About Me: Keep Calm and Read On

After I brought The Reader blog to a close, I needed to come up with a clever name for a new blog. I wanted to do it right this time. No more boring titles. This time I wanted to stand out, and so I came upon the name of Keep Calm and Read On, fashioned after my favorite poster of all time.

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The title sure wasn't as boring as my previous blog, but, looking back, I'm not sure I achieved what I had wanted to achieve. What I wanted was a blog title that could encompass me as a person and a writer, and it would be something to make me stand out. While the title was a step in the right direction, it did not check off all of the boxes I desired.

My big conflict when creating the blog was where to host it. The Reader had been hosted on blogspot, which I was properly sick of. I needed somewhere else to host my blog. I needed something fresh. In the past I had used webs.com but I wasn't sure that was the right way to go. Wix was another option but that hosting site gave you an annoying watermark unless you paid them and I did not want to put a lot of money into anything. There was also the option of Squarespace which I was super unfamiliar with and decided to avoid it altogether (and look at me now!). All signs pointed me to Wordpress. I read several blogs recommending the site, saying it was extremely blogger friendly. I had my hesitations. My experience with Wordpress had never been a pleasant one. I always found the site to be very confusing and hard to maneuver. Despite all of the praise for the site, I decided to use Weebly. Weebly was a site I was familiar with, and had been recommended by some trusted podcasters I listened to. The prices were cheaper than Wix, and so I decided to move forward with Weebly.

Weebly was an okay hosting site. It never shaped up to be what I wanted. I wrote a few blogs and none really shaped up to my expectations. Daily podcasting became a mainstay in my life (as mentioned in previous About Me segments) but that also wasn't as rewarding as I wanted. Overall, I was disappointed in myself. I was disappointed that I'd put money toward a blog that I couldn't say I was proud of. During that time of daily podcasting, I met Nicole Rivera and we became friends over our love of Harry Potter. It was she who encouraged me to work with her on Mugglenet as an intern. I applied and earned a place on the Creative Team, interning writing 2 articles a month. It was writing with Mugglenet that helped me get acquainted with Wordpress. Mugglenet used Wordpress as their host site and I was required to learn all of the lingo required to create a good post. After a few months of this, I decided that moving my blog to Wordpress was the right way to go. Unfortunately, this really messed up my Weebly site and now none of the posts exist any longer. It kind of sucks but I'm not too upset. They weren't anything special.

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I created my new Wordpress site in the fall of 2015 and could not be more excited. I loved the new look of my site and was crazy excited about the content to come. At first I started out writing a series of blogs known as "Why This Christian Reader Hates Christian Books" (instead of books I should have wrote fiction as non-fiction Christian books can be good). From there, I had a series in December known as Fictional Liturgy where I chose a property and wrote about how it could be used as a devotional to faith and culture. I also began writing a series called Literary Cuisine, a recommendation blog where I recommended things that gave off a literary quality (in hindsight, I think the name doesn't work for my purposes but I still love it!). I brought on a few friends to write blogs about their favorite books and these ended up being my favorite blogs ever posted on Keep Calm and Read On!

After a while of working on several projects posted to this site, 2017 found me changing things up. I had created many new categories of blog posts on my site. Besides the podcasts I was working on, I started posting some book reviews again. I also wrote a blog series called Christianese, discussing Christian language and hypocrisy. During that time I also created a Portfolio page.

One of my bigger projects in 2017 was A Year of Big Books. Back in 2016, I came to the realization that I wasn't reading many big books or many classic novels. Feeling the all too familiar passion that comes with an idea, I began to map out a new challenge for myself. I hadn't think excited about a book challenge since 2012's 50 book challenge. I called it, "A Year of Big Books." My goal was to read only big books, defined as books 500 pages or longer (I can't tell you how much it sucked to find books that were 497 pages that I really wanted to read). I wrote down as many big books I could think of and then split them into 3 categories - must read, really want to read, and someday want to read. Then I set aside all of the must reads for my year of big books.

The big question became - am I going to blog about this like last time? At first I didn't want to and decided against it. At this point in my life, I wasn't sure what I wanted. The blog wasn't working as I hoped nor was I enjoying it as much as I used to. What made me decided to create a blog surrounding this adventure was the flow of creative ideas I had late in 2016. There were so many possibilities with this project that I knew I just had to dive in.

When 2017 began, I was pumped to start this challenge. The blog was created and so was a podcast feed. My plan was to write blogs as journal entries, discussing a chapter or chapters of the book I was currently reading. I wanted my journals to be witty and while based on my experiences, they would mostly be fictional as I would change things like names, dates, etc. The podcast would be set up like an audio book. I would script out an episode and read it as a book, beginning with the chapter number and title, as well as authored by Danielle Karthauser. I designed my website and couldn't have been prouder. The daunting task before me seemed all the more excited with this online edition.

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It was in the beginning of 2017 that I was jobless. This gave me much more time to read and focus on this type of thing. But when I got a job at the end of March, reading as much as I was became increasingly harder. I got to a point where not only did I find this challenge a chore but in the way of my life. It was time to let the project go, something that proved to be very difficult. In the past I had to give up on so many projects - the Reader, Talk Magic to Me, Disney Danielle, Gourmet Reader, and so many more things! No this? It was an awful feeling. The challenge truly affected me. In fact, since ending the challenge I have been in a reading stump that I am only just beginning to come out of. This will mark the first year since 2012 that I've hardly read any books, and it will mark the first year that I gave up on the most books I ever had in my entire life - 6!

With all of the chaos going on between work, life, and the creative endeavours online that always went nowhere, I started to wonder if I wasn't cut out for all of this. Maybe it was time to raise the white flag.

If you want to read all of the blogs in the About Me series, click THIS WORD!