Friday, May 8, 2015

A-Z Reflections Post

This was my third year participating in the A-Z Challenge. I wasn't able to last year and I missed being a part of all the crazy fun.

I really enjoyed the Challenge this year. My topic allowed me to give back to a lot of people who have inspired me, something that I've always wanted to do but never made the time for it. That's the sad truth. Why wait for a blog challenge to tell people how much they inspire you? Still, thanks to the A-Z Challenge creators for giving me the opportunity to do something really fun for a lot of really terrific people!

Things I really liked about the Challenge this year: I appreciated the leaders stopping by. It means a lot to me that someone who has SO MUCH on their schedule to stop by, read a little post, and comment. I know you guys had a TON of blogs to visit so Thank YOU!!

I always love the new visitors, the new comments and the waves from familiar "faces". A great big HELLO to those who stopped by, even for just one post!

Things that didn't work out so well this year: Really there's only ONE thing and it is completely my fault. I wasn't able to make the rounds reading. Many factors combined to make it really difficult form me to carve out the time to sit down and enjoy reading the posts of the many, MANY participants. Bottom line, this is nobody's fault but mine, regardless of whether or not it could be helped. This is my ONLY complaint for the challenge!

The A-Z Challenge introduced me to so many people over the years. Several of these bloggers were highlighted in my posts. I love the blogging community I've come to know and I HATE how my time has slipped away and how I don't have the time to spend on blogging like I used to. I MISS strolling through blogs and getting to know people through their words. Years ago, when I first started blogging, I was able to read up to 20 blogs a day. I'm now at a time in my life where that is just not possible. But I know this will change. One day life will shift again and I'll have time again to enjoy blogging as it should be done.

All I ask is that you guys continue to forgive my absences and I thank you for your patience. You guys are awesome - every last one of you. I treasure every comment, every email notification I get. I'm getting the hang of this move finally and writing is slowly (slowly) coming back to the forefront of my attention.

I look forward to "seeing" you all here and around the blogsphere! Oh, and I've already got an inkling of next year's Challenge theme. Crazy? Yes! But, if I can figure out how to make it work, it proves to be a whole lot of fun!!

Cheers and thanks again to ALL the A-Z Challenge creators, leaders and co-leaders!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWSG May 2015 - Give Yourself Permission

Wow. It's the first Wednesday of a new month already. Last IWSG found me hoping to just get my A-Z Challenge posts up and going! I plan on posting my Reflections post tomorrow.

There were so many AMAZING themes this year and, more than that, there were so many AMAZING people out there, visiting and commenting and making the rounds. My insecurity this month is the same as it has been for years: do I really have what it takes in this world of blogging and social media? Do I really have what is necessary to build this "platform" that all "those in the know" tell me that I "must" have before anything I write will be taken seriously?

I just don't know.

When I started blogging eight years ago I had a desk job. I sat in front of a computer for 40 hours every week. There was ample time between tasks and phones ringing to check blog post updates and keep up with the social media sphere. I was pretty on top of things for about 3 years.

Then I went back to school...and worked on my feet all day...and moved. I LOVE writing. Story is my life's blood. Ask my husband and he'll tell you I spend more money on books, magazines and notebooks than just about anything else. Time, as is usual, is the major constraint.

Time and chronic illness and the feeling I must do EVERYTHING ALL the time. I've spent way too much time trying to do too many things that I haven't focused on what was important to ME. I've always been worried about what "seemed" to be important to everyone else.

And you know what?

That's just dumb.

So maybe I can't (and wasn't able to) read twenty blogs a day. That is in no way a reflection of my respect and profound awe at my fellow bloggers. Maybe I'm not able to come home after 8 hours on my feet and power write for several hours. Maybe some days I'm not able to do much of anything at all. Come take a peek at my counter tops and you'll see that's true more often than not!

That's OK.

I can't do X,Y, and Z and hope to ever become proficient in A, B or C. I certainly can't write all the ideas I have for stories and novels and essays while, at the same time, pursuing other ideas in This, That, or The Other. Sure, I've heard it all: you've got to go after what you want! Yes. You DO. But you must first decide what it is you REALLY want!

There's a quote written on the wall in the office where I work. It's a quote by Oprah that says, "You CAN have it all...just not all at the same time." That's been my problem. I've wanted it ALL, right now.

Again, that's just plain dumb.

So, here you go Blogverse. I hereby give myself permission...

...to fail.

To confess that I suck at a lot of things. But also to realize that I EXCEL at a lot of things also. I give myself permission to put aside some of the dreams and ideas that I've had for YEARS in favor of going after that one, ever-present THING that will simply NOT leave me alone.

WRITING.

I give myself permission

to write.

To write bold. To write badly. To SUCK. To burn pages and read aloud awful scenes. To laugh at my mistakes and my run-on sentences and my recent re-adoption of the Oxford comma.

I give myself permission to not be the most proficient blogger out there. I also give up my apologies to those who I have shamefully neglected in terms of blogs and reading and commenting and visiting.

This Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting I ask you to give YOURSELF permission to just write. To breathe deep of ink and paper, of keyboards and motherboards. Give yourself permission to write badly and boldly; to create AWFUL first drafts and forge AMAZING final drafts. Give yourself permission to BE the most AMAZING writer YOU can be.

There are stories in you that only you can tell.

So tell them.