Well, unlike most reasonable people, my husband and I thought it would be a grand idea to get married the summer after our junior year of college. Like, we sat down and said “Hey! This seems reasonable!” I mean, who does that? We have judgement issues for sure. So we did and then we IMMEDIATELY got pregnant. Because…hello, that’s what comes next, right? All joking aside, as far as being a young mother goes, our situation was definitely easier than most. Sure we were foolish and not actually ready, but we didn’t know that. If we were old enough to get a marriage license, we were old enough for anything! Wait, that’s not the rule…?
Oh, I’m sure I did. In fact, classmates of ours tried to say that we got married because we were pregnant. Um, hello- people do not plan a wedding for a year and then have a baby a full 9 months later if they’re gettin’ hitched out of guilt. I’m not super good at math, but pretty much that doesn’t seem to make sense. People who stereotype others, however, are rarely thinking logically, so I’ve learned to let all that go. We were also at a lovely Catholic university (University of Dallas) which has such a fully pro-life culture that to demonize a pregnant woman would go against their very foundational values. So again, I got really lucky!
Oh, the best part has got to be the surprise factor. If you’ve tried for a baby, you know that the waiting and the wondering and the phantom symptoms and the taking a pregnancy test 9 days before you’re supposed to can get exhausting. And expensive! When you get pregnant when you’re not planning to, you’re probably a full 10 weeks in before you find out. That’s awesome.
Hah! Yes! We totally bought this house off the internet while we were living in southern California. We didn’t have a lot of time and money to “waste” on flying someone out here just to look at houses because the fixers that we were looking at were priced at $30K and below. Yes- thirty thousand dollars. The price of one Toyota Sienna. We had just enough money to pay for the house cash, and then we gathered up enough to live for a year and/or do extensive repairs once we arrived. We would have never been able to make the leap without a decent stash of cash (which is gone now, by the way. But we do have a new kitchen! Totally worth it.), so it wasn’t quite as crazy as it seems at first. Or maybe it was. I’ve gotten so used to it by now that it’s starting to seem normal, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s not about to be the next big trend in real estate. And the adventure is going fabulously. My dad’s family is from Detroit and I lived there when I was little. The culture in Michigan is just so US. Family friendly, adventurous, hard-working, imaginative. People here are so stinkin’ generous and incredibly helpful that we were almost suspicious when we firs got here. I mean service professionals show up on time to do the work! That would blow your mind if you lived somewhere else, Chaunie. For real.
It’s been a long time since I lived here as a kid, but my birthday is at the end of June, right when summer is getting on a roll. Along with all the other charming quirks of the Michigan climate, the transition from spring to summer is such a magical one. I just remember my birthday being filled with swimming and popsicles and staying up too late because the sun doesn’t set until 10:30 p.m. It’s a magical place to grow-up, it truly is.
The blessed thing about my current position in the social media world is that I didn’t start my blog in order to become a writer or even a blogger. I started it to tell our story to our friends and family who thought we had lost our ever-loving minds by moving out of Socal to a fixer-upper we’d never seen in a place we’d never been. We paid cash for it and my husband quit his job. There was no going back. Honestly, they were worried. I needed to tell them and show them what a magical place this is. How all the hardships were really blessings. How this adventure was the best thing that could happen to a marriage and to a family.So I started as just very me. Real name. Real location. Sharing on facebook with my real friends. I didn’t know anything about blog hops or directories or buttons or even custom blog designs. I didn’t even have a twitter account! And that was fun. It still is fun. As long as it stays fun, I know I’m doing it right. As soon as it starts to seem a chore, I know I’ve entered into the realm of inauthentic. I ask questions and respond to every answer. I give virtual high-fives and shout outs to my friends and followers on both twitter and facebook. I share funny pictures and anecdotes. I only share actual links to posts once per day on facebook and two or three times per day on twitter (to catch the morning/afternoon/evening crowds). Everything else is just the real me, chatting about real stuff. I also follow people with common interests so that we’ll have a lot to chat about rather than following “big names” and then tweeting at them in hopes that they’ll retweet me and “make me big.” Your content, your talent….that is what will make you big. Everything else is just details.From a practical point of view, be consistent. Have your username be the same on every site. Link everything together. Just like we need to be the change we want to see in the world, you need to be the blogger you want to see in the world. Helpful, kind, supportive. Promote your friends’ businesses and blogs. Find out what you’re best at and offer to do that for others. People will reciprocate and you’ll always have folks to go to for advice and encouragement. But don’t forget to LIVE. Very few blogs that become about blogging are successful. So you have to get out there and have adventures with your kids. Do a project. Try something new. Gotta dig up that bloggy gold!
Okay, let me be totally honest with you: 1) my older kids do A LOT around the house. And they play with the babies ALL THE TIME. When they go somewhere, in fact, my day gets about 16 times busier and more hectic. 4 is easier than two if your two are under he age of 5. (Editor’s note: People, do you see this?? There is hope for me yet!!) True story. And 2) my husband works from home. He is always accessible. He makes the coffee in the morning. He does the dishes after dinner. In fact, as parenting and wifing go, I have got a pretty sweet deal. Now that I think about it, if you add in the acre and a half the kids have to play on and the enormous playroom I can send them to when the weather is bad….I don’t really do much around here at all!
I am probably not the best source of information on this as I am just barely getting started, but I will share with you what I know so far and all of you can do with it as you see fit.
1) Decide you’re going to do it.
This is the hardest one for me, because deciding means I will and that opens me up for rejection. I DO NOT handle rejection well. So you have to decide you’re going to do it despite the challenges and the set-backs.
2) Do it.
Get a copy of Writer’s Market. Turn to the page dedicated to your preferred niche or genre, read the rules, and write an article. Anything. Even some horrible piece of cow dung. Read it again in a couple of days and make it not-horrible. Then submit it. If you can submit the same article to multiple publications, do so. Then email them or send them in an envelope or strap them to the backs of pigeons and send them on their merry way.
3) Do it.
Find freelancing websites. Freelancer and Elance are the two that come to mind right away. They don’t pay much, but the more your name is out there and the more you write the better chance you’ll have of being published.
4) Do it.
If most of the publications or publishers you’re interested in accept manuscripts from agents only, get an agent. Writer’s Market also publishes a full list of agents for every genre. Seriously, the book is approximately seven inches thick. It’s worth it’s weight in gold.
Besides the actual writing, I’ve been told to do things like get business cards and have an Author website. I haven’t gotten that brave yet, but if I do, you’ll be the first to hear about it!
Thanks so much Dwija! Can’t wait to hear more about your career and crazy adventures!!