Taking My Talents (And Blog) To A New Home

Yes I know, it's been a long time since I've written for myself. I've had lots of thoughts, and a few Twitter rants, but each time I sat down to write on my blog, something felt...off. It didn't feel right. I lost motivation to write even though I needed to. I did write for a few freelance gigs (yay!) but writing for myself just wasn't something I was interested in doing...at least not on the old blog. 

I finally figured out why I had such an aversion to blogging - my site didn't feel like it fit anymore. Both technically and thematically. I'm not a girl anymore, and I'm definitely not lost (or unlost). I've figured a lot of things out between when I started that blog and now, and I needed my site to reflect that. I also grew really tired of dealing with self-hosted Wordpress, and I wanted a new solution. 

You know how you hear about something for awhile but it takes a bit to finally try it out? That was me and Squarespace. I heard their ads every week on my favorite podcasts, but I didn't think I had a need for their services. I started casually thinking about trying them out once I began to secure freelance writing gigs - I knew I needed to set up a personal portfolio site and I didn't want the hassle of Wordpress or self-hosting once again. By sheer coincidence, my friends at A Practical Wedding reached out and asked if I was interested in doing a piece for their series with Squarespace, about setting up a portfolio website. Talk about serendipity! That was finally my kick in the pants to test out Squarespace and see if setting up a website was truly as easy as they claim. 

Turns out, it was easier than I expected. I spent weeks building my Wordpress blog, but setting up my Squarespace site took only a couple of hours. My biggest delay was convincing my husband to take a few photos of me for my new website. The clean templates are totally my style, and they provide a ton of tools to help you. In one day, I had a brand new site complete with domain registration - score!

After the ease to put together my personal site, I was ready to move my blog over as well. Originally I planned to transfer my domain as well, but when I really thought about it, I knew that I needed to start fresh, with a new name and branding. Black Girl Unlost chronicled some important years in my life, but I've moved on from that place. I stopped blogging semi-anonymously, and I no longer fear writing under my name. I don't want to be niche blog as I plan to continue to write about whatever strikes my fancy. After spending a new hours thinking of a name, I settled on JTM Writes - simple, right?

So welcome to this new place! My goal is to write on a regular schedule, about a variety of subjects. There will be some personal stuff, but also my thoughts on a variety of subjects, from pop culture to intersectional feminism. 

Welcome to JTM Writes - thanks for reading!

Writing Is Hard

I wanted to write. I wanted to finish my 30 day blogging challenge and write everyday.

And then my life got in the way. It happens.

I admire those people who making writing their living, who can write everyday, on demand. I do not envy them. I write when the mood and inspiration strikes me. I write about what I want, when I want. Hence why there's been some long periods with no posts.

Sometimes I wish I could be one of those disciplined writers, who set up blocks of time & let the words flow effortlessly from their fingertips. It doesn't work that way for me - generally I need some strong emotion, a conundrum or life-changing thoughts to get me in the space to write. I tend to write in the moment, when I'm worked up & have something I need to share, right at that moment.

When I really try, I can't do it. At least I feel like I can't do it.

The key for me is keeping it light.

This reminds me of when I was in school. I could never write multiple drafts of my papers or reports unless I was forced to by my teacher. If I didn't have to, I would wait until the last possible moment to write my essays. I was notorious for writing 3rd period AP History papers in 1st period British Lit class (and trust me, it was a better use of 1st period, my Brit Lit teacher sucked). In college, I wrote my personal essay for my grad school applications in about 20 minutes, proof-read and attached to my applications immediately. That must have worked, considering I got into 3 out of 4 schools. I'm a natural procrastinator, but because I've gotten good results with work I did at the last minute, I've now tricked myself into believing that I do my best work under pressure. I must have a deadline looming right this second in order for my brain to turn on fully & the words to flow.

This happens at work too. At some point I'm going to tackle my procrastination.

But not today.

Today...I just write...something...anything. To help the words flow.

Back To Writing

Oh blog, how I've missed you. I'm sorry I neglected you. I've just been distracted with other things, but I'm back now. And recommitting to writing regularly. Maybe I'll do a 30 day challenge to get me back to the discipline of writing.

While I've been away, I've been busy. I'm just back from a wonderful vacation in the Western Caribbean - 7 days on the Allure of the Seas. The newish job is still keeping me busy. And I've devoted a lot of time to self-improvement. Earlier this year I decided that I had spent enough time dragging my feet on things, and resolved to just do some of the things I had put off. In January I started with a task that I had wanted to do for years, but kept putting off due to fear - finding and seeing a therapist. I finally got the push I needed when I kept getting feedback from friends, who all said "just go, you'll find it so valuable".

So I went. I lucked up & found a therapist I really liked from the beginning. After my first session, I thought "this is like a self-help book, but she talks back". I kept feeling like I needed something to help me get over the hump I'd be facing, to help me figure out what was holding me back & keeping from being where I want to be. Therapy has helped me discover some interesting things. One being that I was extremely mean and judgemental to myself. I'm a great friend to others, but to myself, not so much. I'd try all the love yourself advice in the past, and it never stuck, it just felt false. In my sessions, I learned that it always felt false because you can't go from years of having "you're fat/wack/a loser/etc" on repeat in your head to a refrain of "you're awesome!" I had to work in stages, starting with just being aware of the type of frequency of mean things I said to myself. It was amazing, I had never paid attention to it before. Once I understood my behavior, and the source of my issue, it became easier to lessen the frequency of the thoughts, and to correct myself when I have them or speak them out loud. Doing so has drastically changed my outlook and my energy.

One area that I still struggle is the idea of "should". I use the word should a lot when talking to or about myself. I should have more money saved. I should be married by now. I should be more productive at work. I should be more diligent about my diet & exercise. At the same time I've struggled with the idea of acceptance - how do I balance loving myself & accepting myself at my current state, while also keeping the motivation to improve & get better? I couldn't understand how to make these things work. I want to be able to learn to accept things, and not struggle against them. I read a wonderful quote: "Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it." - Eckhart Tolle

Its been the acceptance of things I didn't like, or didn't want (or think I wanted) or simply hadn't anticipated that has been a struggle for me, the biggest being my relationship status. But I want to get there, to learn how to be open to what the Universe brings me, and to have the ability to show my gratitude by asking for more.

I read a piece recently that gave me a lot of clarity. The author said that acceptance was simply an acknowledgement of the present moment, free of judgement. I envisioned that acknowledgement like a mental receipt, a way to say "I'm here, this is happening, this is how I'm feeling, this is what I'm experiencing". The scientist in me immediately thought in terms of facts versus opinions - the acceptance is the facts, the judgements is the opinions. I can acknowledge that I'm single, that I'm larger than I prefer to be, that it's cold in my room, that I'm tired, etc. Judgement comes in when I tell myself that I'm a loser for being single, or that I'm a fat girl, or that I shouldn't stay up so late when I know I need sleep.

*light bulb*

I'm continuing to strive for the life that is meant for me, and shifting my energy from judgement to acceptance will be a large part of that.

The other part of my effort to do things I've dragged my feet on, is to get serious about my writing. When I started blogging way back in 2005, I just wanted to vent about grad school and my life in Atlanta. Over the years I've shared a lot & written some things that have been well received. For the past few years the idea of writing a book has been rattling around in my brain, but the thing that has always stopped me is the fact that I'm not trained in writing. I just write, do a quick proof read, and go. I don't really try. I write when I feel the inspiration, and I don't force it very much.

A friend recently completed a writing mentorship and when I remarked to her that I would love to write on her level, she encouraged me to apply for the program. I also had another friend almost push me into doing it as well - she's a big champion of my writing & I so appreciate the encouragement :-) So I took the leap, pulled some of my favorite pieces from the blog, and applied to the writing mentorship program. I won't know for a few months if I get in, but even if I don't, I'm going to take some writing classes. I will not let my insecurities about my lack of writing training keep me from pursuing this goal. I'd love to do a collection of essays or a memoir, bascially a fleshed out version of the blog but with more stories.

As I was writing this, I decided a 30 day challenge would be great to get me back into blogging. Mr. Google gave me a bunch of options, and I think I'm going to go with this one. Yay, I'm back to writing.


I Have A Block

I really want to write...but I can't. I start but I can't finish.

I think everything I put down is lame. And that's when I actually manage to get something down.

I guess I just haven't had something to say in a while.

I have been posting on my tumblr tho - check it out - Fab Randomness

I've had a bunch of thoughts in my head...but they aren't coming out right now.

I got a bunch of nervous energy right now & until I do something with it, I'm gonna be struggling...

Here's hoping my block will be over soon...I miss writing.

See you soon.

Check Me Out On The Book Of Jackson Today

Don't tell him this but I secretly love @DrJayJack & his writing. I don't visit Single Black Male very often, but his personal spot, The Book of Jackson, is one of my fave reads in my Google Reader. So when he hit me up & asked if I'd do his 25 Questions feature, I felt special. Yay! Does this mean I'm getting more popular in these Internet streets? I might even be big time like him one day! Anyway, please make your way over to The Book of Jackson & check out my 25 Questions feature. Leave a comment...or two ;-) #Thanks

Should I Do A Video Post?

I've been toying with the idea of doing a video blog post. Originally the idea was MC's - well actually his idea was to do a UStream, together. I'd totally be down, but he lives in Atlanta & I live in Minneapolis & IDK how that's gonna work.

So anyway, if I did a short (emphasis on short) video post, would you watch it?

Any suggestions on what to talk about?

FTR, I think a UStream w/MC would be hilarious...

Welcome To The New Blog!

I am so very excited to be blogging from my new blog home - http://www.blackgirlunlost.com

Welcome to the new site! I hope that you like it.If you're viewing from an RSS reader, please take a moment to check out the site.

Moving over to self-hosted Wordpress.org has been quite an experience. I'm not a web person, so I had a learning curve. But its been a labor of love & I'm very happy with the results. I'll be tweaking things in the coming weeks, but overall I love love love my new blog home.

Got any feedback or ideas? Hit me on the Contact Jubilance page.

A very special thank you to my hosting company - Versatile Media Group! And another special thank you to my logo designer, Stylistic Designz.

Oh, and please Like Black Girl Unlost on Facebook! Thanks a bunch!



Taking The Next Step In The Blogging Game

I started blogging here: Confessions of a Grad School Slave

I moved over here when my grad school blog didn't fit anymore: Searching For Satisfaction

Then I did the Wordpress migration: Black Girl Unlost

And now I'm excited to announce that I'm taking the next step - moving Black Girl Unlost to its own domain!

I am super duper psyched for this move. I didn't know I could do it, but I made it happen and I can't wait for you to join me on the new site.

#shoutout to my hosting company - Versatile Media Group! Much thanks to @jasonlanderson for all the help & support in making this dream of mine happen.

Need hosting, website design, banners, etc? Please check out Versatile Media Group & tell them Jubilance sent you :-)

Be on the lookout for the official launch this week!

Your Thoughts On This Scenario?

You're a personal blogger. You write about your life & the people in it. Someone in your life says they don't want to be in your blog at all - no name, no initials, not even allusions to convos or things you've done together.

This person has a pretty big role in your life & it may get bigger.

What do you do? How do you write about what's going on in your life while still respecting your friend's wishes?

Blogging Was Easy When No One Read It

Sometimes I think moving my blog over to Wordpress was the worst thing I've ever done with it. When I was on Blogger, I wasn't really concerned with site stats, or hits, or even how many comments I got. I could just write & be carefree. I wrote when I felt like it, when I hd something to share or say, when I felt inspired. Sometimes I wrote everyday, and then I would go months & then come back when I felt like it.

Since I've had the blog on Wordpress, I've been so wrapped up in the "site stats" link on my dashboard. Its become like an obsession. I can see exactly how many people stop by, where they came from, what they clicked on, what they read, etc. And its drives me nuts. Part of it is because I feel like a failure - I've been writing for a while & yet I get no love. Part of it is because I feel like there are blogs that aren't as good who write crap yet they get tons of groupies folks hitting their posts everyday. Mostly I just feel like I'm way to wrapped up in what's going on with my blog, specifically with who isn't reading it & why.

I know blogging isn't a competition...but I still feel like a failure at it, solely because of who or who doesn't read. If I wanted to talk to myself I'd just solely write inΒ  my journal. Its disheartening to put time & energy into something & to have no one appreciate it or give you feedback.

I need to do better. I need to not care so much. It was so much easier when I didn't care. I wanna go back to being carefree with the blog, & not being so caught up in it.