A writing home


Tap, tap. Is this thing on? 

Heeeeey, there. You know that thing when you stop blogging regularly and then you come back and it feels a bit ... awkward? Like when you bump into someone you haven't seen in a while and it takes five whole minutes of uncomfortable small talk before you start to feel at ease again? 

That's how I'm feeling right now. 

So how about we get the five minutes of uncomfortable small talk out of the way? I'll go first.

I'm goooood! Everett just finished preschool, yep. Uh-huh, starts kindergarten in the fall. I know. They grow so fast. Mmmhmm. Carson's 2.5. I know, he's really small. Yep. We do feed him a lot. Work? Work is great ... yep, the book just came out. How's it doing? I have no idea. Yes, really. Nope, nobody tells me anything. I think it's doing okay? Yeah, people on Instagram seem to like it, so ... I think it's doing fine. What else is new? Well, Brett and I just started Whole30. Mmmhmm, if we finish that without divorcing or killing each other, I think we'll call it a success. 

(You insert your small talk here.)

OKAY, I'm feeling better. That was a good warm-up exercise.

In fact, can we just start over now?

Hi. Thanks for being here. As you have definitely noticed by now, I have a new blog with a very boring name. The long story involves a blog identity crisis, a writing crisis, a name crisis, and like seven other millennial-ish crises, but the short story is this: I outgrew Where My Heart Resides. And when I say I outgrew it, I simply mean ... it didn't fit me anymore. Like your favorite old dress from freshmen year of college that you wore all the time, but then, two babies later, one day you realize you can't zip it up.

Over the past year, I have thought about quitting blogging more than a dozen times. 

My inner dialogue went something like this:

Nobody reads blogs anymore.
This is a waste of time.
This is a waste of energy.
This is a waste of (Internet) space.
But seriously, didn't the experts say personal blogging is dead?

And while I wish I could tell you I came to a crazy aha moment where I defeated all of those thoughts and proved them false, I didn't really.

I came to a super simple aha moment instead: 

I really love having a writing home. 

That's it. That was my great epiphany. I enjoy writing, and I enjoy having a place to put my words. 

I know tons of writers who have mastered the art of submitting their work to online publications and magazines. I thought about doing this for a while. I thought maybe I could give up my blog and just pitch my writing around the Internet instead, a vagabond writer of sorts. However, that process has never appealed much to me. Don't get me wrong -- I've dabbled and submitted writing here and there over the past few years. I've been accepted a few times and rejected more than a few times. But I always seem to land back here, at the ole personal blog. With a growing site to run and two tiny kids under my roof and super limited childcare, turns out I'd rather spend my time writing and hitting publish than worrying about whether or not other people want my writing. 

And I know that's easy for me to say, because I've had my "big break" so to speak. I've got Coffee + Crumbs, and the book. I know what it's like to have a post go viral and what it's like to see my work on the Huffington Post. I am incredibly grateful for all of those things, always have been and always will be. 

But if I'm being honest, with myself and with you, I now see those things for what they are: a sheer moment on the peak of a mountain. You work your butt off to climb to the top and immediately stop to enjoy the view. This is amazing! It's beautiful up here! Wow! 

Eventually, though, you have to descend to flat ground. You can't live at the peak of a mountain forever. And I guess what I've come to learn over the years is this: my personal blog has always been my best flat ground.

This is where I get my equilibrium back. It's where I rest. It's where I don't have to try to be anything other than myself. It's where I feel safe, and grounded, and the most ... me.

Keeping a personal blog is not about chasing anything. It's not about the numbers or the stats or some random editor's opinion. It's about feeling at home. It's about feeling free. It's about making connections, big and small, with the people who occasionally read these stories. It's about taking the words swirling in my head, transcribing them into (hopefully) something beautiful, and hitting publish with a big exhale. 

So, whoever you are, whether you followed Where My Heart Resides for years or you're brand new here today, welcome. While I can't promise you this blog will entertain you or inspire you or challenge you or change your life (definitely not), I can promise you two things: 1) I will continue to show up here for as long as the act of writing brings me joy, and 2) I will offer you my best work. 

This is not where I publish my rejected stories, or my second best, or my leftovers. This is my writing home. And if you were in my real home, I'd offer you my best -- the best dishes, the best food, the best lit candles, the best of everything. Same rules apply here. Welcome to my house.

I started writing on flat ground, and I believe I will stop writing on flat ground. No matter how many mountain peaks I see in between, this is where I begin and end. 

So RIP, Where My Heart Resides. We had a really good run, and I owe you a lot. Personal blogging may be dead, but I think I still have some life left in me. 


Ashlee Gadd

Ashlee Gadd is a wife, mother, writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. When she’s not dancing in the kitchen with her two boys, Ashlee loves curling up with a good book, lounging in the sunshine, and making friends on the Internet. She loves writing about everything from motherhood and marriage to friendship and faith.