I Am A Writer

I bought a new laptop today.

This may seem insignificant. In many, many ways, it probably is. Will I remember, thirty years from now, the process I went to in order to buy this new device? Will I recall the feeling of turning it on, peeling off the protective plastic, and booting it up for the first time? If my digital footprint reminds me – as, it seems, most social networking sites like to do these days – then perhaps, yes. But more than likely… honestly, hopefully… no, I won’t remember this particular part about today.

So why bother bringing it up?

Well, there’s a weird significance to this new purchase, one that is certainly more of a personal milestone than anything else. In fact, I’m not sure that anyone will even care, and yet, I’ve felt compelled to blabber about it on the Internet nonetheless.

That milestone, for those of you still curious, is that, for the first time in a long time, I decided to do something for myself as a writer.

That’s the whole purpose of this purchase, after all.

I mean, sure. Part of it is to ease any issues that might arise if my work laptop fails. Part of it is to provide a lightweight, easy-to-travel-with alternative to hopping on a plane with a piece of company property. Part of it is just straight consumerism, and undeniable impatience with my aging and slow Macbook.

But for the most part, I bought this laptop to provide myself a brand new motivation for writing. Buying this laptop made me feel official, as silly as it sounds. I can now spend hours in a coffee shop, typing away, without feeling like a fraud, or like a fake. Sure, I could have done that with my old computer. I could have – and did – try to do it with my tablet. But it never felt quite right. I needed something that worked, that responded, that signified to everyone exactly why I was there.

Is it a silly, superficial need? Absolutely. Do I feel completely empowered and excited to write regardless? You bet.

You may have noticed that I changed the layout of my blog… again. That was intentional… again.

I’ve spent so long trying to figure out my niche. Trying to become the blogger that I’m not. And, quite frankly, that whole attempt was a little pointless.

I’ll let you in on a little secret:

I’m not a blogger.

Nope. Sorry – both for announcing it to the world and that it took me so long to realize it.

No, I’m not a blogger. I’m not a huge fan of rambling about my purchases, my trips, or my recipes. Sure, I like to share those things. It can be fun, and even useful, and that’s why I haven’t gone to quite such drastic measures as deleting all of my content.

However, I finally decided to just allow what I actually am to shine through. It’s what I’m best at, after all.

You see, I’m not a blogger.

Or an influencer.

I’m a writer.

I write. It’s what I do. Sometimes, it’s stories, which end up sitting on my Google drive half-finished for years. Sometimes, it’s a novel, which is actually finished but has not seen much of the outside world. I write poems, snippets, articles, streams of consciousness. I write whatever feels right at the time. And I was doing myself a disservice for not utilizing my platform to showcase whatever it is I felt like writing at the time. For thinking I needed to fit into a predetermined “blogger box,” if you will.

So, there you have it. I’m not a blogger, and I’m sorry for trying so damn hard to be one. Someone should have stopped me. I’m pretty glad that, eventually, my own awareness did.

I’m not a blogger, but I’m not going to stop blogging. I’ll keep posting here, and I sincerely hope you continue to follow along. Because I’m not a blogger, but I am a writer.

A writer with a brand new laptop and a renewed love of words. I can only hope that it’s enough.

5 Ways to Fully Fall for Fall

Like most girls in their mid-twenties I am, basically and unabashedly, in love with the season autumn.

However, living smack-dab in the Sonoran desert doesn’t exactly offer a bunch of puddles to splash in or leaves to pile up to add to the autumnal atmosphere.

Thankfully, there’s Target to help combat that. And, thankfully part 2, pumpkin patches still exist in the desert (but – and this question is directed at anyone who owns, or knows someone who might own, a pumpkin patch… are they grown here? Are they imported in? However they get to the Valley of the Sun, I appreciate it.)

If you, like me, live in a place where the leaves don’t actually change and drinking a pumpkin spice latte seems a little odd with temperatures as warm as they are (here’s looking at you, Southern California), I’ve rounded up some ways the fully fall for fall, if you will:

1. Embrace the pumpkin candles. 

I’ll start with the obvious here. Scent is one of our strongest human senses, and has the power to bring about a plethora of emotions. That cozy feeling of fall is one of them. I’m just saying – the Bath & Body Works fall line is not just hype; it really adds to the atmosphere of things, even when it’s eighty degrees outside.

2. Hey, find some hay! 

No matter where you’re at, fall activities will indeed, inevitably, pop up. I’m sure even Hawai’i has a corn maze or two this time of year. Whether it’s a full-on fall festival, complete with said corn maze and turkey legs and what have you, or just a pumpkin patch on the corner of an intersection, a little hay goes a long way.

3. Movie marathon. 

One of the best things about fall is that it’s the start of the generally festive time of year — and there’s a movie for every moment. Halloween, Thanksgiving, general, golden-leaf loveliness: it’s a romantic setting overall, and makes for a wonderful movie backdrop. So light that pumpkin candle and pop some popcorn for an all-night autumn extravaganza. Personally, I suggest You’ve Got Mail, Halloweentown, Hocus Pocus (duh)and, of course, Remember the Titans. (Before you argue with me on that last one, football season is in the fall…)

4. Road trip! 

Even if you are a desert dweller, chances are, drive a couple hours in one direction or another, and you can find a place where fall actually does exist. For us, it’s only an hour, hour and a half tops, to the nearest trace of foliage. So if you have a free day, hop behind the wheel and go to where the temperature drops and the trees change colors.

5. Find a fall menu. 

You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to gorge yourself on seasonal root vegetables and freshly baked pies. Granted, as much as I love baking, I usually actually do save the pies for Thanksgiving (you can’t beat my cousin’s apple crumble… as long as I don’t pick all the crumble off pre-dinner). Ramble aside, I do love a good seasonal recipe. Pinterest has a wealth of them, and hopefully, you don’t end up on the Pinterest fails hashtag, like I am prone to do.

Combine any pick of these 5 things with a splurge in the dollar section at Target, and I guarantee you’ll be feeling the fall festive spirit. And once you’re in it… it’ll be time to start blasting the Christmas music 😉

*raises apple cider mug* Cheers!

Blogging with Purpose

cropped-img_80384.jpg

To be honest, I almost didn’t post today. I almost broke my fairly regular cadence of Tuesday/Thursday blog posts out of mere busyness and lack of true inspiration. This week has just gotten the better of me — social commitments have had me slacking on my workouts, work has me exhausted (in the good way! but still…), and I didn’t plan well for blog content. I didn’t want to post just for the sake of posting, so I wasn’t going to do it at all.

And then it struck me: there’s my post.

Diving into the blogger world, I’ve realized that it can be so easy to be insincere, not genuine. With all of the sponsored posts that keep blogs going, a battle for visibility within the algorithms, and so much more, it can be tempting to post just to post. I’ll admit — I’ve done it, and I’m fooling myself if I think I won’t do it again.

But I try, so hard, to avoid it. Why? Because that’s not at all what I started on this blogging journey for.

The other day, someone asked me a question.

“What is your blog about?”

I had to pause, for a moment, before offering a rambling response of: “It’s a lifestyle blog. Well, a faith-based lifestyle blog. Well, no. Kind of a faith-mixed-with-lifestyle blog. I’m still trying to figure it out.”

And while that’s true, it still got me thinking. What is this blog about?

I always said that I didn’t ever want to blog just to blog. I wanted to write things that have meaning to me – whether that meaning stems from pure interest or curiosity, or whether it’s something a bit deeper like faith. I never wanted to write just to spew some words out there. I live by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s motto:

You don’t write because you want to say something,
you write because you have something to say.

So as I pondered the question, I started perusing my own feeds. I started looking for the people and bloggers whose content I admire the most, who I look up to and admire in this crazy, saturated blogging sphere.

I noticed that my favorites were the ones with stories to tell. Not only stories, but their own truths. I am the biggest fan of real-life rawness, and I am so in awe of people who are vulnerable enough to share those moments with the world.

So that, I’ve decided, is what I want to tell people my blog is about:

Real life.

That’s not to say I won’t work with sponsors or affiliates. That’s not to say that I won’t occasionally post just to post — but I’m going to try to avoid it.

This is my pledge to you, my readers, that I will continue to blog with the utmost purpose. I will not hide details for the sake of making my life look more “shiny.” I will not shy away from the tough stuff. I urge you, whether you’re a blogger or a reader or just a random passerby, to live your life with that same mantra.

Can we do that, together? Can we promise to be real, and purposeful, and intentional?

I pray that we can. I pray that I can. And I pray that you continue to offer me the grace of your listening ears (or… I guess… your reading eyes?)

Transformative

Well, guys, I’ve undergone a transformation.

Okay, that’s a little dramatic. All that’s really changed is my blog – its look, its feel, and its direction. The change is resulting from a shift in my perspective lately, on blogging, on faith, and on life in general.

Now, if you would like the TL;DR version of this blog post: I’m ravamping my blog, and discontinuing my “blogger/food/whatever the heck it was” Instagram. I’m keeping the blogging platform and my personal Insta and simplifying my presence, both on social media and in real life. 

If you want the explanation, read on:

Basically: I feel like I was trying too hard.

I recently posted about how I felt like I was trying to make this blog into something its not, and how, by extension, I was trying to make myself into a fashionista or a foodie or whatever the heck I was going for there. The truth is, I may be a little bit of a foodie, I’m hardly a fashionista (I say as I write this wearing a t-shirt and old cutoffs with my hair in a horrendously messy ponytail – and yes, I left the house like this). I’m a writer at heart with a horrendous habit of not finishing anything I write, this blog included.

I think that was because my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t want to show off my fashion skills, partly because I have very few, and I didn’t want to lug around a camera and photograph everything I eat (and, beyond that, it’s not the healthiest habit I’ve ever developed, but that’s a story for another day).

I just want to write. I want to think more deeply about things, I want to explore my faith, and I want to use this platform to express those little blurbs of thought that come from the roots of such things.

Additionally, I felt scattered.

I felt like by trying to put on this facade of being some put-together blogger, I was being untrue to where I’m at in life right now. I’m not saying I’m a mess; in fact, I’m quite aware that for someone my age I have my life pretty well managed. I’ve got a job I love, I’ve got the best friends in the world (all around the world), I’ve got a family that I would literally do anything for, I’ve got a guy who shows me more about life and love than I ever could have imagined, I’ve got my own space, and I’ve got a cute and cuddly kitty to enjoy it all with. God has been pretty great thus far – but I’m also still just figuring some things out.

I want to simplify my life. I want to focus on what’s most important and I want to experience every ounce of joy that life has to offer. That’s hard to do when I’m so focused on capturing the perfect Insta-shot of my breakfast

Don’t get me wrong – I still love food, and I still love taking pictures of it. But having an entire social media presence dedicated to that (and to random OOTD’s when I felt particularly cute), is exhausting, and I’m awful at being consistent about it. I’d rather consolidate that presence into one place where I can show all the bursts of joy in my life that I happen to catch a photo of, whether that’s brunch with my best friend or a beautiful Arizona cotton candy sky. As such, I’m going to stop using my twentysomethingtaylor Insta account. If you want to keep up with my journey, feel free to follow me on my personal: heyyytaylor. But I’ll warn you now: there’s a lot less food and a lot more of people. (That’s also a pretty good testament to how I’m aiming to direct my life lately, too.)

Now, if you’ve been a loyal reader of mine at all (do I even have those?), you’ve probably noticed that my last few posts have been very faith-oriented. This whole thing is probably a post for another day, but I’ve been so blessed with the opportunity to dive back into my faith these past few weeks, and into serving my church and the Lord. I kind of drifted for a month or so at the beginning of the year, for a lot of reasons, but then I just kind of had this wake up call. Running away from the Lord because I was questioning why He was putting certain hardships in my path wasn’t the answer – that’s when I’m supposed to run towards Him, full speed ahead.

That realization is also a lot of why I’ve decided to redirect this blog more towards being a platform of personal reflection.

Maybe I’ll lose “readers” (LOL) because of this. But that’s not really what I’m aiming for.

I just want to write. Reflect. Pause. And appreciate.

I’ve been running through life since I was born, seven minutes after seven. Now I just want to take every chance I get to appreciate the little things, the big thoughts, and the overall journey.

I hope you’ll join me.