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Hello, 2015

7 Jan

2015fontI’ve been neglecting blogland in favor of pressing concerns like moving, unpacking, last-minute decorating and sugar-cookie-baking, and Christmas-festivity-hosting.

But I’m back!

I have resolutions for the new year, which I may delve into on the blog. I don’t often/ever make or stick to resolutions, but this just feels like a good year for them. How about you–are you making resolutions this year?

Sidenote: I am content to leave behind 2014 because… I’ve never really liked the number four. The Chinese have their reasons for esteeming four as inauspicious, but I don’t have a reason. It’s simply my least favorite number. Five (well, one-five) sounds fresh and crisp; it feels full of possibility.

Sidenote 2: I started envisioning 2014 as some cluttered serif font and 2015 as a clean, ultra-thin sans-serif. That led me, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie style, to search my font collection and the interwebs for a font that PERFECTLY REPRESENTS THE GLORIOUS ESSENCE OF 2015. I have determined that that is not possible, or at least not possible if I want to get any sleep tonight, but for now let’s settle with Code Light by Font Fabric. (Feel free to suggest your own candidate.) Yes, I know I have a problem.

Here’s to 2015!




Limits, deadlines, and the blog police

19 Oct

Remember how I said I’d be writing for 31 days straight about girl power?

Well… I do plan to write about it for 31 days. Consecutively? Not so much.

I am generally a big fan of deadlines. Like, to the point I included it in my Twitter bio. And my college application essay. And a lot of cover letters. Not because I wanted to impress anyone (OK, maybe a little, but the point of all of those things is to impress people!) but because I genuinely thrive on deadlines. It can be a love-hate relationship, of course, and I usually have to give myself an earlier deadline just to make sure I finish a project in time for the real deadline. But in the end it’s worth it.

So I figured working with a daily blogging deadline would be good. And the first week or so was good. Forcing myself to write every day provided the pressure I needed to explore and develop ideas I wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, simply getting in the habit of writing daily will probably encourage me to work on the blog and post more frequently going forward. (Sidenote: The blogger that inspired the 31-day challenge actually did her month of blogging on “lovely limitations.”)

But the intensive writing schedule, combined with my tendency to over-research, over-write, and over-think everything, started to conflict too much with other priorities, like a freelance article with a very real deadline. I’m a night owl, but staying up numerous nights till two in the morning is not sustainable. Although initially setting a limit for myself was a valuable exercise, I also had to know and respect my own limits. Hence my less-frequent posts.

As I like to tell myself (in a very loose paraphrase of  Mark): blogging is made for woman, not woman for blogging.

So, what to do now? Definitely more thoughts about girl power. I have so many more ideas to pursue and I have so appreciated the insightful and supportive feedback. So stay tuned for 31 days’ worth of posts (and more!) on girl power. I’ll probably throw in an occasional look-at-my-cute-baby post and the like, but we’ll get there eventually.

I know I’m not exactly following the structure of the Write 31 Days challenge, but I’m pretty sure I can get away with it. ‘Cause guess what? There is no blogging police. The stuffy editor in me sometimes wishes there were, but the blogger in me is grateful there isn’t. The only people I feel accountable to is my readers–and you people are just lovely. So stick around for 31 days. Or not at all. Or longer. Again, no police. Isn’t it a beautiful thing?

Do you love deadlines? Love-hate them? Hate them? Have you ever taken on a project and then abandoned it or switched gears?

Guest Post: Why writing is awesome

24 Sep

Have you ever stumbled onto a blog and think, Oh my gosh we would totally be friends in real life? (Because obviously, blogs are their own separate reality distinct from real life.) Well, that’s how I felt when I found Leah’s blog The Ordinary Snowflake. Superficially, we have Mormonism, Californiaism, and BYUism in common, but more importantly I enjoyed her writing style, her sense of humor, and her views on feminism, pencil skirts, and April Fools’ Day. So I reached out to her to guest post here, and she graciously accepted. Enjoy:

writingpostitHey! My name is Leah, and I blog over at The Ordinary Snowflake. I’m really excited to be over here on Spifftacular today!

I decided to call my blog “The Ordinary Snowflake” to poke fun at this weird blogging culture we’ve found ourselves in. What I mean is that the internet is full of “special snowflakes” who blog incessantly about their lives as if they were important or famous or, otherwise, people cared. And I’m one of them! I’m a blogger. It’s great fun. We’re crazy, I know.

I believe that despite our (admitted) vanity and silliness, we bloggers are onto something — something powerful and important. I’m talking about the fact that we write.

The simple action of writing stuff down is incredibly valuable — so valuable, in fact, that I believe everyone should make a hobby of it! And you don’t have to be a professional writer to reap the rewards. It’s just about getting your thoughts out via pen or keyboard.

Here are just a few awesome things about writing that might motivate you to get started (or keep going) on this amazing hobby:

1. Know yourself

Writing helps you get to know yourself better — especially those parts deep in your subconscious that can be hard to get at. Creating a record of your own thoughts not only documents the kind of person you are, but also it helps you confront your own voice. It’s like when you hear your voice in an audio recording — a little weird at first. It helps you see the presence you project to the world around you.

2. Clear Mental Clutter

Do you ever feel like you have a million thoughts going through your head? In our hectic world, it can seem impossible to focus on anything for longer than a few seconds. Writing forces you to choose one of those thoughts and ponder it enough to actually form coherent sentences about it. Writing helps you sort through the junk and figure out what’s really important to you.

3. Unlock buried ideas

As I already mentioned, the mental process of writing involves intense focus. And when you’re writing about an issue or a problem at hand, you may surprise yourself with the solutions you come up with. Even just writing down a problem and staring at it on a page can give you incredible perspective. (Sometimes that perspective is something like “wow, this isn’t actually much of a problem.”)

4. Watch yourself grow

Documenting your experiences can help you track patterns of growth and change in your life. Seeing these patterns, whether good or bad, can motivate you to improve. It can also help you make better decisions to achieve a happier life. What if you looked back on an old journal and remembered a forgotten hobby that made you happy? You might decide to pick up that hobby again.

5. Recall hidden insights

“You learn something new every day”, right? The little lessons and insights you gain in your day-to-day life are so valuable. Writing about them allows you to ponder on them and document them for future reflection. I believe that focusing on those little insights can turn “the daily grind” into a profoundly enlightening life.

Again, it doesn’t matter how “good” you think you are at writing. It’s not about writing a novel or publishing blog posts or creating the perfect resume (though those things are also valuable). All I’m talking about here is taking the time to rummage through your brain enough to generate a cluster of coherent sentences. That’s all! There’s absolutely no pressure.

I hope you feel inspired to get out there and write! Thanks again to Holly for having me over on Spifftacular today. I’d love nothing more than to become writing buddies with all of you, so feel free to come visit me and say hi so I can meet you!