January 23, 2018

back to basics


Do you recall that time I wrote a blog post announcing my new blog design?

Yeah, me neither. Because apparently my blog design has changed AGAIN, despite the plans for the previous one to last at least a year or more. :P  (I can't remember if I actually SAID I wanted it to last for a year, but it's what I had been hoping for at the time.)

Well. 'Hem. Here we are again. Surprise! New blog design!

*sigh*

I've been learning some things lately, my friends. Things that are teaching me a little more about who I am and what I want and how I should live my life.

Awhile back, I semi-consciously made the decision to push this blog toward being more professional. Maybe more geared toward a specific niche, with polished posts to match. I had this idea that maybe, just maybe I could begin earning money from my blog somehow. And if not from my actual blog, from some side business ideas I had rolling around in my brain. 

(I won't keep them a secret: I was thinking of starting an Etsy shop selling handcrafted greeting cards and bookmarks and/or a small blog design business.)

So I redesigned my blog and started looking at my posts with a more critical eye, and I unofficially deemed January to be the month in which I would sit down and figure out how to start these ventures, to look into creating a business paypal account and figuring out how much shipping to Utah* would be for a set of three bookmarks.

*random example for the sake of the story

My plans got derailed quite beautifully by a nasty flu-like cold.

By about day 3 I was getting very sick of being sick (ha....) and I was frustrated. I had plans for January 2018! I had ideas and projects and stuff to get done and I was stuck in bed with a stupid cold with barely enough energy to read a book or watch a movie. 

But you know what? Even the most inconvenient things can have some good in them. That week gave me a lot of time to think and really process what I was going into. At the time, I felt incredibly overwhelmed and frustrated and stressed. But now, looking back, I feel kind of grateful for that time to really and truly think about everything.

An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered. ~G. K. Chesterton

And I did come to a conclusion. 

I didn't want to do any of things I'd been planning. I didn't want to juggle multiple small businesses that may or may not even sell anything. I didn't want to make my blog into something to stress over and constantly be tweaking and perfecting. My blog has always been just that--my blog. My unprofessional, silly little space on the internet where I was allowed to ramble and use too many gifs and incorrect grammar because it's just a blog.

The thought of turning it into a money-making venture--even if it was just writing posts to advertise an Etsy shop--drained all my inspiration to blog right out of me.

#typicalinspirationalcloudphoto

I also realized something else: I'm not an entrepreneur. 

I've read about several people--some of them fellow bloggers--who have started home-based photography businesses or Etsy shops or publishing companies.  I used to look to those people as inspiration and think maybe I can do that, too.

I mean, it seems like a good fit, right? I like being at home and I like being creative; I should use my talents and interests in a way that makes me happy and provides me with money! But the more I mused on it, the more reluctant I felt. Just the thought of the amount of time and energy it takes to create and run even one small, home-based business drained the heck out of me.

 One thing I've noticed about those kinds of people is that they seem to always be on. Always thinking, planning, scheming, dreaming. And that's fine, but it's so not me. I get stressed very easily and turning my mind off a problem is very very difficult for me. The thought of running a small business right now is kind of a nightmare. I want a job I can go to, get done, and then come home and be totally turned off. I don't want home and work to be one and the same to me.*

*I'm talking about money-making work, not laundry or dish-washing. 

When I realized all this and more, I felt like a weight had dropped off my shoulders. Suddenly I was free--free to focus on my writing and on getting a part-time job, two things that I really want right now. I didn't have to worry anymore about starting a business of any sort, of advertising, of hoping for sales, and drawing bookmarks, and worrying over ever. single. flipping. detail.

And I was free to blog again, without worrying about making it professional or attractive or exciting. I could just.....blog. That realization felt so good.


I feel that some of you may be reading this post (or skimming), yawning and wondering what in the world I'm going on about. Of course your blog doesn't have to be professional, of course you don't have to start a small business, what even is the point of this post???

I don't know if this post really has a point. But I felt that I had to write it, to open up about my recent thoughts & struggles concerning this blog. As to why I felt pressured to do all these things....I think that's just one unfortunate part of my personality. My mom can attest to how I struggle with self-pressure. ;) She talked with me a lot these past few weeks when I was going through the ups and downs of thinking this all through, and she told me about the time I was probably around 13 years old and felt that I had to get a Christmas gift for everyone I knew that year. Simply a card or a "Merry Christmas" wouldn't do, everyone needed a present. She tried to convince me I didn't have to do that, but my little self wouldn't listen (typical, ha) and stressed herself out in the process.

Some things don't change. :P

I pressure myself into thinking SO many things. Thinking I have to do certain things, to act a certain way, to have a certain number of tasks accomplished, to do this, to do that, etc. etc. etc.

 But I don't. I really, really don't. 

This is why I titled this post "back to basics" and why I redesigned it yet again. I want to take pressure off myself and refreshing my blog again, in a way that felt calm and pretty and un-professional (don't even ask me what I mean by that word because sometimes I don't even know myself), was one way to do that. To remove the pressure my old "new" blog design put on me.

So here's to the basic, simple things in life. To just enjoying what we love, without any extra imaginary pressure we put on ourselves. 

This is my blog and it's not professional. Thanks for reading, my friends. <3

"It is the sweet, simple things of life 
which are the real ones after all."
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

(Photos are mine, please don't steal)

PS. If this post had a subtitle, it would be "don't be surprised if I change my blog design even after I say I won't: a memoir" :P

20 comments:

  1. Welcome back to the unprofessional world, my good friend!! I actually checked into your blog yesterday and sighed over your new look so I'm glad you like it too! I think it's really pretty, bright, and fresh! All good things in my book. :D Haha.

    And as for writing these things all out, I totally get it. I was having my own New Year goals and struggles late last year and earlier this January. (Happy 2018, by the way!!) Oddly enough I was also dealing with a little cold. Getting sick forces you to slow down and think, doesn't it? Funny how these things, "just happen", right? ;)

    Hey, did you take all the pictures? Because they are beautifully simple and terrific nature shots! Two thumbs up from Cordy! <3

    I hope everything works out for you, and you can begin to enjoy the things you love again!!

    Yours truly,
    Cordy

    P.S. By the way, I do love your subtitle. XD

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    1. Thank you, Cordy!!! :D It's good to be back. Awwww. I'm so glad you like it!! Pretty, bright, and fresh is exactly what I was going for.

      I'm glad you understand! And yes, Happy 2018! I'm super sorry you've been having your own struggles regarding the new year. :/ It just never fails that our plans and goals don't go smoothly, does it? I hope things are better for you. <3 (And I'm sorry you were sick, too!!)

      Except for the gifs and the quote picture, yes, all the photos are mind! Thanks so much!!!

      Same to you, friend!

      PS. Heehee, I'm glad you appreciated that. xD

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    2. Then you scored in my book! :D

      Things are much better for me! Truly, there is no need to worry.

      Oh, man! I really thought you were part of the graphics team for Lilo and Stitch. ;) Haha.

      By the way, I tagged you here:
      http://writeoncordy.blogspot.com/2018/01/another-period-drama-tag.html
      It's a fun tag but it's also optional!!

      Have a wonderful day, Natalie!!

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    3. :D

      Oh good! I'm really glad to hear it. ♥

      *snort* haha, nope. ;)

      Thanks, Cordy! I'll have to see if I can get around to it, but even if I don't I super appreciate your tagging me. :)

      You as well!

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  2. Yesss girl. And your blog is just fine just the way it is. No need for fancy. Fancy gets old anyway. :-)

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  3. I've missed you!!!

    We're all the middle of a flu-cold, and, yikes, is it NO JOKE. :/

    What you said about "those people" always being "on", it's so true! I've even found myself hyperventilating when I'm on a carefree adventure, but feeling like I really need to be taking more photos. That's part of the reason I found thoughtfully recording my adventures in journal form last summer such a good thing; besides which writing something down makes you remember the flavor of a moment in a totally unique way.

    Here's to finding and doing more of the simple and basic things, "to just enjoying what we love". I feel like I've lost much of that in the craziness that has been my mind these last few months; this post was a pure gift, Natalie. :)

    P.S. Thy photos are lovely indeed.

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    1. Awwww, I've missed you, too!!!! *hugs*

      Oh dear! I'm super sorry to hear y'll have it. That's awful! Feel better soon. :(

      "Hyperventilating when I'm on a carefree adventure" << Yes, this!! My brain tends to take worries and stress with me, even when I shouldn't, and something as all-consuming as a home business definitely gives me worries and stress. I'm really glad you learned that you liked recording your adventures in a journal! You're so right; writing DOES have a very distinct flavor that helps you remember things in a way photos sometimes can't.

      I'm so happy if this post helped you in any way. *hugs* (If you ever need to talk about feeling overwhelmed by the crazy....well, I'm here. I will definitely understand! :D)

      PS. Thank you!

      PPS. YOUR PROFILE PICTURE!!! I LOVE IT. :D :D :D

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  4. Good for you! God often uses outlets of our lives to inspire others. Just because your blog isn't generating revenue for you, that doesn't mean it isn't a source of encouragement, joyful readings or inspiration to others.
    Keep up the good work!

    Livvy

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    1. Thank you, Livvy!! Ahh, that means so much to me. Thank you for the encouragement. <3

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  5. I really, REALLY like the new header!! IT'S SO PRETTY!! And the background is lovely, too. :D

    What you said about putting pressure on yourself...YES! I can totally relate to that. I'm so glad you've decided to say "no" to the pressure though, and keep your blog the simple and delightful place it's always been. After all, a very wise person once told me that "blogging should be fun!" (And yes, that wise person was you...heehee. ;))

    "I want a job I can go to, get done, and then come home and be totally turned off." Oh my yes! That's me, too. I have a hard enough time with all my projects at home looming over my head...I'd be a complete wreck if I had a business to run on top of that!

    This post was great, my friend! And your photos! Wow. I'm blown away. That first flower picture is AMAZING!! :D :D

    Glad you're feeling better from your cold, and that this has been a good time of reflection for you!! Keep trusting God and taking one day at a time. Love you!! <3

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    1. Thank you!!!!!

      Heehee, I thought you might be able to relate. *hugs* And awwww. Using my own words against me, huh? ;) (No, THANK YOU for that I needed to hear it! ♥)

      EXACTLY. And, as a wise person said to me lately, I spend so much time on the computer blogging and writing, why would I want my JOB to be on the computer, too? ;)

      Awwww. Thank you so so much. :D

      I will try. Love you too!!

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  6. I've done this too. I even bought Wordpress hosting, and start using all the SEO apps and spending a ton of time on my posts and Instagram; and then I got mad, "I don't HAVE to do this; I'm wasting so much time." I almost deleted both blogs. I'm still figuring out what I want, but if I feel pressured, that is not it. I've toyed around with entrepreneurship, but I think I like a job with set rules. Anyway, it was nice to hear from someone who felt similarly . . . a lot of people never mention figuring out blog direction or they are all pushing for business (which detracts from the blog, I feel like this kind of blog, as blog as a thought catalog is dying).

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    1. It was interesting hearing that you tried this, too, Livia! I'm sorry it didn't go well for you, either. "I'm still figuring out what I want, but if I feel pressured, that is not it." <<< YES.

      I'm really glad you liked the post! I enjoyed hearing your story, too. Thanks for sharing. :) (And yes!! I agree; we gotta keep up the casual, personal blogs. They're important.)

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  7. Oh, it's so lovely hearing from you again. :) And I loved this post! (The pictures are especially beautiful. <3)

    Oh, I'm so glad that getting sick had a pro side to it. I feel like God can use ANYTHING to talk to us - even something so simple as getting sick. :P (One of the endless examples of how He can turn negative, nasty things into positive, perfect things.)
    I understand so much about what you said. I'm sorry that those ideas don't really fit with who you are, but that just means you haven't quite yet discovered what that something else is, out there, and there is excitement in that, I think. :) Just enjoy what you have RIGHT NOW and don't waste time on things that don't matter. I'm certainly guilty of doing that. I go-go-go and do heaps of things with rarely a break, but when I stop to think about it, a lot of the time I don't enjoy those things that much, and the reason I'm doing it is a bad reason. I'm brutally honest with myself, a lot of the time. Because really, dishonesty gets you nowhere - it just seems convenient at the time. But when I realize that my motive is people-pleasing, trying to impress, appear smarter or more skilled or more academic than I really am, then I have to grab hold of the breaks and re-think what I'm doing. Actually, I've just finished a book that has a lot to do with this, called "Present Over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist. It was a wonderful thing to read at where I'm at, at the moment. :)

    I could ramble on for ages about this, but I don't need to, and frankly, I don't have the time to. So I'll finish this by saying:
    1. Your new look is LOVELY!!!
    2. Don't live your life trying to please others. Enjoy what God has given you, come to terms with what He hasn't, and live like you're loved. Because you are, and the amazing thing is, you always will be, no matter what you do, where you go or who you become.
    3. Have faith in God's timing. I understand how exhausting and stressful and restless you can get WAITING. I understand it - I really do. But God never slips up, He never forgets, He never makes the wrong decision. He'll never fail us. So just cling to Him and He'll lead you through the crazy adventures, and the quiet waiting. :)

    Love you! <3

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    1. Awww, thank you so much, Gabby. <3

      Yesss, very true. Love what you said about that. :)

      It is exciting! I just love how much less burdened it makes me feel. I'm a little sad that those plans wouldn't work for me....but I know God gave me certain capabilities AND limitations for a reason and I can't fight how He made me. And I know He has a good plan, anyways. :)

      Sammmmeee. I definitely struggle with those things, too. *hugs* I'm glad you are able to stop and see when you're doing things for the wrong reasons! That's super helpful to be self aware.

      EEK YOU JUST READ THAT BOOK, TOO?? Gabby, I read that for the first time a few weeks ago and it DEFINITELY helped with my struggles I mentioned in this post. That's just too ironic. *high fives* Wasn't it an awesome book?

      Thank you ever so much for your words on encouragement, dear friend. <3

      Love you too!!

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  8. Natalie, your blog is awesome! Just being you is awesome! I love reading your posts always. :D

    I'm so glad you are feeling better! Happy 2018!

    I love the photos and header!!

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    1. Aww, THANK YOU, MC!!! You're awesome, too. :D

      Happy 2018 to you as well. Thanks!

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  9. Good for you! Realizing you don't have to do things other people do is a great relief, isn't it?

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    1. Thank you, Hamlette!! Yes, it certainly is. :)

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