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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

fifteen things i've learnt during our time at 'what are days for'

today is officially the day we finish writing in this space. 

yeah, i know there's part of me that is sad about that too. i've been coming to this online space for four years now to share my life with you. first and foremost i would like to thank you for reading and continuing to come back. but before we close the curtain on these last four years together i thought i would look back and note down what i have learnt while writing at 'what are days are for'.

1. try even when you think you can't do it. this blog came into existence because i told jane i wanted to start a blog but didn't want to do it alone, i wanted to share it with someone, but who? she suggested maybe she could fill the opening. we forged ahead with no experience, neither of us writers nor proficient in technical know how. it was a big learning curve and though sometimes frustrating it was exciting.

2. always remember why you started. we called this space 'what are days for' after a philip larkin poem. jane had bought me a copy of one day by david nicholls and the first chapter is prefaced by larkin's poem 'days'

what are days for?
days are where we live
they come, they wake us
time and time over.
they are to be happy in:
where can we live but days?

we didn't realise when we named it but we inadvertently created a manifesto for our blog. this was the space where we told the story of our days; the big life experiences and the small "here's the buttercup that is growing in my lawn" days. if ever we forgot what we were doing here, our back story provided the answer for us.

3. write because you want to. if you write because you feel you should i guarantee you will start resenting this space you have created and quickly become bored and lose heart. write about anything, no matter how small, even if it's just images and three small words, slowly you will find your feet.

4. be honest. if it's a down day say. if you've won the biggest prize tell everyone.

5. embrace your own creativity. give yourself permission to dream and make space to think, to learn, to organise. seek out time alone with your thoughts, even it it's just a few minutes on the daily commute. realise that those five minutes spent dreaming can inform your whole day - regardless that i have spent the day running my companies tax year end and listening to the wind howl round my office - those five minutes this morning provided inspiration in my thought processes to write this for you tonight.

6. do all the above and add a pinch of discipline. what? i know, a space you have created to be creative within surely doesn't require discipline? do it for four years and then tell me you disagree. to write at all is discipline. if you dream of creating anything some kind of discipline has to be added to the mix regardless of if you want to soar into the sky or fly under the radar.

7. stretch yourself. don't be afraid to challenge yourself with a project. i took on writing for 31 days last october, i can honestly say it was the most planning i had ever done whilst writing in this space and through doing it i gained an insight into how people must have to work who make money at blogging. i have a new found respect for such souls.

8. listen to peoples opinions about your space. but remember what brene brown says - if they are not in the arena with you, putting themselves out there too - their words do not hold the same gravitas. do not allow negativity to stunt your creative growth.

9. find community and link up. read other blogs, make connections with their authors. subscribe to your favourites and don't be afraid to ping an email back to their inbox if something they have written has touched or inspired you. some day someone will do it to you and you will realise how exciting yet fulfilling it is.

10. gratefulness changes attitudes. mainly yours.

11. schedule breaks. sometimes taking time out reminds you exactly why you are writing and enables you to miss it when you don't.

12. expect the unexpected. the biggest surprise to come from this space was to make friends with and then meet a fellow blogger, who at the time was based in the usa, in real life. we not only communicate every week through the sabbath society she started but she now lives in england.

13. a sense of humour always wins out. try to maintain it. 

14. notice the little things in life. these usually turn out to be the biggest indicators of your passions. when you find them, embrace them.

15. don't assume someone (or everyone) is doing it better than you. that's just the little voice in your head talking. were they alongside you taking the picture at exactly the same time? have they been living a life parallel to yours and you've just not known it? no. your point of view is just that - your perspective - not anyone else's. share it. 

i've loved sharing this space with jane, loved how we have provided different perspectives on a life lived. our friendship formed as teenagers was already strong but through this space we have increased our contact, shared our best part of the week together with you each week, worked on photo projects to illustrate what our days are for and most importantly for me; my friendship with jane has gone from being in the pool of best friends to being my best friend. 

i came to this space not knowing how it would work out and i now realise, with very little expectation. what it has given me is a gift i didn't know i was looking for, let alone needed. it has given me the gift of expression. i have grown in confidence with my ability to not only take pictures but to write too - never mind that i get hung up about how i write as i talk. i try to remember that's just the voice in my head talking (see #15) and share my perspective anyway.

we are hanging up our hats here each for our own reasons. for me i am ready to step out on my own two feet. i am currently working on my own online space. a space where my hope is that my images and words will dance freely. the technological learning curve is even steeper now than when we started here four years ago so my dream is unfolding one page at a time. i'd love to have you along for the journey. if you would like to know where i land then join with our loyal subscribers and add your contact details to our subscription box, confident in the knowledge we will never share your details.

thank you for reading along with us over the last four years. i will always be grateful to jane for suggesting we do this together and eternally grateful that on this road i have discovered my creative ability again, may i never let it go.


linking with emily freeman at chatting at the sky one last time

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