“I want to start sharing posts on Mind Nomad again.”
This thought has been playing on my mind for nearly 10 months. Every week started with good intentions: This will be the week that it happens. But somehow it’s January 2017 and I haven’t published a post since February 2016. Until today.
A few days ago, as I rewrote “Mind Nomad” on my to-do list for what felt like the millionth time, I began to reflect on why I’d stopped writing in the first place. Too busy? Too tired? Too lazy?
I jotted down all of the things that have kept me from doing what I love most – writing. And I realised that 2016 was quite the year. Here’s a glimpse into what’s happened in my life over the past 18 months (plenty of good writing fodder for future posts, I’m sure).
1. We bought a house!
Yup! Like many couples our age, we’d given up on the Auckland property market. But then in October 2015, we went to an auction that looked promising. That was when I saw our future home for the first time – Tom had been through a few times with his Dad and decided at the last minute that I needed to see “the one”. Luckily I was easily convinced! Within 30 minutes of seeing the place, we’d made an offer with the real estate agent (it didn’t meet its reserve at auction). A few days later, we signed along the dotted line: it was ours.
It’s a cosy 2-bedroom brick and tile unit with a roomy kitchen and plenty of sunlight. We love it. Paying a mortgage has been a steep learning curve (and one that’s kept me very busy at Made of Words), but we wouldn’t change it for the world.
2. I started a business
I’m pretty sure there’s one thing you’re not meant to do before you buy a house: and that’s quit your day job. But in August 2015, I handed in my resignation and went freelancing full-time with a “let’s see how it goes” outlook. This little experiment resulted in Made of Words, my copywriting and content marketing biz.
It’s been exhilarating, terrifying, tiring, rewarding, fascinating and everything in between. I’ve learned a lot about myself, the “business world” and GST. In many ways, running a business has been all-consuming – I’ve neglected many other areas of my life just to meet deadlines. But, I’m still going (and still enjoying it) and am excited to see what 2017 brings.
3. I co-created a travel blog
In March, alongside two close friends, I co-created Travelher.org – a blog for women who love to travel. Travelher was born out of many, many late night philosophical discussions about the world and our place in it. We were all itching to create something and see where it took us – and we’re still on that journey today.
This is the first time I’ve collaborated with other people on a passion project, and it’s been immensely rewarding, fun and insightful. I’ve learned a lot about how I work, my strengths and weaknesses, and also the joy of sharing each milestone with close friends.
4. I stopped reading fiction
I knew I was stretching myself to the limit when I realised I’d stopped reading books just for fun. I was churning through business books and learning a lot, but I missed immersing myself in a fantasy world. Don’t worry, I’m back at it (currently reading The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro).
5. I started journalling every day
Daily journalling has been my saviour throughout the past 12 months. Every morning, I jot down my thoughts on waking and set an intention for the day. Sometimes this turns into an hour-long writing session, other times it’s a struggle to string together one sentence.
I love journalling, but I finally feel like it’s time to start sharing some of my thoughts publicly again (rather than scribbling them in secret).
6. I got a kidney infection
Just throwing this one in here because I’m still feeling a bit sorry for myself. It was the most painful, uncomfortable thing I’ve ever experienced. It also unveiled a darker side of being self-employed – it’s hard to call in sick. I remember trying to meet deadlines in bed while my mum encouraged me to eat (I’d completely lost my appetite), and replying to emails from the hospital. It was icky. But I learned a few good lessons about working for myself and how to avoid a similar situation in the future.
7. We got engaged!
On a hill! In the South Island! It was magical! I cried like a baby and got so flustered that I gave Tom the wrong hand for the ring. I was completely taken by surprise and oh-so-happy. I can’t wait to walk down the aisle and marry my best friend (well, actually we can kind of wait because we’re enjoying a long, relaxed engagement). Apparently planning a wedding is quite the job? I’m still grinning like mad every time I look at my left hand and making the most of this special time.
8. I questioned my creative writing chops
With all these new things happening in my life, I felt very “full”. I was happy, but there didn’t feel like much room for a lot else. I wasn’t prioritising my personal writing, and I began to question whether I was really a “writer”. Sure, I’d started a writing business – but that made me financially savvy, not a true-blue creative writer. When was I going to attempt to write that novel (if ever)? Was I really cut out for creative writing or was I just destined to spend the rest of my life penning marketing copy?
I eventually snapped out of my daze and realised that it didn’t matter whether or not I was any good at creative writing – I enjoyed it, and therefore I would keep doing it. Even if only my mum reads it (hi mum).
9. I procrastinated (and designed a new logo)
Late last year I decided it was very important that Mind Nomad had a logo (procrastination at its best). I approached Cheyney from Design by Cheyney and she created the beautiful piece of art that’s in my blog header. I love it! And it also served as the perfect motivation to start writing again (otherwise no one would ever see the shiny new logo). Win-win.
10. I didn’t know how to start again
When you haven’t done something for a long time, it feels harder than usual to start again. Like running or going to the gym. The more you put it off, the more you wonder – is it really worth the effort?
I’m not sure whether this is the beginning of a productive new blogging phase – or whether I’m going to go another 10 months without sharing a word. But I’ve taken the hardest step – starting.