The Ever Evolving Nature of the Blog

top view of creative workspace with keyboard and coffee
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

AKA:  Jess can never make up her mind/is never satisfied/(to put a positive spin on it) is constantly learning and growing.

I’m back in the proper head space to be creative and work on the blog and creative projects again!  The last half of January was kind of a blasé month for me, mentally/creatively (not in a dire way, just sort of fatigued, hence the complete dearth of blog posts), but February has been a creative high point, and I’ve been thinking about this blog again.

I finally, finally moved all my OCtPoWriMo posts over to a separate blog – Rarely Tidy Writing – which is where I will host my contributions to all future writing challenges.  It’s accessible via my Navigation Menu, and if you are someone who followed me during one of the challenge months and are only here for creative writing, it might be a good idea to go and follow that blog either instead of or in addition to this one (I’d love for you to stick around!  But I know that it’s entirely possible that you followed me under the faulty assumption that I was a “writing blog,” and if my ADHD ramblings aren’t your cuppa, I understand and encourage you to check out Rarely Tidy Writing instead).

I’ve also been thinking of a previous post I made, talking about honing the focus of this blog somewhat, and reflecting on how that’s been going for me so far.  I’m enjoying, I think, that I am still able to talk about things that are important to me and that affect me personally while still having a lense through which I can focus my writing, but it remains important to me to keep a personal presence on this blog.  Over the last week, I’ve been considering this, and decided to try out combining two things I’d been mulling over for a long time: making #weeklycoffeetalk posts, and incorporating vlogs into my blog.  Since I plan on talking about my personal life during these weekend vlogs, my Friyay! posts will become more fully centered around media and products (i.e., things that you, as readers, can seek out and consume if they sound interesting or uplifting to you) instead of personal milestones or celebrations.

Anyway, that’s what’s what.  Hope you have all been well, and I’m looking forward to new projects on the horizon!

Con Season!

Tomorrow is my first convention of the season, and as anyone who’s followed me knows, I always come home from cons feeling super creatively energized, though often directionless in terms of where to channel that energy.

This year, with two projects already under my belt, I feel like I have gained enough momentum and have enough ideas to carry me through another two or three projects on my own, so my hopes for this convention are a renewed sense of creative energy, and maybe some new inspiration for subject matter for the future.

I also hope that it will help me to put into words a few things I’ve been wanting to write about, and should that be the case, I’ll be back with a few new posts in about a week.

Also, woo, long weekend!  Hope you all have a safe and happy one.

The New Year, Executive Functioning, and This Blog

black and white blackboard business chalkboard
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday!  (For those who don’t celebrate, I hope you still got some time off to relax and spend with loved ones).  After some touch-and-go moments the prior week where Bear seemed to be picking up every contagious stomach bug, cold, and infection known to man, he was feeling like himself by the 23rd an had a wonderful Christmas.  My family (in particular, my husband and my mom) also made a point on going crazy when it came to gifts for me, so I’m coming out of this holiday season with a ton of crafting supplies (so much paint!) and a lot of inspiration.

Speaking of inspiration, it’s been a goal of this blog since the beginning to be a tool to help with recovering my sense of inspiration and creativity.  As someone with a neurodivergence, time management and organization are notoriously hard, as is the “simple” act of sustained attention on certain things – even things I ostensibly want to do.  Keeping a blog introduced me to some great creative challenges that had enough external structure and gave me enough positive, affirming feedback that I was marginally more creatively productive than I have been in the last several years, which is great.

However, that self-same neurodivergence meant that, going into this, the purpose of this blog was incredibly vaguely defined.  I’ve said before that I don’t love niche blogging – I like to talk about whatever comes into my head – and that remains true.  However, I’ve noticed that a number of my followers come here during my challenge months, when I’m posting poetry or creative writing, even though the rest of the year I’m not a creative writing blog.  I started to wonder if maybe posting fiction and poetry on this blog wasn’t the best idea.

When I started this blog, my whole “thing” was, I didn’t want to feel boxed in as a “niche” blogger.  I didn’t want to feel like I could only post poetry, or only write about children’s literature, or only post recipes.  I kind of just wanted a space to talk about life and share my interests.  I still feel that way; I just also feel like, without being boxed in too rigidly, I should step back and think about perspective: who am I?  I can write about my life, sure, but through what lens am I experiencing my life?

At the beginning, when I chose the name of this blog (Rarely Tidy Ramblings), I loved it because it encompassed the messiness that was the inside of my mind due to my ED et. al.,, and because it came from a wonderful quote (of ambiguous attribution) framing a disorganized mind as the hallmark of the creative individual.  I thought, initially, that this could give me leeway to post just about whatever I damn well pleased.

But really, what Rarely Tidy Ramblings should be about is my life through the perspective given to me by being neurodivergent.  Parenting with ADHD.  Working with neurodivergent kids as someone likewise ND.  Planning, organization, list-making, goal-setting.  Trying to be creative when your brain works against you.

Does that mean I can’t post my son’s weekly book rec from the library?  No.  Does that mean I can’t photo dump when we take a fun family trip?  Of course not.  Hell, even the niche-est of niche bloggers have chatty and personal posts, sometimes.  It just means I can’t forget that I’m writing about my life from a perspective colored by something particular, and I should use that as a way to focus my writing, and as the impetus to produce new writing.

It also means no more posting creative writing.  I can talk about the process, about the pitfalls and difficulties and successes, but I can’t post the finished work (here.  I’m considering opening and linking a sideblog for those interested that would be accessible via the navigation menu).

This is not an overhaul, or a revamp – just a refocusing.  I’ve gathered enough followers through endeavors like Inktober and NaNoWriMo and OctPoWriMo that I thought I’d perform a courtesy and explicitly let you all know that those instances were the deviation rather than the norm.

Relatedly, I’m currently working my way through The Adult Executive Functioning Workbook, which has made me really think about organization, focus, and goal-setting, and in part is what spurred me to really think about what I’m using this space for and if I could use it better, with more focus and purpose (the answer was “yes”).

I doubt I’ll be back before the New Year (I might!  I have something I’d love to post either prior to or very, very early in the new year, but I make no promises), so I will wish a happy, safe New Year to my followers, and I look forward to being more active and productive on this blog (and overal!) in 2019

Hello from the Pits of Stagnation!

close up composition conceptual creativity
Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

Okay, slight hyperbole.

I had meant to have so much up on the blog this past month.  Another small round of Dollar Tree Gift Basket ideas.  Updates graphic organizers, including holiday/gift giving ones.  A personal guide to planners.  Thoughts on the upcoming holidays.  The debut of my DeviantArt, where I hope to store my weekly sketches as I continue my journey to become semi-competent with a pen and pencil.

Sadly, between my new program at work being incredibly draining (but also a lot of fun and so satisfying), last minute holiday prep, Bear’s birthday, and the stomach flu running through both my classroom and my family (Bear still has no appetite, and is now coughing himself to the dry (and not-so-dry) heaves), and I haven’t updated in nearly three weeks.

I mean, sorry?  But while I want writing about my life to be a priority, living my life comes first.  So, sorry-not-sorry (but also kinda sorry), I guess.

I’ll be working the remainder of the week to create a queue to carry the blog through the holidays, and will take some time over break to develop a more regular posting schedule.  Until then, I hope your run up to the holidays has been more enjoyable and less filled with toddler puke than mine has been.

Take care, everyone.

Reflections on Inktober and OctPoWriMo

ReclaimingWell, October was a quite a month, creatively.

I’ve never attempted more than one challenge at a time before.  Moreover, I’d never attempted something that wasn’t a writing challenge before, and this October saw me do both (this was a really special month, you guys).

OctPoWriMo was not a wellspring of expertly crafted poetry.  I was not fond of many of the suggested forms, but because of time constraints, and because of the lingering funk I was in when it came to creativity, I opted in to many of the suggested forms and prompts, even when I didn’t love them.  I’d argue that was good for me; it forced me to be okay with what I considered to be sub-optimal writing — it kind of gave me permission to create something not up to my nearly impossible standards.

In the end, I produced thirty-one poems, a few (very few, but still – a few) of which I am very happy with just as they are — Blue,  Are We Damned?, Here There Are Trees, and A Doe in the Woods come most readily to mind — and several others that I think would be good with some work — Siren, Snake, How Do You Know if Love is Real?, and both of the haibuns fall easily into this category.

The poems that fell entirely flat (to me, at least), are the ones whose forms seem the most “gimmicky;” the blitz, for one, never truly felt like writing poetry (though, as I’ve said several times, I wouldn’t discount it as a writing or brainstorming exercise), and many of the non-traditional syllable counting poems didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped.  Rather than count this as a failure, though, I’d like to walk away considering this a learning experience for me as a writer, discovering and uncovering a little more about what works for me (and what doesn’t) as a poet and writer.

What Inktober did, though, was interesting.  I jumped on Inktober more or less on a whim, because I have never, ever, considered myself a visual artist.  I’ve always liked doodling, but my drawings rarely ventured into more elaborate territory.  People would sometimes compliment a drawing I’d done, but it never went beyond that — I never defined myself as an artist the way I did as a writer.  As a result, I went into Inktober with no expectations — or, maybe the expectation of sucking.  And because I assumed I’d suck — because I “wasn’t an artist” — every time my drawings came out with even an inkling of potential promise, it was a huge, positive surprise which kept me motivated to keep with it.

And at the end of thirty-one days, while I still have a long, longlong way to go, I can see very plainly that the stuff I’ve been producing sucks a little less.  That giving myself permission to not be great and keep going anyway actually lead to me getting better.

I’m am spending my creative energies in November doing NaNoWriMo, as I have almost every year since 2002, and taking a break from (structured, challenge-based) creative endeavors in December (working on lowkey, low pressure personal projects) before jumping back in for another challenge in January.

In retrospect, even if I’ve not been thrilled with the all of the products of my labors in October, I’m proud of hanging in there and producing.  And whether or not I win NaNo, and whether or not I reach 50k, I’m hoping to at least see it through day by day and word by word.

Here’s to a productive November, a recuperative December, and a creatively fulfilling 2019.

Welcome Fall

Welcome Fall 2018.png

Hello, all.  Don’t know where you are, but over the last few days we have finally been catching the first glimpses of what I would consider true “fall weather,” with highs in the 50s and 60s this week (well, until Wednesday, when they’re expecting a high near 80, but that’s just how New England do).

My family and I have been pretty busy this month; September has had the most social commitments we’ve had for most of this year, and those few days that weren’t consumed by social events or work were filled with trying to fit in all the chores and projects pushed to the side in favor of those social events, so I’ve had spare time, sure, but only at the end of long, exhausting days, so I haven’t been on here much at all.  With the month winding down – this week is pretty busy, but we hit a lull in October – the house in order, and the school year finally falling into a routine, I’m looking forward to finally returning to some fun projects, including keeping this blog updated.

And keep an eye on my Pinterest, especially my seasonal boards – I’m trying to compile a “master list” of Fall Bucket Lists, Dollar Tree craft and home decor ideas, and great treats and meals for the fall and beyond!

Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: July 14th, 2018

onnie & CaroleYes, yes, I know – it’s Saturday again.  I keep doing this.  This week, my excuse is that my whole schedule has gotten flipped upside down.  I spent a week out of work, and then had to adjust to a weird schedule of working only Tuesday and Thursday; we spent our Wednesday as a family out and about (which made it feel more like a Saturday), and to top it all off, my husband was covering a co-worker’s vacation and was working 2pm to 11pm instead of his usual 8am to 5pm.  So my whole week – and concept of time – has been thrown out of whack.

Here is what’s kept me grounded:

First, Wednesday was spent at Kimball Farm, which was a blast.  I hadn’t been there in several years (we did a community outing there during one of the other ESY programs I worked), and it really has something for everyone.  Bear got his first taste of mini-golf, he got to see some animals (and pet an alligator!), and spent some time earning tickets in the arcade.  He ended the day with a huge scoop of Orange-Pineapple ice cream.  I have a couple of small pics on Insta here.

Second, my sister spent hours online last night messaging me eBay links to long forgotten tech toys we had as kidsThe Teach-Me Reader and The Videosmarts Learning System to name a couple – and ended the evening by announcing that her 1984 Whiz Kid Toy Computer would be arriving on Thursday.  Seriously?  I still can’t believe she actually bought it, but I’d be lying if I pretended I wasn’t going to play with it.  I had one prior to first grade, and I loved it.  We can learn to spell together!

Third, Andy ordered me laminating sheets and I’m going crazy thinking of things I need to laminate.  All my checklists from my previous post have already gotten the treatment, and I’m busy designing both additional checklists and organizers for me, but also piecing together a preschool curriculum for Bear that we can get started, hopefully on Monday.  He’s looking forward to it, and so am I.  I plan on spending a big chunk of time after he turns in tonight getting some of those tasks completed.

Finally, the GISH registration has been extended and my team is starting to take shape (yeah, kind of late this year).  If you don’t know what GISH is, click the link or Google search its previous incarnation, GISHWHES.  It’s a massive multimedia international scavenger hunt interested in subversive art and acts of kindness.  This year it runs July 28th through August 4th.  I’m thrilled to see it brought back – we thought last year was the end!  – and am participating for the seventh year in a row.

That’s it for this week!  What’s kept you going through the week?