Blogging: Getting Back to Basics


I recently discovered Jenni’s Blog Every Day in May Challenge, and I love what she had to say about it: “I think when you force yourself to blog every day, you stop feeling so much pressure for every post to be perfect. I do that (the pressure thing) BIG TIME, and lately, I’ve been so frustrated by the fact that I’m not enjoying the experience of blogging as much anymore. I want to get back to the basics. You know, the writing stuff.”

I really, really love the idea of getting back to basics with blogging — writing from the heart because you LOVE to write. Enjoying the process of putting words and phrases together and really telling a story.

I wish I could participate this month, but with the eBook writing, I just can’t commit to a challenge like this. It’s for sure something I’d like to do in the future, though. And I might try and respond to a few of her prompts here and there, because sometimes, responding to prompts can free us from writer’s block and really encourage our creativity to bloom again.

Perhaps, once the eBook is published, I’ll create my own challenge.

**And speaking of the eBook, I’m working on the next post in the Creating an eBook series, so look for that soon (maybe this weekend?).

Happy Friday, friends! It’s a beautiful spring morning, and I can’t wait to embrace all that’s in store for this day.

Creating an eBook – The Beginning

For a while now, I’ve wanted to share with you a little behind-the-scenes look at my eBook process, so today, I thought I’d take you through some of the initial brainstorming phases.


As with most creative projects, my eBook started with an idea — an idea and a wonderfully inspiring conversation with a dear friend.

Remember when I attended Weapons of Mass creation?

Well, there I was that hot summer day (very hot, actually), wandering around with one of my dearest friends, talking creativity and discussing the crazy process of making things and taking risks and following dreams.

Somehow, we must have landed on the topic of books and writing, because all of a sudden, there she was planting the idea in my head to write an eBook and publish it myself. Strangely enough, it was an idea I’d never considered, but the more I thought about it, the more inspired and encouraged I felt to go for it.

At that point, however, I wasn’t sure what it was that I’d write about. It probably took another month or so for the idea to fully form, and I will say that during that brainstorming time I found this often-quoted piece of advice to be true: Write/create what you want to see/read.

Let me expand on that idea a little further by sharing two quotes from Annie Downs (who recently taught a class about writing in all seasons for The Influence Network). While I wasn’t able to attend the class, I did snag these gems from Twitter, and they really speak so perfectly to this idea.

“What season are you living? What are you hoping for? What do you wish someone else was writing about?”

“There is profound power in writing, speaking, blogging, sharing right where you are.”

I found those statements to be very true in my brainstorming phase of eBook creation (even though I didn’t know about them at the time). As I was dreaming and planning, I was thinking a lot about who I was as a creative/woman of God and what inspired/encouraged me. I was thinking about the life season I was living and everything I was learning through God’s generous love and grace.

It also helped that at around the same time I decided I wanted to write an eBook, I was also redefining the focus for my blog. That whole blog reorganization/rebranding essentially led me to decide I wanted to write about how to live inspired, creative, fulfilling lives in every season.

My next piece of advice for the initial phase of brainstorming and creation is this: don’t rush the process. Even after you’ve dreamed up an idea, take your time to really sit with it. Journal about it. Make lists. Pray about it. I have pages and pages in my journal with lists and ideas for my eBook — and not everything will make it into the final book. You have to give yourself the time and space to really get to know your idea. Figure out what it truly means to you and how you might develop it.

I honestly spent about five months in this initial brainstorming/praying/journaling phase, and I’m so thankful for the time I spent doing that. It might seem like a long time, but I feel like I know my ideal well, and I know where I want to go with it. Plus, when you generate a lot of ideas brainstorming, it makes it so much easier to actually begin the sometimes daunting task of actually sitting down and creating.

In my next Creating an eBook post, I will share a bit more about the actual process I used for brainstorming and some of the ways I started to organize my ideas before jumping into the writing phase. I look forward to continuing to share this exciting creative journey with all of you. Thanks for being a part of it! :)

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Do you have a big idea or dream that God’s placed on your heart? Are there things you wish someone would create? Why not spend some time really sitting with those ideas, exploring them, getting to know them, and bringing them honestly before The Lord? Who knows, you might be at the beginning of a beautiful creative adventure…’

{photo by LuSarah SEAS Photography}


Staying Creative // Lisa Galek

Staying Creative

Hi, friends! I’m back with the next installment of my Staying Creative series. I’m excited to introduce you all to Lisa — an inspiring friend of mine who shares my love for words. Her inspirations definitely speak to my word-loving heart, and I hope you’re as inspired by her interview as I was.



First of all, big thanks to Katie for letting me contribute to this series and inviting me to appear on her beautiful and inspiring blog!

So, what’s inspiring me right now? Well, that’s a good question.


This one is kind of obvious, right? Who doesn’t love working for themselves? Who wouldn’t be inspired by a new adventure every day? Well, it took me a long time to get here.

It’s kind of weird to think of myself as an “artist.” Up until a few months ago, I probably would have thought of myself as a regular old cubicle dweller. Certainly not as someone anyone else would look to for inspiration. I was working as an editor for a major company in Cleveland, and while my work was creative, that creativity was squeezed in between endless meetings, deadlines, and paperwork. I badly needed some inspiration in my life.

The thing I missed most while doing my job was actually writing. Since I was mostly reworking other people’s stuff, I didn’t have as much opportunity to come up with things on my own. Yes, editing is creative, but I had an itch and I needed to scratch it.

So, I decided to make a change.

I quit the regular job and started doing freelance writing. Though quitting a full-time job in a bad economy seems insane, so far it’s worked out pretty well (thanks to the support of my awesome husband). So, why is writing and working on my own terms so inspirational?

  • I get to write. Every day. Yay!
  • I set my own schedule every week. That means lots of working in my P.J.’s.
  • Every week is something new and different. New assignments, new projects, new ideas and inspiration.
  • I’m my own boss. ‘Nuff said.

But the #1 one reason freelance writing is so awesome and inspirational…


Being at home more has given me a chance to spend more time with my family, which includes my two lovely daughters – Elizabeth and Gwendolyn.


My girls inspire my work in so many ways. Sometimes its obvious, like when I’m working on writing geared towards kids. Sometimes, they’re just laughing at my corny jokes (kids love fart jokes, which makes me feel better when I throw one in somewhere). But, most of the time they’re just hanging around, being their adorable selves, and lighting up my life.

Of course, there are always those times where I have to throw on the TV so I can proofread something (“Hold on, girls, Mommy is looking up the correct spelling of the word “latte”). So, I’m grateful when they don’t freak out over my work and home worlds colliding.

#3 – BOOKS

Last, but definitely not least. Books always inspire me. Any time I have questions, worries, concerns, or just down time, I turn to books. (Sure, I also turn to people too, but until I can resurrect Jane Austen and make her my best friend, I’m still gonna need to keep my copy of Pride and Prejudice handy).

Pretty much the only downside to being a freelance writer and mom is that these other awesome things take away from the precious time I could be spending with books. Sure, family and writing come first, but books are my first love.

Before I could write, before my daughters were even though of, there were books. And I was a reader. So, anytime I get a chance to snuggle up with one of my favorites or a new favorite-in-the-making, I take it.

Here’s a little tribute to my all-time good reads:

  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • The Bible by God (and various other folks)

So, that’s what’s inspiring me right now. How about you?

Lisa is a freelance writer and editor, and you can connect with her via her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thanks for sharing your inspirations and creative journey with us, Lisa!

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How are you staying creative these days? I’d love to hear about your current inspirations. (You can use this hashtag to share them on Twitter:  #BeInspiredStayCreative.)


Faith to Create

I’ve been loving my She Reads Truth study on Colossians, and as I’ve reflected on the scripture this week, I’ve realized so much of it pertains to my current creative season. I love how God’s truth can speak to us no matter what’s going on in our lives! He always meets us where we are and makes it relevant to us. I think that’s pretty awesome.

One of the biggest questions that’s been on my heart lately is how am I inviting Him into my creative process? I’ve been asking myself these questions this week: How can I keep Him at the center of everything, so I don’t get swept up in ideas, dreams, and to-do lists? Am I listening for His voice in the midst of all of my brainstorming and planning? Am I working hard and cheerfully at everything I do, and am I doing everything for Him? 

I think prayer is one of the biggest ways I can make Him a BIGGER part of my creative process.

I want to spend more time praying through my ideas before jumping right in to execute them. I want to just talk with God about my dreams, my hopes, my inspirations, and what I might want to create next. I want His guidance, and I want the inspiration only He can provide.

I don’t want it to be all about me. If I’m honest, it so often can be, though. I get caught up in blog stats, and I play comparison games…

But He’s faithful to continue working on my heart, faithful to continue to take my efforts, however small and humble, and use them in beautifully unexpected ways. 

Fall-Inspired Art

In honor of fall and the approaching weekend, I created a little fall-inspired artwork.

Plus, you all know how much I like a hot mug of apple cider. ;)

Cheers to being creative this weekend!

eBook Update

{ art by Promise Tangeman }

So far, my eBook journey has been both inspiring and challenging (but in all the best ways). It truly is such an incredible feeling to be pursuing this dream of mine.

I wanted to pop in with a little update, as I have a few exciting details to share.

1. I’m narrowing down the title, and I’ll have that to share here soon!


2. I’m planning for a spring release-date!  I’m looking forward to spending the cold & snowy winter months being cozy inside and writing + designing my little heart out!

Are you currently pursuing any God-sized dreams? I’d love to hear about them!

Get Inspired: Blogging Resources Via Alt Summit

{ artwork by Christopher Wool via Alt Summit}

Lately, as I’ve been working on my rebranding and eBook projects, I’ve been doing a lot of research online. In the midst of all of my clicking and searching, I stumbled upon Alt Summit and the new Alt Summit blog.

I just caught up on today’s Friday Links post, and I love that contributor Victoria Hudgins wrote about the new fall season being a new chance to set goals, ideas, and dreams for our blogs.

Perfect timing with my 29 Things list, right? (And you may have noticed attending their conference is #10 on my list!)

If you’re not familiar with the site, I definitely recommend you check it out for blogging inspiration and business advice. You can check out the new Alt blog, here.

What’s inspiring you today?

Setting Creative Goals

I love to set goals, and I love making lists, so it’s no wonder I like to dream up new creative goals often. A list of motivating goals helps keep my creative life feeling fresh and pushes me to keep growing and learning.

Because setting goals can be so encouraging and rewarding, I thought I’d share a few of the things I do/think about when making my own lists. I hope after reading this, you’re encouraged to set some new goals of your own!

Make it fun. I love to journal, so I’m constantly using my various journals as a place to keep track of dreams and ideas. This is great, because I can record new ideas constantly and quickly (I always have one of my journals at hand), but sometimes, I like to do things that make the process feel special and inspired. I might enjoy a favorite treat while writing and dreaming (like a latte, mug of cider, or some dark chocolate), or I might get out of the house and go somewhere beautiful (like a park).

Pray. This is something I do all throughout my goal-setting process. I ask for inspiration and direction, as I set goals, and I ask God to bless my creative efforts and use them for His glory, as I pursue those goals. I’m so thankful for the creative heart I’ve been blessed with, and praying through my goals and creative dreams is such a beautiful part of my relationship with the Lord.

Be stretched. Don’t be afraid to set goals that scare you a little bit. Goals should push you to try and learn new things, as well as help you refine the skill set you already have. As a creative, I began as a writer, but over the years, I’ve explored collage making, designing, and photography. I’ve discovered so many new things I love to do, and it’s all because I took risks and set goals to try things I’d never done before.

Be flexible. Know that it’s okay to change your mind about certain goals. When I write my 20-something lists (I’ve done 27 Things and 28 Things), I always accept that I probably won’t do every single thing on the list. I also accept that there are probably a few things I haven’t even thought of yet that I’ll decide to do at some point during the year. It’s okay to add/adapt/remove/replace goals. ;)

* Celebrate! I love my 20-something lists, because they allow me to track my goal-setting and pursuing. When I write my recaps at the end of the year, I’m able to see how my goals shaped me. I definitely recommend recording and celebrating your creative adventures in some way, whether it’s through journaling, blogging, Instagramming, whatever! You’ll be so encouraged to see your progress, and your journey might even inspire some new goals!

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead — start dreaming + goal-setting!

(P.S. If you liked this post, stay tuned, because this a little teaser of the kind of content you’ll find in my eBook!)

Note to Self: Rest

Are you remembering to rest? ;)

As a creative, it’s easy to be so filled with ideas and inspiration that it’s go, go, go all of the time.

But it’s good to be intentional about resting, too. So, with that said, I’m off to read the Word. I might be back a little later for just a few minutes to share a verse or two with you… But other than that, I’ll be RESTING. ;)

Note to Self: be YOU

You may remember this Note to Self I posted a few months ago. I think we could all use more of these little reminders, so I’m hoping to post them as frequently as I can.

Lately, I’ve been battling a bit with self-doubt, as I continue to discover and refine my style/voice as an artist and blogger. (I wrote a bit about that in my Rebranding post.)

I think that self-doubt can be a natural part of the learning and growing process that every creative faces, BUT even when we’re looking self-doubt right in the face, I think it’s good to stay grounded in who you are and have faith and confidence in being who you were created to be.

At this point, I’m not sure if these Note to Self posts will be daily, weekly, or just every so often, but I look forward to sharing what’s on my heart, in the hopes that you’ll find some encouragement in these little notes, too.

I hope your Monday’s been blessed.