Sugar, Spice, & Everything Niche

This website is my fourth attempt at blogging. It has grown into more than a blog. However, I started with the idea that I wanted to write and I wanted a blog to write these things at. Complete control and creative freedom to publish what I wanted, when I wanted.

Over the years in my attempts at blogging I’ve done a lot of research and read all the resources from my favorite bloggers about what they do to make their blog successful. Everybody has different techniques and tactics but one message united all these experts and their resources. The thing that united them? The message that you find your niche and stick to it. 

Every successful blogger I read about in my research said something along these lines. Find the thing you love the most and talk about that. Find the thing you are best at and talk about that. 

I think my previous attempts at blogging were failures because of this message. I didn’t have a niche, I didn’t know what I was going to talk about and I struggled with creating content because I didn’t have a niche. My third attempt at blogging I decided that I was done and I didn’t need a blog because I didn’t have a niche. I wasn’t an expert at anything so therefore I cannot talk about anything.

The desire to start a blog didn’t go away. I started working on my book which is a journaling devotional and I realized how much I loved journaling and I wanted to share that message with people and how journaling is good self-care. I found conversations with God in my journal and I wanted to share that. That is how WritingOutLoud was born. Through my desire to share my message of journaling with people.

This was supposed to be my niche. I was supposed to talk about writing and journaling and just let that exist out in the internet world. As I am coming up on a year of this blog, I’m realizing that I’ve talked about a lot more than just journaling and writing. I’ve started a podcast and I’ve added weekly devotionals. My blog posts though, the content is constantly changing based on what is happening in my life. Sometimes, I want to talk about adjusting schedules, because my schedule hasn’t been consistent my entire life. My normal is adjusting to a new schedule. Maybe someone wants to hear about it, maybe it will be helpful to someone. 

Despite knowing I talk about a variety of things on my blog, I still felt like I had an overall message- journaling. 

I was listening to a podcast the other day, where the guest on the show was talking about how she had one type of blog, got pregnant and when she had her baby she lost a whole bunch of followers. She was afraid of talking about her baby because she didn’t want to lose more followers. The overall message was her owning her new season of life and her new identity but listening to this podcast made me realize I very much dislike the message of blogs need to have niches.

Believing a blog must have a niche or that one person can only talk about one thing on their website is putting people in a box that says they are only this thing. 

I am more than a woman passionate about journaling. I have an eye for decorating and making things pretty. I am an organizational genius and all about less stuff and open space. I’m the complete opposite of a hoarder and sometimes, you have to convince me that we need to keep something in order to keep it in the house. I find freedom in letting go even when I am clinging to control like a life line. I am made up of a lot more than a niche message that I feel like I need to stick to on a blog. 

Which is why I dislike this niche blogging deal. The person I go to for examples on decluttering and minimalism, has also built up a huge successful business, why wouldn’t I want to hear what she has to say about building a business? I’m great with journaling and I love writing, but maybe you’d like to see how add fall decor to my house when I’m all about less stuff on surfaces. Maybe you want to know how I juggle a a job, my husband, my son, my blog and school and get on the President’s List. 

My point is that things that I’m going through might be relatable to you but you would never know if I stuck to the niche message of journaling for self care and to build a deeper relationship with Jesus. 

I read and I love sharing what I read with people. I love talking to authors and shooting my shot to see if I can do a Q&A (that shot was successful) and maybe you found a new author you have not heard of yet. 

We, as people, do not fit into one thing. I am more than a writer. We all wear many hats and since I can control what happens on this corner of the internet, I’m going to talk about all my hats. 

Q & A with Susan Dennard

If you follow the writing community at all on Twitter, you might have come across a pick your path story (#TheLuminaries) by the brilliant Susan Dennard. She started four months ago with the start of a story and a poll for viewers to pick what the character did next. Now, we have hashtags, teams, ships, a FAQ and exactly one life left and everybody trying to not mess it up. 

I heard about Susan Dennard from another author at Las Vegas Book Fest last year. While she was signing my book and I told her that I was a writer, she immediately told me to look up Sooz and start getting her newsletter because she is constantly giving advice for writers. So I did exactly that. 

After following her for a few months I started seeing all these tweets about her book that was about to be released, Bloodwitch, and with all the hype and everything that was being said, I got very interested in what this series was about. So I got the first book, Truthwitch, and I was completely blow away. I think I finished the book in two nights. It is SO GOOD. And so good isn’t even strong enough to describe it. I LOVE this book.  I do have the second book but I’ll be honest, I am terrible at keeping up with series so I still need to start it (and finish it). I think I’m going to pick it up after I finish the book I’m currently reading. I just don’t have time to read like I want to. I miss the days of summer vacation where I could lazy around all day and re-read all the books. Like the summer I spent re-reading all the Harry Potter books, in mixed order, one after the other all leading up to the release of book 7. However, adulting. 

Back to #TheLuminaries, we get our updates once a day in the morning with the next piece of the story. Susan was awesome, amazing, and nice enough to answer some questions I had so I could write this blog post. Thank you Susan for being an amazing author and for giving us #TheLuminaries 

1. On Instagram, you mentioned The Luminaries started from being bored in an airport, what exactly made you want to do this as a choose your own adventure?

SD: Honestly, I have no idea. I really don’t. I am as impulsive as Safi, some days.

2.  What has been the biggest surprise about starting The Luminaries Choose Your Own Adventure?

SD: Well, it’s not a Choose Your Own Adventure–both because that phrase is trademarked and because the format really is different. It’s more like a crowdsourced adventure. 😉

And the biggest surprise has been the engagement. I really was just looking to kill some time, I didn’t expect it to take off…Or to last 4 months!

3. So much has formed from when you started it, we have #TeamPetty, #TeamPractical, #TeamUGHJAY, people shipping Winnie and Jay already (for good reason, haha)- do you have a favorite team? 

SD: No, haha. I think it’s great what everyone is doing and how they’ve build up their own versions of Winnie and what she would do. This story is so, so vastly different from the book I’ll one day publish, so I’m all for letting the readers have their teams and their fun!

4. Or maybe you’re more focused on making sure our reckless choices don’t kill us?

SD: Definitely that, ha. Ever since I started giving hints, though, I feel a little bit better that Hive Mind Winnie won’t die…

5. What has been the best moment of The Luminaries for you?

SD: It was fine to finally reward everyone with a super shippy moment. 😉

6. Has it been easy to keep up with your other writing projects and The Luminaries at the same time? 

SD: Not at first, ha. When I first started, I didn’t expect the story to explode or for people to have so many questions about the world/families. So doing #TheLuminariesFAQ took so much time to start. But soon enough, enough of the world had been shared and described…so now it’s really just a matter of updating the story each day.

7. What is something this choose your own adventure style game has taught you? 

SD: When you’re working in an interactive format, people are willing to forgo logic in favor of banter and ships. I see this often in video games–I’m totally willing to stop all action for a kiss cut scene!! But it’s still really fascinating to see it play out in this novel/game hybrid.

8. If I was cool enough to not be a non, I would be in the Monday family. What family would you be in? Is there a better way to say it? House Monday? Family Monday? There are many options here. 

SD: I’m probably a Saturday. They’re natural leaders and good with words–something I definitely pride myself on 😉

I can attest that Susan Dennard is awesome with words! She is the Queen of world building if you ask me. She has created multiple words I wouldn’t mind being a part of. Outside of #TheLuminaries on Twitter, the Witchland series, Susan has another story on Wattpad (The Executioner’s Three) that I’ve heard amazing things about. (I’ve officially added it to my mental to-read list.) 

You can check out Susan Dennard here

Devotional Thursdays- Redeemed

Redeemed

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. -Isaiah 43:1

Google tells me the dictionary definition of “redeem” is: compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something).

I can’t speak for you, but I’ve been consistently told a lot of bad things about myself by people who were supposed to love me. I was constantly told the same bad things by family on a daily basis during the years where my inner voice would be formed. My inner voice is mean to me. M-E-A-N. It’s really awful. It is something I have to battle daily because if I make a single mistake, it’s full out war inside my head. If I ever think that I am becoming a burden on someone, all the old things that were said to me play on repeat in my mind. 

You are lazy.”

“You will never do anything.”

“It’s always your fault.”

“You need to calm down, this is why we cannot have _____”

It’s enough to make anybody think they weren’t ever wanted.

How do I battle it? How do I battle the human flaws that remind me I am weak and need something bigger than myself? 

I start with Isaiah 43:1. God has redeemed me. Jesus’ blood is compensation for my sins. His blood paid the price I could never pay. I start there because it is the most important truth. I have been redeemed. I am a child of God’s. He has called me by name and I belong to him. 

It’s all right there in black and white.

Write it Out

  1. What bad tapes play in your head? 
  2. What truths can you use to battle the lies that play like records in your head?

Episode Six- Journaling & Self Care

Episode Six- Journaling & Self-Care

Welcome back to another episode of Hasta la Pasta!

Today I am breaking down the top three things I think are important when you are trying to journal for self-care. If we want to love on the people around us, we need to love on ourselves first!

Things I’m talking about:

Instagram– where I am hosting a 30 day journaling challenge

Amazon- where you can buy my book

10 Journaling Prompts (To Get You Started) – I created this mini-workbook to help you start the habit of journaling! (& it’s only $1.00!)

The Change You Didn’t Ask For

I talk about change a lot. At least, it feels like I do. It is probably because my entire life has been about change and learning how to adjust. I’ve basically been wingin’ it since I was a child. It is probably why I fight so hard for control, despite the 20+ years of knowledge that tells me that I have absolutely zero control. 

This past year has been full of changes for my family. This past year has been full of changes for me personally. Every time I think we are in a groove, the tide changes. It is like every week has something new or changing or something. It’s been a very interesting year.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen this post where I talked about how God dropped a huge realization on me. I am living a life I prayed for. I asked God for the parts in my life that weight on my heart and god provided them. All the change I was enduring was to be given the life I was asking for. The life I’m living now is allowing me to pursue my calling and I can help provide for my family. I have time with my son and my husband that I never got before. All these things I asked for and prayed for and didn’t believe it was possible for me.

Now I am living it. My prayers were answered and all these changes have been good. While it has taken me a while to adjust and accept it. Part of me still misses the old. I’ve let it go when God made me realize that I prayed for my life that I am living. Even adjusting to change I asked for, it was hard. It was not something I woke up to and said “okay, this is my life, cool!” 

If it is hard to adjust to change that you asked for, that you wished or prayed for, do you think it is easy to adjust to change you didn’t ask for?

Absolutely not. 

Two hours after I made my instagram post about what God was doing and how He answered my prayers, my husband called me and told me things were about to change again and it wasn’t something we asked for. This change actually goes against everything we wanted. 

My husband started a new job with a new company and now he is being moved to another part of the company. This change comes with a new schedule from the one we had just adjusted to. Plus it came with a pay cut, which means we needed to readjust our budget AND figure out a way to get childcare for Little Man. 

Never have I prayed for this. In fact, with the timing, I started questioning everything I was just thankful for. I asked myself, “Did I hear God wrong?” I wondered if I was really in God’s will and all the things I was just praising Him for. This new and the change literally had me questioning everything. I felt wrong and like things couldn’t just be right for two seconds.

Then the smallest thought, the smallest voice came from my heart. “What if something better is coming?”

What. Huh?

Then I let it sit around a little bit. What if God is moving us to something better? While we are currently at a pay cut and slightly stressed about childcare, there is a plan in place with this new position. A plan that is better than our original plan with his previous position. Then, after this news on Thursday night, I spent all day Friday getting everything together to enroll Little Man into a preschool, and it all worked out. I found one we could afford, there was room, I got all the paperwork I needed from the doctor in a few hours. It all felt right. I spent the entire day running around (Little Man also had an eye exam and needed glasses) but it all worked out and I felt at peace all day.

Peace that I never feel when I am running around like that. Peace that never really happens to me. Peace that didn’t match up to my understanding.

That’s the kind of peace that God gives. The kind that doesn’t make sense. That is when I knew I was in God’s hands and I was finally letting go of control over this.

So I’m going to trust God and His Process…

Even when I don’t understand

Even when I dislike it the current situation

Even when it is hard

Even when it hurts

Even when I feel like giving up

Even when I want to quit

God has never not shown up for us. God has never abandoned us. God fulfills his promises.