Happy New Year!

Are you ready for 2019? I am! I have my plans in place (though flexible) and ready to go. This blog is part of that.

I took a break for the last weekend of the year, but now I’m back in business.

In the last few posts, I talked about various challenges. This blog is no different. I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’ve been pretty good at posting daily, but this challenge will help me up my game with that.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about my goals for the year.

Before I go, answer this for me: What are you looking forward to the most in 2019?

Oops

I guess it’s kind of obvious I’ve fallen off of the Ultimate Blog Challenge wagon. I’ve been trying to decide if I should put up some posts I have in reserve to catch up, just pick up and start now through the end of the month, or set a schedule and consistently stick to that (I’m thinking a couple posts a week).

I could list all the reasons why I haven’t been posting, but it all boils down to one thing: I’m in a bit of a funk. I haven’t done much of anything, except work on a baby blanket, for a while. I need to get my act together and get back to work. Literally and figuratively.

Edits on New Beginnings have stalled too. There are other things that I want to get started on. That’s where the “literally” comes in.

And it starts now.

Let’s Get This Party Started!

Photo of Jen NippsHello! And welcome to the July Ultimate Blog Challenge.

During this month, I will be posting a lot more than I would normally. (OK, given my lack of posts lately, anything would be more than normal, but let’s not go there.)

In the vein of introducing myself, let me give you a few, somewhat random, facts about me.

  1. I am a writer.
  2. I am very interested in the area of creativity.
  3. I believe everyone is creative.
  4. I write fiction under a pen name (Kat O’Reilly).
  5. I am working on edits for book one of a romantic suspense novel series.
  6. I live in Oklahoma.
  7. I am legally blind.
  8. I knit and crochet.
  9. I play too many games on Facebook and on my Kindle.
  10. I love fountain pens,
  11. I enjoy reading.
  12. I love notebooks (and many kinds of stationery).
  13. I am going to Weight Watchers.
  14. I have recently started stamping and making greeting cards.
  15. I love helping people recognize and utilize their creativity.

I think that’s enough. You now have 15 random facts about me. Ask me any questions you might have in the comments and tell me one fact about you. Let’s get to know each other a little bit since we’re going to be spending a lot of time together this month.

 

Upcoming Ultimate Blog Challenge in July

If you were around this site in April, you might remember the Ultimate Blog Challenge I participated in. If you didn’t, the goal is to publish one blog post a day every day for the month of the challenge. This time, it’s July.

I thought about not doing it. Then, I decided I needed to. For various reasons, none of which I’ll get into right now, I didn’t maintain any kind of consistent schedule after the last challenge. And it shows. Not just in the stats, but in my motivation to keep it going.

I’ve been making a list of ideas. I have a new app (shown me by a friend) to show you that could help with your creativity. I have what I hope will be some discussion starters. I’m working on video and podcast ideas as well and will post links to those when they go live.

I’m going to incorporate some curated content so you won’t just be hearing from me. We all benefit from what others have to say, even if it’s something we don’t agree with.

I am going to do a podcast between now and the start of the challenge, so there will be at least one more post between now and July 1. This is just a heads-up that there is stuff going on behind the scenes and I’ll be active here again real soon.

I’m Back (I Think)

I did not intend to disappear for the majority of May. Especially since I’d had a good month with the Ultimate Blog Challenge for April.

After three years of compensating for the problems with my left leg, my right lower back decided to give out. I’ve been dealing with that since the end of April. It got better, then it got worse again. And now it’s getting better.

It’s a long process, especially when you consider that I’ve dealt with back issues since I sprained my lower back in 2005-ish.

But that’s in the past. I’m able to be at my computer again. Yes, I have the WordPress app on my phone, but I have trouble blogging from that. There were a couple days when I slept downstairs because I couldn’t make it up to my bedroom. You don’t realize just how much you use your back for until you kind of can’t. Even when I could make it up to my bedroom, I couldn’t sit in my office chair at my desk, so no computer work.

And now here I am!

I didn’t sit idle, though. I have a baby blanket almost done and another one I need to do. And in between that, I need to finish converting RealmWalker: New Beginnings from first person to third because the editor at my publisher-of-choice asked to see the whole thing.

Here’s to good health to you all! Happy creating.

Lessons in Blogging

All day, I’ve been thinking about what I want to talk about for the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. This is what I’ve come up with.

I know I talked a lot — maybe even exclusively — about creativity. That’s something I’ve been interested in for a long time. Even since before I heard about The Artist’s Way fifteen or so years ago. It’s basically part of who I am. That interest.

What I’ve Learned

This month, I have learned what posts work better for me. Posts that are a combination of photo and text are good. Posts with videos are good. Posts that are audio only are not. In fact, the day where I embedded my podcast and didn’t include a photo had the lowest views all month. I posted mostly in the evenings, so I really can’t say if I’ve figured out what time of day is best.

I will say that although I did manage to post every day, it is not something I am going to keep up. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to use May to focus on 2-3 posts a week and see how consistency and views go. After that, I’ll evaluate again. I think this monthly evaluation is a good thing and something I’m going to stick with.

Coming Up

Speaking of May and the blog, here are some of the types and topics of posts you’ll see:

  • More about creativity. I kind of can’t help it. When I’m in the middle of something, I talk about creativity more than I do when I’m not.
  • Writing in general. After I posted the question my friend asked, I’ve gotten a few more questions from other people. I’ve answered them in the manner in which I received them, but I am going to expand on some of the answers here.
  • The submission process for novels. I’ve self-published most of my body of work. I decided to shop the novel I just finished around to different publishers and agents. There is actually already news on that front, but I’ll tell about it in its own post.
  • Yarn stuff – knitting, crochet, whatever.
  • Photos. I have a couple ideas I’m thinking of with this. I’ll see how they progress and post as they mature.
  • Videos.
  • Podcasts. I’ve learned from this, though. When I post a podcast link, I’ll include something else so there’s something to hold interest.

Updates

There is also an update. Remember the post, A Tale of Two Shawls? Both of those are finished. I need to take pictures of them both before I do an official update about them.

If you remember the announcement about Journal Your Way to Creativity at the first of the month, there has been a review posted for it. Mindy Phillips Lawrence posted her review on Amazon and also submitted it to New Book Review, where you can see it now.

Thank you.

There have been a lot of new visitors to my blog as a direct result of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Thank you for that.

In the comments, some other members of the challenge contributed frequently. I would like to thank Jeanine Byers of HyggeFamilyMoments.com and Martha DeMeo of The Martha Review for their frequent comments. There have been others who commented, too, including my friend and neighbor Richard Barron. I sincerely appreciate every comment. Whenever I participate in a challenge, it is always a fear that no one will comment. It is always a relief to see that fear is ungrounded.

Thank you, too, to Paul Taubman for hosting the challenge and putting in the work behind the scenes that goes into the daily emails and group postings to keep us all on track.

This is the last post for April. I’ll see you in May.

In the meantime, happy creating!

Be Flexible

Today was a reminder in flexibility. I think if you hope to work as a creative, regardless of which field/discipline, you have to be flexible.

Circumstances change. Sometimes the scope of your work changes. Even time frames change.

You can’t rigidly cling to what you expected. Rigidity doesn’t allow for spontaneity or creativity. Both are necessary. Both also help preserve your sanity when things do change quickly.

Flexibility is a good thing.