Being a Writer

I’m just gonna come out and admit it. I really thought being a writer would look something like this . . .

carrie-bradshaw

Yep, that’s Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. She lived in New York City in a cute little apartment and tapped out a successful sex column at her mac computer, which overlooked the street below.

I kinda thought that was gonna be me. I thought I would move to New York City and land a super cool job as a writer at a magazine. I thought I would wear really great clothes and high-heeled shoes and go to fancy parties and sip cocktails and then write about my adventures. I thought a lot of people would probably want to read about stuff like that.

I thought that’s what a writer was supposed to do.

Twelve years later, I live in my hometown in Missouri. Our suburban house has four bedrooms, none of which serve as an office. All our bedrooms house actual people because I have two amazing sons and surprise! We’re having a third kid too because we like to live on the wild side. When I do write, I write for a blog that I created. I decided one day that if no one would hire me as a writer I would find success on my own. Seven years later and I’m still writing for my blog that barely anyone on the face of this planet knows about. But somehow I still love it and spend time on it regardless of my lack of reach.

I have found that being a writer is much like being a regular person. I go to work at my full-time job that has nothing to do with writing. I come home and fix dinner. Or sometimes I stop at McDonald’s and get my kids chicken nuggets because I can’t fathom going into a grocery store after working all day. I wonder if I will ever be able to open a BBQ sauce packet without it splattering on my shirt – you know – the one I got on the clearance rack at Target. Because that’s where I shop.

It’s funny that I used to think about New York City so much. I researched this city the entire time I was in college because duh, that’s where you move if you want to be a real writer. Real writers don’t live in Missouri. But you know what? I’ve never even been to New York City. And somehow I still manage to write.

Being a writer isn’t about where you got your degree. Maybe that helps? I don’t know. In hindsight it may not have been the smartest decision to study journalism as a small college that no one outside of a 100-mile radius would even recognize. But I chose to study what I love and it so happens I love to write.

Being a writer was never going to be about Manolo Blahniks and cosmopolitans. I never should have based my view of being a writer on a fictional character but surely, SURELY, I’m not the only former college student that did that.

I have to look back and chuckle at myself. Losing the hopes and dreams of yesterday is okay. Because the hopes and dreams of the future are far better than anything my 23-year-old self ever dreamed up.

I never realized that being a writer might mean I would be myself. I thought being a writer meant I would be someone other than myself. And maybe that’s why it was such an attractive choice at the time. I had this belief that it could make me into a better version of me. That I could write all my troubles and sorrows away. It’s true – I’ve written about a lot of my troubles and sorrows here. And although some have passed many still remain. Or they decide to creep up after being in hiding for awhile. I think I finally realize that my struggles with anxiety and depression will last a lifetime. But it finally feels okay having come to terms with that.

Being a writer is thinking of a genius idea for a best-seller when you wake up suddenly at 2:00 a.m. Only to have it disappear when your kid comes in the room at 5:00 a.m. asking for milk. Then all you can really think about is how much you want to poke your own eyes out. So that book idea – no recollection three hours later.

Being a writer is typing in the kitchen while your kids watch power rangers, wondering why the heck your laptop is sticking to the table.

Being a writer is spending three hours crafting the perfect article and pitching an online magazine that you’d really like to write for and having them respond with, we think you’re really talented but we can’t pay in actual money that buys things. We will pay you in exposure. (which is like monopoly money for writers).

Being a writer isn’t about being Carrie Bradshaw. It’s not about New York City. It’s not about writing at a magazine.

Being a writer is about not quitting even though it feels pretty lame some days to still have this overwhelming dream of being a success with the written word. Being a writer is coming up with great ideas, then forgetting them, then watching someone else’s article go viral two days later on the very same subject you were planning on writing about. Instead you get to watch them be interviewed on the Today show while you sip lukewarm coffee.

But I’m not bitter. I’m just waiting. Sometimes impatiently. And I’m hoping. Hoping that being a writer wasn’t a silly idea I had when I was six-years-old. I sure would hate to feel like I’ve wasted a dream.

Who knows – maybe I will create that desk by the window set-up that Carrie Bradshaw made look so enticing. But instead, I’ll be able to look out the window and see three beautiful children playing in the backyard. Maybe very few people will ever know who I am or what I write or why I write. But I keep going. That’s what being a writer is about.

Filed Under: Blogging, Silly Me10 Comments

Moms Night In with NickMom

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and its client.

nickmom #shop

Yesterday night I invited my mom over to enjoy a new show on NickMom called Instant Mom with actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict. The kids always go to bed around 8:00 p.m. and I’m left with a couple hours of “me” time. Um, is this girl drop dead gorgeous or what?

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NickMom has programming for moms starting at 9 p.m. cst! So it’s perfect timing to watch a new show that is created just for moms to enjoy!

Since I’m pregnant I was in the mood to try something new to munch on. I made this delicious whipped peanut butter dip. OMG. I’m so glad I made it so we had something yummy to eat during the show.

NickMom-1 #shop

You can’t veg out without a yummy snack! Really what I wanted was one of the delicious alcoholic beverages that NickMom sent my way before the party but obviously, I can’t indulge in those until after the baby arrives.

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Since I don’t watch that many sit-coms I was afraid I might not like the show. But it was perfect for me and really any mom out there! Instant Mom is about a woman who marries a man who already has children. Their preteen daughter wanted to start dating but her dad told her no. The whole show centered around the theme of what age is appropriate to date. It brought back memories from when I first started to date (probably too early, lol). It also made me think of my unborn daughter! I started thinking, uh oh! I think maybe we’ll NEVER let her date!

NickMom-#motherfunny #shop

Watching the show with my mom was fun because, as a mother of four daughters, she remembered this scenario all too well in our household from years ago. And I have yet to experience it but I know someday we will!

Because the show airs on Sunday night I found it was a nice way to de-stress before the work week starts. It felt good to laugh and just “veg out” before heading to bed!

If you get the NickMom channel you’ll definitely need to check out the show Instant Mom! NickMom airs new episodes on the Nick Jr. channel every Sunday at 10:00 pm EST and reruns can be viewed every night. Please check your local listing or this link to confirm the time in your specific time zone.

And now to eat the leftover peanut butter dip for breakfast!

Filed Under: Blogging, Reviews4 Comments

Unpacking – An Influence Recap

I bit the inside of my cheek hard as I stepped off the plane in Indianapolis. I could feel the sting but it’s something I do when I’m nervous. My eyes scan for signs of what to do next. Baggage claim with an arrow. I follow the crowd. Self doubt and scorn fill my head. Why did you come here, Molly? To another blogging conference? What if it’s a disaster?

I’m on an escalator going down, my head snapping back and forth to decide which way to go when it ends. Suddenly I spot a blonde with beautiful hair waving at me and smiling. I look away. Oh crap, do I know her? I think I do. She looks like one of my favorite bloggers. But there must be some mistake. Why would she be waving at me? Just be cool and wait until you get to the bottom.

I begin to walk toward her and she walks toward me! Yes, I do know her! It’s the wonderful Erin from Blue Eyed Bride.erinandme

Thank you, God, I say to myself as I smile and greet her with a big hug. Our conversation lasts a good while. It’s like talking to an old friend that I’ve known forever. Isn’t that what blogging friends really are anyway? Old friends that have probably not met yet. We talk so long that my baggage isn’t on the belt anymore. I have to go to the airline office to pick it up. We’re off to a decent start.

One $40 cab ride later I arrive at the hotel. I immediately text my roommate (whom I’d never met either) but I know her name and I know what she looks like from her blog and instagram photos. They are at a food truck down the street. I feel awkward but I leave my baggage with the concierge and walk around until I find them. Sarah and Kristi. I can’t even believe my luck that I get such wonderful roommates. Especially since the decision to attend this conference was so last minute. I haven’t met Nikki yet but I know she’ll be fabulous as well (hint: she is).

Registration was absolutely surreal. The room was filling up with gorgeous women and I’m feeling – not so gorgeous. I try to remind myself that beauty is not why I’m there. I’m not there to have people think I’m pretty or for people to tell me they love my blog. I understand that most of the girls probably have never even visited my blog. But seeing people hug and smile and greet one another – I start to feel small, insignificant, unworthy. But I kept pushing those thoughts aside and repeating over and over to myself that God wanted me to be there. This conference is serving a great purpose.

The first night is the Sole Hope shoe cutting party and I’m already crying watching the video about those kids. I knew then that this would be different. We’re all here to glorify God – not ourselves.

Every single session I went to – God things happened. In the first session with Jessica Thompson I sat alone at a table praying that someone would sit next to me. When someone finally did I tried to introduce myself and was just about to hand out a business card. Then she saw someone she knew and got up and went to sit by her instead. I nearly left then and there. But another girl quickly sat down in her place.

So many words shared that rocked me to my core.

“Everything about you physically is a gift from God.” You mean, that bump on my nose I hate? Even that is special?

“How would our lives change if we really believed God loved us?” Could I ever truly believe that?

“You will feel alienated and isolated this weekend. Everyone will. I bet some of you are thinking ‘if I just have the right person sit next to me.” And the waterworks begin. Oh God, you really are here, aren’t you?

“Everything you have is ALL you need.” I’m hearing the truth I so desperately needed!

I finished the first session with a bunch of kleenexes wadded up in front of me. The girl next to me turns and says she knows me. She’s been reading my blog and appreciates my writing on depression. She found hope in my words. See what I mean? GOD THING. I was supposed to sit by her. God is saying, “Duh, Molly.”

At almost the same time I receive an email from a reader who is going through a very difficult time with depression. She appreciates my blog and has read some of my posts over and over to find comfort and support. Another GOD THING. Just keep writing. He’s reminding me.

That session was just the beginning. I cried in every.single.session they had. Jessi’s session was so real. So raw. So necessary!

“You’re gonna leave here with a million things you wanna change and you’re gonna mess it up by Tuesday. TRY AGAIN.”

I didn’t even get to meet her or hug her or tell her how much I loved hearing her talk. But Jessi – THANK YOU! This weary mama of (almost) three needed to hear that. I left the room feeling completely drained of who I was but inside something entirely new was blooming.

Jeff Goins‘ session was alive with more aha moments for me.

“All we have is this ‘in between’ that we can choose to fill with faith or fear.” Oh, how much fear there is in me. How much anxiety dwells in this thirty-something body. I’m tired – nay exhausted – from feeling fear almost constantly. I don’t want to feel it anymore. I want to grab onto faith and never let go.

The last night I went to dinner with my three roommates and some other girls I didn’t know. I was so tired by that time that I almost excused myself and went back to the hotel room. I’m SO glad I stayed. We had such wonderful conversations about blogging and life that we now refer to ourselves as the “Session 7 Ladies.” We pledged to support one another as we’re all in different stages of blogging. Real connections were made here.

session7

We came back for worship and that was exactly what 300 women did. Worshipping and singing and raising our hands for two whole hours. I could have sat there all night. I worried that I was the only one crying. How silly of me. EVERYONE was crying. It was like church camp only I’m a full-blown adult now and I understand the gravity of the words I’m singing. Way more awesome.

Afterward I finally got a chance to chat with Diana and Rebecca – two beautiful ladies I met at Blogher two years ago. It was so good to hug them again even if I had mascara running down my cheeks. I would have loved to sit and chat over coffee for hours. But the internet will have to continue to do, I suppose.

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A huge thank you to my roommates (and new friends) who welcomed me into their room at the last minute! I couldn’t have made it through this conference without you. Kumbaya, girls. Kumbaya.

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I left before the sun came up the next morning and was home in Kansas City by 10:00 a.m. I hugged my boys and kissed my husband and before I knew it I had completely relaxed and fell into a deep sleep for more than two hours.

I woke up and looked at my suitcase, which I have done every morning for a week since coming home. Unpacking is complicated. How can I unpack from The Influence Conference? Something that left me so changed. So wrecked. So ready. Unpacking my thoughts has only begun to happen.

But thank you, Influence founders. Thank you, new friends. Thank you, God. Saying that seems like a good place to start.

Filed Under: Blogging, Friends5 Comments