Losing Myself to Find Myself

From 2009 to 2019, I allowed myself to be pulled in multiple directions: college student (AA, BS, MLIS), aspiring writer, crafter, blogger, Youtuber, ETSY shop owner, reseller on Amazon and eBay, craft show vendor, gardener/homesteader, knitting pattern designer, book blogger/reviewer, full time librarian, and other titles I’ve possibly forgotten.

I rotated through the list of side hustles as I desired or was inspired to do. Some things were seasonal or only needed to be tended to when something sold on Amazon or eBay. Craft shows had definite dates and times, so I could schedule around them as necessary.

However, the strain I felt from the constant jumping to the next thing and self-imposed deadlines for blog posts and YouTube videos was wearing on me. In 2019, I scaled back most of my side hustles due to some medical issues that descended on me in March. The previous Fall, my husband and I had a serious discussion on kids and if we were ready to go that route as well.

It took deciding to start a family and getting pregnant to force me to really think about my priorities and top 3 hobbies. Once my son was part of this world, there would be no way I could juggle all of that anymore. Something was going to have to give…well, many somethings were going to have to give.

My top three hobbies ended up being: reading, writing, and knitting. Reading and Writing go back to when I was a kid. They’re the activities I remember enjoying most as a child. Bookworm was a title I wore with pride (and still do). I always had a notebook with me to jot down scenes or random bits of dialog.

I’d learned to knit when i was 10, but stopped shortly after. I rediscovered knitting when I was in college. It was a wonderful creative outlet for me that didn’t involve writing. I had stopped writing for a few years during college because I was writing so much for my classes I had nothing left in me for my own work.

Reading

I’ve always been a reader. For most of my life, I devoured fiction. As I’ve matured, I’ve been reading more nonfiction. I enjoy a good thriller or cozy corner murder mystery to escape with. My nonfiction tastes depend on what’s grabbed my interest at the moment. Lately it’s been learning everything I can about Dr. Montessori, her method, and how it’s used today as well as books on minimalism. I’ve been alternating books on these subjects. (I have an upcoming post about why, how, and what I did to declutter my house.)

Writing

Fiction was my go to. Many a notebook were filled with pieces of dialogue, rewriting endings and scenes I didn’t agree with. I also wrote nonfiction “articles” as an adolescent where I’d more or less copy something out of a book and cite it.

In 2017, I began to take my writing seriously. Between 2017 to 2019 I’d researched and sent in submission packets to various publishers. All were rejected. In the midst of all that, I’d decided that self-publishing was going to be the way to go for me. After NaNoWriMo 2019, I set about finishing my first self-published work. December 29, 2019, Bobbin Lace: a Modern Take on an Old-World Craft was published and released into the world.

Since then I’ve become more confident and plan to self-publish something every year. In the year of 2020, despite Covid turning the world on its head and having a newborn, I reworked my first book and re-released it. By the end of 2021, I plan on publishing Knitting Alphabet Soup. It is currently in round 3 edits, heading to the editor next, then I’ll finalize the formatting and cover art.

Taking my writing career into my own hands has been one of the rewarding things I’ve done.

Knitting

I first learned to knit when I was 10. My interest didn’t last long because I didn’t grasp the concept that 10-inch needles wouldn’t hold enough stitches to make a decent size blanket. After a decade long gap, I picked my needles back up and began making dishcloths to sell for some pocket money at craft shows.

A few years of craft shows led to my thinking of making this whole thing a legit business. Four years later it was apparent being a legit business was more hassle than it was worth, so I shut the business down. I continued to do craft shows and report the hobby income. When Covid-19 showed up in 2020, all craft shows were cancelled. I would have been 4 month postpartum if the year had been normal, but I still wasn’t sure if I’d actually participate. I spent 2020 and 2021 working on personal projects and tackling a design project I’d wanted to try. Spending time working on personal projects instead of craft show inventory has allowed me to write two knitting patterns and list them for sale on Ravelry.

I still dable in some of the other hobbies, but they are continuously on the backburner. My blog has become a place I share random stuff with the internet. I occasionally make a YouTube video for my TalesFromAPolkCountyGirl channel. My KnittingAllTheBlankets YouTube channel is on hiatus. My ETSY shop is in Vacation Mode for now. Not sure what I want to do with that just yet. Nothings been listed on Amazon or eBay, but that’s okay. Craft shows were shelved because of COVID last year. No word on it they’re going to have the main show I participate in this year.

Gardening in general fell off the radar in my 3rd trimester. No energy and it was comin’ on summer in Florida. I didn’t want to be out there weeding pineapples and under citrus trees. Pretty much everything survived my near year-long neglect, and I’ve been out there a couple of times since my son was born to weed.

I’m still designing knitting patterns. My 2nd pattern is in testing, and will hopefully be up and ready for sale by the fall.

Weekly Writing Update 7/8-7/28/2019

Hello Darlings!

My muse has been good to me. Lots of ideas floating around. I wish I had that “Quick Quotes Quill” from Harry Potter to keep up with my brain sometimes.

11 July 2019

*Added 451 words to Best in Show (renamed Confronting Emotion)

12 July 2019

*Added 1338 words to 7 Minutes in Heaven

13 July 2019

*Added 1295 words to The Appearance of Impropriety

14 July 2019

*Added 798 words to Confronting Emotion

19 July 2019

*Wrote A to Z Knitting Stories: Indie Dyer Friends chapter, 388 words.

23 July 2019

*Wrote Editor letter

*Formatted Bobbin Lace Workbook file

24 July 2019

*Began new piece What Changed; 273 words; this piece will be absorbed into a new novella

25 July 2019

*Setup and rough outline for aforementioned novella: 328 words; working title: Reunited.

27 July 2019
*Bought my ISBNs for self-publishing!

Vlog July 2019 aka Where Have I Been?

Writing Life Update~Different Layout

Since I’ve been negligent about posting updates each week about what I’ve been working on, I figured a different format to catch everyone up would be the easiest option.

16 June 2019

*Added 43 words to Dishcloth Pattern

*Wrote 177 words on A-Z Knitting Stories: Expanding Business chapter

19 June 2019

*Wrote 304 words for Bobbin Lace Pattern instruction

21 June 2019

*Started copyright page for Bobbin Lace workbook

*Wrote 244 words for A-Z Knitting Stories: G chapter

30 June 2019

*Wrote July Patreon story, Paint Me a Picture; 1488 words

4 July 2019

*Wrote 1816 words for Fundraiser Dinner short story

5 July 2019

*Added 1350 words to Fundraiser Dinner short story

6 July 2019

*Wrote Heartbreak Under the Texas Stars short story; 1366 words

I’m on a roll with writing several days in a row and I hope to keep it up for as long as possible. Some of these short stories will become the Patreon monthly story.

I AM writing which is great! I’ve been really inspired lately and it’s taking me no time at all to get a couple hundred to over a thousand words written.

Writing Life Update June 2019

It’s about time for any update on my writing life and what I’ve been up to. It’s been interesting to say the least.

AVAILABLE 3/15/2019 Reception by Kenzie Jennings

Consider becoming a Patron! 

Link