Nick of Time – A Free-Form Blog-Conversation

Back in my school days of legwarmers and MTV, I did a lot of free-writing. It was in English classes most days as a way to get started writing. And like the nerd I was and still am, I loved that kind of writing. It was supposed to not be read by anyone but I always assumed the teacher would take a look at it so I never wrote anything really revealing. But I liked the idea of just sitting down and writing without stopping.

When I re-started this blog I had the idea of doing a weekly series on a given topic. But that petered out as I thought my writing wasn’t where I wanted it to be on that given topic. I was writing about the past and I didn’t want it to be just a re-hash or just a straight compare/contrast. I felt like I needed some framework or way of explaining why I’m writing like I am. So I pulled back and let my mind go to work on this and eventually a thought came to my mind:

We weren’t having the conversations back then like we are now.

Then a couple of days ago, this thought came to me:

Writing is a conversation.

I have never thought of writing as being a conversation but I realize when a writer puts their words out into the world for anyone to read, they’re starting a conversation. I used to think writing was just my way of telling my story but not having a conversation that is a give-and-take kind of thing. Now I haven’t really heard from a lot of people who have read my work over the years and those that have given me feedback have been very kind and generous and thoughtful.

I have come to realize I need to face something else that I don’t think really think I’ve talked about before. I call it ‘push-back’. It’s a term from my former call-center days that I dealt with on a daily basis because it wasn’t someone just ranting and raving to you on the phones. It was being told I didn’t know what I was talking about when I did have the knowledge and experience to back me up, and it was also being told my communication skills were essentially crap. Push-back was done to wear me down, to undermine my confidence and doubt my abilities, and to make me doubt my own knowledge and experience.

This is in turn has led to a fear that still lives inside of me, the fear that if I go too far in some way, shape, or form, my world will be kicked out from under me. I used to fear losing my job all the time for any mistake I made or if I found the courage to speak out against something. I still have to work with the fear I’ll lose what little I have though I keep coming up with backup plans because that’s just what I’ve done all my life. I’ve written a lot of this off to anxiety and over-imagination but I think a lot of it was fueled by my past. I’ve had a fear that if I ever pursued my writing all the way I’d be exiled and hated.

I’m already an exile and I honestly don’t think I’m hated. I think I’m mostly forgotten and thought of as an anti-social hermit who is probably a real snooty bitch on occasion. I’m honestly not anti-social but I’ve been called a bitch when I’ve just stood up for myself and pushed back at people who were being thoughtless and cruel to me.

So do these lifelong fears and anxieties have to do with this blog?

Over the last few years, my writing has led me down some long and sometimes dark and scary paths in my mind and my heart and soul. It’s led me to go through the storage unit of my mind and open up and deal with things I’d put aside for so many years. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer or write constantly to pull myself off that dark path. I want to have fun and not feel guilty about that like I have in the past, too.

So I may or not write a blog series though I will if I want to. Mostly, it’ll be whatever is on my mind after I start my second cup of coffee. I may write about politics, social issues, or anything deemed ‘controversial’ though I’ll do my best to put a warning label on those pieces for those with delicate sensibilities. If you do want to respond and try to undermine my confidence in myself and my writing abilities, take that and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine At almost forty-seven years on this planet I’ve probably heard every variation of that bullshit and I’m still alive and kicking. Besides, I’m not writing for bullies or people who think they have the right to dictate what my life should be, or who just want me to shut the fuck up.

No, I’m writing for anyone who wants to read what I have to say. And I hope to connect with people who have been through things like I have and dealt with thoughts and feelings like I have. I want to give people something to think about, and hold on to in need. And I’d like to give out a few laughs or nail a really good piece of sarcasm.

Nick of Time – A Moment of Clarity From a Title

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

A few days ago, I sat down to think about what I wanted to do with my writing. The first thing that came to mind was that I wanted to blog every day because I like writing every day. So I began to think of a title for the blog that would stick and the phrase, ‘Nick of Time’ jumped into my mind and has stuck there like Super Glue. It comes from the album by Bonnie Raitt of the same title that she released in 1989, an album I’ve been listening to for the past few days. There’s a particular lyric passage in that song has brought me here today:

When did the choices get so hard

With so much more at stake

Life gets mighty precious

When there’s less of it to waste

(songwriter: Bonnie Raitt, copyright 1989 Kokomo Music)

Coming up with a title that resonated clearly in my mind didn’t solve my problem of why I don’t blog every day, or why I haven’t put in the work on this website-blog that I should have. Coming up with this title made me realize something very painful about myself and my life:

I have never followed through on anything I have truly wanted to do with my life.

Over the next few days, I’ll be blogging in detail about why that was (The Three Fears, as I call them). I thought I’d faced most of my crap but it turns out I’ve got some more work to do. That’s not a bad thing as you can’t work on something if you don’t know what to work on to begin with.

When I set my website-blog up last year my goal was to find ways to get my writing up and running and find ways to monetize it and also find other ways to make money from being creative. That ground to a halt and I’ve been a spluttering mess ever since then.

I know I’ve held back and not followed through for a long time but I’ve never been able to put that into words like I’m doing now. Words are important to me because when I find them, I find clarity even though that clarity can bring a lot of pain. Once I find my words though, I never forget them. Words have power and meaning, very much so to me. In the last five years putting feelings into words has been a big part of my life. Doing that has lifted weights of guilt and shame off of me that shouldn’t have been there in the first place, and it’s helped me remove the talons that were sunk into me over the years by cruelty and thoughtlessness.

Last July I wrote about what I called ‘My Moon Shot’. I talked about how my goal of being a self-supporting writer felt like the Moon Shot. And it still does but I don’t feel as overwhelmed by that now. What I am beginning to understand is how the original Moon Shot worked and how it can apply to me. The original Moon Shot started with getting an astronaut into orbit and back down, then getting two astronauts into orbit and learning how to fly in space, then finally getting three astronauts to the Moon and back.

So I would say I’m at Project Mercury stage, which is getting into the routine of writing every day and figuring out what content I want to produce. The next stage will be creating a routine or schedule to produce that content and fine-tune it. Then the final stage will be to figure out how to monetize it.

In 1961 in a joint address to Congress, President John F. Kennedy said this: “We choose to go to the Moon not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.”

I’m not going to mince words here and say things are easy when they aren’t. Also, I will freely admit here I don’t have all the answers nor do I know all the challenges I will face. But then no one does, despite the fact more than a few assholes have told me otherwise. My journey to this day began when I realized that everyone was just as full of shit as I was sometimes, but that didn’t make me a bad person either.

In the coming weeks you’ll be seeing changes here on this website-blog. I’m taking them one at a time and I’ll be sharing those with you. Eventually I hope to make some upgrades but those will come in time, too. I’m not a deadline here nor will I let anyone put me on one. My advice to anyone wanting to change their life for the better is this: take it one step at a time. The choices may seem hard but in reality, they aren’t as hard as some people will try and lie to make you doubt yourself and your abilities.

I’m through with wasting what little I have left in my life. And I’m hell-bent and determined not to go silent ever again.