Behind the Blog: Anna from Just East of Crazy Land

Anna and I met through mutual friends on the Island. We both have lots of daughters and talk really fast, and connected instantly on our love of blogging and homeschooling (among other things). Then we realized that we’d both contributed to an anthology together… and this year we’ve had a lot of fun getting ready to launch and promote Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood.

Today, I’m delighted to introduce you to Anna and find out more about how she started blogging at Just East of Crazy Land…

Anna Eastland, the mom behind the blog Just East of Crazyland, with one of her daughters

TKM: First, tell us a bit about yourself.

Anna: I’m a red-headed writer with a big family, just like my childhood heroine Anne of Green Gables. My husband will tell you I also have a temper to match my hair! I love writing, poetry, laughing with friends, and sharing the adventure of parenting with fellow moms. Coffee, chocolate and cheese are also high up on my happy list.

I was born in Alberta but grew up all over BC with my three brothers, so I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, and like climbing trees better than going to the mall. I’m now blessed with 4 chatty girls and a charming (when not hungry… there are moments) little boy, as well as a sweet baby girl in Heaven. They give me lots to write about, and help me put my English and Classics degree to good use in homeschooling them.

TKM: When and why did you start blogging?

Anna: I have always wanted to write, and to help people understand each other better through writing. I have boxes of old stories from childhood and journals and poetry from my teenage years, but they have generally remained classified “top-secret” due to shyness.

Two years ago I was inspired by one of my best friends, Monique Leblanc, who had recently begun her blog The Last Time Change: Family, Faith, and Moving to the Prairies. Her blog was so real, so honest, personal and funny, that it made me think perhaps I could do something like that, too. What was I waiting for?

Motherhood made me realize that there are far more important things in life than what people think of you, so I wanted to start sharing my writing instead of just dreaming about it. Friends and family who also enjoy writing helped me push past the fear and take a chance. I’m so glad I did. I never would have guessed I’d be part of a published book two years later!

TKM: How did you come up with your blog name?

Anna: I was struggling to think of a name… something about the kids… maybe “Little Hands: Much Love”… when my friend Michelle came up with a pun on my last name (Eastland) that also describes my house full of kids perfectly: Just East of Crazy Land.  I loved the humour and honesty of it: “Yup, I’m nuts, but it’s fun!”

Anna Eastland's family - husband, brother, four daughters, and son

TKM: Do you have a blog schedule or do you post when you feel like it?

Anna: I post when inspiration strikes, usually a few times a week. Generally I try to post stuff I feel compelled to… things that I really want to share, but sometimes I also post pretty nature photos or silly quotes from the kids just for fun. If I go for more than a week or two without blogging I know something’s wrong and I need to slow down and write more in order to feel like myself.

TKM: What is your favourite part of blogging?  Your least favourite part?

Anna: I love being able to share my experiences, and receiving feedback from others. There have been times when I’ve been up late at night (bit of an insomniac) and have posted a poem, only to have it liked seconds later by someone across the world. That’s a pretty amazing feeling… being so connected with people from all around the world, and realizing how much we have in common.

I guess my least favourite part is when I have technical glitches and my trusty iPad-mini fails me… which isn’t very often. There are just some things like adding widgets and changing the home screen appearance that are better done on a bigger device… but I rarely get sit at my computer without being discovered by my pack of squirrels, so my iPad generally much works better.

TKM: What advice would you offer to other bloggers?

Anna: Be yourself. Remember you’re a person, not a product. No one else can be you, and you can’t really be anyone else. No one else has your unique voice or your personal story.  It’s worth hearing. So don’t hide—be genuine and authentic, and take care of your spirit.

I really find inspiration comes when I take time to pray. It’s like God gives me a little pat on the head and says, “Good job being contemplative today… even for a few moments. Here’s a poem for you.”

TKM: What is your favourite social media channel and why?

Anna: Blogging I guess, if that counts. I’m not on Facebook and only minimally on Pinterest and Twitter. I’m much better at capturing inspiration and writing stuff than promoting my posts. But I admire twitter-queens like Bonnie who know how to rock the net!

Anna is also my NEW contributing writer! Watch for more posts from her each month right here on The Koala Mom.

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