Keeping your blogging mojo alive and burning

The ever fahbulous Jenny Hansen recently wrote a post on how being an introvert or extrovert can affect your blogging. In the post, she talked about a conversation she had with someone in regards to their struggle to keep the passion for blogging alive. The ever pressing question “what do I write about today?!??!” was killing her friend’s blogging mojo.

Ugh! I hear ya girl! It can be tough to keep the blog fires burning. I remember when I started out blogging in August 2010; I came out of the gate swinging. I was all fired up. I was pumped. I was a posting maniac. The ideas were endless. I had enough topics to blog for YEARS!

Not so much. After about 5 months, my blogging excitement waned, my posting schedule became erratic and slack, and my greatest fear started to be realized; I was running out of things to say!

WHAT?!?!? “Natalie ran out of shit to talk about?” I know…I was just as shocked as you. That does not happen to me! I am the type of person you can’t shut up. I was frightened. What was happening? Where was my blog mojo going?

That’s when I asked myself a question that totally changed things:

“When I am with my friends/family (cause that’s when I never run out of stuff to talk about),
what conversations do we have that I enjoy most?

My answer: it’s when I am making people laugh over some latest insanity (entertain) or when we have those deep and introspective conversations (inspire). BAM…That’s when the lightbulb went off.

I realized those were the types of convos I wanted to have here! And to do so, I had to think of my blog and my readers as my BFFs. I stopped worrying about saying the wrong thing, the right thing, too much of this or too much of that. I started to shoot the breeze with my BFF with the goal of either entertaining or inspiring. That’s it.

Now I think of my blog as the place to chat, hang out, and have amazing conversations about the most insane, mundane, tame, lame, and zany stuff. It’s where I come to talk about love, romance, fantastic shoes, amazing food, embarrassing moments, peeing outside, retarded redneck products, new sayings, funny/inspirational videos, writing, etc. WHATEVER!

There’s no pressure. It’s just me and my blog/BFF sitting around the table with a good cup of coffee (or maybe a cold beer) chatting about the stuff we LOVE to chat about! I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to censor myself (ok, well maybe I don’t swear as much here as I do in real life). And it doesn’t matter what we are talking about, I can guarantee you it’s always interesting. I mean seriously, when have you ever had a boring chat with your BFF?

Sometimes when I discover a great urban word for Wednesday’s post, I’ll run it past hubby and he’ll kind of step back with a “you aren’t actually going to post that on your blog, are you?!?!” a tad surprised. Hell yes!!! My BFF and I have no issue talking about vajazzling, peeing outside, or farting. I mean, there isn’t much that’s taboo around here and that means the topics are endless.

And that dear friends is how I keep my blog mojo going!

How do you keep your blog mojo burning bright? How do you come up with topic ideas? What keeps you from burning out?

More blog deliciousness here:

Happy Birthday to ME!

Today is my birthday!! I will turn 37 years old around 10:25 this morning and I can’t wait! I love birthdays. Squeeee!

I’ve always loved my birthday. No matter how old I am turning. Age has never been a big deal to me. And I know some of you groan “well duh, you are only 37 years old…” but I don’t think age will ever be a big deal to me.

Part of my joie-de-vivre comes from having the world’s best birthday role model; my Mom. I mean, this is a woman who knows how to embrace birthdays and aging in style! For her sixtieth birthday, she hosted a pole dancing party with one requirement: you attend, you work the pole. And work the pole we did. Whatever age she turns, my mother embraces the gift of life and living.

And I definitely take after Mom. I’ve never been one to want to stay in the same place (metaphorically speaking). To me, time passing and aging signifies growth and forward movement. To me, our age is like a badge of honor, something to be revered and celebrated! We made it. Another year under the belt where I learned, challenged, and pushed myself to do more, aim higher, and live louder.

I mean, I’ve already got plans for my fortieth underway so I am pumped to hit the next major milestone!

Here are my top 5 reasons for loving my birthday!

  1. The name of the game is GIFTS! Squeeeee. Whether it’s the gift of time with friends and family or the gift of jewellery (hubby always delivers spectacular on the gifts part ), it’s a joy to let your loved ones shower you with gifts. Some of my most treasured birthday gifts are cards I’ve received from my loved ones with the most beautiful and inspiring notes of family, love, friendship and sisterhood. I save them and reread them from time to time and my heart is always warmed with how blessed I am.
  2. It’s not a day, it’s a season! Thasss right. I like to draw my big day OUT! Although today is my actually bday, I like to start celebrating early and carry on through the big day and beyond. This year we started on Friday evening with dinner with friends, Saturday night was dancing with friends, Monday night dinner with the family, and this coming weekend, a hot tub party with more friends. Woot woot! And, if you can believe it, this will be one of the shortest birthday seasons ever. Usually I manage to save gift certificates from my bday to spend in August so I can extend the pleasures throughout the months! No joke…I like to draw it out!
  3. ME ME ME. I know, it’s shocking to hear it but I LOVE being the center of attention and what better day to scream “I rock!” from the rooftops than my birthday. On Saturday night, my BFF had the DJ wish me a happy birthday, there are tons of facebook messages coming in, hubby had a bday wish on the radio for me, and there’s a bday sign across my office door so coworkers will swing by all day with best wishes. And now all of my blogging family will swing by with loads of uber fabulousness. I mean…I am EVERYWHERE! Squeee…Love that! I love to shower people with love and adoration and I love to be showered. I mean, it’s all about give and take, right?
  4. Like a fine wine, I feel like I get better with age. Coming into my 30s was the best thing that ever happened to me. I felt like for the first time in my life, I finally settled into my own skin. As a woman, I grew into my bones and felt at peace with myself. My self-esteem soared and I found my self-confidence. I also became more adventurous and slowly but surely I let go of my paralyzing fear of abandonment and opened myself up to love. Love of myself and others in a deep and profound way. And each year, it only gets better.
  5. Any excuse to have a party! Birthdays are a fantastic reason to toss the diet aside for the day and indulge across the board. Food, friends, family, and fun – let er’ rip! Birthdays are a great time to throw caution to the wind, buy that new outfit, try that new restaurant, or toss that bash you’ve been dying to have. Seriously, we only live once so let the good times roll!

How do you celebrate your birthday? Does aging get you down or fire you up? What are some of the best birthdays you’ve ever had and what made them so special?

More blog deliciousness here:

My fab 5 for 2011

I read a fantastic post by Ginger Calem on her top five for 2011. I loved it so much I thought I’d do my own fab 5 for 2011. As Ginger pointed out, the “givens” are already understood. We all know everyone is grateful for their spouses, family, children, health, home etc. This is more about those 5 fabulous little ditties that made you squeal in personal delight. They changed your pleasure world and gave you something unexpectedly delicious. They gave you itty bitty butterflies in your belly. You know…the FUN STUFF!

My fab 5 for 2011 (in no particular order) are:

1.      My Kindle

My Kindle was a 2011 birthday present and it’s been one of my most delicious finds for 2011. I love it so much; hubby thinks I am having an affair it. Every night I dash into bed excited to curl up with the little bugger. I love the convenience of it, the highlighting, the dictionary, the page turns, and the light! Best of all, a few weeks ago I bought the first book to the Vampire Diaries. And there I found myself at midnight, finished book one with no book two in hand. Well instead of having to wait until morning to head to the bookstore, I just fired up amazon, ordered book two and in under a minute, I was happily immersed in the story again having never left the comfort and warmth of my BED! LOVE THAT!

2. Blogging/WANA711/ROW80/Twitter

I lump all my social media fun into one fab 5 because they are all interconnected. 2011 was simply a huge social media year for me. I started the year strong but my readership and enthusiasm for blogging waned 6 months into the year. That’s when I came across Kristen Lamb’s blogging to build brand course and my world changed. It was, as we writers like to call it, the inciting event. My world has not been the same since. Through her course, and beyond, I have connected with so many amazing people who are encouraging me to chase my dream in ways that has deeply touched my soul! I don’t feel like we are just a network…we aren’t just a community…we are a family! And I don’t know what I’d do without each and every one of you. You’ve enriched my life and brought me such joy and laughter. The truest gift of friendship and support I’ve ever received….thank you simply does not come close to expressing my gratitude!

3.      My 6 foot pre-lit palm tree

You might think this sounds odd but I’ve wanted one of these bad boys for years! I mean, we don’t live anywhere my beloved palm trees so there’s something that just warms my heart every time we drive by a house that has one of these things lit up. “Look hubby…ahhhh…isn’t that gorgeous!!!” I’d say time and time again. It’s just one of those things that tweaked my weird funny bone. This year, hubby delivered at Christmas in spades and when I opened this box up, I literally squealed and did the flash dance toe-tap! I couldn’t wait to tear into the box and set it up. Although we put it up for a bit over Christmas, I decided our winter weather will likely destroy its beauty too quickly so it’s tucked away until spring when I will create a palm tree oasis on my back deck! Eeekeee…I can’t wait!

4.      Shoes – all of them – but especially the newbies to the collection!

I gotta say, nothing makes me feel sexier than a hot pair of shoes. There’s just something about it. Something that makes me stand taller, walk prouder, feel more confident. I swear, hot shoes could solve world peace! I have a good friend who has an addiction to hot shoes that makes my collection look like child’s play. Lucky for me, she enjoys passing her hardly-worn, slightly used oldies to make room for newbies meaning my shoe collection is growing in size and style. It’s hot hot hot! Tara, if you are reading this, thank you – you make my shoe world a rockin’ place to be.

5.      Clothes that fit

Most of you likely read my post about how hubby took me shopping for some new clothes to fit my growing body (no, I am not pregnant, just put on 20+ pounds this summer). I had been refusing for months and months promising I was going to drop some of the weight. He couldn’t take seeing me so unhappy and told me to suck it up and off we went to the mall. I had no idea that accommodating my weight gain by buying bigger sizes and clothes that fit would actually make me feel wonderful about myself and…smaller?!?! It was a true gift and one I’ve been reveling in ever since. Definitely one of my fab 5 experiences this year! And the new loot hanging in my closet helps!

There are probably a hundred other things, experiences, and emotions that I could add to this list. 2011 was really a stellar year for me with a ton of growth and change, most for the better. It’s going to be hard to top that year but…I have every hope that 2012 is going to blow it out of the water. That’s the plan anyway.

Here’s to maintaining an attitude of gratitude like Tameri Etherton is doing beyond this post of fabulousness…but all year-long! 

What’s your Fab 5 for 2011? How do you embrace an attitude of gratitude?

If you enjoyed this post, check out more blog deliciousness here:

  • We’ve all heard the science, we do better at anything (writing, work etc) when we are physically fit and active. I know when I sit and watch TV, I slowly move into numb land. But if I take a walk, I come home ready to write. Well Ginger Calem has come up with the #writersbutt program that’s going to make us all better, more productive writers and more physically fit. I joined up immediately! Check out her post and get to it!
  • There’s been a ton of posts out there on resolutions and goals setting but I really loved Kate MacNicol’s post on creating breakthrough goals. Those goals that really push us outside our comfort zone and make us reach for the stars!
  • Another key to success is making sure our goals are SMART. Marcia Richards wrote a fantastic post with 5 tips that will surely help us all reach our goals!

10 random fact about…ME…

Yip, it’s Tuesday and that means it’s time to get a little twisted but before we do, I gotta get Monday’s post up. Yes, you read right: Monday’s post. I was offline all weekend (yes, I had withdrawals…I am jittery as I type this…LOL) and wasn’t able to get yesterday’s post online – sorry gang – so here it is!

There’s a fun game of tag going around the blogging community right now, and I’ve been harassed tagged by the lovely Patricia Sands from my #Wana711 blogging class, which was presented to us by (as Patricia said best) social media Goddess and mighty fine lady, Kristen Lamb.

The rules of the game are as follows (and you ALL know how much I love rules!):

  • First, you must be tagged by someone, which I was.
  • Then you list 10 random facts about yourself.
  • Then you harass tag four more people (I suggest, as Patricia did for me and I did for my taggees, you email your tag victims for their blessing before you just TAG them. That way they hopefully won’t delete their subscription to your blog or stop following you on twitter).

Sweet…here we go!!!

10 random facts about…ME!!!

  1. I LOVE pageants. In my late 20s, I took part in a married woman’s pageant system; not once, but twice. The second time I placed first-runner up but then lost my crown…More about that in an upcoming post.
  2. I truly believe that someday I will win a multi-million dollar lottery. Don’t ask me why but I just believe that. Hence the reason I spend like the big pay day is ah comin’!
  3. I don’t have any children of my own. Not because I can’t, but because I have no desire to.
  4. I talk to my father all the time (he died when I was 16) and I believe he can hear me and that he guides me in my life. Likely plays a role in the lottery win delusion belief; of course Dad will someday “rig” my win! Duh….
  5. The book Conversations with God altered my beliefs deep within and gave me the strength to grow in love with myself and life. This book quite literally changed my life.
  6. Growing up, my mother insisted that we have dinner as a family every single night, at 6 pm. And we did. No TV. No reading. No distractions. We ate as a family, together, and we talked. Back then, I thought the entire exercise was useless and strange (none of my friends did it…) but looking back, I realize how it did build a sense of family. That mother of mine DID know what she was doing.
  7. I never really saw the importance of a university degree until I walked across the stage and earned my degree in journalism and got out into the workforce and realized how imperative it was to my career. Phew….good call Natalie!
  8. I am a huge reality TV addict. Right now I am swept up in all things Big Brother and the Bachelor Pad as I anticipate the start of another season of America’s Next Top Model and Survivor (both premiere on Sept 14 – O.M.G – big TV night at my place…) to name but a few of my shows of choice.
  9. My Mom is my greatest hero, inspiration, and best friend. I have learned so much from her and have the most profound respect for her. Together, we’ve overcome more than anyone can image to create a dream team mother/daughter relationship. It wasn’t easy but the critical factor that made it happen; SHE NEVER, EVER GAVE UP ON ME OR STOPPED TRYING! Thanks Mom – you rock my world!
  10. Television advertisers LOVE ME! Whatever I see on TV, I want. Hubby tries to limit my exposure to infomercials and the home shopping channel. Can you say DEADLY on the pocket book! I believe everything they say and immediately want to order. Sign me up for today’s showstopper, blockbuster, as-seen-on-tv offer!!!

So, wadda ya think? Interesting? In love with me yet? BLUSH, I don’t blame you, I am really quite fascinating!

Now for the fun part! I’ve actually got SIX keen bloggers waiting to share their random facts with you. Woot woot ladies – rockin’ my world! Tag…you are all IT!

Readers….your mission (should you choose to accept) is to show them some blog luv by visiting their blogs, get to know them, and give them some comments.

Tell me some random fact about yourself! The more “out there,” the better!

Links Out Loud

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time to share the blog luv.

Blog Out Loud:

I got nothing in this category for you this week. Sorry! My excuse; I am enthralled with my “real author” friends right now. Definitely check out the fab links below on writing, laughing, and life. They’re uberlicious!

Write Out Loud:

  • Kate MacNicol is deceitful. She’s a lying bitch (joking!). But seriously, she admitted on her blog (talk about public confessions…wow Kate…you really put it all out there, eh!?!!) that she’s telling white lies to friends and family. And who can blame her? Check out her wonderful post Deceitful Me where she talks about dealing with the guilt of saying “no” to make time to write and blog. We’ve all faced this challenge when making time for our passions. How have you managed your friends and family…and “the look”? Let us in on your secrets!
  • And be sure to check out Kathryn Stockett’s story of being turned down 60 times before becoming a best seller. She also felt the need to be deceitful. Her story will make you laugh and it will give you hope and inspiration to stick with it!
  • Kristen Lamb gives us ten damn good reasons to be writer. I have printed this off as my “to live by” writer mantra. My personal favs are to be a writer to get revenge and to be God. Who can argue with that? This shit’s right up my alley! 
  • Tawna Fenske (I wonder how she pronounces her name?!?!?) gives writers, published or not, a vote of confidence with her post. I wonder if I can still call myself a “real author” even though I haven’t even started my Work In Progress (WIP) yet?!?! Damn straight I can; Tawna said so and she’s a “real author!” folks.
  • Steena Holmes is wondering about your thoughts on writing groups. Ever been a part of one? Honestly, they sound a bit scary to me but I am sure like all things, there are good groups and bad groups and it’s about finding a good fit for you!
  • Jenny Hansen wrote a post that got a lot of attention and chatter about whether writers read differently than non-writers. She highlighted a couple hilarious (and damn her…so true) quirks about things authors think and do when they read books. Can you say BUSTED!!! This is a definite must-read!

Laugh Out Loud:

  • I laughed out loud. I am not joking. This post by the Bloggess had me in tears it was so funny. If you don’t like people making fun of spam prayer emails, you may want to pass on this particular post. For me however….HYSTERICAL!
  • Kristal Lee gives us a taste of Sesame Street gone True Blood. Hilarious but at the same time sooo wrong.

Life Out Loud:

  • You have to go read Angela Wallace’s post on how TLC’s “What Not to Wear” shows us that dressing well, no matter what size or station in life, can be a huge boost to our self-esteem. Awww girl, so true!!!
  • Make it personal! With all the technology around us, when was the last time you wrote someone a letter, postcard, or telegram? Naomi Bulger gives us five fantastic ways to make it more personal. I think I am going to send a telegram and maybe a letter to a stranger; how cool is that!
  • Tameri Etherton is grateful for the little things in life after a foot surgery turned her life upside down for months on end. Now…it’s cooking dinner for her family, talking a walk, and vacuuming (she’s sick…I know but that’s what we luv about her) that bring her joy. What are you grateful for? Go let her know!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s line-up of fantabulous blog posts. Stay tuned for next week’s. I promise to go and spend oodles of time (time away from friends and family I’ll have you know…) to bring you this do-or-die information…My god…you guys must really love me!!

Got any ditties of your own to share? Let me know and maybe they’ll be featured as part of next week’s line-up…

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