What is this blog about?

Every time I try to decide what this blog is about, my fingers take over. What this blog ends up being about is what’s on my mind. It’s an exercise in essaying, in freewriting, in expression. It’s sometimes about the seasons, a fascination of mine. Sometimes it’s about my writing, which has not gotten the niche following I had hoped for. Sometimes, it’s about my cats. (This is Chloe as a kitten). Sometimes it’s about heavier topics, like living with mental health quirks.

I feel guilty because I can’t stick to a topic. I think part of that is because of the admonition “write what you know”. What do I know? A little bit about a lot of things. I know what I have picked up from various places about writing but I am no means formally taught. I know about my subject matter (family economics and resource management) but I don’t want to write a work blog. I need my time off work. I know about moulage (making people look like casualty victims for training purposes) but that may be a little too niche. I know how to make bread, but not how to make really pretty loaves. I know edible flowers. I know Thai cooking, but not nearly so well as a native cook.

So I’m left with making a blog about what comes to mind; again, not something that appeals to a niche audience unless I find one who will ask me questions. I enjoy being asked questions, and will go to some lengths to answer them.

Hopefully I will find inspiration for a blog that people will flock to. More likely, I will find acceptance that mine is not one of them.

The Blog is Having an Existential Crisis

Too many things (and bad habits) in the way

It’s no excuse, as I’ve said before, but my writing seems to be placed on the back burner with teaching classes, taking care of my seedlings downstairs, and trying to talk myself into writing books. Early morning used to be my usual time, and I have been doing flighty, wasteful things in those hours like surfing social media that seems forever the same. Even now, I’m surfing instead of writing this, and the internet has gained few charms.

A time and a place

I need to find a time and a place to write, one which allows me routine. Perhaps I need to promise myself half an hour every day after tea and before I go to work. (Yes, I have daily tea, usually pu-erh, which is Chinese health tea, and an acquired taste).

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

I also need to find a reward

I’ll be honest with you; I don’t have too many readers to serve as an incentive, and I don’t know how to get more readers. So I need another incentive. I write a newsletter that has about 2400 readers, so I could let them know there’s a blog. But then there’s another consideration —

I need to agree on content

Is this a personal blog? If so, should anyone want to read it? Is it a current events blog? If so, can I do as well as others who are in that line of work? Is it a writing blog? I’m certainly up to that, but there are better and well-read clients.

I’m looking for an identity for this blog because I need one to — *gasp* — market it.

I hate marketing

This is my weakest link. I don’t enjoy bragging about my work. I don’t enjoy getting in people’s faces with a project I love. I don’t even know how to do it well, but I know that without it, nobody knows what I’m doing. Who am I? What is this blog? Nothing special. You can see why I don’t do well with marketing.

Seeking help

If you have any perspective to offer (do not offer services to me because I cannot afford them) please let me know!

Happy New Year!

Happy 2022!

I have determined not to dread the coming of the new year or assume it will be better than 2020 or 2021 (but how could it be worse?) So I will look at it with cautious optimism and look at what I can control — what I do to make the best of the year.

My annual tradition

I have an annual tradition to make commitments for my year. I don’t do resolutions because they’re black-and-white: You keep them or you don’t. I prefer my method, which is to include the things I want to carry out in my life on the first day of the year. I have published my next novel, Gaia’s Hands. I have edited one of my works, eaten responsibly, organized some work for the beginning of the semester, organized my clothes a little, done a bit of cleaning … What do I have left? A few minutes on the exercise bike and a newsletter. Maybe I’ll do the newsletter first, which is how I generally feel about the exercise.

Here’s an ad for the latest novel.

Here’s my hopes

I hope that beginning my year this way will keep me writing this newsletter. I have been struggling with it for a while. I would like it to be a part of my life, and I would like to reach you with it.

Long Time, No Write

Two months — are you kidding?

I apparently quit writing in this blog for almost two months, having made my last post on October 19th. I am a creature of habit, and when I lose that habit, I really, REALLY lose it. I apologize to my readers for such a long hiatus.

Where I’ve been

I’m doing well, although I’ve been busy. I went through a hard semester with my students. I published Kringle in the Night and wrote the first draft of It Takes Two to Kringle during NaNoWriMo. I put up Gaia’s Hands to be published January 1. Gaia’s Hands is romantic fantasy — or fantasy romance. I don’t know which one; it’s about split equally.

What I’ve learned

I’ve learned that I need to keep my routines so that I don’t lose track of the little things that connect me to the outside world. Like this blog and my Tik Tok.

I’ve learned that I need to be more forward in talking about my books. You do know that I have two published and one about to be published from the previous paragraph. I also have a space opera on Kindle Vella called Kel and Brother Coyote Save the Universe — of course, it has a romantic flavor.

What I want going forward

I’d love to share my books with you. I’d love you to share your books with me if you write. I’d like to make a space where we have good conversations.


My Everyday Habit

My morning practice

Every morning I write this blog. There are many reasons I do this, not the least because I want that little message from WordPress that I have written the blog X days in a row (yay gamification!) I’ll explore some of the other reasons below.

A morning ritual

I consider writing this blog my morning ritual, along with coffee, music, and getting my hair to behave. The ritual starts with racking my brain with finding a topic to write on. Then I start typing and thinking and typing. And editing as I go.

Warming up for writing

I find the practice of journaling warms me up for writing. Not just the fingers, although by the number of typos I make while typing the blog I guess my fingers need warming up.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Writing the blog warms up my mind. It trains it to write as a flow exercise, a task where time flies past me and I’m in the moment. Admittedly, blogging itself is not a flow experience because it doesn’t go on for long enough. but blogging limbers up my mind so that flow is possible.

A challenge

One of my attractions to my daily ritual of blogging is that it’s a challenge. What am I going to write today? Have I written about that lately? Will anyone care about my blog? I don’t know about the latter, as I have between 11-20 readers on a regular basis and 57 followers, which suggests most of my followers aren’t reading the blog. That’s okay; I still face the challenge every morning.

To my fellow bloggers

How often do you blog? Daily? More than daily? Weekly? Let me know!

Just Do It

I’m having trouble writing this blog today.

I’m struggling with inertia when it comes to writing the blog today. Inertia is, so far, winning. To the point that I stare at this vista of screen space and … blank.

I try to write this blog as a show and tell — I show you what I do today and tell you the practical underpinnings. Not “You should do this” as much as “I’m trying this and this is how it’s working for me.”

At this point, I can abandon the blog till later — a practice we call procrastination.

So what do I do about my blog-writing woes?

I’m going to address this in terms of procrastination advice, which goes beyond “just do it” (thank you, Nike) and into practical advice. Procrastination breakers I’ve learned are as follows:

  • Break the job into smaller parts — this gives you motivational boosts in small doses when you need them
  • Put a reward at the end of the task
  • Do five-ten minutes of the task, promising yourself you’ll quit if you’re still unmotivated.

So, how’s it working?

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

You might notice I have headers. Not just because it makes it easier for you to read, but because it makes it easier for me to write. This is my breaking up the job into the smaller parts. (Yay, I’m done with two parts so far!)

My reward at the end of the blog? Another cup of coffee, because I can be motivated by caffeine, always. Coffee, tea, it doesn’t matter.

Doing five to ten minutes of the task — I always work like this, and for some reason I never quit tasks after that 10 minutes. Why? Because once I’m into the task, my brain wakes up and I end up finishing the task.

I’m almost done with this blog, and I didn’t know if I would abandon it at the beginning of the writing. Now time for coffee!

Now for you

Tell me what your go-to procrastination!

Just one more thing

I finally have my professional website updated for the spring and highlighting the Christmas in July deal I have for The Kringle Conspiracy. There are blog entries there too, but they’re more professional writer type things — book plugs, cover reveals, logos, that sort of thing. You can find my professional blog here.

Stop by and say hi!

Thank you for being part of my writing ritual

 It’s inevitable — after I write a blog post about losing my will to write, I have a productive day of writing. I should be ashamed of crying wolf all these times, but as I’m a writer, I’ll take it. 

Writers often have their rituals — some have to have a room where they write, some use a specific pen or typewriter. Some warm up before they write, some have to listen to specific music. 

Mine, apparently, is whining when I’m in a writing slump. And morning coffee, but I don’t think that’s a writing ritual as much as a general morning ritual. And writing my blog instead of starting straight into the novel or short story I’m writing. 

That means you, reader, are part of my writing ritual. When I feel hopeless about writing, I look at my total visitors for the day. I only have a consistent average of 25-30 visitors at a time, but that’s more than I started with. You give me the belief that greater things (or at least a little bit better things) are possible for me. 

I know I whine sometimes, but it’s because I’m scared I’m going to lose my writing. But I imagine you reading, and I feel better and the words come out. 

Thank you.

This Blog is Again Evolving

I don’t know who reads this blog.

I have an average readership of 27 people a day. Some of you, I know, are regular readers. How do I know this? Because a faithful few from other countries (I hope you’re not bots!) show up on my blog stats — Portugal, Germany, India. Rarely, someone comments on my blog, and that’s always enjoyable.

This blog is evolving. Because I’m personal about my struggles with writing, I have been advised not to advertise this as my professional writing blog anymore. This means that there’s less of an instrumental purpose for this blog, and it has become strictly personal. I suppose it has always been that.

But now I wonder why anyone would want to read it. It is rather personal, if well-written, given my tendency to practice my writing skills while composing it. It makes me feel cozy to write it. But do people want to read it? Moreover, do people who don’t know me want to read it? 

I’m going to have to make some hard decisions about this blog. Drop me a line if you have any thoughts about this. 

More on New Blog

 The new blog is up and running at https://lleachie.wixsite.com/laurenleachsteffens . At the moment, the blog entries are some of my favorite less “personal” items from this blog (i.e excluding the existential dread). I will discuss writing issues, creative writing products and books I publish. It’s definitely a professional blog. I figure I will write in it once a week.

This blog will continue to be daily thoughts, essays about life, and more personal items. 

Come by and look at it! Join up1 Read about The Kringle Conspiracy!