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Monday, July 28, 2014

blog hop

Today I'm sharing a slightly different post.  My friend Kate from Say Yes! Change Things invited me to take part in the "My Writing Process" Blog Hop.  I met Kate when we were both doing a year of service in Syracuse, New York, and we've reconnected over the past couple of years through blogging.  I love Kate's posts for their honesty, thoughtfulness, and vulnerability.  And appropriately for this blog hop - her posts are all very well written.  For the blog hop I'll answer a few questions about my writing process and then introduce you to three other bloggers, who I'll invite to pass along the Blog Hop.  

What am I working on?
Currently in my blogging world, I'm working on reaching out to new bloggers and building my readership.  Knowing readers would have more incentive to stick around if they saw a better blog design and stronger content, I've spent a lot of time over the past few months creating a new look for my blog.  I was really proud to launch a new blog design a few weeks ago - one that was brighter, easier to navigate, and just generally more fun than my last.  I'm continuing the self-improvement by putting together more food posts, garden posts, and really cool travel archive page.  

And of course, because I love writing lists and creating goals, I'm also working on my 30 before 30 list and my monthly four simple goals.  

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I've noticed some similarities between my blog and others, but my work differs in the unique way I put the pieces of my blog together.  I combine my love of photography with a simple focus on finding joy in my everyday life.  I live in Wisconsin, posts lots of pictures of flowers, nature, my gardens, my beagles, and my travels.  Here and there I also share posts about books, food, and the community I'm part of in Milwaukee.  Also, I find a lot of joy in personal development, so my work highlights lots of my goals and my efforts to reach them.  

Why do I write what I do? 
A few years ago, I realized I was in a rut.  I felt unhappy and bogged down by challenges in my life.  Sometime in summer 2012, I got a wake up call when reading the blog Today's Letters.  Blog author Emily Loerke had received a similar wake up call when reading Rockstar Diaries and realized she needed more gratitude and appreciation for her everyday life.  She writes quick "letters" to people and things in her life that she wanted to acknowledge.  Seeing the power of this simple appreciation made me want to shift my focus to the positive things in my life.  I knew I would always have challenges, but I didn't want these challenges to let me lose sight of all the good in my life.  I shifted my focus and started an attitude of gratitude by finding joy in all things.  

This shift happened at the same time I was wanting to start a new blog and they just combined into a blog about focusing on the simple joys of my life.  Over the past two years, my attitude has undergone a major shift, and I genuinely feel happier and more grateful for my life.  I still have bad days - even bad weeks - but I remember the saying "everyday might not be good, but there is good in everyday."

How does my writing process work? 
My writing process is simple and pretty organic.  I try to put together a monthly blog plan, but for the most part I write about what is drawing my attention that week.  In the summer,  blog posts come extremely easy - there's so much going on, I can create posts with pictures from my travels, activities, or all the other stuff happening around me (gardening, food, get togethers).  In winter, the posts reflect the slower pace of life and are more introspective.   

When I started the blog I used pretty simple language, basically journaling style.  If my post was about pie, I wrote about pie.  If it was about the garden, I jumped straight into writing about the garden.  After finding Reading my Tea Leaves, I felt inspired to change things up a bit.  I noticed that author Erin Boyle would tell a story or share some other anecdote that related to the subject of her post.  Her writing style is engaging and her posts read like a good story teller.   I wanted that for my blog, so I tried adding more flare to my posts.  I've slacked off a bit lately, but I'd like to continue developing this part of my writing process. 

In general though my blog is photo driven.  When I put a post together, I start with my favorite current photos and essentially tell a story about the pictures.  If a post is reflective, I'll generally pair it with photos of nature or whatever flowers I have around our apartment.  If the post is about a trip, I'll add a few details about our travels but for the most part I'll let the photos speak for themselves. 

And that is the most reflection I've ever put into my blog writing process.  And it was pretty enjoyable!  Thanks so much for reading.  And thanks to Kate for tagging me in the Blog Hop! 

I'm passing the Blog Hop along to Meghan of Simple Living and Loving, Sarah of Stand Tall Through Everything, and Melinda of Melinda's Musings.  All wonderful blogs that I highly recommend checking out.  And ones that I would love hearing answers to the above questions.   


  1. Enjoyed reading about your writing process. Your photos do speak volumes, but I love to read your thoughts as well. Also interested in checking out the other blogs you mentioned.

  2. Thanks so much :) It was helpful to reflect on and to have to put my thoughts in writing.