GOODBYE, PALEOOWL!

As painful as this was for me, PaleoOwl.com needed to go. She was my baby, my very first real website, I raised her from the logo to her last post, but it was time for her to fly away. It was not the word paleo in the title that was bothering me, even though I was simply thinking about changing the name to PrimalOwl or RealFoodOwl, but that did not have the right sound, it just didn’t look and feel right. It was that constant inner struggle I had when posting yet another post in English and having my close friends and family members saying: „Well, we can’t read this, it’s in English…“ and when I posted a Czech article, one of my only two readers always requested an English translation (I am looking at YOU, Indre!). It was frustrating to me, I can be funny in both languages, but a translation is always just a translation, it is never as good as the original thing. Some jokes, puns, and expressions don’t sound the way they should when translated to the other language and replacing those with similar ones from the other side usually degraded the whole point.

I write for a living, and I live for writing. I am Czech, born and raised. English is not my first language, but I am basically fluent in it since the age of 7. I started reading when I was three years old (seriously, ask my mom!). When I was five, I was able to sing along with my beloved ABBA, holding their lyrics in front of me, singing along, without even knowing what those weird foreign words mean. But at least I had no pronunciation problems when I started learning English my first year at school. When I was 8, I wrote my first book. It was actually more like a three-page flier with a simple story about a tiny green sphere-shaped creature and his marvelous adventures in space. Principal in my school actually loved it so much that he asked me to lend it to him after school, so he could take a copy and show it to older kids (he was also a teacher in reading classes in my school). One day, he called me to his office and took me to a reading class with four-graders. I was super shy back then (and it stuck with me to this day), so I was terrified when he took an empty chair, moved it right in front of the blackboard, facing all the big kids, handed me a random book and asked me to sit down and read for them. I was in horror, but I did as he asked. I still remember those shocked faces of kids that were three whole years older than me (and therefore very cool), they stared at me in awe as I was reading our loud. After that day, these big kids started noticing me in the halls and even saying Hi, which was something a very shy, insecure girl does not want in her life.

When I was 12, I wrote my first real novel. It was a sci-fi story, hand-written, and I was carrying it with me everywhere. I actually copied the whole thing in Microsoft Word and saved in on a floppy disk. It was my most precious possession. Until I lost the diskette. It was a bit over 20 years ago, but to this day I experience that „this was my idea“ moment when I am watching sci-fi movies. (Seriously. The good half of The Island was my idea, lol.) When I was 13 and my parents got divorced, I started writing songs about love, broken trust, and all that regular stuff 13-year-old girls usually think about, and then I was playing my guitar and singing those songs to my mom (they were always dedicated to her). I started a band with a friend at high school, where I studied graphic design, and I wanted to become either a very popular singer and songwriter, or a designer in the company my dad worked for at that time. But my biggest dream was to actually write a book. I was a bookworm my whole life, a quiet child with a book, and later a quiet teenager with a guitar. No matter where I went, I always had a notebook and pen with me and I was constantly writing something. A tale, a poem, a song… I wasn’t particularly good at art classes (and I hated history, so a history of art was my nemesis), but I excelled in writing, English and computer design. After I finished school, I started working as a graphic designer in a small company. I also did (and loved) car wrapping, and I was very good at this job. I switched jobs a few times, but I stayed in the field because I was good and I did not particularly hate it.

At the age of 25, I started my very first blog. I just discovered a paleo diet and the amazing high from exercising (too much, I should say), and I found a perfect outlet for myself in writing about fitness, food, and general lifestyle. It was not a popular blog, and it is still out there if you are interested, but it was a perfect tool for me to keep writing. I blogged in English, because… Because I wanted to. There was basically no paleo community in my country back then, and all my online buddies were from U.S. anyway, so were both of my two readers. Soon people started e-mailing me, asking me for diet advice and fitness tips. I was no guru, I was just a shy little woman writing silly blog posts on lunch breaks at work and playing PC games until midnight. But those e-mails were so nice and friendly, some thanked me for a fun read, some complimented on my sense of humor and some people from back then became my friends and still are. I was excited about these little messages and comments and I started educating myself about health in general. Very soon I was like a walking paleopedia (and for a very short time, I even owned this domain, though I never started a website with that name) and from the need of getting the information out, PaleoOwl.com was born. At the same time, I found a paleo/primal community in my country and connected with like-minded people in the Czech Republic. I was happy I could finally share some knowledge, experience, and tips with people that I can actually meet in real life and that live in the same timezone, so we can even chat in real time.

But the struggle… Blogging in Czech or English? That was the question. I tried both. I tried one or the other. And I was never happy with the way things were. To be honest, the majority of paleo community in my country was a huge disappointment to me, and I did feel some kind of responsibility to my two English readers, so posts on PaleoOwl.com were mostly English. Last year I got an offer I could not turn down. I was asked to write for money. Full time. For cash. Me. In English. About health. Accidental dream job, I call this. A few people asked me how to get a job like that, but frankly, I have no idea. This was all just a big hug from karma, I suppose. A friend of mine told me that her dad is in the need of a blogger/designer with skills similar to mine. She asked me if I knew of someone and I offered myself. As humble as I am, I think this was a three part win for all of us. I started working for him, while she became my colleague (and my personal editor, because, let’s face it, my brain is still mostly Czech matter, and Oxford comma is still a pain in the butt for me, no matter how hard I try). It has been over 18 months now that I am officially a person who writes for a living. This job brought me so many opportunities. I can educate myself as a part of my work, I can use my knowledge, skills, and passion, I love people I work with (this never happened to me before, as sad as it may sound), I am a master of my own time schedule and I have plenty of time for my personal life (and personal growth).

I decided to invest all my time and writing energy into work, with no regret. But I no longer had time (or content, or need) for PaleoOwl.com. And even though I miss my random posts I called brain farts, words, sentences, and paragraphs I create now have a bigger value for both myself and the world (well, at least our audience). For this reason, PaleoOwl had to go. It is currently redirected to my new Czech website that is in the making (big things are coming in 2017, stay tuned, you Czech people!), but I can tell that from time to time, I will feel the need to put together some English posts outside of work. After all, I live for writing. Thank you, both my English readers, for sticking with me for so long. But it is time for a fresh start!

You can read all my serious posts on Life-Enthusiast.com. Just in case you are interested.

N.

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