Thanks to my friend Erin Curlett, who blogs over at Truthfully Told, for nominating me for a Liebster Award. This award is for and by smaller bloggers to recognize and promote other’s writing. (Some versions say “newbie” bloggers, but I’m afraid I’ve been at this far too long to be a newbie anymore.) It actually reminds me of the really old days when semi-popular proto-bloggers would have their own awards you could apply for. I remember I was particularly proud when I was 16 for my webpage to be recognized with the “Golden Finger” award!
This award is definitively nicer and a heck of a lot less angry. As per the guidelines, I’m nominating seven more bloggers, although I totally understand if they don’t participate in the chain mail-ish part of this award. I still recommend checking them out, as they are both fine writers and (mostly) my real-life friends.
Rules for the Liebster Award Nominees:
- Thank the blog that nominated you on a post in your blog.
- Answer the questions asked by the blog that nominated you.
- Nominate 5-11 other new bloggers.
- Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer.
- Notify all nominees via social media
Here are my answers to Erin’s questions:
Why did you start your blog?
I’ve had something that could be considered a blog in today’s parlance since 1998, when I was 15 and it was called an e/n (everything/nothing) site. For the most part, my reason for setting up a website back then is the same as my blog now – I’m a writer at heart and like to have an audience. Back then it was angsty poetry and vaguely misanthropic rants, now it’s mom stories and parenting philosophy, but the purpose is to share my viewpoint. In addition to some level of entertainment value, I hope that reading about my experiences either helps other people see that they’re not alone in what they are going through or inspires them to take action, depending on the subject.
Do you have a writing routine? If so, describe it.
When I’m at work, I write my first drafts on the subway as I’m riding home. Now that I’m on maternity leave, I’ve been writing the first drafts while I’m nursing. In both cases, I write on my iPhone using the Notes app. The iPhone allows me to type one-handed and the Notes app syncs automatically with the computer. After the kids go to bed, I copy the text into WordPress, edit it and add any graphics.
Who inspires your writing?
From an influence perspective, my favorite writers have strong personal voices and narratives. In particular, Anne Lamott has had a huge influence on learning to write with honesty and vulnerability. I wish I could be half as funny as her! Most of my other favorite non-fiction authors combine this sensibility with a strong scientific or historical context, such as Bill Bryson, Michael Pollan, and Bill McKibben.
From a content perspective, my family inspires the vast majority of writing on this blog.
Do you picture any particular person or people as your audience as you write? What are they like?
It depends on what outlet I’m writing for. I write things on my blog mainly for myself, without a lot of consideration for the audience. I think my audience is mainly progressive, slightly crunchy parents who are interested in bringing their kids outdoors. I know my one consistent reader falls in that category – my mom! In contrast, when I write for other publications, I think carefully about their audience and the type of content they would want to read. I have a very strong emphasis on audience analysis in my professional job.
What is your idea of the perfect day?
I believe my perfect day would both have more than 24 hours and none of the delay inherent to dealing with small children, so this is complete fantasy.
It would start with getting 8 straight hours of sleep for the first time in years, followed by a simple breakfast of bagels and cream cheese, like when I was a kid. We would then go on a hike as a family, in Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park or the Adirondacks. (A teleporter is provided, right?) We’d have a lovely picnic lunch from ingredients we picked up at the local farmers’ market followed by a guided tour of the area highlighting its history and culture. Chris and I would drop the kids off at one of our parents’ houses and go to dinner at a world-class restaurant. I’d say that we’d see a show afterwards, but I know even in Perfect Day Land that I’d feel too tired to appreciate it. So we’d just go home, have a really nice conversation, and go to bed together.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Slightly more of an introvert. I love talking and hanging out with people, but find a lot of social interaction, especially with people I don’t know very well, exhausting. Unfortunately, this reflects my self-centeredness, but I find listening to people especially tiring. Suppressing my desire to share my opinion and truly focusing on what the other person is saying takes a lot of energy. It’s something I’m working on though, especially as a parent.
Pick one: what is the hardest thing or the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to you?
The answer is the same to both: being a parent. Becoming a parent was pretty hard – 10 hours of labor wasn’t exactly fun – but the actual day-to-day work is both much harder and more rewarding. The hospital was just the start.
What is your go-to self-care routine?
Ha – self-care as a mom of a newborn and toddler. But there are two main things I do as “self-care” – one that’s healthy, one that’s not. The one that’s healthy is getting outside in nature, especially biking. Biking provides such a sense of freedom and power to me. The one that’s not is reading endlessly on the Internet. It’s so easy to fall down that hole.
What is your favorite book?
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. Painfully, achingly funny and raw. I’m pretty sure it’s the only book that the author says her actions would inspire God to drink vodka out of the dog bowl.
What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
While not resulting in the best stories – that was Ireland – Peru was my overall favorite. From the Amazon to Macchu Picchu, everything exceeded our very high expectations. Visiting the Amazon was something I had wanted to do since I was a little girl and I was so glad we found the time and money to do it. The only bad thing was that both Chris and I got altitude sickness, although thankfully at different times. Don’t believe anyone who reassures you that you won’t be too affected by the altitude because you’re young!
What have you learned about yourself through creating and maintaining your blog?
Through this blog in particular and the associated guest posts I’ve done elsewhere, I’ve learned how vulnerable and honest I’m capable of being about private issues. From breastfeeding to miscarriage to getting therapy, I’ve shared about all sorts of topics on here that I never thought I could talk to anyone about. While I’ve always had my own distinctive voice, sharing about these in a thoughtful, open way has led to a lot of growth as a writer and a person.
And my nominees are:
- Todd at ToddThomas.net
- Heather at A Walking Mama
- Deb at An Unfinished Symphony
- John at Bao Meets Bagel
- Jed at JedABlue.com
- John (Rootchopper) at A Few Spokes Shy of a Wheel
- Jessica at Diapers to Downward Dogs
And here are my questions:
- What is your favorite topic to write about? (This may or may not be what you write about most often.)
- What are your highest goals and aspirations as a writer?
- Do your family members read your writing? If so, what do they think of it?
- What is your best travel story?
- What is your favorite piece of writing OR what piece was the hardest to write?
- What is your favorite movie and do you believe it’s the best movie you’ve ever seen? (It may not be!)
- What is the scariest thing you’ve ever voluntarily done?
- Who is the biggest celebrity you have ever met?
- What is your favorite children’s book?
- Where is your favorite place to have lived?
- What was the best part of your day yesterday?
Thanks to Erin and I hope you check out these awesome folks!