New Year, New Site

Hello, all! Hope you have all stuck around whilst I’ve been taking some time away from posting every waking moment. If so, I truly appreciate you and your support for my content.

With that appreciation, I now ask for a huge favor in my next endeavor. I’ve hinted at it in the past, but only recently have I taken the plunge and have gone head-first into new territory.

Yes, I now have my own domain, a new self-running website, and new content to spring at you. I want to fully dedicate myself to the world of blogging, which means each post will involve more time and effort to hopefully better serve as a resource for my readers.

So what’s new with my site? alliemaelynn.com is still just me, the same ol’ person at the keyboard typing away about whatever I deem important and inspirational to discuss. I’ll still be discussing the same types of topics I already do, including mental health, spirituality, and sustainability. These are all still very important to me.

However, I really want to hone in on these topics into one overarching goal: to help others live a life prioritizing wellness. I’ve always considered the term “wellness” as one requiring a multi-faceted understanding of physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of ourselves.

By becoming more mindful and grounded in what makes us better selves, we can then translate that into wellness beyond ourselves. We are more aware of how our choices and actions affect others and the world around us. This is where my passions for sustainability, veganism, and advocacy come into play. We establish the foundation of wellness within ourselves, and then we can focus our intentions outward.

That’s all fine and dandy, but what else is new besides an actual domain name? Since I plan to take more time with each post I write to ensure they can be easily shared and helpful for you, I’m cutting back on how often I post each week. Let’s be honest, it was already crazy busting out 5 posts every week, but I still plan on sharing 3 different posts: one post for your own wellness, one for outward wellness, and one for me just to chat about whatever tickles my fancy. As always, you can find these posts shared across my social media platforms with a new emphasis on Pinterest.

These three posts each week will also include a new tidbit at the end of my long-form rambling, and that is a mindful meditation. In a few short sentences, I’m including a spiritually inclined devotion to provide a higher focus and purpose behind what I share, as well as start the day on a gracious, humble foot. A goal for myself this year is to become more open and involved in my faith rather than tiptoe around it in fear of offending others, but at the end of the day, this is my site, and if you’re here for my opinions and beliefs, then that’s a big part of it.

Besides all that jazz, I’m just going with the flow and seeing where this new step takes me. With greater flexibility and independence on my own website, I really have no clue what possibilities could come from this, but I’d really love to be able to make my blog a “side hustle,” as the kids call it, and put my heart and soul into my work. Not like I already did, but now I have a reason to be more focused and serious about what I do as an online creative.

Again, thank you all so much for being a part of this journey. I highly encourage you to join me on alliemaelynn.com and subscribe to my posts. Share my site and posts with others who might benefit from them, and please provide any feedback you have so I can make my site a resourcefor you to enjoy.

Change is scary, and so is going into an unknown where I could fall flat on my face, but I’m ready for the challenge.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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Triple Digits

Although this occurred last week, I still wanted to make sure I wrote a little bit about it, and that is me officially reaching one hundred followers on this blog.

It was a goal of mine this year to get into the triple digits and continue spreading my outreach, and I’m blessed enough to have the foundation already early in the year for me to jump from.

I write about this thought often, but I had never originally intended much for this blog. Honestly, I had to start it to write some posts for a social media marketing class, but it quickly became a new passion. I never went into blogging with the intention of gaining followers or having much of an online presence. I didn’t have much of a plan at all. I just found how much I really enjoyed writing posts about topics I care about and sharing my thoughts and experiences with others. I looked at the logistics every day and was so excited to even have just five people view my blog each day.

When I was in twice-a-week therapy sessions for anorexia, the therapist suggested that I begin devoting more time and energy toward passions and projects that really interested me, both to take my mind off of the excruciating process recovery is and seeing myself and my worth beyond my mind’s closed perception. Years earlier when first facing this demon, I kept it completely secret I even had a problem. But instead, I realized that I could not dwell inside this darkness alone, but speak out and stand up against it.

From there, I’ve talked about a plethora of topics. I’ve reignited my interests in so many areas and have found a greater purpose in helping others, especially by being direct and honest about mental health. My blog serves as everything from a prospective career opportunity to a public version of a journal. I love how versatile it is, how I could truly say that this is my own work. I have built up this blog from the ground up and strive to continuing improving with every word I type.

I have also come to love whenever I receive a comment on a blog. I am reminded that it isn’t just me talking to a brick wall; there are now at least one hundred people subscribed to what I have to say every weekday. How crazy is that? And then hearing your feedback and insights on certain issues and feelings I bring up, I feel so fulfilled. My ideas can turn into a conversation, an exchange of perspectives, and that is so beautiful.

And here I am, not even a year later, still writing five posts a week, still as motivated as ever. For someone who can struggle to keep the momentum going on a project, especially one this potentially time-consuming, that is an amazing feat for me. This place has become so much more to me than just a side hobby. I put my heart and soul into what I do, and I take this all very seriously. It has inspired me to not only write a book featuring many of my posts and ideas, but I also now have some sense of belonging, that all of my worries and doubts when it comes to “What are you going to do with your life?” can mean something. There’s a place for me in this big wide world. It might not have a cubicle desk or fancy job title, but it’s out there.

Even though all I do is write words, words themselves cannot describe how blessed and grateful I am for even writing this post, knowing that some random person has found others who want to stick around, who care about what I have to say. Every like and comment mean the world to me. And this is just an early stepping stone on the journey, my friends. I know there is so much more to come, and I hope you’ll be right beside me. Who knows what the future holds? I’m just hopeful, too optimistic to some, yes, but hopeful nonetheless.

If I can leave with anything today, let it be this: do what you love. Whatever it may be. Don’t let others tell you that it isn’t worth doing, that you must set aside your true passions and settle for what society expects of you, what makes the highest salary, what feels like an easier or simpler decision. Listen to what you crave and work toward it. Life is too precious not to even try following those instinctive aspirations because from there, everything just falls into place.

Take care, and keep the faith. Every single one of you. -Allie

“Cool Kid” Media

If you are a college student or have friends in college and a Facebook account, chances are you’ve seen at list one person promoting an article they’ve written for the site Odyssey Online. Essentially, the website says that it is the best place to freely share whatever is important to you without worrying about “what media sells.” It’s a publishing site written by millennials, for millennials.

Admittedly, I’ve been interested in the past to see what the hype was. I know of countless people even in my Facebook friend list who I see sharing their pieces with, most of which just look like blog posts to me. Every college has its own main editor, also a student, and writers send in their work, no matter the topic, and share it to everyone they can.

As a journalism student who also has this blog, the whole premise behind having the Odyssey Online baffles me to no end. I don’t see this as a replacement for other reputable sources to submit work. It’s a very grassroots system that doesn’t involve much rhyme or reason to content produced nor any major qualification from the editors running the show. I see the pieces published no different from just writing a blog, which you can easily do on your own time. The main difference is probably that you don’t have somebody working over you and probably keeping you accountable for turning in SOMETHING consistently. As you can see, I don’t have that problem here.

I feel like this site is what young people are considering professional journalism and media these days, that this is work worthy of sharing with employers to say yes, I’m a published writer. Depending on what you’re going into, having an online footprint is important, and yes, I have shared both my newspaper columns and blog posts with potential employers. I can also see where it might be helpful for students who might not have any other options at their school lacking a journalism program or newspaper, but this isn’t a true replacement nor will it ever compete with other places.

I see these types of sites like the Odyssey Online and Thought Catalog, those “relatable” posts about random subjects that people share and say, “This is SO me.” But again, how reputable is it? How is this benefiting others? Is your information credible, as that continues to be a major issue in the media world no matter the outlet. Because from what I’ve seen, they will publish basically anything. I mean, that’s “democratized content,” right? There might be some very good, informative work out there, but we’re treating every article as equal and promoting each as equal where everybody writes about similar topics…you just get lost in the fog. Unless you’re somehow breaking a major status quo, chances are you aren’t going to write much that somebody else has already done a whole article about.

Yes, you’ll get that phenomenon with anything you write. I’m writing this blog knowing that these aren’t necessarily out-of-the-ordinary ideas I’m sharing. I don’t pretend I’m some special case as a college student writing a blog about what I find passion in. I do this knowing that (at this point) this is unpaid, entirely independent from any news or media entity. I myself chose to do this and built it myself from the ground up, earning and reaching out the followers I have in under a year. That is something I’m very proud of.

The goal of the website seems more like making viral articles that spread across social media, even if there isn’t much substance there. They’re a lot of cliche posts trying to justify millennial problems and concerns. As a millennial, I don’t see why there needs to be a separate site JUST for millennials to talk about everything THEY care about is a reason why I see people criticize the millennial generation so much. Yes, we have made lots of progress for society, but what makes us entitled to need our own makeshift Huffington Post? I don’t see any major news or publishing outlets hunting down students from some viral fluff articles they’ve written on the Odyssey.

Not to mention that the site itself is not equipped to handle the mass amount of content produced every day. From looking online for any criticism about the Odyssey Online, I stumbled upon a former editor-in-chief talking about how easily anybody, no matter the technology experience, can hack into any writer’s account because the site’s password generator is not even sub-par. Not that the content is anything private or important, if it’s everything people are sharing online anyways, but I certainly wouldn’t want to devote my hard work and time into anything actively knowing that the system is so fragile.

Ultimately, do and write wherever you desire if you enjoy doing so. I’m not judging anybody personally for being an Odyssey writer, I simply see problems with the entire concept, that media is so corrupt that millennials need to write blog posts with the “Odyssey” label attached. There are already plenty of great resources for blogging or writing articles out there, truly democratized for every single person. If I’m choosing to write about any topic that interests without any specific assignment, I’m going to do it on my own time, on my own site, and give myself that credit for being timely, hard-working, and self-dependent. And if I want great insight and professional experience, I will go to newspaper and online editors with academic and professional qualifications I can learn from, someone I respect as a mentor, supervisor, and authority-type figure. I cannot get that same knowledge from a peer in the same boat as me, not in that same way.

If this is where the future is going for publishing and writing in general, I don’t know how I feel about that. Maybe I’m just stubborn. But I still see a very high value in formal education and experience to really grow, learn, and develop as a writer. And if there truly is a problem with the media industry and being bias about what content is published, let’s fix that first before we invest into a cheaper, less established site.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie