Winning At Life & Blogging, A Celebration

Over the weekend I zoomed past 4000 followers on Facebook which along with a further unique 2000 follower’s approx (email subscribers and other social media platforms) brings me to a cool 6000 unique followers of the blog. I’m amazed and delighted and feel sure that I couldn’t deserve it.

I want to say a massive warm thank you to each and every one you lovely people who signed up or clicked a like or follow somewhere along the way because I’m talking;

Here I am baby, signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours,’ people, not readers or visitors, though I can see you too!

This is about the people who found this blog and said to themselves, I want more of this, this is for me and who have helped the blog and me too, grow in ever fantastical ways, thank you!

My facebook page is the biggest driver of new readers to the blog, and with good reason. Representing two thirds of my total followers it is my favourite social media platform for blogging and for following blogs. I know that makes me old fashioned in social media terms but I started that page with two simple aims;

1. To share posts and drive more traffic here to the blog.

2. To satisfy a desire to share so many beautiful images, quotes, articles, small things that inspire, too multitudinous to share here. Shots of inspiration, wisdom and colour.

I take great pleasure and care in weaving the posts like a tapestry to make the best possible visual feast.

That’s how I have to do it, that’s how I feel about every space.

While the blog is like a journal, an exploration of thoughts and a sharing of experience, the fb page is all inspiration. I love that other people find it encouraging and inspiring in their lives and I’m so fond of the friends that I’ve made there. I used to worry it had no clear agenda or theme, I don’t now. Again, it has grown organically. I just share what I love and trust others will too. It feeds my soul.

I’ve found blogging to be the ultimate armchair travel experience and have I travelled far. From genuine connection with kindred spirits all over the world to even further within myself. It’s been truly transformative.

I came from the life of a creative, sensitive child, not fitting in the world that I grew to despise, as much as you can despise a place you have no feeling for. It was all a bad joke, school at least surely, COME ON!

Years then as a single parent, always pushing, always thinking of the future, how to make it secure. To, in time, of working as entrepreneur, running my own pr consultancy business, plus a number of arts and culture based projects. By the time it all ended I’d had my third child, health issues and a number of surgeries. 

Looking back over these years I can see a big problem was space. There was no space creatively speaking. It might not look like that from the outside but by the time you do so much paperwork, reporting and fundraising, all within tight parameters there is no time to be really creative if it’s not already a part of your life. Once it’s a part of your life you find a way no matter what but when you’re focused on working hard, supporting a family and building a business you’re hard pressed to find time to explore or develop anything, least of all yourself. You think all this effort will get you the freedom to fill the void eventually, it doesn’t, because you need first space, and second, action.

There is growth in adversity, but there is no space in it and for creativity you need space.

So I made a conscious decision when I started the blog, I was not going to treat it like a business. I was going to give myself the space I’d never had to just let things marinate, develop and grow. This is why I don’t network, don’t promote move, or shake. I dabble at times, old habits die hard, but the intention just isn’t behind it. It’s not as if I can’t do these things, because I can hustle. As a rule once I decide to do something it’s as good as done, but I am horribly, famously hard on myself, I came here jaded and I decided I’m just going to do this for me, see what happens, where it takes me.

Well that went well didn’t it!

Now the blog is maturing, and a book, an actual novel, is written, plus the paints come out regularly, I’m painting! It amazes me, and this is my idea of success more than anything. Money, family, they’re wonderful, but I was never the girl who dreamed of those things. I just always felt bored and dissatisfied with ‘normal’ life. I still do. 

If I had run the blog like a business I’d have a successful blog business now, I could write the kind of blog posts that sell, but I wouldn’t have written the book or had time for painting. I believe you can do anything that you want, just not everything.

‘Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.’

Dorothy Parker

And what I always want is to transcend, life, cares… memory. Creating, no matter how well or how badly, it does that for me. It’s freedom. The awful thing is I didn’t know this, deep down yes but not consciously, not until after I started the blog. I always knew I wanted to write, paint and work in creative industries but I didn’t know they would mean so much to me, would give me what I’d always yearned for and couldn’t explain. 

‘Where I create, there I am true.’

Rainer Maria Rilke

So about this feeling of not deserving all these followers what’s that about? Well that’s just me being hard on myself. I gave myself space to let the blog go and grow where it would but I didn’t learn how not to push myself or how to think that I’m ever doing enough.

So I’ll be thinking, I should be writing and posting more blog posts, more poems, writing flash fiction, short stories. I should be drawing and painting more and photographing more, and posting more of my own work in general, and what’s worse is I know I could do these things, I know I’m capable. 

And I further know that by doing these things regularly I’d be getting better at them, BUT, I don’t have the time, it pains me to say that though in my case it’s not an excuse. Believe me I take and protect the time that I use already, I feel the guilt and do it anyway, but I am stretched to my limit.

It’s all I can do for now to keep up with editing the book, write a blog post and paint or draw a few times a week plus run the social media pages, plus you know, a house, a garden, a family…

Mostly I just want to stay in my world and get back in flow.

flow
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  Click for Ted Talk

I’ve had to remind myself I needed space to think freely, to dream and then crucially, to do these things in the first place, not pressure. 

I’ve been putting myself under horrible pressure over editing for my book. I’m at what’s been for me the hardest stage of writing it so far, the final edit, or very close to it, before I start sending it out. Over the weekend I remembered the space thing, how it was the unexpected gift of space that led me here, and decided to take a short break from editing, just a few days.

This is why today, instead of editing and while I have a few hours, I’m celebrating 6000 lovely followers by blogging and reminding myself how far I’ve come, in life, in blogging, in everything except how I treat myself. I have to do better there.

Next I’m going to pick up my girls, water my trees and paint in the garden…with wine. Thank you again, for being here and for following. Love, Jane.

 “What makes a life worth living?” Noting that money cannot make us happy, look to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of “flow.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  

robert falk
Robert Falk – In the Garden

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Thank You

14 Comments

  1. Jane a huge congrats on the 6k what an achievement! You know your blog has an incredibly strong VOICE. It’s unmistakably YOU when you write your blog. This I think is what draws people- they feel they are in a conversation w a real person. Continued success!

    This piece got me thinking as per usual. I wonder were you afraid of the space all those years? Of course I’m asking myself the same question. I have a bit of mental space now myself via minding this newborn and it appears to terrify me. All I want is the distractions of my old life back to escape the terror. What’s all that about????

    1. Wow thank you Clare, that’s great to hear. As someone who knows me in person you should be qualified 🙂 Re the space issue, by the time I had any, just these past few years, I was ready, not sure what to do but not afraid. I think because I had my first child at such a young age I was focused on trying to get out of the poverty trap and build a secure life and for years that was all. Even doing creative work I was always too busy, I didn’t have any space in my life. I guess that’s a good example of Mashlow’s hierarchy of needs that suggests certain levels of security and so on need to be met before a person can self realise. At home with these little girls these past five years in a position of security, Adrian working, secure, but you know, babies, a rural area, not driving etc so not much stimulation, and I need a lot of stimulation! That was the first time I’d had space but what to do with it was my thing. I tried writing and it was so woeful I’d have definitely thrown in the towel then were it not for discovering the world of blogging. That was the beginning of the opening of the flood gates of the ocean I’d been carrying inside me. And it sounds like something similar is now happening for you! All these years you’ve been feeling a pull to creative pursuits but you were busy building a career. Now you’ve done some dabbling and got a taste for it and you have time and you probably know the time is now for you to do more with it and that is scary! Personally, I’m still terrified ALL the time but I still say go for it! So the only question is what are you going to do? You want to write and draw/paint too right? And now there’s nothing to stop you and that is scary 🙂

  2. Congratulations Jane, 6K how absolutely wonderful. You are so genuine in writing from your heart, so many would relate to your journey, I certainly do,and I’ve been around a lot longer, your posts here and on FB are a joy to read, I always look forward to the latest painting you have discovered, and the wonderful quote attached. Warm wishes, 🙂

  3. Hello Jane! I am so happy to find a kindred soul who values creativity in the way that you do and who understands life that is inspired by creating. I am cheering for you on the success of your novel! You have made so much progress already! Congratulations on the 6000 followers – you do deserve them and it is one of your wonderful gifts to the world to make a difference through inspiration! 🙂

    1. If you knew how much I feel the same Marichit!!! One of the very nicest things about this blogging experience has been finding people like you who inspire me with your talent and who are so generous, open and supportive of others. Thank you for your lovely encouraging words and wishes. I really appreciate it and you 🙂

  4. You are genuine gift to everyone’s life you brush by and all 6k of your followers are smart cookies. You have so impressively set your intentions to build your audience! And yes, flow does not happen for the inner child who if flogged to create. You can only create the space and allow them to find out the creating is reward in and of itself.
    Love to you sweet Jane,
    Shalagh

  5. I love reading your writing; I can identify with things you say. I love your Facebook posts too. Thank you xx

    1. Frances, thank you, that is lovely to hear and I appreciate you taking the time to tell me. Love to you 🙂

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