Here I go

A few weeks ago, as I was lounging in a bag chair watching balloon enthusiasts do their thing at the National Balloon Classic in Indianola, I had an epiphany.

Going to the Balloon Classic is just one of SO MANY fun, uniquely Iowa things to do – why not find something interesting to do each week and blog about it? Whoa! A lightbulb as big as a hot-air balloon went on in my head.

It’s not that I hadn’t had similar ideas before. I had fantasized about starting a magazine about Iowa or the Midwest, but competing magazines and my utter lack of start-up capital made that idea seem fairly ridiculous. I had toyed with the idea of writing freelance stories about local topics and trying to sell them to media outlets, but that didn’t really wow me.

I’m already a magazine editor – I work for the Alumni Association at Iowa State University, and I edit the alumni magazine VISIONS. So I’ve done my fair share of stories about Iowa and Iowans. But those stories always have an Iowa State connection. I longed to do my own thing without any restrictions.

THIS IS IT!

Now that I’ve had my ah-ha moment, it surprises me that I hadn’t thought of an Iowa blog before. I have been sort of jealous of people who (kept? wrote? posted?) blogs because that’s a style of writing I really enjoy. I have always been a big journal-keeper, and the idea of doing something like the Julie & Julia blog really intrigued me.

Well, think of this Iowa project as a blog like that, except without the rich sauces.

It’s not so different, really. Instead of creating all the recipes in Julia Childs’ Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blogging about it, I am challenging myself to find something fun to do in Iowa every week of the year – indefinitely.

That’s not going to be difficult in the summer and fall. The winter will be a challenge. I might have to cheat once in a while. But really, I usually don’t find myself lacking ideas for things to do. What I DO find is that I have a lack of time, or more often a lack of motivation. I am hoping this blog will light a fire under my butt and get me out there doing all the things I SAY on Monday I want to do but that by the time the weekend rolls around I reject in favor of sleeping late or watching old movies on TV.

I’m not going to establish rules for myself, just goals:
•    Celebrate Iowa’s uniqueness and charm
•    Showcase the small towns and agri-tourism that people expect to find in Iowa (it’s not a cliché when it’s real)
•    Explore the unexpected side of Iowa: the cultural offerings, the cities, the really fabulous food that’s NOT on a stick
•    Visit some of my favorite places, do some of my favorite things, and discover new things to do in Iowa
•    Venture outside the state once in a while, and blog about that, too
•    Post something at least once a week

Here I go!

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