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Saturday, May 14, 2011


So, in the Great Blogger Outage of 2011, this post disappeared, only to return, minus comments.  Nice re-entry, wouldn't you say?  :)

During the longest break from Middle Passages I’ve taken over the past 2+ years, I learned something. The time away is more important than the guilt it produces.

Through the first year of this blog, I used a regular posting schedule as a net to hold me above the vast canyon yawning below me after my 23-year employment disappeared. By making myself accountable for writing, I forestalled, and then managed through the mountains of anxiety that threatened to avalanche me when that momentous life change occurred. Along the way, Middle Passages taught me that there is no longer a life without writing.

Year two was more about that—learning the craft, testing myself, writing in methods and styles I’d never used before. That year, I gained followers—and an audience—to whom I remain immensly grateful. Now I wasn’t only writing for myself, I was also writing for them. I also started and finished a first novel, a disaster that will never see the light of day—but I proved to myself that I could get through the writing of it, plus a dedicated first revision.

Late that summer, I took a part-time job in a food/cheese shop because the writing wasn’t paying—and here’s where we get to the point where you just never know. I shared a humorous piece about Brussels sprouts relating to my employment with my bosses. Not long after that, the shop was featured in a local lifestyle magazine, South Shore Living. The editor showed up to refine some details one day.  I happened to be working, and the chef/owner boss dragged me over and introduced me as a budding food writer, referencing that post. It was an outstanding networking opportunity; I intended to follow up to pitch a story or two. But before I could, the editor called and asked if I’d consider writing bi-weekly food related blog posts for the magazine. There was, ahem, no budget to pay blog writers, but perhaps sometime, there might be a paying article. I agreed, looking at it as another way to market my writing skills, with hope that it might lead to paying writing work.

Suddenly, I was spending weeks at a time writing meticulous blog posts for the online magazine that might have a life beyond my own personal blog. At the same time, I was also trying to muster my way through novel #2—and Middle Passages kept pulling at me.

I love Middle Passages. Honestly, this blog brought me to life and saved me when the cement bag of angst I carried might have led me to drown. But it’s time for me to understand that this a vehicle—a means to achieve other victories.  For a while there though, it tried to pull me away from the game. I needed, no wanted, to focus on the South Shore Living blog posts and other writing, but kept veering toward posts for Middle Passages instead—

Then South Shore Living Magazine offered me an unsolicited, paying article under a tight deadline which required conducting several interviews, and not only was I in the game, I was pitching. Clearly, it was time to take a blog break.

The article, which by the way, was a blast to write, is now in. And I refused to write this post or look at other blogs before I completed 1000+ words on the newest novel attempt this morning. So, yes, I am back. For now. Knowing that Middle Passages is here to help me progress step-by-step. And that sometimes, it will have to wait patiently for me, during the times I need to leave it behind.

What priorities have pulled you away from your blog lately?


Wine and Words said...

It's nice to know where you've been and where you are going! You are missed when you're gone, but I completely understand how bloggin can be a distraction from what you need to do!

N. R. Williams said...

I'm delighted for you. I had to cut back on my blogging too. I must work on my books and my art. Though we are in the middle of personal changes that leaves little time for anything else.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Life lessons are getting to me lately. Especially learning that the life I want to live is good for me, even if not for everyone else.
I envy how you have seen that 'there is no longer a life without writing'. When I was young I wrote all the time. It helped me to survive. As I learned new coping skills and got away from the source of the things I needed to live through, I got more comfortable and didn't 'need' the writing. Or so I thought...
The need to write is coming back slowly with a healthy new undertone.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's awesome it led to a paying gig for you! I'm easing back a little to complete revisions on my next book.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Congrats on your successes and jobs! I can so relate to what you're saying here. Beginning at the end of next week, I'm taking a blog/Internet hiatus for a month. My new WiP is calling to me and my online antics keep my head out of that game. It's a real balancing act, and right now I just can't find my center of gravity.

Good luck with the mag. gig!

Lydia K said...

Congrats on getting paid to write! That is wonderful.
Lately, writing and family are pulling me away from blogging. The same things, always!

EmptyNester said...

I got pulled away by Birdie's graduation Mother's Day weekend...it was so worth it!

Ann said...

What a wonderful writing adventure you are having. Congratulations on all fronts. Getting paid is the icing on the cake. Well done you.

glnroz said...

ok, you might take a "break" but you will never be able to just "leave". (us),, lol. I am glad the grin factor is growing.

Colette said...

Welcome back! And I am happy to see that blogger is working again today.

I do tend to get drawn into too many different directions with my writing projects. I haven't yet gotten to the point where I have taken break from my blogs, but I can see it coming.

EmptyNester said...

I did comment on this the other day...Blogger says we'll get back missing comments and posts this weekend. I can only hope because my Thursday post is still MIA!

GigglesandGuns said...

Glad you're back and I understand. This month has had so much going on that I was thankful when blogger went down for a couple of days.
Short stories and preliminary work on a novel are what's pulling me.
Congratulations on the article and my everything work out for you.

Claire Dawn said...

Welcome back!

I totally understand. I (often) blog before I add to my MS. :(

Congrats on getting your work out there though.

Helen Ginger said...

Congratulations on all the writing you've been doing and on the paying gig! That really is exciting news.

(And, yes, yesterday was a bummer day. I, too, lost all comments. Phooey.)

Anonymous said...

Yard work, meeting wifey for breakfast (she's working). But that's it. Later this afternoon its back to writing again!

Mrs B said...

All sorts of things have pulled me away for periods of time since I've been blogging. I guess you could say that life just happens sometimes.

One thing I know for sure is that I'll be here, cheering you on when you post and waiting patiently when you get pulled away, and I think I can safely say that I'm not the only one!

Have a wonderful weekend, Liza!
~Mrs B

(PS I lost several comments during the "blackout". Don't know if they'll ever show up, but so far... nothin' Grr!)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I've really enjoyed watching your progress, Liza! So happy for you. Congrats on all the forward movement. Can't wait to hear about the finish of your second book.