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2009: A Great and Trying Year

Thursday, December 31, 2009
Blank Sheet of PaperImage by mark78_xp via Flickr
This past year held a lot for me, both bad and good. For the bad, our house has sat unsold all year long. Our savings are dwindling. As usual, I have more dreams and goals than I have time and/or money for. But there was plenty of good this year, too. We've (mostly) stayed healthy, had some great trips, learned a lot, and have gotten to do some exciting things. I also became a real official blogger, first with the local newspaper, then in March for GeekDad.

Writing for GeekDad has made a huge difference in my life. It's been something new to inspire and excite me. It's opened doors and given me opportunities. I hope that will continue if I keep working hard. Writing for GeekDad has been more than all of that, though. I finally feel a sense of purpose. Before I had kids, I had no real tangible sense of purpose. I worked at jobs and did random things, but I wasn't doing much that fed my soul, that made me feel like I had found my calling. Having children made a big difference in that. I always knew that I wanted kids, and when I had my first child at age 28, I was finally doing something that was important to me and that I enjoyed: taking care of a little being (and later two little beings).

I also feel like writing is finally my vocation, or avocation, depending on how you look at it. It's something that I can do. I have so many interests that it's hard to pick just one, but writing can be used for everything, and thus doesn't exclude any subject. So writing is doing a good job feeding most of the rest of my soul. I've always written, to varying degrees, though I'm not usually compelled to write. I just like having written something good. But now that I have a reason to write, someone to hold me acountable, I do it much more. Now, when I write, I feel myself growing as a person. I'm finding my voice, fleshing out my opinions. No wonder people say their 30s are better than their 20s! I'm doing some things for me now. I'm doing things that I'm proud of that lead to other things that I'm proud of. Squee.
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Finding Your Voice

Monday, December 21, 2009
Work with schools : writing a composition : gi...
Ever since high school I've written things on my own, just for fun and mostly for myself. I always knew I wanted to write, but didn't really have much to say. Or I didn't feel that writing without an audience was terribly useful. Unless you're writing for therapeutic reasons (which I have also done), why write if no one will read it, and perhaps comment on it? I know there are a lot of valid answers to this question, but I hadn't yet found any for me. Until about a year ago. I started writing a blog for the local newspaper. This then led me to write for GeekDad. I haven't looked back. While I have put a lot of work into the GeekDad blog (and some into the newspaper one) over 2009, and haven't gotten paid much, if anything, for that hard work, it has been so personally satisfying that it's all been worth it. Plus the free review copies don't hurt. It has been like a giant unpaid internship, where I can learn, make mistakes, and personally grow without the pressure of it being a real job. I am making friends, making contacts, and having a great time. I can't wait to see where else it will lead.

The whole writing thing... In some ways, writing is easy. Sometimes the words just flow out like water from a faucet. And sometimes it is nearly impossible to come up with anything eloquent or it all sounds like gibberish. I don't always know which one of those I'll get until I start to write, so it is hard to be prolific. The best posts I've written are ones that I didn't spend a lot of time on. The worst ones are also the ones I didn't spend a lot of time on. The rest I put a lot of work into. And so it goes.

I'm learning about my process as it unfolds. Usually, especially with a review or something on which I've taken notes, there are three phases to writing. One, get all the ideas down, preferably in some semblance of order. Two, rearrange, add, subtract, and generally organize the post, making major changes. Three, fine tune it, fixing minor errors and omissions. Once in a while, I have to do a fourth pass, if pass number one was a real mess. And also, once in a while, I get lucky and get away with two passes.

But it all gets easier, the more I write. I'm sure others have experienced the same thing. Unlike some people, I am not compelled to write, but when it's easy, it's a great feeling. When it's hard, it does feel a lot like work. But that happens less and less.
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