This is a story about how sometimes negative self-talk can get the best you. A story about learning to value our own thoughts over our worries about what other people might think. Hopefully, it’s also serves as the encouragement you need to shine your own unique light in the world, in whatever way that you enjoy. The Novel Turtle was created to give people a smile and to remind them that they are loved. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was also created as a way for me to learn more about myself, and to work on becoming a more authentic version of myself each and every day. So let’s begin…

Once upon a time there was a young woman….no, no, no. That’s not the way to start.

This is a story all about how, my life got flip turned…No! Haha.

One dark and stormy night, I was awakened around two a.m. with thoughts of starting a blog.

I just let my thoughts wander, out through the pen and onto the page. It was a letter, written to anyone who would visit my (not yet created) blog, mixed with a lot of self-exploration. An example of the free writing I do when I’m trying to process my thoughts.

It’s titled, “Random 2 a.m. Thoughts About Starting a Blog”:

Welcome! When I started thinking about doing this, I wondered who would want to read anything I write? How many people would really care what I’m doing? What could I possibly tell people that would make them want to keep coming back? I like so many different things, how would I keep anyone interested? I like traveling, artsy things, photography, stargazing, waterfalls, animals, reading, writing snail mail, writing in general, researching random things, holidays, sports, and whatever else may tickle my fancy in the moment.

I’m not that good at writing. In high school, run on sentences and misplaced commas were my friends. There was never a paper without red marks on it somewhere. I love to write, I’m just not great at the grammar part of things.

I’m a pretty private person. Do I even really WANT to put myself out there? Is it possible to put myself out there while keeping my own boundaries in tact? Well, we’ll see.

To those of you still reading, thanks!!! I hope that you will stick with me as I learn this new process. Or at least check back from time to time to see what’s going on in my world.

I guess the better question that needs to be answered is this: why do I even want to start a blog?

Why would I want to put myself out there? What do I have to say that would make it worth everyone’s while? Let’s explore.

I have good ideas occasionally. Haha. I enjoy writing. I actually express myself better in writing. I can think about what I’m saying, reread it, and revise it if necessary. Everyone has their own life experiences, including me. Sometimes I have an ah-ha moment over the simplest things. Maybe others could benefit from those moments as well.

But what is my “niche”?

Almost every resource I’ve read about starting a blog says to “find your niche”. (Told you I like to research!) My niche is very broad and often very random. Are there others out there who would enjoy my brand of random and my complete lack of a niche?

I read recently that we can overwhelm ourselves by trying to do too many things at once. Would my interests be too broad and just be overwhelming instead of inviting? Crafts one day, astronomy the next, a short story that gets added here or there, crafty things, and then some turtles mixed in as well. Could anyone even keep up? Would it be endearing and fun? Or just annoying? Would people come to expect the randomness and enjoy it?

I know not everyone would enjoy it. You can’t please everyone…ever!

Why did I wake up thinking so hard about starting a blog??!?? Your guess is as good as mine. Like I said, random thoughts at 0 dark thirty. =)

After that night, I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough to start a blog; that no one would read it.

I told myself that there were people out there who were better at writing, better at being a people person, better at pretty much everything they did. I worried that people wouldn’t like what I had to say. That they wouldn’t like ME. I worried that people would make fun of me, or think I was stupid for even wanting to write a blog. 

In short, I was afraid of being seen. But…I continued writing in my journals. I continued learning about myself and the world around me. 

Then, in 2019 I woke up again at two or three a.m., on a literal dark and stormy night, and The Novel Turtle was born.

When I woke up that night, I sat and wrote down everything that I wanted my blog to be. I wrote down the name*, what I wanted the logo to look like, what colors I wanted it to be, what I wanted to write about, and how I wanted to do everything. We were on vacation at the time, but as soon as we got home, I put my plan into action.

At the beginning, The Novel Turtle was just about creativity. It was (I felt at the time) a safe place for me to start. A way for me to dip my toes into the world of blogging while still staying solidly behind the scenes. Along those lines, one of the things I wanted to do was to interview creative types. I intended to let them shine, while keeping my own light covered and hidden.

When I started doing these interviews, I wanted to talk with people who were following their passion, living life on their own terms, and trying to help others along the way. In addition to inspiring people to do the same in their lives, I really wanted to know what made these people tick. Partially because I enjoy learning about people in general, but also because I thought that if I could just find out their secret, it would make me feel better. And interviewing them DID make me feel better, but not in the way that I thought it would.

In learning about the people I admired, I started to see that there was no secret to what they were doing. In fact, most of them were just like me…a little nervous about being seen, feeling like they don’t quite have it all together, but still trying nonetheless. This is when a shift started to happen within me, and I started putting my name on my blog posts as the author. I started to figure out how to put more of myself into what I was doing all around. And I learned more and more with each conversation that I had, about how I personally wanted to show up in the world.

Why am I telling you any of this now?

Because 1) I want you to know that if something has been put on your heart to share or do, it might take time, but I hope you find a way to do it. You have a unique light that would brighten the world around you in ways that no one else’s can. We need more of that.

And 2) I wanted to show you how our negative self-talk can keep us from doing the things we love and enjoy if we let it, and to encourage you if yours gets the best of you sometimes too. Most of us don’t give ourselves nearly enough credit for all that we’ve been through and all that we’ve accomplished up to this point. You are capable of so many amazing things – no matter how big or small those things may seem.  

It’s hard to be yourself sometimes. Especially when you have people around you who want nothing more than for you to stay the same; or for you to be a certain way so that you fit their needs (like we all do). But I hope that this gives you the encouragement you need to try. Because we all have things that are unique about us, that we can use to better our own lives and the lives of others. We all have our own perspectives on the world, that may resonate with someone where another person’s wouldn’t.

Einstein said this: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

This is how I approach the world around me (and within me). I’m always searching for the beauty and magic that’s around me. It’s part of why I love to travel so much, even if I’m just taking a day trip. It’s why I enjoy finding feathers and heart shaped rocks and being near water. It’s why I will sit and read for hours at a time, become enamored with reflections and moss on the trees, and why I love to do crafty things.  

But there’s nothing special about me. I’m not better, smarter, or more capable than anyone else. I’m simply doing what I enjoy doing, and hoping that I can make a difference along the way. The things that I share in the “Life” section of this blog are not me trying to tell anyone else how to live their lives, but rather me sharing what I’ve learned in my own life, hoping that it helps someone else in some way too.

My original intention was always to help people, and that intention still stands.

The way that I’ve done that over time has shifted here and there, but my whole goal of giving people a smile and helping them to feel loved and seen has never changed.

I still stand by what I said all those years ago: I hope that you will stick with me, or at least check back from time to time to see what’s going on in my world. Thank you for being here in whatever capacity you are: as a one-time reader, as an Instagram or Happy Mail email friend**, as someone who pops in from time to time, or as all of the above. You make doing what I do even more fun!!!    

*The name of the blog shifted a little when I went to sign up for my domain. Originally it was going to be The Creative Turtle, but that was taken. We looked up synonyms for the word creative, and novel was my favorite. I’m glad because “novel” explains what I do and who I am in whole a lot better. =)

**If you’d like to sign up to receive my Happy Mail emails, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.