what if i focused?

— March 02, 2017

Lately, I have been doing A LOT of reading and perusing of the magazines and trade journals that piled up during my busy fall and holiday season. It’s been on my to-do list and is a good task to do while my ability to flit about has been limited with sick ones home. I feel some sense of accomplishment, which I crave, and let’s be honest…it was a fun task.

“Oh well, if I have to sit here with my coffee and read magazine after magazine after magazine so that I can clear away that big pile, then I will.”

I love all of my magazines but when the pile gets too big, it becomes homework. In keeping with this year’s theme of being mindful as I put balance back into my daily life, I have cancelled most of my magazine subscriptions. I just cannot keep up and it is not the best use of my time this year. I have more than enough recipes to try and ideas to ponder. I also have quite a few books crossing many genres that are waiting in my “books to read stash”. (Like the new Harry Potter…yesssssss! It’s almost too special to read and I am waiting for a sign from the universe to tell me it is the most perfect moment to start reading it.)

One of the magazines/trade journals that I have is called “Artful Blogging”. I absolutely love blogging and can hardly do enough of it or include all of the super-de-duper ideas that swirl around my brain in a constant rainbow of brilliantness. There are way more ideas than I will ever accomplish. These days, I do not spend as much time reading about being a blogger like I did in the beginning when I didn’t even really know what a blog was, because after three years, I have the bones of it under my belt. My desire to make the blog “my work” and not someone else’s work requires me to have no idea what other people are doing on a daily basis. I am terrible at keeping up with Pinterest and other social media, but I think part of that is on purpose. It’s hard to come up with your own ideas when you immerse yourself in looking at other people’s ideas all the time. (I have to share with you though, my recipe that is getting pinned like crazy – it’s waiting for another post).

But, I do like to connect to like-minded bloggers and to keep learning the craft and reading articles is a great way to do that and to discover. There are arguments for focusing your blog to one specific topic that you are good at and interests your readers. And as you can guess, there are arguments for keeping your focus wider because variety is the spice of life. I know myself, I get bored if I all I read about are recipes or crafts. Even if a blog has a focus, I enjoy it when they share some other tidbits off and on as well. I find myself checking in on those blogs that share a bunch of things.

that is the question
(gimme s’more)

Having a focus, or more of a focus, is a topic that has been on my brain as I ponder my next moves in this thing called dreamland. I have started the long process of creating my cookbook which will be chock full of much more than just recipes. Having no idea how to do any of it, especially my big ideas, I am just taking baby steps. But wouldn’t ya know, after a few months of baby steps, some content started to pile up. Wa hoo! Then, I started putting some of that content into the book design program that I settled on just so that I would not get stuck on how to design the book and it became exciting. It was really looking like the beginnings of a book. I still have much much more to add and it will change seven ways to Sunday before I am done.

Then, after about a week of adding content to the design program, I decided to have a book printed so that I could see what it looked like and what I was actually working with here. I needed the visual. The day that my book arrived was a giddy moment for sure. Oh, it needs a ton of work, it’s just a super early first draft, but that isn’t the point. I created a cover for it even though it isn’t the real cover, but I knew it would be super cool to see my name as the author. It was. Having it printed was a good idea because there are already things that I want to change and you just can’t tell that by looking at a computer design. I can make those changes now while it is easier than later on when there is more content.

This process of working on my cookbook “plus”, coupled with the readings I have been doing to eliminate the piles around my house, has been mixing around in my mind. If I were to get a focus, and I’m not sayin’ I will, what are your favorite subjects here on my blog? (I realize that some of my subject areas are light on content. Someday, my BFF’s, someday…)

I’m sure my chit chat is high on your list. You just have to be drawn to it like a moth to a flame, hanging on my every word, right?

What about recipes? Or is that more like, “Everybody’s doing it – been there, done that”? Do you like ideas for “Easy Eating” – recipe free food suggestions? What about gift ideas or ways to make moments that matter?

Do you enjoy seeing my creations or is it just “horn tootin” to you? It’s my intention to show you my process and the steps along my journey to the next phases of life because it is all new to me. I love to see how people got where they are and appreciate it when they share parts of their journey. It has really helped me to find answers and direct me on my way. My evil plan is to encourage others to set off on their dreams too.

Asian noodle salad
(my pink flower tote bag creation)

As you have noticed time and time again, I have very important and thoughtful things to share with you on a wide variety of topics. Could I really narrow down my offerings, thus depriving you of my wit and wisdom or homemade chocolate sauce recipe or a great way to make a moment that matters? Hmmmmm…..

Leaving my doors wide open and trying on anything of interest while I am in the growth part of my adventure right now seems like the best way to find my path. What if I focus and then miss an angle that could have brought us all great joy?

But then again, are there ways to share all of the brilliances swirling around in my mind in different ways? A less focused way of focusing. (Or would that be a more focused way of focusing?) Instead of everything going onto my website, is some stuff better left to a book, like family recipes for example?

Finding my voice is an interesting process that I find to be extremely exciting. I like to pay attention to the things that are important to me as I go through daily life. What am I happy about at the end of the day? What did I miss out on? What are the messages that play over and over in my mind? What are the messages that I am drawn to in books and magazines? What gives me butterflies? What makes me clap my hands and do the happy dance? What has me scribbling notes like mad and staying up until midnight to work on? What can’t I stop working on so that we have to order pizza for another night?

Being the experienced dreamer that I am, I have a whole bunch of projects going on at one time. I waited a super long time to figure out what it was that I wanted to be when I grew up. I loved watching people who were passionate about something and so badly wanted to feel that way about my “job”. Now that my passions are becoming recognizable, it’s a great feeling and I don’t have enough time in the day or the week or the year to get to all of them.

Believe it or not, I already have the beginning stages of cookbook #2, cookbook #3 and cookbook #4 started. Hey, these ideas just come to me and I have no choice but to believe that they are visions from the future me. Dream big or go home!

purple cauliflower
(night sky)

And if that doesn’t have you rolling your eyes and thinking that this completely inexperienced gal is out in left field, then this just may have you crossing that line. While researching recipes from my old blog called “Just Like Perfect!” another book idea came to me and although I am unsure about the craziness of that idea, I am knee deep into that project right now too. There’s a good part of it that just makes sense.

sunny side up
(night sky, a bit later)

Thus, my ponderings have me thinking about the best way to share all of these crazy dreams and projects with you and here is what I am thinking…

I love sharing recipes but with a whole world of online recipe sharers, it may not be the best focus for me on my blog. I will still share great recipes off and on, but they may be better saved for my cookbooks (I do have 4 to fill ya know). Then you can have a book in front of you full of mouthwatering edible choices instead of dribs and drabs.

I really love my “Easy Eating” category and I would like to focus on that some more. Daily life is too busy to use a recipe every day. I probably have just as many pages ripped out to remind me of a food idea as I do actual recipes. They help me to come up with new foods and different ways of preparing foods but I don’t have to keep looking at a recipe. I know the foods/ingredients that are involved and then I just get to work creating my meal. I do not need the exact ingredients either and can use what I have on hand or what my family likes to eat. It’s a way of having a loose guide and not needing to follow an exact recipe. What do you think about that? Would you enjoy more of that on my website? Or do you plead the fifth? Is your mind so mushy from your own busy world and that I have been chatting for so long now that having an opinion about the design of my website has you “eyes glazed over” at this point? Been there.

Then, I think I also really want to share more ideas for making moments that matter and enjoying the simple things. These are areas that I focus on in my own daily life because my world is so busy and the days slip by. I have to consistently be reminded to choose to slow down and be present. To look people in the eye and stop my whirlwind of activity.

Focusing more on ways to gift with foods is also something that I want to do. (I know, it doesn’t really seem like I am focusing at all does it? But in my mind, this is focusing.) Since I have been cooking for my cookbook photos and testing recipes, there are lots of goodies in my house that need to “go away” because we cannot possibly eat it all. It is so much fun to gift with food, especially things like dinner for a busy neighbor and a sweet treat to brighten someone’s day.

As much as my blog is my love, I want it to be yours too. Sure I would still blog for me but it really is not the same if you were not here to chat with me too. So, please feel free to share your opinions in this time of mindfulness and pondering that I have wrapped myself in. I love hearing from you and appreciate the feedback that I have received so far. It helps me!

Love ya, my BFF’s!

Aaryne, The Awkward Bird