Why do I blog? Week 3 of my blog redesign project

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Hi! How are you? (Seriously, leave a comment below & let’s chat!) Thank you for stopping by my blog, I really appreciate it.

Here we are in Week #3 of renovating my blog. If you missed Week 1, you can check it out here: http://www.crazycatnerd.com/site-news/2018/8/28/what-sort-of-blog-week-one-of-my-blog-redesign-project. In that post, I explained that I’m redesigning my blog and finally “getting serious” about blogging. I tried defining what sort of blog I wanted. I discovered that my preferred style is somewhere between personal and lifestyle. There was no redesign post for week 2, instead I discussed misconceptions you might encounter when starting a bullet journal. I’m going to be going back and forth between the redesign and other things I want to share. Here in week 3, I’m going to look at the purpose of my blog.

Before I get into the purpose, I just wanted to highlight a few changes that I’ve made over the last week:

  • I’ve created a “Blog” page (found in the navigation bar). I’m keeping the remaining pages intact for now, but I do plan on pulling everything into a single blog. However, you will still be able to navigate to the various categories (it’ll just be a single feed).

  • When you first visit the site you now land on the “blog page”. Since it’s the main focus of the site, it should be the first thing you see.

  • There’s an email subscription button in the sidebar. While I currently do not have a newsletter, I intend to have one eventually. For now, I’m just collecting the emails of interested parties.

  • I’m continuing to only post on the “Site News” feed and only on Fridays. I might eventually do two posts a week, but I’m trying to work on consistency and quality first.

Why am I blogging?

    I’ve been reading this post: https://www.codeinwp.com/blog/setting-blog-goals/ that highlights the importance of not only figuring out your purpose, but setting up actionable goals. Determining the purpose behind the blogging has been mentioned in several other articles as well. It makes sense as a good first step. After a bit of writing, I determined the three main purposes of my blogging hobby:



  1. To Connect- Written communication, whether it be online or in a snailmail letter, is my preferred form of communication. As I write this post, my anxiety is non-existent. I don’t fret about social interactions that are written, especially when I have plenty of time to do the writing. Therefore, it is easier for me to connect with others this way. Blogging about my hobbies and interests helps me find others who share those interests. I can meet new and interesting people in an environment that I find comfortable.

  2. To Help Others- I enjoy helping others find useful information. I’m constantly seeking to share the information I’ve learned. I love teaching people how to do new things and sharing recommendations of things I love, so others can love them too. I want to help other people lead joyful and stress-free lives.

  3. To Have Fun- Most importantly to me, I find blogging FUN. Fun is my life’s purpose. Everything I do is so I can have more fun!



Now that I’ve determined my purpose for blogging I need to create small, achievable goals to help me move in that direction.


To that end, I have a question for you. Do you prefer blog posts that address multiple topics or a single topic? An example of a single topic would be this post, as well as my last two posts. We are either talking about blogging or bullet journalling or mental health or the Sims, etc… If today’s post had been on multiple topics I might have talked a bit about the blog redesign project, mentioned the current game I’m playing, lament a bit about the incoming hurricane, and maybe thrown in a cat photo for good measure.  

Single Topic vs. Multiple Topics
Do you prefer a post that covers just one topic? Or do you like posts that have a few different things going on at once?

I’ve also been brainstorming ideas for posts, and how those posts could fit into categories. From what I’m reading, I should select as few categories as possible that cover the range of things I want to discuss. I’ve been creating a mindmap:

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These are just some of the ideas I have- the mind map is still growing! I’m curious which of the following posts you would like to see next week. I will likely do one of these next week, and I’d like to know what current readers are most interested in hearing about.

Which post would you like to see next Friday?

That’s all for now! Have a fun weekend!

Bullet Journal Misconceptions

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Almost two years ago, I discovered bullet journaling. I quickly fell in love with it and I use my journal every single day. It is one of my most treasured possessions. I carry it with me everywhere, and I use it for all kinds of things. In addition to being useful for organizing my life, it has also helped me with my personal wellness goals, and it’s just plain fun.

Too often I see or hear comments that are similar to “I want to start bullet journaling, but…[insert reason]” and that reason stems from one of the many misconceptions about bullet journaling. It’s frustrating to see people not even try out this tool that I have found incredibly helpful because they don’t think they have enough time or enough skill.

A lot of the misconceptions come from the abundant gorgeous postings from talented journalers on a variety of social media platforms. A wide variety of spreads such as habit trackers, cleaning schedules, tv episode trackers and health goals...to name a small fraction of the options...make bullet journals seem like mysterious, overwhelmingly complicated and time consuming things that only incredibly organized, as well as highly artistic people, do. But the beauty of bullet journaling is that you don’t need to do all those things, you can pick and choose what you like and customize specifically for you. And most importantly you don’t need to choose which spreads you do right now. You can add and subtract new spreads and trackers at anytime. In fact, your journal should be constantly changing and evolving to suit your needs in that moment.

In this post, I will share with you some of the misconceptions about bullet journaling that I’ve run across. I’m also very interested in doing a step-by-step series that starts with the most basic, no frills bullet journal and gradually gets more involved. A series that readers could follow along with slowly over time. If you think you might be interested, leave a comment below!

  1. It is too time-consuming: Do you use to-do lists? Even if you keep your lists in your brain, you probably need to pause and think occasionally. Well, if you do, you are mostly on your way to a basic bullet journal already. Here’s an exercise: make a to-do list. Add bullet points in front of each task. Put a star next to those you think are important or urgent. Ta-da, you have the basics of a bullet journal! You could easily have a fully functioning bullet journal in less than 10 minutes a day.

  2. Setting one up will take too much time: This one is similar to the above, but people are concerned about setting one up. Well, you could get the essence done in 10 minutes or so, 20 minutes to add in some of the extra bits. I’m not exaggerating here. Bullet journaling is simply a system of collecting to-do lists and a calendar in one place. The technique that’s used in the daily spread (page) is called “rapid logging”. Why? Because it’s meant to be quick!

  3. It requires artistic talent: A tradition bullet journal contains nothing pretty or fancy, not even any color. You most certainly can add anything you’d like to jazz it up, but it isn’t necessary. Also, a bullet journal is for you...not others. If you want to doodle, go for it. No one else needs to see it. Also, if you are like me and you like doodling but have no artistic talent- bullet journals are a great way to practice and learn. Doodling can also be therapeutic. However, at its core, a bullet journal can be done in your regular handwriting, with a regular pen and zero artistic flourishes.

  4. It’s too complicated: Nope, it’s pretty simple which is why the creator can explain the whole thing in a four minute video. It’s a really simple and easy-to-learn technique. Don’t get me wrong, I love those extra pages you find examples of everywhere. In fact, my bullet journal is loaded with habit trackers, doodle-a-day calendars and to-read lists. However, you don’t START there. You start with Ryder’s video. Start with the basics, and then grow your system slowly. You review your bullet journal periodically to make sure you are actually using all those extra pages, lists, trackers and graphs. If you don’t use it, don’t make it again. You can spend as much as little time with your journal as you’d like.

  5. I need an expensive notebook: While, it’s true you might eventually want an expensive notebook. Initially, you shouldn’t have one. Why? You may decide not to continue. You may want to restart at some point. You may want to do some research and experiment with different notebooks. In fact, I started with a notebook that was partially used that I found at home. After a few days, I upgraded to a normal notebook I got at the nearby pharmacy. Eventually, I upgraded to a very nice, but pricey, notebook, only after I knew what I wanted.

  6. I need fancy pens, washi tape, highlighters, stickers, etc…: Nope again. Seriously, you just need a regular pen (or pencil) and a notebook. You don’t even need a ruler. You will figure out what you might want to try for decoration at your own pace. If you want to make pen collecting your new hobby (I did!) great, but you can also just keep using whatever you have on hand.It will be just as efficient.

  7. I don’t like journaling: Maybe, but maybe not in this sense. Do you mean like writing in a diary? Journaling about your feelings and what you did? Yeah, neither do I. This has nothing to do with that. You certainly *can* add that sort of stuff in, and I have been trying to because journaling in that sense is supposed to be good for personal growth. However, you have to create a place for it in the bullet journal. A basic one isn’t going to have that...it’s to-do list + calendar + “notes to self”.

  8. I’m not organized enough: Bullet journaling is super helpful in getting people organized, managing personal projects and personal growth. You don’t need to already be organized to start a basic one. Keep it simple. Focus on just your daily to-do list. Overtime, you will likely become more organized.

  9. That won’t help me: Are you sure? The best part of the bullet journal is how incredibly flexible it is. It can fit with anyone’s personal style, hobbies, business, personality, goals and values. You can take a minimalist, efficient approach; or a complicated, gorgeous approach. You can have one for your work, or one for a specific hobby. I have one for work, one for personal life, and one for the Pathfinder game I run. Some months or days, I have themes with colored pens, washi tape and stickers. Other times, everything is in black pen and it’s a straight-forward no-nonsense list. Most of the time it varies in between. Current habit tracker not working? Turn to a clean page and start a new one. Can’t bother keeping up with that index? Skip it! Trying to get healthy? Make a spread for that. Trying to save money? Track your spending! It can help you accomplish your goals, whatever that might be.

 

A bullet journal is a reflection of its owner. It can be anything you want. It can take as much or as little time as you want. That’s the beauty of the system. You don’t have to work within the constraints of a premade planner. You can have one day per page; or 7 days per page. It’s not something you need to setup, but something you do on the fly as your day is progressing.

Watch Ryder’s video. Start with the basics. Add a bit more, if you think it’ll help.

As I said, I’m very interested in doing a series of posts where I go back to basics and I start with a very simple bullet journal, and we continue to improve upon it over the course of the series. I could take requests for things to track and record. We can make a fictional character up and give her a story. It’d be fun. If you think you’d want to play along with that comment below so I know there’s some interest!

 


 

What sort of blog? Week One of my Blog Redesign Project

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As I’ve threatened numerous times, I’ve decided to redesign this website and get serious about blogging. Yes, I know. You’ve heard it all before. Promises, promises. And, honestly, who knows what will happen this time? I have too many hobbies and I get distracted by shiny new projects and spreadsheets. On the other hand, thanks to my bullet journal and my recent focus on my own well-being, I’m becoming increasingly more committed to my goals and organized in my task lists. I’ve been bullet journaling for about a year and a half, and I’ve finally figured out what works best for me. My spreads are changing less and less.  It’s pretty exciting. While I’m still overwhelmed by the things I have to do, I’m setting more reasonable expectations and feeling more productive. So, I’m hopeful my focus on blogging will go better this time.

The current personal and family events going on in my life have led to a lot of big-picture thinking and life prioritizing. Some fairly major stuffed happened- including one totally unexpected loss of a young(ish) family member. There’s been pondering and contemplation. This time in my life happened to coincide with the transition to a new bullet journal. Consequently, I did some Wheel of Life and value-sorting exercises to help me generate some personal goals. Two of my more important values fit well with blogging. They are ‘helping others’ and ‘teaching/mentoring’. Actually, blogging fits nicely with several values and goals. Now, I’m hoping to use my blog as a tool to accomplish some of my goals, live in alignment with my values, and continue my personal growth journey.

The first step in my blog redesign was to read a few articles about starting a new blog. I figured I might as well go back to the beginning and see what I might have missed. Based on my reading, I came up with a focused question and some basic goals for this week:

Week One

Question: What sort of blog do I want?

Goals:

  1. Create a (reasonable!) schedule that I can stick with

  2. Read one article on blogging

  3. Write, edit and publish one post

  4. Comment on someone else’s blog

  5. Post on Twitter at least five times

The Question

During my research over the past couple weeks when I’ve been entertaining this idea, I read a lot about finding your “niche”. Some articles said you needed to choose a very specific topic in order to have a successful blog. Of course, they are defining success by popularity, the quantity of readers and profitability, which is fair. However, I don’t really care about those things. In fact, I wouldn’t want to be that popular- it seems overwhelming. Also, I can’t just talk about one thing. I LOVE TOO MANY THINGS. I have way too many obsessions, passions, hobbies, collections and loves to talk about just one thing. That sounds boring...for me, anyway, if you happen to really love one thing, go for it!

If you don’t want a niche blog, your options then come down to personal or lifestyle blogs. Personal blogs are about the stories and experiences of the author. Lifestyle blogs are more about the interests of the author. In Lifestyle blogs, the reader can anticipate getting some recommendations, advice, ideas, instructions or information from each post. There appears to be a lot of overlap with these two though as both are focused around the author’s life. I think I would put myself somewhere in between with a leaning towards lifestyle. I tend to give lots of recommendations- podcasts, books, bullet journal spreads, apps- and information- how to plan a Disney trip, WDW news, foods your cat can eat safely. Of course, I overshare as well. I think that might be more of a personality trait than a blogging style, though.

For now, I’m going to embrace the term “lifestyle blog” and see what happens. Honestly, though, I never considered myself worthy of such a thing. Who on earth would want to get lifestyle information from me? The term just seems “role-modely” to me. I don’t seem to have my shit together enough to be qualified for one. But maybe taking this approach will help build my confidence?

The Schedule I Created:

Sunday- Off

Monday- Plan the post

Tuesday- Write the post

Wednesday- Consider creating and adding images

Thursday- Final edits

Friday- Publish (1 post per week)

Saturday- Share

I’m writing this and it’s Tuesday. So...so far, so good. I also scribbled some notes down yesterday about what I intended to write about.

First Major Change:

The first thing that will impact you, my lovely readers, is that I’m going to be posting only on the “Site News” feed for now. If you want updates on what is going on, make sure you check that page.

Do you have a personal or lifestyle blog? If so, please post the link below so I can check it out!

July 2018- Blog Updating: What should I focus on next?

I've been actively posting again over the last few weeks thanks to my renewed interest in the Sims.

This has got my hankering to do more updating in other areas of the blog with the goal of bringing my whole site up to date, and making some improvements on all the various pages.

Where should I start? What area would you like to see more posts and improvements in first?

What do you want updated? *
Select One

June 2018- Lots of Sims Posts!

While I haven't been too active on the site lately, one particular blog has become very active over the past few weeks! 

I've been playing a ton of Sims recently, and of course, blogging about it. I've been playing a rotational game (so multiple households in the same save) and it has been doing an excellent job at holding my attention. 

The first post of the rotation story can be found here: Round 1: Summer, Liberty & Travis

You can find additional posts below:

February 2018

I started a new section! It focuses on my personal journey (self-care, depression, anxiety):

 

There has been quite a few posts on the Sims too:

August Update

In case you missed it, here is what happened on the wesbite in July:

I added a post about my August Set-up to the Bullet Journal Blog.

I failed to make any new posts about Cats, sadly. I should fix that soon. If there is anything you'd like to hear about, please leave a comment.

I did an article about Choosing an Agent for my WDW planning section. There will be no shortage of Disney posts in the future since we are less than 180 from our next trip!!!

I had four posts about Edith (If my Sim had a Bullet Journal) and one about the Misfortune Legacy.

There are two new sections to checkout as well under "Everything Else I Love".

The Chattering and Blathering blog where I can ramble about random things and my life.

And the Screenshot Let's Play blog for all my non-Sims Let's Plays.

The above two do not have RSS links posted yet, but I will do that shortly.

"If My Sim had a Bullet Journal Challenge" was mentioned in the official Bujo Newsletter!

My new Sims challenge that I'm currently beta testing with Edith got a mini shout-out in the form of a link in the most recent (July) official Bullet Journal newsletter!!!!

So exciting!!!

It wasn't a link to my blog, but to the Sims forum post I made. However, we did get quite a few new readers from it! (Welcome!)

If you haven't read Edith yet, you can start at the beginning here: If My Sim Had a Bullet Journal.

Tama Reawakening, Header, Disney Updates & the App

A few short updates:

- I finally changed the header so it's no longer fall. Yay! 

- I've downloaded the Square space blogging app. I can now do simple posts from my phone (like this one!) 

- I'm doing a new series that's following a Tamagotchi. http://www.crazycatnerd.com/everythingelse/2017/3/6/tama-reawakening

- I'm also working on my Trip Report from Disney: http://www.crazycatnerd.com/disney/2017/2/6/just-keep-swimming-2017-our-day-1-adventure

 

Recent Posts

Life has settled back down somewhat and I've been trying to blog more often. Here are some recent posts you may have missed:

  • There's a story about a kitty named Mike that took up residency on our porch. If you haven't read any of it, you should start with Part 1. The most recent update is Part 5.
  • There's also a quick Disney update: Week 12.
  • Vincent's most recent update was in October, with Vincent Forgets to Pay the Bills
  • In the Everything Else category, I recently posted a list of amazing podcasts you should be listening to if you like Mystery and Horror. While the post was intended for Halloween, the podcasts are fabulous to listen to all year. Also, not all of them are scary...I ordered them in what I feel is there increasing level of scariness. So, people who frighten easily may still want to give the first couple a go. 

You can anticipate more updates on Mike, Disney and Vincent in the weeks to come. Oh, and Duffy & Shellie May have lots to share too. Please feel free to leave me comments with suggestions, recommendations, questions, or just saying "hi". 

Here's Some Deer

Thank you for your patience with my lack of posts. I appreciate how you continue to check the blog despite the slow production of new content. I've had some health issues recently get in the way of my productivity (coupled with a very busy schedule). I hope to do more post soon, as the days to my Disney trip are almost in the double digits, and I miss Vincent.

For now, here's a scene from my everyday life...I see these guys this close multiple times a day...this morning four were in my front yard while I was leaving for work. I snapped a picture a couple days ago of a set near our house while Jimmy was driving by.

New Posts

Here's where you can find some new content on the site:

Two new Countdown posts are on the Disney blog:

You can read about the Feline Fiber response diet, and how I still miss Harree on the Cats blog:

You can read the first episode of my new Sims Completion Challenge on the Sims blog:

You can read about what I'm nerding out about this month, and Pokemon Go in Everything Else:

I'm currently working on another Edward post. I also hope to show off some of my Disney Tsum collection soon.

Tales from RimWorld & RSS Feed Update

Just a couple of quick updates on the site. I've been posting the story from my first play through of the game "RimWorld"...The game has been described as a combination of Dwarf Fortress, Prison Architect and Firefly. It uses an AI storyteller device to create events, so every story is different (therefore, no spoilers!). I've been sharing the story of my first colony, and I have NO idea (or control over) where this is going. Here's part one: http://www.crazycatnerd.com/everythingelse/2016/8/8/tales-from-a-rimworld-part-1

Additionally, the wrong slug was listed on the first RSS Feed link to "Everything Else". It has been corrected, so you may need to update your RSS feed by clicking the link on the right sidebar.

Updates

I finally manage to get my own site, and now I have no time to update. Ack!

I've been missing it so much, and I have plenty of ideas of topics to post about. However, between starting a new job and the debacle of trying to sell our old home (in a different state), my time as been severely lacking. There is light at the end of this tunnel...

I did update the site to have the RSS feeds on the sidebar to the right. Now you can subscribe to whichever blogs you like. Subscribing to this one (Site News) will let you know when there have been some updates on the site, in general, so if you only wish to subscribe to one, that one is a nice option. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter to get updates.

The most recent blog posts have been Sims related: