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.

Blogging with Purpose

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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?)

Turning Pages

Happy 2018! It is weird to think that the holidays are officially over, and that it’s time to turn the page and start anew. Or so it goes.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of New Years. I think it’s a slightly overrated holiday, with slightly exaggerated expectations that tend to lead to slight disappointments, and that’s not how I think you should go into a new year feeling. That’s not to say I don’t have fun on New Years – I’ve certainly had some great ones and I will never say no to an excuse for champagne. Last night, the boy and I got together with friends and drank a lot of prosecco (or, at least, I did), and I got to kiss him at midnight for the second year in a row. I certainly can’t complain about that.

But after the party and that midnight kiss, the next questions tends to roll around: what are your resolutions for this year?

And that’s where I stop celebrating. I don’t really believe in resolutions. I think, if you’re going to start doing something, why wait until the turn of a calendar to do it? I also think that there’s an unnecessary pressure that comes with a New Years resolution, very similar to that of New Years Eve. There’s just a somewhat stressful expectation of the “results” you’ll see come this time next year, and I feel like that pressure is exactly why a lot of resolutions don’t actually get resolved.

So instead, I’m heading into 2018 with a couple of very simple goals for myself: read more and write more. I used to go through a book a week, but as life became more hectic than it was in high school it became a lot easier to just flip on a screen after work and zone out that way. But every time I do get sucked into a good book, I remember exactly what I love about reading in the first place. I love using my imagination to dream up what I think the author is envisioning, and I love the satisfaction of turning the final page (or swiping through the last line on my Kindle).

I’m not setting any sort of goal to read x amount of books a month or anything: I’m just encouraging myself to pick up the book on my coffee table instead of the remote.

I think that will, in turn, help me towards my second goal of writing more. I have noticed that I tend to write more when I read more (funny how that works, right?) and therefore, the two goals go hand-in-hand. Again, I’m not setting out to finish a novel (though that is still on my general list of goals), but I just want to pick up a pen more, or put my fingers to the keyboard. Whether it’s journaling, or prayer, or blogging, or creative, I just want to put words out there, and see what may become of them.

So here’s to 2018, to turning a page — and reading more and writing more pages in the process. I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year. I’ll blog again soon, but for now… I’ve got a book to finish.