I don’t even know how to start writing here again.
I’ve thought about it often over the years. Every time my automatic domain renewal would go through, I’d eyeball the unnecessary charge on my transaction statement and think, “Katie, you’re paying for this, why aren’t you maintaining a blog? At least have something up there.”
And then I’d think, well, that was only the cost of a couple lattes at Starbucks. It isn’t a big deal. I’ll worry about it later. Because restarting my blog means finding hosting again, and then I have to figure out what I want the site to look like, and ohmigosh I probably have to design graphics and my copy of Photoshop is thick with cobwebs these days, and then what do I do about all my old blogs, oh I probably have to somehow archive those, andandand–
What I’ve learned in this last year is that I can dress things up as much as I want, but I need to focus on the goal. I made a new friend/mentor who often asked me, “Yeah, but what is the goal here?” Oh. The goal. Right. Let’s stay focused. We can add flavor to it, but we need to be clear about our goals.
My goal for this blog (and the other one about cooking and crafting that I’m happily resurrecting in the next few days) is to establish a writing habit. I have a semi-habit of writing with a friend (and I say semi because it isn’t something we do every day at the same time, it’s more as life allows) which I’m thrilled to say is now going nineteen-ish years strong, but it runs in the background. I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before and trying to focus on what is important to me and what I need to start making specific, scheduled time for in my life. How can I say I love to read if I don’t make time to do it anymore? How can I call myself “someone-who-writes” (because flat out “writer” is still a far reach), if my attention is spotty at best? I’m proudly owning titles like “knitter,” “crocheter,” and “yarn-wrangler,” right now, but if my shame would allow me, I could also add “Netflix junkie,” “Scandal authority,” and “expert napper” to my resume. It’s not bad to watch a bunch of television if that’s what you love. No judgement here. But I spent so much time not watching much of anything these last few years (commute, job, school), all of this feels like an overindulgence.
The thing is, I’m unemployed. I just graduated (finally! Go team!) with my Bachelor’s in English and a single-subject teaching credential. I spent January to June with about a hundred 8th graders learning how to teach them about the Civil War and how to write argumentative essays. It was the most incredible experience I’ve ever had, if I’m honest, and I can’t wait to get my own classroom. But, until then, it’s summer and I need to do do something with myself. Catch up on a billion projects that have collected in the time I was driving back and forth to San Marcos for my County Clerk job or sitting in various Ryan’s Brothers and Panera’s studying while waiting out traffic. Exercise. Clean out cupboards and drawers before I won’t find the time for that during the school year. Establish good habits that will come with me when I go back to work.
I’m not finished with Gretchen’s book yet, but I did learn one very important thing about myself in the amount I did read. She has categories for people to fall into based on how they will accomplish tasks or create habits. I’m an “obliger.” I have a very, very hard time doing things that are strictly for me. If I can talk myself into believing that my task is, somehow, for someone else it is so much easier to do. If there is accountability, I’m your girl. If you somehow know I didn’t take my five mile walk this morning, it’s harder for me to pretend I did it. I’m really, really good at putting things off for a better time unless someone is waiting for me. And I don’t mean to make myself out to be someone who is so selfless that all I can do is do for others. What it really is: if you know I’m supposed to be doing something or not eating something or attending something and I’m not? Well, shoot. You caught me and that is embarrassing. I’m terrible at being sneaky.
Now that I know that, I can restructure everything I do to make myself accountable. I don’t see any shame in doing it this way. At this point, I don’t care if my brain wants to pretend we’re doing things because other people want me to even though the tasks are ultimately best for me. Let’s trick it, and while we’re at it, let’s trick it into thinking that broccoli is cake and running is a spa day. I will happily bust out all the rabbits from top hats and flash powder if that’s what makes me reach these goals I’ve set up.
So, back to this goal. As you probably know (okay, probably not, but go with me), Camp NaNoWriMo started its July round on the 1st. While I have entered NaNoWriMo several times, I have only won twice (once on my own, once with a partner). Typically it’s held in November, but they have a wonderful summer program that fits very well with my future teacher-life. The goal is 50k words by the end of the month. Right now I have 955 with this blog post. Now, I know the goal is to write a novel in the month. But, what if I were to use it as an excuse to get myself into a writing habit, even if it’s blog posts? If I get used to sitting down with coffee and pounding out 1,500 words in a morning, I don’t care what is coming out of my fingers. This month we’re just reestablishing the routine of writing. And this is totally separate writing from what I already do with my writing buddy (Hi, Kim), because that doesn’t have an exact routine. Yet. Doesn’t mean it can’t.
The side effect to this is, I will probably get back into the kitchen again. Once upon a time, my friend Monique and I had a blog called Cooking & Hooking and it was great fun. She’s the cook out of the two of us and I’m the knitter, but we’d each dabble in food and crafts and write about them. There’s that accountability, again. I’m more likely to go make vegan lentil stew if I get to talk about it afterwards. We live in a world now where everything is recorded and photographed and if we didn’t Instagram our tacos, did we really eat them? If we didn’t pound out 140 characters about our drink, is it still alcoholic? And we can spend a few hours here discussing the merits (or lack of) about constantly projecting our lives on social media, but for me, for today? I need that accountability. It gives me a schedule. This may all change when I land a teaching job because lesson planning and grading and finding ways to wrangle students will take immediate precedence, but what if I could establish a few good habits before then? What if waking up early and putting on my running shoes every day started to feel automatic and my body started to reap the rewards? What if I started reading novels again, instead of just Reddit threads and Facebook updates?
As far as a theme for this specific blog? I don’t have one. Growing up and writing here (remember, sortafairytale.com is thirteen years old this year!), it was whatever I felt like talking about. Later, I got a specific blog for crafting/cooking and even later, a more specific blog about my ongoing war with my body. I’m definitely bringing back the cooking and crafting, but I think the rest of it can fall here. Separating topics feels a little bit like separating subjects in school. In real life, English mixes with Algebra and History more than individualized school subjects prepares us. I don’t see any sense in sectioning off a piece of me that is so central to how I’m feeling every single day.
So, I did it. I got this back up and running. It isn’t pretty, yet. It may never be pretty to look at, because I’m not letting design become a roadblock. I’m not a web designer or a graphic designer or an interior designer or well, I’m running out of designers. I’m just a person who wants to exercise her writing muscle. Sure, the other muscles, too, since those are the ones you’d see when I’m walking down the street, but we’ll start with this one.
I got the idea to restart yesterday during one of my walks, but it wasn’t until I came home and vocalized it to my husband that I became accountable. And now? I’m accountable to the few of you who are still reading, too.