Tag Archives: pressure

How Old Blog Posts Can be Like Old Home Movies

This fall, I celebrated my fifth year as a blogger with great joy (… and surprise) at having achieved this milestone.

From the beginning, I always thought of the blog as my rehearsal space to sharpen my creative writing skills, as I began the transition from full-time career #1 to full-time creative writer. The fact that many of you have joined me in that journey and encouraged me along the way has been incredibly heartwarming and a source of boundless gratitude. Thank you everyone!

I admit that some weeks it was incredibly difficult to find the time or inspiration (or both) to produce some fresh content, as well as to stay on top of my social media presence to get the word out there. But with only a few weeks off here and there, I managed to keep at it and to not give up. For that, I am incredibly proud!

When time has been in short supply, I had to focus my efforts on moving the blog forward, and not looking back. Then weeks turned into months, and months turned into years, and BOOM! Five years went by and I suddenly had a repertoire of almost 300 blog posts. How did that happen?

And that is where the fun began. When time finally permitted, I went back and read some posts from my first year.

In the same way that people enjoy reliving special occasions though old pictures or old home movies, it is kind of fun to have a documented account of what was going through my mind at that time and to be able to relive those moments too.

Right off the bat, I can see how much I have grown as a writer in five years. Even though my writing consistently maintained a degree of familiarity with readers, I was able to fine-tune my writing reflexes to deliver that extra degree of polish that wasn’t quite there in the beginning.

I remember the extreme nervousness I felt when posting the first ones and stressing over how they would be received once out in the real world.

I was reminded of my perpetual struggle with prepositions.

As I read the old posts, I often remembered the ones that developed quickly and the ones that took weeks of nursing and TLC to get just right.

Sometimes I can even remember what I was feeling at the time or where I wrote it.

And there are some posts or observations that I know I wrote, they are my babies after all, but the circumstances surrounding their creation might be a little vague.

What surprised me most (though I don’t think it should) is the extent to which I still recognize myself in every word I wrote, even in the earliest days. As much as I was in search of my writer’s voice for the blog, the reality is that it was always there.

My writing always came from my heart, my mind and my soul, and by maintaining that authenticity, no matter what I wrote, each piece has my writing “fingerprints” all over it. From that perspective, even though my style, my outlook, my topics and my range may have evolved, at its core, it is still me, just a slightly younger version of me as a writer.

Throughout the repertoire, one thing that never changed was my passion and my love of writing. It is through that passion that the blog continued to grow as did my collection of index cards of writing notes, containing threads of story ideas, character traits and potential plot twists that will make their way into fictional works later.

When I look back, I can see that blogging was the ideal solution for me. Committing myself to one blog post per week (sometimes two) was the right goal, at the right time, given the time I could afford for writing. It made me practice my craft consistently and to grow as a writer.

I often felt pressure (self-inflicted, of course) to put more time into the larger scale fictional works that have been simmering in the back of my head. But the reality is that I wouldn’t have been able to give them the full attention and continuity that I would have liked to, given how busy we were at the office, and how tired I might be at the end of the day.

Publishing a high quality 800 word blog each week was all I could afford, and I am OK with that. It was all I really needed to write on topics that were not corporate in nature and to stick with it to get the practice I needed and to build my confidence as a creative writer. It worked!

The added bonus of the blog is having this wonderful collection of published posts that offer an opportunity to review, reminisce and feel incredible joy and pride in my journey as a writer.

Did you enjoy this post? If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox. Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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Filed under 50+, Writing

Ruminating, Racing Thoughts and Overthinking

… or does “Overthinking, Racing Thoughts and Ruminating” sound better?

… or should I say, “Racing Thoughts, Ruminating and Overthinking”?

… or perhaps “Ruminating, Overthinking and Racing Thoughts?”

As someone who considers himself a proactive person, it is well within my nature to think things through before acting.

Not only do I want to avoid making mistakes, but when I make a decision, I’d like to think that I have been responsible, thoughtful, balanced, sensitive and kind.

I admit it, I don’t deal well with surprises. Getting blindsided sends steam shooting out of my ears. Getting pressed for quick decisions and reactions without the proper time to process the situation sends my blood pressure through the roof.

While I think others have more confidence in my handling of things than I do myself, perhaps it is a sense of not wanting to let people down by appearing unprepared, that I try to eradicate surprises before they happen.

But that’s exhausting. Anticipating every possible outcome is next to impossible and developing an action plan for every negative scenario is hard on the mind, body and spirit.
This is not to say I can’t be impulsive or spontaneous. I have a pretty good sense of what works for me and what doesn’t. Over 52 years, my gut has rarely steered me wrong. I just need to trust that instinct. Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, mental health

My New Blogging Strategy: Banking Blog Posts

In 2015, I wrote about a weird phenomenon that was happening within my blogging processes. No sooner than I would start outlining and building a blog post, the little writer’s voice within would pitch another idea at me, and I would start working on that one.

Having a run of good ideas is certainly not a bad problem to have. I definitely counted my blessings in that regard. But in its wake, I was being left with a series of incomplete posts, a phenomenon I called The Graveyard of Blog Posts.

As summer began, I was itching to get to work on another creative writing project and wondered how I could keep the blog going for a couple of months while giving my writer’s voice a fresh challenge.

As I was browsing through my drafts folder, the list of posts that were waiting to be finalized had recently grown some more and was looking pretty impressive. I knew that some of them were just waiting for a final conclusion to nail the point I was trying to make or some “icing on the cake” wording to make it pretty.

The point is, I had several that were almost ready to be posted and patiently waiting in the wings.

Maybe that was my answer!

I made it my goal to try to finalize 8 or 9 posts over two weeks, which should give me enough completed weekly posts to put the blog on autopilot with fresh content until Labour Day, and a couple of months to let my mind wander in another creative direction. Continue reading

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Filed under Inspiring, Misc blogs, Writing

A New Journey: Blogging in Public (Or The Fear Thereof)

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It is clear that when I write, I feel most at home when I am in the calm of the room I set aside for writing. I light a few candles, put on some mellow music, get a cup of tea (sometimes wine, depending on the time of day of course), get into some comfy clothing, take a few deep breaths and then let ideas flow.

Unfortunately life sometimes gets busy and finding the time to sit in my “happy space” is not always possible, yet Continue reading

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Filed under Humour, Writing