Transitions Part 2

Nearly two years ago I put my lack of web design skills to the test and threw together a WordPress site.  I hesitantly put my thoughts together in a concrete form. I gave it a name, a face, and tried to build an identity.  It is a daunting task when you know where you are going, with purpose and goals.  When you don’t, it seems a little silly and haphazard, but it gave me a much-needed outlet on the days of monotony.

Then the samples arrived, the invitations. I felt validated and intimidated, obligated and unworthy.  It is easy to dance when no one is watching.  Writing flows when inspired.  But what happens when that changes?

When I took the first freelance writing position, I remember my husband cautioning me.  “It is easy to lose the joy when it becomes a ‘job.’  What is your goal in this?  Is this what you want? “

I hastily responded, “Of course this is what I want!”  “You’re just worried it will take me away from home but I can do it.”  So I got on Twitter and dutifully scanned.  I tweeted and retweeted.  I “social-media-ed” with the best of them.  I rose early to write and respond and checked all day for opportunities to connect and “get my name out there.”

The opportunities and samples kept coming and with them, my to-do list grew.  I should be…I’ve got to…I haven’t… I NEED to get something out there.

A few weeks ago I wrote about “being enough.”  The idea being that our value is not tied up in what we do but in who we are.  While I believe that to be true, I wasn’t living it.  And while I was worried about whether or not anyone was listening, I was neglecting those that wanted to hear from me the most.

There have been headlines this year that made every one of us stop what we were doing and ache.  They made us hold our children a little tighter that night.  They made us reexamine how we spent our time.  But then the new day’s needs rose with the sun and we kept moving.

But here is the thing, I don’t NEED to.  Not right now, not in this phase of my life.  My husband works very hard so that I can be home with my children.  My “job” is creating a safe place for my children to learn and grow.  My “life’s work” is not in wine writing.  It is in the little lives I’ve been shooing away so I can put my Twitter handle in front of a few more eyes for half a second.  It is in the friendships that I’ve been neglecting when I check my phone.    It’s in the relationships, not the numbers.

Now don’t get me wrong.   I am going to continue writing about wine.  I love the learning, the outlet, the people I meet.  I’m just not going to beat myself up if I haven’t written in a week.  I will still tweet and comment and read, but not at the expense of my family.  And I understand that this may cost me in unreceived samples and invitations, but I am okay with that for now.

Last week Catie McIntyre Walker, Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman, wrote what she called her “swan song.”  She summed up so many of the thoughts that I have been having of late.  Meg Maker just put up the following quote. “If you’re not disappointing someone at least once a week, you’re probably spending too much energy pleasing others.”  This is something I am learning to be okay with.  When I wrote “Transitions Part 1,” this post was swimming around in my head but had not yet taken form.  Catie and Meg gave me the push I needed.  I am ready to absolve myself of the nagging guilt that comes with trying to please those that may or may not be reading and return to a place where this is a hobby that brings me joy.  I’m ready to focus on the lives I know that I am impacting.

So with that, know that you may not be hearing from me as consistently, but when you do it is a labor of love, not obligation.  My children will be in school before I know it and at that time, I will undoubtedly have more to say.  I will be able to write without 763 distractions per piece and I am sure I will miss the interruptions.  Okay, that may be stretching it…

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23 responses

  1. Really well said. I have always thought I was less dedicated that my counter parts on twitter and the blogosphere. I couldn’t understand how everyone else found so much time to write, how people were on twitter all day (it seemed). I honestly felt like I was the only one who had other obligations. I will admit that I feel a pang of jealousy when I see everyone else participating in tweet-ups for some great wine that I wasn’t offered. This makes me feel better about my choices – thanks! (Jean, aka: Red Wine Diva)

    • I have felt the same way. That is another aspect. It does seem that you need to have a consitent presence to participate in most of those. But again, “how much am I willing to give?” is a question that I bat around all the time.

  2. Nice post! You have to do what you enjoy girl! You have been doing a great job and will continue to do so. Keep being a great mom, write about wine when you can and want, and most importantly, drink and enjoy wine!

  3. Good for you for taking the unnecessary pressure off! As a mom and a wine blogger (and a college writing teacher), I know how hard it is to balance the many needs of the littles and my work responsibilities while feeding the always starving social media machine… But you’ve put down a strong foundation and it will be here when you’re ready to return! (PS When the kids go to school, you’ll be amazed that while you may have more time when they’re in school, life is still incredibly busy and complicated!)

    • You hit the nail on the head. The social media is a hungry beast that I am going to stop going crazy to keep up with. I will stil write, but change my priorities and creat some much needed boundaries for me and my family.

  4. I soooo relate to this post. I’ve gone through similar cycles and definitely came to a point of less writing, less tweeting, and less chasing the eyeballs. Finding the joy in writing, when it comes, and saving the time for the those who give us joy is the right approach for me.

    Keep enjoying the moments offline and online when it makes sense.

    Cheers!

  5. I know the struggle — believe me, I do. It’s all about ebb and flow, I am learning. Take the time you need and jump back in when you feel like it. You won’t get these moments back.

  6. Nicely said and between you and Catie I need to take a look at the pressure I put on myself to put out 3 posts a week. This year I became an empty nester, and looking back, I did put my writing and social media commitments first at time. Life is short and now it’s time for me to get re-examine my priorities.

  7. Wonderful post. I admire your honesty to your readers and your priority to you and your family. Keep up the great work….trust me & put me down for telling you now, more will come of this blog and your writing…NOW….than ever before. You have “the touch”. Best of luck!

  8. Excellent piece–my boys and my wife are my life. They are the reason I go to work–so that I can afford to spend more time with them (if that makes sense). If my wine obsession ever threatens the precious moments I have with all three of them, then I know it will be time to take a step back, as you so eloquently stated.

  9. Great post, Alissa ( I have to add – as usual). Blog and social media definitely takes a lot of effort (and I’m only looking at it a labor of love, not as a “job”). Finding balance is the most critical, as directly relates to your happiness – which is then further reflected in your posts and overall interaction with the world. As Gwendolyn mentioned above, when the kids will go to school you will probably find even more challenges and “todo”s for yourself – so your quest for the balance will continue.
    Before I will make this into a post inside the comment, I just want to say – you have a great foundation here, and you have enough strength to find your way. Let’s have a glass tonight to the balance in our lives.
    Best,
    Anatoli

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