Now and then you may need a little prompt, a little nudge to get things moving. After a marathon break of 16 months, I’m trying to get going again. “Hobby” blogging is meant to be enjoyable of course, something that you look forward to and want to keep working at, but nothing is all plain sailing, and if you’re not prepared to put in the effort, then maybe it’s not that important to you after all. But what happens when a post just fails to gain momentum- when after that initial spark of energy which gets you out of the starting blocks, things just kind of fizzle out, and you’re left with a deflated balloon in your hand. At that point you may think maybe you are just in the wrong game, and it’s time to move on. Find another love, so to speak. But wait…… maybe there is still a way! Maybe there is hope on the horizon. Perhaps it’s not yet time to throw in the towel. So, think twice before you pack away your crayons; keep your boots on…. don’t hang them up just yet….. Perhaps the solution is right here at your disposal in the form of writing prompts and challenges. Early last year, before stepping out of the blogosphere as I did, I joined in on some of Linda G Hill’s writing prompts on Saturdays as well as her One Liner Wednesdays. This is a really fun and doable way of staying on the blogging track. And having a window on other bloggers’ responses to the same prompts can be quite fascinating, all part of a shared experience. So perhaps this is where I’ll find my inspiration going forward: seeking out those writing challenges on a regular basis to keep me on my toes. Other blog sites host similar offerings, so there is plenty to choose from at WordPress. Just type ‘writing prompts’ in the search bar in the Reader. I haven’t joined in at SueW’s Weekly Prompts yet, but that may be my next stop….
Some of my responses to writing prompts from last year Here (see the drop down in the main menu), and Here.
Yesterday I posted here on my blog. Three hours or so later, I binned the post. Something didn’t feel right. It wasn’t unhappy with the writing itself. I hadn’t rushed through it- in fact I had planned this post several days before. The content was interesting, I thought. The subject matter was something that resonated with me. So, what was the problem? I’m still not entirely sure, but it was enough to make me want to whip it off my blog site shortly after publication. I could go so far as to say it didn’t feel authentic, but maybe it just wasn’t what I wanted to write about.
I know I’m out of practice following a long hiatus, and that no doubt affects my confidence a bit. I feel like I’m still in the starting blocks here, yet to find my groove and the necessary traction to carry me along. I had a sixteen-month gap between April 2021 and August this year when I started blogging again. I hadn’t really even expected to be back here following that lengthy break, but here we are again. Am I happy to be back? Yes, I am, especially when I see some of the familiar blogging faces and discover some new ones which I’ve tagged to follow. I’ve never had a large following on WordPress but it’s reassuring and heart-warming to see that most if not all of my followers are still there, plus one or two more over the past few weeks.
Speaking of blogging breaks, I’ve seen bloggers continue to comment on other people’s blogs even after they have left their own in entirety or are on ‘blog sabbatical’ themselves. I think opting out for a while can offer you a kind of freedom to observe and engage with other bloggers on a different level- if you’re not blogging it gives you more time to explore other blogger’s sites, play around with the WordPress search bars for new posts and sites, and go through the Discover section in the Reader. But I did none of those things during my extended break. I stepped away completely due to reasons which I won’t detail here. Save to say that the period between March 2021 and late August this year has involved huge changes and challenges, some of which I have coped with better than others. Blogging moved onto the back burner as I turned my attention to other things that needed me more. The real heartbreak came with the sudden and shocking passing of a younger family member earlier this year. There are no words for this.
I think a blogger’s needs can change over time, extended gaps between posts or otherwise. Sometimes we just need a break. Our circumstances change, times change, and even if we know that our values have not really changed, we are sometimes forced to change our priorities and our focus in life because of the things that happen. These kinds of changes may or may not impact on our blogs and the things we find ourselves writing about. Sometimes we question whether our blogs still reflect what is really in our hearts and minds, and we feel the urge to take a step back for a while. This is never a bad thing.
And even when those curve balls come, those one’s that hit you right in the solar plexus, leaving you windless and speechless, you need to try and lean into the trajectory, lean into the tail of that curve ball, and eventually settle back into your groove. Or maybe even find a brand new one♥
It’s the first day of the first full week of 2021 and I’m not sure whether to step lightly into this new year, or whether to just jump in feet first. Yesterday I wrote up my list of goals and aspirations for the year, but I’m aware that it’s the thinking, the mindset that accompanies one’s actions, that can work for you or against you as you step out towards meeting your goals and wishes. So, as well as the goals and objectives themselves, I have added to my list a general note: “Don’t overthink it, just do it.” And another one: “It might fail, but that’s the worst that can happen.” And then there’s “Best foot forward” as my father would say. As I write, I realise that I am feeling a little rusty, probably because it has been almost seven weeks since my last blog, and in fact it feels even longer. It was way back in November 2020, after all! Way back to that strange year that for most was a bewildering and scary time, one where we had to dig deep, and be brave and patient and compassionate individuals, and hope sincerely that that would be all the pandemic would ask of us. Many people had it far worse than those of us who are still in a position to sit here, (hopefully) in good health and write our posts and catch up with what our blogging friends have been up to over the past few weeks. At a time like this, you just never know what will be asked of you, or what might be taken from you. So to all my readers here, and to my friend Kate in the UK, who reminded me that the three go together: I sincerely wish you a Happy and Hopeful and Healthy 2021. Difficult days, but here we still all are! Here’s wishing you ALL the best of what the year has to offer, and remember that we are all works in progress, so let’s just all keep on creating♥
I went through my own blogsite on Saturday– spent some time there, sprucing things up a bit. I changed the appearance– the colour scheme, the font and a few other features. I thought about changing the theme, but I wasn’t feeling quite THAT adventurous, (although according to WP it is quite easy), so I decided to stay with what I know and just tweak and freshen things up a bit. There’s nothing like a bit of a trim and a pop of new colour to help you step up a gear. Oh, and I added a new page, dedicated to my writing dabbles, which I shall add to over time, till it’s bursting at the seams. At the moment there is just one piece of short fiction in there. Baby steps.
I am accustomed to working from home. What I’m not accustomed to is having someone at home with me, sitting at his desk just on the other side of the pillar while I sit at mine. It’s not really a big deal- while he’s busy on one of his conference calls, or speaking to a colleague on the phone, in go my earplugs and I continue as normal. So on a practical level things have not changed much- I still do pretty much the same stuff as I did before lockdown: cook food, clean house, garden garden, feed cat. And write.