Wednesday, April 3, 2024

IWSG April- 4 Years


What a slacker! I can't believe I almost missed it. I was just hanging out on the couch, waiting for my turn to watch TV (anxious to finish my WWII documentary series on Netflix), scrolling through Facebook, when I saw the IWSG post about the optional question! Apparently, my left leg was asleep and I got up so fast I looked like Gollum trying to get across the living room to my desk, limping and hopping around a pillow, umbrella, blanket, and chromebook. (Side note:  if you have tips about how to get kids to stop leaving things on the ground let me know!)

Luckily I made it without any injury and I'm ready to go! So here it is:

April 3 question - How long have you been blogging? (Or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram?) What do you like about it and how has it changed?

I'm excited to say it is the fourth anniversary of this blog! In April 2020 I remembered my gardening blog from before I had kids. I posted about gardening, beekeeping, growing my own yeast starter, baking, and general sustainable living. I even posted about my homebirth experience. I had a good group of followers. Nothing big, but more than I expected for a nobody in Arkansas. Oddly, there was a large group of people in Germany who liked reading about starting a yeast culture and how to live without shampoo and paper towels. 

I started to wonder if I could get back to it. But I was trapped in a tiny apartment four months after moving a thousand miles away from my hometown. I no longer had bees, or even a garden. Still, I needed to get some of myself back. I decided to take a second shot at a novel I wrote. I would get the kids into bed, turn on music, make a cup of tea, let out a humongous sigh, and then write. When I first started the blog, I was not necessarily going to focus on writing so I chose to simply say create.

One night I was working on the novel re-write and my husband handed me a business card for IWSG. He said his coworker's wife was a publisher and that she was part of a group that helped writers. May 2020 was my first ever IWSG blog hop. The door was suddenly open for me to join this fantastic community. 

Not much has changed since then. I would say it is busier, but that is a lie. In 2020, when many other people were at home, I was helping to keep the local childcare center open for school-aged kids of essential workers. As a former elementary teacher, I was able to jump in at my new job and take over the program. I thought leaving teaching in December 2019 was going to give me more time...the universe had other plans. I thought:  it's childcare, I'll settle in, work fewer hours, be around my kids in the afternoon but still get paid... but before I knew it, I was helping in the kitchen, running virtual school for about 50 kids, assisting the director, becoming a certified lifeguard, whatever they needed, I did it! I worked so much they put me on salary. After avoiding an actual leadership role for as long as I could, I stepped up and pursued an administrator certificate (hence the long break from the blog in 2023) and now I'm co-directing the center. And trust me, I work more now than I ever did as a teacher! 

But throughout that, I have greatly appreciated this community and what I have achieved along the way. My first (and only) published story was included in the IWSG Anthology, I participated in flash fiction contests, and a blogging contest. I do wish I could get back to those, but I really want to put my focus on getting the novel through beta readers and out to query. At the same time, I am preparing to turn my 2021 A-to-Z flash fiction series into a novel. I hope to start drafting on that next week. I'm grateful that I have feedback from those blog posts to help improve the story and turn it into something great.

Please join the hop and read what other writers have to say about blogging.
The awesome co-hosts for the April 3 posting of the IWSG are Janet Alcorn, T. Powell Coltrin, Natalie Aguirre, and Pat Garcia!


  1. Hi, Steph! I really enjoyed your post! I was an elementary teacher for 25 years, and I loved it. But the hours were really long. Kudos to you for taking on this new job. I, too, have a story in an IWSG anthology. I'm sure you were every bit as excited as I was to be published in one. Good luck with your writing endeavors!

  2. I really enjoyed your post too. What a great story about how you found out about the IWSG. And it's awesome that your story is in one of our group's anthologies.

    1. Thank you! I've enjoyed meeting all of you and sharing stories, too!

  3. Quite the journey from gardening tips to writing. Glad you received that card and joined us!

    1. Me, too! You have been a great inspiration to me to keep going. I remember your encouragement regarding my short story and your recommendations on what to read. It's been such a help!

  4. Oh, I hope that you succeed in writhing that book. I just looked at a few of your 2021 A-Z chapters - looks interesting, I'll be back for more.

  5. That is a neat way to find out about iwsg. From gardening to writing is a bit of a journey too. I find letting the dog chew on things they leave on the floor, especially if theirs, helps with the picking up lol