OK, so moving forward…. as the illustration says, the first step in living the life you want is leaving the life you don’t want. The life I no longer want is the life of a public school teacher, which is why I retired a couple of years ago. The life that I want is the life of a full-time writer, hopefully, at some point, a published one (other than blogs) and not only published, but paid for what she writes. Not only did I retire, I also moved to a different location, so I’m confident I have left much of the old life behind. I guess if I had to identify what I haven’t left behind yet, it is the mentality and worldview of a teacher. I’m not sure I want to leave that behind, completely, because I’d like to use my writing to inform and instruct, as well as to persuade, advise, describe, reflect, and entertain. I will need to bring my teaching skills forward into my new life as a writer.
The next piece of advice from the illustration above is to take the first step. I’ve done this by establishing two blogs: this one and my blog on blogspot. When I first started writing blogs, I vowed to write at least one blog entry every day for at least one year. Hopefully I can keep this going beyond the year mark. Now I’m doing two blog entries every day, and it keeps me writing most of the day. The daily publishing deadlines keep me one my toes and motivated to continue. I’m still learning how to use WordPress, and will have to figure out how to use tags, next. One thing at a time, though: I just learned how to add graphics to the text.
Another step I’ve taken is to join and help to establish a local writer’s circle where we will critique each other’s work, share information, and do some shared writing exercises. Our first meeting will be in mid-May, and I’m so excited to be involved with this group. I also participate in various writers’ discussion groups on LinkedIn, and recently exchanged manuscripts with another author to serve as “beta readers” for each other. Both the local writers’ group and the online discussion groups will be the key to successful networking, and networking will help me find an agent who can introduce my book to publishers, or perhaps it will show me a way to do some self-publishing. There will be lots to learn.
At some point, I’d also like to attend some writing classes or workshops, perhaps at The Loft in Minneapolis or at one of the local colleges here. Online writing classes may also be an option.
It’s true, now that I am beginning to clarify what I hope to achieve and what I am leaving behind, my path into the future is coming into focus, and it does seem a lot more possible to achieve than it did months ago. I just have to follow Dr. Martin Luther King’s advice to move forward at all costs, even if I have to crawl. Some days it does seem that all I can do is crawl, but when I look at where I am today compared with where I was a year ago, I am content that progress is being made. 🙂