The State of the Mother Runner

When I started this blog a year and half ago, the idea was to keep myself writing, and thinking about writing, while I was mostly consumed with raising my little boys. I thought forcing myself to write something once a day, something that I could feel comfortable publishing for a wider audience, would be a great way to keep my saw sharp for the day when I could go out and do some real work with it.

I imagined, and hoped, that it would eventually lead to other writing jobs or prepare me for the kind of writing I always wanted to do — creative non-fiction and essays. And I also remembered something one of my professors told me when he found out I was a mom: “Take good notes.” He knew it would be hard for me to get the writing in while I was wiping noses and taming tantrums, but the stories would always be there if I took the time to record them. So that is what I had planned for this blog: a repository for my “notes,” a place to practice my creative non-fiction writing, and a motivation to work on becoming an essayist.

To give me a little bit more focus, and because I had recently discovered that I both loved running and was decently good at it, I added that as another component of the blog. Running would give me something more to write about, and it would also serve to help me gather my thoughts and spark some creativity when I was feeling particularly flat. (Although I didn’t really know that at the time.)

At first it seemed like writing a post every day was getting in the way of raising the boys more than anything. I would stress all day about what I was going to write, I would ignore the boys when I had something I didn’t want to lose before it got written, and it was generally a struggle to balance the two goals. But as time has gone on, I’ve gotten better at writing, at planning things out in my mind throughout the day, and at trusting myself to come up with something at night. I’m able to spend the day focusing on the boys and know that even if I sit down to a blank screen with a blank brain at 10:00 at night, I can fill both of them up before bedtime, sometimes with things I’m really pleased with, and sometimes with things I’m merely satisfied with.

But in the past few months I’ve realized that I’ve kind of gotten off base. I’ve realized that even though I don’t think of myself as a “blogger” (I generally tell people that I “write a blog”), I’ve started to want “bloggy” things. And I’ve become discouraged sometimes when I don’t get those “bloggy” things — even though I really don’t want to be a “blogger.” I lost sight of the real purpose of the blog and sacrificed some opportunities because of it.

You see, in the past several months I’ve had some really great essay ideas that I have wanted to pursue, or have tried to pursue, but then the blog got in the way. Instead of using my writing time to work on an essay, I’ve used it to write something unrelated for the blog. I think posting something every day has been really good for me — I’ve proven to myself that I can write every day, I’ve seen my writing improve, and I’ve felt myself becoming more confident as a writer — but I also mourn the loss of the essay ideas that I didn’t get around to because the blog deadline was staring me down.

So I’ve decided it is time for me to re-focus, to test some new things, and to push things forward a little bit. This may mean that I cut down my posting to 3 or 4 days a week, but the immediate plan is to stick with the 5-days-a-week format. I like writing every day and worry that if I start loosening up, it’ll all fall apart. And, actually, if all goes well, you, my lovely readers, will not notice much of a change. But I thought I would share my new “schedule” with you, so you know what to expect from me, so I have some accountability, and also so you know that you are welcome to give me feedback and criticism (both supportive and constructive) on anything.

Here’s the plan:

Mondays I will post an excerpt or other evidence of work I’ve done on a larger writing project — whether that be an essay or something else. (This could turn into an essay, or maybe this or this.)

Tuesdays . . . I haven’t quite decided. This day may be open for recipes, book reviews, or random thoughts.

Wednesdays I’ll be writing a “story,” describing a scene, relaying an incident, replaying some dialogue. Something fairly discrete and focused.

Thursdays I’ll post the weeks’ “notes.” Basically, it will be a collection of interesting/funny/emotional/whatever occurrences — things that I want to remember for later material. (It could look something like this, or this.)

Fridays I’ll post something I found somewhere else — someone else’s inspirational thought/picture/article/video, etc. I hope these things will be as fun and helpful for you as they are for me.

I hope I haven’t scared any of you away. Like I said, if all goes well, you may not notice much of a difference. I still plan to run and write about running, to be a mom and write about mothering. I hope to capture moments that ring true to you. But I also hope to refocus my energies a little bit and I hope that in doing that, this will not only become a place you like coming to even more, but will lead me to where I want to be as well. It may take me a several weeks to get into a rhythm with it, so please be patient with me.

Also, there may also be some visual changes to the blog that go along with this as I strip down and try to stay focused on what is most important to me, but since I don’t pay my graphic designer (except in tasty meals, child wrangling, and various other odd jobs around the house) and he is a very busy man, it may take some time for those changes to come about.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing Lizzie…. I’m looking forward to your “re-focus” work. And you’ve inspired me to think more about what and how I am accomplishing my own goals.

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    Thanks Lindsay. I hope I do not disappoint. And I hope you are on your way to achieving your goals, too.

    [Reply]

  2. I have loved this blog since the day you started it. Definitely one of my favorite reads! 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading whatever you want to write about!

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    I hope it continues to be one of your favorite reads! And I hope my writing continues to improve, too.

    [Reply]

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