Break

Keep calm and wait … what?

If you hadn’t noticed, things have been quiet around here lately. I didn’t plan to take a break from blogging, but it happened anyway.

And that’s okay.

We need breaks from time to time. We need to relax, to take some deep breaths, and to recharge. We need to try new things, and experience new experiences.

Above all, we need to live.

It’s so easy to get lock into writing. To focus on word counts and deadlines. It’a even easier to get caught up in the business of writing. To spend more time on social media trying to be heard above the din of voices.

We spend so much time on output, we forget about input. Reading a book, taking a walk, singing, or  playing a musical instrument. Talking to our friends, engaging with our partners, or playing with our kids. And then we wonder why the output stops.

No input, no output.

No living, no life.

That’s why we have to take breaks, and that’s why the blog has slowed down and why it will pick up again once I am filled.

Five Minute Friday

And this week, a two-for one (to catch up with both online communities):

Cheerleaders of Faith

Dear Blogosphere …

19th c gentleman at 21st c laptop

Image: The Art of Manliness

You inspire me every day to be a better writer. Some of you lay your hearts out on the page two or three times a week. I am awed by your honesty, your bravery, and your skill. Many of the best writers I know are fellow bloggers and you awe me regularly. That’s why I set aside a day each week—Monday—to highlight some of the best writing I’ve found. The funny, the sad, the thought-provoking, the beautiful, and the harrowing. I can only take a bottleful out of the ocean each week but I try my best to make it a great one. Thank you for inspiring me and pushing me.

And thanks to those who post interminable lists and click-bait headlines. You’ve taught me what not to do, even if it costs me clicks. I don’t care. I know I’ll never make money off the blog and I’ve given up thinking otherwise. I’m happier and my writing will be better as a result.

Because it’s important as a writer to learn what you want to write and also what you don’t want to write. That’s why you read as much as you can—so you can learn the difference.

So I will continue to make my small contribution to our vast shared community—and the cozy FMF community as well—to continue writing about parenting and life and sharing my experiences as a dad, husband, reader, writer, Girl Scout volunteer, Catholic, and all the other words that describe me.

I know I’m not the only one who cares about these things. I know I can encourage others just as I’ve been encouraged. And I’m going to stick with it.

Thank you for reading. Please come again soon.

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What Can I Give You?

19th c gentleman at 21st c laptop

Image: The Art of Manliness

I’m going through another one of my “what should I blog about?” phases. These come from time to time. I look back at what I’ve written, consider it to be self-indulgent, wonder what I could have done differently, and stop writing until I think of something better. Then after a few months of regular posting, I pause and go through it all over again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

A few things are making this latest rut harder to get out of. I’m going through a major shift in my writing. I’m also reading different books—mostly fiction—due to that shift. Anna’s getting older and more independent, making me less and less of an At-Home-Dad than I was when I started this blog. And I’m reading more and more about “the death of blogging” and wondering if I should keep plugging away at this site. What am I gaining from it?

Or maybe that’s the wrong question. Maybe my question should be “what are you gaining from it?”

I can write for myself in a notebook or a .doc file. I can be self-indulgent on Facebook like everyone else is. But if I’m going to keep this blog going, I need to provide something for those who read it.

“A stay-at-home dad’s view on parenting and life.” That’s how I describe this blog, and that’s what I’ve tried to make it. The description is intentionally broad on purpose, but now I feel the need to narrow it just a bit based on what you would like to see.

So here’s my question—”what can I give you?”

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P.S. You can call this post a “Six-minute Saturday” if you’d like. 

A New Word

 

SpinDerriFiC!

$127.50 at Letterpress Blocks by (in)courage (New words don’t come cheap!)

What makes a word?

A combination of letters? Yes.

A defined meaning? Yes.

Being in the dictionary? Um … not necessarily.

At some point, every word had to be made up by someone. Shakespeare made up words, so did Lewis Carroll, G.K. Chesterton, Dr. Seuss, and many others. Language is a living, growing organic thing, It mutates and evolves over time as it’s spoken. Dictionaries only report what’s already there (and sometimes they propagandize what someone thinks should be there, but that’s another post).

So why not make up a word? My daughter does it all the time, and if creativity is the essence of play—and I believe it is—why shouldn’t I make up words too?

I did. Last night Without even trying.

Spinderrific: adj. Something so good it makes you want to spin in a circle as fast as you can. A combination of terrific and spin, with a “d” thrown in because it sounded right.

Now I invite you to create your own word and leave it in the comments.

Thanks to Jimmy Edgeworth for inspiring my new word (and this post) at last night’s Mid-Valley Willamette Writers Meeting.

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Tag, I’m It!

Metal "tag" sculpture

Photo via Google Image Search

I have been tagged in my first blog tour post. This is where a blogger comes up with a set of questions, answers them, and then asks three more people to answer the same questions.

I did one of these via email fifteen years ago. It was longer (20 questions) and both more trivial and more personal at the same time (as the Internet always is). Since then, these same “question posts” have run rampant on that bastion of personal triviality called Facebook.

So normally I would ignore such a thing. But this one is about “writing and the writing life,” which is a little less personal and a lot less trivial. My friend and colleague Natalie Trust tagged me, so I’m answering the same four questions that she answered on her blog.

Check out the questions and my answers—and find out which three writers I tagged—at DavidOzab.com!