Blue Moon does it..
Gets things done, I mean. Appears in all her glory. Even though she appears well (bear with me here, I just can’t resist) once in a blue moon, she does this gracefully and in her own time. She even has her very own entry in the dictionary for phrasal verbs so there must be something to it, to doing things your way, so what better sign to start under (if you are so inclined, which I’m not really but it’s nice anyway, isn’t it? to feel that the universe is on your side) for the first day of my new blog.
Because that is essentially the motto of this blog, namely that even if you are not the born planner (like me) or, like me have spent a lifetime of jumping from one passion to the next and may have had a lot of fun and the odd ‘moment’ along the way, but you haven’t really felt the thrill of excelling at anything of great value in a fair number of years. Even so, I believe there is a way you can fulfil your dreams one by one in your own time. By learning to focus on one thing (at a time) regardless of your age, whether everyone around you seems to have passed you by, got their book published, has slipped into their ‘grown-upness’ seamlessley (and gosh how it suits them!), and found their way on to an exciting career. Even then your way is ok. Simple as that.
So, here is my motto:
My Way is ok.
But it doesn’t stop there! You’ve got to act on it, so, you may be wondering, how, after all those years of putting every excuse under the sun (or moon as the case may be) in the way of even recognising what it was you once dreamed of doing, do you realistically move ahead? I’ve made a list to show you what helped me:
Decide on one thing to focus on:
However old or whacky you think your dream is, if you still feel a tingle when you think about it, then ‘why not?’ Write it down, keep it in your mind, sleep on it for as long as you need until you are sure you want to give this one thing a go: that book you’ve had scribbled down in your notes, the articles you’ve wanted to send off for months, the job that has your name written all over it..
For me, it took turning fifty. Before that I’d spent two years doing online creative writing modules and then ‘hiding out’ while writing with other writers on an online writer’s forum for two years before I knew it was time to move to the next step.
Try it out:
Find courses (local or maybe a few days somewhere completely different?) or workshops or even social media groups… Do some online research and again, take the time you need until you find what makes you feel excited that it is the right course or group that will help you develop your idea to the next stage. And of course it has to work with your schedule!
So I bought myself a place at a writer’s retreat in Paris which coincided with my birthday, September 3 (and yes, I love it when people know it’s my birthday :)). It was the best present I could have given myself. It’s where I realised that I wanted to write a novel and that it was ok to want that because everyone else there wanted to write novels too. It was the moment of finally putting into action ideas that had been zapping around in my head for a while, ideas I could never quite get a hold of – the idea of writing a novel from the short stories I had in my mind didn’t seem crazy anymore, but a natural next step.
Do whatever it takes, book another course, join a local or online group (eg. facebook) anything that will help you put your (writing) dream into action. Though I realised it’s not easy alone, you do need help which is where writer groups, online courses, facebook groups come in handy.
I haven’t looked back since. I promised myself that this project would be started and finished, no matter what. By me.
And I found my way:
* started off with NaNoWriMo which showed me that I can actually write 1000 – 3000 words a day, easily (most of the time and with some planning)
* to keeping up the momentum and doing ten minutes at least, of regular writing every day, no matter what (with one joker day per week)
* to pushing my boundaries with writing a blog post a day for a month #bloglikecrazy which (nearly) showed me it’s possible (I’m planning to doing it fully next year)
* to posting an IG post a day regularly for the last six months and
* this has led me to the next step which is learning all about planning from plot outline to planning my blog and social media.
As you can see, one thing led to the next, and, one of the most fun things, as well as the most important aspect is the next point:
Find and build up an environment of like-minded people:
Find the place and the people that support you and with whom you feel at home. On a virtual and on a real level 🙂 whatever works for you.
Meeting the other writers I connected with in Paris felt like a sort of blue moon moment. It felt right, but at first I was worried as it was only a short moment, at a specific time and place – It was a place where there were other writers with a similar dream, to write a book, I had found a place where it was ok to think in those terms. But what would happen when I returned home?
This may sound odd but I carry the energy from the shared experience around with me, from the friendships I have made with other writers, from the space I have made for myself to work on my dream, and from the discussions or chats we have virtually or, when we get the chance to meet at retreats in real life.
Of course there is a way to go. The novel is not published quite yet but I have passed from the first draft to the editing stage. I won’t beat around the bush. This process has taken two years (I’ve been advised that a novel can take from between two to ten years, so I’m going with that as it means I’m still ok, in my third novel writing year.) I’ve been through a fair amount of all sorts of ups and downs which have never made me want to give up (or nearly never but never enough!).
I’ve come across realisations, such as: writing a novel isn’t just about finding the time to write nor is it just about battling procrastination – as an an expert excuse maker this will be an ongoing topic in this blog (finding ways to work with procrastination and then still getting things done.) And it’s certainly not about just writing every blue moon.
So, in the words of the American poet Marie Ponsot, a single Mother with seven children who still got her (very substantial amount of incredible) poems written:
“Why not?” [and let me add:] start at the beginning:
Welcome, to my blog. I’m excited to get started and to meet you.
So, if you’d like to share your ideas, I have a question for you: is there a dream project lying there somewhere, disregarded, in the back of your mind?
I’d love to hear what that is, please do comment below.