Happy 2016!

Hello friends! Welcome to Bear Family Strong, the blog formerly known as Eat, Write, Run, Repeat!

Why have I decided to return after such a long hiatus? Well, our crossfit gym (more on that in a later post!) is gearing up to start a Whole30 in February and I’ve been looking for motivation to start writing again, so I figured what better time than now? A lot of my recipes could use a facelift, and I’ve got a ton of new ideas just waiting to be shared!

Not to mention I just spent the past few days hunkered down inside as a result of Snowzilla 2016.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

snowzilla

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On Blogging, Part Two.

There is another reason I’ll never make it big as a blogger. Are you ready for this?

I can’t stand social media.

Yep, I said it. While I do spend more time than I’d like on my personal Facebook account (but more on in another post), I don’t tweet, I rarely post on Instagram, Pinterest confuses me, and I don’t even have accounts on the other social media platforms.

Don’t get me wrong, when I started this blog I was all about the social media. I set up a Facebook page for Eat, Write, Run, Repeat!, I opened Twitter and Instagram accounts, and I swore I’d be pinning away like my life depended on it. Annnnd…nothing. If I hadn’t set up my blog posts to automatically post to Twitter and Facebook I’d have absolutely zero tweets or Facebook posts, and I pinned a couple random things to boards before I got, well, bored.

Let me try to explain this. I grew up in a small town, on 30-some acres in the country with no neighbors to speak of. My parents chose not to watch television, so I grew up without it. No, we are not Amish. My parents simply decided that it was a waste of time, neither of them really watched much anyway, and so they decided not to have it when they got married. Best. Decision. Ever. Seriously. Instead of spending our days inside and glued to the television set, my sisters and I grew up climbing trees, playing barefoot in the creek behind our house, riding our bikes up and down the street, and running around like banshees. We set up a chemistry set in one of the barns on our property and pretended to be mad scientists. We created imaginary worlds outdoors. We spent our time in the woods. I spent most of my summers covered in poison ivy. It was awesome.

We didn’t have video games, either. We had a hand-me-down Atari that lasted about three days before it broke, and my dad bought a computer game called “Mad Doc McCree” that drove us crazy until we finally won, but for the most part? It was books, and movies, and some Saturday Morning Cartoons one of our aunts recorded for us every now and then.

There were a few times when I wished we had television. The day after some huge sporting event, for example, when everyone was talking about how so-and-so won the game, or Monday mornings when all my friends came rushing in talking about what happened on Full House, Boy Meets World, and Step by Step on TGIF. And don’t even get me STARTED on The Simpsons. But more often than not I was glad we didn’t have TV. And now here I am, how many years later, and I still don’t have TV. (Aside from a short stint in college, I’ve never had it.) And you know what? I’m better off.

Which brings me back to social media. Perhaps I should have been born in a different era, but I just don’t feel the need to be connected all the time. I think tweets are stupid – I really don’t care about your 140 character status message, or a link to your post, or your ad, or what have you. And when a tweet links me to your facebook post or instagram I want to scream, “Why do you have the same thing in three places?!” Why do we need three different platforms for someone to post the same thing? I sometimes like looking at other people’s pictures on Instagram, but half of them are stupid selfies or friends I don’t know or Crossfit WODs that I don’t care about. (And I’m an Instagram fail myself. I’ve been on Instagram for over a year and I have less than 100 pictures. Over half of them are of food.) If I see another sponsored post or ad on Facebook, I’m going to cancel my account. I just. don’t. care.

I realize that in the past four paragraphs I just turned into your cranky eight-seven year old grandmother shaking my cane and yelling through my toothless gums about the “good old days before technology”*, and I do somewhat apologize for that. If that’s the way I feel about social media and “the world wide web”, I probably shouldn’t even be online, right? Right. But I do enjoy writing, and posting. I just don’t like all the media and promoting and tweeting and pinning and SEO techniques and page hits and whatever else that goes with it. Which is why I will never make it big as a blogger; and probably why, even if I would write the next Hunger Games series, I’ll never make it big as an author. But I do like writing, as I’ve mentioned before, so I’ll just keep doing that. And posting pictures of food on Instagram. And maybe facebook stalking on my personal account.

But the other stuff? Eh, not so much.

 

*Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. I love electricity and running water and email and digital photography and not having to boil water over a fire to cook food or take a bath. I just don’t feel the need to have a running play-by-play of Miley Cyrus’s day via 140 character tweets.

On Blogging, Part One.

I had somewhat of an “a-ha” moment recently, where I realized that I am never going to make it big as a blogger. That may seem pretty obvious to those of you who read my blog more than once, considering weeks will pass between posts and my recipes have gotten more and more sporadic, but I never really sat down to think this whole “being a blogger” thing through until just recently.

I didn’t start this blog with the intention of becoming instantly famous so that I could quit my 9-5 office job and start working at home…although I’m pretty sure everyone who starts a blog secretly hopes, at least at one point, that will happen to them. Staying in my sweatpants all day and calling it work? Yes, please! No, I started this blog because I love to write, and blogging is an easy – and immediate – way to broadcast your writing to the world. I’ve dabbled in short stories, I’ve taken a couple online classes, I’ve even started (but never finished) several novels; but anyone who has ever aspired to be a writer or an author has I’m sure heard the same line – that unless you have a platform nowadays, publishers won’t even look at you. My first thought was, “what the heck is a platform?” So I did a little research and figured it out, and then I started a blog.

I’ll be honest. I get frustrated (and I’ll be the first to admit it – I get jealous) when I see yet another blogger announce that they are writing – or publishing – a book. What makes it especially frustrating is when the writing – and I somewhat apologize for this next statement – isn’t that great. Don’t get me wrong, there are great blogs out there; blogs that are funny and witty and even somewhat addicting to read – but I’m somewhat of a grammar nazi, so when I see yet another blogger publishing a book it makes me wonder, “would this person get published if they didn’t have a blog? if they weren’t a well known internet persona?” Most likely that answer would be no.

But the thing about blogging – and writing – is that it takes discipline. A lot of discipline. And I’ve written before about how I have a serious lack of discipline in my life. But those bloggers I mentioned who get their books published? They do have discipline. They put in the work and the hours required to become the popular figure they are, and it pays off for them. I simply don’t put in the time. I think about writing all the time, but very rarely do I ever act on any of my thoughts. I used to write on a daily basis – I would wake up around 0500 and write for a good 30-45 minutes before I had to get ready for work; in the evenings I would work on recipes and write blog posts; but then my work scheduled changed; I moved to a different building with a longer commute; I got married; we’ve been dealing with some stressful circumstances; and slowly my writing and blogging started to peter out. I’m just making excuses, I know. If I wanted it that badly, I’d find the discipline and sit down and do it. The heart of the issue really comes down to one question:

How bad do I want it?

I watched an interview with Olympic speed skater J.R. Celski where he discusses a time in his life where he was ready to quit skating for good. During a short hiatus he decided to make a documentary about the rapper Macklemore, who made a statement that hit me pretty hard and stuck with  me, enough that here I am writing about it four months later. He said, “to be great at something you have to have done it for more than 10,000 hours.” (Which inspired Macklemore’s song, appropriately named 10,000 hours). He went on to say how you need to sacrifice everything, train every single day, you need to give up everything in order to be the best at your craft. So let’s say you train for 8 hours every single day, seven days a week – that’s 1,250 days. Break that down even further, that’s 3.4 years. If you tweak that a bit and take weekends off, working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week – that’s 4.8 years. That’s a lot. That’s more than I can fathom, really. And Celski? Celski turned around and jumped right back into speed skating. He wanted it. But as motivating as I found that interview, I haven’t found the discipline to sacrifice anything, let along everything, to get back into writing. And why not? Why is it so hard for me to set aside one hour a day to write? I have the time, but most days I end up wasting it on the internet (reading the blogs of people who do make time to do what they love) or loafing around on the couch or reading a book (although I love to read even more than I love to write, so I don’t count that as a waste). There is no excuse for why I don’t use some of that time to do more of what I love – writing.

I need to focus less on being a “food blogger” and focus more on just being an “online writer”. I’ve written about direction before; it’s something I struggle with a lot. I love cooking and creating recipes, but it’s not my main focus. (Plus, it’s expensive! We’re on quite the budget right now, so we’ve been eating a lot of the same, inexpensive meals over and over again.) I love writing, but even that isn’t my focus most of the time. What I want is to be intentional. To write about things that mean something to me; things that I believe in, things that I care about. To write for God, and not for an imaginary online audience. I don’t want to blog, I want to write. So that’s what I think I’m going to do. I’m going to write when God puts something on my heart, and see where it goes. And if it goes nowhere? That’s OK, I’m still going to write.

Writing is what I love.