Friday, January 25, 2013

Where I've Been and Why Sometimes I Must Quit the Internet

I was thinking I'd have launched my fresh, new blog by now, like before I posted on The Kindness Project blog again. ... Well. ...  I posted on The Kindness Blog again. (HERE, actually. On Death Eaters and kindness and stuff.)

So. I should relaunch, probably. Hm.

...

Yay? ... YAY! Welcome to my new blog! Carolina Valdez Miller 2.0. Hooray Hooray! HOORAY!

I know. Lame. This celebration reeks. I need a party planner.

But it is pretty, isn't it? Sleek and untainted by a ridiculous coffee cup that has no place on my blog since I generally drink Coke Zero and WTF do drinks have anything to do with anything? I owe Liz Davis a huge thank you for my blog redesign (check out her fabulous new blog while you're at it). I wanted something streamlined with no curly weirdness or dangly things, and one day out of the blue she says, hey take a look, yeah? And I looked and liked and I said DUDE FOR ME? Yeah, for me. I have my own favicon now!! She's awesome like that and now I will hug my new blog until it whimpers. THANK YOU, LIZ IT IS SO PRETTY I JARED LETO LOVE IT.

Okay, so, where have I been, right? Well. I've been...around.

Blogging used to feel more important. Like it used to feel as if it were a necessary part of the on-my-way-to-publication plan. For one thing there's that whole business of establishing a possible-reader base pre-publication which at one time was like THE THING TO DO. And then there was that whole matter of finding others in the same position trying to slog their way through the crazy of publishing in the best way they could. Flailing and treading water feels a little more productive when there are others right beside you. And too, it made this sometimes very lonely business feel a little less lonely.

But. Deep down I'm just a writer. You know? Blogging is a lot of work when you do it right--like with interaction and stuff. And that's hard to do and keep up your writing and your personal life, at least for any length of time without burning out. Throw in the push to actually publish and blogging tends to lose its appeal considerably--sort of like an ice pack that suddenly starts frostbiting the crap out of your sore knee (which I've done, by the way. For real).

Publishing is a tough business. And in some ways a hell of a lot harder to get into when you're also exposed to others who are either failing miserably or succeeding wildly. The failures make you freak like a mother hen living next door to another hen whose chicks just got eaten by a rabid fox. And the successes...well, while they inspire you and make you so glad for others and so excited to be a part of something so exciting...you're also reminded intensely of where you want so much to be and currently are not. The dream unfolds right before your eyes and you see, down to the minutest detail, all the things you want, right there, just out of reach, with all the statistics of possibility also right there screaming YEAH NOT LIKELY, HOMEY. And it becomes not so difficult to get distracted and discouraged and petrified. And then maybe you find ambition broiling into anxiety and insecurity with others either whizzing past you to your intended destination or falling to the ground, choking on their dreams. And suddenly you find yourself in a race you never meant to enter.

The thing is, when you're writing you feel good. Right? You see your words and sometimes you cry because holy crap did I really just write that? Me? My words? Oh my god. But sometimes? Sometimes you get online and get bombarded with so, so much and then you read your own words again and suddenly they don't look the same anymore and then you deflate and flail, kind of limply. It's not always like this, but sometimes, yes. So it goes like this: In your bubble, isolated from ALL THE NOISE you're a freaking rock star. Outside of the bubble you become just a peon in the screaming crowd who can't get freaking tickets to the show.

And to make it as a published writer--to not give up just because it feels like you suck--you have to find a way to silence the noise that drowns the voices in your head whispering how awesome you are. You must be CONFIDENT. You must be PATIENT. And you must BELIEVE it's a reachable dream. Which means you must FOCUS. Focus most on the things that matter most. So I did that, and if I have to I will do it again. Because, man have I been productive and more at peace than ever before, watching movies and going out and coloring and baking and just...normal stuff.

Loved Ones. Writing. Everything else. In that order.

But you know what? In all that time I've spent away, I've been building up a whole lot of things to say. Seriously, you have no idea. I'm exploding. So, consider me BACK. If you stick with me, maybe we can strike up a conversation, like once or week or, you know, something more than never.

I miss this. I miss you.

84 comments:

  1. It's great to have you back! We missed you. And the blog is STUNNING.

    On all the rest, dude. I have to renew often - for all the reasons you mentioned. HUGS

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    1. Thanks so much, Christine! I've missed you, too. And yes, it's all about renewal, isn't it? We keep coming back, but breaks are refreshing.

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  2. Glad you're back Carolina. You're right that blogging is work and takes time, but I think it's worth it. Though I definitely could use some help balancing it so I write more.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie! I think it's worth it, too. All the things that make it worth it are the things that will probably always bring me back.

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  3. Welcome back. I recently had another kid and have just started up again.

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  4. Welcome back! I am so with you on everything you said. It is hard HARD HARD to do the blogging thing right. I went on autopilot for a while and it took time to get some mojo back. There's not enough time and you put the priorities in exactly the right order. Glad you are back, but no guilt. Family and writing first. And the publishing will happen for you! This will be your year :)

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    1. Well, I suppose there's really no right way to do it--maybe that's the problem. We let ourselves feel guilty or bad for not doing it a certain way. I say do what works for you and let the rest take care of itself.

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I promised myself that this year is less about expectations and resolutions and more about hope. Maybe that will make this year a little easier. That's the hope anyway!

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  5. I love, love, love the new blog look - bravo! I totally get what you're saying here - I love blog breaks, but I also love coming back. And I'm glad you had such a productive and peaceful break!

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    1. Thank you so much! It's nice to be back. I'm aiming for a weekly blog post. Looking forward to seeing you more and checking your blog out as well!

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  6. Miss you too. Everything you said is so true. I've been trying to stay clear of the internet media stuff and it's not easy, but I'm happier when I'm writing and blocking all the whoopla out. So true. I even teared up a little. Yep, you touched me. So thanks. :)

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    1. Aww, well I didn't mean to make you teary! But I think these feelings are probably pretty normal. This publishing stuff is so hard. But we're going to succeed, you know. I believe it. Trust in yourself. And do everything you can to keep that faith.

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  7. Hey! Welcome back, my friend! And you're so right. When we're writing, we feel GOOD... right now I'm revising and I feel good! Go figure.

    LOVE the new blog design. I need to do that next~ <3

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    1. Hey, sweetie! It makes me happy to know you're working and loving it. Can't wait to connect in real life!

      And thank you. Looking forward to seeing what you do with yours!

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  8. This. This. This. I completely understand and agree with you. I used to blog more (haven't in about a year). I've stepped away from the internet too (mostly) and just decided to WRITE this year. That's it. I'm not worried about an agent or a book deal or even writing something good. Of course I'm happy for all who succeed at this out there but when I read what kind of book they sold I want to try write that kind of book too and...and...it's just not going to work that way. It's frustrating. I just want to write a lot because that's what I love to do. So I'm going to live and write and still pursue publication but if it takes me way longer than most, I'm okay with that. I just want to improve and love what I'm writing.

    I'm write there with you. You aren't alone! =)

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    1. It's tough not to be influenced. The Internet can be very obnoxious sometimes. Hard to shut it out. Sometimes the only way is just to shut it down altogether. Take your time and do what you love in the best way you know how.

      Thank you so much for your comment, by the way. Even though these feelings are probably pretty normal for writers, it's comforting to know I'm not alone in them.

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    1. Hallelujah!

      Hope you're well, Summer and cruising through your nursing program, writing when you can.

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  10. Yay, welcome back, I've missed you!
    Love the new blog!! And YES to all the things you've mentioned! I took a step back, too, to focus on life and writing, and have never felt more productive!

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    1. I've missed you too, sweetie. Let's not wait until May to get together! Hopefully February!

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  11. More than never - yes! Exactly. I have missed you (well, your blog, not you since we do talk) but I've said the same thing about this to several friends lately - if it's:

    a) I get to read books by Carol

    or

    b) I get to read Carol's blog

    I'm going for A every. Single. Time.

    But then maybe now there's:

    c) both

    If so - yay! So glad to have you back, lady. You're one of my all time Jared Leto level favorite people.

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    1. That is about the sweetest thing ever, Matt. Thank you for saying that. That really made my day. It's comforting, you know?

      And yes, you can read my stuff any time. <3

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  12. Yes, this. All of this. Don't feel like you HAVE to do anything, you know? That's one trick that helped me -- to try and let go of the guilt of not blogging consistently anymore. I had a handle on it until I had my daughter, and then, no matter how many times I tried to get back into a schedule and commenting on everyone else's blogs and everything, I just couldn't. I was barely keeping my head above water as it was, juggling everything. I love all my blogging friends, I love the camraderie and support, but I just couldn't keep it up, you know? So I do the best I can now and try to let go of my expectations of what I *should* be doing. At least with blogging. I love your new blog look! Someday I'll have to actually get a website/blog designed, instead of my free lame template. Sigh.... more to do! Always more to do! ;-)

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    1. Oh man...guilt can be killer. But it's such a useless emotion most of the time. You've got it so together, it's hard for me to imagine you struggling, but I know it's hard to do it all, especially with your little ones and a tiny tot in tow. I'm inspired by all you do and have accomplished. So don't ever feel like you aren't doing enough. You always are, because if I've learned anything about you I've learned you're always putting your best self forward. And you know what? Even if you don't--because some days we just don't have it in us--that's okay too. You're an amazing person, Sara.

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  13. We welcome you back!
    Blogging has ebbs and flows, and that's all right. But it shouldn't ever get in the way of your goals.
    Oddly enough, I almost prefer blogging to writing. A lot less pressure.

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    1. You're right--definitely less pressure in it. And in some ways more rewarding, it that it can grant you a sense of immediate validation. But it's all about the end goal for me, I think. Never giving up what you want most for what you want right now. Although I'm amazed at what you've managed to do with your blog and still get any writing in. Well done, guy.

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  14. ooooooo, this site is perfect. *need* Someday, I'll do this, too. I'm with you on the priorities, but I do need to see your posts from time to time. You always make me smile and think.

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    1. Thank you so much, Tricia. I really appreciate that.

      And I love your blog just as it is! It's inspirational.

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  15. Okay, before I comment, you must know that I thought, "Damn, it's been a while since I've been over here because THIS THING IS GORGEOUS!" Then I read that it's new and I thought, "I must check out this Liz person's blog because whoa she's talented!"

    So I love it. It's reeeeallly pretty :)

    Now, as to your post. YES!!! I felt the exact same way and did the exact same thing, minus the cool new blog. I instead, just dropped offline. It was weird at first, but then quite nice. I think it's possible to become so enmeshed in the computer world that you literally forget that you have loads and loads of real flesh and blood friends that are there waiting to see your pretty face.

    And I really identified with your realization that at the end of the day, you are a WRITER. I agree. Writing is what energizes me—not marketing or tweeting or blogging, etc...

    Just writing.

    So that's what I do now. I write. And play on FB when I feel like it. But mostly, I live life :)

    So happy for you!!!

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    1. You're so kind, Katie. Thank you for all the sweet words and encouragement. As always, you're an angel. I remember when you dropped off, and I remember thinking I wanted to do the same thing. Maybe that's what inspired me. Well, you always inspire me, so there's that. But yeah, weird at first, and then a huge relief, like stepping outside after days cooped up in your house.

      But I'm glad to see you on FB when I do. You always put a smile on my face, you know. It's been a joy to see you soaking it in, such a hard road and then finally, FINALLY things coming together for you. So, so inspiring, and it's stories like yours that make me thing this thing may very well be possible. HUGEST HUGS!!!

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  16. Welcome back!
    So much of what you've said echoes what I've been feeling, too. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome, John. And thank you for the welcome! I think we all sort of go through the same phases in publishing. It's kind of nice to be able to commiserate together <3

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  17. It's such a refreshing look.

    I have to step away from the internet, too, and just enjoy my life. I love that we can connect with other people who have the same goals, who understand, but obsessing over publication sucks the joy out of it.

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    1. Thank you so much!

      And yes, you're so right. Writing has always been a balm for me. The moment it becomes a source of anxiety I know something is off. I don't ever want to lose the ability to just get lost in my writing and let it soothe me.

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  18. Oh gosh...first off, I saw the other Liza's comment and thought I was losing my mind. How could I have commented on this if I haven't read it yet? :) So many of us who started blogging 3-4 years ago seem to be pulling back or stopping all together. I have too. I think blogging regularly was a way to increase writing skill while reaching an appreciative audience. But, the goal was something beyond a successful blog...and if blogging pulls us away from what we need to be doing to get to where we want to be, then it is right to reevaluate. Sure, there may be a slight sadness for those of us who love reading you more often...but we have your ultimate goal to look forward to, also. When you publish your first book every one who comments here and so many others will say "Hooray!! I have been dying to read Carol's book!". Selfishly, I'll be glad if you post here more often, because I learn from you. But even if you don't, I'll be waiting with my hands raised, ready to applaud your sure victory.

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    1. You are too sweet, Liza. It's always been an honor to see you stop by and read your comments. You're such a brilliant writer and a warm, kind soul. I always come away from your blog feeling enlightened or refreshed. Beautiful, touching words and stories and images. I'm so glad to know you. It's people like you who pull me back into this blogging world time and time again. Although I hope to meet in person someday. It would be amazing.

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    2. In truth I am shy and reserved, a coward really. But I'd come out of my shell to meet you.

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    3. That means a lot, Liza. Truly. I hope we get a chance to meet <3

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  19. YAY- glad to have you back and I can echo just about everything you say here. But you have said it more graciously and beautifully than I could have. I have been feeling the same way lately-- and have become much more at peace about the whole thing. (I also just had a blog redesign, which makes me feel like it's a fresh and new start to a different sort of blogging experience). This is my new mantra: CONFIDENT, PATIENCE, BELIEVE, FOCUS. Thanks Carol!

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    1. Ohhhh I need to come by and see your new design!! I bet it's gorgeous. I'm excited for you, and anxious to see the direction you take it.

      Thank you for your kind words, hon. <3 <3

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  20. i couldn't have said it better myself and feel exactly what youre talking about! LOVE the new look!

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    1. Although sometimes I've wondered if I'm crazy for feeling like this, I think a lot of writers must feel this way. At least I'm finding out they do! LOL

      I hope you are well, my dear. I've been thinking of you.

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  21. Welcome baaaaack! And I totally know what you mean. Blogging is fun because I do like the interaction, but sometimes the pressure seems like it's counter productive.

    Also, your blog redesign is shiny. I like it! :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your welcome and kind words I really miss blogging sometimes. I'd like to try and keep up something regular if I can. Maybe once a week? Well, I'll give it a shot.

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  22. Your blog looks GORGEOUS, Carol! And I'm so happy to see you posting again... I've missed your gracious, positive words.

    "Loved Ones. Writing. Everything else. In that order." <--- I love this, and I've recently adopted the same attitude. Priorities, priorities!

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    1. Thank you so much, Katy. That means a lot. I've been missing you and have always loved your blog. You have a way of touching people, really reaching them without even having to say much. I can only imagine what your books will be like to read. I look forward to it.

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  23. Always a delight to see you posting, Carol. It matters not the regularity (after all I come and go like nausea) but the content :)

    Your new look is simply lovely, much like its proprietor :)

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    1. Aww, Wendy. What a pleasure it is to see your comment! How I've missed you!! How was your Christmas? Was it fuzzy-haired the whole time? You poor thing, I hope the weather has eased up a bit. Someday I will come to see you, you know. I'm determined. Although, I'm thinking it'll be when the weather's a little more temperate!

      We really need to catch up one of these days. Miss you loads and loads.

      <3 <3 <3

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  25. Very neat and cool design for your blog. :) I'm guilty of quitting blogging in the last few months. Difficult and time-consuming. Welcome back and happy blogging.

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    1. Don't think of it as being guilty! Think of it as a matter of prioritizing. You're just putting your effort and limited time where it matters most ;)

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  26. So very good to read your words again! I love how real you are. Because yes to everything you said. Seriously, who can keep up with it all? But like you said, loved ones first. I'm ready to get back to more of that, too. :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Janet. That means a lot. <3

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  27. Did you read my mind when writing this post? It sounds like we're in the same place. With the important things. The writing. The blogging. The successes and failures. All of it. So glad you shared this. It's refreshing to know I'm not the only one who feels this way.

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    1. LOL You know, I think so many of us must feel the same way, that's what I'm realizing. And I think, too, that we all seem to go through similar phases until we finally take charge of things and re-prioritize. There's not a lot we can control in this business, but we can control how much we expose ourselves to and how much we let the uncontrollable nature of it all affect how we see ourselves. A great friend recently told me to focus on the things we can control, and I think that's what we're doing, stepping back when we need to. Just focus on the things that matter most...

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  28. I think there used to be much more pressure to blog all the time. Now the attitude is more like, hey, you showed up? Great to see you! I like the new stress free blogging. :)

    SO GREAT TO SEE YOU!

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    1. Yes! Spot on. There seems to be a general attitude shift in the blogosphere. A bit of burnout, I dare say, especially with those who have been at it a few years. I suppose it's to be expected, but I miss everyone. It's wonderful to see you, too!! I'm going to try and do some blog hopping today and visit.

      Big hugs, chickie!!

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  29. It's good to see you back, Carol! I've missed your humourous posts and videos and being introduced to new books by you.

    Blogging and connecting with others is a lot of work and time and I can understand wanting to take a break from it to concentrate on other things like your writing. I have no doubts that you will be published one day!

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  30. That's so kind of you. Thank you. It's so good to hear from you again. I hope that you've been well and getting a lot of terrific books to read. Thank you for your encouraging words!

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  31. I hear this loud and clear! Sometimes, we just need to step away.
    Also, LOVE the blog redesign!

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    1. Thank you so much, Sarah! And I agree--sometimes stepping away is the best option. But man, have I missed you and your little eyeball! <3 <3

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  32. I could have written every single word of this.
    But you did it for me.

    So thank you.
    Miss you, too.

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    1. Dearest Julie, how sweet and kind and precious you are. And how very much I wish a world of happiness for you. If attaining that is what pulls you away from these old Internets, then do it go go go! But it's so good to see your name and to read your words--and I absolutely can't wait until it's your name and your words inside of a book on my bookshelf.

      Miss you. So much.

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  33. Hello! Glad to see you back, and the new design looks lovely indeed :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Alexia! How have you been? I need to check out your blog and see what you're up to!

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  34. It's true - every time I'm on the internet, I'm not writing. And yet... it *is* lovely to have met so many fellow authors, and to celebrate each other's progress and success!

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    1. Absolutely! I agree. It's comforting to talk to others and see how you're all doing with things. :D

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  35. Yay you're back! I've missed you too, so much! Blogger is changing, drastically and I think it's thinning out to those who do it to connect with others, not just platform build. I'm so glad that you're one of the connectors! :) By the way, the new look is sleek. A bit bright for me as I am light sensitive, but I'm weird, I've known that for a long time, and accept it. :-)

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    1. I think you're right. It's definitely changed. Many people have dropped away as they re-prioritize or discover blogging just isn't giving them what they'd hoped, perhaps. But it is nice to be able to blog when I can. Definitely an outlet of sorts and a great way to touch base with others. So good of you to come by Heather. And lovely as always to chat with you!

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  36. As much as things change...they also stay the same. We just don't notice the non-change!

    So awesome to have you back in the fold!! Can't wait to read what you're bursting to say. There will be bursting...right?? :)

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    1. You're so kind, DL! It's nice to be back. I had hoped to blog again this Friday, but it's looking like it'll be next week for the next post. Booo! Oh well, I'll just have to suck it up. I'll come by and visit you ASAP! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading!

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  37. I love the new blog, Carol!! It's beautiful!
    And glad to see you back on it. You were missed, girl.
    (But I totally understand backing away from blogging a bit. I have, too. You can only fit so much in 24 hours.)

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    1. Thank you, sweet thing! I've been missing you, too! We really need to hit up another concert some time. Maybe this summer? By the looks of all your concert photos lately, you've been going nonstop! I've been thinking of going to Lollapalooza this summer, but not sure if it'll work out. Tell me if you decide to go though!

      xoxoxo

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  38. I'm glad you're back, Carol. Looking forward to your next post!

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    1. Thanks so much, Paul! I really appreciate that :D

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  39. I haven't visited yet since the redesign - LOVE IT!!! I might have to get Liz to redo mine :)

    Next up, maybe Disqus so we don't have to keep subscribing and unsubscribing to your comments to see your replies...? thought it was worth a try :D

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    1. LOL Disqus is new. Thought I'd try it out. I like being able to reply to each comment individually, and you can't always do that through email if a person's email isn't linked to their profile.

      And thank you! There are a couple minor tweaks I want to make, but I haven't had much time to work on it.

      P.S. Really missing you, girlie. So good to see you stop by!

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  40. my life's dream is to one day quit the internet...shed those messageboards forever...and start living life...outside...

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    1. I understand what you mean. I've definitely scaled back with social media and will limit my time online. It's just not conducive to writing as much as I need/want to as well as keeping up my personal life (or cleaning my house!)

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  41. Excellent way to describe exactly how I feel. Love. This. Post.

    My blog is slowly shrivelling as I continue to choose outside time rather than computer time.

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    1. Thank you, Terry. I think a lot of us feel this way. Best to focus on the most important things! You'll get back to your blog when you it's important and you have time for it. But if not, eh, maybe it's not so important...

      Thanks so much for coming by. So good to hear from you!

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  42. I keep forgetting to tell you that I love the new blog. It's fun and different. I liked how you said, "slog their way through" the publication journey. The word slog sums it up perfectly. I also like how you mentioned doing blogging right, like interacting. Sometimes I'm not so good at that. Thank you for helping me realize an area I can improve on. I always learn something new from reading your blog. Thank you for that.

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    1. Thank you so much! That's so kind. And yes, this whole publishing thing is so tough. But I'm convinced if you stick it out and you truly believe in what you're doing, then it will be worth it.

      I don't honestly know how to do blogging right. Or if there is even a right way to do it. But it seems to me if you're not going to interact, then why have a blog? You can just have a website. Or a Tumblr. I don't know if I'm up to snuff with the whole blogging thing, but I'm doing my best. Some weeks/months are harder than others. But it makes me so glad to see you coming by. Does my heart good and makes me wonder why I can't get my act together and blog more often.

      Anyway, it's a pleasure to see you stop by. I really appreciate it. I hope you are doing well!

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