0

Just Write. Dammit.

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day because I noticed that they hadn’t blogged in a while. Their reason was basically there was a lack of ideas for things to write about and so the commitment to keep blogging had waned down.

I get asked a lot how I manage to keep coming up with new ideas on what to blog about every week. I’ll be honest, it can be a bit hard. I’m writing about new topics every week, three times a week. It’s something that I am forcing myself to be disciplined about. There’s no one making me do this. I’m not being paid to do this nor am I trying to impress anyone with my blog. As in, this is not some creative outlet that I’m using to further my career.

How do I write? Basically I’ve come to realize that everything that happens in my life is a potential blog post. The good. The bad. The ugly. Though with any circumstance, I will use discretion. Names get changed or not even mentioned. The details might get shifted around. I’m not going to out anyone or spill all my guts on here. But when you see everything as a story you can share, it really helps you with ideas on how and what to write.

I believe if you really want to write, you can do it on just about anything. If I really wanted to, I could take any boring inanimate object and somehow create an entire backstory and a world based on it. Then again I have to do this when I play D&D so it comes in handy from time to time. I see blogging in the same way. Because I really want to blog, I’ll blog about anything and try my best to put an interesting spin on it.

Sometimes it doesn’t always work out with readers, sometimes posts that I feel are really interesting get super low views. And that’s ok. Because while I love comments and readers and seeing my page views go up, I’m also not really writing just for others. It’s for me. Am I the best writer in the world? Hellz no. But am I having fun doing this? Yeps. And until it stops being fun, I’ll keep doing it.

1

Why Do I Blog?

Sometimes I wonder why I keep blogging.

It’s certainly not for the numbers. Every time someone asks me how many subscribers I have, I don’t like telling them because it’s a really low number. My stats are not amazing. Anytime someone says they have low stats, I want to say “you don’t know low stats.” I do know that a few people read almost everything I post, but otherwise I have no idea who actually reads my blog on a regular basis. While I share new blog posts on social media, unless someone tells me that they read something, I just assume no one reads it. I don’t expect any of my friends to actually read this. There are days when I get really excited about writing a post and I put a lot of time and effort into it only to have nobody even click on the post at all much less read or comment on it.

 I

It’s not for exposure. I’m not getting famous by doing this. I’m not expecting any of my posts to go viral, for me to get discovered, or for me to get a book deal out of this. Nor am I doing this in order to work on my writing so that I can go somewhere with it. It’d be cool if this could lead towards a job because of my blogging but as of right now that’s not happening.

And contrary to popular belief, this blog is not so I can write about everything that happens in my life. It’s not like I’m waiting around for events to happen so I can talk about them on here.

You may think I’m being completely open on my blog and to some extent I am. But I don’t treat this like a diary and there are a lot of things that I am not going to overshare with the rest of the world. At least not on a public platform like my blog. Therefore if you only read my posts but never actually talk to me, you only have a one-sided view of what I’m really like.

No, the real reason why I started blogging again was because I want others to know that they are not alone.

There’s a difference in wanting to be by yourself and then feeling like you’re alone in what you’re going through.

I know that one of the first things I do when I go through a crisis or situation is to Google it. Because I want to believe that I can’t possibly be the only person that’s going through this situation. Surely there must be someone in the world who knows what I’m going through and I’m not just some freak of nature that this is happening to.

A lot of times however I can’t. And while some of you are perfectly fine in situations where you’re the only person, I know for me it is super hard because I feel like I’m drowning and there is no one who can help me. I don’t like the feeling of being the odd person out in a negative way. When I feel like nobody understands what I’m going through, trying to make things better is a very steep uphill climb.

So with this blog, in case someone happens to stumble up on it, I just want them know they aren’t alone. Whether that’s a someone who suddenly has a completely random thought and is curious if anyone else thought it, or someone who happens to like watching the Olympics AND Doctor Who and wonders if it’s possible to like sports AND be a geek, or if someone is struggling with an issue and worries they are the only ones going through this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

While it doesn’t have the highest amount of hits, the post on my blog that constantly gets viewed every week is my post on Trusting God When Things Seem Impossible. Out of all the posts I’ve written on this blog, every week since I first posted in October, this post is the most searched and most regularly visited. There have been so many variations of the phrase of trusting God in impossible times used in search engines to find that post. Which to me seems that there are many people who feel the same way I did and they want to know what to do and to know that they are not alone in that situation. I don’t know if my blog helps. I’d like to think that what I said has some impact and can give them some reassurance and advice but I’m not sure. What I do know is that for me, every time I see that post appearing in my stats for the day, it helps to remind ME that God is still working in my life and that I need to trust him even when I have no idea how things will work out for myself.

I just feel like I am meant to do this right now. I may feel like stopping at some point but for now this is what I feel like I’m being led to do. Like I’ve said before, I have a story. Several stories actually. And if I can help others somehow with my story and make an impact in their lives, then that’s what I want to continue doing. I’m pretty sure I’m getting better at it and will continue to do more so in the future.

Writing this blog has also helped me a lot. It’s keeping me disciplined and accountable as I’ve kept up with my schedule of posting three times a week. It’s helped me become more creative and allows an outlet for me to let it out. Even if I’m not actively trying to have a writing career, I am writing more and I do believe it is improving. Doing this has also helping me figure out more things about myself. And that’s always a good thing.

0

Creative Writing Exercise: Living in IKEA

I found a book in a bookstore a while back that was a journal for writing prompts. I’ve always like the creative writing exercises we used to do in school. I also wished during the SATs or GREs that they would have picked more interesting writing prompts than the absolutely boring things they made us write on. Seriously, unless standardized tests have changed in the last 6 years, those people have NO imagination whatsoever.

This being said, I decided for fun and giggles to pick a prompt, time myself for 30 minutes to write, and use it for today’s post. This is a complete rough draft, I’m not doing any editing here other than fixing misspelled words so if it’s horrible, forgive me. Just something to make my brain juices flowing.

“You have been evicted from your home, but rather than live on the street you go to Ikea. At night you hide in the bathroom until the janitor leaves. Write about your life.”

Have you read the book The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? You know, the one about the kids who live in the museum? So, that’s kinda what I’ve been doing. Except swap kids with a 30 year old adult and change the museum with IKEA. And that’s me. *waves feebly from one of the showroom bedrooms* Yep, I live in IKEA.

“What? That’s crazy crackers! How did this happen?”, you ask. Well you see..I had to move out of my house. Ok, that’s a lie. I got kicked out. My landlord, who I thought was a cool person, decided to change up some rules and told me I had to go. I didn’t do anything majorly wrong. But that’s besides the point. I basically was forced out of the only place I knew up here. I didn’t have anywhere else to go so I kept delaying moving out as much as I could. I mean, I didn’t have the time or funds to look for a new place. And when you’re in the DC area, places are EXPENSIVE. Then one night, after re-watching (500) Days of Summer, one of my favorite movies of all time, a light bulb went on in my head. I COULD LIVE IN IKEA! I mean come on, there are BEDS. FREE BEDS. And couches! And TVs! And books! Ok, well sure the books are either in Swedish or books that NO ONE has ever heard of but still! And there is food! Cheap, glorious food! This is GENIUS!

I started to do my research when I went with a friend to “furniture shop”. Well while she was shopping, I was being stealthy. While visiting the third floor with all the showcases, I made sure to look out for all security cameras and anything that would make my presence known overnight. I realized that there are janitors who come into the store at night and clean BUT I also noticed that they arrived BEFORE all the customers left AND that for some weird reason, bathrooms were the first thing they cleaned. If I could hide until they were done, then I could sleep in for several hours, until just before the store opened, hide again, and then act just like a customer and get on with my day. I mean, they’re not going to check EVERY bed every day just to make sure someone is there right? Plus, the IKEA employee uniforms are easy to replicate so just in case I was ever caught by a janitor, I could just say I was an employee.

Meanwhile, I kept using the excuse to my landlord that I just needed some more time and then I promised I would be out. I think he was starting to get a little annoyed and suspicious but he didn’t push. I just brought in some packing boxes so that seemed to shut him up for a while. I tested out my plan one night fully intending to stay up all night to see what the routine would end up being. IKEA opens at 9:30 in the mornings and closes at 9 pm during most of the week and 8 pm on Sunday. What I did was I arrived at 6pm on Sunday night. I got to the third floor and hid my stuff in one of the wardrobes. There’s already stuff hanging in there so no one thought any different. I walked around, got some food, basically made myself look not suspicious while making sure that my plan was complete. Around closing time, I saw again that the janitors had already arrived and started on the bathrooms. I also knew that the staff walked around the store, rearranging and making sure everything was back in place. Feigning ignorance, I just kept walking around with the last of the customers, until I saw that the bathrooms were now cleaned. I ran in one of the stalls and stayed there for 30 minutes. Let me tell you, thank goodness for my smartphone, because otherwise that would have been the most boring 30 minutes ever.

I finally peeked out and they were no where in sight. I ran to the first showcase, and dove into the bed. Thanks to all the dark comforters, I was practically invisible. I waited. The janitors eventually left the third floor after an hour of cleaning up. Interestingly they stayed away from the showcases and focused more on the kitchen area. I crawled out of the bed and went to the next showcase bedroom where I got comfortable (but not TOO comfortable) and waited out the night til the employees came back. Maybe it never dawned on them to check in all the places but just in case, I hid under one of the beds, after the lights came on. I saw feet walking around the store but no one came into any of the showrooms. I soon realized that I could make this into a reality.

So that’s where we stand now. My daily routine is like this.

  • Wake up 30 minutes before store opens.
  • Get myself ready for the day.
  • Hide under bed/in wardrobe while staff does walkthrough.
  • Store opens at 9:30, I just blend in with the morning crowd.
  • Go to work where I shower, etc.
  • Get back to IKEA at the latest 30 minutes before closing time.
  • Hide in bathroom while janitors clean.
  • Run to bed.
  • Repeat.

Sure it’s not the ideal life. But it’s FREE. Don’t judge me. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE ME! I mean this isn’t my plan forever. But for now it’ll have to do. I mean would you rather me freeze and die out on the streets? I don’t see you trying to help me. So yeah, that’s my life. For now. At the IKEA.