In my most recent post I discussed my goals and the steps I was taking towards, and away from achieving them. Writing that post, and receiving your wonderful comments, advice and suggestions, provided me the opportunity of really assessing how I spend my time and of deciding where to from here; at least until I meet the next juncture anyway.
My most important realisation is that
I love the writing community that welcomed me so warmly and of which I feel very much a part:
- The friendship and sharing
- The open communication and exchange of ideas
- The feedback and encouragement
- The writing practice
- The opportunity to be doing something with my time – it does a good job of keeping me off the streets!
The impact that being a part of this community may have on my ability to reach other goals may never be known. But for now it meets other needs in many wonderful ways that I am not prepared to forgo just yet. I may need to reassess the content of my posts in view of my writerly, as opposed to teacherly, audience; but since you have all accepted and responded so well to them thus far, maybe not. I can’t think what else I know about anyway!
However, I must prioritise my other work as well.
To do this I have refined my record of comments:
- to include the twenty bloggers I engage with most frequently (reduced from the approximately thirty I showed on the infographics in that previous post, and seventy plus I had in the table when I began the record!)
- by arranging the bloggers alphabetically to make them easier to locate and record
- to match the Monday to Sunday week used in WordPress stats (I was using Sunday to Saturday previously)
While I have not unfollowed any bloggers, I have requested to not be notified of new posts of bloggers who have not engaged with me. This will reduce the number of emails I receive and therefore the time taken in dealing with the burgeoning inbox. I won’t be distracted by their content; and, if I have any spare time, I can always check out their posts in my reader.
Reducing the number of emails I receive each day is one of the things I am looking most forward to! It has always been a bugbear.
I have also decided that I will not actively seek new blogs to follow at this stage but will continue to maintain existing relationships. However if someone new engages with me, I will be more than happy to respond.
These changes should help me devote more time to other projects.
I have already written a lot of teaching resources. Unfortunately I am no more of an artist than I am a singer and, since my resources are mainly for use in early childhood settings, most of them need to be illustrated. My niece has illustrated some for me but she has her own life and busy work schedule as well so I need to look further afield.
Last week I decided to take action.
I signed up to 99 designs and ran a contest to see if it was possible to get some illustrations for one of my stories. It has been a steep learning curve and very interesting; even a bit harrowing at times. Many artists submitted work in the contest and I have narrowed it down to four finalists. I am running a poll to get some advice on the illustrations. I’d appreciate your thoughts if you have time to check it out.
I feel a bit uncomfortable with all the work the artists have done, in the hope of winning the contest (these are 99designs’ terms), but it seems to be the way it is done so I guess they are aware of and expect it. I am already looking towards future contests and getting more work illustrated. I may also look at other options, so if you have other suggestions I’d be pleased to hear them.
I’ve been trying to think of a segue from there into my flash fiction response to the challenge set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch this week. Charli’s prompt is to In 99 words (no more, no less) include a juxtaposition between the ordinary and natural worlds. Now that I look at it again, I’m not so sure my response quite fits, so perhaps that is fitting in itself. It seemed like a good idea at the time: matching the turquoise stone to the colour of Marnie’s eyes, which I didn’t even include!
Here it is anyway, the next little revelation of Marnie’s story that continues on from this one:
She paused her dusting, as often she did, scanning the fading faces. Her gaze lingered, as always, on one. She gave it an extra rub as if to wipe away a tear, erase the pain.
She lifted the postcard wedged into the frame to read the words she knew so well but wished had more to tell: “Thank you, Miss. Remember me.”
“Where are you? How are you doing?” she’d never stopped wondering, hoping.
She fingered the smoothness of the turquoise stone, its partner given long ago . . .
A quiet knock on the door interrupted her thoughts.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post or flash fiction.