...random experiences, observations and thoughts of my daily life as mommy...past journeys and dreams of journeys yet to be taken creating my life story as i go...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"just write" #1...link in on extraordinary ordinary

i've written this idea many times...the idea that i just need to write more than anything else. more than the content, more than the outcome, more than the reason, more than the time i have to do so, more than how good it is, more than who reads it, etc. etc. and now heather, from one of my favorite blogs of all time, the extraordinary ordinary, is challenging her readers to "just write" and link back up on her blog every tuesday. here is her description of what to freely write about:

"Write whatever is happening around you WHILE you are writing (sometimes that’s the very best) OR whatever DETAILS you remember about your day or a specific experience.
Next, try not to clarify or explain what you want to speak through your post too much. (Try not to force a theme or message.) Just write your experiences. What did you: See? Smell? Touch? Feel? Hear? What did it make you think?
Then watch how your ordinary and extraordinary experiences speak all on their own. That’s it!"
you can add your link and join me here.


free association has always been the best way to describe my writing. in fact, free association was one of my first labels since i couldn't think of a better way to describe what many of my posts were about. it is also a psychological term and my educational background is in psychology. i was a psychology professor before i became a full time stay-at-home mommy. so i included heather's instructions because i can easily write about the thoughts/feelings i have, the details of my day, observations, etc. the difficult part of this challenge for me will be "try not to clarify or explain what you want to speak through your post"...in fact, i was thinking if i ever had enough readers to come up with my own challenge i would have the opposite "just analyze"...like pick a topic/problem/issue in your life and analyze it through as many different angles as you can think of...then link up and get feedback from other readers...i think some of the most personal blogs are the most interesting. in fact, i have very few readers but when i titled a recent post "irritable and moping" which isn't that personal, i more than doubled my readers on that post. unfortunately the post itself wasn't that interesting. even now as i type this i think i should go edit/add/change the content...but i rarely remove much of what i write...what i'm getting at is often in the middle of all the rambles and can't be reduced down. my husband on the other hand can say what he means in very few words. both in conversation and in writing. and i think there are pros and cons to both approaches. we balance one another in that way. we are also both nerdy and feel understood by few (fortunately each other)...my previous post touched on this idea briefly...

i feel like i'm stalling...waiting for inspiration or the nugget i was thinking about as i went to bed that connects to so many other ideas...i'll get there...but wanted to ask a question of any readers i may have...i currently have a google blogspot account that is 90%+ at its max. i haven't yet figured out what that means and what will happen when i do max out (i assume this is from the many photos in my posts). but i'm prepared to pay for my blog and commit to it on a deeper level (as evidenced by my willingness to pay for it). i thought i just went to one place and tried to register a domain name but when i tried to do that this morning i found several hosts (am i using the right terminology?) and also have questions like how to have all the features on google...i briefly read about wordpress and that sounds like the answer there...any suggestions on how to transfer my 4 years of blogging into a new site and which host to use? i don't have many readers to transfer there so i can have a fresh start without worrying who i will lose, but i don't want to lose anything i've written (or comments on posts) or any of my photos. is there a max to how many photos total or data for that matter you can put up on a domain? do you pay extra for that? 

so no more stalling...i have 15 minutes to get some content down so i can start getting my daughter sea ready for school. last night as i was reflecting on what i wanted to blog about i was thinking about this very idea of "just writing" about the details of my day and what i thought about. and then i came across heather's blog in my blog roll and realized i really wanted to do it more officially and connect to other people doing it and credit her for bringing us together so you can join, too!

the other reason i decided to connect with heather's challenge is that I LOVE HER BLOG...really, i have no reason to promote her other than she is a blogger i relate with, enjoy reading and she strikes that balance between living in the moment (her blog name embodies that...she appreciates the little ordinary things and sees the extraordinary in them) and finding meaning without trying so hard to do so that she misses the little things or daily life. in fact, daily life and the little things ARE what is most meaningful in many cases...

which reminds me when i was trying to find my niche or voice or what i liked to write about back in high school a teacher once said "truth is stranger than fiction" and what i took from that is writing about things you know can often be more compelling than trying to create something...i've always been more of a non-fiction writer so that made sense to me. i also mentioned my psychology background and how i just naturally analyze...usually myself more than others, but i'm always looking for hidden meanings or trying to figure out how things relate.

last night i was also reflecting on my struggle with depression and how people seemed to want to read a post about struggling..."misery loves company"...or maybe people just like to feel like "my life, my problems aren't THAT bad..." for example, my mom has hoarding tendencies so the show "hoarders" is very refreshing to her because she can feel like she isn't a hoarder watching it...

i also just think people are more HUMAN when they are comfortable sharing their weaknesses. from a psychological standpoint the idea that disclosure leads to disclosure. so if i share something personal about myself you are much more likely to share something about yourself than if i keep our interaction very surface level. or if i encourage you to talk about personal things about yourself, you somehow feel closer to me like i "know" you better...i can see how getting readers and comments on your blog could be very cathartic in this way.

so back to the sad ideas i was reflecting on last night...i was thinking how when i attend funerals i rarely care about the general descriptions given "he/she was kind, generous, loving, etc."...what really chokes me up are the small descriptive details of people's lives...examples of things they said or did...the same holds true for blogs...when bloggers write about minutia of their daily life i can often relate with what that means even without them having a theme or describing what they are trying to do by writing about those details. i think this is partly what heather is getting at with her challenge. the idea that we can all relate on the very human and personal aspect of these details.

well my 15 minutes are up and i didn't even get to the small details of yesterday...one of the ideas i was hoping to touch on occurred when i went to java mama, i cafe designed so children could play in a play area while moms eat/drink/work/hang out. this concept worked well when my children were younger. really it worked fine yesterday in the sense that my children enjoyed playing...wearing dress up, zooming around on a small car, role playing with toys and other children...what struck me, though was how my children are no longer toddlers. this shouldn't be shocking considering they are almost 4 and 6. but somehow i just thought children universally continued to enjoy songs like "the wheels on the bus" and "hokey pokey" (i didn't really think this...just was surprised how far past this my children are).

i always thought i wanted to have a big family...always wished i had a brother, more siblings. i had hoped to provide my children with this until i had two very spirited, active, intense children. i can't keep up with them. i know someday they will channel this energy into something positive (and they often do now) but i'm often mediating between them with each other, with other children, with adults and it can be exhausting. i've said "i only have two hands" and that i need one for each child (literally and figuratively)...yet when i hang out with first time moms, friends with only one child younger than mine, or even friends who have their third, i somehow get a little jealous of the opportunity to start over. have a fresh start. make different decisions how i interact with my children, what activities we do, what i notice. because really i don't have too many regrets what i did or didn't do...my regrets are more about not BEING THERE in the moment...PRESENT...and not trying to take photos or write about it, but experiencing it. so i will leave on that note. an ever present reminder to myself of how i hope to live. noticing and experiencing the details...the extraordinary ordinary as heather would say.

i just got back from taking my daughter to school...stopped, LITERALLY to let my son observe (not smell) a brilliant orange red iceland poppy opening up...check out some christmas light decorations...i've posted this blog post on blogher and facebook...hard to put myself out there without feeling i should be adding/editing/writing disclaimers (like this one)...so as i sip my extra strongly brewed sumatra coffee in warmed egg nog and listen to the "paul simon" station on pandora, making breakfast of gluten-free pancakes, hash browns and scrambled eggs...i'll reflect on what else i'd like to add in observations about the little things in my day :)

today's goal (tomorrow's blog post) is to write my holiday letter...look over last years photos...hopefully i'll write a post with representative photos from all 12 months of last year...we'll see how much time i have...


  1. Enjoyed this. I keep up with your blog and sometimes, with your very candid writing, I feel like I want to hug you when we see each other at school--or high five you if it's something celebratory. It's that awkward, I know you because of the blog, but does that entitle me to comment on it in person? Funny thing, Samantha was calling out to you as you had Story on your back and walked past us on the cross walk. I kept thinking, I want to invite you two to breakfast this morning. If I did, though, you wouldn't have written this great post. :) Maybe next time. See ya' later!

  2. Thank you for your kind words and for joining in on Just Write.

    about running out of space and switching...I know wordpress is more of a capable host but I'm sorry I can't be of help in explaining how to switch. I'm guessing google will help you find some tutorials? Good luck!

    Thanks again,


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