4 Ways to Fight Writer’s Block–Especially When Writing Pays Your Bills

I’ll be honest. I’ve felt completely drained of any words lately. It’s a melodramatic thing to say, I know, but it’s the best way I can describe how I’ve been feeling. I can’t point to any one thing that has drained me of my words. It’s a mix of the shitshow that was 2016, working myself too hard (for those keeping score at home, I have one full time job, four part-time gigs, ballet class, and this blog), personal stuff that led to my anxiety and depression coming on STRONG, and the very natural ebb and flow of creative inspiration. Still, as someone who pays some of her bills with her writing money, feeling tapped of inspiration can feel frightening. So here are some ways that I both fight writer’s block:

Remain calm

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This one is the hardest for me to remember when I’m going through a writer’s block. Whenever I feel creatively tapped, regardless of the reason, I always fear that this writer’s block will be THE writer’s block. I’ve used all my words, and my writing days are over. It’s easy to feel panicked when you feel like you’ll never string a solid sentence together again in your natural life. Regardless of where the creative dry spell is coming from, try to keep your wits about you. This won’t last forever, so don’t make things worse by freaking yourself out.

Keep writing, even if you’re phoning it in.

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If you’re writing for money or just writing for the joy of it, but especially if writing is paying your bills, don’t let a creative dry spell stop you from writing. You may not produce your finest work during this time, but keep trying to string words together. This is easier if you write for a place that sends you pitches, but even if you don’t and you can’t even strike up an idea to get a pitch approved, still try to write something. Even if it’s nothing more than errant words, stream-of-consciousness thought, journaling about your day, or doing word games to keep working that part of your brain out. It’s a bummer to pitch to your editor and repeatedly get ideas shot down, but try not to let it stop you from writing completely.

Spend time with things that inspire you.

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For me, when I’m feeling a persistent bout of writer’s block, my gut instinct is to either feel defeated by it or to spend all of my free time staring at a blank Word doc as I wait for Lady Muse to stop by. I can’t help but feel I shouldn’t spend time watching shows or reading books. It feels like wasted time. However, for me, most of my inspiration to write comes from engaging in content that gets me excited and inspired. For instance, I got the idea to start this blog simply because I wanted to have a place to unabashedly talk about the show Supernatural. So whether it’s a show, movie, book, or something else entirely, spending time engaging in stories that inspire you–time where you’re just there to enjoy it, no strings attached–is a great way to recharge your creativity tanks.

Move Around

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This is important for anyone who has a largely sedentary, solo job to remember. However, it’s extra important when you’re feeling creatively drained. Remember to give yourself good chunks of time to be active. It’s easy to get a bit of tunnel vision when you’re fighting writer’s block, so getting away from your computer, maybe even going outside and moving around for a while can help broaden your scope. I have a lot of walking trails by my house, and I love to walk around the trails for long chunks of time and let myself daydream wildly. Even if I don’t come back with a cure to the block, I feel more creatively recharged.

Writer’s block is a bummer, and when it interferes with how you pay your bills, it can be downright scary. The important thing to remember is that writer’s block and feeling creatively drained are just seasons in your life–you haven’t run out of words, and you are going to be able to write something you’re proud of soon. Just give your brain the space to breathe, do what you need to in order to recharge your creativity, and be sure you’re taking care of yourself.

How do you fight writer’s block and creative dry spells? Tell me your tips in the comments! 

An Update on the Blog

Hey, guys.

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So I’ve been doing a pretty crappy job of writing here. I’m going to be straight with y’all. I don’t always have the most free time to devote to this site. Plus, these past few months have been extremely hard for me personally (maybe I’ll explain that more in a blog someday, but today is not that day). However, I still have a lot of love for this site, and not writing on Distracted Blogger makes me sad. So I’m going to be writing more in the coming weeks, and officially re-dedicating myself to this site in 2017. I’m so excited and READY.

But if you want to keep up with what I’m writing elsewhere, you can always check out what I’m doing over at Nerdist and Geek & Sundry. I’ve been writing about The Walking Dead over at Geek & Sundry, so I’d love for you to come and chat about this CRAZY season over there. I’m also pretty active over on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. So if you’re not hanging out with me over there, you definitely should join in on the fun.

While that’s all awesome, what is in store for Distracted Blogger? Well, I’m planning a lot more content on books, writing/running a blog, conventions, movies, television, and gaming–specifically talking about my newest endeavor: being a Dungeon Master! So stay tuned, kids. I’ve been off my game lately, but it’s time to get back at it! Let’s do this!

Women in the Geek Industry Panel at Denver Comic Con

I’ve been not-so-subtly hinting at it for a while, but now I’m officially ready to make the announcement: I’m gonna be on a panel at this year’s Denver Comic Con. I’ll be on the Women in the Geek Industry Panel at the con this year to talk about my slice of the geek industry. Specifically, my writing for Geek & Sundry and Nerdist (in addition to the zillions of other places I’ve written through the years). Here’s the rad, official Women in the Geek Industry logo:

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This panel seriously inspired me a few years ago, so I’m honored to be featured as one of the “women in the geek industry” this year. We’ll each talk about what we do and answer any questions audience members have. It will be an awesome panel celebrating women in the industry, and will hopefully inspire you to chase after whatever goals you have in geekery. Heading up to Denver Comic Con this year? I’d love to see you there! The panel will be on Friday, June 17 at 2:45 in room 607, and in addition to me the panel will also feature cosplayer Tiffany Wangerin, comic book retailer Alice Lexx, and will be moderated by Kirei.

Are you coming to Denver Comic Con? Have you ever been on a panel before–let me hear any tips you have in the comments! 

How to Deal When You’re Busy and Tired, And There’s Nothing You Can Do About It

Sometimes All the Things just pile up at once, and you feel like you’re in a constant state of running yourself ragged. Suddenly, you’re feeling very Bilbo Baggins-y, like butter spread over too much bread, and you’re haunted by one of your favorite Ron Swanson inspirational quotes:

Ron Swanson

But the scariest part of it all is that you can’t see a way to chop things out of your life so you can whole ass one thing. Sure, maybe you’re working towards a day when you can clear things off your plate, but for now you have to work as hard as you are. Maybe it’s working to pay the bills, maybe it’s hustling to make your dreams come true, maybe it’s just that stuff has all piled up and the only way through the pile is to plow through it, or maybe it’s something else entirely. The fact is, when people see you’re overwhelmed and tell you to just “start saying no”, sometimes you get to that horrifying place where you realize that you can maybe say no to additional projects, but for whatever reason, you can’t say no to anything you’re currently working on. You’re crazy busy, tired, spread thin, and exhausted, and that’s just how it has to be right now–and maybe even the foreseeable future. Slowly, you begin to resign yourself to your new normal.

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I get it, I do. I’m right in the middle of one of those times of my life, too. For me, it’s a mix of needing to pay bills and realizing that if I want to achieve my goals in writing and editing, I’ve got to up my hustle, so I work. A lot. I don’t always feel like I’m doing a good job, and sometimes I don’t feel like I’m just half-assing stuff, I feel like I’m straight-up failing.

So how do you deal when you can’t take stuff off your plate? How can you retain some sanity when you’re just going through an insane period of life?

Make Some Hard Choices With Your Schedule

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When you’re spread this thin, you’ve got to be incredibly picky about what you take on. You’ve literally no time to lose. Like I said before, I get it that sometimes you’re feeling overbooked but you also can’t knock anything from your schedule. However, sometimes for survival’s sake, you need to strike things from your calendar. Whether it’s saying no to upcoming opportunities, or canceling a few things from your month, sometimes making yourself really prioritize and make some cuts to your schedule can help free up some time and sanity.

Schedule a Time To Do Absolutely Nothing

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When you’re this busy, you’ve got to work in time to relax like any other appointment. Maybe you can’t go to bed at six like you’d prefer (maybe that’s just me), but even if you feel like you just don’t have a free hour (or even a free half-hour) you can work in a fifteen minute catnap or some other short break where you allow yourself to turn off your brain for a bit. Schedule it into your day so you can keep control of your time, but making sure to work at least one break into your day will help keep you mildly sane.

Eat Well

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So maybe…avoid the night cheese. But when you’re in a time where you have to push your body this intensely, you’ve got to do everything you can to keep yourself healthy. Of course trying your best to get a good night’s sleep is incredibly important, but it’s also not always possible. So do what you can to keep yourself healthy, and make sure you’re eating healthfully.

Go Easy On Yourself

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When you’re pushing yourself this hard, whatever the reason may be, you’re not always going to be perfect. You’re going to make mistakes, and you’re not always going to feel like you’re doing a great job at life in general. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Making enough money to pay bills, chasing a dream, starting your own business, finishing school without drowning in student loan debt, and all of those other challenges most of our generation faces is hard work and a steep learning curve. Just try to remember when you feel like you’re sucking at life or after you’ve made a mistake that you’re working to achieve a huge goal. That’s hard, and you can only give so much. If you’ve got to pull a Dane Cook and cry while looking in the mirror repeating “I did my best,” that’s okay too.

Ask For Help

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One of the things that always surprises me when I’m coming out of a tough time (tough for whatever reason) is how many people had no idea I needed help, and are a bit annoyed that I didn’t reach out to them when I needed someone. Whether you need to vent, need someone to actually get in the trenches and help you fix something, you need advice, or anything else, reach out to the people in your life! They can support you, help get you out of the hole, help lighten the load, or maybe help you see a solution you wouldn’t have seen yourself. That’s what friends are for, right?

The Ten Second Rule

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Of course, some times when you’re in a crazy part of life where you’re having to really scrape and push to achieve your goals, it can feel like there isn’t any way to make life more manageable. In those cases, channel your inner Kimmy Schmidt and remember that you can handle ten seconds of anything. Seriously. If you’re feeling crazy overwhelmed and the idea of taking it a day at a time is still too much, just take it in small bites. Whether you’re working through your to-do list or turning the Mystery Crank, you can do anything for ten seconds.

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Females are strong as hell…

Have you ever gone through a time where you felt like you were spread too thin that you were completely exhausted or generally sucking at everything? How did you deal? What didn’t work for you? Let me know in the comments! 

It’s Totally a Real Job: Amy Ratcliffe, Writer

it's totally a real job...

When I first started blogging, I went to a panel at Denver Comic Con 2014 called Women in the Geek Industry. One of the things that really stuck with me during that panel was Bonnie Burton telling the audience to reach out to those people that inspire them. She encouraged everyone to tweet at their favorite creators, comment on their pages, and do whatever they could to try to pick their brain–after all, social media has made it easier than ever to get in touch with our faves. I decided that I would do just that when I returned from the con, and one of the writers I reached out to was Amy Ratcliffe.

Amy was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing: she was writing, and she was writing for some truly kickass places. StarWars.com, Nerdist, and IGN. I HAD to pick her brain. What was it like to be a writer full-time? How did she get to write for amazing places like StarWars.com? How did she manage to make people actually pay her to write? Without expecting a response, I fired some questions off to her. I figured she probably wouldn’t answer, but I didn’t think it would hurt to try and reach out. Of course, because Amy is great, she responded and sent me back a really helpful, informative response on how to expand my network and ways to try to find paying work. So when I started this series, I knew that I had to include Amy, one of the people who really helped me begin to find my footing in the writing world, and a genuinely nice person to hang out with on the interwebz. I’m so happy to introduce you all to Amy!

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What does a normal work day look like for you?
I spent most days at my desk for many hours working through my list. I use an Excel calendar to manage my deadlines, so I start my day with making a handwritten list of everything I need to do that day (it’s repetitive, but I really like crossing things off lists). The first thing I write most weekdays is a round-up of television news for Nerdist, and then I work through any articles that are due – it can be anything from TV reviews, to cosplay galleries, to interviews – and check my email continually to take assignments throughout the day if I have extra time. There are occasionally phoners or meetings, but mostly, I sit at my desk and write. Sometimes I remember to eat lunch at a normal time, but usually I don’t remember until I feel cranky. Finally, I usually have to watch TV for review purposes or research.

You write for some pretty impressive places like Nerdist, StarWars.com, and IGN–just to name a few. How did you get connected to those sites?
It varies. In some instances, I made connections through Twitter first. I didn’t necessarily start talking on editors on Twitter with the intention of networking, just discussing things we had in common. In other cases, I spotted a job listing (also on Twitter) and applied with a resume an writing samples.

What has been the biggest challenge as you’ve launched your writing and journalism career?
The hardest part is to keep writing. When you have to churn out large amounts of content – which often feels necessary because writing for the web doesn’t pay amazingly well – it can be hard to keep motivated and to keep it from being dull. I’m constantly learning about how to convey news and facts while injecting some of my voice, and that helps stop things from feeling boring.

What has been the most surprising thing, good or bad, you’ve experienced as a writer?
I’m continually surprised by how many sites – and not small ones your friend is running – don’t want to pay for content. A number of places try to push “exposure” instead of dollars, and exposure doesn’t pay bills. There are instances in which working for free is worth it, but it usually isn’t.

What do you wish people understood about your career?
That it’s actually work. I’m fortunate and get to cover a ton of awesome events and interview people I admire. I recognize and appreciate all the cool things I get to do, but people don’t understand that it’s also work. For example, doing press lines and covering panels at conventions brings neat opportunities but also a ton of running around and skipping parties/hangouts in order to file stories.

With books like Sam Magg’s Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy and Kathleen Smith’s upcoming The Fangirl Life, we’re seeing a lot of geek girl bloggers turn to books. Do you want to write a book someday?
I would definitely like to write a book one day. My ultimate goal is to write Star Wars reference books. I’m also trying to toe more into travel writing, but a book in that area is a long way away.

What has been the coolest thing you’ve gotten to experience as a writer?
I’ve been able to combine something I love to do with the stories I love. My fandoms are often part of my job, and that continually blows my mind. The way they mingle comes with its own challenges, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Where do you hope your writing takes you in the next few years?
I hope to keep pushing myself and to write for new outlets and to write about new topics. I very much want to stay in the world of pop culture, but there are other corners to explore. I don’t want to get too comfortable, you know?

What is the piece of writing you’re most proud of, and why?
Hmm. I can’t point to one piece, but I am proud of most articles I write about equality and representation. It’s important to point out when film and television get it right and wrong when it comes to diversity, and I’m most concerned with gender diversity.

Did you always want to be a writer, or did that come as you grew up?
Sort of? I didn’t know what I wanted to be until quite late in the game – my late ’20s to be exact – but I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I was in junior high and high school, I loved writing essays and short stories. My enjoyment of writing fiction sort of died off around my first stab at college, and it took me a while to realize there were other types of writing that would satisfy me.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
Oooh. That’s hard because it changes. Today the answers are Neil Gaiman, Mo Ryan, and Cat Valente.

To be a successful freelancer, you have to have a pretty strong networking game. Does that come naturally to you, or do you have to work to network?
I’m terrible at face to face networking. Terrible. I’m not so hot at talking myself up or knowing when it’s even the right occasion to do that. I usually wait for work to come up naturally in conversation so I can find a non-pushy way to hand over my card, and maybe it’s cost me some work, but I’m fine with it. I see more than a few people who are constantly all “look at me, look at my work” and it’s incredibly obnoxious and doesn’t seem to really pay off. It’s a balance.

What are your tips for people who struggle with networking?
It’s hard but often a necessary evil. Do your best to be assertive but not aggressive, and if you’re better with emails rather than face to face, get a card and send a killer follow-up email.

What advice would you give for aspiring freelancers and aspiring journalists/writers?
Be prepared to write, write a lot, and write quickly. Start with your own blog and write a variety of articles and make sure they’re all as professional as can be. That way, by the time you start looking for paying work you’ll have a catalog of work and writing samples to send an editor. There’s probably something to be said for going to school for journalism too, but since I didn’t go that route I can’t offer advice in that particular arena.

Where can we find you online?
Right now I’m most active on Twitter at @amy_geek. I contribute to Nerdist, StarWars.com, and IGN regularly and occasionally post at my personal blog Geek with Curves.

A HUGE thank you to Amy for taking time to do this interview. Now go forth, you aspiring writers, write and create a space for yourself out there! Don’t forget to check out the other amazing women I’ve spoken with (like Jordan, the creator of the amazing Jordandene fashion lineKathleen, author of the upcoming book The Fangirl LifeMari of Sent From Mars, the Geek Girl Brunch founders and Meli from Melificent) in the rest of the series, and stay tuned here every week for another women who proved success doesn’t always come in a cubicle. And if you want to continue the conversation on Twitter, use the hashtag #RealJob. 

Advice You Don’t Hear When You Start a Blog–But You Should

I, like many of us, started blogging in the magical world of Livejournal and Xanga, offering up to the mystical world of the internet my adolescent musings and pubescent tales of love and embarrassment (often the latter). I have always loved writing, and even though the idea of putting my own words out there for just anyone to stumble upon terrifies me if I think about it too much, I’m still obsessed. For better or for worse, writing–blogging, especially–is one of my favorite things. It’s like Walter White says:

I did it for me

Blogging, that is. Not running a powerful meth empire and single-handedly destroying the lives of myself, my family, and a former student…

After the Xanga/Livejournal fad died out, I piddled around with the idea of having my own blog for a long time, and I even kicked off a few blogs that died incredibly quickly. Then one day I decided to really, really focus and make a blog–called Distracted Blogger, just in case I became too distracted to care for it. While it did undergo a major theme change at the start, I never abandoned it–I mean, obviously.

It didn’t take me long to realize how ridiculously steep the blogging learning curve is. Blogging is a weird world, and what works for one person might not work for you. So while there is no magical formula for making your blog successful (mostly because what a “successful” blog looks like is very different for each blogger), there are some things I wish I heard when I was kicking off my journey into blogging. I’m far from an expert, but like I said, the learning curve in blogging is ridiculously steep, so you learn a lot very quickly. Here are some of those things I learned, that I wish someone had told me when I started:

Blogging is harder than you’d think, and that’s okay.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Writing is hard

It doesn’t seem like it should be a challenge to fill up a blog post with words on your favorite things, but it totally can be. Sure, maybe you manage to write a post about missing out on San Diego Comic Con that you completely love, but then a year goes by and you find yourself missing out on the con again. What do you do now? How many times can you write about a convention? How many different ways can you discuss your favorite TV show? Finding content ideas, new things to say, and a good way to convey those ideas can be hard. Finding your writing voice is hard, too. It’s okay if you have to flail around a bit before you nail it down.

Sometimes the best way to overcome a block is to just write–even write badly…

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Not sure what you want to do next on your blog? That’s what draft posts are for, baby. Just grab hold to an idea–however weak that idea may be–and write through it. It might suck a little, but really shine after a good edit. It might suck a lot, and you might have to kill it with fire. But remembering that you don’t have to publish everything you write can take the pressure off, and give you freedom to explore ideas and techniques.

…and sometimes you need to just step back. 

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While there are some blocks that you just need to push and write through, don’t be afraid to just turn everything off for a bit to recharge. Unless blogging is actually paying your bills (and if so–teach me your ways), running a blog should be, first and foremost, fun. If it becomes a chore, give yourself a little grace and take a break. You can re-run some of your favorite older posts, ask others to guest for you, or just go on radio silence while you recharge; whatever works best for you.

Keeping a schedule–whatever that looks like for you–can help you keep sane. 

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Personally, I have an 8-5 office job, I take ballet class twice a week, and I have a church obligation on Monday nights. That means my only free night during the week is on Wednesday nights. So with all of that plus running my own blog and guest posting on other sites? I often feel like this:

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When the weekends finally roll around, I really, really try to commit to getting my blog set for the week to come. However, that doesn’t always happen. While pinning down a specific, recurring time in my week to work on my blog doesn’t work for me, I’ve found is keeping a planner really helps me keep my blogging ducks in a row. Maybe you can’t get yourself to wake up an hour earlier each day to do blog work, and maybe you can’t say that 5-6 every night is “blog time”. However, figuring out a way to keep your post ideas, some sort of an editorial calendar, and any due dates straight in your head is key to keeping your sanity and making sure you don’t feel like things are spinning out of control.

Experiment with monetizing.

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Making any real money blogging is a tough nut to crack. Apart from finding a paying gig for your writing work, it’s hard to figure out the best ways to make your blog earn money. Try out different monetizing strategies, and see what works for you. Chances are you won’t be able to find anything truly lucrative for a while, and you may never. However, it’s worth experimenting with. If anything else, you could find a way to add a few bucks to your monthly income, which is always nice.

Don’t go it alone. 

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To get the most out of blogging, you need to find friends online. Whether you join an online group (like the Female Geek Bloggers G+ group I’m a part of) or reach out to people on social media, it’s important to network and make friends. They can help you hash out ideas, you can bounce questions off of them, and your new online friends can help you as you network. When I began blogging, I set a personal goal to someday write for Geek & Sundry. Happily, I’ve been able to land that gig, and the only reason that was possible is because of friends and connections I made through the FGB group. Even if online connections don’t land you a job, give you sage advice, or help you grow your site, blogging can be a very isolating activity, so reaching out to others online–however online friendship works for you–can help you feel less isolated and alone.

What are some things you’ve learned from blogging? What kind of advice do you offer to new bloggers? Let’s talk about it in the comments! 

#BloggerConfessions: A Nerdy Girlie Linkup

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My buddy Megan Gotch aka The Nerdy Girlie (you might remember her from our Women in Geek series) from the awesome Google+ group, Female Geek Bloggers, is hosting a fantastic linkup where we bloggers share 5 confessions of being a blogger. You can see Megan’s confession post here.

So, here are my five Blogger Confessions:

1. I hate, hate, hate promoting myself. 

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It’s been awesome reading some of the other Blogger Confessions, because I’ve seen that I’m not alone on this one. It feels really weird for me to post all over my Twitter, facebook, and wherever else, asking for people to come and read my stuff. It’s the same reason I’ve never tried to sell Avon or Tupperware. I hate any kind of sales-pitchy, self-promotion. Ultimately, I know that’s what is going to get my blog noticed, so I do my best.

2. I often bite off a lot more than I can chew. 

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Any reader of my blog will know that I write a LOT outside of Distracted Blogger. Contributing to other blogs is something I love, and it’s a way for me to grow my platform. However, I frequently sign on to do FAR too much in the blogging world (and IRL, too) and I find myself swamped a lot. The problem is it’s tough for me to say no to anything blogging-related because I love it, but I really have to stay on top of myself to avoid spreading myself too thin. I do not always succeed at this.

3. I’m really bad at investing in online community–but I’m working on it. 

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As I’ve said in the past, I’m a part of the Google+ Female Geek Blogger community. It’s a great group of creative and fun women, but I don’t nearly invest as much as I would like (or as much as I should). I really try to plug in to what others are saying via Bloglovin’, Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, but I am INCREDIBLY bad at being consistent with it. I can even be bad at keeping up with my IRL buds on social media. I’m trying to clean up my act, but it’s a process.

4. A “blogging schedule” isn’t a thing for me, but it should be.

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Because I do a lot of “news blogging” for sites like Project-Nerd, it can be really hard for me to whip up an actual blogging schedule. If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll notice that I have a board called “blogging tools”. It’s laughably under-populated compared to the legions of stuff clogging up my other boards. I would love to someday be that blogger who has a specific blogging schedule, and even have some blogs ready ahead of time. However, that’s definitely not the woman you see before you today.

5. Blogging has helped me get a better grasp on my dreams and what I want from my life.

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It’s weird, but starting Distracted Blogger has helped me realize what I love, and what I don’t love. For a really long time, I felt like I really needed to aspire to be a novelist. I work in publishing, a lot of my friends are aspiring novelists, and for a while, I aspired to be one, too. However, I’ve realized pretty quickly that the novelist life just isn’t for me. I love blogging, and I love journalistic-style writing, and it’s okay for me to leave noveling to the pros. I’ve also realized that I’d love to some day parlay Distracted Blogger and my blogging life into some sort of a career in journalism. I don’t quite know what that looks like just yet, but I know that I love this stuff too much to not attempt to turn this into some sort of a real job where I make actual money. For a chick with an English degree who for years now knew that she just wanted to do “something with writing that isn’t teaching”, this is a really exciting and refreshing revelation.

So there you have it! If you want to participate in the link up, write your own post with your 5 blogging confessions, link back to Megan’s original post, use the hashtag #BloggerConfessions so we can all see it and Megan can RT, and leave your post in the comments of Megan’s post!

A Recap of 2013!

I have been trying to figure out the best way to recap this year in a blog form to no avail.  I saw this yearly recap on Rage Against the Minivan, who nabbed this recap from All & Sundry’s blog. I think this is an awesome way to recap the year, and I’m all about lists, so here goes! 

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

In January of 2013, I started taking ballet! I could never have imagined how much I would love ballet. I’m working towards pointe (estimated date of arrival: March 2014), and in December I danced ONSTAGE in the Waltz of the Flowers in front of REAL PEOPLE in my studio’s Urban Nutcracker production.

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Me in the tutu that I wore IN FRONT OF A REAL AUDIENCE. I am loving ballet, and I am gaining confidence that I have never had before. I cannot wait to see how I progress in 2014!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I have a continuous “resolution” to lose weight, which I did kept. I’ll post later about my resolutions for 2014.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

You know, I don’t think so… Hmm…

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?

Hubster and I journeyed to Nassau in the Bahamas! To say it was lovely and gorgeous would be an understatement.

bahamas

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

A little more direction. I wrote about entering a season of calm, but that calmness has turned into straight-up boredom. In 2014, I hope Hubster and I start to get a clearer vision of where we are headed in our future.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I don’t know if I have exact dates. I mean, apart from April 25 (because it’s not too cold and not too hot–all you need is a light jacket). But I will always remember our trip to Nassau and dancing onstage for the first time since toddler-hood. Both of those were beautiful experiences.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Ballet, for sure. I have always wanted to get back into ballet, but I always stopped myself because I thought I was too uncoordinated and too fat. 2013 was the year I decided to stop waiting for some foggy, unclear date of being “good enough” to start ballet, and I just jumped in, fearful and fat. It was the greatest decision I could have made.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Failing to trust, and failing to let go of worry.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I have viral-induced asthma, so I get 3-5 Epic Colds a year. I also got a stomach flu that decided the best time to manifest itself was in the movie theater as Hubster and I went to watch White House Down (or was it Olympus Has Fallen??? I don’t remember, the one with Gerard Butler).

However, my weirdest injury would have to be losing my left big toenail in Nassau. In a series of random events, my toenail caught the back of Hubster’s flip-flop as we were walking around our resort. It caught the nail just right, and a few days later the nail fell off. I’ll tell you what, though. Using the sea as a giant saltwater rinse was far more enjoyable than sitting awkwardly with my toe in a bowl of saltwater on my bathroom floor.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I succumbed to a First World Problem of losing iMessage when I traded in my iPhone for a Samsung, and I traded that Samsung back in for an iPhone 5c. In a series of shrewd business moves, I ended up getting the phone for nothing, and I got a big fat Best Buy gift card. I also have iMessage back. Clearly my priorities are in order here.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Gas and groceries. Lame.

13. What did you get really excited about?

I haven’t said ballet yet, right? But seriously, I have been so very stoked about ballet. It has been amazing. I have also been able to do some guest posting on the new blog for the Convergent imprint, and that has been very exciting as well.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

2013 was the year I became hopelessly addicted to stupid pop songs, so stuff like Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball”, Selena Gomez’s “Slow Down” and “Come and Get It”, or Lady Gaga’s “Applause”. Seriously, stupid pop songs are the best thing to listen to after a crappy day of work or as you are preparing for one.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? About the same.
– thinner or fatter? A few pounds thinner, but not without great effort.
– richer or poorer? About the same.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reading and writing. I was happily busy in 2013, and that meant a bit less time for quiet reading and writing.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Brainless TV watching or brainless social media surfing. Those are just wasted moments of my life.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

We spent Christmas here with Hubster’s famiy. Then my parents flew into town after that, so we spent the next few days with my family.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

It is a tie between Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Supernatural, New Girl, Sherlock, Orphan Black, and How I Met Your Mother. I’ve also recently discovered Girls, which I love, but I don’t have consistent access to HBO (I only have it when Comcast offers me free 6 month trials, and then I lose it).

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

I read Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half, and I loved it. I’ve really fallen in love with Neil Gaiman‘s books. I don’t know how I got away with not reading him before now. Non-fiction religion-wise, my two faves were Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist and Addie Zierman’s When We Were on Fire. I am certain I am forgetting others I’ve read and loved, though…

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Like I said before, I had a weird “stupid pop song” phase this year. However, there were also such staples as Mumford and Sons, Hanson, The White Stripes, Fun, Ed Sheerhan, to name a few.

22. What was your favorite film of the year?

I don’t think I can pick one. Some of my faves were We’re the Millers, This Is the End, Star Trek: Into Darkness, World War Z, Catching Fire, The World’s End, Gravity, Thor 2, and Ironman 3…so if that doesn’t paint a clear picture of my mental state, I don’t know what will.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 25 in January. I think I went out with Hubster, but probably not much beyond that. I’m not big into parties.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Taking chances, namely, ballet.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

I’m not a super flashy dresser, but I played around with more colors. For instance, I’m currently wearing a pair of maroon pants that I bought last year. 2013 was the year of colored pants.

26. What kept you sane?

Friends. Family. Chai tea. Books. Ballet.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

Don’t wait to try something new.