Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I’d love to tell you that I’ve been having crazy awesome adventures and that’s why I haven’t written here in the last six weeks. While we had a good summer, it hasn’t been anything extraordinary. No big trips, no life-changing events. Just an ordinary life. And that’s okay.

No big stories, just lots of little ones.

Family life is so routine-based that anything new feels weird and hard. Then we adapt and the change becomes normal.

I’m in the headspace where I’ve got so much to say, but I’m not sure how to articulate it. I have loads of ideas jumbled together in my head and no time to figure them out. Then when the time does show up, I waste it by trying to get everything perfect to Express That Thought. By the time I get my act together, the thought is gone and I’m left disappointed in myself and full of doubt.

I can do better than this. I need to reset my routine too. What do you do when you feel like this?

My #BlissdomCanada recap: better late than never

So my Blissdom recap is happening more a full week after I came home from the last party. You know, the one where that guy from the late-80s boyband showed up.

No matter, I’m choosing to believe that I’ve taken time to consider my thoughts and formulate my opinions. It was not that my laptop was busted or that I have a life outside of the Internet – I mean really, who has *that* these days?

So I went to Blissdom Canada. I had a good time. It felt different from last year. I’ve been reading everyone else’s blogs all week and I’m not the only one who feels that way. I’m just glad I’m not crazy! The conference, and expo hall, were much larger. The round tables at the front of the session rooms filled up quickly so I usually ended up in the rows of seats at the back of the room. That took away from the community vibe a bit, but doing the whole room with tables would have fit fewer people in so I get why it was done that way.

A lot of people talked about feeling alone or disconnected from other people at the conference. I felt that way too sometimes, but honestly, I expected that. I go to these conferences alone. I’ve connected with lots of the attendees online and met several of them last year. Even with that ‘in’, I don’t like to interrupt other people’s conversations. I often spend a lot of time listening or observing in group situations. By the time I’m ready to comment on something, the moment has passed. I did my best to come out of my shell, but I know I didn’t interact nearly as much as I observed and listened. I did have a great dinner Friday night with Mel and Sherrie Mae, which made up for a lot of the shyness I was feeling earlier in the day.

Many (but not all) of the sessions talked about monetizing your blog, building your personal/professional brand, and working with corporate brands. I left the conference with my intent not to do any of those things intact. I’ve been comforted to learn this week that I am not the only person that feels that way.

When I introduced myself to people, my answer to their first question “how long have you been blogging?” was usually “I’ve been writing online for 11 years, but I’m not very good at it, because my stats aren’t great and my readership is small.” I inwardly cringed every time I said this, but I couldn’t stop myself. I was trying to build myself up by mentioning my longevity in the genre (even though longevity doesn’t really matter). Then I instantly knocked myself back down by saying that even though I have lots of experience, I’m still not “good at it”.

Way to go, self.

I don’t have as many readers and feedback as someone who hustles like crazy to promote themselves and their blog. While I have been blogging a long time, I haven’t always done it consistently. I also haven’t participated in the community aspect of blogging as much as I would like. I read, but rarely comment. (Hey, I remember when blogs didn’t even have comments!) So really, what am I doing to earn readers and feedback?

I want my voice, my writing, to matter. I realize this makes me sound incredibly narcissistic. I write about my life on the internet as a hobby – of course I’m (at least a little) narcissistic.

So ultimately, my takeaways are as follows:

  • In order to publish more, I need to write more. I need to find the time to do this.
  • I need to earn the feedback I want. Good writing is only the start.
  • I need to get a better handle on tasteful promotion, so I can get what I want without feeling gross or dirty about it.
  • I need to stop diminishing myself and develop confidence in my writing and my voice.

Now to actually get started on these things. Advice is welcome.

Obligatory Anniversary Post

April 1 2011 is the 11th anniversary of my first public blog post. I’m not linking it, but you’re welcome to dig through my archives and find it.

I posted much more frequently back then, but many of those posts were only a couple of sentences long. Some were only tweet-length. Many things probably shouldn’t have been posted, but the site certainly makes for an interesting time capsule of my 20s, and now my 30s. (I was 21 when I started blogging. I turn 33 in August, if you were wondering.)

My blog has seen me through a lot of major milestones:

  • My first major job (I’d been working there for nearly a year by the time I’d started but I was still pretty green, especially when you see some of the things I was willing to say. Nothing truly trashy, but I was sure open to admitting that I was writing instead of working. I was meeting my deadlines and targets, but I still want to pat my 21-22 year-old self on the head and say “shut up Melissa!”
  • My move into Toronto (I really don’t miss that Oshawa > Toronto work commute)
  • Getting engaged, buying a house and getting married within 13 months.
  • Pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood
  • And all the little milestones in-between that don’t make all the sappy banking or life insurance commercials but are still important

Just for kicks, here are some links to how my site has looked over the years using the Wayback Machine (which is pretty neat in itself). Dates indicate when the site was crawled.

I learned a lot about web design during the early days of my site. I used to hand code the layout and Blogger took care of the rest. Then I started using Blogger’s built-in themes with some customization. When I moved to, I relied on pre-built themes which were super-easy to change. I do that now with WordPress as well. I love that I can concentrate less on the structure and more on the content.

I enjoy blogging because I like having a place I can write and say what I want. This place can be a journal, a soapbox, a place for general information, or whatever I want. I have complete creative control. And that feeling is awesome. Reading, and eventually meeting great people due to blogging is such an amazing bonus. I blog for me first, but I’ve learned from so many people over the years and I am grateful for each and every one of you.

If you’re a blogger, did you expect to get hooked? What sucked you in?

My final #reverb10 entry

I’ve given up on #reverb10. It was bad enough that I was 12 entries behind when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, but staring at all the unread prompt emails in my inbox (most had been read at least once, but marked back to unread so I wouldn’t forget about them) was just too overwhelming.

I can give you a million excuses: we’ve all been sick, the prompts took more thought that I had time for, we were too busy, Christmas, traveling, but ultimately it adds up to “blah blah blah, I couldn’t hack it”.

Staring at all the unfinished prompts was making me not want to write at all. I know I feel better when I’m writing so something had to give. Archiving those undone prompts was a relief.

It was a good exercise and I’m glad I tried it. I’m not sure if I’ll take part in this sort of meme again though. Producing this much content is hard when it’s something I do in my limited spare time. Especially when it involves such heavy soul searching.

It did get me writing and thinking so I’m grateful for that.

Here’s to more thoughtful writing in 2011, even if it’s not prompted.

#reverb10 – Day 19: Healing

December 19 – Healing.

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

(Author: Leonie Allan)

Time alone heals me.

I desperately need time alone with my thoughts and to do my own thing to be able to give back to those I care about.

Parenting a toddler makes getting this restoration difficult sometimes. Any parent will tell you the same thing. I steal moments when I can, which sometimes makes Sean crazy. He’s either looking to steal a moment himself or he thinks I’m just hiding away to goof off, to let him do the heavy lifting of parenting a young child.

I know in my heart that I’m a better parent when I get those few moments to myself during “awake time” (mostly because “asleep time” is devoted to things I couldn’t get done during  awake time). I know those moments help me keep my patience up during the intense one-on-one times. They also help me keep my perspective during the fun times. That I willingly signed up for this, and that while I love sitting by myself and doing nothing, hanging out with my little family is pretty awesome.

I don’t think I get enough alone time all the time. I probably won’t for the next several years. I hope to prioritize and blend everyone’s needs so that we’re all at least having some of our needs met if not all of them. That sounds more selfish than it’s intended to be. But it’s like what we’re told during the airplane safety lecture: “put your oxygen mask on first, then help someone else”. You can’t help someone else if you have nothing to give yourself. Time alone is just how I replenish my strength.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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