It’s the time for resolutions … or at least the time when we start hearing about them.
In case we forget, blog posts and magazine articles remind us: “How to Design Your Life” … “How to Find Clarity” … “How to Get Organized” … “What do you really want?” … “101 Ideas For Your New Year’s Resolutions” …
Another year is coming to close and, along with the family gatherings and holiday gift shopping, we grow reflective. We start looking back on the year that was and forward to the year that approaches … faster and faster all the time.
I’m reflecting big time this year, more than I ever have.
And you know what? I’m scared and New Year’s resolutions won’t be enough!
2015 was an easy year, in that sense. Yes, we uprooted our entire lives, sold most of our stuff, packed up the rest, left behind a job and family and friends … and then lived on a construction site in the middle of nowhere for the summer while we finished our new home.
However, aside from the odd scheduling glitch (and the mosquitoes), it was all pretty manageable. We had our budget and we stuck to it. We knew what needed to be done and we had a plan.
2015 was a year when all else was put to the side to meet our very essential need of having a safe and warm place to rest our heads by the time the winter snow arrived.
We did it. It’s done. Now what?
This is where my anxiety kicks in … and this is where it could get complicated.
There are many more variables facing us in 2016, things that feel much more slippery than choosing the color of our hardwood or the style of our kitchen cabinets. We’ll have to make some significant choices, along the lines of some of those headlines I listed in my intro.
With the physical house functional, the rest of our lives are now up for some serious reinvention.
Reinvention is Harder Than it Looks
Reinvention is all the rage.
It’s one of the new “magic” words out there, and while I’m the first to use it as a well-seasoned reinventor myself, it doesn’t seem to get any easier with experience.
All romantic notions aside, there’s a lot involved … I’d love to believe it’s all within our control, but I’m not always sure that it is. Life can throw curve balls.
My husband has been in the trades all his life and he’s always landed on his feet, so he’s not too worried. I’ll do his administration, finances and marketing (he can’t stand doing those things) and our hope is that, together, we can build a solid and reliable family business from the ground up.
(Note that: from the ground up. Safety net anyone?!)
When I’m not being that “super-admin” person, I will immerse myself in my new writing life. Oh! I just felt it again … the anxiety deep in my belly.
Here’s the overarching question: Where to start?
While Never Too Late To Write has existed for a year now, it suffered a serious case of blog interruptus this year when we relocated. For a long time, I couldn’t even connect to the Internet long enough to do anything with it.
Now it’s time to hunker down and do some serious review.
My vision for this blog is that it be a place of learning, community and reflection. I want to share what I learn on a journey that takes place beyond the blog and, ultimately, help others in their own pursuits of a second act and a writing life.
So many blogs I’ve seen lately don’t foster community; they’ve made it clear it’s not a priority. Not that there’s anything wrong with that—their business is following a different trajectory.
But here, community is key. Each post I publish is one half of a whole that includes the comments … the communication … the community.
The journey is just so much better when it’s shared.
Blogging, Platform and the Business of it All
So I have much to consider. Blogs don’t grow themselves. Nor do writing lives, and communities need attention and care to thrive.
Herein lies the challenge that many writers face when they confront the reality of building a platform and/or writing business together with doing the writing for which it is all intended to support.
How do we balance everything? How do we build the business and still have the time and energy for our writing? Is it silly to even try?
Then I have the added question … I’m already helping my husband build his business, so how much can I really do?
Wendy Clarke, a writer friend of mine who I interviewed earlier this year, recently wrote a post—To Blog or Not to Blog—in which she shares her version of this very dilemma. For her, it’s a question of whether to blog at all, now that she has many stories published and a novel on the way.
What’s the Answer?
Jeff Goins recently published a post about designing his life. In it, he differentiates between “drifting”, “determining” and “designing”:
The designed life is a way of looking at your life not as simply a goal to achieve, but as an adventure to live, one in which you have more control than you realize.
That got me thinking. Now is the time. I am on the edge … at the beginning of something new. What better time to take a new approach … to everything!
As a life-long learner, I’ve always been inclined to turn to an expert and/or a book for the answers. I’m pretty good at following someone else’s steps and the catalog of courses I’ve taken on everything from “Time Saving” to “CSS for the Beginner” will attest to that.
But this time I’m coming to realize: if I’m going to build a life that I’m happy with, it’s time to stop following someone else’s lead … to trust what I know and what I’m capable of doing, and to design my writing life in a way that is uniquely “me”.
That means respecting the recommendations and advice that others have to offer and then, if it doesn’t work on my path, making it different … making it my own.
It really isn’t just about the goal. It’s about the life we’re living and what we do in the every day.
A writing life isn’t a goal–it’s a life!
It’s Time for a Plan
That’s what 2016 needs: a plan for this writing life, rather than a smattering of disconnected resolutions that quickly get lost in the shadow of our busy day-to-day lives.
There are many theories, tools, and processes for doing this and, of course, I’ll share what I learn with you. Let’s find what works!
From blogging to social media to teaching to writing articles/essays/ebooks/fiction to private life and commitments, it’s time to create some order out of the chaos … to rid ourselves of the overwhelm.
Prioritize and organize. Now, more than ever, writers have to wear so many hats. We need to know how to get a grip on it all. And, most importantly, we must make it our own. (Wouldn’t it be boring if we all did the same things in the same way?)
I’ll probably still be scared … but at least I’ll have a plan. 🙂
Now, over to you …
What does your 2016 look like so far?
Are you planning big things for your second act? Your writing life?
Do you feel overwhelmed and just a little anxious?
Do you have so much to do and don’t know where to begin?
Is there anything that makes you feel particularly uneasy?
As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Oh, and one last thing …