Monday, June 1, 2015

Why I Must Fail

Ah, the month of June.  The beginning of summer.  New beginnings, new challenges.

Only in the blogging community can you find a blogging challenge which advertises itself as follows:

" It starts Monday, June 1. Get ready to blog daily for a month. It's an opportunity to flex your writing muscle, experiment with approaches that could fail, and share weird ideas with people who will understand."

Yes, this month, I must fail.

For new readers discovering me for the first time, let me introduce yourself, so you know why I must fail.

I started my blog in April of 2009 after a mass shooting in my upstate New York community, in an adult education classroom, that left 14 people dead and a community traumatized.   For the first two years, I blogged on, here and there, with no set schedule, and with almost no readers. I was ready to quit.  Then, on April 30, 2011, everything changed.  The then-significant other of a cousin,  a writer, told me about what was then called the WordCount Blogathon. I signed up hours before the deadline.

My first Blogathon post, on May 1, 2011, talked about the flooding of a favorite nursery of mine - a precurser to what would become a summer of flooding for a lot of upstate New York (and other parts of the Northeast).  That included the flooding of my community and my neighborhood (I was luckier than many).  My neighborhood ended up on the cover of a commemorative book published by our local newspaper, a fifteen minutes of fame none of us living in Westover, near Johnson City, New York, would have wanted. 

I would sooner forget parts of 2011, but not the Blogathon.

Now, in 2015, I face another time of decision.  If I think back on that first Blogathon, I remember how challenging it was to post something for 31 consecutive days.  More than once, I almost gave up.

The Blogathon had special theme days.  One day, I had to write a haiku.  I found I enjoyed that.  Another day was devoted to learning a software called Wordle, which makes word clouds.  I made my first word cloud for this challenge.  I even was challenged to have a guest blogger, something I never would have tried.  I succeeded.

The following year, I was challenged to join Twitter, which I did.  I am still active on Twitter.

Now, I am not growing as a blogger the way I would like.

I enjoy sharing my life in upstate New York with my readers, with pictures of flowers during our growing season and snow the rest of the time.  Farmers markets.  Discoveries during my exercise walks.  I have a seasonal feature on Wednesdays, a Local Saturday on Saturdays and Civil War Sunday on Sunday.  The 15th of the month, I join garden bloggers from around the world in a Garden Bloggers Bloom Day meme.

So now what?   I want to be able to retire in a few years (I am 62) and pursue a dream-the dream of snowbirding so I can avoid future harsh upstate New York winters.  But I need post-retirement income to do that.  I do not consider myself an entrepreneur, even though my grandfather was a businessowner, and my father was self employed for a year or two after he returned, a vet with a service connected disability, after World War II.

If they could do it, I can do it.  I can step out of my comfort zone and write.  I have several unfinished and unedited NaNoWriMo manuscripts on my computer. The time for talk is over. Intentions are nice, but only actions count.  So, follow me as I step out of my comfort zone in June.
I am seriously considering showing some of my other writing work on my blog, in addition to my normal blogging.  What I need to do is learn that I must learn to accept criticism and start to grow a thick skin.  As a blogger recently told me, "haters are going to hate."  If I fail, it means only that I haven't accomplished my goal yet.  I will not try.  I will do.

As Yoda in the Star Wars series once said, "Do, or do not.  There is no try."

Rhododendron, May 31, 2015
I leave you with one of my treasured flower pictures, a rhododendron on my property.

This is my first post for this year's Freelance Success/WordCount Blogathon.  If you would like to see me grow, please either follow me on my blog, or
Twitter (@RamblinGarden)


  1. We were both last-minute Blogathonners when we began! I do enjoy seeing and hearing about your end of the world. May we Blogathon together for a long, long time...

  2. It's always so interesting to hear another's story. Your's did not disappoint! I'd like to invite you to join our Facebook group, MidLife Bloggers Association. We'd love to have you!

  3. I've tried to set different blogging committed. But I seem to fall short. The only blogging committed I've actual did was for my self...I enjoy blogging and not be control what to post....Coffee is on

  4. It's really an interesting read.. and thank God for good that you participated in the blogathon.. Healthy criticism is always constructive..


  5. Hi Alana,
    I love your post and how you are going to come out of your comfort zone with your blog! Yeah girl! I can not wait to see what you have in store for us readers and fans (as I have been for awhile now ) Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on everything, as I know it helps to write down what is on your mind :)

    Thank you for embracing this big leap! I know you will have fun learning and getting more bold :) ENJOY!

    Big Hugs,

  6. Join a writers group. Have them help you hone your manuscripts. It helps to have a sounding board, and if you get a good group, their critiques won't feel like criticism. It'll feel like people helping you make your work better.

  7. Dear Alana good luck for the blogathon. I hope i can keep it up too.

    Tina from The Sunny Side of Life

  8. HI Alana - It was indeed a pleasure reading all your blog posts. The pictures and snow is what I got hooked up with initially. All the best for the challenge.

  9. I'm not sure blogging your writing is the best way to go. I'm not keen on reading another writer's work on a blog. I'd read their book if I wanted to do that. I suggest you join the Internet Writers Workshop. There, you can post a chapter at a time, and, in exchange for giving your views on other's work, they critique yours. Best of luck, whatever you do.

  10. Should be The Internet Writing Workshop
    I thoroughly recommend it.

  11. Good luck for the month. Sure you will come out with flying colors :) Beautiful flowers :)

  12. Maybe you need to change what you write about? The beauty of blogging is that if something doesn't work, you can easily change it without too much effort or upheaval. I'm confident you'll find what works best for you going forward.


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