Blogging 101: Playing around with prompts

I’m trying to catch up with some of the Blogging 101 tasks I missed last week with life getting in the way, so today I’m tackling prompts.

The task is:

Practice turning a writing prompt into a post that fits seamlessly into your blog. Read today’s prompt, and interpret it. Focus on a particular word. Take a broad-brush view. Use it metaphorically. Find an alternate interpretation.

The prompt for today is:

Play Lexicographer: Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

Hmmm. It’s quite a fun one, so here’s my word…

yogafuzzle

It means having your yoga practice ruined by a busy, fuzzy brain! Earlier today I managed to sneak 30 minutes to myself and resolved that today would be the day that I try to get back into the good habit of doing some yoga. Not every day, but maybe just a couple of times a week. But I was rushing, I was distracted, my brain was all fuzzled, so the practice was lacklustre and not all that enjoyable, as I really struggled to focus. So there you have it.

Blogging 101: Say Hello to the Neighbors

Today’s Blogging 101 task involves making a debut into the outside blogging community, stepping out from the shadows and actually saying “hi” to a few people. The specific task is to…

leave comments on at least four blogs that you’ve never commented on before.

Okay, so where to start? I’ve enjoyed exploring the Reader, stumbling upon a few really interesting reads. Here’s where I’ve been and what I’ve commented on.

  • Confession: we don’t have a schedule…or a routine on the Happy Mama Happy Baby blog. It’s a nice blog. I was looking through the reader for blogs tagged “babywearing” and this one came up. The post resonated with me and the writer asked whether anyone else felt like she did about routines, which I do, so it seemed replying was all I could do!
  • Winter is coming on the Cycling Dutch Girl blog. Wow, what a story. I didn’t quite fulfill the brief here, because my comment was a little on the short side, but I was reading on my phone and a short on time. As much as anything I wanted to make the connection so that I can go back and read her post another time. I felt so inspired by her post – and also daunted. One woman cycling adventures always get my brain whizzing!
  • Rainbow Babywearing Blanket on the Wool Pickle blog. I love the name of this site and now confess that I’m a bit of a knitter and crocheter – more so since having a baby, almost entirely because babies are small enough for me to knit for before I get bored! The pattern really caught my eye because it’s so bright and cheery, simple-ish to make, as well as very practical (adding layers to your LO when in a wrap or sling is the babywearer’s challenge!) so something I might make in future. And I’ve promised to post a pic, if I ever get round to making it.

For my fourth comment? Well, I’m still looking. I’m really short on time – so cruising the Reader isn’t all that possible. I’ll head over there now to see what I can find and report back.

Blogging 101: Dream Reader, who?

So the assignment I owe from last week is to write a post to my dream reader, but it’s been addling me. Who the heck is that? While lying upstairs cuddling my restless baby back to sleep for the third or maybe fourth time this evening, I had chance to think about who that might be and why I’m finding it such a challenge.

Someone else taking the class suggested a fellow cyclist might be the dream reader. Yes, I thought – that works. But then, hmm, it’s not just going to be about bikes. Or it is? That was the original idea way back when I first set up the blog (and did nothing with it) a year or so ago, but then there’s the yoga and any general ranting. And now there’s the baby thing. Once upon a time it was just me, my bike, a yoga mat or two, and very little in between. I found stillness in those things. Yoga is all about focus – being in the moment. And cycling: blasting down a rocky trail; riding on the moors on a dark, clear summer night; grinding up a hill, all out of gears, in it for the long haul. Simple. That was me then. But now there’s a new path, in motherhood. There’s a special kind of stillness in lying in the dark stroking the silky, soft forehead of your baby; of celebrating a new found skill, something so simple and taken for granted by the fully grown, with crazy, happy smiles and mad waving arms. So how does this fit in?

In the last year I’ve read as many blogs about parenting as I have anything else and it seems the Internet is bursting with them. Do I really want to dip my toe into that overflowing pool? Does it go without saying that a woman with a child who writes a blog inevitably spends most of the time talking about babies? I guess what I’m really saying is my dream reader – me, I guess – is in transition right now. Things have changed. People said they would and they have, but not quite in the way I thought they would. Because where once a certain set of things were pretty much my life, now, well, I canceled a ride on Sunday because the weather was bad. That’s the first ride in two weeks and I chose to stay home, to have a lie in with my tired baby and have a quiet, lazy day. Why, oh why!? Simply, in my search for stillness becoming a parent has forced me to recognise and accept my limitations – and dragging myself around the moors on a wet, cold, Sunday morning when I feel like crap and should probably be in bed, isn’t something I want to do any more. I have nothing to prove and I need my energy for the little one. That’s just one day, one ride. There have been other days like this and there will be more, but I know they will pass. Babies grow up – fast.

This seismic shift in my attitude and lifestyle means I’ve hardly seen any of my friends in the last year – bike friends, anyway – and I feel sad about that. As a by-product I’ve discovered that (most) friendships forged around two wheels are fickle things, shaped by the the ride. This isn’t complaining. Just an observation. You’ll see a few people from time to time but without Facebook you’re as good as out of the picture. And remedial rides on parenting timetable are almost impossible to arrange because just about no-one wants to ride like that – and those that do come out don’t always “get” that when you say three hours, you really mean it. Consequently, the rides I do, the people I ride with, my aims and intentions for riding area all changing. And it’s early days, so who knows where this near path is taking me.

So what the heck does this have to do with my dream reader? Well, it means that she’s changing! Through writing this blog I want to share and explore my cycling, parenting, and yoga-ing (?), or whatever, journey. Where that ends up, right now I have no idea. I guess in that sense this blog is just another ride. Pack snacks and waterproofs!

Who am I and why am I here?

We have plans. Big plans. One of them will, in future, require that I turn my considerable talents (ahem) to something a little more “free” (and therefore, risky) than my current setup, so the challenge I’ve set myself this year is to become a better writer. Tech writing is my trade. Writing is something I’ve always loved and something that, once upon a time, I dreamed I would make a living from. Okay, so I kind of do that with tech writing, but data sheets and technical manuals? They pay the bills, but there has to be more.

So I’m blogging. And to kick of the year I’m following the Blogging 101 classes, because I like structure and I am sure I will learn something useful. Plus it will encourage me to write. So here I write.

What will I be doing with this blog? Well, if I can stick at it, maybe it will evolve. For now, I just want to write about the things that I love, rant about a few things I don’t love so much, and try to put some information out there that could be of use to someone else. You need a cafe in Lancashire? Maybe I’ve been to one and reviewed it? Does it have cycle parking? I’ll tell you if it it has. You’re thinking of riding with your little one and don’t know where to start? I’ve spent the last 12 months chewing on that one, so maybe I can save you a little time by pointing you in one of the many directions. You want to get our and ride with your mates, but don’t know where to start? Been there, done that – and there are so many places to ride, so maybe I can help. You used to ride every day and now you’re a mom your bike(s) have forgotten what you look like. Well, you’re in good company – so let’s get our shit together and get out to ride. Those are just some of the things I might (or might not) grace your screens with. I guess it’s quite a lofty plan, given that with not content none of the things I write will be indexed particularly – so will just be flapping around in the blogosphere miles and miles from even the most earnest Google search. But I’m an optimist. And maybe, just maybe, Blogging 101 will teach me something to rectify that. Or not. Either way, I’m blogging. Who’s along for the ride??