On Showing Up

Menger Bar
The bar where Teddy Roosevelt recruited the Rough Riders. No big deal.

 

Hi friends! I’ve missed you.

 

I’m in a bit of a dry spell when it comes to writing. The past few months have been hard, in a way that is no fun to write or read about — doctor’s appointments, financial reports, board meetings. I’ve been avoiding this space because I felt guilty for not writing, and the longer I didn’t write, the more daunting writing became. I almost decided to walk away from this blog forever.

 

But since it’s January, I decided to change up some things. Are you totally tired of reading other people’s New Years resolutions? I promise these will be quick:

 

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Blog Birthday!

Eat Up, Buttercup Turns One!

Photo credit: Best Confetti Ever from Oh Happy Day Shop

 

Eat Up, Buttercup turns a year old this week! I don’t actually know the exact day because WordPress did this weird thing where it backdated my first post to August 1. (I’ve never had that happen before or since, and I have NO idea what happened. So weird!) So I’ve just decided to celebrate during the last week of August, since that’s probably when I wrote the first post.

 

I was in a nostalgic mood last week and read through some of my old posts, and I was super proud of them! Of course I noticed all the grammatical mistakes I missed the first time around, but overall I’m still pretty happy with them. (This is a pretty big deal for me because I usually can’t read my old writing — too embarrassing!)  

 

Here are 5 of my favorite posts from the past year (if you’re interested, you can check out my favorite posts from 2014):

 

Apple Pie Two Ways

 

Apple Pie is probably one of my favorite things to bake, and I’m so excited for September because I’m going to make way too many pies! I’m excited to take my sweet and savory apple pie recipes out for a spin again.

 

Taco Platter (2)

 

My Cauliflower Tacos + Dragons Love Tacos collaboration with This Picture Book Life was so fun! Who knew cauliflower could work so well in Tex Mex?

 

Plot Inspiration

 

I talked about how I opted out of Game of Thrones (gasp!) in favor of writing the book I want to read instead. All of the political intrigue with none of the sexualized violence! Win/win!

 

Family home(s)

 

I wrote about my writing process back in April, and it’s so crazy to look back — I still call my chapters “blurbs,” but I’m on chapter 15 instead of chapter 4. Such a huge difference!

 

Food Blogger collage

 

I still turn to the blogs from my list of 10 Favorite Food Blogs for cooking and writing inspiration.

 

It’s so crazy to look back at how much has changed in the past year! I’ve gotten better at formatting blog posts and pictures (WordPress can be so weird sometimes), but I’m still working on my photography skills. But I’m so proud of the progress I’ve made, and I can’t wait to look back this time next year and see how far I’ve come.

 

Thanks so, so much for reading along this year! Is there anything you wish I’d talk more about? Or maybe talk less about? 😉 I’m all ears!

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Dealing with Creative Burnout

Erica Cook quote

It was kind of quiet around these parts last week because I took an unplanned blog hiatus last week. I had written a post — this one, actually — and I kept thinking, oh I’ll post it tomorrow. Or oh, I’ll post it on Thursday. And then it just didn’t happen.

 

And honestly, it was exactly what I needed. I’ve been feeling burned out lately, and my brain desperately needed a rest. Earlier this year I was feeling bored and uninspired with the blog, so I decided to push myself to blog more. I started posting three times a week, planning out my editorial calendar a month ahead, and reading all sorts of articles about how to blog better, write better, and how to create a brand. I was really inspired, and it seemed to be working for me. Until it didn’t.

 

Little by little, I started feeling burned out. If I got busy with creative writing or reading and missed a blog post, I’d feel like a failure and beat myself up about it. I worried I wasn’t good enough. I noticed that I changed the editorial calendars so much throughout the month that I was lucky if more than two blog posts I had planned actually made it to the blog. Suddenly my process wasn’t working for me anymore, and I couldn’t figure out why.

 

I started thinking about summer plans for the blog. I didn’t want to stop blogging entirely, but trying to keep a strict blogging schedule in the middle of moving and traveling (a lot!) didn’t seem feasible. I considered going on a semi-hiatus and was so excited about the idea (and was honestly tempted to start it a month early) that I thought Maybe this should tell me something.

 

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Room to Grow

Poinsettias
Speaking of room to grow, this is the poinsettia that has somehow outlived Christmas and is still hanging out on my desk.

 

I read a lot of blogs. Interior design blogs, food blogs, art blogs, writing blogs, DIY blogs, lifestyle blogs. You name it, I probably read it. And while I’ve been trying to cull the herd and only follow blogs with writing I love, I have noticed a trend- they all tell you how to blog. Some more explicitly than others, and they always mean well. “This has worked for me, so if you do it, you can be successful too.” I love that so many bloggers and entrepreneurs are open to sharing their processes. I love reading about people’s behind the scenes and how they make work. Those are always my favorite posts to read.

But it makes it so easy for me to feel guilty about this space. According to really inspiring, successful, nice people, I’m doing this blog thing all wrong. I missed a post last week- and I only post once a week, when I should be posting 3-5 times a week, with a killer blog design and great photos. I should have a design style so that my work is instantly recognizable. I should strategize what I post based on what other people want to read. I should, I should, I should…
I’m exhausted just thinking about all of that. I find myself wondering how I can be successful if it’s so obvious that I’m doing all the wrong things?
This week, I’ve been working on my story notebook, filling out character descriptions. According to a lot of articles I’ve read, I’m doing those all wrong too. No exhaustive biography. No mention of a favorite color or an embarrassing childhood moment. Just some important, basic bio information and personality traits that shape their thought process. Most are only half a page. I started to stress about not doing it “right.” And then I thought, I still have half a page. If I figure out I need to know something out I can always add it.* There’s room to grow.
And I realized how well that applies to this space too. I want to keep growing and keep improving, but there’s still (a lot!) of room to grow. And I’m ok with that. Nothing against bloggers who decide to monetize their blogs or use affiliate links or receive products for review – those are all great opportunities. But (at least right now) this blog is just for me, so I’m looking forward to working and growing without having to worry about supporting myself with my blog.
So here’s to leaving ourselves room to grow! I don’t know about you, but I’ll probably have to remind myself of that pretty often over the next year. But I’m excited to see how I grow, both in blogging and in my “real life.”
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Auf Wiedersehen, 2014

Favorite 2014 Blog Posts

I can’t believe 2014 is already over! It’s been a year of big changes, and I’m looking forward to see what the new year will bring — hopefully lots of writing, reading, good meals, and trips to visit family and friends! I’m still mulling over my New Year’s Resolutions, so for now I thought I’d share my 10 favorite posts from 2014:

 

Jammy Dutch Baby

 

Brunch for Two

Because it’s a fun tradition that I’ve fallen out of, and would love to pick up again.

 

Treacle Tart (Attempt #1)

 

Treacle Tart and House Elves

Because I don’t track page views, but this post wins most spammy comments, hands-down. Also, I really like what I wrote, despite the funny note-to-self that slipped through the editing process. Oops!

 

Elsbeth Inspiration board

 

Sketchy: Character Development

I’m currently feeling really good about my story idea, and my Pinterest board storyboarding is still going strong. So much work ahead, but (hopefully) fun work.

 

Harry Potter

 

Dear Reader: Harry Potter Re-Read

Falling in love with Harry Potter all over again, and trying to decide how I feel about Dumbledore.

 

Apple Pie Two Ways

 

Apple Pie Two Ways

My two favorite apple pie recipes. There are no fancy lattice-tops or crimped edges, but they’re addictive.

 

30 Rock - Season 7

 

Twenty-two 

Some angsty feelings here, about being part of a generation that’s mocked pretty much incessantly for not knowing how to navigate a world that’s changing everyday.

 

 

Thankful

The counter to angsty feelings and homesickness, being thankful in a new town, in a new life.

 

Yellow Deli

 

My Writing Life

A little explanation of where I’m coming from as a writer.

 

Santa Monica

 

Pics or It Didn’t Happen: LA

My first travel post for the blog! It was a fun trip and a fun post to write, so hopefully there will be more travel posts in the coming year!

 

Food Blogger collage

 

Resources: My 10 Favorite Food Blogs

Secretly my favorite post, my oversharing tendencies are used for good here. Food blogs that are great for worldbuilding, photography practice, and recipes.

 

Auf Wiedersehen, 2014. It’s been real. Here’s to a full, happy 2015! I hope you have a Happy New Year’s Eve and relaxing New Year’s Day!

 

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