I’ve said yes to a lot of things in my time and I have to say that I don’t regret many of them, even the things I probably should have said a big fat no to. I don’t think I’m very good at saying no.
It is exactly 29 days since I said yes to the A to Z challenge. I agreed at the very last minute, just before the deadline for entering. 29 days ago I didn’t even have a blog, never mind 30 blog posts. My friend, Barbara, helped me put something together as I am useless at anything to do with computers. I just sit, flapping my hands around in the general vicinity of the keyboard and hope something useful happens by chance.
I came up with a name, she did all the rest. I should point out that Barbara lives in Spain, so this was all done via Facebook messages which started out calm and fun with her gently encouraging me, but ended up stressed and sweary with her typing madly at me ‘Just shut up about widgets and f-ing blog!’ I could sense her wanting to slap me, I wanted to slap myself. I didn’t have a topic, I didn’t have a theme, my eyes hurt and I had no idea what I was doing.
29 days later I still have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve thought about blogging on and off for a few years but never actually got round to it. There’s a bit of a pattern. I seem to be better off doing things that I don’t actually have time to think through properly. If I think about something, and over-analyse it, it’ll never get done. When I have to submit a piece of writing, I nearly always end up doing it just before the deadline, I’m not really a planner. I don’t have mind maps and character descriptions, I just do it and hope it’ll all turn out fine in the end. Thinking about it, this is sort of how I live. But it’s worked so far.
I had a vague idea of what I was going to write about for a few of the letters. The rest were thought up on the day. Sometimes I had to ask my husband to suggest a title, sometimes I looked through a dictionary, often, I tried to fit a letter around a topic I wanted to rant about. And yes, quite a few of them were written with someone in particular in mind. (Some of them I’ve ranted at in real life, which sort of makes it ok, right?) Not that it matters, I’m pretty confident that the people I was thinking of are never going to read my blog, they’re far too busy retweeting their compliments and cack-handedly ‘approaching’ unsuspecting agents. Also, even if they do read this and recognise themselves, they’re not going to admit it.
And so I blogged. It’s very therapeutic. I’ve been hanging around social media for a long time, there are a lot of rants in there. This blog is sort of performing a public service; I blog and then go out into the world unburdened and less likely to slap someone.
So my message is, try saying yes more often, even if it scares you and you think you’ll mess it up. There are downsides to being unable to say no of course. I’ve ended up taking the minutes for meetings I don’t understand. I have a funny duster thing in the cupboard under the sink because the man who came to the door ‘looked nice’. Last week, I chatted on the phone to a woman for 20 minutes about a new digital tv service. It made me late for a meeting. I don’t own a television.
But I have made new friends through this and learnt a lot about how I like to write and have hopefully got into a routine of setting some time aside each evening to write something, which, at the moment, when I’m working every day and have children and stuff going on, is a miracle.
Also, if anyone can come up with a topic for Z, I’d be really grateful…