Last year, I had goals for this blog, even if I didn’t state them out loud. It was my life raft from my corporate job, and I still harbored high hopes that it would save me from intellectual oblivion and possibly launch my career as a writer.
This year is different.
Last year, I treated this blog like a business (albeit a beloved business), and like a business it grew and changed, but not in the ways I thought it would. I advertised it, I went to a blogging conference, I tried this technique, tried that one. Some of this experience was rewarding, some of it wasn’t.
Then, mid-year, something began changing in me.
The blog began to feel forced. Very un-me. I was trying to control again, to not let my original vision develop into something new. Maintaining a kung-fu grip on my own universe, which by its very nature is uncontrollable, is a very me-thing to do. An old behavior from my alcoholic days that creeps back in and catches me unawares.
After a few panic attacks and some serious introspection, I let go. Let it be, let what may happen, happen, not fight the growth.
And that’s when things started to get crazy.
Last year I wanted more from life and creativity; and by God, once I let go, that’s exactly what I got.
I got laid off, which afforded me time to go on a mini-retreat with my husband, where I did a ton of soul-searching and resume updating. After some encouragement from friends and colleagues (whom I met through this blog), I threw together a website and started pursuing a career as a freelance editor and writer.
And damned if it didn’t work out for the best.
In addition to going from a desk jockey to an actual writer, I discovered a writing community that has stretched and challenged my work. I worked my way through The Artist’s Way and took my painting to the next level. I read many books on creativity and writing, from Bird by Bird, to On Writing, to Writing Down the Bones, to How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead, etc. During the autumn, I wrote a poem a day, a habit to which I’d like to return.
In July I was fortunate enough to attend BlogHer, where I met many friends, new or just new-in-person. I participated in NaNoWriMo for half the month of November before just not having enough time each day, the writing assignments kept coming at me. How strange, to watch your hopes manifest before your eyes when you’ve been used to hardship. It’s like an out-of-body experience.
So this year, I don’t have any goals for my blog other than it continue to be a space of creativity and community. That’s it. No grand hopes of viral posts and off the charts stats. I don’t even really check my stats anymore, and whenever I do, I’m pleasantly surprised. It’s much better than the weeping and gnashing of teeth I’d do before.
This blog has opened up avenues I’d have never thought possible. Of course it didn’t happen the way I thought it would, so I’m just going to continue on and see where it takes me.
Despite not having goals for the blog, I’ve thought long and hard about goals for myself. I’d like to not live so much of my life in fear of other people not liking me. I’d like to learn to be kinder to myself, inviting more grace into my life. I’d like to keep discovering who I am, what my purpose is, and how to recover from my past.
Most of the blessings of this year have been the result of opportunities I didn’t manufacture. I worked very hard in the meantime, searching and keeping the old nose to the proverbial grindstone, but ultimately the best parts about the year were not manipulated by yours truly.
So this year, I’ve decided I need a mantra. Something to cling to when I get all spazzy and play a million rounds of merry-go-round in my head.
Discovery. Joy. Creativity.
That’s going to be my mantra. I’ll say it when I’m wondering what the frack I’m doing, staying home and writing part-time, hoping it will turn into more? When I put myself down because who do I think I am, trying to live my dream and be a writer? That’s when I’ll need something to cling to.
Discovery. Joy. Creativity.
That’s what I’m cultivating this year.
How about you?