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It’s Existential Crisis Time. And I Could Use Your Help.

Look. The fact that this post happens to be appearing on Valentine’s Day is pure coincidence. With the home-cooked meal we’ll share tonight, accompanied by a glass (or two) of red wine, followed by a piece (or two) of exceptional chocolate my mom sent us, this night really won’t be different from many others.

I know.

It’s a rough life.

If you’re new here, it’s important for you to know that Justin and I don’t really do Valentine’s day. It’s not that we don’t like to be romantic or shower each other with gifts — it’s just that we don’t like anyone else telling us when we have to do it. Sometimes we buy each other funny gifts just to mock the entire thing, but we’re foregoing the gag gifts this year all together in light of the fact that I’m officially, officially unemployed, and we have a kitchen remodel to accomplish. And nothing, to me, is more romantic than the idea of updating our kitchen.

That, and the fact that Justin made me bacon this morning.

What can I say? I’m a lucky girl.

A lucky girl, who — despite all of these really phenomenal aspects of my life — still finds herself directionless and dejected.

ExistentialCrisis_web

Still.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole blogging thing and how, in light of the fact that I’ve been rejected (and more than once) by my dream company, that it’s time, as they say, to shit or get off the pot.

And I hate to resort to the grossest of all clichés, not to mention the fact that my mom (hi, Mom!) is cringing at my use of the word shit, even though I probably first learned it from her mother (hi, Grammy!), but you know, it’s just the absolute most rightest phrase to use at this moment.

Because I’ve been sitting on this metaphorical pot for almost four years.

Four years!

And while it pains me to compare my blog to a crapper, especially because there’s some really good stuff here, sometimes I treat it as such — an emotional toilet into which I can dump all of my otherwise wasted thoughts for the day. And that’s not cool.

So.

This is me.

IMG_3564

Yes, I’m as awkward as I look.

And this?

DomestiphobiaHeader_Wine

This is my safe place.

I don’t want to get off the pot. I think I might actually be a little bit in love with the pot, and it’s been here for me through all of these years, and like, I don’t know, maybe I’m the guy whose butt cheeks got superglued to the damn seat, but here I am. Keepin’ her warm.

But it might be time to introduce a little thing called professionalism into the mix. Like ceasing use of the phrase “butt cheeks” and perhaps refraining from toilet metaphors in general. And also, if this is my job, I should probably have some sort of organizational plan to keep everything in check — make sure I’m not listing left of crazy and dumping you with half-assed posts about feminism or social media before I’ve even finished my coffee. I might still have those posts, sure, but they’ll need to focus around a centralized theme.

See, ever since Andi over at Misadventures with Andi mentioned her blogging tree, I knew I was in trouble.* The idea is to have a common focus, or “trunk,” if you will, that keeps everything connected. That way, when you come here, you kind of know what to expect. You’re not all, “Oh, yay! Here’s this badass hippie feminist chick — I can’t wait to read more of what she has to say next,” only to discover that what I next have to say is that the dinner I cooked last night was damn tasty, or that wallpaper removal is something they should only make criminals do to knock time off of their sentences.

*Update: Please see the comments below for a clarification about the blogging tree. I linked to it because I found it to be a bit of a much-needed “duh moment” for me — a basic guide to improve my writing and clarity on this blog and potentially a very GOOD thing for me to refer to that wouldn’t negatively affect my overall writing style. :)

So. What is my central theme? I thought. How can this oddball mix of randomness have a theme?

And I realized.

Wow.

It’s domestiphobia. The fear of stagnancy. (Gold star for the obvious answer.) My posts about learning to cook, dining out foodie adventures, travel, and (mis)adventures in home improvement can all branch from that trunk, but I’m not doing a very good job of showing it. And, what’s worse, I keep writing all of these random “filler” posts that don’t really go with the theme at all. Because I assume that if I find something interesting, you should find it interesting as well. And sometimes you don’t. Which is totally okay, but then I’m like, “Whyyyyy? What am I doing wroooooong?” And then I spend the rest of the day feeling bad about myself. And sometimes those posts are the most fun to write. And sometimes you actually do like them. This recent post about my crazy college neighbors, for example, was one of my most popular (share-wise and comment-wise) posts as of late.

And so I find myself at a crossroads.

How do I professionalize my blog, thereby attracting more of you lovely, engaged readers (because nothing makes me happier than when you have something to say about what I write), but not lose that thing I love about blogging? The spontaneity of it all? The emotional release?

Decisions have to be made, and it’s not going to be easy.

I’d made a mental deal with myself awhile ago that I was no longer going to write about blog issues on this site, because that’s like the manager at Best Buy complaining to his customers about overhead costs and employee shenanigans, but I’m breaking my word. Because I have to know:

Why are you here?

What do you like about Domestiphobia that inspires you to share it with your friends?

And, perhaps more important, what embarrasses you about reading Domestiphobia that stops you from sharing it with your friends?

It’s my use of the words “butt cheeks,” isn’t it?

It’s okay. You can tell me.

Also, if you feel like it, you can answer this little poll (you can pick more than one answer):

I would be forever grateful if you left your feedback in the comments below or, if you’re they bashful type, email me: katie@domestiphobia.net. Also, I’ll try to never, ever ask you to do actual work when you come here again.

Okay? Okay.

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Katie

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Comments

Kat Richter
Reply

Number 1) You’re blog is awesome and I’m always jealous of how cool it looks so stop beating yourself up. Number 2) I’m pretty sure I bought those same red shoes that you’re wearing in the rain this past summer. (With the intention of wearing them when TWD and I went to Spain together… best laid plans! LOL!) Number 3) I totally hear you… you know I’m going through the same thing– trying to figure out why I want to keep blogging and what to keep blogging about. I think what makes your blog unique (and why I enjoy reading it) is because you post about cooking and home improvement without taking yourself too seriously. You also have a great sense of humor. I think to head towards greater professionalism, you need to do exactly what you said– reign in the complaining about your blog (of course you can do it privately any time you want– I’m always happy to listen and give feedback) and stop second guessing yourself all the time about what you’re doing with your life. We’re all guilty of it but lately I’m trying to keep those sorts of posts private (as in written in my journal, not on my blog)… with varying degrees of success of course! But don’t lose your voice– your voice is funny. If you want to say butt cheeks or shit, say it :)

Katie
Reply

This was like… a huge ego boost and motivational at the same time. I needed that. Thank you, Kat! (P.S. Those shoes were beigey/brown, but red would’ve been SO much cuter.) :)

Andi
Reply

Blogging is like life and blogging advice is like life advice, sometimes it works work for you and sometimes it doesn’t! I am anal (use of that word is totally like butt cheeks!) and like process and organization and direction, so giving myself a plan via my tree (which a blogging coach taught me my 2nd year of blogging) really has helped me a lot, but I also think sometimes it restricts me (see the grass is always greener on the other side!) because sometimes I just want to blog about how I feel that day. I am always questioning myself too – “do people even want to hear about my day?” “it would be weird to suddenly switch my blog, should I split my focus and start another blog” stuff like that. That is why I think blogging is like life, you are always searching/striving to make it better! I agree with Kat, I love your sense of humor, that is what draws me in. But it is also about the writing. There are a lot of bloggers out there and a lot of funny people, but they can’t always write, and I will never stick around to a blog that is not well written (or has a bad design). The second best piece of blogging advice I ever got was in my first year of blogging at my first blogging conference from a righteous chick names Megan Jordan of Velveteen Mind, she said “OWN IT” as in you own your blog no one else, do what you love, write what you want and don’t make excuses. I don’t think I ever felt confused when I came to your blog (I am going to make a note to remind myself to tell you if I ever get that feeling) everything has felt like it fit. Your style is “life or lifestyle blogging” and one of the greatest (most profitable) bloggers out there is in the same category – Dooce – not such a bad role model.

Katie
Reply

Ahhh you are SO right! I do need to get better at owning it. I think like old high school insecurities, people can sniff it out when I’m not confident about a post. Thank you so much for the motivation. And, for what it’s worth, I would definitely keep reading — and probably enjoy your blog even more — with more personal anecdotes thrown in! Your life, that city, the FOOD — it’s all fascinating to me, and probably a lot of others. :)

(Oh, and Dooce. If only all of our lives could be that dramatic, eh?) ;)

Andi
Reply

Ok missy, I had to come back to comment again. I write about my blog drama and get maybe 1 or 2 comments. You blog about your blog drama and you have dozens of freaders following over themselves to tell you how much they love you. That in and if itself should tell you all you need to know!

Katie
Reply

First, when have you written about blog drama?? Second, I want to re-iterate, in case you didn’t see my comment on Facebook, that you are in no way responsible for triggering my crisis. That was happening LONG before. In fact, your tree was motivational and the first solid schema I thought I could possibly follow (without constraining myself too much) to make my blog better. Your site, from the quality of the writing and photography to the beautiful design and organization, is absolutely inspirational. It’s why I keep coming back. (That, and your food experiences. I never get tired of it!)

Andi

Thanks Katie, that is thrilling coming from you, your blog inspires me on a weekly basis!

Penny
Reply

I’m here because I’m waiting for Domestiphobia to become a sitcom – written by you! Now is your time – if you were employed, you’d be complaining that you didn’t have time to write. So maybe someone’s trying to tell you something. So listen. I’m here also, because I’m the one wh
o cringed when you said ‘shit’! MOM

Katie
Reply

Sooo… I should write a show about a bunch of 30-somethings who are afraid to settle down? Shit, mom, hasn’t that been done a million times? ;)

(I love you!!!)

shelly@ohshellsbells
Reply

I come here becauase, well i feel like we’re somewhat kindred spirits. is that too weird and overly personal from an internet stranger? like you, i often feel like i’m going in a 1000 directions with no compass a lot of the times AND i also have a blog that i worry has no central theme. i just can’t force myself to narrow it down. but your writing is funny, so i’m gonna echo what the first commenter said, no need to apologize or second guess yourself so much.Your blog reminds me a bit of the blog Brittany, Herself. She does some opinionated editorial type posts, but also a lot of cheeky stories about her daily life, and the occasional short post about something she likes (like todays valentines movies for weirdos. http://brittanyherself.com/aside/romantic-movies-for-weirdos/) So i think its ok to be all over the place, but it’s important strike a good balance between the types of posts. Also, play to your strengths, you seem to have a real knack for DIYing and home remodeling and since you’re in the throes of another remodel, maybe share about that? FYI I am totally using your industrial closet idea, i have a spare bedroom in my apt and no closet space in my bedroom so it’s getting turned into a walk in closet! Whatever you do, don’t give up! I love reading your posts!

Katie
Reply

1. Thank you!!
2. Not overly personal at all — at least not for me. I’m like that, too. (As you know.) :)
3. Great. Now I have ANOTHER blog to read. And I know she must be awesome because she likes the movie “Timer.”
4. Thank you for the advice! I’m definitely going to try to do some more home improvement posts — when we actually get around to that whole improving part. Ha!
5. YES!!! Please, please, PLEASE send me pics when you finish the project. People always say they’re going to do it, but then they never send me pictures. And let me know if you have any questions!! :)

DeeConstructed
Reply

Knock it off. Just. Stop. Seriously, I found you because I needed to know what to do to jazz up my his/her closet and you’ve since become one of my ‘net besties. And, my closet still isn’t done. And I haven’t seen another damn project you’ve done since. And – I DON’T CARE. I come here because you’re real and sincere and all over the freaking map. Quite frankly, you match my ADD tendencies perfectly not to mention providing a break from my daily chores. If you all of a sudden went ‘pro’ on me and got all focused and wrote about the same things day in and day out I think I’d have to wield a chainsaw and chop your damn tree down. (And you know I could do it too. I’m badass like that.) So what I’m saying is if you need chump change, get a part time day job. Seriously, get out of the house, go file papers or stock shelves or scan 10 items or less somewhere but do not, I repeat DO NOT turn this website into anything remotely corporate. Capiche?

Katie
Reply

HA! (Like for real, I lol’d reading this.) Okay, I’ll meet you in the middle — I’m still gonna flat-out go for monetization, but I’ll attempt to do it without compromising my non-corporate vibe. Deal? And projects coming soon!!! (But it is hugely flattering that you, the Queen of DIY, stuck around, regardless of my lack of project-orientedness. Kinda makes me feel special.) :)

DeeConstructed
Reply

More like Queen of Eff It Up & Figure Out a Way to Hide the Mistakes. Why do you think I hate open concept kitchens??? When I drop food on the floor, no one is supposed to be any wiser. Monetize the hell out of the blog, that’s not what I’m talking about. What I mean is do not sanitize yourself for the sake of making money. Don’t let anyone take your colorful voice and force you to speak in monochrome to make more green. Too many people have already sold out like that. Don’t be a lemming.

Katie
Reply

Isn’t QEIUFOW just the long definition of DIY? :) And thanks, as usual, for your brand of no BS tough love. It’s like a virtual slap in the face. (The good kind.)

Christina
Reply

I really like what Andi and DeeConstructed had to say. I stumbled across your blog last year when I was searching for pipe closet pictures. I instantly loved reading your posts. All of them. I don’t know you, and this may sound creepy- so I’m sorry- but I feel like if we lived near each other I would want to be your friend. That’s just meant to be compliment. Basically, I just relate to you, your opinions, your experiences and your randomness. I do think following the blog tree will add some organization. I think that can be done without being overly professional and without detracting from your blog’s personality. Or, would that be your personality? Anyway, I would think there is a way to connect the more random posts to the blog tree by sandwiching them within a core theme somehow. This may seem odd, but I think of my pastor at my church. He will tell a funny story that seems completely unrelated to the sermon topic, but somehow he makes it all fit together and work out in the end. So, maybe try a version of the blog tree. If it doesn’t work out for you or your readers, then you can chop it down- or let Dee do it :-)

Katie
Reply

You know, so many people apologize for sounding creepy, but it’s SO not. It’s the biggest compliment. So THANK YOU! I’m so glad you decided to comment. :) Comparing it to what your pastor does was a really great analogy, and I think I can try doing it to better hone my writing. I forgot where I heard it, but one of the best writing tips I can remember is, “Yeah, but what’s your point?” I could stand to remember that sometimes. And if it doesn’t work, we’ll definitely call in Dee. ;)

Ashlie
Reply

I love this blog and I’ve never felt confused by it. The topics range but it’s all coherent in my experience and I enjoy the variety. I would think that growing your readership and your ability to monetize your blog will be contingent on you being YOU. People read because they connect with you and like you and think you’re funny :) But every once in awhile we’re due for a crisis thingy. I’m dealing with it right now too. Just blame Mercury in retrograde (whatever that means) and keep on doing what you do.

Katie
Reply

That means so much to me, Ashlie! I feel like you’re one of the most genuine people I’ve never met. And, I suppose, even if I didn’t grow the blog immensely by being me, the alternative would be to NOT be me, and I can’t see how I could keep that up. So, really, it’s my only option. (Clarity!) If there’s anything I can do for you, or if you just need to vent, let me know. Your world was turned upside down pretty quickly, and adjusting — or figuring out what to do next — can’t be easy.

Meg
Reply

Im here becoz a guy (A GUY – actually our mutual friend Kevin) recommended you. And I have liked what you write even tho I havent commented very much. I like the eclectic nature of what you write and the honestly with which you present it. I like that you don’t preach and are willing to face what you believe are your personal shortcomings in public. You are a good writer and your blog always engages me. I dont think you need a tree or a plan or a map or anything else like that. Just keep writing from your heart becoz in the end that’s what all of us find the most appealing and is what keeps us coming back for more. Variety is the spice of life and the variety of your subjects makes every new something I look forward to. :)

Katie
Reply

Thanks, Meg!! Coming from an artist, that means a lot. I hope that personal shortcoming thing doesn’t come back to bite me in the ass one day, but even if it did, I can’t apologize for putting it out there. It helps us all stay in touch with our own humanity, I think. :)

Julie
Reply

Well, maybe in in the minority but my opinion is: who the f*** made rules and guidelines and standards and TREES about blogging for goodness sake and why would we be inclined to adhere to them?? I for one just read your blog because a. It’s usually something I can relate to topically b. it’s witty and meaningful, even in an obscure remote way at times c. you’re interesting, honest and open d.It always seems sincere and genuine and e. if I wanted to read really some strict-rule-adhering written prose I would just but a magazine that’s had all the humanity edited out of it. Be you.

Andi
Reply

Hi Julie, Andi here, the one responsible for the tree! It is just one method, one that has helped me immensely on my blogging path which I have shared over the years in the hopes it may help others, but trust me, I am not a tree nazi or anything, I really support people doing whatever the hell they want as long as they feel good about (which is why my second piece of advice is “own it.” My intent is not to offend anyone or tell them how to blog, much like other things in life, religion, politics, etc. I respect the fact that people have different approaches to just about everything! Katie rocks and I wouldn’t change anything about her or her blog ;-)

Katie
Reply

Ha, okay, I’m thinking I should’ve explained better about the tree. That was my fault. :) One reason I linked to it is because the tree was my “duh moment.” I’d been looking for quite some time — years, actually! — for some kind of guideline to help me tie my blog together. And that’s really all the tree is — definitely not a strict set of rules or standards. My trunk, for example, would be the concept of “Domestiphobia.” And one of the branches might be “Food.” And the branches off of “food” might be “recipes” and “dining out.” But the “duh” part for me was the trunk — that one thing that could tie my blog together. I wouldn’t really have to change much about what I write about, and in fact, it might help me improve my writing by learning how to focus on a point. (Something I could stand to learn, considering the fact that some people read the tree as a bad thing when I’d intended it to be good. :) ) Another reason I linked to it is because it was provided as part of a series on Andi’s blog — something else I’d like to consider trying. I’m not nearly structured enough in my blogging to attempt doing certain posts on certain days, but I like the idea of having occasional series whenever the mood strikes. So basically, her blog provided inspiration for a couple of simple things I could do.

That said, you’re absolutely right — I shouldn’t turn my blog into magazine prose just to get advertising. That would be disingenuous, and even I would likely lose interest in it eventually. While it’d be great to earn some money from it, I certainly don’t want to turn it into a “job.” Thanks for keeping me straight. :)

Dee @ Deeconstructed
Reply

I’m in the middle of my first series. It bites. I’m bored. I just want it to be over. OVER. I want to write about something – anything – else. Don’t do it. Unless it’s like 2 posts. Yeah, go with that – a ‘to be continued’ in lieu of a blog miniseries. (Note that to do this you have to do smaller, easier projects. I’m all about that from here on out too.)

Katie
Reply

Ha, I meant more like quirky “theme” posts like “Tasty Tuesday” for cooking posts. Except I’d probably try to avoid the alliteration because all the cool kinds are already doing that and I couldn’t restrict myself to certain days of the week because that makes me want to shoot my own eye out. So. The idea is a work-in-progress. :)

NovaBlast
Reply

Didn’t vote because there wasn’t a

“I’m an awesome blogger and shouldn’t change a thing i was just having a bad day but realize i’m awesome now just the way i am” choice

Im here because i randomly found some person who quit their job to go make sauce in another country and then kept posting stuff that looks great but will never actually try because i’m single and therefor don’t put any effort into cooking and this person was also a real person great writer and wrote interesting stuff.

“in light of the fact that I’ve been rejected (and more than once) by my dream company”

btw as for being depressed about people not hiring you …do yourself a favor an hire yourself …. watch the videos on my training main site Robert Kiyosaki wants to have a word with you and read my blog over again lots of good quotes and my ramblings about them there to . :)

soo yea this is normally reserve for soup but in your case “NO VOTES FOR YOU!! “

Katie
Reply

HA! This is why you’re awesome, Eugene. :) Maybe I should just go make condiments in a foreign country again, huh?

I think I am going to start focusing on my freelancing business again and take it a bit more seriously this time around. Thanks for the Seinfeld reference and for making me laugh this morning!

Colleen Brynn
Reply

I can’t even answer that poll because none of those answers reflect how I feel about you or your blog. I have to say though you had me scared for a minute talking about getting off the pot… I thought you were going to say you were quitting blogging and then I started to wonder what I was going to do for my necessary doses of Katie. Just email you regularly I guess and annoy the shit out of you.
I totally get what you are saying about spending time on a post and having fun doing it and thinking it is so great and then no one picking up on it. I’m like WHAAA! And yes, I can’t help but be a little hard on myself after the fact. Well there’s that, and also the fact that my stats in no way reflect the quality of blog I feel I have. So then sometimes I wonder if I’m kidding myself. And what I am doing wrong. And sometimes I just don’t care and want to quit. But ultimately, I enjoy blogging and I would be doing it even if only my mum and her friends read it. I’ve since grown to see blogging as a way to connect with people (and not just amass the most readers in the world), and I have come to make some wonderful friendships with people through this. Please never stop blogging and please never stop being yourself, your domestiphobic self.

Katie
Reply

You know, I’m not even sure if I *could* stop. I think I might be addicted. When I think about it, this is the most consistent thing I’ve done… ever. Kinda sad, but kinda wow. I think I have a problem with commitment. :)

You’re right — there have been some incredible things that have come out of this blog, including some amazing connections I’ve built with people I otherwise never would’ve “met.” And now, for some reason, I’ve got Winnipeg on my list of places to see! ;)

Sarah
Reply

Please don’t get off of the pot, if you did then what would I have to read!

Katie
Reply

Haha, thanks Sarah! I’m still keepin’ it warm. :)

Ding Dong, The Mint Is Dead. | Domestiphobia
Reply

[…] Thank you so much for your incredible responses to Friday’s post. I’m still soaking it in and turning some ideas around. If you haven’t yet, feel free […]

Stephanie
Reply

wanted to respond to this properly but currently only able to type with one hand. but i really like your blog. i like the posts that are more about you than about food or places. i like your voice. i am happy when you post but also like that you don’t post every day. those kind of blogs are just too much commitment.

Katie
Reply

And so it will be, for the next 18 years. :) I *wish* I could do more of the meaningful posts, but I just don’t have it in me. As a would-be travel blogger, it bums me out that food and travel are the least popular posts. So I have some thinking to do! I definitely won’t be posting every day, but I could maybe amp it to 3 times per week…? We’ll see. Think you might ever blog again??

Stephanie
Reply

Three times a week is a nice amount. There’s nothing wrong with your food or travel posts. I rarely read travel blogs because they just make me annoyed that I’m not actually traveling. And food posts I tend to just skim unless I’m interested in the recipe. Restaurant reviews only feel relevant to me if I’m going to that city.

I hope to blog again. Ideas are coming back but the necessary stretches of time are currently limited. Also, have been having technical issues with wordpress for the last two months.

Katie
Reply

Well now’s the best time to travel with the little guy. He’s basically a potato and, if it’s working out that way, his food is pretty portable. ;)

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