living a well tended life... at any age

blove: so about what i said

Happy November all; I am SO excited about today’s post!

The last several months have been a bit free form around here, as I hinted in my blogiversary post back in February:

I’m simply going to take things month by month and allow this little space to evolve as it will. I guess it’s my happy medium between dropping out all together and forcing a monthly “to do” list of posts that need to be done – regardless of whether I WANT to do them or even have something meaningful to contribute.

I was starting to feel penned in by both my blog name (a.k.a. “Recipes, Shopping and Gardening”) and my editorial calendar. So for the last 8 months I’ve allowed myself the freedom to write what I wanted, when I wanted. Three food posts in a row? Fine. No more gardening content? I’m good with that. Letting a few series fall by the wayside? Buh-bye “crushed/crushing”.

And it was revelatory. So much so that I am planning a MAJOR change to this little blog for my next anniversary (stay tuned!). And I decided to bring back the editorial calendar, along with some series that I really missed.

Starting with “blove“. My monthly feature of blogs that I love was one of my favorites, but it was a lot of work to put together each month, and it started to feel more burden than joy so I let it go.

And then I found Melissa Blake.

melissa-blake-photo

image credit: Melissa Blake

Melissa and I “met” in a Facebook group comprised of writers who contributed to a family of on-line publications. It was quite a large group but something about Melissa’s posts – friendly, supportive, funny, REAL –  made me want to learn more.

Which is how I found her blog, So About What I Said.

From Melissa:

“So About What I Said is my little corner of the Web where I overshare about everything related to disabilities, relationships, lifestyle and pop culture. I try to strike that balance between being whimsically fun but also not being afraid to be real, honest and delve deep into some tough issues.”

I always know a blog’s a “keeper” when I check to see if there’s a new post if I haven’t gotten an FB alert in a few days. Or if I’m procrastinating and looking for something to read while I put off what I’m actually supposed to be doing. Or if I find myself down the rabbit hole of old posts (which, in Melissa’s case could take a while – she’s been blogging for 8 years!).

So About What I Said is like that friend you can just be yourself with. As cliched as this sounds, Melissa’s blog is literally a breath of fresh air in an on-line world stuffed to the gills with snark and negativity. Which is not to say that it’s fluff. While Melissa loves to write about pop culture and fashion, she digs deep too. Her posts on disabilities, depression and suicide are some of the most compelling and poignant I’ve read. But even those are accompanied by a sense of hope and optimism that somehow never manages to come across as cloying.

Melissa was kind enough to answer a few questions, which will serve as the new format for “blove” – let’s go!

How did you get into blogging?
I started blogging in 2008 while I was working part-time as a college newspaper adviser. I’d been thinking about starting one for far too long and thought it would be the perfect way to keep up my writing and also have a place to showcase my work. Never in a million years did I ever think I would still be at it 8 years later and about to transfer the blog to its own self-hosted domain! But I’ve truly fallen in love with everything about blogging, from the writing to the design — and especially all the people in the blogging community!

What were you doing before you started blogging, and are you still doing it today?
I graduated from college with a journalism degree in 2005 and started freelancing shortly thereafter. I wrote a weekly newspaper column for almost five years and was a college newspaper adviser during that time as well. These days, I’m blogging full-time while also freelance writing — I love it!

What – if any – changes to your blog have you made since you started?
I’ve definitely come a long way in the last 8 years, both as a writer and in my knowledge of blogging. It definitely took a long time to get the hang of things, and there are still things to learn every day. I wish I’d transferred to a self-hosted domain sooner, though…I think I let my fear hold me back longer than I should have. Also, if I could tell my past self one thing in the beginning of my blogging career, it would be to STOP COMPARING yourself to every other blogger! I’ve had some bad cases of imposter syndrome and I need to learn that we all have something to contribute to the blogging community!

My favorite thing about blogging is…
The freedom to be myself.

My least favorite thing about blogging is…
Getting stumped for ideas

What are your top 3 favorite blogs?
Ooooh, there are so many! I love Becoming Mrs. LaRue, Love That Max and Refinery29.

Which of your own posts mean the most to you, and why?
My posts about my father, my disability and Letters To My Future Husband — these three categories really encapsulate what my blog is about and who I am as a writer and a person.

I’m delighted to have discovered Melissa and her lovely blog; I know you’ll “blove” it too! Be sure to follow So About What I Said on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. And check out my Pinterest board for all my favorites.

Thank you Melissa! xo

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