I like to write a centennial blog, not surprisingly I get this urge every 100 blogs. I’m a little over the 300 but I’m doing it now. I have to admit that not every one of the 300 is by my own hand, there have been a few guest blogs although nowhere near as many as I would like, Mrs Summerhouse has been a consistent contributor with her yoga and art blogs but for the most part they are my very own. So time to reflect again along with 100 blogs and 200 blogs, what blogging means to me.
Before I retired and shortly afterwards I was very keen on developing a new identity to replace my career persona. The new role was a writer, that is what I would say when people asked me what I was going to do / was doing when / now I’m retired. I’m a writer I would answer proudly and without hesitation. However two and half years later I am neither proud nor certain. Despite having tried to publish a few Ebooks (I have put two out there, they are the images down the right hand side of my blog) the closest I have come to ‘being’ a writer has been this blog. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of this blog and the fact that I am ‘celebrating’ my 300th blog shows persistence if nothing else and I reckon a writer needs staying power, but I did think I would be more like a proper writer than I feel I am. So another retirement prediction if not exactly bites the dust, does have at least a hint of dust up the nostrils. And while we’re in this area the act of writing itself hasn’t been anything like I anticipated. I thought as a writer I would set aside time, maybe a day a week to write but it’s not been like that at all. I write these blogs as and when I have 20 minutes or so. Twenty minutes in-between all my other commitments like vineyard, house and gardening business, two of which aren’t supposed to be happening at all. Some have greatness thrust upon them and some of us have stressful events thrust upon them. I digress.
So if I’m a little dissatisfied with my writerly achievements, why do I keep writing? On reflection I think there are a number of relatively small reasons that have somehow combined synergistically into what I might call my motivation to write this blog twice a week, which is precisely twice as often as I promised. So I’m not only delivering on this blog, I’m over-delivering. Get me. Those reasons are, I think, as follows. First, I do enjoy writing, it’s my prime form of creativity in the absence of any photographic or graphic work and, as readers will know, one of my key values to underpin my retirement is be creative, have new ideas. The blog gives me the opportunity to be creative twice a week most weeks. It is a little scary wondering if the ideas will dry up but, truth be told, I rarely have to dig deep to come up with a concept for the next blog. Sometimes I need to trawl through recent entries in my diary but mostly the ideas just come. To be fair they always have throughout my life, I’ve always been good at having ideas and, in the absence of any career platform for the ideas, then the blog is the perfect outlet for my on-going creativity. Tied to this there is a real sense of achievement, of satisfaction, when I’ve written my approximately 1000 words. That sense of fulfilment that I used to get with my job – a report written and letter of thanks from a client. A neat substitute for my professional writing and, wait for it, a recurring theme in this blog, a boost to my sometimes lacking self-esteem. Retiring as we know can damage a person’s self-esteem, not all people by any means, just sensitive souls like me.
Writing a blog keeps me in touch with the world, admittedly mostly my own but often the world ‘out there’. Looking for material gives a purpose to reading the newspapers or watching TV. I’m always on the lookout for interesting bits of information I can either use as the whole basis for a blog like drinking alcohol or making bread or an interesting insert, like the advert on the radio that tells us about a particular house alarm – 93% of burglars avoid this alarm. How the hell do they know this? This kind of data keeps me alert and connected plus I can consider how it will be used in the creative process. And this process means that I can cover a variety of topics under the broad umbrella of retirement. I’m pleased with just how many different topics I’ve packed into these pages
The other big plus for this blog, alongside its variety, is its therapeutic potential. I have written before about the need to write stuff out of our heads. It was a piece of advice I frequently gave to clients of various sorts. Get a diary (a past topic for these blogs), write it down, the load is lighter when it’s in front of you rather than going round and round in our poor, over-loaded brains. It’s quite a joy to be able to kill a number of birds metaphorically of course, with one stone, get it out of my head, create a piece of writing from it, each blog a mini project and hopefully entertain people as a bonus. Job’s a good ‘un as they say in this part of the world.
Oh, and I love words and language. There’s some lovely words out there and I enjoy using them, making new and interesting sentences. This blog gives me that opportunity to engage with the English language. Hope that doesn’t sound too pretentious but that’s what retirement has done for me, uncovered hidden depths of pretentiousness. And finally, I enjoy the comments. In psychological terms if the above is my motivation then comments on the blog, or other forms of social media, are my reinforcement and everybody needs a little reinforcement around their chosen retirement activity. Well, I do.