When I started writing less than two years ago, I had no clue what I was doing in the blogging world. I had written a memoir/advice book about my teaching career, They Call Me Mom, https://www.amazon.com/They-Call-Mom-Difference-Elementary/dp/1977200052 (something I hadn’t planned to do), and the logical follow-up question was now what?
Someone suggested starting a blog—an idea that had never entered my head. The more I thought about it, the better it sounded. I didn’t create one to become famous or try and sell a lot of books. That’s not a priority for me. I’m someone who enjoys learning. A blog would provide me with opportunities to practice writing. I’m not one of those people who has loved to write his entire life. In reality, I’m much more of an analytical, left-brain type. I was happier solving a math equation than keeping a journal. I know what many of you are thinking: “What’s wrong with you?” 😊
On the other hand, writing appeals to the creative part of my brain. My past writing experiences were minimal. I enjoyed writing skits for my class to perform at school. These were often a bit silly, but they usually taught a lesson as well. I often wrote myself into my stories because I liked having fun with my class. People often describe me as a bit of a ham.
While I was teaching elementary school (thirty-one years in grades 2-6), I decided that someday I wanted to try writing middle-grade novels. The trick was finding the right path to make that happen. As a teacher, I read so many books to children, but I never paid much attention to the technical aspects of writing. I read for pleasure, to hook kids, to encourage them to predict, and above all, to get them to pick up another book.
One of the best things about retirement is it has allowed me to pursue new goals. I don’t do things haphazardly; I like a plan. I took a writing class, found a critique group, joined my local children’s author festival group, and I’m following that dream. I’m going along at a slower pace than most because there is so much to learn. I can’t put my name on something unless I’ve given it my best shot.
Two years later, I’m close to finishing that debut children’s novel. I’ve poured over each of the 59,000 words several times. After a couple more revisions, it’s going to an editor. My plan is to give it a year and look for an agent or publisher. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll probably self-publish.
Whichever happens, I’m proud of myself. To accomplish something hard gives one a sense of pride. I’m learning and having fun at the same time. What’s better than that?
What I hadn’t planned on happening when I started this journey was meeting many other wonderful bloggers pursuing their dreams. It is a supportive community that looks out for one another. Because I love children and will always be a supporter of education, I feel a special connection to many other teachers I’ve met through blogging. There are too many to mention here, and I’d feel bad about leaving someone out if I started listing some of my favorite blogs.
I think society as a whole (particularly politicians) could learn a few things from blogging. People accept you for who you are without expectations. Bloggers can write about any topic. We can follow the blogs that most interest us. What a beautiful freedom!
In some ways, it seems funny to say that people whom I’ve never met before are friends, but that’s the way I feel. Some bloggers I follow are going through difficult problems right now—health issues, challenges with their kids, divorce, etc.—all the stuff that happens in life. I’m glad that writing about these things may provide not only comfort to them but may help someone else. Looking out for each other is what friends do.