Blogging Dreams & Goals for 2014

Let yourself be silently drawn...

I don’t know how this happened.  I mean, it’s truly unprecedented.  But somehow, in spite of myself, the Blogging Dreams & Goals I laid for myself in 2013 all came to fruition in some way or another.  Every. last. one.

I truly am dumbfounded over it all because typically, it’s like I’m physically incapable of ever crossing off more than 10% of the items on one of my TO DO lists.  Let alone 100%!  So, by golly I’m going to celebrate the fact that it happened because it will probably never happen again.  Period.  Amen.  So let’s rock out to Kool & The Gang!  {Pause for spontaneous dance party.}

Now, how ’bout a quick walk down memory lane to look back at last year’s Blogging Dreams & Goals?

Blogging Dreams & Goals for 2012 by The Thinking Closet

Here they were:

1.  To be self-hosted

2.  Revised blog design.

With a little help from some experts, I migrated from WordPress.com to WordPress.org this past February and underwent a major blog makeover in the process.  It was a ton of work, nightmare-inducing, and even led to a few breakdowns…but we made it out alive!  And as the song goes, it was “All for the Best.”  For those considering a migration as well or for those who are curious about the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, I wrote a 5 part series about the whole shabang.  Here it begins.

3.  Invest in photo editing software.

This one almost didn’t happen, but in the final days of December, my friend ChiWei clued me into a sale on Adobe Lightroom (which runs through Jan 11th if you’re interested).  I figured it was worth the investment considering the program allows you to apply the same edits to photos in batches (including adding watermarks).  And I’ve been spending way too much time piddling around in pixlr and PicMonkey editing photos one by one.  I’m still green to the software, so feel free to send your beginner Lightroom tutorial recommendations my way!

4.  Attend my first blogger conference.

This dream came true this past August at Haven Blog Conference in Hot-lanta!  And then I got to live it out again in the fall at a local conference, FL Blog Con.  Both experiences were extremely positive and instrumental in my growth this past year.  And you should really consider coming to one or both so we can hang out!  It’s a blast.  And no, you don’t need to be a blogger to come to Haven!  You can read all about my two conference experiences here and here.

5.  Plan out more posts.

I’m proud to say that this past March, I developed an editorial calendar for my blog posts on an Excel spreadsheet…and it has proven to be a huge help.  I’m always working a few months ahead (on my post topics…not necessarily on the posts themselves; that’s phase 2 for this year, perhaps).  I have plans to share my spreadsheet system with you all this year, so stay tuned!

6.  Revamp my “About” page.

I  tore my pitiful, old “About Me” page to shreds and took a completely different approach when writing my revamped one.  I even shared my writing process with you in a post entitled, “How to Revamp Your ‘About’ Page,” which as you may recall, was my most highly commented upon post of 2013.  It triggered an “About” page revamp revolution!  Wanna join us?

7.  Start a Facebook page for The Thinking Closet.

Wow.  It amazes me to remember that this time last year, my blog didn’t even have its own Facebook page.  And now, it has nearly reached 3,000 followers!  Pinching myself…now.  (Ouch!)  Here it is.

8.  Add new social media buttons.

Thanks to Rachel from Sincerely Peachy who designed all the graphics for my redesign this past February, I was able to add some custom social media buttons to my sidebar.  I even had her create me a YouTube icon on faith, believing that one day I’d start a YouTube channel.  And now, I have 3 videos!  What what!

9.  Create a Project Gallery.

This was one of the most time-consuming projects of the year, but well worth the effort.  Not only do I have a Project Gallery with all my blog projects cataloged by category, but this past December, I created a gallery just for my Silhouette projects.  Because I’m crazy and have over 40 of them!  See….

10.  More collaborating!

2013 was a year full of collaborative endeavors.  I served as a monthly craft contributor over at Or So She Says for the year, wrote and hosted guest posts, started a series called The Friday Five with my friend Thalita, started a Facebook group for Silhouette users that grew to over 300 members in just one year, enjoyed crafternoons in person with blog friends, got to be a part of an incredible “Share the Joy” campaign where 3 other Orlando bloggers and myself helped makeover a local Children’s Home office building…and a whole lot more!  Basically, I’m a collaboration junkie.

11.  More honesty, more mess.

I did my best to keep it real with you all here…sharing my near craft-fails, the interior of my trash bin, and my messy closets.

12.  Learn more about sponsorship.

This may sound strange to some, but I had reservations about monetizing my blog when I migrated over to self-hosted WordPress; I didn’t want to “sell out” or compromise my content for a few buckeroos.  But after doing a fair bit of research on top of some major soul-searching, I decided I would give it a go.  I published my first post with Silhouette as an affiliate this past March and went on to work with brands such as Home Depot, MOO, Scotch 3M, and Mod Podge.  One of the guiding questions that I ask myself when deciding whether or not to take on a sponsored campaign is, “Would I post on this even if I wasn’t getting paid?” and if the answer is “no,” then I bid the campaign adieu.  Life’s too short to settle, and I value my readers’ trust too much to compromise it.  And that’s what I think about that!

13.  Our D.I.Y. Wedding Series

I kicked off Our D.I.Y. Wedding Series on our anniversary this past July and slowly but surely worked my way through 9 different posts throughout the year.  Then, the holidays hit, and I realized, “No one wants to read about a beachy wedding when there are the antics of elves on the shelves to read up on!”  So, the final 3 posts in the series will take shape in 2014.

14.  Overall blogging goal: create quality content.

Really, I’ll let you be the judge of that.  But I worked my tail off on this one.  And here are The Top 10 Posts of 2013…the ones that were most popular with readers.  (And I also share three of my personal favorites.)

Now, seeing all 14 of these blogging dreams & goals come true in 2013 makes me think I need to dream even bigger and badder in this new year.  Right?  Life is short.

But I’m tempering my desires to do more with a tug on my heart to do less in some areas.  After all, my word of the year is BALANCE.  There’s certainly an art to finding that sweet spot somewhere in between too much and too little.  And this year, I’m hoping to find my “just right” Goldilocks groove.

Blogging Dreams & Goals for 2014 by The Thinking Closet

So are my Blogging Dreams & Goals for 2014 in no particular order.

1.  Cut back on “required” posts.

As I shared in my 10 MORE Tips for Bloggers post this past November, too many “required” posts makes Lauren a dull blogger.  So, I’ve already begun scaling back on the deadlines this year by wrapping up my crafty contributor gig over at Or So She Says and my weekly Friday Five series.  I have just three more posts to go in Our DIY Wedding series, so you can look out for those in the coming months.  And since I successfully completed my Silhouette Challenge this past December, I’m feeling footloose and fancy free to have an imperfect run this year.  (Though if you stop by on Monday, you just might think otherwise.  Smile.)

Too many "required" posts makes Lauren a dull blogger....  Blogging Dreams & Goals for 2014.

2.  Cut back on how frequently I post.

I firmly believe that post quality is more important than post quantity…just as post consistency is more important than post frequency (and I’m not the only who thinks that).  So, rather than writing 3-4 posts a week, I’m going to aim for 2-3 this year.  I think that even that slight adjustment will give me just a little bit more margin in my life for doing more of the fun stuff that I’ve sadly dropped the ball on of late (like responding to all of your amazing comments and setting aside time to just hop onto bloglovin’ and read my blog buddies’ amazing blogs!).  Margin = balance.  And balance is what I crave!

3.  Tackle more “quick n’ easy” projects.

I think somewhere along the line on my blogging journey, my thinking got off track, and I started to believe the myth that I creating “quality content” meant that I had to come up with something really mind-blowingly amazing every single time I clicked publish…something that had never been done before…and something with way too many steps for anyone’s good.  But then I actually stopped and took stock of WHO my readers are and WHAT you all really enjoy, and oftentimes, it’s the “quick n’ easy” Gold-Brushed Pine Cone Ornaments that get an overwhelmingly positive response.  So, I just need to remind myself of that and periodically revisit my DIY Subway Art Tutorial and re-read how dear Vivian so aptly put it in her comment:

Ain't nobody got time for that!

4.  More honesty, more mess.

Yup.  Same goal from last year…but I want to take it even further.  And I already have some plans in the works for how to make that happen, so brace yourselves for some mega keepin’-it-real-ness.  Heads up: it might not be pretty!

5.  Give The Thinking Closet a mini-makeover.

As I approach the one year anniversary of my blog’s migration and redesign, I’m starting to think of a few tweaks I’d like to make to my blog’s layout, fonts, and graphics to help improve the reader experience.  Of course, it will either take time (me learning a few more things about coding and html so I can play around in the back-end of my site without breaking everything) or money (hiring someone to help me!) or both…so it’s not the first thing I’m going to tackle in this year 2014, but it’s definitely on the wish list.  Along with a mobile-friendly version of the site!

What's next for The Thinking Closet in 2014?

6.  Provide the option for a weekly email update and possibly a monthly newsletter!  

One of the many things I learned from my Blogiversary Reader Survey was that when it comes to email updates, a goodly lot of you would be interested in weekly email updates rather than daily ones (or whenever new posts are published).  So, I have it on my bloggy to do list to set up my MailChimp subscription service to provide readers with two choices: daily or weekly updates.  And I’ve been doing some dreamcasting, as well, about a monthly newsletter that will have exciting features like my favorite pins of the month, inspirational links, organization tips…content exclusive to newsletter subscribers.  So, here’s to hoping I can get all this up and running sometime in the next 12 months!  (To join the community of readers who subscribe to my blog via email, click HERE.)

The readers SPEAK!  Blogiversary survey results about email updates.

7.  Grow as a photographer and photo editor.

In early December, we had the opportunity to sell our old Sony DSLR…and then for Christmas, Mark rocked my world with the gift of my dream camera, the Canon Rebel T5i with HD video (affiliate link).  I’m in love with the quality of photos this camera can shoot (even in low light!), and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface for all it can do.  So, in 2014 I hope to really learn its ins and outs as well as up my skills in photo editing using Lightroom.

8.  More video!

A part of why this camera in particular was on my wish list is because I have an itch to make more videos, and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about the Rebel T5i and its HD video (plus it has the little screen that flips out, so you can see yourself while filming instead of having to run around to check if you were even in the shot).  So, one of my goals for 2014 is to create at least 10 videos for you all this year; I managed 3 in 2013…so this is a bit of a jump!  Eek!  (Plus I’d like to do a slew of Instagram videos because those are just 15 seconds each a ton of fun.)  But my gears are turning with ideas for videos of craft and DIY tutorials, screencasts with blogging or photo tips, Google Hangouts with other bloggers, and even more silly songs!

Watch out, YouTube!

{Click HERE to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss a vid!}

9.  Write an eBook!

One of the items on my 30 by 30 list was to “get something published.”  And while my 30th birthday came and went last year without reaching that goal, I’m still going after it with a vengeance this year!  My initial goal was to be published in print, but after reading Amy Lynn Andrews’ series on How to Write an eBook, I’m actually really excited about self-publishing an eBook!  So, while I’m still not fully set on exactly WHAT I’ll be writing it on, I am committed to devoting a significant amount of time to this project in 2014.  My tentative eBook launch month is…September!  (I might as well have picked that month out of a hat…it was seriously the first thing that popped into my head, so I’m just following instincts here, people.  Ya gotta start somewhere, though, right?)

2014 will be the year of the eBook!

10.  31 Day Challenge in October

On the subject of more intentional writing…call me crazy, but I want to tackle the 31 Day Challenge this upcoming October.  What’s the 31 Day Challenge, you ask?  Well, simply put, you write on one topic every single day during the month of October.  Yeah, it pretty much scares me to death.  But a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.  {Read all about the 31 Day Challenge from the woman who started it HERE.  And then check out my friend Thalita’s 31 Day Challenge on Making a Home with Less Stuff.  In fact, you can see one of my comments on her post where I proclaimed this goal for the first time!}

The comment where a vision began.

(To see the toilet seat cover basketball hoop referenced in this comment, click HERE.)

The Bottom Line

I’m really excited for all that 2014 holds.  For my family.  For the musical I’m co-directing (more on that to come!).  For The Thinking Closet.  And for you, dear reader.

Truly, I am so grateful to have you along for the ride, and I’ll probably never stop saying “thanks.”  So, you might as well get used to it.

Bring it on, 2014!  We’re ready for you.

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Lovely comments so far...

  1. You are such a cool, amazing, wonderful chick and I’m so excited to see your growth! Can’t wait to watch you accomplish all of your goals this year – love you!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      I feel the love, Kirsten! You’re just one of those people that exudes it…and I know it comes from the overflow of your heart. Thank you, friend. Really excited for you, as well, and all that 2014 holds!

  2. Wow, accomplishing all of your goals for 2013 is a MAJOR accomplishment! Good for you! One of my goals for this year is to actually have some goals, haha. You may have inspired me to actually put mine down in writing! I’m definitely with you on the balance goal – it is no fun to feel like you’re being pulled in 5 different directions and stretched way too thin on all of them. I personally am most looking forward to more of your super fun videos – can’t wait to see the next one! :-)

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Ha ha. I know, I initially was resistant to the idea of “resolutions,” but “dreams and goals” feels different to me. And the act of writing them out is so useful, Meredith; I can’t stress it enough! I feel like most of my posts throughout the year are for my readers, but these reflective ones around the new year are probably mostly for me. But it helps to have a listening audience to speak it to! Especially when that listening audience is so supportive like you are. (And I’m glad you’re excited about the vids! Eek! I am, too.)

  3. wonderful! looking forward to seeing what 2014 holds for you.

  4. Another brave brave unicorn. I’m terrified to post my resolutions for fear of failure. So, good for you, and we’ll be here to help you out every step of the way!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      I can understand the fear of failure thing…but I also feel like if you REALLY want to go after them, writing them out is the best thing you can do. (Even if you don’t publish them on your blog, but write them out for you and your hubby to read.) Just that simple of acting of naming them gives you something to set your sights on. And even if you don’t reach the end point you thought you would, chances are, you’ll be further along than if you hadn’t set any goals at all. That’s my two cents!

      Thanks for your support, ChiWei. You’ve already been such a huge help to me…even today with your answering my font questions! I appreciate you.

  5. Wow! This is super super inspiring to read! I have just launched my own blog into the blogasphere from being private (I was a scardy cat) and reading this is a massive comfort! I think I need to worry less and enjoy this adventure more. I particularly love how you said you are going to post when you want to not when you are ‘supposed to’. This has been something that i have worried about keeping up with and scared I will just end up with an icky burn out at the end, so it is so refreshing to here you be so honest about it.
    Thank you so much! I feel so much better now I have read this! phew!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Congrats on the launch, Rachel! Just came back from visiting your site and it is beautiful! I love your style and writing voice…and I applaud you for putting yourself out there. I tend to be a worrier myself, so I think I need to actively choose the adventurous route where I can shake myself of those nasty old habits.

      And good for you for being sensitive to burnout. I’ve definitely felt whiffs of it creep up and then I know it’s time to change something. Luckily, as a blogger, I’m my own boss, so the responsibility to make this sustainable is really up to me. So, I’m choosing to cut back, take the slow road (as much as I can), and enjoy the ride! So glad to have you here in blogland to join in the fun, Rachel.

      • Aww! Thank you so so much for your sweet words Lauren! And thank you heaps for visiting my website! I am in awe at your blog and follow every post via email and just love it so I feel very honoured that you took time out to look at what I do! Also, So glad its not just me that feels the burnout creep up, I love how it makes you realise something need to change and I will definitely be storing that piece of advice in my brain!! Your reply has made me realise that I do need to enjoy the ride – otherwise, I guess, What’s the point!? Thank you again Lauren, you are an inspiration! I look forward to (hopefully) chatting again :)

  6. I love all your goals, for two reasons:
    1) I CANNOT WAIT for all the amazing new content here on the blog, as well as to see your photography evolve and grow. Also, have I ever told you that your “messy & real” blog posts are my absolute faves? Because they are.
    2) you’ve just totally inspired me (AGAIN!) to re-invest myself in my photography AND that “how to write an ebook” guide is perfect because I am a) sick right now, and b) also planning on writing an ebook… YIKES! But also excitment!

    Congrats on reaching all your blogging goals in 2013 – here’s to exceeding them this year!
    xx

    • I just sign here, under this comment, okay?
      Otherwise I would just write the same in other words… All that Johanna said, also applies to me.

      I feel, it’s going to be an exciting year for the three of us. And on Christmas 2014 we gift each other our books, yeah? Awesome!

      @Johanna: Gute Besserung!!
      (For Lauren: This means “Get well” ;))

      Love, Midsommarflicka

      • thethinkingcloset says:

        Okay this reply is for both of you lovelies, J & M. My first thought after reading your comments is:

        How blessed do I feel to have friends like you who delight in my goal-setting? Seriously, is this even real?

        Also, thank you for encouraging me toward more mess and real-ness, Johanna. I’m on it!

        I’m thrilled to hear that you’re BOTH considering the eBook thang. Yes, I think we all know what we’ll be giving each other next Christmas! (Though if I do end up releasing mine in the fall, I may not be able to wait until December…so an early Christmas gift it might have to be.)

        Yes, Gute Besserung to Johanna! And love to you both.

  7. What a year! 3 CHEERS FOR LAUREN!!! so happy to have ‘met’ you in 2013 and looking forward to all the great things God has in store for 2014.

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Linda, you’re such a joy-filled presence in blogland, you know that? So glad we “met” last year, as well, and I’m excited to see what our heavenly Father has up his sleeve for you and your sweet family!

  8. How exciting that you met ALL your goals for the year! This makes me want to set some for myself, so thanks for the inspiration! I started doing only posts that were required of me, and really let my blog slip…so sad. So here’s to doing what inspires me!! That always makes for better reading anyway, right?

    And congrats on your T5i!!!!! I got the EXACT same camera back in October and I can’t even tell you how in love I am with it! I’m excited about doing tutorial videos this year too! I found a “for dummies” book on Amazon that is made SPECIFICALLY for the T5i. It’s definitely more of a reference book than a read cover-to-cover book, but I can’t tell you how much info I’ve found in it that I’ve put to good use! Did you know this model has a meta-tag feature you can turn on so that you’re name is imbedded in EVERY photo you take, just in case some other pesky person tries to “borrow” one of your photos to make money off of one of these days? I’ll still watermark, but it’s good to know! LOVE THIS CAMERA!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      So glad you’re feeling re-inspired to post on what inspires you…and not based on deadlines. Yes, deadlines can be good, but we both clearly know that they can quickly stifle our creative juices. Hopefully we can both turn that around in 2014!

      And no waaaaay! You have a T5i, too?! And I had no idea about the meta-tag thang; clearly I haven’t even cracked open my manual yet. I’ve just been playing. But I might need to look into that “For Dummies” book you mention. Sounds like a wealth of valuable information! And, since you have a few months on me, guess who I’ll be coming to with my random T5i questions….? ;-) Ha ha. I promise not to harass you. Too much! Lol.

      • Well, I’m totally no expert, but feel free to harass me at your leisure! My one tip for you if you haven’t tried it for yourself…TURN OFF THE FLASH! Even in low light. If you’re still getting used to the camera on the automatic setting, turn it one click over to make the flash stay off. The colors on your photos are SOOOOO much better. Faces aren’t washed out and everything looks rich. The camera adjusts the ISO settings to make it work for you. <—- I totally sounded like I knew what I was talking about right there, didn't I?!? :D

        • thethinkingcloset says:

          Ha ha. You totally DID! And I abandoned flash long ago (thanks to my husband’s warnings). I’m really impressed with how well this camera does in low light, too. It’s AMAZING!

          • Yes avoid flash whenever possible unless you have an external flash. You’ll get the hang of shooting manually and master shooting in low light conditions. A tripod is helpful too. Can’t wait to see how your photography evolves. When our 3 feet of snow and ice melts, I want to get out and shoot. Been a crazy winter in Michigan. When I saw the photos of your bedroom reveal, I thought you might have acquired a new camera. I haven’t kept up with your posts and missed hearing about your new camera.

          • thethinkingcloset says:

            Thanks for the photography tips, Sandy! You’re a pro, so it means a lot! (I mean, the fact that you were able to figure out that I had a new camera before even reading about it speaks volumes.) Yes, I’m getting more and more comfortable in manual mode and in low lighting (the tripod is my friend). I’d love to even take a class someday…in all my free time, lol.

            Oh yes, I do hope you can get out and about to snap some pics soon. It’s so worthwhile to take pictures just for pictures sake, isn’t it? Sometimes I forget about that, always taking photos for blog posts. Thanks for that reminder, friend!

          • Lauren, when it comes to photography I’m an amateur. I have barely used the video on my camera. You’ll pass me up in no time :). I wish I had half your drive and energy. It will be exciting to watch you reach your goals this year. I’ve always admired people who have the ability to stay focused and motivated. My brain is all over the place so I have to keep my list short so my goals will be more manageable. This year I’d like to focus on healthier eating and more exercise and use my camera more this year. I got into a big time slump this winter.

  9. What an extraordinary year it has been for you. This is such an inspiration! It seems like every time we interact or I migrate over to your page I am learning something new. For instance Blog Lovin. Just signed up and I already had followers for my blog. Who knew?

    I am so thankful for Hannah virtually “introducing” us. I must give credit where credit is due and I don’t think I would be as far along with Weekend Craft if it wasn’t for you and the ladies in the group. I feel like I am a sponge just soaking it all in. Cannot wait to see what lies ahead for you in 2014. Much love!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Ha ha. So glad you’re finding my site useful! That’s what it’s here for! And yes, bloglovin’ is amazing. I don’t get on there as much as I used to, but hopefully with these dreams and goals about cutting back and achieving more balance, I WILL have time for more leisurely blog reading. (And of COURSE you already had bloglovin’ followers. Because you’re AWESOME!)

      Yes, I, too am glad Hannah connected us. It was definitely meant to be! For as much as you are soaking up, you are also giving back girl. We’re blessed to have you with us in the S.C!

  10. Great Goals, I actually have a lot of the same ones on my list this year. I have come to the same conclusion that I need to post better stuff, post less, and do quicker projects. So, Good Luck to Us!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Great minds, Brenna! And you’ll be proud of me – - I tackled a “quicker” project today. At least, the first half. As long as it turns out as I hoped, it should be post-worthy next Thursday! (Baby steps, right?) And thanks again for the tip on the RIOT ad network; applied tonight!

  11. I was enjoying this year with you and now that I see it all listed before me, I had not really realized how quickly it moved along. I loved every minute and am truly looking forward to the creative videos and ideas for the 2014 year.
    I am not saddened or disappointed by your choice to limit your blog posts. In fact, I think it’s a very healthy move. You can get into overload mode and that makes a person frustrated. I feel by limiting your time blogging that you will indeed become more productive and creative.
    I Wish you and Mark a blessed 2014 and can’t wait for the goofy videos. (She grins from ear to ear)!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      It did move along rather quickly, didn’t it? Karen, you have become a true friend over these months together; and your comments and emails and support mean more to me than you know.

      And thanks for affirming my decision to cut back a bit on my blog post frequency. I need to hear voices like yours (instead of the voice in my head that always shouts MORE MORE MORE). I get the sense we might be cut from the same cloth in terms of our work ethic; and while it can be a good thing to strive for perfection, it can also lead to unhealthy living. Time for some changes!

      I’ll pass your well wishes on to Mark. And I’m already scheming up some goofy vids just for you! ;-) Happy 2014 to you, as well!

  12. You are amazing.

  13. Love all of your goals! I think they’ll all be super beneficial and worthwhile :) can’t wait to see the changes you make!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Aw, thanks, sweet Kayli! I appreciate your unwavering support. Wishing you a year filled with joy (and juice!).

  14. So super fantastic.

  15. Thank you, thank you for your post here! I was scrolling through the linky party at Sew Many Ways and saw your Blogging Dreams and Goals for 2014. I have a lot of the same goals and was very excited to see your goal about investing in photo editing software! I have been pulling my hair out on Picmonkey, Free Illustrator, iPhoto etc. trying to find one that fits, easily :) One of my goals this year is to create a pdf sewing pattern for my shop. I need to be able to insert text on photos and insert into a document to convert to pdf. So, on my way over to check out Adobe Lightroom and crossing my fingers. Good luck to you in 2014! I will be checking out The Thinking Closet :)

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Adobe Lightroom has been WONDERFUL for editing photos, but I’m guessing if you want to create pdfs of text on photos, ILLUSTRATOR will be your best bet. Hope you can find something that works well for you (that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg)! And thanks for your support.

  16. Lauren you have done SO MUCH in one year! I can’t say I’m surprised you got all of your 2013 goals accomplished because it’s you – you can do anything! I love all of your goals and how you’re totally keeping it real with us, sharing all the hows and whys of what’s coming up on The Thinking Closet. Obviously my favourite is your commitment to the 31 Day series in October. I can’t wait to see what you come up with because I just KNOW it’s going to be soooooooo good!!!!

    One last thing: Is it September yet? I want to read your book!!!!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Thanks for the incredible vote of confidence, my friend. Seriously, whenever I need a pick-me-up, I’m just going to run a “search” for comments by “Thalita” and just bask in the glory of your affirmations! And I’m super stoked about the 31 Day Challenge, though I may need a ton of pep talks and maybe even some Google Hangouts with you beforehand to keep me from chickening out. I’m not 100% sure I can do it, which means I’ve gotta try, right?

      Ha ha. I need to start writing that book NOW if I want to get it done by September because I’m such a slowpoke. Bit by bit, bird by bird, right?

  17. Love your goals Lauren! I’m so impressed with how you accomplished your 2013 goals! Maybe I should write some down?!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Totally, Emily! What is it they say… People who write down their goals are MUCH more likely to accomplish them than those who don’t. Seems logical, but if you think about it, you might as well dream and goal big because there’s a good chance it’ll get done!

  18. Loved this post! And as always I had no doubt you’d take over the Blogging World and surpass every one of your goals.

    You know what’s ironic? I see myself in the weekly posts. I remember I asked you why you were stopping it? And a funny thing happened over Christmas. I realized I don’t want to write mine every week as well for the exact reason you wrote. I don’t blog on a schedule, I blog when I have something to say or write. And this forced my hand at it and quite frankly, didn’t work the way I wanted it to. So I think while I’ll keep the “notes” going, they just won’t be scheduled every week, but only when I want to share something or have a good pay it forward to talk about.

    And you know I love the quality over quantity. I’ve read a lot of bloggers NY Resolutions and the one theme that appears over and over it for everyone to Slow It Down and Less is More. It’s like we’re all coming to the realization that everyone posting every day has caused this hamster wheel of everyone trying to keep up with the next blog. And all it’s done is burn everyone out instead. Going back to writing and doing projects b/c you love them is huge.

    PS – the quick and easy thing made me laugh b/c I TOTALLY AGREE!! That was another revelation. When you realize that we as bloggers see the best of the best 24/7 and yet we forget that what is ‘dated’ to us on Pinterest, is brand new to someone looking for an afternoon craft or present to make. The K.I.S.S mantra is the way to go.

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Love how we’ve come to a very similar place in our journeys with the whole “required weekly post” thang. It definitely was a worthwhile exercise for me at the time to have a regular deadline (and I did skip a few weeks in there), but once that exercise had run its course, I knew in my heart of hearts it was time to bid it adieu. Thankfully, Thalita and I were both on the same page. I think I said this to you on Twitter when we were tweeting about it all, but “to everything a season.” And as I get older, I think I’m getting better about allowing there to be a revolving door on my projects and ideas. I can see that it’s not beneficial to force things to work when they are past their prime. Anyway, all that to say, I hear ya, sister. And I’m proud of you for taking a step back from the regular Northstory Notes (though of course, I’ll savor them when you DO feel motivated to share them in the future).

      Ha ha. And I think I need to tattoo K.I.S.S. on my forehead…because I say I want to work it, but when it comes to writing EVERY SINGLE POST, I forget it! ;-)

  19. Even though I don’t always get to keep up with your posts, I eventually read every, okay most every, word. This is part of the reason that I appreciate your goals and dreams post entirely. It’s so cool to be part of your adventure, and congratulations on all of your hard work. The Lord is blessing your efforts!

    I never did thank you for featuring my menu board in your Summer Showcase. So, thanks. :) And please know that you are inspiring plenty of us out here in blogland. Not only with cool crafty projects, but you also inspire my efforts to set goals, for example. In another life, if I didn’t already have a very keen passion for teaching, I would wish to be an expert blogger like you!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Emme, this comment blessed me so much when I read it on January 15th and again nearly ten days later. Seriously, I have the goosebumps after reading that last line. (And isn’t it wild that I’m a teacher, too! Just was able to start this blog when I switched from full-time to part-time, so who knows…maybe a blog is in your future! I’d be your first follower, by the way.)

      Also, I’m in the process of responding to your amazing email! You sure know how to inspire me to keep on creating and sharing. A thousand thanks!

  20. Lauren, this all sounds really great and I am ready to see whatever you put out- it is all really mind blowing to me ! On a separate note when you were mentioning different products you use etc, unless I glossed over it, do you recommend an online photo backup for your blog or other? thanks and keep it rolling! Loving it!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Thank you sweet, Kelly! You’re a gem-and-a-half!

      And YES I have an online backup for my blog that I just started using this past fall, and I love it because I don’t have to think about checking it. It’s faithful and runs a back-up every night. It’s called BlogVault, and I think it’s something like $9 a month, which is worth it to me for the peace of mind. I’m terrified of losing my blog content because of a hacker or glitch, so this helps keeps my fears at bay. Here’s my affiliate link if you want to check it out (and I think there’s a free 7 day trial, too): http://blogvault.net/?src=4D6689

  21. These are wonderful goals! I’d love to publish an e-book this year, too — we’ll see about that. ;) And HOW did I miss that incredible video of yours?? You are just amazing, Lauren! LOVED it!!

  22. I echo Mark’s comment. It is clear that you are disciplined and have a supportive husband. It is also clear that God has been faithful in helping you accomplish your 2013 goals and more.

    I love that you are pulling back and looking for more margins this year.

    A great goal for all of us, your readers, to model!

  23. Rock on Lauren! You have definitely found your sweet spot and I have no doubt you will accomplish your goals. You have the drive, stamina and focus to channel your creativity into something marvelous. I have never seen a blog grow so quickly and engage their audience so authentically. You’ve found a wonderful medium to express and hone your skills. Loving your camera. I’ve got a canon 60D with hd video. With photography, the possibilities and growth are endless. Love the comment your reader left regarding too much detail “ain’t got no time for dat” you crack me up! So glad I met you in cyberspace.

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Wow, I feel so empowered after reading this comment, Sandy. And I’m reminded of the fact that you have such a wonderful way with words. Thank you for those affirmations. I’ll strive to really embody those qualities you spoke of!

      So glad I met you, too, Sandy! The world wide web is a wonderful place because it has put me into contact with so many other kindred spirits like your sweet self. Hugs!

  24. I am soo happy I found your blog (via pinterest). Loads of blogging inspiration and tips!I Offically stalking the post on your “blog migration story. I have been searching online on how to add social media buttons on the sidebar of my blog (like on your let’s connect.It is almost the end of the first quarter and I need to brave myself to do a similar post!
    Yef

  25. Lauren,

    I am so happy for you that all your blogging goals from 2013 were accomplished. Super excited for you for what 2014 will bring. And I am already getting inspired again for next year. I am guessing this mutual relationship will continue for a long time.

    Thanks Lauren for sharing!
    Tosin AK

  26. Hi,
    Being home sick in bed has made for a fantastic blog research day! I have been having a good read of your whole site today. I really liked the top “10 tips for new bloggers” and “10 more”. The sites you recommended such as pixlr look really simple to use and will definitely add a lot to my blog. I am just starting out so it has been great to see how you have developed over time, I love that you met all your goals last year and I’m sure you will reach this years too!
    http://opalsdreams.wordpress.com/ is my blog

Trackbacks

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