Tag Archives: writing journey

My First Blogiversary

Today is my blog’s first birthday!

Happy blogiversary to me! Image: fiftieswedding.com

Happy blogiversary to me!
Image: fiftieswedding.com

My first blog post was only a couple of sentences long, and I remember how terrified I was as I wrote and posted it. It felt like my head had become a theme park and I was offering free entry, with popcorn and super-sized sugary drinks on demand. As it turned out, of course, nobody but the WordPress bot actually ever read my first post, but my feelings didn’t care about that.

I can’t believe I’ve been writing my blog for a year. In one way, it’s become such a part of my everyday routine that it feels like I’ve been blogging forever, but in another way I’m mystified as to where the last year has gone.

So, what have I learned in a year?

Writing a daily blog is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I love it, and it gets me going in the morning like no cup of coffee ever could (particularly since I’m doing my best to give up caffeine, for real this time), but I’m not going to lie. Several times during the past year I’ve been reduced to tears at the thought of writing a new post, and I’ve had to really draw on all my reserves of strength, inspiration and improvisation to deliver the goods – but then, that’s a good thing. Isn’t it?

Conquering fear is fantastic. I really was afraid of writing a blog. I would have started one years ago, except I was terrified to do it. Starting this one felt a lot like jumping into the void and – against all expectation – learning how to fly, very quickly. It has given me so much satisfaction to look back over my year’s worth of blog posts, remembering how scared I was when I started out, and how I’ve overcome that fear.

I’m a lot less weird than I always thought I was. It’s great to know that other people think the same way I do about things as varied as books and mental health issues, or authors and writing techniques, or family and life. Having said that, it’s slightly bittersweet to think that perhaps all your little quirks aren’t as unique as you’d like to think. So it goes.

People are wonderful. If I’d thought I’d ‘meet’ so many wonderful folks through the medium of this blog, I really would have started to write it years ago. I’ve been buoyed up by positivity, support, friendship and fellow-feeling more times than I can remember over the past year, and I am so grateful to all my wonderful followers for that. It has been incredible to make contact with so many other bloggers, writers, thinkers, artists, and fellow human beings over the past twelve months. I started this blog thinking that (perhaps) my mother would read it once in a while, when she had nothing better to do; now I have over 200 followers and nearly 14,000 hits. My mind still can’t process that, really.

I really, really love writing. It would have been a bit of a ‘whoops’ moment if I hadn’t discovered this during the course of writing the blog, wouldn’t it? Luckily, though, that’s exactly what I found. Writing brings me more satisfaction than anything else I’ve ever done, and I’m privileged to live in a world where I have the opportunity to ‘publish’ my words in this way. Being completely honest, I had hoped to have achieved more, in terms of writing, over the past year than I actually have. However I think, all in all, I haven’t done too badly.

And the best part about having a blog? I can relive every moment of my journey, in ‘real time.’

Writing ‘Clockwatching…’ has been the best thing I could’ve done for my writing. This blog has compelled me to be disciplined, and strict with my routine. It has given me a sharp appreciation for deadlines. It has allowed me to see that I can provide ‘copy’ at short notice, not only once but repeatedly. It has shown me that I am capable of wringing inspiration out of my brain even when it feels drier than a camel’s backside. It has allowed me to take part in competitions and writing groups which have been a huge source of inspiration and feedback. It has opened my eyes to the sheer amount of writing blogs in existence, and I have benefited from every blog I’ve read and followed. It has made me realise, so clearly, that writers are all struggling toward the same goal and that we are all pulling for the same team, and that the success of one writer brings the rest of us up, just a fraction.

Go Team Go! Image: zazzle.com

Go Team Go!
Image: zazzle.com

This past year has, in so many ways, been the most satisfying and successful one of my life. I am hopeful, as I enter my second year of blogging, that this feeling of accomplishment will travel with me, and that I’ll soon have something concrete – in terms of my writing career – to show for all the work I’ve put in. No matter what the future holds, I wanted to say something to all of you who’ve been following my blog and who’ve told me that reading it has become part of your daily life: Thank You.

To all my wonderful friends, both ‘real life’ and ‘virtual’, who have supported me every step of the way, I am so grateful for your help and encouragement. To everyone who has read this blog, thank you. To everyone who has taken the time to comment and critique and help me on my way, thank you. To everyone who has contacted me to let me know how much they enjoy reading this blog, thank you. To my family (particularly my husband), thank you, and I love you.

Here’s to a second glorious year!

 

Image: bizetiquettes.com

Image: bizetiquettes.com

 

Presenting…

So, yesterday evening, something momentous happened.

Woohoo!

Woohoo!

I’m almost too excited to tell you about it. But I will, of course.

Yesterday evening, a lifelong dream was realised when my first published story went live, on the (frankly, incredibly beautiful) website of Number Eleven Magazine. The magazine has just launched, so I have the double honour of being published, and also being published in a magazine’s inaugural issue. How cool is that?

Here is a link to my story ‘Animal Farm’ – but please bear in mind that it is a story with dark themes and dystopian imagery, and may not be suitable for younger readers. The magazine’s homepage can be found here if you’d rather just browse around the whole thing. I heartily recommend you do just that, in fact. The other writers published in Number Eleven are highly accomplished and talented, and their stories are all worth reading; as well as that there’s artwork to peruse and the sheer gorgeousness of the site itself. Waiting for the site to unveil was so exciting; we were promised something beautiful, and the editorial/design team behind it certainly did a marvellous job.

It’s a funny thing, when you finally get to see something you’ve written in print. Funny because you can’t quite believe it’s there after all these years of dreaming about it, and also because, if you’re anything like me, you read over your piece and think ‘Man, I should’ve changed that bit… and this bit… and what was I thinking here?’ Clearly, the story was judged good enough, and it was chosen out of a lot of submissions, so it has merit. But I also think that it’s in the nature of a writer to never be quite satisfied with anything they create. It may be a safety-valve thing, a guarantee that they’ll keep trying and keep striving, and never stop creating.

(I’d rather think that than the alternative, which is writers are all a bunch of neurotic self-obsessives. But feel free to make of it what you will!)

This is the first small step on a long journey. My husband felt the need to remind me last night that I am not in a race; this thing is lifelong, and so the steps taken will, almost by necessity, be small, and my progress will be irregular. But the only thing to do, of course, is keep going. Each success is worth so much in terms of confidence, and each one lays down a building block for the next. My efforts are by no means over now, though. I’m still submitting stories, of course, everywhere I can find a place to send them; if even one of them finds a home somewhere outside my computer hard-drive I will feel satisfied with my efforts. With every word I write, with every idea that strikes me, with every effort I make to write a story to a particular theme or to take inspiration from a prompt (if I’m entering a competition), I will come up against fear and self-doubt and regret and the old killer ‘I’m not sure about this…’; all of those things will have to be dodged, stepped over, walked around and ignored if my journey is to continue.

And I want it to continue.

Thank you to all those who read this blog, who comment on my posts, who encourage me when obstacles block the road and when the way is clear, who have supported me all these long months. I hope you’ll take the time to read not only my story but also those of the other contributors, and that you’ll continue to keep an eye on Number Eleven Magazine. And, of course, if you’d like to let me know what you think of ‘Animal Farm’, I would be very glad to hear your opinions.

Happy Tuesday! I hope you, too, have something to celebrate today.