When I first started blogging, I’ll be honest, I had no idea what I should be doing other than the fact that the ubiquitous ‘everybody’ was advising me I should be building a ‘social media platform’ and that it should include a blog. And so I started Travelling Hopefully – somewhat timidly, I have to say, and I meandered along from there in fits and starts without much of a real plan. I had no idea what I was supposed to say and in any event why would anyone want to read it? The usual negativity was easy to conjure up however once I got started, pushed myself to the edge of discomfort and got to grips with the back-end management, (which with WordPress I have found relatively straightforward) I trundled along. But that’s all I did and although it’s a bit of a cliché, I find some truth in the idea that those who fail to plan, invariably plan to fail no matter how unintentionally.
The fact is though I love blogging and I don’t want that sort of future for my blog and so, after something of a hiatus, a lot of navel gazing, a number of workshops including a very good non-fiction course with Oxford University to which I added sessions with a creativity coach and with the inspiration I have gained from my involvement with Writing West Midlands – Room 204 Programme, I will be making some significant changes not only to the blog but equally to my direction as a writer.
It’s time for clarity and the removal of some self-imposed burdens, limiting beliefs and distractions I have created so that I can concentrate on what truly floats my boat as a writer, rather than dabbling in what I feel I should be doing. If I have learnt one thing in 2014, it is that there is absolutely no point in pursuing something for which you feel no passion, it is counter productive, guilt-enhancing and ultimately self-defeating because it suffocates the creative spark and leaves one in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. All that does is serve to feed the never-ending spiral of negativity and although it may result in a very clean oven, spotless grout between the bathroom tiles and a cupboards of canned goods ranked by size, type, colour and manufacturer, none of it contributes to the act of getting words down on paper or a screen.
The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts – Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)
So, changes are ahead. I am rationalising my website and blog into one entity. I don’t need both and certainly don’t need the pressure of additional content creation since all it does is take time away from from writing and to a degree generates an element of identity confusion for myself – what am I trying to achieve with the website…the blog…Facebook page? etc, etc. I will be taking down the Facebook page since truthfully, I’m not at all sure what it is supposed to be doing but whatever it is, it isn’t working! And in fairness, as this excellent article ‘Platforms’ Are Overrated by Stephanie Bane in the Fall 2014 edition of Creative NonFiction points out, the benefits of ‘platforms’ can be vastly over-estimated. I would urge anyone who feels the pressure to build their own ‘platform’ to read this piece–it could save you an awful lot of time and wasted effort. Don’t get me wrong, I find Twitter works very well for me as an information source but you do have to be selective with it. More on this in a forthcoming post.
Although it has served me well these last five years, I am re-branding Travelling Hopefully, the time has indeed come to be travelling a little more determinedly with direction and focus. Since I own the domain name I am not shutting this blog and starting another, I am simply changing its name. The focus will remain on writing and creativity and the direction will be intimately involved with my current work in progress. I am not going to give away too many details about this project just yet but over the coming weeks and months as the it takes shape and more content is added here, I believe everything will become clear. That’s the plan!
And so One Word After Another is born. My apologies in advance, the blog will look a bit messy for a short time as I make some changes and move the furniture around a little. Most of the existing content will be archived and remain available. I am hoping you will bear with me in this transitional phase. I promise to keep it as short as possible and thank you all for your support along the way, it has been so important to me. What fragile beings we are and yet in the company of kindred spirits, remarkable things can happen.