I can’t remember a time in my life where I have wanted to be anything other than a writer. Even during the tenure at my favorite job at the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, I knew that someday I’d write a book … perhaps a “tell all” about the many shocking secrets of small-town politics. (Nope, will never happen … my lips are sealed!)
When blogging became a thing about a decade ago, I was intrigued. A forum where one “owned” the site and could share whatever fancied the writer. No need to submit and wait to see if your piece was accepted or rejected. Still, I didn’t think I had enough interesting things to write about. You can write all you want, but if no one reads your material or if your writing is crap, then it’s a mute point … at least to me. And yes, there is a whole lot of crap writing out there.
Writing takes effort and time and practice, practice, practice to get to the place where a piece takes shape and becomes readable. It’s hard work. And sometimes my writing is crap … and I know it. It either goes in the trash or I rework and rework and hone until it is something that I would be proud for other’s to read in front of me.
Nothing annoys me more than someone who says, “I saw your blog. Looks nice. I’m going to start my own someday.” Or my favorite, “I’m going to write a book. Everyone says I should.”
Insert major eye-roll.
Why do people think that just because they can put a pen in their hand or their fingers on a keyboard that they can write? Just because I can pick up a power tool doesn’t mean that I can operate it safely … as evidenced by the hole in my leg from a power grinder a few weeks ago! I had to spend a whole lot of time behind the wheel to learn how to drive and I’m the first to admit that my driving skills are still lacking. It’s a craft like playing music or singing (at which I royally suck) or cooking (at which I am getting pretty decent).
I have been writing my whole life … boxes and boxes of journals going back to my early teens are in our storage loft. I wrote advertorials for newspapers for decades (including the infamous “Window Shopper” weekly column in the Coronado Journal) and tons of political writing … City Council action commentary, speeches, and newsletter articles encouraging businesses to join our mission to”Protect, Improve, Protect Local Business.” But I wasn’t writing for me.
After almost a full year of writing regularly, and 13 weeks of an intense writer’s workshop with the To Live and Write in Alameda group I set a series of goals. The first was to spend a minimum of 30 minutes each day writing by hand; the second to attend a writer’s retreat; the third to launch a blog. A blogging workshop led by my dear Artist’s Way mates, Robin and Marise, and encouragement by TLWA founder Bronwyn Emery, set the embers glowing and after months of research and design work I achieved my goal on April 16, 2018.
Fast forward to now … I’m a tad more than two months into blogging and I have kept my promise to myself to blog weekly and keep my site populated with things that are meaningful to me and others might learn from or merely enjoy. Mondays are about living onboard and preparing for our circumnavigation. These posts take time and research and design work to make them presentable in my personal opinion. Thursdays are much easier and I’ve never missed one since I started: rotating weeks of recipes and short stories. These are posts that I write mainly from my heart and that give me sheer joy.
As I look at my site and my blogposts, I feel an incredible sense of pride. I am proud that I have taken my dreams to reality. That little spark became a small fire and now is a roaring blaze in my soul. I think about writing when I’m driving or walking or cooking. I see story ideas in everyday life and snap pictures and make notes to remind me of a theme or to supplement a blogpost. (Much to the chagrin of my husband who swears that he rarely gets a hot meal as the food has to be plated just so and then photographed before serving!)
And now a new goal … to encourage others that want to blog to pick up pen or put hand to keyboard to DO IT. I’m going to be the Monday voice reminding others in our TLWA group to try their hand, to market their blogsite, to read fellow bloggers sites and to follow their dreams.
Heck, if this 53-year-old Nana can do it, anyone can! If you want any tips from the research I have done, or the short experience I’ve had to date, just let me know and I’m more than happy to share what I know. Just WRITE! 🙂
If you have a writer’s soul and live in Alameda, please join our group! No dues … unless you choose to be a Cohort as I am … many free daily/weekly meet-ups, reasonably priced workshops and focus groups and retreats ,and tons of encouragement and support.
Here’s the link: To Live and Write in Alameda.
The 13-week “Artist’s Way” workshop that pushed me over the edge from being a wanna-be to an actual daily writer starts on July 18. I’m doing it for a second year because it really is that life-affirming/changing and I know that I will get even more out of it this year! Do it … you know you want to! Here’s the link: The Artist’s Way.
And, finally, if you are ready to dive into a weekend chock-full of writing, talking about writing, eating great food, writing, sharing your writing, drinking, writing, a little yoga and meditation, more writing … and well, writing … here’s the link to the upcoming “Write in the Woods” Retreat that I’ll be attending and assisting with coordination/meals: Write in the Woods.