Milestones and Lessons

blackboard-620314_1280This is my 50th post. This is a huge milestone for me.

Last fall, when I first began to take my writing seriously, the idea of blogging caused panic attacks. Even when I began I couldn’t think past my next blog post. Now, here I am at 50 and officially not a beginning writer or blogger any longer. Here’s to many more posts. I’ve enjoyed the experience and connecting with other writers.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned in the past 50 posts.

Blogging isn’t easy. There is so much to learn. Some of the struggle is understanding the program and code that goes into a blog. While I’ve done this as easy as I could, I have so much to learn. I don’t think this will ever stop.

The place I am now with my posts isn’t the place where I started. My intention during the beginning was to write about journaling as a means to heal your life. I seldom speak of that even though I have tons of information about journaling. I believe in journaling and think that it can help anyone but I haven’t been able to incorporate that believe into my blog.

Knowing what to blog is also a learning process. I’ve discovered that some of my best received posts are the ones where I am baring my soul. I wonder what that means. Also, where do I go from here with that.

I have also learned that being a writer isn’t always exciting. I don’t always want to get up and write each morning. I’ve even skipped posts when nothing would come to me. While I love writing and I’ve reached the point where I “must” do it each day, it also has the flavor of a chore. For once, a chore I am happy to do but still, it can be tough.

I am excited about where this journey takes me. Right now I am just going along to see where dandelion-331934_640the ride goes. I would have never guessed a year ago that I would be 50 posts into a blog. I would have never guessed that I would have a novel written (and badly in need of revision). Things look so different now in my life, goals have changed and how I see my future looks so different. I am still amazed.

Thanks for coming along for this ride.

Finding Balance

balance-110850_1280This year, I chose balance as my word to focus on. As the months go by, I’m discovering just how difficult that word is.

I believe my goal was to keep in balance my moderately stressful work life and home life, all while working on my writing. When I made this goal I was looking forward to a blogging class, knowing that I would be ramping up my writing. I didn’t realize just how hard it would be to find.

Its been a struggle for the past several months to keep things in perspective and balanced.

How does one find balance in life? I wonder if balance can be maintained.

I’m reminded of the serenity prayer:

To accept the things I cannot change
To change the things I can
The wisdom to know the difference.

If I were to follow this, then those things in my life that cannot be changed must be accepted. For instance, work is and will always have stress. I cannot change that, however, I can change my response to it. I can also work in such a way that I reduce the stress. That means not getting behind in my paperwork, which is a constant battle and stress. By changing this one thing I am able to keep things down to a dull roar. Its hard to work with the stacks of paperwork that come with my life hanging over my head. This is where the wisdom comes in.

The things at home that cannot be changed must be endured. I would love to say that since it is my home I am able to change what needs to be changed. After all, it is my house and I have some control over this. Except this isn’t the reality. There are things I cannot change. Now, that I’ve accepted this, the only thing that can change is me. I have to decide how to handle those things. This is what I actually have control of. I forget this sometimes. Along with this acceptance comes wisdom.

Finding balance in my writing is another conundrum. What must I accept that cannot be changed or that I have no control over? This is probably the area in my life where I have the most control. I have the control to get out of bed during the early hours of morning to meet my goal of 500 words daily. I have control over what gets written in those words. I decide which area to work, though I think there may be too many. The things I don’t have control over are people’s responses to my work. Yeah, that is a tough one. I can accept this one though, only because I must.

Finding true balance isn’t a about reaching a place and staying there. Its about the realization that balance isn’t about perfection. It is about riding the ebb and flow of life. Things are constantly moving and changing, my response to those changes is where the balance comes in.

How to you find balance in your life?

30 Days of Flash Fiction

Are You Up for a Challenge-2It’s the beginning of another month and I’m ready for a challenge. I seem to work better when I have an actual challenge rather than simply writing on the things I am “supposed” to be working on.

For June, I am challenging myself to write a flash fiction piece every day. That’s it. No other rules.

Flash fiction is a complete story written in under 1000 words.

There was a flash challenge that ran in April that I wanted to complete. It would have been interesting if it hadn’t been for the two other ones I had going already, i.e., The A-toZ Blog Challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo. There was little time left after all of that, not to mention energy after working all day also.

It’s been a struggle to balance all of the areas of writing that I prefer to do. Between blogging and working on my novel, there has been little time left over for working on my flash fiction.

I’m not sure what appeal to me about flash except that I like things in miniature.

I find myself drawn to things in miniature such as doll houses, tiny houses and fairy gardens. Each of these is a complete blog post in and of themselves. I’m not going to begin to analyze my attraction to tiny things.

This past weekend I wrote a piece of just over 300 words and by the end I had tears in my eyes. I often wonder if, when I have an emotional reaction to the writing, it is the words or that I am to close to the content of the story. The story is one that I hope to be able to publish but it still needs a little work. And a title.

One issue I am concerned about is how do I decide on things to write about. As a general rule I don’t have a list of ideas to write about, at least none that inspire me to sit down and write.

I have a couple of cups of ideas to draw from that I made last year when I was preparing for NaNoWriMo. I didn’t have to use them but I’ve saved them. They may come in handy now.IMG_0064

I think this is a question that every aspiring and experienced writer has. Where do the ideas come from? How do you know that an idea is viable?

Generally I don’t worry so much about this as when I need to the ideas often come. But since I am attempting to write a flash piece each day for the month of June I will need some help, especially since I write the first thing in in the morning. Ideas don’t just float around in the early hours of the dawn.

My plan is to use both my idea cups and the Story Spinner. What is the Story Spinner, do you ask? It is a fantastic idea creator made by Bonnie Neubauer. This seldom fails to help me get writing. I’ve even used it as exercises for writing retreats. One side has recipes for exercises and the other has sections for starters, settings and words to add to a story. The possibilities are endless.

I won’t guarantee that the work I do in the next month will be quality but it will be a practice in story building. I am hoping this gives me a bunch to choose from to begin sending work out. I’ll let you know how it goes.

That will be my next goal – to send work out for publication. That is a slippery slope indeed.

Where do your ideas come from?

Anyone else up for this challenge?