first, i want to say, on behalf of both gwen and me, that this was no setup. but, gwen, i do thank you for making today’s post so easy for me.

i spent the better part of this year spinning things off and practicing saying “not now, i’m writing” without apology or laughter. my plan is that come january 2010, i will sit in the green leather banker’s chair that once belonged to my paternal granddaddy and write those books and plays i’ve been carrying around inside for a while. i’ve remain determined that i want to do that, but as the calendar ticks nearer the 1/1 box, my confidence wavers.

then on november 30, author, blog/facebook/twitter rockstar, and funny one patti digh posts something on facebook about this blog challenge that she’s entering, and before i had time to talk myself out of it, i’m in, too. i wanted a ready-made writing structure and to develop a rhythm to my writing days, and i’ve found that and much, much more . . .

i am becoming will eventually become fluent in twitter.

i’m meeting new people – folks who are not only nice and encouraging and supportive, but who are dynamic, crackerjack, intelligent writers, and, as if all that isn’t enough, they step up my writing game. they raise my bar. for starters, and in no particular order, there’s lindsey; and patty; and karen; and angela; and mahala; and bryce.

i am choosing – sometimes it’s agonizing and i want to dodge in the worst sort of way – but i stick and select, and that feels good. real, real good.

i am developing a rhythm that goes like this: i read the assignment > think about it all day > let it get bigger and bigger and bigger to the point of wondering about things like bandwidth > spend some creativity coming up with reasons i just can’t post today > jotting a few notes > then finally sitting down just to see if anything comes out > burn a little clock trying to find my notes > then sighing audibly and turn my fingers loose.

i am learning new organization systems for my digital life, for keeping up with the so-called normal life while checking in with new posts and investigating new links. responding and replying and initiating communications, encouragement, and support so i don’t take more than i give and don’t constantly feel like i’m sipping from a firehose. (it’s slow going and none have completely gelled yet unfortunately, so ideas, suggestions, and tips welcomed and appreciated.)

i am accepting positive feedback and encouragement with heartfelt appreciation instead of my usual sidestepping or deflecting in my familiar aw-shucks mode. for decades, i’ve been the cheerleader, you see – a role i find easy and rewarding – but to have the tables turned, to have others rah-rahing me makes me think keep-it-coming while saying oh-stop.

i am making my way through a month that others find full and festive, a month i find melancholy on the best day. participation hasn’t made me giddily festive or caught me wearing christmas sweaters or wiring a wreath onto the grill of my car, but i am quietly getting through the month focusing on what has filled instead of what has emptied. and i’m discovering and developing more good things in the process. it just doesn’t get much better than that.

with so many benefits, it’s easy to see why i say that behind door #1 we have the best blog i stumbled onto in 2009: gwen bell’s big love in a small world. gwen, sugar, i thank you for being and supplying the kindling. i thank you for being fun and generous and honest. i thank you for raising the standard with your writing. and i especially thank you for yesterday, for making me believe that maybe – just maybe – i can do this thing called writing.

p.s. gwen, feel free to go ahead and sign me up as a 2010 volunteer . . . but do you think i could be an elf instead of a reindeer? it’s a personal preference thing, that’s all.

the story is mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge.

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