Tag Archives: decisions

those decisions I made

You know when you’re writing a blog post and you keep deleting it and starting again because there’s so much to say and maybe you want to say it all but maybe you actually want to say none of it and would rather just talk about something else instead? That.

So lets talk about something else, shall we?

fields of gold

Remember how I set myself some goals a month ago? Maybe it’s time to report back on those. See how I’ve done. That will keep me nice and distracted…

So, I made a decision to only blog once a week:

And bar one extra blog post (which just burst out of me) I’ve stuck to this and it’s made a huge difference. I have far more time for other things and it’s also taken the (self-imposed) pressure off me to blog in a certain way or follow any sort of plan – I’ve just been blogging from the heart and seeing how it goes. This, in itself, has felt different to me – there have been times when I’ve been scared to hit ‘publish’ because the posts have felt too raw or real and it’s made me feel vulnerable. But I’ve gone ahead and done it and the support I’ve had in the comments section has been wonderful. At a time when I’ve been feeling all over the place, blogging from the heart has soothed me. That’s been a lovely unexpected consequence of my decision.

I also decided to stop joining in with linkies other than my own.

Again, I’ve stuck to this (apart from one little link up with #Prose4t) and it’s made such a difference to my evenings! I’m no longer caught up in hours of blog commenting. The downside has been I’ve missed reading the variety of posts and I feel less connected to the wider blogging community… but my own little #WhatImWriting community is thriving as much as ever. You can’t have it all and I’ve become very aware that I can’t scatter my attention too widely without losing something.

Of course both these decisions about blogging were bound to affect my blog stats… but, having just looked at them right now for the first time in weeks, funnily enough they’re just back to where they were in February before my blog post about education and #THISislearning campaign sent my hits rocketing. Huh. I thought they would have plummeted way more than that. Ok, I’m quite chuffed!

Then there was my reading target – one book a fortnight.

I’ve almost stuck to that – I’ve read (loved) and reviewed Baby X by Rebecca Ann Smith and am now reading Quiet – the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking‘ by Susan Cain. As a self-confessed introvert, I’m loving it (it’s not exactly a hard sell!) and finding it really enlightening.

I also said I didn’t intend to do any creative writing in June.

This was because I was struggling to find time for writing as well as drawing and was somehow ending up doing less of both because my focus was so split. True to my intentions (with one exception) I wrote nothing creative throughout the month. My brain was full of story ideas though, so that creative drive didn’t go away! It also felt great to relieve myself of the self-imposed pressure and most of all it made a huge difference to my main aim…

… to draw every day.

I DID IT! I set myself a #GuessTheFilm challenge where I worked my way through the alphabet drawing a different picture to represent/suggest a different film every day. I posted them all on Twitter and Instagram and some on Facebook too and had a lot of fun with people guessing them. I also plain old loved the experience of drawing, built up a few skills and some confidence and I’m now working on an assignment for my illustration course. Drawing has really helped me emotionally and psychologically over the last few weeks too. Writing has helped too in a kind of cathartic, letting it out way, but there’s something about visual art that has taken me away from what’s going on in my head (and what’s going on in the world). Good stuff.

#Guessthe film f - I

Anything else? Oh yes – social media! I said I’d stick to just half an hour a day in the evening.

*Falls off chair laughing at utter failure to stick to this goal at all.*

We’ll leave it at that shall we?

Oh, and there was the very important goal of making the time with my youngest count.

I’d love to report some kind of soft-focussed, skipping through fields, glowing version of the last month here, but I’ll be honest. The boy is an utter delight most of the time and one of the reasons he’s an utter delight is that he is amazing at entertaining himself. He wanders off and creates stories with his cars, he wraps himself in blankets and says he’s going shopping (because the traditional way to go shopping is in a blanket sausage), he ‘reads’ books to himself, he does jigsaws… and, yes, ok, he watches ‘the wheels on the bus’ on You Tube far too many times. Could I have spent more time baking and crafting and taking part in wholesome, pinable activities with him? Yes. But we’ve spent some lovely, quality time together nonetheless. He’s really lovely to chat to (even at the tender age of three) and we even did skip through a field!

Finally, I decided I wouldn’t go to BritMums Live

I had been looking forward to it but when it got nearer the time it just didn’t feel right. Instead, I spent time that weekend with friends close to home. It was what I needed. No regrets.

Over all – not a bad month. Well, kinda. Considering. You know what I mean.

 Writing Bubble

where I stop procrastinating and make some decisions

in a fieldI’ve been delaying writing this post for weeks – delaying writing it because in order to do so, I needed to make some decisions about my blog and, despite endless pondering, I couldn’t quite bring myself to do that.

How do I find more time to write? Where do I find more time to do my illustration course? How much of the energy that I pour into blogging could be better used elsewhere? What do I want from blogging anyway? How do I handle social media? How can I be a more present parent? Is this pondering really getting me anywhere at all? Where did I hide my stash of popcorn? All these questions and more have been whirring round in my head for weeks and I need to come to some conclusions!

As I type these words I STILL haven’t finalised my decisions but one thing I have decided is that enough is enough – the longer I delay, the longer the limbo continues. So I’m going to write some thoughts down here and now, and as I do, they will become decisions that I have to honour. I’m going to back myself into a corner, here. Let’s hope it works.

So *clears throat, cracks knuckles, does a few warm up squats*

*decides a walk around the neighbourhood would be a really good idea right about now*

*realises, NO that’s just another procrastination tactic*

*makes a cup of tea, honestly, honestly it helps me think. Honestly*

Right, I’m ready.

Decision one – I want to make the next three months with my youngest son, count.

My three-year-old starts nursery five mornings a week from September and from that point everything changes. I mean, FIVE MORNINGS A WEEK WITH NO KIDS! Imagine that! Ok, some of them will be taken up with work but still… it’s a biggie. And I was all, ‘Oh, I’ll have more time in September, maybe I should just keep truckin’ (and not make any changes) till then’, but then I got a text from a friend this morning (the very lovely Alice from The Filling Glass) and something she wrote reminded me that, sod the changes coming in September, this time is precious. This time right now. So why truck right on through it like some… truck? So I’ve put the brakes on. I need to make decisions that leave me the time, space and energy for him (not to mention the other two!) and that means less blogging and social media. It means:

Decision two – I’m only blogging once a week from now on. 

Well, one blog post plus my What I’m writing linky post (which is largely just copy and paste with a few links to last week’s posts). I’ve been doing this for the last few weeks actually, but having not ‘properly decided’ to do it I’ve kept feeling like I should be blogging more. That’s the thing with blogging actually – I always feel like I should be doing more. There are always more blog posts to write – my head is perpetually thronging with ideas them. Enough of that. One post a week with no obligation or expectation to do more, is fine. Mind you, it’s not just writing blog posts that’s time-consuming, it’s sharing and commenting and linking up. Which leads me to:

Decision three – I’m only going to link up to #WhatImWriting. 

Yes, just one linky – my own. But, but, I love linkies! My fingers are already trembling with alarm! What about The Prompt, my source of inspiration? Or Prose for Thought, where I share creative work? Or From the Mouths of Babes, Or The Truth About, Or Read With Me? Argh! I’ll miss them all! My readership will plummet! it will all end in doom, I tell you. DOOOOOM!

Oh, FFS. I can always reassess things come September if I want and right now, linkies take up too much time. I often lose three or four evenings a week to commenting. And let’s not talk about the time my youngest spends playing on his own while I’m jumping around from post to post. I mean, he’s an awesome little dude with imagination that makes such a situation possible but I take advantage of that far too much. I also take advantage of his love of Curious George and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Enough of that too. Just one linky. Hopefully I can keep commenting down to just one or two evenings and have more time for reading actual books. Ooh, that makes me think of something else:

Decision four – I’m setting myself a book reading target. One book a fortnight for the rest of the year.

A few years ago I would have said, ‘One a book a fortnight? Ha! Easy!’ Even last year I managed more than that, and comfortably, but this year apart from Runaway Girl, The Pursuit of Happiness and The Forgotten and the Fantastical 2, I’ve barely read a thing. I’ve fallen off the reading horse and it makes me sad. Writers should read – it stirs the imagination. I need to make reading a priority. And that’s not the only creative endeavour I need to prioritise:

Decision five – I’m going to draw every day.

I don’t care what it is – I need to just draw. Even if it’s a five minute crap scribble it’s better than nothing. I drew every day for months at the start of the year and it helped my confidence and artistic abilities no end. I need to do that again.

Decision six – regarding social media… *pauses with fingers hovering above the keys*… half an hour a day in the evening. Max. Mostly for blogging and Facebook groups (i.e not just faffing about)

I deleted the FB and Twitter apps from my phone weeks ago. Life is better because of it. You know what though? Having previously not paid it much attention,  I now check Instagram all the flippin’ time because it is the only social media app left! So I think I might put that in a folder somewhere so I can’t reflexively check it in an addicted way.

With all these decisions though, I’m still not sure I’m going to free up enough time to write and draw so, here’s a radical idea:

Decision seven – I do not expect or intend to do any creative writing at all for the rest of June.

What? Am I mad? Don’t I want to write? Yes, of course! but I’ve been feeling so snowed under recently that I haven’t found time and then I’ve stressed about that. Let this be the month to focus on drawing. It’s just a month and experience suggests to me that if I focus on one creative outlet the other might well follow. I’m not saying I’m not allowed to write – if the words flow, they flow – I’m just saying I don’t expect to write a single thing and that’s fine.

Right, so where does that leave me? Oh yes, there’s one big decision I made before writing this post and it’s about time I shared it:

Decision eight – I’m not going to go to BritMums live

This is sad because I was looking forward to it! I’ve got my (free) ‘editor delegate’ pass and everything and I have been looking at hotels and planning meet ups with friends. *sob*

But it’s the right decision. Being a big-time blogger just isn’t the direction I really want to go in. I’ve sensed that for a while. I reached a point a few months back when things were going well with my blog and I kept being approached by PR’s and I started seriously considering monetising it. Then the viral post happened and the #THISislearning campaign and spreading myself all over social media… and then the week off it all and I realised something. Blogging is not where my heart is. Not really.

It has some of my heart for sure – it’s how I’ve found (and created) my writing community. It’s where I continue to find (and, I hope, spread) support and friendship. It’s the place I’ve discovered motivation to write, and the confidence to share my work. Those are the parts of being a blogger I want to keep, But those parts don’t need me to spread myself so thinly. And those parts don’t need me to go three hundred miles to spend time in a room full of (albeit lovely) people I’ve never met before, learning all about how to grow my audience. Even the thought of having to tackle Pinterest and Instagram in a full on blogger way makes me want to scream and cover my ears. That’s not going to get me where I want to go (though I continue to be impressed by those of you who do).

Get me – I made some decisions! Eight whole ones! There are still a few other things I’m considering but I think these will do for now.

Let’s see what the next few months bring. :)

Writing Bubble