Pen in hand

Daily prompt Pens and Pencils 

When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?

I used to keep handwritten journals. I’ve thrown most of them away, because I don’t want anyone to read them even when I’m dead. I keep an online journal now.

Last summer I wrote longhand in a notebook for a couple of months, morning pages, and one day when I was writing I was so inspired that I started this blog! I kept it up for a bit, but went back to penzu because it is completely private. Sometimes I will write in a notebook but it is rare.

Certainly I can imagine returning to a pre – keyboard era. I think it would be harder for younger people who can barely remember those days. It would be strange though, and probably seem very tedious.

I like typing on the computer. It is easier to edit, change, save, and I process just as easily both ways. I am very happy to have this technology, just wish I could navigate WordPress more easily!

Who am I and why am I here?

I signed up for Blogging 101 for the second time. I figure I can keep learning and evolving. I’m thrilled if you are reading this and delighted if you are “following” me.  Here are some “assignment” questions that I thought I’d try to answer, for myself at least as much as anyone reading this.

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

Great questions for all of us, right?

I keep a personal journal at penzu.com. I’ve been writing there for about 3 years and it is a place that is completely private.  I write  stuff there just to get it out and sort it out, but I don’t want anyone else to read it, it’s a lot of mush. Additionally, I get emails from Penzu that say “you wrote this a year ago” and it is interesting to see how my life has changed in that period.   I started blogging in addition to journaling because I began to believe that I have a message, something of value to share with others.

My first blog post had a good deal to do with getting through a wall of fear and the uncertainty of life. Thus the name of my blog was right there, I didn’t have to give it much thought. Then I really didn’t know what I was going to write about or how often, but with a title like Embracing Uncertainty I realized that that is a great part of my message. So really I write about whatever is on my mind, and post photographs, mostly having to do with the lake I live by and sunrises or sunsets, like this picture I took tonight.

fisherman in kayak

Although I haven’t yet written about politics or current events, that may happen. I have touched on family, spirituality, creativity, and personal growth, and connected with quite a variety of bloggers. After 6 months I am just beginning to feel a part of the “blogosphere” which is really quite different from social media like facebook or twitter. I’m happy to connect with anyone who wants to connect with me.

The last question is a bit difficult. I’m not sure what it means to blog successfully. Maybe it means that I am consistent and that people read and sometimes comment on what I write about. I don’t have a business that I’m trying to promote here – I just want to share what I have learned and am learning in life, and read about other people’s lives and opinions and experiences. And share photographs.

I thought I would only be writing occasionally, but have found that I really enjoy this, and am more often than not considering what I will write next.  Thanks for being with me on the journey!

PS. I have updated my About Me page.

Looking back at 2014


fireworks

A year ago, 2014 was a blank canvas. Now, as I look back on it, the days, weeks, and months are painted in colorful designs, with some fireworks and a few black marks.

My granddaughter was born one year ago today, and her presence changed the course of my year. I wanted her to know me, so I’ve visited at least weekly, glad that she is only 40 minutes away. She has gone from that small, helpless babe in arms to an intensely curious, beautiful person who can run, not just walk, and who definitely knows her “Sassy”. (That’s me) Her mother doesn’t want pictures of her on the internet, or I’d post one.

Here are some highlights from the year, besides the sweet baby:

I had incapacitating back pain in January, missed work, went to chiropractors, had to become less active. I had thought I would get back into running, but there is still residual pain, so I have become much more sedentary.

In March and again in April I went to the Chopra Center near San Diego and in addition to learning something about Ayurveda and levels of consciousness, took up meditation on a twice daily basis. I didn’t really know what I was doing, sometimes still don’t, but I know that the continued practice is life-changing, in ways I can’t really explain. I am generally calmer, less reactive, and more in tune with my own rhythms. I highly recommend it. I wrote about it here.

In June I started this blog simply because in that moment I had something to say and thought it could be meaningful to someone else.  I wrote facing fear because those thoughts were burning in me and I wanted to get it out and own it. After I wrote it, I thought oh God, what have I done, now I have to keep writing! And have found the blogging world to be delightful and fascinating.

In July my youngest daughter moved out, and in August my second oldest son got married. My entire family was reunited for the wedding. I learned that letting go goes on and on and on, because children grow up to be adults with ideas of their own. It is the hardest thing, yet as I let them go, I also become free. I wrote about my empty nest.

The last day of August my sweetheart and I moved in together. We met in August of 2013, and it hadn’t taken too long before we were spending as much time together as we could. It didn’t make sense to keep living 30 miles apart. Having been married twice, living together without asking for the government’s approval just makes more sense for me, at my age. At least for now.

The rest of the year was pretty uneventful until this month. My family is pretty scattered and we don’t make a big deal of Christmas, so Robert and I decided to take a cruise, a first for both of us. The jury is still out on this experience. It was fun, but also exhausting. I think I prefer going to a destination and staying there for a while. Glad we went, though, and glad to be home.

Sara on cruise

On Blogging

As I fretted about my habit of going to a paying job rather than staying home writing all day, I had an encouraging email show up in my inbox.

I sign up for a lot of lists, then unsubscribe to most of them after they bombard me with their too-frequent sales pitch emails. But this one, I welcome. Maybe partly because I met the author in person, at a social meetup, not too long after I started this blog and was really wondering what I was doing and should I continue, but mostly because I think she has something valid to say and is lowkey and friendly in her approach.

I’ve only met Anne Bechard a couple of times, but she seems like a friend. I hope to be able to talk with her soon (maybe after the holidays), over a glass of wine or dinner, and find out what makes her tick, and hear more about her passion. Word in the street is that she’s writing a book, and I am looking forward to reading it.

Anne’s website is Story Maverick, and she’s got some great information and tips there, especially for beginner bloggers like me. Check it out. She didn’t ask me to promote her and there’s nothing in it for me, just want to share some good information and help everyone out.

She got my attention with this subject line: How to get action on your blog while you work your day job. Just what I needed! (Refer back to my first sentence!)

Here’s a little of what she said:

Let’s face it — whether you go to an office or not, you’ve got a full-time life. And the details never seem to stop. You only have a small window for blogging. But try as you might, no one seems to be reading what you publish.

I’ve been there. It’s discouraging, frustrating, and, ok, embarrassing. But it doesn’t have to be. There really are ways to use your time efficiently when you blog so that once you hit the publish key, people will actually read what you wrote.

Big reveal:
You need a blueprint to sharpen your focus toward your readers while you blog.

Here’s how:
Engage your readers with your unique voice, authenticity, and specific calls to action.

You’re the only one who can tell your story. Sure, we’re not reinventing the wheel here. But seriously — no one says it like you do. When you write in your own unique voice, you share your story more authentically. This is how you persuade and influence your readers to follow through with your specific call to action — whether that’s asking them to comment, or share, or retweet.

Your time is precious. Blogging is a priority for you — but only if you’re getting the results you want. Using a blueprint that focuses on your readers helps you engage your audience with the real you.

She’s got my attention! And I am looking forward to the next email I get from her.