Recently, my dear friend Elizabeth sent a message my way, asking if I was interested in being a part of a “My Writing Process” blog tour. I was beyond honored that she asked me to join the fun, which celebrates blog writing and community – two of my favorite things!
Elizabeth is one of my favorite women on the planet. She is constantly teaching me life lessons through her actions, which as you know, speak so much louder than words. She’s a creative force to be reckoned with, leading us all by example to infect the world around us with positive change as best we can. She shares my love for productivity tools, organization, and color-coding and she’s also one of the first people I contact when I need to share information about washi tape – STAT! So there’s that.
This is one of my favorite photos of Elizabeth EVER. Pregnant with Grace at last year’s HLS, rejoicing over office supplies [or at least that what I choose to believe is happening here!]
I’m quite certain our first one-on-one communication took place when she totally stalked me during the 2011 Healthy Living Summit. After connecting at HLS that year, I remember becoming a big fan of Elizabeth’s blog, On Tap for Today, and back-reading her old content
whenever I was procrastinating. On Tap for Today is one of my favorite sites to visit these days for deep insights, nutritious recipes, and DIY inspiration. Plus you can’t beat photos of this stylish little lady and this ridiculously witty dog!
I’ve talked about various topics in blogging here on Then Heather Said a handful of times over the years. [If you are interested you can check out those posts here: Behind the Blog Category << some of my most favorite posts of all times are filed there!] I’m grateful to Elizabeth for asking me to add another post to the list. Let’s get to it, shall we?
What am I working on?
A lot has changed at THS over the years. Since I first started this blog back in 2009, there have been seasons of sporadic posting, others of twice-daily blog updates, and everywhere in-between.
Currently, I’m focusing on two things. The first is realistic consistency. To me this meant finding a blog schedule that I can manage during all of the busiest seasons of the year. I’m committed to publish two reoccurring series posts each week – on Tuesdays and Saturdays. If there is a post I want to write that doesn’t fit into these two series schedules, I consider it a bonus point and publish it whenever I see fit. [Like today for example. Or that time I talked about Tofu.]
The second is finding ways to repurpose some of my favorite, most-frequently-visited posts. I’m sprucing them up, giving an update and finding new ways to use the goodness that is still in those words. These are specific posts that I know have “legs” and are relatable and worthy of sharing today. It has been a long time since I’ve reworked content, sincerely, to get to the best version and I’m excited for the chance to challenge myself. My posts are typically written, read through once, and published. Rarely do I ever peer edit any more, and honestly I’ve become lazy enough to do the proofing the day the post is published, when I find it in my email that morning.
[Side note blogger tip: subscribe to your own blogs in the same manner in which you ask your readers to, so that if the formatting ever gets wonky, you are aware and can handle the issue ASAP!]
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
If you take a trip down the THS history path, you’ll find lots of heart-filled posts about relationships, self-acceptance, and my journey to a healthier, happier me. The words I would hear most often back when my blog was very essay-heavy, were things like “authentic” or “honest” or “encouraging.”
Did you know THS started when I was recovering from a broken engagement and rediscovering myself? [Cliche, much?] I spent the first couple of years writing here as a sort of healing-through-sharing therapy session collection. [That’s a mouthful!] I also started writing a book. But over time I grew out of that part of my story and stepped into another.
These days I’d say THS differs from other “healthy living blogs” [yep! that’s the genre I claim. Even though THS should likely be classified as a TV-watching blog.] because it’s pretty set-in-stone what you’ll find here. I declare Tuesday a day for sharing “happy things in twos” [Twosdays!] and bring a simple dose of inspiration to your screen each Saturday with a quotation-graphic meant to motivate us all! [Simply Saturdays!]
[And I use lots of parenthetical, often unnecessary, statements in brackets.]
Why do I write what I do?
I’ve always been a fool for words and have been the one with quotations from favorite authors, historical figures, television characters, and friends scribbled in my journal and on post-its* stuck to my wall. Simply Saturdays allow me to share that piece of my heart with you all.
Twosdays are all about sharing my favorite happy things. I love to point my fellow television addicts to the shows I’m loving, recommend new-to-me products I’ve discovered and loved, and share the link-love to the best content I’m taking in throughout the week. Each Twosday’s topics are different because each week of my life is filled with different happy things, but the structure remains the same – two topics, photo, two topics, photo, two topics, photo, two topics. For the sake of transparency, this makes post writing A LOT simpler in my book.
How does my writing process work?
I usually “batch-prepare” Simply Saturdays about 12-15 at a time.
I have a running list of quotations I want to include in future SS posts on a Google Doc. I like using Google Docs for ALL THE THINGS, but especially this, because I have access to it no matter where I am when I come across a quotation worth saving.
I started to use PicMonkey to create my images at the beginning of the year. [I used to create all the images in Microsoft Paint, if you can believe that!]
I also have a stash of photos to use for background images that I’ve collected over time. Sometimes I use them, other times I design from scratch using all the killer tools PicMonkey provides. I have the Royale plan now, but you can totally use the free plan to create wonderful work, too!
I typically prepare Twosdays on the weekend. I’ll start with a list of topic ideas based on what happened in my life the previous week, paying close attention to what I have photos of on my phone. If I come across a great article I want to share or know I want to talk about something specific in the next Twosday post, I’ll start my Windows Live Writer draft earlier in the week and add notes to it as things come up.
If I come across something I want to remember to talk about while browsing on my phone, I will take a screenshot and upload it to dropbox, which I use to transport photos every weekend. Speaking of dropbox, I love it for sharing images, files, and such with the Dream Team and other people I’m project-ing with these days. I also made this fun public Then Heather Said Dropbox which has some super fun printables from this time I wrote original content for 30 days straight to celebrate my 30th birthday. A Then Heather Said accomplishment I’m extremely proud of.
Wow. This tour is starting to feel a bit braggy. But you know what? I think I’m okay with that. I love that I’ve put work into things here on THS and that deserves bragging! OH MY GOSH [literal reaction while writing this] I just wrote this quotation down yesterday when I was watching the farewell Barbara episodes of The View on Hulu+: “The greatest lesson I have ever learned is if you care about the work that you’ve done, then you need to tell people about it or they won’t hear about it.” – Star Jones, on the number one lesson she learned from Barbara Walters [*case and point]
If I have several physical things I’ve tried, rave about IRL and want to share in the coming weeks, I will ask Nick to play photographer and take a batch of photos with the real camera. It’s a small way he can help and I am grateful for it. I edit any photos and collages I use in Twosdays posts in PicMonkey, as well.
And now for the next leg of the Blog Tour….
With this My Writing Process Blog Tour, I really thought about which bloggers in my life I knew would take the opportunity to allow this post topic to inspire them and bring them fresh creative energy. I truly believe that evaluating how we work, create, and consume every-so-often helps us to better understand ourselves on many levels. I must admit that as a curious creature by nature, I am also quite excited to see the behind-the-scenes of how three of my favorite bloggers get the job done!
Please check out the blogs of each of these talented women and tune in next Monday, May 26th, as they share their own processes on the My Writing Process Blog Tour.
Rachel of The Rewm
I have no idea how I first came across Rachel online [was it Twitter?] but I do know that I can always count on her to stir something in my heart with the words she writes. She is a brilliant, talented journalist, freakin’ impressive editor and fantastic conversation starter. Rachel is the person who I most love to get meta bloggy-wise with and we’ve had some great long discussions via email chains and Gchat over the years. I respect this woman like mad, and was thrilled to have her present at the 2012 Healthy Living Summit. [I seriously have a page in an old journal that has “get Rachel Wilkerson to speak at an event” on one of my goal lists. LEGIT.] Her blog, The Rewm, is filled with uber-valuable content ranging from recommend recipes [totally trust her taste buds] and DIY wonders, to serious conversations that need to happen. I would venture to say she has written many of the posts on my Most Important, Yet-Often Ignored, Topics list. [which totally doesn’t physically exist. yet.] If her blog were a superhero, it would be a bad-ass, uber stylish Wedding coordinator by day and Ignorance Buster by night. And she’s smart-hilarious in the best way.
Jasmine of Blissfully Bama
I first discovered Jasmine’s magical touch of creativity through her amazing jewelry brand, bama + ry. I’ve collected several of her pieces over the past year+, but my first was a gift from a dear friend, and it speaks so much to my journey in life, and here on THS, too. The fact that Jasmine could convey so much of my experience and emotion in one hand crafted necklace really impressed me. I love how personalized everything in the bama + ry shop is, and can promise you that her jewelry makes awesome gifts. [Raise your hand if you’ve received a piece of bama + ry jewelry from me during the past two years. Many hands!!!!] Jasmine’s blog is a recent find, honestly. I’ve probably been reading only 2 or 3 months, but I’ve REALLY enjoyed what she shares there. I came over to Blissfully Bama after subscribing to the bama + ry e-newsletter, Bliss of the Week and having three back-to-back emails impact me majorly.
Stephanie of Cat Lady Runs
It is one of my goals in life to work with this woman as often as possible. I have been constantly impressed by her since the very first moment of our very first Google Hangout video chat. She inspires me beyond belief and is just about the most fun thing since glitter sprinkles. [I love glitter sprinkles.] Cat Lady Runs is a place you’ll find well-written recaps of races, events, and places Steph visits, along with tales of running, cats, and general life, too. Cat Lady Runs is the kind of blog you check in with daily because you feel like Stephanie could easily be your best friend in real life. Her posts inspire me and keep motivated to continue with my “make one healthy decision at a time” goals. She’s also going to be my long-distance half-marathon co-coach with Mindy. [even if they don’t know it, yet.] And her tagline is Run. Write. Meow. I mean seriously.