Where I’ve Been (and why I haven’t been blogging)

 

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Oh hi there. Sorry for being absent. I doubt you even noticed I’ve been quiet over here for some time. I meant to just take a few days off and then those few days turned into a couple of weeks. Ooops. 

So, where have I been? That’s the thing. No where. I’m doing my same old routine minus the blogging

. For the past few weeks the idea of blogging has gotten my kind of down. Blog is short for weblog, an online log of personal reflections, experiences, and thoughts. However, in the past few years, most blogs are shifting away from this original definition and turning into articles or advice pieces. There is competition to get more hits, expand your audience, and make a profit rather than simply sharing your story. Sometimes that fact discourages me from simply blogging about what I want to blog about. 

Lately I feel like everything is either “5 Tips to do this” or “10 Ways to Ensure this”. I share posts like these as well, but I feel disconnected when my entire feed is filled with posts like these where I learn nothing personal about the blogger writing them. In a world of over sharing, are we getting scared to share too much personal information? Are we too afraid to veer off on our own path? Afraid of losing readers and clicks? Are those aspects really more important than authenticity?

I like reading people’s stories and getting a glimpse into their life. The type of blogs that let me learn more about the human experience and how my little life fits into it. Simple and sometimes silly stories. For example over Super Bowl weekend when everyone was posting party snack recipes and game day fun, I could only think of this time back during Freshman year of college in 2002. While everyone else on my floor got together for beers and the big game I lied and said I had other plans. My “plans” were to hunker down in bed with a can of honey roasted peanuts and a Mary Kate and Ashley movie marathon on TV. I was equally content and lonely. 

That little story tells you a lot about myself. Much more than another “5 Tips to Beat the Winter Blues!” or “10 Way to Increase Blog Traffic!” posts. But that may just be me. I like people’s stories. The little things often are the big things.

So basically, what this rambling post comes down to is that I’m not done blogging, yet. I’m just done with a schedule or the pressure to post. I’m going to follow my own blogging path and share what I want, even if it’s not popular or Pintrest pinnable and even if it means this space remains empty for days at a time.  I want to share my story, however small and silly it may seem. I hope you’ll still be along for the ride!

What type of blogs do you like to read the most? Who are some of your favorite story tellers? What topics pique your interest? 

 

 

 

6 Reasons I’m A Bad Blogger

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Maybe I refuse to conform. Maybe I’m just lazy. I don’t know. I just know I’m a pretty bad blogger.

Others treat their blogs like mini side businesses. Drafting plans in pretty little planners and writing posts weeks ahead and actually scheduling them to be published. They have an advanced advertising and marketing plan, and promote themselves endlessly on all social media platforms. I commend them. If you’re one of those bloggers, good work! Also, when do you sleep?

I love this space and sharing my heart and words. I love the documentation and making new connections and friends with women from all over. But when it comes down to it, I’m not the best blogger.

Here’s 6 reasons why:

Consistency

I skipped out on yesterdays Think Positive Monday post because I’m recovering from a bout with the flu and had zero energy. I try to write Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but lately it’s only been twice a week. Hell sometimes it’s once a week. I’ll never be the type of blogger to follow a rigid schedule.

Social Media Promotion

I love Instagram but it’s rare when I have more than one interesting photo to publish every few days. I rarely use Facebook for blog promotion, other than automatic links to my posts. Does anyone read blogs via Facebook anyways? I generally forget about Twitter. Occasionally I remember and will get on for a day and go crazy but then forget about it again for a few weeks. I didn’t even have a Twitter account before blogging. When I’m hanging out away from work I’d rather not be on my phone or computer. Also promoting myself always feels inauthentic. Does that ever go away?

Networking

Along the same lines as social media I’m not the best at networking with other bloggers. Sure, I form friendships, email and text back and forth and do the occasional guest posts…but that’s where it ends. I don’t search out partnerships or link ups or even participate in a lot of link ups. I know it garners more readers but sometimes it doesn’t feel true to myself. And that’s what’s most important to me. 

Stylized Shots

I’ve only done one fashion posts. I love taking photos of scenery and family.  I love my DSLR and playing around with it. But I’m not the best of taking stylized shots for every post. That would take too much planning (see above). I don’t go all out with pinterest perfect and matchy patchy photoshoots for post photos or recipe photos. Sometimes wish I had that much patience and equipment but nope. You get what you get. 

Amazing and Ever Changing Web Design

I’ve had the same blog design since I started this blog over a year and a half ago. Sure my picture changes and there are little updates here and there, but I don’t go crazy with an amazing design. (hell, I even DO graphic design). My priority is in the words not the design. I hope that doesn’t deter you. 

Caring What Other’s Think

I care too much about what others will think to write what is on my mind 100% of the time. A goal of mine is to break down this wall and be more vulnerable and write for a niche rather than write for all. It’s hard putting everything out there to be judged by strangers. Just spend 10 minutes on Gomi to see what I mean. Whenever someone from my real life says they read my blog my gut reaction is to run and hide. 

Boring Life

In general my life is pretty boring. We don’t go on more than 2-3 trips a year. I work a typical job in a typical small city on the East coast. I spend more nights at home watching TV or reading with my dog than out on the town trying new things. I’m not going through an emotional crisis, have children, or experience a life change. It’s just me living an everyday life and documenting my everyday thoughts. Sometimes I’m still surprised anyone else other than my mom reads this. But THANK YOU. Thank you for letting me be me. The non conformist lazy blogger that you still come and check in on. 

And here’s me on an average day:

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My Identity as a Blogger

I love this blog. I love the therapeutic effect of writing and I love connecting with all of you. I’ve made so many unexpected friendships out of blogging and have received support from women all over the country. That’s pretty special, right? It’s amazing to connect with other women about every day issues as well as the big stuff. 

I’m not an awesome blogger. I struggle with writing consistently. I struggle with keeping things current. I don’t have an amazing design. Some days I fall flat with my writing. Some days I write “easy” posts just to feel accomplished. Some days I feel like it’s all been said and I have nothing new to add. Other days I spend a few hours with a pen and paper crafting out ideas that never make it to a post while other times I finally get those ideas into a published post and get a less than desired response. It can be exhausting. No one warns you how exhausting blogging is. 

I try to be as open as I can be on this here blog. I share my heart openly over the internet, and that’s a pretty scary thing. I write from my soul and attempt to allow you to get a peek into my world. Transparency and vulnerability are goals I always aim for.

But let’s be honest, you don’t really “know” me. And that fact is something I often forget when writing blog posts. 

No matter how hard I try to share myself with you the true me will never be 100% transparent. This blog only reflects about 25% of my real self and my real world. That may seem pretty obvious. But it’s a good reminder that we are all much more complex than what a few stories and opinions shared online say about us. 

My blogging goes in ebbs and flows. There are weeks when I have so much to say and to share that the words can’t get out fast enough. Others I feel more content to keep to myself, occupying my time with other hobbies. While at other times my life is moving at 100 mph and I’m beyond overwhelmed with everything that is going on to come here and write.

Right now is one of those times when I simply don’t feel right sharing every detail about my life, and therefore I think this blog is suffering.  At this present moment I’ve written more drafts of posts that I’ll keep to myself than those that I will eventually hit “publish” on. My mind is so focussed on those topics that I’m not ready to share about yet, that It’s hard for me to think, let alone, write about anything else.  

All of this rambling is leading somewhere. I promise.

All these thoughts have made me ask, “What DO you know about me? What is my identity on the internet?”

I believe that what you know about me can be summed up in a few words: Bubbly and positive blogger. married to a law school student, wife who whines about the stress of law school schedule, loves to talk about sentimental and mushy topics, avid reader, dog mom to Maggie.

Is that how you perceive my blogger identity?  I’m more than honored to be viewed as a beacon of positivity and fun but there is so much more.

I never intend to design a specific image of myself.  I want to make that identity a little more well-rounded and a better representation of my true self. 

I want you to be part of this journey. Because blogging is about connection. Otherwise I would just write in my private journal. 

So help me broaden my identity as a blogger!

Let’s pretend it’s just you and me sitting over a glass of cheap wine in my living room. Maggie is curled up on my lap and looking at you with distrust. My kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes that I don’t have any plans on cleaning. I’m wearing my fleece sweatpants that are covered in Polar bears and a baggy t-shirt. I haven’t washed my hair for 3 days. I’m tired. I’m always tired these days. Do you get the picture? Life is far from pinterest perfect no matter what type of world bloggers try to paint. 

Are you here with me? 

I’m open to answering any of your questions. Pop some down below in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them all as honestly as I can in another post! 

Ask away! 

 

 

 

 

On Blogging – One Year In

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One year ago today I started this blog. 

This was my first real post. It’s kind of embarrassing. But blogging is always kind of embarrassing, right?

I’ve learned a lot during my first year of blogging. In the beginning I knew nothing. I had never heard of link ups and had no idea sponsorships existed. The idea some people pull in a steady blogging paycheck each month blew my mind.

Last August I was a sparkly newlywed full of hope and ready to start something new. One of my freelance employees suggested that I start writing articles sharing  my personal perspective on life as a newlywed. I was a little hesitant, but the fact that he was paying me for each article made me try it anyways. 

Soon after writing these cliché newlywed articles for him I decided to branch out and start my very own blog, writing about whatever I wanted. I have since stopped writing the for profit articles. They felt false and forced. Probably because money was involved. 

What I’ve Learned Since Then:

Blogging is hard. Much harder than I thought it was.  It takes time, effort, and a fearless attitude.

The Best Advice:

The best advice I received before starting this blog is the best advice I also give: Be authentic. 

It’s very easy to lose sight of your true self in blogging.

You get lost in the comparison game. In the number game. In blogging just to blog. You get lost feeling like you have to blog every damn day. Your voice gets lost. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. Even when you say, “No, no I could care less about the numbers, I’m writing for me!” Please, if you were writing for yourself, you’d write in a private journal. A little piece of you will always care about the numbers. 

Other bloggers will start to feel like the mean girls that would never invite you to the cool high school parties. But remember, the good people always, always, out weigh the bad.

One day, you’ll see 15 bloggers blogging about the very same topic. Sponsored posts take over and you wonder “What’s the point?”

Like most things in life, my blogging goes through ebbs and flows. I’ll have a month where I can’t get the words out fast enough. I’m filled with ideas and questions. Other months I’m at a loss at what to say and fall back on recipes, lists, and link ups that end up feeling un-authentic and dry. And still, other months I feel so disheartened by blogging. Times when it all feels like a big pointless game I just want to shut it all down.

I’ve learned to take blogging breaks. Breaks are okay! A week or two off here and there will never hurt you. I’m learned to leave blogging behind for a bit and to let new ideas come in. To gain a fresh perspective. And then I come back with a new whole passion for blogging and sharing. 

There are no set rules. Make your own and follow them. 

Blogging will always be weird, a little nerdy, and very narcissistic. People will judge you but a few people will connect with you. Even if one new person connects with you, it is worth it.

I’m not sure what the future of this blog holds for me. I hope you continue along on the journey!

xoxo Katie

A Day In My Life

Today I’m giving you a little (humorous) sneak peek into a typical day in my summer life, narrating by gifs of one of my favorite shows Gilmore Girls.             

5:30 am: Ryan’s alarm goes off. There’s a 50/50% chance I hear it. Either way I remain in bed in a half asleep state. 

6:15 am: Ryan says “Good morning Babe, have a good day, see you tonight, I love you” in the sweetest way possible. I mumble something like “Good night, have a good night, love you”. He then leaves for the day. 

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7:10 am: My alarm goes off. This is a joke alarm. Everyday I laugh at it. Ha ha, you think I”m actually going to get up on the first alarm? I hit snooze and lie back in bed.

7:19 am: Second alarm goes off. I can’t hit snooze fast enough. 

7:29 am: Third alarm goes off. I consider getting up.

7:32 am: I lie in bed and stare at my phone. My excuse is I must check the weather. You know, so I can see what to wear to work that day.

7:50 am: OMG how is it 7:50 already? What have I been doing for the past 18 minutes? (email, facebook, instagram, blog reading, twitter, repeat).

7:55 am: PANIC MODE. I must get up. I have to get up. But, I have nothing to wear. No time for make up. No time for cute outfits. I grab whatever is closet to me and is comfy and forgiving. I rotate the same basic and plain  6 summers dresses all summer for work. Stylin. 

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8:08: am: I’m dressed and running downstairs to pull together some type of breakfast and lunch to take to work.

8:10 am: I take Maggie out and then load her up in the car and leave the house, out of breath.

8:28 am: Drop Maggie, our adorable poodle, off at doggie day care at my Mom’s house.

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8:29 am: I’m forced to do a quick drop off with Maggie and utter a quick “Hi Bye!” to my Mom.She always wants to chat. And although I wish our greeting could be more like this:

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There is no time for that. I’m basically already late for work. 

8:31 am: Arrive at work. Phew, only 1 minute late. 

8:35 am: I turn on my office computer and then coffee. Coffee before anything else. I can’t function without it. 

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8:35 am – 9:30 am: Respond to work emails and make a plan for the day. Very hard. Very sleepy.

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9:30 am – 12:00 pm. Work. Boring details you don’t care hearing about. (not like the minute by minute updates of my morning routine that left you on the seat of your chair)

11:00 am: Hungry, but will be strong and wait until noon to eat my lunch. 

12:01 pm: Sit down at my desk ready to eat my lunch. So hungry! Just as I’m about to put the first bite of salad into my mouth my boss runs over with an emergency. Something is wrong with our computers or internet connection. I’m recruited to try to fix it. This happens way too often. 

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12:30 pm: Crisis solved. Eat lunch at my desk. 

12:40 pm  – 2:30 pm: Focus on work. This part of the day always flies by.

2:30 pm – 4:30 pm: Depending on my schedule, work on freelance projects either at home or at client’s office.

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm: Go to my mom’s to pick up Maggie and girl talk for a good big. Involves either gushing happily about our days or venting. She’s the best listener. 

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5:30 pm: Head home and start making plans for the night. Sometimes I meet up with girlfriends. Other times I head to the gym or go straight home. Ryan won’t be home for another two hours at least. 

6:00 pm: Plans disappoint or change. Then I either don’t have one of the ingredients needed to make the dinner I was planning (and I”m too lazy to leave the house again to go back to the store) or Ryan texts saying he’ll be home late. 

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6:20 pm: Try to brush it off. Get soaked into social media for far too long.

6:40 pm: Work out. Either at gym or at home. 

7:30 pm: Make dinner. If it’s this late, it’s usually some easy staple like salad, chicken and rice, mac and cheese, or pizza. This could explain the extra summer fun weight. 

7:45 pm: Yay Ryan’s home! Hugs and kisses from me. Death scratches of excitement from Maggie,

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8:00 pm: We cozy up on the couch (sometimes dining room table if I made a nicer meal, like once a week) and stuff our faces. We are both starving. There is little talking. Just eating. 

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8:10 pm: We are done eating. Ryan graciously cleans up the kitchen. We then sit and discuss our days. This usually leads to talking about the future. Which always leads to both of us being anxious and overly worried the future. Will Ryan find a job after graduation? Will he pass the bar?  How low is our bank account?  Where are we going to live next year? How will we get through another week? 

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8:40: Enough worries. Time to pour some drinks. We open some wine and relax and enjoy each other. After half a glass our worries turn into happy babbles about our hopes and dreams and encouraging statements like,  “We can do this!” and “All we need is love!”.

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9:00 pm: We now  watch one of our TV shows before crashing for the night. We binge watch shows intensely. Having finishing the second season of Orange is the New Black about a week after it was released we’ve been at a loss at what to watch. We just started The Following. I haven’t had a peaceful night of sleep since. 

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10:30 pm: Time to head upstairs. We cozy up in bed and read before saying “lights out”. Hands down, this is my favorite part of the day. 

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And there you have it! Riveting right?

I had fun linking up today with Leslie today for her Confessional Friday: Day in the Life!

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 Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend!

xoxo Katie

 

My Writing Process (part of a blog tour!)

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A little while ago my blogging friend Amanda, from Notes From  Newlywed,  asked me to take part in a little writing theme that has been making its way around blogland lately, the Writing Process Blog Tour. Similar to Home Tours that allow you to peak into people’s private homes and get ideas or tips or to learn something new, this blog tour allows fellow writers to take a peak into other writer’s minds.  The idea is to learn about various thoughts on writing and the writing processes and to be introduced to new blogs and writers. 

I’m always happy to talk about writing, reading, and words with people who share my enthusiasm so I was very happy to participate. Writing has been a part of my life since my teenage years. Whether it’s keeping a journal, writing poetry or stories, or studying as an English major in college. I can’t imagine a world without books and writing.

We were all asked the same questions about writing and here are my answers:

What am I working on?

Other than writing for this blog, I do some freelance editing and writing for a small publishing company as well as the writing I do for my full-time job. At the publishing company we are currently editing the final touches to a non fiction book on how to fundraise for non profits. The book is written by a developement  industry veteran who currently teaches at NYU. It’s been interesting to get to know him and to learn all the ins and outs of the industry. He has some great and hilarious stories involving mob members, celebrities, and other awkward situations.  As a former employee of a struggling non-profit, I’m learning so much of what went wrong. Once the book is published I’ll share a link to buy it on Amazon – if you work/volunteer for a non-profit or if you job has anything to do with fundraising I’d recommend it!

At my full-time job my day is full of a lot of technical and promotional writing. Although this may sound boring, I work for a consulting company that specializes in creativity training. We teach people how to think more quickly and creatively on demand by giving them easy to use creativity tools. These easy to learn skills can very easily change the way your brain processes and thinks. It’s really amazing to watch the changes happen in our clients work and personal lives. Since I love the work, the technical writing is fun and I do get to be a little creative. 

In my free time I write this blog. My most favorite posts are those about trying to be the best you that you can be, like finding and using your voice, respecting your own dreams and goals, following your bliss, and celebrating you! I love writing reflective and sensitive pieces. Behind closed doors I write poetry and a little fiction as a stress reliever and hobby.  I use writing as a way to work through thoughts and issues. My blog has proved to be a very cheap form of therapy. In all honesty though, I hope I am relating to others in my writing and giving them that satisfying “me too” moment. 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The genre that is lifestyle blogs? Is there such a “genre”? I think not.

I think we all have our own individual voices and that is what makes blogging so appealing. No matter what “type” of person you are you will find a blog or blogger that speaks specifically to you. My blog tends to be a little bit more serious and reflective. I’ll never be one of those funny bloggers. I don’t set rules for myself in this place. In blogging I try my best for my writing to sound like my speaking voice as I like my writing to feel like a conversation I am having with you over coffee. I don’t write for everyone. I write for myself and for those that can relate to me. I truly hope to build a community with those that do. Some may not care for it, and that’s okay! 

Why do I write what I do?

I write to connect. Words make the world a smaller place. There is always at least one other person out there that can connect with the thoughts you are sharing. Your words may make them feel inspired, angered, uplifted, or happy. I write to feel human – to document my never-ending journey or learning and growing.

I’ve always been fascinated with words and the power they have over people. Words give us the power to inspire, to not feel alone, to connect with strangers, to provide hope, to believe in love and to change the world.

How does your writing process work?

I have a similar writing process for all the types of writing I do (creative, blog, technical, non fiction). I have a long list of ideas or thoughts that I want to write about. If I need inspiration I can find it by going for a walk, listening to music, or browsing the internet, but the most common way I find inspiration is through reading. I try to read about 2 -3 books per month. Once I have an idea my next step is to  find my writing spot for the day/afternoon/night.

First, I need complete silence, no music, no TV, no background noise. I can get very nit picky about this! Once I’m in a quiet space, I start with pen and paper. Always on pen and paper. I either curl up in bed or on the couch and write out my thoughts, usually just little snippets. I then try to find the main theme of what I’m thinking. After I have my theme I construct an outline of how I’m going to structure my post, article, story etc. Then I simply let it flow from there.

Somedays it takes me a whole month to craft and polish a post. Others I write on the spot and throw it out there, errors and all as it was something I needed to simply put out there. I never guarantee perfect grammar or spelling all the time, I’m only human, and this is only a personal blog.

That said, my favorite posts are those that I take time to craft and mull over. I follow the advice of Coco Chanel. She famously said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”   I try to do that with my writing, omitting and rewriting until I feel my writing is ready to walk out the door. Brevity is an art form and one I struggle with. My blog challenges me and I strive to continue to develop and strengthen my writing skills over time. I’m so thankful for all my readers who have come along on this adventure with me. 

Continue Your Tour!

Now I’d like to pass the torch onto another writer. Please continue your blog tour withAllie at Everyday Adventures 

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and Lisa at Two Martinis

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and hear their thoughts on writing and their writing process.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on writing and writing processes. Please share them below to start the dialogue. 

xoxo Katie

 

The Inspiration Expedition

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Over this past month I was feeling uninspired. The monotony of day-to-day life was wearing me down and I was flat-out tired. Every time I went to write a post I felt empty, I had zero energy to write about my feelings and felt like I had nothing to give or to share. Writer’s block was hitting me hard and I felt like I was abandoning my commitment to this blog.

I needed some inspiration.

In a guilt induced panic I began a desperate search for this elusive inspiration that was going to fill me with all of the ideas, passions, and feelings. I consciously told my inner thoughts to “Be quite! I have some inspiration to go find!”

I took a big breath and set off on an inspiration expedition.

These expeditions aren’t new endeavors for me. I’m a little bit of an inspiration junkie, consuming all articles, books, quotes, podcasts, videos, songs, anything that will fill me with a little hit of inspiration.

I spent countless hours reading the many blogs that I follow looking for ideas or a words that would ignite something in me. I only find myself comparing and thinking , “well I’ll never write something that beautiful” or “I’m not funny like her”. Next I find myself scrolling through Pinterest seeing images of DIY projects I’m not talented enough to create or rooms decorated so beautifully they can’t possibly have people living in them. So then I start stalking celebrity train wrecks on Twitter in an attempt to make myself feel better which leads me to take quizes telling me what country or which Hunger Games district I should live in and soon enough I find myself getting envious over the elaborate and perfect seeming life of a former college classmate on Facebook.

I throw my phone down in disgust and realize that not only did I just waste 2 hours of my life but I was left feeling I’m even more lost  and disconnected feeling than before.

So, I gave up.

I consciously decided to take a break. I was going to stop consuming inspiration. I cut off my expedition and retreated into solitude me time.

I stopped writing a blog 5 times a week, choosing to only write 3 times a week. I took more walks. I read more. Whenever I had a free second I chose to not reach for my phone and concisouly put it out of reach. When I watched TV or a movie I did not allow any distractions and paid attention to the story. I put my phone away. I stopped checking Facebook and twitter hundreds of times a day. I took naps. I journaled more and  I scheduled quiet time before bed each evening, allowing room for reflection.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what the outcome was.

I discovered inspiration everywhere. My soul felt nourished. I felt like an individual with value again.

By choosing to turn up the volume of all of the external noise, the blogs, the social media, the comparison to others, I was consciously telling my own thoughts that they weren’t good enough. All the outside inspiration was so loud that it was deafening all of my own  internal thoughts and feelings. I can’t even bear to think of all those wasted hours spent searching (or procrastinating) on my phone.

I’ve made the conscious choice to make time for internal inspiration. To set aside a little time once a day or even once a week for you to turn off lower the volume on all that external noise and distraction and create your own thoughts and feelings. It goes back to my 2014 goal to respect my own desires and myself more.. Your biggest resource for inspiration is yourself.

We all have it inside of us, it just needs us to pay attention to it.

xoxo Katie