My Sweet Robin came by to say hello today, just as he did on the same day exactly two years ago when I wrote my first blog post.
My little, red-breasted, puffed-up muse.
I have learnt so much since that day. About blogging, about writing and about myself. I have also discovered a WordPress world filled with the most incredible kindness and compassion: I found all of you, dear friends!
Recently I read on another blog (and huge apologies for not remembering whose blog), that a fair size chunk of bloggers burn out after two years. It is also common knowledge that most people who say they are going to write a book never actually do.
I do not want to become one of those statistics.
But I admit that during 2014, I had more than a few moments when I wondered how I was going to meet my goals: not because of any lack of motivation or even, at times, my crippling self-doubt.
No. It was because of the times when I walked through the fog and stumbled time after time, when nothing I tried seemed to go right.
But I tried, I really did. I set plans for a new writing regime, determined each time to make a fresh start, to set my focus on what it was I needed to do to meet my goals and get a proper schedule going.
Planning is good, and necessary, right?
At times like these, I can’t help but hear the words of Eldest Son’s old Scoutmaster telling his troop over and over:
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!’ Cliche I know, but it’s true.
Just ask a group of Boy Scouts who thought they had done a good job of packing all they needed for a weekend away, camping in the middle of a huge forest in California.
Until they sat down to light the fire and realised they had forgotten to bring any matches.
I found it hard to keep blogging and write my book at the same time. I tried to set a writing schedule, doing my level best to keep disciplined enough to stick to it. I became more determined than ever.
But ‘stuff’ happens
Things break-down (appliances, laptops, cars), people let us down, illness strikes, financial worries hit us hard and in my case, my increasing concerns for my Aspie daughter bear down, at times, too heavily.
Yet 2015 starts afresh for us all. We hope to put the past behind us and face the new year ahead with renewed verve and vigour, with a positive outlook, and instead of looking at the bad of last year, remembering all the good, thankful for our many blessings.
So as the fog lifts, I can at last see my way clear.
I look back at my two years of blogging and get a surprise when I read the results of my WordPress Annual Stat Report for 2014.
Although my busiest day was March 4th with 205 views for WPC: Abaondoned Minoan Ruins of Crete, (and I have really enjoyed the Weekly Photo Challenges), the top three posts with the most consistent views are ones in which I’ve shared about my Aspie daughter:
- The Love of Animals and Asperger’s Syndrome
- The Dark Side of Asperger’s Syndrome
- The Taste of Words: Asperger’s Syndrome and Synaesthesia
I haven’t been paying much notice to my stats lately I admit, but I had noticed that The ‘Love of Animals‘ post, written in August, 2013, is viewed several times every day. Sometimes a reader leaves a comment. Somebody must have posted it on their Facebook page which has generated, to date, 107 hits.
Back in May, 2013, four months into blogging, I wrote ‘No Longer Invisible Darling Girl‘ in response to the sometimes overwhelming sadness that I carry in my heart for my daughter’s struggles. A blogger named seventhvoice left me a beautiful comment and re-blogged it. In reading my report now, it amazes me to see that seventhvoice is my top referring site.
Knowing that something I’ve written along the way which has encouraged and helped others living with and affected by Asperger’s Syndrome makes my heart soar. I know we are not alone in the struggle and I can tell my story from a mother’s heart.
My blog had visitors from 116 countries with 31,000 views. That would be the same as 11 sold-out performances at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, apparently. I find that hard to visualise to be honest. Most visits come from right here in the UK, but America and Australia follow close behind. Love you guys!
Thank you so, so much to you all, dear ones!
So I begin the year as always with optimism, putting all troubles behind and with a new writing regime (in the Summerhouse every morning, no social media, no phones, switched off, just writing), and a heart overflowing with the deepest of gratitude for you all.
I couldn’t have done it without you and that’s the truth.
When I jumped into my little homemade boat two year’s ago and rowed out to sea, searching for my new life as a writer, I had two choices: keep rowing or sink.
Well, I’ve come close to sinking a few times but you, my lovely people, have thrown me a life-line every single time. And so I keep rowing across that shining sea and I won’t stop until I reach my destination.
So here’s to a great year ahead. And to kick-start things off, I would like to share some good news with publication of my article, ‘Memories of Hintlesham Hall’ in the January edition of Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine. You can view the digital copy here, my article is on pages 88-89. I sincerely hope you enjoy the read.
We are in this together. We are sharing our stories. And I couldn’t be more thankful.
I had to join a little late but I have to say you have made great strides in your goals and you have amazing words of encouragement shared here, too. You not only are accomplishing your goals, so we can feel heartened and keep up our own goals, but you show us comfort by letting us know it isn’t always easy to stay focused. Your story sounds wonderful and hope to read it soon. Take care and sending you a big smile!
(I have a book written in England with the sweetest little robin, which is like your photograph, called, “Robin Finds Christmas.” It is an older story and makes me smile to remember my Great Aunt Marie, who wrote an inscription to me when she gave it to me as a child. It was not until I looked up English robins to find they are small and petite like wrens that I realized American robins are so much bigger and not as ‘cute.’)
Thank you so much Robin for your beautifully encouraging message! You are so kind and you always make me smile 🙂 It is a wonderful thing isn’t it to be able to support one another here!
When you mentioned to me about your sweet little ‘Robin Finds Christmas’ book in a previous comment, I thought how wonderful and did reply, but in case you didn’t see it, here it is again:
‘What an absolutely delightful message for me to read today dear Robin, thank you so much! I am only just now catching up so I do apologise for my late reply. I pay the price for ‘unplugging’ for so long! Your worlds have touched my heart so tenderly. What a sweet little book you mention, I wonder if I ever read it as a child? I’m sure I would remember it, it is just the sort of book I would have adored. And just as you noticed the difference between your American robin and our British robin, I did not know this either until I lived in California and bought a book for my children called My Spring Robin. My daughter adored it and I can’t tell you how many times I read it to her. But I noticed that the robin looked bigger and quite different and it was then, having not seen an American robin with my own eyes at that point, that I realised the differences! Oh what a beautiful thought, I am truly honoured at your kindest of gestures Robin. Now, I too, whenever I take a cup of tea in one of my porcelain cups with birds on I too will think of you …my spring Robin… 🙂 <3'
Dear Sherri, So sorry that I don’t always do well at catching comments back to me. I apologize for missing this very kind and nicely written message. I have been silly, opening my email account just to see over 6,000 messages, usually ones I don’t even need to see. I am very bad at figuring out how to filter my wordpress. Sometimes a comment from someone else on another person’s blog will come to me. I am not sure why? (I lament from time to time on my ‘friend’s’ blogs, how far behind I am in deleting and sorting through them. . .)
Anyway, I adore the idea of your finding a book titled, “My Spring Robin!” I have not seen this before. I will have to keep an eye out for this book. So glad your daughter enjoyed this book. It is nice to have children who listen and wish to have you read them over and over again. (We are blessed with this, you and I. I have two different ‘best’ friends from different periods of my life, neither were able, try as they might, to conceive babies.)
Just adding another very different line of thought~ I have a Hummel robin figurine, which is very different from the American robin, it is so sweet. It must be a British robin, like the little book where the robin finds Jesus and the manger. I am so touched that I made you feel ‘honoured’ for my mentioning that I will think of you as I drink tea in my decorated tea cups.
Sometimes I think it is due to my teaching preschool at the end of my professional life, which makes me say such spontaneous things. I am so glad you enjoyed my message back to you, while I am savoring the one you so nicely reprinted for me to read today. I am glad I wasn’t late for this treasure. When I taught the little ones, I had 8 children from ages 3-5 who had some area of developmental delay and 4 typically developing ‘peers,’ in an am and pm class. I learned about so many different challenges and wrote papers about the Asperger’s Spectrum, working with a few who were highly functioning and there were others who were ‘labeled’ autistic but were not able to get out of their own world. Did you ever see the movie, “Autism is a World?” It has a girl who likes to play with water and spoons, but goes on to college, having an aide to keep her focused there. I felt very hopeful for many of my students, as I saw the curriculum and early intervention plans working. I shall go check out your story immediately. No procrastinating today! Smiles, Robin
Dear Robin, oh you leave such lovely messages and I love all that you share with me, thank you so much. I fully understand, it is not easy keeping up is it, I really struggle. Speaking of which, I still don’t seem to be getting notification of your posts even though I signed up twice to make sure. I must come over and take another look and read your blog and I apologise for not doing so. WordPress does some strange things sometimes. I lose followers and then find I’m no longer following someone, no idea why that happens.
I didn’t know that you taught children with Asperger’s. You have a beautiful, kind heart Robin, I am so glad to have met you. I bet your students adored you – and your own children, goes without saying! Yes, we are blessed indeed, when I look back at the things that went wrong, I can say as can you, that we have our beautiful children and what greater gift can there be? Your Hummel Robin must be so cute. Now I must read your other comment! Big smiles right back to you 🙂
Congratulations on the article Sherri, also congratulations on you Blogaversary 💞
Thanks so much Michelle. I look forward to joining in on more of your weekly pet challenges as soon as possible 🙂 ❤
Congratulations on 2 amazing years of blogging. You became really dear to me over the time we are blogging buddies 🙂
I wish that you will NEVER become one of ‘those’ statistics. After all, I am ready to read your book 🙂
Dear Ilka, you know that whenever I see your beautiful, smiling face I am so happy to hear from you! I can’t believe it’s been 2 years…we’ve been blogging buddies for quite some time now haven’t we? You are as dear to me and thank you always for your ongoing support and encouragement of my writing…means the world 🙂
Congratulations on your two years blogging anniversary, glad that you didn’t despair and you stuck to it! 🙂 I’m also happy that your article is out on the Suffolk Norfolk Life magazine. I’ll keep my comment short and rush to read it. Great things are in offing for you this year my beautiful friend!
Love and blessings to you. 🙂
Thank you so much dear Seyi! You bless me so very greatly with your beautiful messages…and I would send you the very same love and blessings…have a wonderful weekend my friend 🙂
What a beautiful post – and journey. So glad the blogosphere (and Tieshka 😉 ) brought us together! CONGRATULATIONS on your publication in Suffold Norfolk Life magazine. That is fabulous – and a sign of much to come! Cheers!
Hi Jennifer, my ‘old’ friend 🙂 Wow, I had no idea that Tieshka brought to together, that’s great! Seems like a long time ago now, you both were some of the very first bloggers I ever met! So great to see you still blogging too…I remember reading your recent post about that, and I was relieved, I have to say. Thank you so much, you have made my day. Have a lovely weekend…and I haven’t forgotten about Maine lobster in Maine 🙂 Cheers!!
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You will never succumb to the stats because you are writing for the right reasons and have all of us to hold you up and support your goals! Bravo! Keep writing.
P.S. A super huge congratulations too. Wow!
Ditto my other reply…big smiles 🙂 Have a great weekend Renee!
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Thank you so much for your support and encouragement Renee, means so much… 🙂
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We shall always keep you afloat, especially as I am actually filled with helium and am currently weighed down with 1 ton ACME weights. I am well impressed with your stats and pleased for you, you deserve the recognition and the article is great as well, Wolves Wood is the best name ever!
Oh wow, you will do a great job, I am counting on it, thanks so much my friend! Those ACME weights are the best. The stats are interesting, I don’t look at them much so it was good to have this kind of assessment. I was quite amazed to be honest, although I know my blog is small compared to so many out there. Oh thank you so much for reading my article, means a lot to me that…and yes, Wolves Wood! It was so much fun hanging out there as a kid, spent hours playing there no matter the weather. There were rumours of a ‘tramp’ living in an old deserted barn in the middle of the wood, but we never found him. Only some abandoned chickens and a goat. But that’s another story… 😉
Congratulations (belatedly) on your blogging anniversary. I’m so glad you’ve kept going! I’m at the 3.5 year mark right now, and still going strong (more or less). I’ve been making some changes to my blog, adding in more personal observations and inspiration on my Life, Inspired posts. It’s been invigorating to make this change. I think we need to keep things fresh for ourselves!
I have so many plans and dreams for my blog and my writing career in general, but sometimes it feels like I’m walking up a steep hill of distractions and obligations and just plain old life. Some of it’s good and some of it’s bad, but I think the important thing is to just keep going, even if sometimes the pace is much slower than I would like. This expression, and this supportive community, is just too important!
I ‘m so glad that we found each other out here in this vast expanse called the internet!
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Thank you so much Marlene, sorry for my late reply but I’m still having endless laptop problems and had to take it back in yesterday. And this is with my new one!!!! So once again, I am terribly behind with blogging and writing…and visiting you and everyone. I will be over though.
Wow, you have been going a while, well done! I love your new look on your blog and your posts as you know. Yes ,keeping things fresh is a vital. Oh you are so right, I echo all you share. That is the biggest frustration isn’t it? Wanting to achieve all these things, accomplish all these goals yet always having to battle against everything else. But keeping going is what counts…and you have inspired me greatly to do just that! I got so fed up yesterday that I seriously thought ‘I can’t do this any more!’. Ah well, I got over that, ha!
Oh Marlene, me too, your support and encouragement has blessed me greatly and I only hope that I can do the same for you. I too am so very glad we met, I value your friendship greatly. Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. you have made me smile and I needed that 🙂 ❤
Don’t even THINK about stopping…I love to read your posts! And, although I’ve fallen behind these past few months, I am trying to get caught back up with my blog reading, blog following and my own blog writing (as energy allows). The biggest revelation I’ve had with writing and blogging is the realization that I really LIKE to write. For whatever reason, the keyboard just hums along once I sit down and type that first word. If I start to over think it, I find that my voice disappears and my inner critic looms large. Always the kiss of death and those efforts end up in the trash :-O Thankfully, there are very few in the trash these days…like swimming laps, it just gets easier and easier! So, keep on writing! You have a WONDERFUL voice and I love to hear it!
So lovely to hear from you, and thank you so much for your wonderful encouragement an support! I am so glad that you are finding your voice through your writing. Overthinking it kills the flow for me too so I fully understand that! You write from your heart, I know that to be true, and the old adage that writing begets more writing is so very true! So I would urge you to do the very same…keep writing and don’t stop! I look forward to reading more of you in the days to come. Blessings and hugs… 🙂 ❤