So many questions, so little time.
Which is why this didn’t happen on Friday like I promised. Thanks for waiting.
How do you get so much done in one day? How do you handle it all? How do you do it all so well? (This question, in some version, popped up a lot on the survey.)
Well, the good news is, I don’t. It’s just an illusion, so if you feel like you’re not doing much, I’m right there with you. But I think what so many of you see on the internet makes you think I have it under control. Sorry if that’s messing with your head, I don’t want that when you come here.
Here’s how I appear to do it all: 1.) I don’t watch TV. I mean, less than two hours a week; most of the time, less than that. You can get things done if you don’t watch TV. 2.) I do a lot of prep on Sundays so I can do more during the week (read, write, relax, sleep, etc.). 3.) I have a husband who pulls his weight evenly. Before we had kids, we talked about roles and jobs and how we’d run a house with kids. I know that doesn’t happen in a lot of houses, but it was a non-negotiable for me. I make dinner every night, but Chris cleans up. I get clothes ready for the next day and set out backpacks at bedtime, but Chris is up making breakfast and Ellie’s peanut butter sandwich every morning. I don’t bathe our kids, that’s Daddy’s job. Chris also does the laundry. I pay bills and grocery shop. There are a lot of things not on my plate so I can do other things better.
People that do it all are just not being honest. Plus, I have a partner in parenting and housework; I wouldn’t be able to do what I do here if Chris Graham didn’t believe all parts of our lives were equally his responsibility and my responsibility. We work really well together and that, friends, is how I don’t do it all.
What has been the most difficult thing about your walk with Christ?
Being disciplined. While my oldest child, type-A personality makes me a self-starter and driven, I don’t always feel that way when it comes to my relationship with Jesus. I see growth and change and so much grace in this walk but I still struggle to do it every day. Sad, but true.
Who taught you how to write? How did you discover your love for writing?
I’ve always loved writing. English was my favorite subject in school, the subject that came easiest and interested me the most. I was on our newspaper staff in high school and went to college convinced I was going to be a writer. Eventually, I changed my major from journalism to English education. I can teach you the mechanics of writing because I’ve been teaching it to others for over ten years. It’s funny, but a lot of the things I teach middle school and high school kids about essay writing is the same things I’d teach adults who want to write. Also, I think I just have some natural God-given ability I can’t take credit for.
If you’re interested in writing and want to become a better writer, my number one tip is to read more books. Reading great books teaches you more about writing than any course you could take. If you’re not a reader, you can’t be a good writer. They go hand-in-hand. Find good books. Find authors you love. Find voices that resonate with you. Pay attention to how they get their messages across and why it sticks so well. Then figure out how to do that for yourself. Don’t copy someone else, but finding authors you love and picking one or two things from them and adding it to your own bag of tricks will eventually give you a style of your own. But if we were sitting having coffee and you told me you want to be a writer and you don’t actually read books, I’d say you’re wasting your time.
How much money do you make blogging each year?
For about the past two years, I’ve made anywhere from $200-$300 a month from this site. That’s before paying for all the stuff I talk about here and that’s before taxes. Blogging income is very inconsistent and I’d say that number is average, but sometimes it’s less and sometimes it’s more. I make the majority of my online money freelancing. Last year, I made a little under $10,000 writing all over the internet. At the beginning of this month, I lost the only consistent freelancing job I had that paid really well so I’m one million percent certain I won’t be making that much money this year. 2015 was a good year. 2016 will be good, but in different ways.
Blogging: how did you start? how do you grow? is it worth the time?
I don’t normally talk about the business of blogging because there are countless people doing that really well, and I don’t feel the need to. But answering questions is the goal today, so sorry if this is boring to you. I’ll make the next question more exciting. Hopefully.
I started blogging because I wanted to write something and I didn’t know what else to do. I guess some people would say get a diary, duh but whatever. This post talks about where my blog name came from and tells a little about my start. When it comes to time investment and is it worth it, like I said last week, I don’t write here for the money. It’s also fair to point out that I blogged for four years before I made a penny so you really have to love what you’re doing and just do it for the love, not for profit. Ten thousand dollars is great money for a part-time job I do from the comfort of my home in the middle of the night. But I put in hundreds of hours, tons of energy, and many tears before I saw a return. And remember, most of that money doesn’t even come from this site, it comes from being paid to write on other sites. (While it’s awesome street cred I get to call myself a Huffington Post blogger, I don’t get paid for that either. So it’s great exposure and has its benefits, but I don’t earn anything by writing for them. They get my content for free. Bummer, huh?)
Is your house always that clean?
This is funny because I’m assuming this question is referencing Instagram or Facebook since I don’t really post pictures of my house here. But the answer would be yes. I have a very tidy house and it is always tidy. I don’t know the fear of having someone stop over unannounced and seeing my dirty house. We might need to dust, but my house is always picked up and tidy. I can’t function in a messy house. The girls are always cleaning up after themselves (they hate it), and I’m always tidying as I walk from one room to the next. It’s a sickness, probably.
But on the other hand, we live in a small house and are very careful about what we bring into it because we just don’t have a lot of space. Our daughters don’t have millions of toys to litter the house with. My first reaction to anything is to throw it away so we don’t collect things. Everything has its place and it gets there by the end of the day, without fail.
Fun fact: if you have a messy house, it doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t have to live in it and so stopping by your messy house doesn’t make me judge you. Unless you want me to help you clean it up, and then I will come in like a wrecking ball and whip your place into shape immediately.
I’m sorry, it really is a sickness.
Favorite book of the Bible?
Habakkuk. That guy told God all his thoughts, no-holds-barred. I feel like that’s the prophet I would have been BFFs with because he said stuff everyone else was afraid to say. He’s my spirit prophet. (Like a spirit animal but less hairy.)
SO MANY PLACES. Maybe right now, an Alaskan cruise would be at the top of the list. But the list changes daily so this is a very hard question.
Okay, that’s it for now. If you notice I didn’t answer your question, it will probably be addressed in an upcoming post. Some things can’t be answered well in a short paragraph or two. Plus, this post is long enough. In my head this Q-and-A was held on Oprah-style couches with a giant microphone like they used in the seventies. There was a long, annoying cord that kept getting in the way as we passed the mic back and forth, and at the end of the interview we had a really awkward dance party where we all did the white-dad-at-a-wedding-reception move.