As a professional writer and semi-avid personal blogger, I’m used to the idea of seeing my work get published. I’ve written literally thousands of news articles in the last decade, hundreds of blogs and many websites and other pieces of printed material. It usually has my name on it, but if it is for a business client, it obviously does not.
One would think that seeing my own blogs published on real paper in a real binder would not be that big of a deal; after all, I know I wrote the blogs. Anyone can print out emails and put them in a book. But a gift that my grandmother gave me this Christmas had a major emotional impact on me and I’m grateful to her for doing it and for my Aunt Sharon for helping her with the details.
In October, I decided to join in the 31 Day challenge, which was to post a blog every day for 31 days about the same theme. Some people chose 31 recipes, some wrote about 31 ways they beat cancer, others wrote 31 home DIY tips. Several thousand bloggers from across the country joined in the challenge and it was just that, a challenge.
I started to feel guilty for posting every day, but decided “it’s my blog and I’ll post if I wanna.” My subject was 31 Days of Simple Joys (links to all 31 days are on the blog post linked there). A few years ago, I started using the hashtag #simplejoy if I was mentioning something that put a smile on my face or gave me a flash or “happy.” It was nothing major, which is why they are called simple joys. The idea is to take notice of the simple moments, the simple things in our life that contribute to making like just a little bit better. That help add some light to what might be an otherwise dark day. Examples from my blog include having exact change available, learning a new skill or even simple technology that I’m able to use in my home.
B (what we call my grandma) took the time to print off each of the blogs and Aunt Sharon made a cover for them and put them in a binder. I now have a “book” of my 31 Days of Simple Joys. One might wonder why in the world this is so important to me. The first obvious reason is that someone took the time to make something special for me and that they saw enough value in my work to think it deserved to be printed.
But there’s something more. I’ve had two different books on my heart for several years and they keep being put on the back burner as I’ve dealt with health issues, job losses, new jobs, a house purchase, doubling the size of our fur-family, and the list goes on and on. All legitimate time consumers that I still think justifiably earned my attention. That’s why I tell people that the books are “on the back burner but still on the stove.” I still want to do them and when I have free moments, I consider how I will go about it and do research.
Having this book of my blogs gives me a push to accomplish at least one of the books. It will still be a hobby, but something that I dedicate a certain amount of “Jamie time” to, like my scrapbooking. I will probably publish the book of essays based on blogs I’ve written first because I still am not sure about how to write a children’s book. I have goals, but I also know I have boundaries!
This gift of the blog book was both thoughtful and inspiring. Talk about a cool gift!