Monday, August 1, 2016

Rejuvenating Community

Hi there, beautiful reader!

I have several amazing announcements today, so listen up!

As most of you know, I did not set out to become a blogger, much less one that was followed by readers I did not even know. Because of this, I'm 99.9% sure I did everything the wrong way. I never researched hosting sites. I didn't develop a niche until seven months into my blogging endeavors, and I never considered marketing or advertising my blog. When my first post went viral last year, I was exceedingly unprepared. 

Since then, I've started to figure some things out. I chose beauty distortion as a niche for two reasons: it affected my life every day, and it was broad enough to still include everything I enjoyed writing about. I learned how to gain partners and interact with readers via social media, gave my blog a remodel, and really started taking a writing schedule seriously. But there are still a few aspects of blogging that I totally fail at; Reader Interaction falling at the top of that list. 

I'm a teacher and a coach who recognizes that classroom communities are essential for bonding, motivation, and success. I'm honestly not sure why I thought a blogging community would be any different. In my chaotic attempt to write eloquently and market elegantly, I strove to represent myself professionally rather than personally. Which is fine, until you guys are stuck reading my opinions without knowing a single thing about me at all. 

This August, I'm setting 3 goals, all aiming to improve the community of Taxis, Tots & Polka Dots for the better. I want you beautiful souls to know my beautiful soul, and I want to know yours too. I know I'm busy, and I know that beauty distortion is important to you and it's crucial that you hear something positive regarding your body, your heart, and your life at least once a week. You wouldn't be a regular reader if it wasn't. So I want you to know I'm not taking any of that away. We're just taking a break for a little while; a little mental health time to work Because our relationship is important, too, am I right? 

I want you to help me out this month. Yes, I want to help you out, too. That's why the blog exists; so I can share my thoughts and personal stories and endeavors to remind you that you are beautiful, special, and certainly not alone. But my life gets crazy, too. Blogging is not my job. I have three jobs (student, intern, and coach), all of which require time, effort, and extraordinary patience. While some writers wake up each morning to write, converse, promote, market, etc., blogging usually winds my day down. My laptop sits on my lap while I cozy up in bed under a blanket, already in sweatpants with wet hair from a shower, and I compile some thoughts from my journal or my class notes. There's usually a cup of coffee or hot chocolate present, too. The bottom line being...blogging is not always easy for me. There are days I've had a post lined up for weeks, but there are also days I sit down Sunday night before a post goes out on Monday with absolutely no idea what I'm going to say. 

All I know for sure is... it's you guys that keep me going. I love getting your emails. I love reading your comments, tweeting answers to questions, and sharing my life with you via social media. These little moments of virtual interaction make my bad days good and my good days great. I'm setting up these goals for us, for you and for me, so don't let me achieve them alone! I want to hear from you every step of the way. Deal? 

Alrighty, then. Let's get started. 

1) Part-Time Blogger
I am returning to my original posting schedule! That's right, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. No more waiting all week for me to get a post out to you! I originally made the shift to a Monday-only posting schedule when my planner was becoming more inked than the pages of my journal. I was too busy to write, too busy to think, and even too busy to sleep. 

Don't get me wrong, I still have a lot of stuff to do, so if I happen to skip a day I've said I'd write, just bear with me. Hopefully, we can all understand that sometimes life gets crazy, and the more I take care of myself, the more I can live fully and write happily. But we're going to give my 3x posting schedule another go, so make sure you start visiting again more than once a week! 

2) A Weekly Newsletter
I want to get to know you better, but I realize it has to start with me. Someone's gotta open up first! And despite how little I trust people and how high I build my personal walls to avoid getting hurt... I'm going to give it a shot. (Good thing I love you guys, right?!) I have installed a sign-up form in both a pop-up window and the blog's sidebar, and each week I will send out an email updating you with all the exciting happenings (or lack-thereof) in my life and in blog-land. So make sure you sign up!

Unlike other newsletters, though, you have opportunities to send something back. You won't receive an email with fine print telling you that you are unable to respond to the message. In fact, you'll receive the opposite. I want to hear from you. And I expect to hear from you, too!

The perks of signing up for this newsletter soon is that you get to be my guinea pig. (Okay, so maybe that's also a pitfall...) In other words, I'm going to shoot for emailing a newsletter each week but certainly realize I might totally fail at those deadlines. We may have to switch it to a monthly occurrence, but let's not panic yet. Let's give me some time to get completely overwhelmed before I change my mind! 

3) Our First VLOG! 
I'm giving your eyes and brain a little break for the rest of today... There's nothing more to read; just something to watch! So grab a cup of coffee and head on over to my brand spankin' new YouTube Channel for Taxis, Tots & Polka Dots' first ever VLOG!

Today is August 1st, and we all know what that means... It's my BIRTHDAY MONTH! {wut, wut!!!} August 23rd is my birthday. And it's not just any birthday; it's my 21st birthday! So, I am presenting myself with a birthday challenge. As much as I love hearing from you guys and answering questions via email, I hate that I never get to know you personally! So here's what we're doing:

Step One: Watch the video. 
Step Two: Submit a question by August 20th. 
Step Three: Report back here (or to my YouTube channel) on August 23rd for my birthday challenge! 

Yes, I know my birthday is a Tuesday and I just said I'd only post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but I'll make an exception just this once... Because it's such a special occasion! We all need a break from life to celebrate on occasion, so on August 23rd, we'll take a break from attacking beauty distortion so you guys can get to know me a little better and I can get to know you! I am so excited for these news things that will {hopefully} strengthen our bond and relationship with one another.

Let's get started, beautiful!

To submit your question, please email with the subject "Birthday Challenge Question." I can't wait to hear from you guys! 

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