Tomorrow I celebrate.
Six months ago some of my family and dearest friends helped me make a soft launch of this site. My little online home has opened the world to me, introduced me to some of the most inspirational people, brought me opportunities I never expected and allowed me to dare to dream my biggest dreams out loud and take the first steps to making them come true.
So … what have I learned and where are we going? I’m so glad you asked! Join me for recalling some milestones and making goals for the future.
Six Months of Lessons
1. Our planet is HUGE and oh so tiny at the same time.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed with just how many people out there are reader and writers. Countless readers seems exciting until you begin contemplating how to reach the right ones. And, writers—WOW! How many are there? Traditional. Indie. Those struggling to find their tribe. Household names whose followers are rocking. Still waiting for the first dollar. Maintaining six figures every year. And all the many more somewhere in between. Where can I fit? How can I stand out in the masses? How can I break through?
I think Twitter has helped me most with recognizing all the possibilities and diversity; successes and failures. It’s also opened my eyes to how small the masses can be and how a writing community will grow if you just take down the masks, push away the fear and be real and genuine. I believe my tribe of readers will come the same way.
2. Most fellow writers genuinely care about one another.
As with any group of people, you’re going to come across some sharks, piranhas and weasels. The fins, teeth and beady eyes make them pretty obvious, though; so they’re pretty easy to avoid or ignore. For the most part, writers CARE. We’re all in this crazy journey together. We’re all learning and will be for the rest of our lives because ours isn’t a field where you one day arrive at a state of all-knowing. And, we’re happy to share our lessons along the way.
3. This road ain’t easy.
Sometimes you just have to use bad grammar! Pumping out weekly meaningful blog posts and photos that look good, give something to my readers and grow me as a person and writer ain’t easy!
On top of this, I have chosen two primary and two secondary social media outlets where I can connect with other readers and writers. These choices require almost daily interactions. I do limit my online time, but the time I do spend is invaluable. I am inspired and encouraged by so many people who are just as passionate about the written word as I am. Each time I scroll through my feeds, I learn something new.
I get to share quality content from others with my followers. I take seriously my personal commitment to sharing only positive, helpful and encouraging messages and content. It’s easy to be blinded by all the negativity and hate on social media; but the good exists.
And, of course, all of this I’ve mentioned doesn’t even touch my clients’ work, homeschool, community obligations, family time or WRITING! You may wonder why I wouldn’t clear some of this off my plate. That’s something I frequently think through; I often reevaluate where I am and what I’m doing. Knowing the big picture of where I want to go, I believe I’m right on track now and the plates I’m juggling are each necessary.
One thing I plan to get back to by the new year is time blocking. That is the scheduling format that works best for me. Once I get back into that routine, I’ll share all the details with you!
4. I still have much to learn.
This is a no-brainer. I have so very much to learn. I have tons of room to grow. Thankfully, I’ve found many people wiser than I who willingly share what they’ve learned, the mistakes they’ve made and the victories they’ve achieved.
My plan is to cling to humility, open my ears to teaching and my eyes to opportunities and keep my focus on the goals ahead.
5. I also have a lot to give.
I will be the first to tell you—I mess up every single day. Not everything I attempt succeeds. If I wanted, I could start a “Joy’s daily dose of dumb” because that’s how often I open my mouth and insert my foot or do before I think or just let my stupid show.
That being said, I have learned many incredible lessons. Opportunities have filled my life for a reason. My mind—just like everyone else’s—is unique. I observe things differently or enjoy insights others may not. I have encouragement and support to spare.
This journey has always been bigger than books. (Of course, books themselves are bigger on the inside!) I commit to finding more ways to give back and share with others as often as I can.
6. My Balrog still lives … but I can battle him and be victorious again.
In one of my first posts here, I shared with you about my Balrog—monstrous, terrifying Fear and Doubt. I’ve kept him firmly caged away in the dungeons of my mind. Sure, I occasionally hear his roar reverberating from deep within; but, for the most part, I’ve been able to keep him chained out of sight. Until this past week …
He crashed his way out of his cell and demanded to be seen, heard and felt. Who am I to think I can be an author? Who am I to think anything I may write could be worthy of others’ time and attention? Why am I even doing all this? I’m working constantly. I’m missing opportunities with my kids and husband. My life looks like a mess most days of the week … much like my pantry. (Seriously … I contemplated sharing a picture to prove just how floopy things are; but, well, it’s bad.)
So, why?? Wouldn’t it be better to drop all this, forget this dream, scheme, fool’s errand? Let it go or set it aside? What’s another decade or two, right?
I believe in this. Those closest to me believe in me. You’ve joined me on this journey; you’re my Fellowship. And, I won’t let us down.
The dungeon’s been fortified. The Balrog’s been shackled in fresh chains. He’s sure to blast his way out again; but—for now—he’ll remain deep. And I’ll enjoy this latest victory over him.
So Much More to Come
Where are we going from here, dear friend? To quote a wise doctor, “Oh the places you’ll go!”
“And when you’re alone there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.”
1. Logos & Mythos will continue.
I love our weekly chats! This blog may take more time than I’d like at the moment, but I love it. I love you and your interaction with me. When you leave comments or send me a message or see me on the street and thank me for something I’ve written or ask me something or tell me about something you remembered, that takes the reward of writing it to a whole other level. So, THANK YOU!
In addition to this blog, I believe Logos & Mythos will encompass something much larger. While I’m not quite ready to reveal some of my dreams, you can be one of the first to find out those plans. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter for exclusive content, sneak peeks and so much more—read on down to #4 for what all that means.
2. 2018 will be a great year for Ashlee’s book!
You know I’ll be updating you as we move forward with Ashlee’s book. I actually get giddy when I think about all the work, writing, tweaking, planning and querying/marketing/etc. that lies ahead for it! Stick with me for all the amazing news to come!
3. I’m planning an e-book and online course and hope to launch them both next year.
That’s right! I have been planning and plotting an e-book in my head for several months now. Now, I haven’t been able to complete my research into any competition that already exists; so I’m not going to give you all the details yet! This will be primarily for writers and will have an online course to accompany it.
If that e-book succeeds, I have several devotionals I would like to write as well. One for women, one for mothers and daughters and another for writers. Who knows what accomplishments 2018 holds?
4. I’ve got some lagniappe planned for my subscribers.
“lagniappe: something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure”
My initial plan for my subscribers is to add a section to my site exclusively for them! This part would house all my weekly newsletters in one convenient spot in addition to some short stories and poems. And, I’ve got some fun giveaways in the early stages of planning!
The more I’ve typed here, the more excited I’ve gotten about the next six months … and beyond! How about you?
Thanks for continuing to be part of my Fellowship. What would you like to hear more about or see more from me? I’d love to hear any other suggestions you have for me and for my cozy online home!