5 Things I Learned When I Redirected My Focus to My Blog

Another year has come to a close so that means another year of MegannLouise.com has come and gone. 2018 was an eventful year for this site. Toward the end of the year, I took the bull by the horns (sorry PETA) and focused more time on writing.

When I started writing for MegannLouise.com, I had no intention of posting regularly. I just wanted a platform for me to post my work when I did write. And for roughly 75% of the time I’ve had this site, that’s exactly what I did. But now I dedicate time out of my day to work on new content. In doing this, I learned a lot about myself as a writer, creator, and individual. I know that sounds extremely corny. I’m sorry. But here’s the top 5 things I learned after I focused on my blog this year.

1. Writing isn’t always easy. And writer’s block is real.

There have been days where I’ve spent hours just trying to write an introduction or even come up with a topic. Since I’ve been writing for a long time, I know my style and whenever my brain fails me and I don’t do my best work, I get upset. I’ve spent entire days working on posts before, arguing with myself over wording or formatting. At the end of it all, I’ve felt defeated when I give in and post whatever I came up with even when I wasn’t happy with it.

And here’s the thing- writer’s block happens. It can kick your ass at the worst times but that’s how it goes. I had to learn to roll with the punches and give myself breaks while writing to recoup. Sometimes nothing would pop into my head for days or even weeks. It wasn’t pretty. I would usually go into a dark place whenever that happened. It’s pretty devastating to fall into a place where doing what you love takes a brutal toll on you. But like I said- it happens. I just had to accept that and work with what I had.

2. Writing ahead of time saves my sanity.

To piggy-back off the last point, my self-deprecation took up so much of my time and made it almost impossible for me to crank out content like I wanted. I eventually mustered up the ability to “mass produce” posts. I would write three or four posts in a day and schedule them for later dates so I wouldn’t have to worry about them the day I needed something to go up. This helped a lot during Blogmas since I had to have a post up every single day for almost two weeks. I think the best part about writing in bulk is that I can pump out a lot of content whenever I’m feeling really creative, and relax on the days where I can’t come up with anything.

3. Quality over quantity.

This one was a hard pill to swallow. Once I found time and motivation to write, I wanted to keep writing and create an arsenal of posts stocked up for scheduled posting. However, during Blogmas I realized that the short posts that didn’t take as much effort weren’t as good as the longer ones that I put more of my heart into. It took a lot out of me to know that although I was getting these posts done early, they weren’t as good as they could have been if I worked a little harder and didn’t spread myself thin.

Now I look at it as a reader instead of a writer. What would I want to read? What would I think if someone posted something like this? Would I continue to read their work?

4. It takes determination.

No successful blogger made it where they are now without determination. Slacking isn’t an option. Consistency is really important- just as important as content. Sure, breaks are great for the mind and can lead to better content, but disappearing for large chunks of time really doesn’t work. It leaves everyone wondering where you are and if you really take writing seriously. Trust me, I’ve been there. I had no motivation for this site and it ruined the great path I had made for myself. I had to almost completely start over.

5. This is a community.

I had to repeatedly remind myself that people actually read this. When I write, deep down I know that people will read it but I sometimes forget about it and throw all caution to the wind. So it’s freaky for a second when I get to meet people who read my blog and they bring up something that I forgot I wrote about. I’m always like, “HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?!” and then it freaks them out. Sometimes I really feel like I’m writing in my diary.

I found myself heavily relying on my blog to write about my feelings. This is still true at times today. I always say that I try to remain open with my readers, and although it’s hard, it’s extremely empowering at times too. When I feel like my voice does not matter, I come here and I feel heard. I can be happy, sad, or just not myself and I know I have a community here who is willing to listen.

With that, I also had to learn how to censor myself. Although I believe it is crucial to be open with your readers, a line has to be drawn. I used to be far too open and it would ultimately backfire on me. Sometimes I post about something and look back at it later in regret. Now I have to use my better judgment whenever I write about something personal. It’s hard to hold back on occasions, but it’s for the best.

 

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Meg On the Mic Ep.5 -Blog & Life Update

Excuse all the “um” ticks I disperse throughout the pod. Whenever I’m recording by myself I don’t really know how to make sentences without it haha.

In this episode, I talk about my plans for the site in the new year and ask you guys for your help to make this site the best it can be! It’s also a bit of a pointless rant at times too, so buckle up.

See you guys on Tuesday!

 

My socials:

twitter: @_megannlouise_

instagram: @meg.rosecrans

snapchat: megyloui

2019 New Year’s Resolutions

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First and foremost, happy new year everyone!

2018 was an amazing year for me. After being on and off with my writing, I made me official “return” to writing for MegannLouise. I slowly eased back into things and by the end of the year, I was comfortable enough to participate in my first Blogmas series. 12 days of writing was extremely tiring, but it didn’t scare me off. Now I’m here in the new year, still keeping up with my writing!

Every year at around this time, we are bombarded with people’s New Year’s Resolutions. I know we’re all thinking, “yeah right” every time we see one. Well, I usually don’t make resolutions because I know after the first couple of weeks I’ll give up on it (like I gave up on writing for a while). However, this year I’ve made a list of goals for this year, and by sharing them with you guys, I will feel like I’m being held accountable and I can’t give up on them. So without further ado, here is my list of goals for 2019!

Life

  • Give myself more time to relax
  • Don’t push things off until the last minute (plans, school, etc.)
  • Get active
  • Do something out of my comfort zone
  • Be more confident in myself
  • Read more
  • Journal
  • Take lots of pictures
  • Eat healthier
  • Drink more water
  • Stop using plastic straws

Blog

  • Follow a posting schedule
  • Only post what makes me proud
  • Be more confident in my writing
  • Post at least once a week
  • Meet more fellow bloggers
  • Take risks with my work

 

Thank you all for an amazing 2018 and “return” to writing. I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for me. Hopefully it will be even better than the year before!

I hope everyone has a healthy, happy, and love-filled 2019. ♡

 

 

Paying Homage to 2018

A year ago today, I posted Paying Homage to 2017, where I took time to look back at everything that happened to me in 2017 that influenced me deeply. I said that I had an eventful year, and I was looking forward to 2018. However, I couldn’t have possibly been prepared for all that this year had in store for me. Let’s go ahead and look back at all that has happened in the past 12 months. Be warned- a lot more happened this year than last year.

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I celebrated the new year with my boyfriend, Zach. We started off at my God Mother’s house, then after a trip to McDonald’s minutes before the ball dropped, we made it to my house. I wanted this new year to be rung in perfectly, so I ran to the tv as fast as I could and got ready for the count down. We made it just in time to eat a few chicken nuggets before we shared our first New Year’s kiss.

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After working at Boys and Girls Club for about 5 months, I decided to resign. I’ll keep it professional and not go into too many details, but to sum it up, the employees were not kind to me and I felt that my voice was no longer being heard. It was extremely hard for me to do, as I loved the students I got to know. The smiles on their faces made all the hard work and sleepless nights worth it. However, I knew that I would continue to be treated poorly and for my mental health, it was time to go. I’m still very unhappy with how I was treated and how nobody really seemed to care when I told them, but it’s in the past and I just hope that things have gotten better there.

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The day before my last day of work, I came home to my sick hamster, Arodite. She had been looking sickly for a while, and I wasn’t sure what was wrong. She barely ate and didn’t drink much water. The only way I could keep her hydrated was by letting her chew on a wet washcloth. It was devastating. This day had been extremely hard for her. She wasn’t moving around much, staying close to her tower of bedding she created. That night, I was in the living room with my mother when we started to hear breathy cries from the room Arodite was in. I was too nervous to check on her, so I asked my mom to see if she was alright. She said, “oh, she’s crying.” Then, just as I got up to comfort her and give her some water, my mom corrected herself.

“No, don’t come in here. I think she’s dying.”

I know I should’ve ran in there immediately and held her in my arms, but I was so heartbroken that I couldn’t face her. I ran outside and refused to come back into the house until she passed. My father, who once worked at the county’s Metroparks, put my sweet Arodite down in the most humane way he was taught. I could hear her crying and gasping for air as I cried outside.

I’m so grateful for my boyfriend for coming over late that night to be with me while I cried. I was so upset that my fuzzy little baby had passed and there was nothing I could have done to save her. It was just her time to go.

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As some of you know, my boyfriend was a grade below me in high school, so he had his senior prom this year. I dreaded going because I wanted nothing to do with high school events such as this, but I was obligated. It was a nice time back with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. Zach was the absolute sweetest to me that night. We danced for hours, then left a little early to get Wendy’s. After we finished our food, we headed to my house to relax. That’s when Zach gave me a book he made of reasons he loves me. Reading it made me cry like a baby. I was so sappy and lovey all night. All I wanted was to be cuddled up with my man. I don’t think anything has changed.

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A couple months later, Zach graduated high school. This was a special moment for him and I couldn’t go without sharing. I was so extremely proud of him, and as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma (from my dad, the V.P. of the School Board), my friends and I screamed and cheered. I ended up crying a few times too.

Being alongside him while he was working to get his diploma made it that much more special to me. I watched him get frustrated when he didn’t understand something, excited when he did, and relieved when he was on track. I knew he was ready for greater things and seeing him get that green light to do so was powerful.

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After a long, painful few weeks of bickering and disagreements, Zach and I broke up. I was devastated. But it had to be done.  Of course I was hysterical for months. I begged him to come back, but thankfully he said no. I say “thankfully” because we weren’t ready for each other yet. We needed some time to grow ourselves. Although there were many nights that I sobbed into my pillow and screamed until I lost my voice, I am grateful for our break up.

But here’s the thing- while we were broken up, we were still seeing each other. We wanted to maintain a friendship, since that’s where we started. He would come over and we would talk, or we’d go to the park or the lake to get away from everything. It was nice spending time with each other because he was such a huge part of my life for so long. It was comforting. So that is why we say that although we did not have the title of boyfriend and girlfriend, we were still “together.”

I felt the need to explain this to everyone because people were confused when we split, and even now when we say we’ve been together for over a year. Although we were not boyfriend and girlfriend for a couple months, we were still talking and loving each other just as if we were.  We like to say we never left each other’s side, so that’s why we say we’ve been together the whole time. We basically were. What’s a title worth anyway?

Since the breakup left me with many open days throughout the summer, I got to spend a lot more time with my friends and family. I got to go to my sister’s travel softball tournaments that were hours away, which was a great way to relax. Well, until my sister’s team lost, which was quite often. But getting away from the small town I felt trapped in was wonderful. I felt myself growing just from a weekend of being away. When we got back, my dad offered to take some pictures of me to boost my confidence and keep my mind off things. And that’s when this photo was taken. I really love all the photos he took of me because I feel so strong when I look at them. I see myself not letting things hurt me.

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My friends also deserve a huge “thank you” for all they did for me over the summer. They were always there for me no matter what. Whether I was canceling plans because I couldn’t gather myself enough to leave my room or shaking and crying in public, they understood. We got to make great memories together and I couldn’t be happier.

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I spent my last day as a teen this year. My 20th birthday was hot, exhausting, but so much fun. My best friends took me to the zoo and to dinner. I complained the whole time because it was scorching hot and my feet hurt, but the memories created that day were special enough to last forever. At this point, Zach and I decided to get back together, as we found it impossible to live without the other in our life. So I invited him to come with us to celebrate. Having all of my favorite people together was magical. It was a great way to spend my last few days at home before going away for college.

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On August 17th, I moved into my first apartment. I had never lived on my own before, so I was terrified. I know so many people who were nothing but excited when it came to moving out and that made me feel awful for the way I was looking at it. I thought I was babied too much and I was going to hate it, but after some getting used to, it was the best decision I had ever made. I love living by myself. I have so much more motivation to do things because nobody else can be held responsible for the end result- just me. Oh, I also went blonde that same day after battling with my dark hair for months. It came out sort of yellow, as to be expected, and it took months of toner and purple shampoo before I was able to get it to a subtle blonde. It isn’t the cutest yet, but it’s getting there.

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August 27th was my first day of school at Cleveland State University. I was extremely nervous because I had only one semester of community college under my belt and I had no idea what to expect. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get lost as soon as I got off the bus that morning. It was overwhelming, but after the first traumatizing day, I knew exactly where everything was. I was really surprised when I knew where I was going on day 2.

Now, with a semester at CSU under wraps, I feel amazing. I’ve made so many great friends in the short time I’ve been going here. I found myself exploring things outside of my comfort zone and realizing my potential while being in college. It’s crazy. Tom Hanks once said that he was “exposed to this world that [he] didn’t know was possible” and that’s exactly how I feel.

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Although this past year has been full of ups and downs, it has been the most influential. I got to see what I could and couldn’t handle which ultimately taught me life lessons. In the midst of it all, my love for my best friend grew and grew. Our relationship grew, too. After this rollercoaster ride of a year, I am very happy to say that Zach and I are as amazing as ever. We got through all obstacles life has throw our way with our heads held high. Our love for each other motivates me everyday, and something tells me it just might motivate me forever on.

2018, you were good to me sometimes…other times, not so much. But while I was going through my low points, I recognized all of my good points. I became grateful for all I had and all I would have. So thank you for giving me that ability.

2019, you’re going to be my bitch. I’m not holding myself back anymore, and 2018 taught me how to do that. I will learn from my mistakes, build off them, and prove how strong I really am.

Last year, I said that 2018 had a lot to live up to, but in all honesty, all coming years have a lot to live up to because I’ll only be going up from here.

December in Photos | Blogmas Day 12

We finally made it- the end of Blogmas.

I didn’t think I would make it this far. And I guess in a way, I didn’t. I was late uploading a lot of the time and couldn’t stick to my original schedule. However, I still managed to post 12 blogs in 12 days, and that’s something I am very proud of. My first Blogmas- at least in my eyes- was a success and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

When I wasn’t blogging, I was enjoying December and all it had to offer. I took a few pictures along the way and I thought I could share them all with you. Rather than explaining them in extreme detail, I thought I could just leave the photos to be interpreted by the viewer. So make of them what you will.

 

 

 

Pinterest Christmas Cookie Recipes | Blogmas Day 11

Hi guys! We’re back on track now! Welcome to day 11 of Blogmas!

In just a couple days, Santa will be coming down the chimney (or through the door) and delivering presents to all the little boys and girls. But before that happens, families have to prepare for his visit by baking cookies and pouring milk. Some go as far as leaving carrots for Santa’s reindeer.

Now, I’m no baker so I’m not the person to go to for recipes. And that is why I referred to Pinterest for fun Christmas Cookie recipes. I picked some of my favorites to share with you guys.

1. White Chocolate Peppermint Pudding Cookies via Here Comes the Sun

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 small package (3.9 oz.) vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed peppermints or candy canes (you can also use Andes Peppermint baking chips)

Instructions

    1. Cream together butter and sugar
    2. Beat in dry instant pudding mix
    3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well
    4. Add baking soda and flour and mix well
    5. Stir in peppermints and white chocolate chips
    6. Roll into 1″ balls and place on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat (or a greased baking sheet)
    7. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

2. Soft and Chewy M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies via Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature, 1 stick
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3.5 oz instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup red and green M&M’s

Instructions

  1. Start with preheating the oven and lining a baking sheet with Silpat silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter for 30 seconds. Add both sugars and beat for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
  3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together flour, pudding mix, soda and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and mix with an electric mixer until almost incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, add chocolate chips and M&M’s (reserving some) and stir in until well mixed.
  5. Scoop the cookie dough with a medium (1 and 1/2 tablespoon) cookie scoop. Roll into balls and place on prepared cookie sheet, spacing them 2″ apart. Press reserved chocolate chips and M&M’s onto the balls.
  6. Bake cookies for 9 to 11 minutes (10 minutes was the magic number for me). Cool on the sheet, then transfer onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

 

3. Hot Cocoa Cookies via Glorious Treats

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 25 marshmallows

Icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) melted unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sprinkles

Instructions

1. In a medium saucepan (or in a microwave safe bowl, using 50% power), melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until well combined.
4. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and blend until just combined.
5.While mixing, add the flour mixture slowly and blend until just combined.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then cover the dough and refrigerate about 1 hour. If making the dough a day ahead, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.
6. Preheat oven to 325*F. and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat type liner. Use a tablespoon (or a tablespoon sized cookie scoop) to scoop the dough, then roll the dough in your hands to create balls. Arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on your baking sheets, then flatten slightly. Bake cookies about 12 minutes.
7. While the cookies bake, cut the large marshmallows in half (crosswise). When the cookies have baked, remove from oven and press one marshmallow half (cut side down) into the center of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and bake another 2-3 minutes. Allow the pan of cookies to cool a few minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.
8. Prepare cookie icing by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl and mixing together with a whisk. Place wire cooling rack (with cookies on it) over a baking sheet (to catch any excess icing). Spoon a small amount of icing onto the top of each marshmallow, and use the back of the spoon to spread it a bit. After icing just a couple cookies, top with sprinkles before the icing dries.
9. Allow icing to set up about 30 minutes before serving.

 

 

Meg on the Mic Ep.4- Blogmas Day 10

 

In this episode of Meg on the Mic, I’m joined again by my sister Rianna. We talk about her latest obsessed Supernatural, her college plans, and how we’re celebrating this Christmas. It’s a really confusing and jumbled up pod because it was so last minute, but I hope you guys still find it in your heart to enjoy it. It’s Christmas time after all.

Rianna’s socials:

twitter: @rrose2019

instagram: @ri.rosecrans

snapchat: roseycheekz

 

My socials:

twitter: @_megannlouise_

instagram: @meg.rosecrans

snapchat: megyloui

 

https://www.noradsanta.org