2021 Mid-Year Update

Life

*UPDATED TO ADD*
I wanted to create a quick addition to the start of this post to say that I am beyond humbled and so appreciative of all your amazingly kind, supporting, encouraging, and loving comments below. You’ve touched my heart in ways that words cannot explain. When I wrote this post, I didn’t expect such a response or outpouring of love. In fact, I was feeling bad about not being as active with my postings lately and just wanted to explain and apologize. You have overwhelmed, encouraged, and inspired me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here’s to many more years of Inspired by Charm and this beautiful community.

 

Friends, how is 2021 treating you? I can’t believe we are almost halfway through the year. As I grow older, time seems to just go faster and faster. Does anyone else feel this way?

Given that we are at this point in the year, I thought it would be a good time to check in with you, share a little update, talk about the year, and chat about what’s on the horizon.

While there is nothing major happening, I’m always a bit hesitant to share these more “personal” posts. So much has changed in blogging over the past five years or so that posts like this seem almost taboo. However, I’ve felt the tug to write a little update, so here I go.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

A QUIET 2021:

If you follow the blog closely you may have noticed that things have slowed down somewhat dramatically after a very busy holiday season. This year’s gas felt really different. I assume it’s the combination of the dumpster fire that was 2020 and just feeling what I’ve determined to be a need to pivot.

“The need to pivot.”

I came across the following thought in a meme and it just hit a nerve of truth for me: “I want you to stop confusing exhaustion with unfulfillment. You aren’t tired, you’re unfulfilled. Give yourself permission to pivot.”

I have been blogging since 2009 and it has been my full-time job since 2013. While lots of changes have happened in that time period, twelve years is still a long time to be doing relatively the “same thing.” Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond thankful for my job and still generally love what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else, nor do I want to do anything else. I suppose the blogging just feels a bit mundane on occasion.

2021 has just brought on this feeling of being tired/exhausted. This feeling has left me uninspired and unmotivated. At first, I just assumed that my creativity well had just dried up, or that maybe I had lost my talents, or that maybe I was just plain old lost. But what I’m learning is that maybe I’m not tired. Maybe I just need to pivot. I need something to be overly passionate about again.

The behind-the-scenes of blogging has become A LOT. It’s simply not enough to create a project/recipe, photograph it, and then share it. There are dozens of algorithms to keep up with just to be seen. There are dozens of “requirements” that Google puts into place that constantly change. These requirements need to be met, maintained, and constantly adjusted in order to be seen. And don’t get me started on social media. If you’re not outperforming yourself or putting on a grand show with every post, you basically don’t exist. Plus, you also “need to” create an Instagram Story, Timelapse, Pinterest Story, Google Story, IG Reel, and YouTube video about it. Say what!?

I love what I do, but because of all of these external “requirements,” a simple blog post seems like a heavy task rather than a simple joy.

I’m also trying to avoid comparison. As I mentioned above, blogging has changed so much. Many bloggers now have teams of people working for them. They have teams of people … assistants, people that write their posts, photographers, content managers, SEO experts, social media managers, videographers, and the list goes on. (And there’s nothing wrong with that approach. These folks are killing it and I love watching their businesses grow.)

Here at Inspired by Charm, it’s just me for the most part. I do have someone that edits my posts for grammar and spelling, and I have an amazing couple that has been filming videos for my recipe posts. (I’ve been adding those to my blog posts, YouTube Channel, and IGTV.) These people have been such a blessing to my business.

Some days I welcome the excitement and drive to keep moving forward and to become better than I was the day before, but other times I’m just annoyed and frustrated as I didn’t sign up for all of the “extras” that I just mentioned. I don’t want to be the CEO of some online media empire. I don’t want to be a manager of a team of people. I just want to live in my own space while creating, sharing, and inspiring.

It’s interesting too because I’ve noticed that a lot of my favorite bloggers and Instagrammers have talked about the same thing in one way or another. Some have stepped away completely. Others are taking the summer off. Others have made shifts in how or what type of content they are producing. Being aware of these situations has been so comforting. It makes me feel a little less crazy knowing that others are feeling the same way.

And I don’t say all of this to complain. I feel happy. I feel blessed. I feel a sense of purpose in that this is what I should be doing with my life. I suppose it’s just a reminder to be a little kinder to myself, do what I can, and not compare what one person can do to that of what a team of 6 can do.

While I’m generally pretty hard on myself, I’m trying to remind myself that this is just one of those ebbs in life that we all have. Thankfully ebbs don’t last forever. I’ll be chugging along on my flow in no time!

So how do I pivot? That’s my challenge because I haven’t figured that out yet! Ha! To be honest, I think a big part of it is just changing how I see and respond to things. It’s simply about showing up, doing my best every day. meeting the requirements I can, forgetting the rest, and then being at peace with it all. “We can do anything, but we can’t do everything.”

In a nutshell, that’s the long and short of where I’ve been at these days … physically and mentally. I think 2021 is just a year to be a bit quieter. A year to pause and reflect… and that’s okay.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

OTHER THINGS I’VE BEEN DOING:

Phew! With that chunk of information out of the way, I thought I would share some of the other things I’ve been up to for the first half of the year.

While this isn’t everything, these are some of the most notable things:

Crate and Barrel Collaboration: If you missed it at the end of last month, I shared a post about my side porch and fire pit area in collaboration with Crate and Barrel. (You can find that HERE if you did miss it.) This has honestly been the highlight of my year. As mentioned above, I’ve been blogging for 12 years and Crate and Barrel has been the one brand I’ve dreamed of working with. I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity.

There’s even a dedicated page to my design and product selections on their website. I didn’t even know that this was going to happen. I was filled with so much excitement and gratitude when they shared the link on their Facebook page.

 

Firepit Landscaping Makeover: The aforementioned collaboration motivated me to tackle another project on my list … a makeover of my backyard fire pit area. I’ve been sharing the progress on my Instagram feed. (There is a saved IG Highlights if you missed it.) The project turned out better than I expected. I love having this little oasis in my own backyard.

I will be sharing more about this on the blog VERY soon. I’m just waiting for a few more plants. Once they arrive and I get them into the ground, I will do a full post about the update.

 

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

Gardening: This spring I was really busy outside. I planted over 60 perennials plus a few new trees and shrubs. And that’s in addition to the 70+ plants I added to the landscaping around my fire pit.

Gardening is a labor of love. And while the fruits of this labor will take a couple of years to fill out and unfold, I was so happy to make such great progress.

 

My Art Practice: I’ve shared a couple of posts about this on the blog (here and here), but 2021 has been a year where I dove headfirst back into my art practice. It couldn’t have come at a better time as this has been a nice mini pivot for me and something I’ve really been enjoying.

I signed up for three local in-person art courses. One was an introduction to painting which has been completed. Currently, I’m in an oil painting class where the students work on whatever project they choose and the instructor provides guidance. I LOVE the instructor and students, so this has been wonderful. This particular course will end this week and then the following week I will start a new course focusing on painting Pittsburgh landscapes en plein air. Plein air essentially means painting outside. The class will meet every week at a new outdoor location and we’ll paint outside from life. I’m especially excited about this class!

Art has brought me so much joy and peace this year; I really want to dive deeper into it. I have been trying to make art a daily habit. And while I’m not quite there, I have been painting or drawing as much as possible.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

WHAT’S AHEAD:

While 2021 has brought a more relaxed blogging and working schedule, I’m not just sitting around in my PJs. I do have some fun projects in the works. I’ll be sharing more about each of these as they come to life, but here’s a little sneak peek.

Retaining Wall: When it fits into my budget, my goal is to tackle one large project each year. Two years ago it was my kitchen makeover, last year it was custom cabinetry for my entryway and living room, and this year it’s a 100 ft. two-tiered retaining wall in my backyard.

This project will happen in September, but I spent a lot of time figuring out the plan and finding the best contractors. Once this project is complete, it will open the doors to allow me to add even more to my backyard including a shed, garden, outdoor oven, etc. I can’t wait!

 

Bedroom Updates: I have two bedrooms in my house that have mostly gone untouched since I moved in. While they don’t require major renovations, I want to give them some sort of style direction. One room will get painted, the other room will receive wallpaper, and both will get new light fixtures and furnishings.

The goal is just to have these spaces feel more complete and intentional.

 

Basement Studio: This might be the project I’m most excited about. I’ve never shared my basement online before. It’s not that it’s all that bad, it’s just an awkward space with bad lighting.

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to turn my basement into a little creative studio. (I’ve been doing my art out of a small section of a bedroom and it just isn’t cutting it.) Well, I’m finally going to do it! I will obviously take you along on the journey (before photos coming soon!) and share my plans and process.

In a nutshell, here’s what needs to be done:
– update lighting
– repair and paint paneling (walls)
– new flooring
– furnish and style
– update doors and windows

While this isn’t a major renovation, there is still a lot to be done. I’m hoping to tackle some of the projects myself, I’m also bringing in some folks to do the projects that are beyond my skill/knowledge level. Thankfully I have some great folks lined up so the project should be underway soon.

With all of these design projects, my current plan is to take my time with them. While I’m anxious to get them completed (especially the basement studio), I’m in no rush.

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

Art Practice: As I mentioned above, my art practice is currently a big focus for me. My goal is to be able to do one painting each day. As I’ve watched and listened to other artists talk about their evolution and practice. the one thing I heard, again and again, is how important and helpful it was for them to paint every day.

I’m still working on developing my style and trying to figure out what medium and subjects I like best. Once I feel more confident and have a clear direction, I would love to be able to create a collection and offer some work for sale. I’ve been so surprised at how many folks have asked about purchasing some of my art. I would love to make this a reality.

 

More of What You Love About IBC: I also plan to bring you more of what you love. While I’m not going anywhere and updates will continue to be here on the blog and on Instagram, I suspect that things will be slow and quiet for the rest of the summer and things will ramp up around August. But who knows, that could change! I’m trying to let 2021 unfold as it would like. No pressure. I hope you’ll stick with me.

… I think that’s enough for the year, right?

2021 Mid-Year Update #update #2021 #michaelwurmjr #art #life #story

THAT’S A WRAP:

So that was a lot. Haha. I think I should wrap things up here.

While I knew this post would be informative, I didn’t realize how long it would be until my fingers hit the keyboard. I hope that this was insightful, informative, and gave you a little look at how I’ve been spending my days.

If you’ve gotten this far in this post, congratulations, and thank you for sticking with me. Now, this is the point where I’ll ask you what you’d like to see here. And while I always appreciate the typical responses of “more of the same, recipes, keep doing what you’re doing,” etc., I’d really love to know what your soul is craving more of when you come online. What brings you here? Also, when you leave this space, what left you feeling happy and inspired. What improved your day, your home, your life. Let me know in the comments below. Thank you!

Until next time, my friends!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that inspiredbycharm.com receives a small commission by linking to Amazon.com and other sites at no cost to the readers.

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Comments

  • Sherry Holinaty at

    I love scrolling thru your blog. Your creative ideas are inspiring. I hope that you find your spark very soon.

    Sherry

  • Noralyn Davis at

    HI Michael,
    I am pretty new following your blog and IBC site, which i am happy to say i found by chance and am thankful. It is perfect timing since i needed a refocusing and help in my home & garden and needed new recipes. so thank you. I look forward to your new adventures. Over here in Ohio, i think I can use the same plants. Have a beautiful day, sit back and bask, reflect, & enjoy your hard work .

  • Rae Ann McCurry at

    You are such a refreshing breath of realness! I started following you way back when Pinterest was first getting big and have enjoyed watching you grow and move throughout the years. Your style is such a great blend of approachable beauty and function. I absolutely love your artwork! I hope you continue with it and maybe even offer some for sale. I very much appreciate that you allow yourself to go slower, take break, and pivot instead of falling into that trap of posting just to post. It seems you have a pretty well established and loyal following who aren’t going to forget about you if you don’t post however often Google thinks you should. I think you are like the Goldilocks of bloggers/influencers – you post just the right amount, not too much to be spammy but not too little either. Instagram is my favorite media but I like to visit your blog for more details and recipes. Thanks for all you do!

  • Karen at

    Best blog! Said it once and say it again! Love it!

  • Pamela at

    The blogs that have teams are bland and quite similar to each other. They provide products to purchase, but not much more. I’ve followed your site for years, and you keep me more interested. You are phenomenal at Christmas decorating, and I would love to replicate many of your home choices. My family finds all of your recipes to be great and you have an enjoyable online personality. Some of my children are artistic so I’ve enjoyed seeing your painting journey. My garden is constantly evolving so I’m looking forward to seeing your landscaping choices. All in all, your blog remains one of my favorites, keep being you!

  • JenW at

    What I’ve always liked about your blog is that you are clearly a person. The brands with a team behind them are clearly brands. I keep coming back because you are a person and many people crave just bit of personal connection. I don’t know you, you don’t know me, but I noticed when you weren’t online and was hoping you were doing well. I think that’s a good thing.

    For the blog, I’d love to see you take us on your art journey. Thank you for sharing your paintings in today’s post, that takes a lot of courage! I find the blog interesting as it’s still a bit what blogs were when they first came around–a glimpse into another human being’s life. Not in a voyeuristic way…but it’s just interested to see what others are doing. Every person has so much to teach others, but you can’t do that without sharing your life with others. Whether that’s online, or at church, or in your community. Just do what you find interesting and the blog followers will be there.

  • Jen Brandenstein at

    I am encouraged and motivated by your honesty and the evolution of your creativity. When you are a creative, exploring other mediums just kinda happens. You have been pouring your creativity into your blog, home, garden… and now it is just spilling over into other avenues. I’m excited for you.

  • Amelia at

    Thank you. That “pivot” was exactly what I needed to hear. That I have permission to change. To try new things and see where it takes me. I just have to be authentic – still be me. During COVID-19 I started those on-line painting tutorials and they were what I needed. Your work is beautiful. Enjoy it.

  • Jenny W at

    I hear you and I feel it to! 2020 & 2021, so far, have me feeling both overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time if that is possible. I have also created an art/crafting space in my basement so I will have a dedicated spot to create when the mood hits, with everything I need organized in one spot – game changer! Your final painting of the lemons is inspiring me to paint a summer vignette, so thank you! 🙂

  • Linda at

    You think you’ve hit a creative block, but you really haven’t. You’ve been very busy gardening and I enjoy seeing your daily paintings. I always enjoy your styling and room makeovers, but that stuff takes time and I hate the blogs that post basic common sense just for the sake of frequent posting. The Crate and Barrel collaboration was HUGE! And just so you know, the big heavily produced blogs aren’t interesting to me anymore – if it doesn’t look attainable to a normal non-sponsored reader, what’s the point of being that reader? Summer is meant to be slower. When autumn and Christmas roll around, you’ll be there for it!

  • Debbie S at

    Hi Michael,
    I just found you about this month. I’ve only got a few of your emails. But, I have loved each one.
    I LOVE, LOVE your painting of the flowers in a vase sitting in a tray with the lemons next to it. I 2ould one day live to be able to buy that one. It is So BEAUTIFUL ❤️.
    I love the DIY projects I find on Pinterest and a couple other sites. So definitely more of those.
    I can’t wait to see the projects you have ready to do to roll out and progress to the end. Those kind of things I like to watch as they happen. I get ideas for my home from them either individually or figuring how to mix some together.
    We just bought a home and it needs a little bit of work, not much, to be done. Or just to add our touch to it. I will be personalizing the kitchen and put up some molding around in the bathroom along with a shelf. I can’t wait. We officially move in at the beginning of next week.
    Are you 9n Pinterest and Bloglovin’ so I can follow you there? Please let me know so I can look you up and follow you
    Thank you again for your inspiration. Take good care of yourself.

  • Ivory at

    Micheal, as much as I enjoy your blog, yet you must always remember that you MUST Thames care of yourself first. With that being said, if you have to take of a summer or a month or two. You do that. Yes, we will miss you, and can not exhale until you return with all your fabulous Diy’s and recipes. Your post brings us joy,. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you Michael

  • Sara N at

    Thanks for sharing and being so open. Love to watch your painting journey! I also really enjoyed your recipes and have made several of them.

  • Karol Iberg at

    I have never seen so many wonderful comments on any blog. Just keep going. I wish I lived next door to you.

  • Dawn at

    I am a big fan of organizing projects and room renovations, so those types of posts always excite me. But, no matter what you share, I ALWAYS feel inspired and encouraged after reading them. I can tell you are kindhearted, engaging and charming, and it’s a true joy to read your posts and stories, and see your beautiful pictures (you are a gifted photographer!). Seasonal decorating is fun to see, as well. Thank you, Michael!

  • Abbey McDermott at

    Michael,
    First, (re: the first part of the post) – I totally get how you feel. AMEN!!
    Secondly, I love your content. Your pictures are wonderful, your recipes delicious, your decorating ideas creative. Your Christmas trees are absolutely gorgeous!! You are very creative and talented. Wherever your “pivot” takes you, it will be amazing!

  • Megan at

    WOW! That’s a lot of comments 🙂 You are one of three IG people I actually follow there and with their blog… clearly, I’m not the only fan!

    I follow you because of your simplicity… you never seem frantic, and often feel considerate of your followers… like you don’t want to intrude or bore us, yet we are following you for your simple and beautiful posts/stories which are never an “intrusion”… I like your recipes, your yard, your decorating (especially Christmas)… I enjoy posts about your kitty cats and even though I’m not a horticulturalist, I enjoy your plants and eye for design, and have really loved seeing your art lately.

    I think it is just clear that everything you share is genuine… I can tell you aren’t striving to be an empire, just genuinely want to… share with us parts of your day, things you like, beautiful possibilities along with regular reality (thats probably what I’d encourage you to keep sharing… I need to see the mess, basic, not done parts of your life….I loved seeing under your deck in the back of your house… we all have areas we are waiting to improve!).

    Thanks for all you do and share- I thoroughly enjoy it all!

  • Sue at

    I have been a follower of your blog for a couple of years now and enjoy all of your posts whether about remodeling, recipes, your art or landscaping. Your landscaping, gardening posts are probably my favorite though, because I love to work in my yard also. My house is on a hill and I have turned a portion of one side of my hill into a big flower bed, partly because I think it is pretty and partly because it was really hard to mow. Am excited for your retaining wall project and fire pit area along with all of the perennials you have planted this year. Please continue to share your many talents.

  • Roxanne at

    Michael, I must at admit my heart sank a little when I first began reading, I thought you were announcing your leaving. You have been such a joy, during the pandemic especially, with your very personal style of writing and gracious comments. I always enjoy hearing about your darling kitties and your mom! I would love to read/see more decorating, accessorizing tips, gardening ideas, antiquing, and summer cocktail recipes. We just finished our fire pit too, so I’ll be looking forward to great food and drink recipes that can be hauled to the pit and more on how you “zchuge” it up. And of course, your marvelous holiday inspirations! When I saw Crate and Barrel had featured you, I thought “that’s MY Michael!” Thank you for the joy and inspiration you always bring.

  • Stefanie T. at

    Hi Michael, I’ve got some complements and ideas!
    I enjoy your work because you love color. (Instead of playing it safe with white and beige like too many do.) Color is the content I’m here for.
    I would like to read more about your creative process. It’s interesting to learn about how artists think.
    You go all out for the holidays, which is so fun to see. I appreciate your coordination of decor, food, and drink. I love the combination of colors you use.
    Sharing your basement renovation is going to be wonderful. I look forward to seeing how your creativity will be expressed in an area that can be so challenging.
    My favorite magazine has a feature that uses the colors in a scenic photo to inspire room decor. Perhaps your artwork could be shown as a starting point for a shelf or mantle arrangement?
    I am also interested in purchasing your art. The paint texture and dimension you are using in your work is great!
    Have a super summer and thank you for your inspirational work!

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