Writing about what hurts

Writing about what hurtsI recently reloaded content from a very old, long-running blog and just finished scanning it to see the type of stuff I wrote about. This is what I learned:

  1. I wrote some pretty good headlines back then.
  2. My topics were all over the place, like a journal.
  3. I never, ever wrote about my work.

That last one kind of stings.

Considering that time in my life changed my life completely, I sure managed to suppress how much poverty had taught me – how much I’d learned, how much I had let go of.

Still, in the words of Heather B. Armstrong, one of the first professional bloggers to monetize her blog before monetizing was cool:

“BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the internet unless your boss knows and sanctions that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET.”

So I journaled (privately) a lot about work. I’m sure many people do. Maybe it’s what keeps us from breaking the law.

Anyway, I also had long hauls of multi-hour flights, with plenty of time to write about everything from:

  • eating in-flight, off-hours meals with my arms practically crossed (thank you, United);
  • miraculously getting from Jakarta to Singapore with absolutely no itinerary (I later learned); and
  • my “lost,” luggage somehow following me from Entebbe, Uganda, to London Heathrow with absolutely no tags on it.

That was the light stuff.

In fact, what I’d never blogged about is what weighed (then and now) heavily on my heart. It’s also the third – and so far, missing – leg on this blog’s intended three-legged stool: culture, communications and cause.

I’m not sure exactly how the topic of cause – of poverty – will unfold, but it’s feeling more and more like it’s time to let it happen. I’m praying for the courage to go there next.

30 days and going strong

waze iconsI’m a huge fan of Waze. For my commute to Denver for work a couple of years ago, I relied on this traffic app to know when I needed to take an alternate route, when a cop was in the area or when it was going to be an extra-long drive home.

I still use it for local driving, because it’s great not just for telling you where you’re going but when you can expect to arrive. Of course, it first has to understand where you are now.

Thankfully, when it comes to blogging, I don’t need Waze to tell me where I am now. After 30 days straight of shipping, I have a pretty good idea.

Now, I’m excited about where I go from here.

Lessons learned

After 30 days of blogging, I discovered I can do it. I can blog regularly and reliably. Some days, it’s meaningful. Other days, I don’t feel like shipping at all. But I know now I can push over those hurdles. That stopped me many times before.

I’ve also discovered I have something (lots, actually) to say. And I’m discovering new things to learn and share. Not necessarily out of my initial scope for my blog, but different angles than I expected.

I am HERE

For the record, here’s where I am on my little journey now:

  • Completing a demanding commitment through #YourTurnChallenge (I did it!)
  • Inspired to keep going and keep learning
  • Freed up – liberated – to move forward
Where to go from here

From here, while I’m not exactly certain where my blog will end up, I am excited about the journey. It will probably be someplace I’ve never even imagined for myself.

Encouraged by a wonderful group of companions* on this journey, I am gaining confidence daily through what I learn from and through them. I love that part.

Going forward, I want to go deeper. That may mean blogging less frequently so I can plan content with greater precision. Maybe it means punctuating more thought-out content with abbreviated posts.

But my big Aha! is that, while there are many professional blogs out there designed, down to a science, to monetize content, for once I don’t feel I have to be among them.

And now, moving on.

* Estelle, Ann, Steve, Nancy, Mona and Gwen, to name a few

The truth of the matter

I’m coming up on 30 days solid of blogging – shipping each and every day.

Granted, it hasn’t felt like it was great shipping, but it was keeping a commitment to just do it. For that, I am very happy. I’ve built both a new habit and a new discipline, and I couldn’t be happier abot it.

What I didn’t realize is how this process will play out in stages of maturity.

While I’m getting over the fear now of “just doing it,” I find that, in this process, it is still hard for me to open up. It’s still hard to crack the nut of what hurts and what really makes me vulnerable.

So this will be my one of my new goals for Phase 2 of my personal Your Turn Challenge:

The more I learn, the more I don’t know

Working on today’s post, I was amused (again) by how two previously written drafts started merging into one. And then there was the third one, creeping in entirely uninvited.

It was starting to get messy, and my post was getting bigger than I could handle. Not just longer, but bigger, like in-my-head bigger.

In an attempt to add a little “color” to the story, I did a bit of fact-checking. And that’s when it all blew up — a can of worms with a whole new set of questions and more to learn. Always, more to learn.

So I’m putting that post down for a nap. It’ll come out to play when the time is right. Until then, I’m done.

p.s. One of the best parts of #YourTurnChallenge – along with the great community – is how much we are growing through the process. Our desire to explore, ask more questions – it’s actually overwhelming some days. But once we step back and look at what we’re learning through new eyes…it’s a beautiful thing.

WFH: How’s it going for ya?

* WFH – Working from home

DeathtoStock_Creative Community3-xsm

Death to Stock Photo image

A few years ago, I wanted so badly to trade places with my consultant husband. I worked for ‘the man’ and had done so my entire career.

But I didn’t get to pick up at the drop of a hat, go for a bike ride or on a fishing trip (not that I would) – or even ride some powder in the mountains after fresh snow. I was a mere mortal.

If I’m honest, I probably held a grudge for a good 10 years. Until the tables turned.

Now, I’m wearing his shoes and well, there’s a lot to learn — mostly about myself.

In fact, it wasn’t until just recently I realized how much I need to be around people as part of my work. I’m a flaming extrovert, so while I adore my cat, being alone with him all day – well, that just won’t work.

Trust experienced telecommuters
I’m thinking Someone is saying something to me. Between this blog from Tara Mohr:

One of the things that made difference – that made the exciting parts come to the fore, and the harder parts fade to the background, was taking care of myself in the little ways. I’ve been spending so much more time with people I love, and taking the time to get out and do my work in beautiful cafes – doing the little things that nurture me.

..and this straightforward listen-to-your-rhythms piece, I need to make some changes.

Is the grass really greener?
In a world driven by happy-path stories and personas, it’s easy to think everyone else is living the dream. (Pssst…they’re probably thinking the same of you.) But sometimes what we have is exactly what we need during that moment … just with a slight twist.

My “twist” will be working away from home more – in cafés beautiful or otherwise – so I can be around people more. What will yours be?

The morning after

So it’s the morning after (OK, the day after…my morning got away) completing #YourTurnChallenge.

I’m kind of numb, kind of relieved, pretty tired but overall really energized by the experience.

I’ve tried something similar before, and I mentioned NaNoWriMo in a separate post. That’s about cranking out the crap that wants to grow up to be a novel. And I do mean crap. A minimum of 1500 words, every day, for 30 days. Doesn’t have to be good. Just needs to be written.

Wasn’t quite for me, although it did generate the foundation for documenting my family’s history through story. That has been very rewarding. But it mostly stayed in my journal, until now. So yay for that.

Surprisingly, I came closer to hitting NaNoWriMo’s word count during YTC than I could have imagined. Today, I’m keeping it short – mostly because this time feels sacred somehow.

I’m still processing what all of it means in the grand scheme and how I can apply it more professionally, as well as personally.

What I’m really getting my head around is that finding your voice just requires using it. That’s it. Just ship.

Build it so they will come
I have a post coming soon for the professional comms audience: “Build It So They Will Come.” It’s still about the same stuff – using what you know to help others build their knowledge base. We just need to remember, they might not learn it in a way that resonates with them unless we share.

Here’s to the wheels being greased and turning again. Clink! Clink!