I was looking for. The URL to the secure admin login page.

It may have taken over 4 hours, a lot of cursing and the worrisome feeling that maybe I’d been gaslighting myself, but I figured it out.

This is my long-winded way of saying that the same stubbornness that kept me up all night trying to figure out my freelance website is the same stubbornness that keeps bringing me back to this blog.

I’m going to keep poking around until I figure it all out.

So yes. Still here. Hi, hello. Thanks for sticking it out with me.

 

My Writing Process: 8 Steps for Creating a Winning Writing Ritual

I’ve had some questions about my writing process, so I figured I’d give you a behind the scenes look at how I create the perfect atmosphere and mindset for writing. I hope this is helpful!

Step 1: Finding Inspiration

The hardest part is getting started. I like to start by gathering lots of inspiration. Spend time researching, browsing and brainstorming. Always carry around something to jot ideas down in, because you never know when something might give you inspiration. I find my best ideas come to me in the shower. It’s probably because that’s truly the only time my mind is mostly switched off and focused on one task. That’s also when the anxieties come to get me. But the ideas, too.

After spending weeks or months careening about your daily life, trying to find inspiration, it’s time to start to seek out inspiration with a bit more intention. Browse websites for ideas. My go-tos are Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. Twitter for the hot takes, Pinterest for the pretty pictures and Tumblr for everything else.

Next, try reading. Books. Articles. Blog posts. I try to overload my brain with content.

When those things don’t seem to work, try aimlessly flipping through TV channels, watching the news and current affairs shows. Listen to music. Then try combinations of watching tv, listening to music, while browsing and reading.

Finally, you’ll find that you can start to piece together some ideas. Time for step 2!

Step 2: Fleshing it out

Next, take your tiny, wisp of an idea and start to flesh it out. Build an outline to help frame where you’re going with your writing project. Writing down all of your main points can help you stay on track and figure out if there is enough meat to the project to make it worth writing.

Step 3: Getting down to it

Armed with your notes, outline and any research, it’s time to get down to writing. Some people can work with a lot of distractions, but that’s not for everyone. Listening to music can help tune out the noise around you, or if you need quiet, pick a spot where you can work in silence.  Make coffee or tea and settle in somewhere comfortable and get down to work.

Step 4: Letting doubt creep in

Sitting in front of your laptop, whether you have a completely blank page or a few paragraphs started, it’s time to start questioning the relevance, interest or humour of your writing project. Browsing through notes and your outline, you’ll find the doubt starts to creep in. Then come the questions. Is this a stupid idea? Will anyone care to read this? Why am I wasting my time and life at this? Do I suck at being a writer?

Before you start thinking too hard about those questions, it’s time for step 5.

Step 5: Procrastination

The next step in perfecting your writing ritual is to put off writing at all costs. Because what you’re writing is probably shit, anyway. There are many options to help achieve peak procrastination. Long-neglected house chores, exercise, calling friends or relatives that you haven’t spoken to in a long time are great ways to procrastinate. Playing with your pets or kids if you have them, or go out and find someone else’s pets or kids to entertain. You can stare out a window, try to find matches for all your socks, or learn something new. These are all good methods of procrastination. And once you’ve exhausted all of those options, sites like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest are great, too. There are so many rabbit holes to fall down, you’ll be lost for hours. In the case of Pinterest, sometimes you can loose days and weeks. As long as you’re not actually writing, you’re winning. Get creative.

Step 6: Panic

The thing about procrastination is that it gives you plenty of time for that doubt to fully take hold and bring about full-blown panic. You may be questioning your choices in life that brought you to the decision to write in the first place. Maybe you’re wishing that you had listened to your parents when they told you journalism was a dying industry and don’t waste your money on that journalism degree. Maybe it’s more of a general panic that makes you question everything and anything you’ve ever done, made or said. Now you have the perfect set up to move on to step 7! Well done, you!

Step 7: Abandoning the project

After spending days, weeks and maybe even months trying to make your project work, you realize this just isn’t what you first envisioned it to be. You abandon your project to sit in your drafts folder forever and ever.

It’s okay. Maybe your next idea will work out better than this one.

Step 8: Starting over again

It’s been a while since your last (failed) attempt at getting a writing project finished. Maybe you’re feeling the itch to write again. Maybe you desperately need to pay some bills. It could be an assignment for school or work. Maybe you’re stubborn. Perhaps you have a spiteful God. Maybe you hate yourself a little bit. But whatever the reason, you’re faced with the task of writing something again.

Since you clearly haven’t learn your lesson, you set to it again, getting ready to write again. Time to start again. Back to step 1, my friend. Start from the beginning. Rinse and repeat.

 

Did any of my tips help you? What steps do you take to create your writing rituals? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Hello, it’s me.

My host sent me an email in early January to remind me that my domain for this blog was expiring. It was a nice reminder that I had a blog, but it was also a reminder that I had a blog and wasn’t actually… blogging.

awkward

I honestly spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not to renew this domain. I haven’t posted regularly in a few years. I hadn’t written at all in 2016 yet. And people keep telling me blogging is dead. That no one blogs anymore and even if they do blog, no one is reading them. So why bother?

Good question. But I’ve always liked the idea of having an easy way to self-publish and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to ditch the posts I’ve collected here.

Clearly I decided to renew after all, because you’re reading this (All two of you! Hi, Mom!). I’m going to get back into this blogging business slowly. So I’m starting off with a currently to catch you up!

Currently…

watching:

Lots of basketball. A little bit of baseball. And Big Brother Canada. Yes, it’s awful. Oh, well.

reading:

New Moon. Wait, stop. It’s for a good cause, I promise. My friends and I didn’t suffer enough when we recapped Twilight back in October… Someone thought it would be a good idea to recap New Moon, so… welcome to my hell. Or better yet, check out 31 Days of New Moon over one the Snark Squad website.

I’ve also been reading the Black Widow graphic novels by Edmondson and Noto. They are excellent.

listening:

Basically this song by Walk Off The Earth on repeat:

making:

A lot of my spare time lately has been spent developing two new websites. And a few other projects for a returning client. It’s been all work and no fun. But I genuinely enjoy building these things. I’m getting nothing but sexual harassment from my day job, so I’m delving deep into the things that are restorative to my mental health and that’s building and designing.

feeling:

I’m feeling okay. My day job is just not what I want to be doing with my life, so I’m trying to squeeze every last second out of my time spent away from work. I am tired of winter. I am tired of my job. I’m tired of a bunch of things that I can’t really control. It seems like the closer to being done with all of this, the slower time is going. I’m trying to stay focused on the light at the end of this long, long tunnel. We’re getting there.

planning:

What I’m going to do once my contract at work is up. It is going to be so good, you guys.

loving:

Reading and BookTube. I’ve been watching a lot of my amazing friends creating some awesome content. Their videos are making me want to read more, which is something I’ve not been doing a lot of lately.

What have you been up to lately?

Nablopomo 2015, because why not?

It’s November! And you know what that means…

 


I haven’t had the best track record with National Blog Posting Month. I’ve tried and failed epically the last few years. But I like the challenge of it. And this year, my goal is to try some of the prompts this year, no matter how ridiculous I think they are, because it’s good practice. I’ve fallen out of writing with direction, so what’s the worst that could happen?

116109

So, let’s do the thing again. Or at least… give it a go. Who’s with me?

Now That Everyone Knows I Have a Blog

Blogging

When Ashley was volunteering her writing talents to appear as a guest blogger, I couldn’t pass up the chance to host one of her brilliant posts.  A while back, she made the bold decision to out herself as a blogger and I’ve asked her to share her thoughts about coming out of the blogging closet.  Thanks for guest posting, Ashley!

My name is Ashley and I blog at Writing To Reach You.  I’m here today because GFM asked me to write about how I feel now that I’ve ditched anonymity and outed myself as a blogger.  It has been more than a year since I attached my full name to my blog, but I still feel like I’m getting used to it.  I think because it will never not be weird that I write about my feelings all over the internet.

Anonymity is not something you typically have to explain to internet people, but when I first told them about my blog, there were a couple people in my real life who did not understand why I had kept it a secret for so long.  Was I ashamed of my blog?  Not really.  It’s more that making yourself vulnerable is always scary.  And I am not a person who normally wears her feelings on her sleeve, so attaching my full name to all of my thoughts meant opening a door that has always been closed except to a few people. That actually hasn’t changed much, so many people in my life learn more about me from reading my blog than from talking to me regularly.

I loved being anonymous.  People always talk about how the internet lets you pretend to be whoever you want, but for me it was the place I was more myself than anywhere else.  I hate to sound like a contestant on a reality show, but I did not come here to make friends.  I didn’t know that making friends was part of blogging when I started.  So I just wrote about myself as honestly as I could, and this weird thing happened where people started liking me for being me.  I have been fighting my whole life for the feelings of authenticity that blogging gave me almost immediately.

When I decided after three years of blogging to leave anonymity behind, I told myself that I could take as long as I wanted to grow comfortable with it, but I could not stop writing the things that were important to me.  I watched a lot of people grow more professional with their blogs and start using their full names only to slowly stop blogging, and I refused to do that.  Writing personal essays is my career ambition, so I figured that now was as good a time as any to get used to having people read my most personal thoughts.

Anonymity had its limits, and after a while it grew boring to me.  I try to remember that when I encounter the challenges of writing under my full name.  It is such a normal part of life to be different things to different people, and the internet (even if you only use Facebook) really threatens that; sometimes it’s as petty as not being able to complain about someone from one part of your life to the people in another, because everyone has access to the same information.  So I depend more on close relationships with friends to get frustrations like that off of my chest, instead of shouting them blindly into the twitter void.  And when something is really bothering me that involves other people, I have to be thoughtful about how I write about it.  But, I do write about it, because it’s my story and I want to share it.  This is how I choose to live my life, so I accept the challenges.

I don’t miss being anonymous.  I would never trade in those years I had as Ashley from California, because they were so important to my life and to my writing, but what I’m doing now is riskier and more interesting to me.

photo credit: Chapendra via photopin cc

A new (blog) home

So, I’ve tossed around the idea of  finally registering a domain and using my some of my skills to set up a blog that I could customize and play around with.

I wanted something that felt more me (read: customizable) and was looking forward to dropping the ‘blogspot’ bit from my blog’s url.  No offence to blogger, we’ve had a good three years together.  I just felt that it was time to move on.

In true GFM style, I thought about it for a long time, trying to decide if I would stick to this particular handle, if I really wanted to actually register a domain, if I was going to take the time to set it up and whether or not I would actually use it, because, let’s be honest, I’m a sporadic blogger at best.

But as someone pointed out to me when I was voicing this out loud, they’ve always known me to be the girl from Mars, it fits.  I do have the ability to register, set up and customize a new blog.  And maybe that would encourage me to be less sporadic and more purposeful about posting.

Once I’d finally come to all those decisions, again, in true GFM fashion, I had registered my domain, set up my host, installed WordPress on it, browsed for a theme, installed that and began adding my badgets, widgets and list of favourites to my blogroll.

It may take me forever to finally come to a decision, but once I do… I move fast on it.

That would be my long-winded way of saying, welcome to the new home of GFM’s blog, folks.  I reckon I’m going to like it here.