Weekend Edition – Change In The Air: The Evolution of a Writing Life

typewriter royalThe writing life is never static. Each day brings new stories, new words, and new connections forged through the sharing of those stories and words. Through writing, we communicate more intimately and authentically with our own hearts and minds, with others, and with the world. Exploring life through writing exposes us to new thoughts, ideas, and perspectives. And, if we give ourselves over to the journey, there is, as the saying goes, never a dull moment. We learn and grow and evolve.

But despite the naturally diverse and fluid character of the writing life, we do still – at times – have to shake things up. Well, I suppose we don’t have to, but our creative lives are enhanced when we step beyond our comfort zone into unfamiliar territory.

I am feeling just such an urge.

This isn’t an impulse brought on by the intoxicating influence of spring. (Though, who could fault me for swooning into a state of optimistic exhilaration, given the recent spate of gorgeous days we’ve had?) It’s a shift that’s been building for a good, long while through many seasons. I still can’t see the exact shape of what lies ahead, but I sense that it’s time for me to acknowledge that I’m approaching a fork in the road.

Earlier this year, I mused publicly about where my writing life is going, and I have been mulling the question over almost obsessively since then. Not to be morbid, but lately I have been somewhat inundated with reminders that we are not, in fact, immortal … that life is, as the cliché tells us, short … that there are only so many hours in a day … and that, to paraphrase Camus, your life is the sum of the choices you make about how you spend each minute.

As I came to my desk to write today’s Weekend Edition, my mind was whirling with internal questions about how I’m spending my minutes at the keyboard and whether the choices I’m making will take me where I ultimately want to go.

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We published our first weekend edition here on Live to Write – Write to Live more than three years ago on March 2, 2013. Over the next four months, we published twenty-seven installments using a group format in which we each shared tidbits about what we w had read and written that week. In July of that year, I took the reins on our weekend missives and the format evolved to include a short essay, book reviews, a curated list of “shareworthy” blog posts from around the web, and an inspirational quote. This format persisted for 133 posts and carried through until the end of last year.

Over those 133 posts, the word counts of the essay portion of the “Saturday Edition” had climbed steadily. I didn’t do this intentionally; it just kind of happened on its own. 500 words grew to 1000 and eventually some pieces were running as long as 2500 words or more. At the beginning of this year, I broke the essays away from the “shareworthy” items and began publishing the two pieces separately – my random musings on Saturdays and the book reviews, curated resources, and other fun links on Sundays.

In all, there are nearly 200 posts in our Weekend Edition collection. That’s a lot of posts and a lot of words. Even counting only the posts published since I started writing short (and then long) essays, they probably represent somewhere between 180,000 and 250,000 words. It’s almost impossible to consider that kind of word count without asking yourself Pandora’s Box questions like, “What’s it all for?” and “Where is this going?”

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Which, brings me to today’s post.

I tend to steer clear of the words “never” and “always,” but (if I were the betting type) I’d put good money down on the odds that I’ll be blogging until the end of my days. It’s been almost nine years since I published my first post back in 2007, and I’ve kept the practice faithfully (and joyfully) since then via multiple blogs and platforms. Like journaling, blogging has become a core element of my writer’s life. It’s not going anywhere any time soon.

But, as I mature both as a human being and a writer, I’m feeling a strong desire to step back and take stock of the journey so far. I am curious to retrace my steps, revisit the terrain I’ve crossed, and take a moment to appreciate how far I’ve come. I cannot help but think that such reflection will help me see the way ahead more clearly.

Perusing the weekend edition posts, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity I’ve had to put my naked (often only half-formed) thoughts out into the world and to have them embraced so graciously by you. Your kindness, generosity, encouragement, and thoughtfulness gives me more support than you’ll ever know and inspires me to explore topics more deeply and from different perspectives. In a way, this whole series feels like a first draft or a dress rehearsal for whatever comes next, and – truly – I could not have dreamed up a more wonderful audience.

I think, however, that it’s time for an intermission.

I’m not going to disappear completely. (My blogging habit is too deeply ingrained to be abandoned entirely, even for a short period of time.) I’m just going to give myself some breathing room and headspace. It’s time for me to follow some of my own advice, to “walk the walk,” as they say.

My current plan is to continue publishing “regular posts” every other week, and “shareworthy” posts – with their links to all kinds of reading and writing goodness around the web – on Sundays; but I’m going to take a break from Saturdays for a while. I want to explore what happens if I dedicate those hours each week to other writing projects, things I’ve been thinking about for such a long time and which deserve some time and space and the chance to unfurl.

Once I’ve discovered what’s next on the journey, I hope you’ll come along with me to share the adventure. Until then, I look forward to Sundays sharing insights and resources with you and to engaging in craft and business conversations in my other bi-weekly posts. Thanks being such an important and inspiring force in this part of my writing life. You’re the best.

_jamie sig

 

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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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31 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – Change In The Air: The Evolution of a Writing Life

  1. Jamie,

    Your pieces have been rich, resourceful and so abundant as to make one wonder how you’ve even managed to do that – while doing professional (i.e. bringin” home the bacon) writing. That was most thoughtful of you to give a ‘heads up’ re: your relative absence.

    Wishing I’d been able to immerse myself in similar blogging but researching and writing about other matters in the medico-legal regulatory arena on non-public case-specific material has keep me pretty thoroughly preoccupied. Nevertheless, it’s been writing, albeit the sort of polemic that would make most readers’ eyes glaze over.

    I continue to be inspired by your and your colleagues’ posts.

    Wishing you much deserved breathing room.

    • Hello, Kernan.
      Thanks so much for the support and encouragement. It is challenging to make time (not to mention headspace) for all the different kinds of writing in our lives, isn’t it? Sometimes, I worry that my professional writing is cannibalizing the energy and inspiration I need for my “me” writing, but I keep reassuring myself that it’s not an either/or situation. Keeps things interesting, anyway!

      Here’s to the hearty souls who bend will and words to writing the things that must be written … even if they make most readers’ eyes glaze over. 😉 Carry on & don’t give up on your other writing desires!

    • I’m right with you, George. These are the questions I’ll be pondering on this sabbatical from Saturday blogging. Each question is a Big One in its own right, but they are all also intertwined. LOTS to think on, sort out and, eventually, write about. I’m looking forward to the challenge AND to picking up the thread when I circle back to the world wide web with it. 😉

      Thanks for being here and nudging. Love that.

  2. I’m a big fan and your Saturday blogs always seemed to give me a chance to breath-a practical bit of encouragement if you will. But I know exactly where you are coming from, and hope you find your answers. Take all the time you need, we’ll still be here when you get back. (You’ll be older and wiser for sure). I just wrote a similar blog because I also questioned what was next: https://christinehaytonwrites.wordpress.com/evolution/

    Good luck – I found my new direction, and i hope you find the one for you.

    • No, I’m definitely not going away completely. But, I’ll miss writing my Saturday posts. I have realized, however, that I need to give myself some space and force myself to sit with some Big Questions so that I can come back to the keyboard refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to bring my A game.

      Meanwhile, you’re still stuck with me on Sundays and during the week. 😉

  3. Best of luck. If you change nothing, nothing changes, so take your time, do something different and see where it leads you. I suspect it will be very enjoyable and a change in routine is quite liberating.

    • Hi, Tric. Thanks for that: “If you change nothing, nothing changes.” SO true, and yet so often we keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome, which – I think – is someone’s definition of insanity. 😉
      I also agree that a change in routine can be not only liberating but also inspiring. If you spend too long circling the same ground over and over, you become tired and listless. But, once you step off that worn path and lift your eyes to look around, you might be amazed at how big and interesting and full of possibilities the world is.

      Thanks for the support and encouragement.

    • Wise words, Mr. Reynolds.
      I haven’t quite got the scent yet, but at least I’ve got my nose in the air. I’m paying attention. With any luck, I’ll soon be racing through the underbrush in hot pursuit. 😉

      See you on Sundays and during the week!

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    • Ha ha! I love that you came back with a follow-up comment, and that this was it. 🙂
      I know, right? Imagine if I’d spent all those hours pursuing a different goal. 250,000 words is the equivalent of three decent-sized novels.

      Happily, I do not feel like any of the time I’ve spent blogging has been at all wasted. I am always learning and connecting, and folks like you who leave insightful comments help me question things even more than I already do.

      Thanks again. This one made me smile.

  5. It sounds like you are doing the right thing, but I will miss your Saturday posts. I have enjoyed reading them from all over Germany and the UK, often whilst I have been out blogging about the places I have been visiting. Good luck with your new ideas and thanks for giving me something to read and think about whilst I’ve been travelling around! 🙂

    • My pleasure, Chris. I must admit that this wasn’t an easy decision to make. I’ve come to look forward to my Saturday writing sessions so much. They have felt like visiting with writer friends over a virtual coffee, and I will miss that. BUT … it’s not forever, and it’s not cold turkey. This is just an intermission before we step out into the second act.

      Meanwhile, I’ll hopefully see you on Sundays and during the week. Fair winds for all your travels!

    • Thanks so much, Arjun. It’s always a pleasure to see your smiling face in the comments thread. 🙂
      I am glad that time spent reading my blogs has left you with no regrets. Here’s to the next part of the journey!

  6. Jamie, I wish you the best on your Saturday writing endeavors, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this time takes you. In the meantime, I will continue to look forward to your Sunday missives. Donna

    • Hello, Donna. It’s always so nice to see you. It’s conversations such as you and I have had in this space that I will miss most, but – as I’ve said – I’m not going anywhere for good. This is just a sort of sabbatical so I can take something of a mental walkabout. 😉

      And, yes, in the meantime, I’ll see you on Sundays!

  7. Words truly are powerful and can move us in so many directions. This post is inspiring and makes me think about my purpose/goals for blogging, what I put out there and how it’s presented. Thanks for sharing.

    • Words are powerful, to be sure.
      I’m glad you found the post inspiring and even more glad to hear that you’ll be thinking about your own journey. It’s good to do that every once in a while, no matter how things are going. It’s just a good idea to check in. You never know what epiphany might be waiting for you to discover it!
      🙂

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  9. What an exciting time for you. I would like to think that all writers will have moments during their journey where they step back and rethink the trajectory of their career. Part of the fun of writing is that it can be molded and changed at our discretion. Enjoy the adventure!

    • Thank you for the support and encouragement. I agree – the writing life is malleable in ways that most careers/adventures are not. There are so many options … like one of those old pick-your-own-adventure books, right?

  10. Oh, so this has only been a recent decision! Of course, I understand entirely, as I had the exact same conversation with myself – what other kinds of writing could I be doing with the 10+ hours per week I am currently spending on blogging. We have to ask ourselves those questions! I now think I want my blogging to follow more closely to the practical mystic writing that I do. It feels more congruent and like I am staying true to my message. However you write, Jamie, I want to read it.

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