In January, I posted this update relating to my site and my thoughts on future writing plans. At the time, I chose a new title for my site. That was not to imply I wasn’t happy with the previous title, The Writing Studio. It didn’t seem to fit my online persona as well as it did the actual studio my husband designed and built for me.
Today’s post, I hope, will give you a look into how I chose the new title, Life in the Slow Lane. My explanation is long in coming but with this bit of change, my desire to write grows stronger each day. And so it is that I share the origin of the new name.
Living in the slow lane is a beautiful gift. A gift of time. Time for planning and dreaming and reflecting. Each of these processes brings a special gift. These gifts conjured up images of trips down long and winding country roads, thus the title “Life in the Slow Lane” was born.
One day, while struggling with chronic pain, I realized that I pushed myself in ways I could give up. Overload, perfectionism, and social media took precious time from my family and faith. Without either of these, I am lost as an individual.
Slowing down is hard for a perfectionist. The detail-oriented tend to bury themselves in overload. My thoughts gave me a sense of humility and raised questions. All this forced me to take a good look at what I want the next decades to look like. Asking yourself questions can be scary and humbling but it also guides and directs you.
One of my biggest writing battles is with myself. I love the craft and process of scripting words together to tell a story, my story. I have completed a manuscript of my memoir. But I’ve reached a point where I can’t make up my mind about publishing it. I know it’s well written although it needs some restructuring. It tells my story with truth, love, and faith. With very little work, it could be ready for submission in a few days/weeks.
I’ve wrangled with myself like a cowboy trying to rope a calf and brand it. Bob and I have had discussion after discussion about what I should or shouldn’t do. In all honesty, there are many points under my “shouldn’t” column. And if anyone ever needs someone to coach them into doing something, I’ll hire Bob out.
The biggest part of my problem? I’ve finished the fun part of writing this book–the writing and researching. I don’t want to deal with launching, marketing, selling, and putting myself in front of the book. It’s not that I’m not proud of what I’ve accomplished. I am. However, I did what I’ve always said I would do: Write the story of my difficult relationship with my mother. It seems others have always assumed I meant I’d publish it too.
During the last three years, my inability to focus on writing has taught me several things. First, I could have spent many more years sitting or lying in pain than I have. Diagnosed at age 12 with scoliosis, I was fortunate to not suffer from back pain until I was in my late 30s/early 40s. Luck was with me all those years.
During this time, I’ve enjoyed the love and companionship of a caring husband and one of the best nurses I know. He’s cared for me through more surgeries than either of us wants to count. Despite this, we have enjoyed the activities we enjoy both at home and in our community.
My thoughts next turned to once the recovery from this recent surgery is behind me. What do I really want to do with my life? Lots of things came to mind, but the best and most important are below:
Wake up every morning looking forward to spending each day with the love of my life, 24/7, no less.
Listen to classical music every day, whether via radio, CDs, or Bob practicing one of his many horns.
Love our home and care for it as I have always done, except when unable to because of pain.
Spread our love to our kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids despite the miles separating us.
Gardening! I haven’t been able to dig in the dirt and garden for so many summers now. I’ve watched Bob do it all and longed to be out there with him.
Volunteer my time as I am able, especially with the Mothers of Preschoolers program.
Ride in our red convertible come spring and summer down those long, lazy country back roads.
Write, write, write! Whatever I choose to write. Whatever I want to write. Simply because I want to write. Not because I’m looking to make a name for myself as a writer, or get rich as a writer, or whatever. I love words and writing them down. And I love telling stories.
And whatever I’m doing I want to do it all giving the credit and glory to God.
There you have it—the name behind this site is a short summation of my life from here until God calls me home. Nothing more, nothing less than who I am and believe I should be.
Almost a month ago, I posted on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that I was taking a breather. I needed some self-care, and I wanted to attempt a little spring cleaning. I thought ten days or less should cover it. Why I didn’t post my planned absence here I don’t know. So much for my thinking things through!
During what was to be a short time, life took over. You know how plans exert their muscle and change themselves around. That’s what happened. Family issues, health issues, things you never expected–they left no time for my plans.
But wait, you say! There have been no blog posts or newsletter for a while.
I realize you’re following here or receiving updates via my newsletter to receive posts and more information about writing. The reason for this post is to let you know what happened and what is happening in the background. I’m on my way back and want to get back to a normal schedule.
About the Blog
Right now I’m working on the following:
A series of posts on writing with chronic pain or illness;
A couple of memoir reviews for you–
Rose Bingham’s Buy the Little Ones a Dolly;
Abigail Thomas’s Thinking About Memoir; and
Posts on balancing family life and writing.
Blog posts will return to the previous schedule with posts on Wednesday.
About the Newsletter
After this newsletter mailing, I will not be sending out a newsletter. Personal reasons dictate a writing load I want to keep up and there is not the time for everything.
If you receive my blog posts via the newsletter and wish to continue receiving them, please go to the sidebar on the right of this page. Choose one of three options near the top of the sidebar:
The first option is just under the search box. If you are a WordPress user, this simple bar reads “Follow The Writing Studio.” It allows you to “follow” my blog with no more effort than a simple click. My blog posts will then show up in your WordPress Reader.
Option two is just below that bar and asks if you’d like to receive my posts via email. If so, simply fill out the form and click on the “Click to Follow” button and WordPress will send them to you.
A third option labeled “Let’s Connect” allows you to receive my blog posts on any of the social media channels listed there. Simply click the icon and it will take you where want to go.
Thanks for your understanding and continuing support as I get back in the saddle. Sometimes the writing life is a difficult one, but I can’t seem to turn my back on it. I love writing, the writing community (all of you included), and the joy found in the written word.
The northwest has enjoyed some early spring weather this year. On each clear and sunny day, Husband Bob has been outside cleaning and decluttering our yard. We love our mini-forest but each rain and wind storm brings down needles, fir and pine cones, tiny boughs, medium-sized limbs.
At some point, this gets under Bob’s skin and he HAS to get out there and clean it up so the debris doesn’t get ahead of him. Still not able to get out and help him I stay inside and work but I’ve begun to notice that my housekeeping has slackened a bit over the last two plus years. It’s time to get busy!
Spring cleaning usually makes us think of home. But what about our work spaces? As writers, we often overlook that space. I know mine needs a good cleaning and decluttering, but where to start. Today let’s look at what you can do to enhance your writing space.
1. Author Website
Yes, your website! As writers, we are careful to keep content current and regularly produced, but what about the following: your bio, your photo, old content in your sidebar(s), broken links, page load speed, recent backup, delete unnecessary plugins, activate any plugin updates, check site’s responsiveness on mobiles and other browsers. Many components of our websites are often updated. If we’re not keeping those updates current, our sites will not function well for our readers.
Although your email program likely holds a lot of data, it is still a good idea to go through your email system and delete unneeded folders, no longer needed emails just sitting there, newsletters you don’t subscribe to any longer, and perhaps consolidate some duplicate folders under different names.
Another and perhaps hardest step in managing your email is to unsubscribe when going through new mail to those mailings or newsletters which you consistently delete without opening.
A large variety of “clean my pc” software exists online. However, be cautious and make certain you know what you’re downloading. One last piece of advice not to be ignored: if you are not already doing so regularly, backup your computer often.
4. Social Media
Time to make sure certain things are up-to-date in this part of your writing life. Check profiles on social media, settings, check apps attached to your Facebook author page to make sure they’re working, make sure videos and/or trailers are loaded to author pages on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook author page, etc., and check groups on LinkedIn and Goodreads to determine which ones you should leave (i.e. not active or productive) and search for new groups to try.
5. The All-Important Desk
Last but not least, what about your desk? Is it clutter-free? Are stacks of paper stashed all around, on the floor, underneath? Sort out that paper! If you have physical file folder, place any related paper there. If you don’t need it, recycle it.
If you’re not sure, start a temporary folder as a holding place for these. If there’s a chance you’ve filed any of the paper to Evernote or OneNote or another app, take some time each week to doublecheck those apps for that piece of paper. And if it’s there, get rid of it. I’m guilty of this last one, and I’m working on this now.
There are many other steps we can take so that each morning we can walk into a space ready for us to write. It was impossible to cover everything in one blog post.
If you have a suggestion about cleaning and decluttering, please share it below in the Comment section.
My family history consists of many changes. With parentage defining our personal history, my parents and my DNA have more or less labelled me in many respects, especially change.
When my dad arrived home from work on Fridays, he teased my mom that it was a good thing he wasn’t a drunk. His reasoning was based on the number of times Mom rearranged the living room furniture, he might have thought he was in the wrong house!
Likewise, Dad couldn’t resist physical moves to newer or different housing. I don’t dare count the number of moves we made until finally Mom said, “Enough!”
I share this bit of family history with you because I’ve done it again. I’ve not only changed the look of my website, I’ve moved it. Yes, I’ve moved from Squarespace back to WordPress, but for good reasons.
Sometimes we have to spend a little time in a new place to get all the details on top of the playing table. Then we realize the deal wasn’t as great as we first thought.
There were and are features at WordPress that I decided I just didn’t want to give up. And Squarespace lacked certain conveniences I’d grown spoiled to having available. So, I’ve made the move back “home.”
Now, there’s one little thing I couldn’t move back with me. That was the list of people who followed the blog using something other than signing up for my newsletter. There are three ways to follow a WordPress.com blog:
First, if you are a WordPress.com user, you can use the “Follow Button” as seen near the top of the sidebar to your right. It only takes one click and my blog posts will show up in your WordPress Reader.
Or just below that button I’ve placed a “Follow Via Email” block where you simply provide your email address and my posts appear in your inbox.
Perhaps you love social media and prefer to follow using one or more of the media channels. Look for the “Let’s Connect” block and choose your channel of choice.
For the next six weeks or so, I’ll continue to circulate the posts via my newsletter account. But at that time, I intend to take a sabbatical from the newsletter and sharing my posts using the newsletter software. I’ll give fair warning before taking this action.
Thanks, as always, for reading, and I hope you continue to do so.