Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Different Way of Thinking

My brain is always working, trying to figure out how to finance the sunroom I've always wanted, or how to buy the hot tub Mr. Tide and I would both enjoy slipping into after a long day of yard work.  So I'm always thinking about the next story I can write or the next photo shoot I can do.  I'm what you might call and expert schemer!

This can be frustrating at times, especially since the economy has had a major impact on print media.  Almost all publications have tightened up their belts in order to stay afloat, and as we all know, some of our beloved magazines could no longer keep all of the plates up in the air, and they went under.

I've been lucky, even though I could never pay the bills on my own with my writing and photography alone, I've been able to help at least a little.  Writers don't really make heaps of money, though I think that some people think they do...and no one wishes this was true more than me!

So about 6 months ago, I decided to pursue photography which is more lucrative, but the competition is even more fierce than that of a freelance writer, so I knew that it would be an uphill battle.  My goal was to maybe work for a few magazines in time, and to do some fine art photography with a little portrait work too.  People, like my friend Fifi O'Neill, and the editors at several other magazines have been SO good to me!  Fifi believed in me and gave me my first opportunity when I shot some bedding for Romantic Country, and then the Ekster Barn shoot, and for both of those assignments I will be forever thankful!

I know a lot of people look at Fifi and think, wow I wish I lived her life.  Trust me, she works like a dog, and way harder than I would ever want to.  She is constantly on the road and schlepping heavy furniture and accessories hither and yon to get the perfect shot, so I don't envy her, but I do admire her!!

Today, while sitting at my make-up mirror I began to think, something I always do, but today it was different.  Instead of thinking about what I "need" or "want" I began thinking about the way I think about things.

Last night Mr. Tide and I spent the whole evening just hanging out.  First we went out in the kayaks and  it was a perfect evening.  When we got back we went for a dip in the neighbors pool and that was wonderfully relaxing.  As we floated around in the pool we talked about how nice it would be to have our own pool...or that elusive hot tub.  And of course that conversation always gives way to our need for a truck, college tuition, and all of the other "stuff" that is a priority over the fun extraneous things we have to pay for in life.

So this morning as I revisited our "wouldn't it be nice to have" conversation from last night, it dawned on me...I've been looking at life the wrong way.  I've been out there trying to grab the brass ring when it's been sitting here in front of me the whole time.

Now if you think I'm going to wax poetic on appreciating everything I have, I hate to disappoint you because I'm not.  I do appreciate every single thing I have, most of all my family and their health and happiness, but there are still things I want.  Things like a hot tub that I know would do both Mr. Tide and me some good, so I need to figure out how to make those things happen and so far what I'm doing hasn't been working.

I have to face facts that editors aren't lining up to use my photos and the stories aren't going to get any more steady.  So what's a girl to do?  Well I sat down with our latest credit card bill and began formulating a plan.  We use our credit card to buy almost everything because we pay it off each month and we get cash back, so it makes sense to use it.

I have to admit that I was amazed, and frankly a bit appalled by our spending habits.  So I'm taking the reins, cutting the fat, and getting back to basics so that we can afford a few of the luxuries in life.  Our biggest area for cutting back...eating out!  So Panera, I love your Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, but for now we will have to just be once a month friends!  And Target, you know I adore your pretty kitchen products in lovely bottles, but you gotta go hun, since I'm the only one who admires you I can go with something a little less attractive.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and I "need" a hot tub, and a few new lenses, and a truck.  Not that those things are going to be bought with some simple cost cutting techniques, but every little bit helps, and in time I know I'll get all of those things.  But more importantly I hope to get my life back!

All of the time I spend contacting galleries to represent my work, sending off query letters to magazines, creating vignettes on my blog in hopes I'll catch someone's eye can now be spent on staying close to home, working in my yard, kayaking, and enjoying what I already have while saving money.

When I first stated my blog, I remember visiting another woman's blog and reading her post.  She was stopping her blog and in that post she wrote about how she wanted to get back to doing the things that inspired her to start her blog in the first her case it was running.  At the time I remember thinking, "what, give up your blog, but it's so much fun, why would you do that?"  Now I get it.

I'm not giving up my blog, I don't feel like I need to do something that extreme, but I will be making some changes.  I won't spend nearly as much time online, it just isn't good for me, and I won't take pictures because I think someone else might like them, I will take them because I like them.  I also won't browse stores, both online and in real life and think to myself, "oh that would be perfect for a blog post on _____________!"  

How many of us out there in blog land have spent money that could have been better used some place else in order to create a post that other people would like?!  If you haven't ever done that, well good for you, but I have, and I'm done now.  The question then your blog running you, or are you running your blog?!

So see that pretty little seagull container in the pictures above?  Well it will be my last "me" purchase for awhile.  It came from one of my favorite stores, Traditions of Loveville, and I love it, but the truth is I didn't "need" it.  And I have 2 portrait shoots scheduled this week, so I'm getting "real" about what can and can't make me money as a photographer.  If the magazine editors start calling, well that would be great, but I can't sit here on the computer feeding a dream that may never materialize.  Instead, I will hone my craft whatever way I can knowing that it will all pay off in the long run.

And that hot tub will become a reality, just not right now.  But when it does...those jets will feel mighty good, kind of like finding my way a little bit this morning as I move into a new and different way of thinking!


  1. Bravo to you, Kat! It takes some bloggers a VERY long time to figure out that a free blog should be just that... FREE! There was a time when I purchased 'cute' stuff for the purpose of being able to photograph it and talk about it on my blog. I finally figured out that if I didn't spend my money on junkie little things I don't need that there would be money for camera lenses and the more enjoyable things that I REALLY wanted.

    Now, we have never been the type to buy a lot with our credit card. In general the thought is that if we don't have the cash for it, well then.... we don't buy it. I see so many bloggers fall into the 'buy stuff to show on my blog trap'.

    As I said... Blogger provides us with the opportunity to blog for free. If we are crazy enough to buy all that junk then suddenly it's not so free now is it?

    AND, sitting here in this chair all day is not good for the health of anyone... at least not me!

  2. Great post, Kat. I will admit my blog runs me. I should cut back and then something will come to mind and if I don't do it then or write the thought down it will be gone. I try to keep my posts going to bring it the little extra money from google and sponsors, but I have let things go for sure and spent money since I started this venture. I hope you get more stories or more photography shoots.
    Oh, and by the way I saw three red dragonflies while cutting the grass yesterday. Woo hoo!

  3. A very nice and honest post today, Kat. Being a bit new in this blogging world, I think I still feel I am doing it for myself. It has led me to purchasing a better camera and my interest in photography (not professionally) has zoomed. I love capturing the world around me and once in a great while, a photo comes up that just makes me want to put words to it. I guess it inspires me. I hope that continues. And if it starts owning me, then adjustments need to be made.
    I love the community of people I'm beginning to meet .. some very very talented folks out there!!!

  4. Amen, amen and amen! I've got credit cards I don't pay off every month, so shame on me and I've got more work to do than you. But I know how many times I've gone into a store because I was bored. Or browsed a website for a new pretty. I haven't bought so much as a magazine in a month. Just the necessities. And I'm with you all the way!

  5. You know, (since we've talked about it before) that many of us are experiencing this same shift. I am amazed at how little I spend now, and how often my daughter notices that I have not left the house except for work. Before I would do the "wander around the store" dance when bored.... I have very little monthly income now but it is going farther. Imagine that!

    Better still..It feels good...we all say less is more and eventually we know it to be so true, and truly take it to heart....We get our priorities in line and make it about what we truly need to be content. I have clients tell me they feel like they can breathe again...and for me less blogging has meant more breathing time for me <3

    I remind clients all the time. None of us is taking any of it with us when we leave...and I for one do not wish to leave "issues" for my loved ones.
    ( I am going to get that post done eventually lol)

    anyhoot. Hear! Hear! Great post. I so wholeheartedly agree.
    Kudos to us for feeling the shift and acting upon it. My word for the year was seems to apply for me in many areas.


  6. Amen. I'm sitting feeling lousy and thought maybe I would just read one or two I scanned through and saw yours. I am also a planner. I don't think all that much about stuff...I think about places. We love to travel and we also have to travel to see our daughter and my dad. I'm always trying to figure out ways to take the trips to see family and also take the trips that are just the two of us, that are much needed. I think we would all be surprised if we paid attention to the things we spend money on that we don't need.

    My recent blog break made me realize that the world didn't come to an end when I stopped posting or visiting. I did lose 1 follower...I'll live through that. I'm glad you aren't stopping your blog but I'm also glad that you aren't going to let it own you. I think there are two types of blogs and I enjoy reading both. There are those that feel professional, have the most followers and get attention from the masses. Some of my blog friends have gone in that direction and sometimes I wish I had gone that way. However, there are also blogs that you feel as if you are "chatting" with the writer over feel as if you really could be friends and that type just felt right for me. I think you may be headed back in that direction and I enjoy both sides of Kat!

  7. Kat this is a great post and I so agree with the way you are thinking. I wrote a post along this vein about being our authentic selves. Sometimes hard to do in blogland, but it is the only way that it feels right and good. I think good things are about to come your way, you are making the effort for them to happen. It will be fun for us to hear about your journey. I wish you well and happiness along the way. I love your honesty and your images are beyond beautiful, xo Kathysue

  8. I love this post, Kat.

    I'm not a brilliant blogger as I simply don't have the time to create something fantastic or original or to repaint my house so I post very infrequently. I have on times beaten myself up over this however I work full-time and have two kids and I want to spend time with them. I'm so conscious of the fact that my son is 13 and in just 5 years could be going off to college that I am realising how precious our family time is. We go away on holiday in a fortnight and I can't wait as I know how great it will be for us all to relax and get away from the pressures of home and school etc. I find it very hard to unwind and am constantly on the go. I'm really busy with Etsy and then the ironing doesn't get done so I feel a failure!

    As much as I love the world of design and inspiration that blogging has opened for me I now find I'm getting confused as there is so much inspiration out there I find it hard to make a decision. I love so many homes on so many blogs that I now no longer like mine!!

    Our plan is to do what we have to to the house to keep on top of things but not to overspend in other areas so that we can make the most of holidays before my kids want to go away with their friends instead of us.

    In my head I want to simplify but my life is just too hectic to let me!

    I applaud you for your decision and hope you manage to get your hot tub. You will enjoy it so much more knowing that you made sacrifices to get it.

    Good luck, Sam

  9. Brava Kat! After all, what are we doing it all for? Like you I have a certain amount of business feedback from my blog, but I realised how uncomfortable I felt if I were pushing too hard, trying to please or trying to sell.

    On the frugality issue, I think it is a positive pleasure to work out priorities. You can never have enough of what you don't really want. When you have what you truly want, you are content.

  10. What a coincidence that I just wrote a post about 'letting go' on my own blog! I love the honesty with which you write. Yes, we can all acknowledge that we want things and that we often confuse want for need. It's a normal human emotion that gets amplified to the Nth degree in a pathologically commercial society. But it is possible to pare it down. I think you've taken some very simple but effective steps to do that.

    And questioning your motivations for doing whatever it is that you do is always a good thing. The means should never be the end, such as with blogging!

    I look forward to following your journey into increased simplicity. Good luck! :)

    This Good Life

  11. Great post! I'd like to think that I'm running my blog, not the other way around, but I do feel guilty when I don't post, and I have been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to get a few posts ready to launch for when I'm on vacation next week.

    I haven't bought anything just for the blog, yet, and I hope to keep it that way. On 1 income, we can't really afford for me to start buying random things for other people.

    I know that your goals are just around the corner. You're so smart and talented that that hot tub will be yours eventually.

  12. This is such a great post, Kat! I am glad you are having clarity in your life! I try very hard to use my blog as a personal artistic outlet rather than something I feel obligated to do...I just want to LIVE my life, and if I have something I want to share, then I'll share it!

  13. Another coincidence... I wrote a post today on blogging. For me now, 1 hour blogging in the morning before the world is up and that's it. My family comes first. As I do sit in front of a computer most days for work, I do get distracted as comments come in but yes time is precious and blogging can become all too consuming. Good on you for setting some guidelines. I too am simplifying my life. Less spending, less possessions! Problem is now I am being distracted by all the 'simplify your life/zen' blogs! A-M xx

  14. Kat, You are so "right on" about so many things. Good luck on cutting back and on "gaining control" of blogging. I love to blog to, but it has taken up way too much of my time lately. Many things have "gone by the wayside" because of it. Sometimes there are just too many things in life that we need to do or that we enjoy doing. A happy balance--that what I'm going to aim for. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend. Always enjoy reading your posts. Mickie :)

  15. good for you kat. i dont blog but i follow a ton of them and it has crossed my mind about the "behavior" that seems to be happening. to tell you the truth ive never thought that way about you.uve always felt you offered a deeper meaning than some craft blog. of course what you have said happens outside of the usual blog post. eating out etc.
    i hope that makes sense.
    the other day i saw where a blogger showed where she hides all her vignette(crap) supplies. everything on the outside looks neat and uncluttered but when you open any door or drawer you have the multitude of stuff crammed together.
    im not trying to hurt anybody i just wanted to give you and example of the crazy behavior ive seen.
    enjoy your life in a way thats meaningful. kudos to you.

  16. There's a lot in this post - it bears reading and re-reading. We each need to turn toward the things in life that make us happy, feed our souls, fill our needs........whatever. I think that posts like this are real and I like real blogging.

  17. I can honestly say that I run my blog. I have been tempted to buy things just so I can photograph them. In fact, I may have done it once or twice, but I get to keep the things, so no worries. Everything you say here is something I've felt. I need to take a trip and go kayaking with you.

  18. Congratulations!!! Life is simply too short to get caught up in all the materialistic things and forget about the simple treasures. Spending time with your husband and your kids is so much more important than buying a bottle. I'm the same way. Trying to make the very best of this gift the Lord has given me - my life, my family, my friends. Along the way, I will take photos of what I see that makes life so great. I support your decision 100% and hope you get your hot tub very soon. I can't think of a nicer way to spend an evening!

  19. Kudos Kat, another thought-provoking post. I don't ever remember spending money on a post, luckily the beach is free and is my favorite place to blog about. I've spent the last few years downsizing my life — this came from necessity in this economy, but it has had a "freeing" effect on me as well. One thing I know for sure, I can't keep up with many bloggers out there when it comes to their possessions, but I'm okay with that.

  20. Thanks couldn't have said it better!

  21. Hi Kat!

    Just letting you know I wrote a mini-review of a number of blogs I like on my blog and it includes yours. I hope it generates you a little more traffic and interest.
    You can find the post here:

    This Good Life

  22. What a great post Kat! I go in spurts with blogging. Sometimes I'll blog a few days in a row, then other times a week goes by with nothing. I've always been a "journal" type person, so I love writing down my thoughts. Blogging is like that for me. Sharing what's in my heart. I hope my blog doesn't own me, but you've given me something to seriously think about.
    Thank you for sharing, and opening our eyes a little more.

  23. Wow - your post was like reading my own life. I'm so happy that you came to this realization - it's exciting to see this and I look forward to seeing how you transition in this area of your life. Your words really touch the heart and I'm constantly amazed at the amount of talent you're an inspiration!

    I hope you & your family have a wonderful 4th of July weekend.


  24. You wrote a very thought provoking post today, Kat. I totally get what you're saying. I must say, though, I blog because I hope to inspire others like I've been inspired. I can't tell you how reading other's blogs has helped rev up my creative juices, get me thinking outside the box, and try new crafts and projects. I'm finding a new "crafty me" via blogging - and I love it! Painting, stapling, Mod Podging, staining, photography, creating vignettes that are pleasing to my eye.....all things that I've learned how to do better because of blogging.

    Now granted, I have spent alot more money because of blogging, too. That's definitely the down side to it all. I see things other's have and think, "Wow, I need one of those!" and off to Etsy I go. Bad for my credit card. Really bad, since I don't pay it off every month. It's gotten out of control and I'm ashamed.

    But all in all, the friendships I've found in blogland continue to bless me and I am so very grateful for everyone out there who continues to inspire, support, encourage and love me.....just the way I am. ♥

    xoxo laurie

  25. If I could make it happen I would bring you our hot tub that we have stopped using and I have rheumatoid arthritis and probably need to use it but don't. It is terribly time consuming to keep it clean so we shut it down. I run my blog most of the time and it is all about balance. I realize it can get out of hand. I do want a better camera but tuition is the thing right now! This post was terrific and I appreciate it very much.

  26. A few years ago hubby and I put "things" in the "want vs. need" category when we went shopping. It changed my entire way of thinking. Another thing we did was to leave the credit cards at home. This worked because there were no impulse buys. All our fine tuning has helped us get through this economy for the past two years!

    But I would love a three season porch! I hope you get your hot-tub soon! Good luck with your photo shoot and your budding business!

  27. Dearest Kat - what I love about you is that you SAY what we all think~~~ times are tough for all of us - and measures have to be taken in order for us to realize our priorities. I admire you for stepping up to do whatever is necessary so that you can treat yourself to some luxury - because you DO deserve it.

    You know - we love to travel - and we spend some bucks on our travels - but we make consessions to do so - a cruise for us is our Christmas gift to each other - so no presents are exchanged at our house. I try not to buy extra stuff either - (I already have enough to sit around)-

    I hope you soon realize your desire to have that hot tub - it will bring youhours of enjoyent and will make you feel like a million bucks!


  28. Ugh - that last sentence got by me before I could make corrections to my horrible typing - sorry for all the errors!

  29. I think we must
    always do what is
    and good
    and right
    Good luck with
    pursuing all
    those things
    that call to
    your heart and
    Happy Fourth of July : )
    xx Suzanne

  30. Kat,
    I'm glad you're not totally giving up blogging 'cause when you think out loud, you provide a "voice" to thoughts many of us have.
    This is a wonderful post sharing so many of the same things I've been bouncing around. I have stepped away, but like you, not signed off completely. Reading this reaffirmed it doesn't have to be one or the other, but a reality check of how to manage life.
    Thanks...and save a place for me next to one of the jets!

  31. Great post, Kat! I know what you mean. I really need the income from a real job. And enjoy painting when it is only for me- not for others! Don't leave us!


  32. I just read something on Maya's blog today that said something like "what you focus on you attract" which really hit home with me because I do believe it's true. Hope you focus on pampering yourself at least for a little bit because I know how hard you work at everything you do Kat! I just know the hot tub, truck and sunroom are right around the corner for you my friend. xo ~Lili

  33. I'm also noticing due to economy times less paper being printed. People are not just more green but they also concerned about all the cost of all the paper.


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