For the first time since I started blogging, I feel as if I’ve been gagged.  I’m struggling with what to blog about, not because there isn’t anything going on in my life (there’s tons!), or because I’m feeling numb (quite the contrary).  I have some big things brewing in my personal life that I don’t feel ready to share, so the other aspects of my life feel sort of … so what?  Whenever I try to frame a post about writing, it feels like it’s been done 1000 times already.  I guess I’m just an empty vessel at the moment.  Is this blogger’s block???

I’ve seen other people ask the readers for questions and ideas for posts when this has happened to them, so I thought I might try it.  So this is officially question day.  Ask me any question you like – about me, my life, my writing process, whatever.  The more random or humorous the question, the better.  So long as the question’s not too personal, I’ll answer it in the comments.  I realize it’s a bit of hubris to assume you wonder anything about me at all, but I’m always interested in getting to know people better, so maybe this exercise will spark that as a two-way street.

Ready, set, go!  (Please consider asking a question so I don’t look like a big loser with no friends – much obliged :-))

And a question for you.  Have you ever had a blogging rut or slump.  What did you do to break out of it?

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  1. Would you like to know the precise date of your death?

    Or

    If you knew a thermonuclear holocaust would occur in precisely 20 years and no one would survive it, how would you change your present life?

    Or

    What would you have for you “last meal”?

    Wow! I must be feeling a bit morbid after writing about my last 24 hours on Earth. 🙂

    • 1. I would most definitely NOT want to know the date of my death

      2. You know, I’m in a pretty good place in my life right now -chasing dreams and enjoying the journey. I’m not sure I would change it! 🙂

      3. Last meal would have to include lots of cheese (see another answer below). I’m not sure on the specifics, but it would need to be very rich and fattening and washed down with copious amounts of red wine. Something chocolate for dessert

      Okay I’m hungry now!!!

  2. I’m doing the Picture Book Marathon this month , and I’m curious if you’ve done anything with the 30 shiny new picture-book ideas you had after participating in PiBoldMo last November. Have you gone back to sift through them yet? If so, what did you find?

    Scared to look,
    Laurie 😉

    p.s. I love your blog. Just share what’s in your heart and on your mind. No need to censor or worry about where the content will come from. And if it’s a dry spell, it’s a dry spell. So be it. We’ll all still be subscribed when you’re ready to come back–and you’ll be feeling refreshed, renewed, and recharged. 🙂

    • Thanks Laurie!

      Wow, I don’t envy you the PB Marathon. I did NaPiBoWriWee last May and thought that was tough (7 PBs in 7 days).

      But actually, I think those challenges are definitely worth it. The piece I’m about to start submitting is one I drafted during NaPiBoWriWee, and my shiny, new “can’t wait to get started” idea is from PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea month).

      So I have no doubt you’ll reap many rewards from your marathon!

      Thanks for your support and understanding too!

  3. And just to lighten the mood: favorite writing snack? I’m always looking for good ideas to keep me going. 🙂

  4. Last time I was in a blogging rut I made a google calendar for my blog posts and started writing down ideas as they came to my mind. I ended up planning each day for a year. Turns out I had plenty of ideas, it just took a little bit for the creative juices to start flowing.

    My question for you, if you were only allowed to write one story, but were guaranteed that it would be read by the entire world, what story would you write?

  5. Who is your “freebie” celebrity? I think you get my drift. If that’s too personal, I understand. 😉

  6. I hit a couple slumps. I solved the first by setting themes for each weekday. After a year, I felt trapped by it and have gone back to posting fun, personal shenanigans.

    Q: Preferred super power. Invisibility or flying?

  7. If you could have an extra day in the week where you could forget responsibilities: money and time no obstacle, what would you do with it?

    • Lara,

      I’m sure this is going to be boring, but I would use that day to meditate (for real, not just 5 minutes), curl up with a good book for hours,take an afternoon nap and then exercise (preferably outdoors). For the evening, I would take a hot bath, get ready and then have a date with my husband – movie, dinner or whatever.

      Guess I’m pretty easy to please. If someone could now manufacture that extra day, I’d sure be appreciative!

  8. Do you thank God for unanswered prayers? Is being alone scary to you?

    • I’m not sure exactly what you mean by the first question – as in prayers asked for and unanswered or things that I received without asking or praying for. What I will say is that I am very thankful for all of my blessings and even my trials, which I am convinced become blessings over time.

      Being alone is the opposite of scary to me. I love being alone, but I suppose it’s because I have my loved ones to come back to when I’m finished with solitude. If I were truly alone – i.e. I lost my family, then yes, that would scare me.

      Very thought-provoking questions…

  9. I’m new to blogging, both as a blogger and as a follower, so I haven’t hit a wall yet. I probably will soon, but at the moment I have no helpful thoughts beyond that I think what Laurie said above is pretty much right on the money!

    Forgive me if the answers to my questions (random yes, humorous, alas no!) are already on your blog somewhere and I just haven’t found them yet, but I’ll ask if you are committed to picture books or if you write longer work or hope to? And I see you’re a dog lover, as am I… I had to laugh where you said your attention span was short and you’d blog about anything, even your dog! What is your dog’s name and what kind is he/she? I have a feeling that dogs were put on earth to keep writers sane 🙂

    • Susanna,

      Great questions! I am definitely committed to picture books. I love the genre and I’ve learned so much since I’ve started writing them that it makes me want to write more and more. However, I don’t feel that’s mutually exclusive from wanting to write longer works, which I do. I am interested in travel writing, personal essays and novels (I have one YA and one adult swirling around in my head), but right now my focus is indeed on picture books. (I hope that’s an answer)

      Another dog lover! 🙂 My dog’s name is Rocky and he is a Plott Hound (some kind of German hound/hunting dog) and short-haired collie mix. I think he has some German Shepherd in him too. He’s certainly added a lot of love and color to our lives, but I’m not sure about the sanity piece. If you want to know more about that, go read the post entitled, Head Injuries and Hand Grenades. You’ll see what I mean…

      Thanks for asking. I’m definitely going to take a visit to your blog!

  10. This isn’t exactly a question, but here goes … how about a list (gotta love lists) about all the little (or big) things that distract you while you sit at the computer trying to come up with something you can blog about?

  11. I’ve been blogging for five years and have had quite a few slumps along the way. What I’ve done is take an official blogging break, declare the dates when I’ll be gone. Invariably, I wake up the next morning with seven new blog topics in my head. Works like a charm!

  12. A slump is normal. No one is that interesting all the time! The notion of blogging every day seems wearying to me, and I am a professional writer who writes two blogs….I compare “slumps” to a farmer’s fallow field….time to rest and recharge.

    I tend to write three or four posts at once when I’m “on” and store them up and run them as needed or wanted.

    I also think it prudent (unusually so) to not write until you feel ready. I’d rather read something carefully considered once a week than dashed off whatevers….

    http://caitlinkelly.com/

    • I think you are absolutely right about not writing until you’re ready, at least with blogging. If you don’t have much to say and you’re grasping, people will definitely sense that.

  13. Julie,

    I think the blogging block happens to all of us! I know I had it for most of 2010! Ha!

    Looks like you got plenty of questions already, so I am not going to add any.

    C

  14. I believe that there is something to be learned by each of the relationships that we have with those around us, good ones and bad ones! Describe two relationships and what they have taught you. Another question…do you still have that long jean dress from high school? We just had retro day at school and the kids were attempting to dress like we did back in the day….and a picture of you in that jean dress flashed through my mind!

    • Mel,

      I’ll start with you. Soul sisters from the beginning but both of us strong-willed. From you I learned courage, grace, love and perseverance. You are also my role model for motherhood.

      Another relationship which you will recall would be my first boyfriend from high school. Looking back, I am grateful that he was respectful and truly cared for me. I learned right away how it felt to be with someone who truly valued me, which I was able to carry with me as I grew older (and wiser). On the other hand, I also learned that I needed to stand up for myself more and not give everything to a relationship. So I guess he taught me about the importance of keeping life balanced, primarily because it got so imbalanced for so long.

      And finally, I can confidently say that I no longer have that long jean dress, thank goodness! 🙂

  15. Love all the questions! I’ll add one that I love asking people: if you had to choose a friend based on their taste in movies, what 5 movies do you think would best represent your ideal friend?

  16. I was there last November and its so funny as soon as you tell the world you’re on a break from blogging, ideas smack you in the head no kidding. I had to stamp them down and tell them to go away and where were they last week when i was tearing my hair out! I decided to go back to basics what I loved doing on the blog right back at the beginning and that was book reviews. It means I have to read more now so that’s a double bonus. I don’t care if people don’t have to time to see them, we can’t look at hundreds every day can we.

    Here’s my question: What’s your favorite kids movie?

  17. Sorry about the slump… I’ve had one, too. When I got pregnant and I felt awful, I just couldn’t find the words to write. My best advice came from Jody (your sister-in-law, right?) She said to change the theme of my blog… to find something that REALLY catches me. I did and it really helped.

    Now for a question: How’s it going with your book? Status?

    • Erin,

      Being a picture book writer, I have several underway. One is going out on submission as we speak (keep your fingers crossed for me!). One is getting very close to completion, and one I am very excited about but I’ve only done a first draft.

      Plus I have others in varying stages of completion or decay, depending on how you look at it. 🙂

      P.S. Jody is not my sister-in-law but I’m so glad I found her! Or rather, my husband did by googling my name! 🙂

  18. Julie,
    I know your pain. I’ve been having a hard time coming up with topics lately, too. I like your idea of opening it up to questions. Wish I’d thought of that!

    Jessica

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