My Open Sketchbook: Origins

This is a post I’ve had on my list for ages, and figured today is a good a day as any to chat about it. I love learning the meaning behind peoples blogs, so here’s my story!

The idea of starting a blog terrified me. I tend to keep myself in a pretty tight shell. I’m quite shy, and I’ll pretty much avoid starting a conversation with someone at all costs. When I realized that I definitely wanted to start my own blog, I knew that I wanted it to be a place where I can be open and transparent about myself, and both the good and bad parts of my life. Basically I wanted it to be like reading an open book about me.

The phrase ‘an open book’ stuck in my head, and I decided to give it a little artsy twist, being that I’m an artist, and chose ‘An Open Sketchbook’ which was the original title of my blog. Fitting, as I do share my are here, but just a little wordplay too, and that always makes me smile. Earlier this year, I realized that I wanted it to be just a bit more personal, and changed it to ‘My Open Sketchbook’. I’m so glad I did – now it seems to fit just right.

I still love the title of my blog. It encompasses all that I want my blog to be. A place to share my life. Which is scary, but also completely therapeutic. There are still things I am not 100% comfortable with sharing, but that’s okay. My blog will be here when I’m ready.

What’s the story behind your blog name?

Links to the Past

Hyrule crest

  • I don’t often post parenting articles, but this is such a great one dealing with vaccinations. I hear so much negativity towards vaccinations, and it really makes me sad for the kids that it affects. Vaccinations save lives, period. This quote from the article is one of my favorites, “If you think your child’s immune system is strong enough to fight off vaccine-preventable diseases, then it’s strong enough to fight off the tiny amounts of dead or weakened pathogens present in any of the vaccines.” Logic, people, logic.
  • Although I love to edit my DSLR photos in Lightroom, I haven’t really delved into the world of editing my pics on my phone. My Life As A Teacup had a really handy post all about photo editing apps. I am definitely going to check a few out (TimerCam especially just seems so helpful!).
  • This post about how to support bloggers you love is so great! It includes so many (non-monetary) things that I love about the blogging community, and some great ideas I had never thought of. (I think I originally saw this on My Life As A Teacup as well, but I forgot to mark where I first saw it!)
  • Comxiology is a new to me website that has made my heart so incredibly happy. As someone without a comic shop nearby, I love that I can log on for all the latest releases, and purchases comics in ebook form as well! Plus, they have a coordinating app so I can read any digital comics I buy on my phone or tablet. Loving it! I have so many comics to read now.
  • This image amused me. I’m so glad other people think the way I do.

And now, your weekly dose of Zelda fanart.

Pretty much the creme de la creme of Dark Link cosplays. This is actually from many years ago, but it’s one of my faves. His DA page (click the pic!) has more photos that include the Hylian Shield and Master Sword and they are so great! Also, he has one with a different hairstyle (I think it’s his actual hair in the others, as opposed to a wig like here) and it works so well!

September Goals Wrap Up

As September comes to a close, I am happy to say that I feel prepared for October! Often at this time of year, I feel as if time is just flying by and I am behind on absolutely everything. This year, I honestly feel caught up with the major stuff, and have a decent balance in most aspects of my life! I think planning out my goals, my posts, and a vague ‘schedule’ for my art goals has helped with that tremendously. I love being able to look in my planner and see what I have coming in the week, or what I know I need to accomplish before a certain date. Here’s hoping I can stick with it! For now, let’s see how I fared with September’s goal list.

goals button

Life Goals:

  • Bake at least three new recipes. SUCCESS! I made Gooey Chocolate & Cream Cheese Cupcakes, attempted French Macarons from scratch, and also made Honey Nut Cookie Sandwiches which I opted not to post about as they were rather underwhelming. Though I did learn I like macadamia nuts, so bonus?
  • Take a big (1 hour +) walk at least three days a week. SUCCESS! We actually walked close to five days a week, but they weren’t all the big long walks. Sometimes the three year old just isn’t into a giant walk!
  • Back another Kickstarter project. FAIL. No excuses here; I never even looked for one! However, I do have one on the horizon – a game called War of Zodiarcs that looks so right up my alley. It isn’t yet ready for crowdfunding, but if you like strategic JRPGs, definitely check out the link!
  • Finally replace the breaking, leaning bookshelf in our bedroom. FAIL. We went to IKEA. We found a bookshelf we liked. Then we found a different option we liked better, but didn’t have the measurements for where we wanted to put it. So we came home, measured, it won’t fit, and now we’re back to where we started with no bookshelf. Sigh.
  • Complete at least three art Christmas gifts. SUCCESS! I actually completed four! Go me!

Blog Goals:

  • Continue my WIP Wednesday posts. SUCCESS! I am loving using this as a motivator, and also loving the positive feedback on my art. It makes me feel all warm and glowy inside!
  • Cut back on Can’t Get Enough posts. SUCCESS! I didn’t do a single one, but that was mainly because of a lack of free post days. I have at least one on deck for October.
  • Make myself a damn blog button!!! SUCCESS! I made a couple, and Jessica of the Pyreflies was an absolute doll and made me some out of the kindness of her heart!! However, I haven’t actually uploaded them and made them available for button grabs yet, but it will be done this week.
  • Look into buying sponsor space on other blogs. FAIL. It’s at the top of my to-do blog list, but I haven’t yet visited sites, written down costs, or made any decisions about where I want to advertise.
  • Put plans in motion to feature artists. SUCCESS! This is a really tiny success haha. All I’ve really done is make the list of people I want to email/contact, but I haven’t actually SENT any inquiries! Deep breaths, I can do this!
  • Complete this video game blog challenge. SUCCESS! I had a lot of fun doing this challenge, but I have no intention of doing one again soon. It ate up basically ALL my free post slots (I don’t like to post more than once a day, so I consider a day with a post scheduled ‘unavailable’ for another). In fact, I had to post EVERY SINGLE day in September just to complete it (I skipped September 11 because I didn’t want to blog about 9/11, so I took a ‘blog silence’ day if you will). I have nothing against posting every single day, but I want it to be on my terms, not because I feel like I need to.

Not too shabby! I’m quite happy with everything I accomplished this month. Stay tuned for October goals this week!

My Blogger Confessions

The Nerdy Girlie has been hosting a link-up of blogger confessions, and it’s been such a blast reading others. Definitely makes me feel better knowing bloggers I admire share the same struggles as myself!

I feel like I could sum up all my confessions by just screaming, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING” but I’ll elaborate a bit.

1. I have no clue about my blog numbers. With the exception of how many bloglovin’ followers I have, because that shows up when I go to my profile. But in terms of pageviews, followers via other means (WordPress, email) I am clueless. I’ve honestly never checked. Even though I’ve been blogging for over a year, I only recently feel like I’ve become comfortable with it, so I’ve yet to really dig into that stuff.

2. I only recently started planning my posts. As mentioned, I’ve been blogging for over a year, and almost that whole time I was winging it. Rarely writing posts ahead of time, or planning out content. Let me tell you, planning is so much easier and less stressful. Being organized about my posts has given me a whole new love of blogging.

3. I knew nothing about blogging when I began. Normally I’m the type of person who has to research something to death before I dive in. But I knew if I did that with blogging, I’d get way too full of self-doubt and never start one. So I just read a couple blogs, picked a free layout in WordPress and dove in. I think it definitely made my first year rockier, but at the same time I learned a lot about what I like and don’t like for my own blog.

4. I still don’t feel like I fit a category. I often feel like my blog isn’t too cohesive as I blog about such random topics. From art, geek stuff, pop culture, heavier topics, recipes, music – I tend to just write about whatever I feel like sharing. I like that, but I do wonder what my readers think.

5. I finally feel comfortable blogging! This is such a big step for me! I finally feel like I am comfortable in my own blog, and that I’m writing in my own voice. It definitely took me a long time to get here, but now that I am I can’t wait to keep going with my blog!

Make sure you check out The Nerdy Girlie’s original post, and then write your own to link up!

Goals for September: Blog and Life

Can we discuss just how happy I am that the first of the month happens to be a Monday? It makes my brain so happy that this post and my new header can all be displayed at the beginning of the week. Like a double fresh start for a new month.

Ah, lists. I love them. I’m still going strong in HabitRPG, which conveniently lets me utilize three separate goal lists at a time, and I really like being able to add and subtract to them when I need to. But I also like my tangible, on paper lists of which I can triumphantly scribble items off once completed. I tend to make goal lists in my journal of things I’d like to accomplish throughout the month, and I thought I’d post them here too. Adds to the accountability factor, which I absolutely need sometimes.

Life Goals:

  • Bake at least three new recipes. Baking is one of my favorite parts of fall, and I’d like to expand from my usual goodies this year!
  • Take a big (1 hour +) walk at least three days a week. Lately the little and I have been starting our mornings with a big walk after breakfast, and I have been loving it. It’s something I definitely want to continue.
  • Back another Kickstarter project. My indie purchases have taken a nosedive since we bought my new car as our budget is in DO NOT SPEND ANYTHING UNNECESSARY mode, but if possible I’d like to fund a project this month.
  • Finally replace the breaking, leaning bookshelf in our bedroom. It’s time. I’ve lived with it for over a year. I want a new bookshelf.
  • Complete at least three art Christmas gifts. I know it sounds slightly nutty to be working on Christmas gifts this early (I actually started in August) but if I don’t start my handmade stuff now, I’ll never have time to get it all done. Plus I’m hoping to get some commission in before the holidays.

Blog Goals:

  • Continue my WIP Wednesday posts. I like the every other week scheduling, and I really like having it as a motivator. Whenever I hit an art wall I just think, what will I post for WIP Wednesday??
  • Cut back on Can’t Get Enough posts. I like the series, I plan on continuing it, but not regularly. I feel like it will quickly start feeling like I’m just finding stuff to post, and I don’t want it to feel forced. So I’ll keep the series, just on a more sporadic basis.
  • Make myself a damn blog button!!! It’s so embarrassing that I still haven’t done this. I feel like it’s kind of a staple of having a blog. But every time I sit down to make one, I just stare. Totally blank. I am so not a graphic designer. But I’m also broke. So I’ll have to come up with something!
  • Look into buying sponsor space on other blogs. Obviously, once I’ve completed the above goal. When I started this blog, I never intended it to be for profit. It was more of an outlet for me, to see if I like it. And I love it! And while I’m still not about the numbers, I’d like to bring in some new readers if possible, and I’d love to do that by supporting other blogs in the process.
  • Put plans in motion to feature artists. There are so many artists I admire, many of whom I’ve already conversed with on DeviantArt. If possible, I’d love to set up an ‘interview’ with them, and have a feature on my blog. Right now, it’s pretty much just social anxiety stopping me. I am terrified to contact people about it.
  • Complete this video game blog challenge. I first saw this on Hello Cynical Badger, and I love the questions. I don’t want to do a post a day, but I’ll group some questions at a time so it’s fulfilled by the end of the month.

Alrighty, that’s a good amount for a month! And now just a quick recap of my new header before I dash. Some of my fall favorites: The ambiance of Halloween, baking all the time, the colors of fall leaves, and hot cups of tea. Have a great month!


Plans for World Domination

I have the strange habit of feeling like a I can’t implement a new plan/schedule/routine without it being the first of a new month. For example, I’ve had a few blog series I want to start more regularly (with an actual blog schedule *gasp*) yet I’ve been waiting until August to do so. For no apparent reason! But I’m pretty sure it’s some serious subconscious procrastination going on (narrows eyes at subconscious).

Up until now, I’ve been relying on lists in notebooks to keep track of posts and all thing blogging related. Lists run the rest of my life for the most part, so I figured for my blog they’d work well too.

I just got that world domination notebook and don’t even know what to use it for yet, but I love it! Hence the post title.

Lately, lists just haven’t been cutting the mustard. As I get more comfortable and into blogging, I need more organization, more planning ability, and a better way to lay out posts! So I’m finally working on getting a blog calendar/planner together to work with my notebooks full of lists. I’m going with an actual planner vs a digital planner as it works better for me. I like the idea of being able to physically write things in, doodle where I need to, and flip through the pages. I’ve been looking over a lot of options (Gamerwife just had a post about blogging organization that was so perfectly timed for my life) and although I haven’t decided on what type of planner to get, I will definitely be incorporating the Post-It method. I love the idea of being able to color code the Post-Its for different series, and then I can switch and rearrange posts easily that way. Therefore, this weekend’s plan (besides having a giant yard sale) is going to be to get a blogging schedule for August planned out.

Here’s a rough idea of the blog series coming up!

Monday: Miscellaneous – anything I want, but definitely a post.

Wednesday: Can’t Get Enough – a bi-weekly post about what I just can’t get enough of lately.
WIP Wednesday – a bi-weekly post (staggered with Can’t Get Enough) of all the art projects I’m working on! I’m pretty nervous to show off my personal art, but it’s time to suck it up and share some. I have goals of showing art locally this year, and this is a good first step. (Okay, second step. I’ve been posting lots of WIPs on Instagram already).

Friday: Links to the Past – all the fun and noteworthy things around the internet I’ve found that week. Plus awesome Zelda fanart.

Sunday: Life In Photos – weekly wrap-up of daily life for the week in pictures.

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are basically optional days for me. If I have a bunch of stuff I just can’t wait to schedule out, I can use those days for extra posts.

How do you go about scheduling your blog? A calendar? Wing it? Let me know, I love to chat about such things!