I’m Still a Writer.

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It seems like every post I write here starts off with “It’s been a while since I’ve written here.”

Not an apology, just an observation. We all know that the world of blogging has morphed and shifted and I know I’ve definitely changed along with it. It’s been harder and harder to find the motivation to write with three small kids and a business to run.

But there’s also this feeling of over-crowdedness. Blogs used to be a small, one person show – your neighborhood grocer so to speak, but now these giant Walmarts of the internet have popped up sucking everyones’ content and making the small blogger feel EVEN MORE insignificant. Of course, there are still those small operations that do quite well, but it’s not really about sticking with any one person anymore and watching a life journey unfold. It’s more about trying to write something that goes viral, and if we’re judging our success by how many “viral” posts we have, and with so much content being shoved down our throats 24/7, its hard to feel motivated. There always seems to be somebody saying what you want to say, only better.

The last several days have been rough on us. All our kids are sick and we’ve been cooped up in the house waiting it out. We’re all starting to go a little crazy. I can’t remember the last time I got a good night’s sleep. I was up at 4am this morning giving Welina (sounds like Veh-lee-nah) a steam bath because she has croup and was coughing badly. I was hoping the steam would soothe her poor little lungs as I sat with her on the toilet and watched the first 15 minutes of Apple’s keynote like the closet geek I am.

I woke up a couple hours later and immediately reached for my phone to tell Facebook in a long and drawn out post how beat up I was feeling, and how I need a break and yet I’m grateful for my kids and modern medicine and blah blah blah.

And it dawned on me.

I’m still a writer! I just write everything on Facebook – long, thought provoking posts, snarky commentary about my day and everything in between.

This was an exciting revelation. I’m still a writer.

But I do want to be a blogger. I do. It’s more curated, more intentional, with less crap in between the good posts, and definitely, DEFINITELY less cat videos and political mud-slinging.

So I’m going to try something new that will maybe help me be a better blogger: Any long posts that I start writing on Facebook will be published to the blog instead. I suppose it doesn’t matter where I write, as long as I write, and it’s immensely comforting to know that I still have content, I still have things to say, but there’s something special about looking a blog in its’ entirety and being able to see your body of work.

We’ll see how this goes. This could also just be my flavor of the week (or with my Facebook induced short attention span, the morning.)

Bloggers: Do you have a hard time blogging? What makes it difficult for you? What shifts have you made to try to keep it worthwhile?

One piece of blogging advice that changes everything

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Heard on my current favorite podcastWrite what you love to read. 

Is this as earth-shattering to you as it was to me? If you’re writing for an audience, it can be really hard to figure out what they want to read. Even the best bloggers don’t write posts that everyone loves all the time.

I know I’m not alone in this struggle.

Oddly enough know that I know exactly what I’m interested in reading, and what I’m not.

I love stories, words with personality and voice. I love behind-the-scenes type posts where I get to learn about how other people get stuff done. I love reading about people who come from completely different backgrounds (that’s the anthropologist in me). I love reading about how people innovate.

On the flip side, I’m not crazy about reading tutorials – I prefer to watch videos for that. I don’t read much about fashion, I don’t read food blogs unless I’m looking for something specific (though I pin lots of pretty food)

So if I know what I like to read, doesn’t it make sense to write that sort of stuff too? What do you think? Do you focus on writing stuff that you yourself would like to read?

Interview with Hawaii Content Marketing

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No post today, but join me on twitter at 12pm Hawaii time for an interview with with the ladies of Hawaii Content Marketing (@HawaiiCM). We’ll be talking business, design, and living on a budget in Hawaii. Follow me @sopupuka and our chat at #hicm  to keep up with our discussion and ask questions. See you soon!

REMINDER: Trucker hats are now $20. Once I get them in, the price will jump to $25 so if you want one, I highly recommend pre-ordering now. I anticipate that I’m going to get very annoying with this same message in all my social media channels. I just don’t want anyone to miss out on the savings so sorry in advance.

Changes to this Site

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Last week Etsy decided that everyone that worked with an outside manufacturer has to go through an application process and get their manufacturers approved – otherwise your items could be removed. I suppose I could go ahead and apply, but it just rubs me the wrong way that I have to jump through all these hoops to sell a decal or a print. I don’t care for the extra work.

So this weekend I agonized over different e-commerce options, and I decided to move my store to this website.

THEN I agonized over whether I want to be a blog with a shop, or a shop with a blog, recognizing that maybe someone wants to just come over and buy something (thank you!), not be slapped in the face with whatever my latest post was. Then again, other people stop by purely to read whatever I’m writing (thank you!) and don’t really care to land on a page that’s shoving product at them.

Soooo….I decided to turn SoPupuka.com into a pretty landing page with links to the various areas of this site that folks might be interested in. The blog is now located at sopupuka.com/blog, and I will be working on building a shop right here at sopupuka.com/shop, or at least another e-commerce site that doesn’t care that other people helped me make stuff. This is also a plus because believe it or not there are people who don’t have etsy accounts, and I don’t want that to be a barrier. I may still keep my notecards on Etsy because they are made from start to finish by yours truly, but everything else will be in my new store.

In the meantime this site will be a little messy, with some broken links and what-not so bear with me. Mucho mahalo!

Hooray for New Business Cards! + General Thoughts on the Blog Re-Design

When I decided to re-start SoPupuka, I knew I really wanted this space to be full of life and color. I wanted it to make me happy and remind me of how awesome life really is. I didn’t want to take myself too seriously, but rather, share life as it’s lived and appreciate those little things that make each day worth getting up for. I also wanted it to represent our life in Hawaii without being too…floral. So I went with a photo header – one of my all-time favorite pictures looking out past Moku Ola. My new SoPupuka logo was written by me (I hate my handwriting so this took me a while to get right). I’m finding this current design to be one of my favorites because it just exudes the mood I want to capture here.

I continued this train of thought with my new business cards, using a handful of favorite images (yes, I know there’s a flower). I could not be happier with the result:

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The Real Life Benefits of Blogging

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Since completely re-starting this blog (taking down ALL my old posts and starting fresh) I really do feel like a whole new blogger. I don’t want to jinx myself, but since January 1, I’ve published a blog post every weekday. I think that’s the most consistent I’ve EVER been and I have loads of energy to blog. I’m not sure what the difference is, but so far writing in this space has been an absolute joy and I hope it shows. The best part about blogging so far this year has been the benefits I’ve experienced in real life. Here are some things I’ve noticed:

1) I write EVERY DAY (except Saturday). I’ve been wanting to establish a writing practice, and I haven’t been able to do that until now. This is different from journaling, as I usually post what I write, but to sit down and compose something has been fun and enlightening. The more I’ve written the more ideas flow and the more inspired I feel in general.

2) I take more pictures.  I prefer to have photos in each and every post so I make more of an effort to take photos every day and to improve my iphoneography. Maybe one day I’ll get a “real” camera, but for now I enjoy the photos I do take and think they come out fairly decent. I’m also glad to have so many pictures of Leolani. Since I had Noweo pre-iPhone, I actually have less photos of her and more of Leo. That’s a first.

3) I notice and appreciate the little things more. This small act has inspired my Around Here posts, Dear Leolani and I’m sure will inspire many more. This is all because my main goals for this blog is to remind myself (and my readers) that life is beautiful. I can’t really do that unless I take the time myself to see and be grateful for what I have.

4) I get more stuff done. Thanks to my editorial calendar I’ve gotten better (not perfect) at working on projects that I plan to share here on the blog. Knowing that I’m going to be writing about something will light a fire under my butt to actually do them. Interestingly though, I find that if I announce that I’m going to do something on the blog, I tend not to do it, so I try to keep quiet about what I’m working on until I’ve actually got something to show. I don’t want to make empty promises here. I’d rather just deliver stuff I’ve already done.

5) I get to play with design. If you’re a long time reader here, you already know that my blog design changes a lot. I think I’m slowly honing in on what I want my personal style to be, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t play with different elements here and there. It’s always fun to see something in the blogosphere and challenge myself to re-work that idea into my own space and my blog is my own personal canvas where I get to do that. Everything I’ve learned about design started because I wanted to play with my blog design.

6) I’m learning about how I best work. I’ve always considered myself a morning person, but every time I’ve tried to get work done in the morning, someone will inevitably wake up and need me before I’m ready to be done working. I’ve finally given myself permission to work at night. As I write this, I’m sitting in the girls’ room waiting for Noweo to fall asleep. It’s perfect. I get uninterrupted blogging time while still helping Noweo feel ok about being in her room at night. I’ve embraced going with the flow, and that’s made a huge difference for me. This little shift is spilling over into other aspects of my day – cooking, cleaning, projects, work. I’m getting  a little better at juggling it all.

7) I engage more with others. Motherhood can be a lonely gig but making friends through this blog has helped. Of course, nothing replaces having real life interactions, but when that’s not possible, this blog helps me to feel connected to people. This blog also often ends up being a topic of conversation in real life (and I’m actually kinda shy and embarrassed about it when people talk to me about it.) I’m amazed and honored that anyone wants to read it.

8) I have a record of my life. Again, this doesn’t replace real life journaling for me. There’s a lot more that I write in my journal that I don’t think is appropriate for this blog (and it’s probably boring anyway), but this blog is nevertheless a great way for me to keep track of our lives (and probably easier on the eyes.)

9) I have more of a desire to LIVE life. It’s really hard to have material to blog about if you’re not doing anything, and before I really started taking this blog more seriously, I felt stagnant, blah, like I was just going through the motions without any purpose. Blogging here changed that, and it all ties in to #3 and #4. You can live without blogging, but you cannot blog without living.

Many of these things I already knew, but after not blogging for a while and then blogging again, I’ve re-learned these things in a profound way. If you’re considering blogging but aren’t really sure what blogging can do for you, I urge you to give it a try for a month and see if it gets you moving in other aspects of your life. If you’re feeling stagnant about your existing blog, maybe it’s time to shake things up by changing your look or your focus. Maybe you need to do something drastic like me and start the whole thing over again (by the way I still have my old posts – I didn’t lose anything. THAT would be tragic). Wherever you are as a blogger, I really believe that blogging can change your life for the better, and have seen it happen for many people. Most of us won’t get book or movie deals, interviews on national talk shows or see our posts go viral, but the learning, the connection and the living that can occur as a result makes the journey worth it.

Keep Life REAL: Blog Editorial Calendar

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Today I’m sharing my blog editorial calendar, shamelessly copied from this post on Elise’s blog enJOY it. This project solves three problems:

1) Previously any post ideas would go into iCal, but the problem was that I wouldn’t see them unless I opened up iCal and looked at it. Out of sight out of mind right? Not anymore. It’s RIGHT IN MY FACE. Every time I walk into my bedroom I pass my little office space and my calendar practically slaps me in the face.

2) I can move post ideas around – Sure I can do that in iCal too, but there’s nothing like looking at a wall and rearranging things with my hands.

3) It adds a bit of color to the wall.

This was a 10 minute (it could’ve been shorter except Noweo was helping me), totally unscientific project. I completely eyeballed everything and love the result. I used my post-it notes to space out the wash tape, and just threw it up on the wall in a 5×5 grid (5 days a week, five weeks a month). I don’t really care too much about dates on the calendar itself. All I want to know is what I’m going to be writing. By planning out posts with a real calendar at the beginning of the month I’ll be able to see if certain posts should fall on certain dates, but as I go, all I really need to see is what I’m writing tomorrow, not the date a post needs to go up.

I know that nothing will get done on this blog unless I DO IT, and Iʻm hoping this physical, tactile way of managing my blog will help.

The Only Blog I Really Loved

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about how much I loved writing here…before I took everything off this blog and started over. I miss talking about real life as it happened, enjoying the beauty of even the seemingly mundane moments. I’ve started other blogs and stopped them. I’m writing here but after a little while I feel like my heart is still at SoPupuka (ok now I sound like the stupid ex-boyfriend). If there’s anything I’m learning from all this it’s not to act too hastily, so that blog will stay but I will be back to blogging here more frequently.

I actually don’t regret giving this blog a clean slate because it got REALLY messy with all the platform changes I was doing. I feel like I’ve grown up a bit as a blogger and know who I am and what I want to share here, so I can be more focused on great images and writing focused more on my ongoing efforts to live simply.

I love this space. I’m so glad for a fresh start.