And so, here we are! It’s been one whole year since I started this adventure known as bumblebird. It’s amazing to me that only one year ago I was looking ahead to the Fall and wondering where I would be, and really, who I would be, when all three of my children were in school full-time. I’d been a stay-at-home mom for several years and my life revolved around my children for the most part. Then, suddenly, the time was coming when they would be gone all day and I would…what??
I planned to keep busy with volunteering, taking a class and that type of thing, but I didn’t need something to occupy my time, I needed something to occupy my mind. The thing is, I liked being home with my kids and because my youngest is three years younger than my middle child, we’ve had a lot of time together, just the two of us. The prospect of suddenly being without my little sidekick left me feeling disoriented.
Writing has always been the thing I wanted to do but never had time for. I think we all have those things, don’t we? The stuff we dream about doing for years while our real lives get in the way. Finally, for me, things were about to slow down and I would be able to indulge the thing I’d always wanted to do. The wonderful thing about writing now is that it’s much easier to build a platform of readers than several years ago, when I was too busy to write anyway. Social media is the cause of many ills, but for people who are seeking an audience it can be a great thing.
So I did it. I started writing. My audience was small in the beginning and even though it’s grown it’s still small by blogging standards (yes, those exist). But I appreciate each one of you who takes the time to scan these words and maybe, occasionally, leave a comment or offer an encouraging word. Recently, in response to a post I wrote called Why You’re Qualified To Discuss Theology, Too a reader commented that her insecurities in group discussions have been crippling but that my writing had given her hope. That right there makes this thing I do here completely worthwhile. If I knew I could continue to encourage people through my words I’d be a writer for life.
I’ve had a few compliments on the name “bumblebird” (and a couple negative ones!) but I’ve never told anyone how I came up with the word. Right before I started my blog I had read Anne Lammott’s Bird by Bird. In it, she describes a time when her brother was overwhelmed by a school project on birds. Her father offered sage advice that essentially was for the boy not to focus on the big picture but just take the project “bird by bird.” I wanted to get back into writing but wasn’t sure how and this advice was golden for me. I would start with a simple blog: my first little bird. I searched websites for names of tiny birds I could use to represent this first small step into the world of writing but couldn’t find anything that fit. And then it occurred to me that I wanted a name for a bird as small as a bumblebee…and there it was. I’ve heard it said that when you’re not sure what to do, just do the next thing. This, for me, was next. And I did it.
The idea for writing about the search for meaning in the mundane seemed pretty obvious. For so long I believed that I had nothing interesting in my life, everything I did was routine and far from spectacular. But then I realized many other moms probably felt the same way. There’s nothing I like better than exploring a common issue with a fresh perspective and opening someone’s eyes to an idea they hadn’t thought of before. I want to inspire people not to ignore the ordinary but to flourish there. So many people are focused with doing big, amazing, bucket list type things but I want to elevate and celebrate the mundane. I don’t want anyone to feel like I did for so long, that what I did every day had very little meaning. One day I realized what I was doing had potential for immeasurable meaning if only I had the right attitude and perspective on all those seemingly small tasks.
Once I’d been blogging for a little while I decided to try writing for other sites. I did a couple guest posts and started submitting writing for publication. I was shocked and thrilled when I started having posts accepted, some even for payment. I’ve since been published on sites like The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy. This past month I entered a contest with the Yummy Mummy Club and placed top ten for my piece on their chosen subject of truth and lies in motherhood.
It’s incredible for me to think where I was one year ago; wanting so badly to start writing again and yet feeling sick to my stomach every time I hit “publish” on my blog. Writing is terrifying. It’s taking your deepest thoughts and laying them out for everyone to see and, often, criticize and judge. You learn early on not to take the negative comments to heart. You have to or you risk drowning in a sea of insecurities. Fortunately, moms are generally pretty good at ignoring bad behaviour-we do it all the time with our own kids. And, as Bob Goff said, “be picky about who you give the microphone to in your life.” Meaning, don’t listen to the haters. Listen to the encouragers. It’s the kind people who generously leave comments on my work that give me the desire to write more. That’s why I try to reply to every good comment and mostly ignore the bad ones. I choose not to feed the negativity.
This is a cool gig, this writing thing. I don’t get to do it as often as I like but I also don’t want to do it too much. All this formulating thoughts into words will fry my brain if I don’t find balance. In that vein, I have some new plans. I’m hoping to run a guest series this summer where you will be able to read posts here from other members of the blogging community. And my “secret project” that I mentioned in What’s Happening Around bumblebird is still in the works and will hopefully be done and ready for reveal by September! In the meantime, you can sign up to receive notifications of new posts from me in the right sidebar of this blog and join my community on Facebook. Thanks to all of you for your support this past year! Here’s to another year of bumblebird.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson