Taking Stock.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind to say the least. Not a whirlwind in the sense of ‘wow, so much to do, so little time!’ although there has been a bit of that too. Mostly a whirlwind in the sense that I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed. Its October now, and the more time creeps forwards, the more hope is returning. Of course, I still have those days when its a struggle to get going, to be enthusiastic and awake, but I’m having less of those days now. For me, it has been important to regain control of my own life again. Control in terms of where I want to be, where I’m going, and how I get there. People generally struggle with this feeling that things are out of their control. Yes, some things are – we can’t make too much of an impact on things like Global Warming, or Poverty, or Animal Cruelty – though we can support the organisations and people who are trying to make a difference. We can actively do things about that if we so choose. Signing petitions and supporting charities are important.

What I’m thinking about is control over things such as what we do with our time, the steps we take towards some bigger goal, the people we talk to and get to know, the things we choose and don’t choose. I’m a big believer in taking action, and that life is always moving forwards. I can’t go backwards or sideways or stop time altogether. So it follows that with my life, I’m moving forwards, and all the choices I make bring me closer to tomorrow. The past few weeks have involved making some decisions that are both emotionally difficult, and also big leaps forward. Things that I’ve needed to do that might not seem much to other people, but are hugely important to my well-being. I’ll tell you about it sometime, but not just yet.

Of course, featuring interviews with writers on this blog and my website blog has also inspired me, as well as some of my readers. The writing life is so often solitary, although social networking has changed the possibility of connecting with other writers. It is also good to get to know the different strategies and habits that writers have – what does it mean to be a productive writer? For example, I don’t always consider blogging to be part of my productivity, but it is. Perhaps more so, because this is where my enthusiasm for writing started up again.

I wasn’t a closeted writer, writing in notebooks and observing people (though the joys of people watching are underrated!), I was a ‘closeted’ blogger. Its only in the past two years that I’ve ‘come out’ as a blogger, posting my links on Facebook and Twitter. This blog has been going for five years, whilst I wrote on the now defunct feminist blog (formerly known as Fate is Chance, Destiny is Choice) for three years before this one. Blogging has its ups and downs – at times I’ve had ‘breaks’ but have always come back. There is an irresistible draw to blogging. For me, it is a lot about inspiring and comforting people who might be going through similar things. It has taken discipline to blog quite regularly. I often don’t blog as much as I would like to, but I have people I know are reading so there is a sense of responsibility to create content they can read.

My experience is that blogging transforms over time. When I started blogging here, it was as a more personal, almost diary-centred space. Now, I think it is a mixture of focused article pieces, sharing experiences and writing advice. It may yet transform into something else over time as my thoughts and inspirations evolve. Yes, people have blogs that tend to focus on a niche, and that is important too. Yet if you can’t write or discuss what you want to on your own blog, then in the future they become difficult to maintain. This is what happened with my fashion and style blog. I’m very much interested in style and self expression through style, but it became difficult to stay enthused when I wanted to write about other things. I guess that is why this space changed into a ‘catch-all’ space for almost everything I want to write about. It also gives me a space to try out ideas and examine my thoughts about something, giving me more confidence to write about it elsewhere.

My second coaching session is tomorrow – the life coaching that I’m lucky enough to be receiving via Disability Rights UK. I was sent an initial coaching questionnaire that thoroughly put me through my paces. It took me a long time to think about and then write down what I want to be coached on. It might seem like an easy question – but when you’re confused it seems impossible to answer. Thinking about it from a practical perspective helped – how do people go about reaching their goals? What do I need to know and believe in order to be motivated and enthused? I need a) Motivation, b) Goals and c) Self Belief. Particularly self belief, which has taken a huge knock over the past six months of job-seeking. I’m interested to see how the session will pan out tomorrow…

The coming months are going to be busy. I’ve taken the scary and ominous decision to do NaNoWriMo again in November. Scary because this is my second time and I’ll need more motivation, and ominous because…well, just because (it might involve Zombies or Vampires or something). This month is my Gran’s 88th birthday and my Mum’s birthday at the end of the month. I’m pretty excited about December because…we’re off to New York! We last went in 2005 during the transit strike, so we missed out on visiting a lot of places. New York is a special place, and I just know that it will inspire me. So a lot of things to look forward to. The little things matter too, the things I love the most about Autumn – the colours, the crunchy leaves, hot chocolate, writing away wrapped up in a cosy blanket. Reading good books with hot mugs of tea. So yes, hope has returned with the first rains of Autumn.

The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. ~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams.

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