Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Should a writer only blog about writing? My answer to the question.

If I'm a writer, why don't I just stick to blogging about writing? Why bother with all this 'three year plan' stuff?

That is the question I recently asked myself. I wasn't asking out of any sense of self-doubt, it was more a case of probing to be sure the plan I committed to almost a year ago still fit. As you know, if you follow my blog, I'm lukewarm about blogging to begin with. I don't feel I'm that good at it, and I often wonder if anyone really wants to hear what I have to say.

I began blogging as a way to ease back into writing regularly again. I didn't know, at the time, what I wanted to write about, only that it was something I needed to do. I wrote essays and articles about all sorts of things as I tried to figure out where I belonged, both in the world and as a writer. Then, during my time as a foster parent, the blog became a vehicle for both documenting our journey and processing my own feelings.

The blog was all over the place, to say the least.

One of the fringe benefits of living in the limbo of foster care for so long was it made me really think about what was really important to me in life. I had to think about what I could let go, and what I would never let go of. One thing was clear - writing needed to be front and center in my life, no matter what.

It was also abundantly clear to me, after two years of wrangling small children, that I wasn't as young as I thought I was. All that time I thought I still had to make things happen in my own life 'someday'? It was just a myth. The half-century mark was staring me down on the horizon. Before I got there, I needed to come up with a plan to pursue my dreams and give myself some fiscal stability.

I'm not the only middle aged aspiring writer out there. I'm also not the only one struggling to write around raising a family, or grappling with the financial quandary that people of mid-life and limited means so often find ourselves in.  It occurred to me that, just maybe, this blog might help others to sort themselves out, too. And so, I keep plugging away, in the hope that something I put out there might serve some purpose to others as well as myself.

As for the three year plan itself, the goals I set for myself are pretty big and I didn't give myself a whole lot of time to achieve them, but after a year of ups and downs, I still think I can do it. In fact, I know I can do it and I know it because I've been working my plan and seeing results. Some areas of the plan have been easier to follow than others, but in all areas I feel like I've made progress. It may not have been the progress I anticipated, but part of any strategic plan is looking back at what you thought you could do compared to what you actually did, and learning from it. I may have to make some changes to my strategies, but ultimately, if I have a realistic plan I know I'll get there.

Come June, I'll revise my plan based on what I learned during year one and I'm sure I'll be blogging about it. As I make more progress towards my writing goals, I expect I'll be blogging about that, too. In fact, I've been working steadily on the manuscript I started during NaNoWriMo. It is starting to shape up and I hope soon to begin sharing some excerpts from it here on the blog.

So there you have it, my explanation of why I don't just blog about writing. Yes, writing is the central theme in my personal narrative these days, but life is a journey and to get where you want to go, wherever that might be, sometimes you have to hit a few potholes and make some hard choices. In the end, that is what this blog is really about, how to hold onto your dreams and make them reality, no matter what life throws at  you along the way.

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