Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

W is for Writing

Day 23 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge – Thoughts on Being a Nomad

My two hobbies (they are more like full-time occupations) are traveling and writing. And, since my topic for this A-Z Blogging Challenge covers the first one, the least I can do in regards to the second one is write a blog about it.

Writing this blog in our "new house" in Heath, MA

Writing this blog post in our “new house” in Heath, MA

Although I have never gotten far with my writing “ambitions” (they weren’t ambitions until I recently moved ashore to focus on them a bit more), I have always enjoyed the act of writing. Even before computers were part of my life. I started writing a diary as a class assignment in fifth grade and I never really stopped after that. As a lazy teenager, my diaries were never more than a few lines a day in some kind of calendar booklet, but once I started traveling, I wrote pages and full notebooks for myself and extensive email reports to friends and family.

Old-fashioned hand-written diary

Old-fashioned hand-written diary

Since 1991 or so, I have been writing at least one page a day in my diaries, which boils down to 10-15’ per day for 25 years straight. When adventures were to be had, entries would become much longer. While the ink of my pen is fading in most of these books, one might wonder whether it was worth the time and effort. Since this year, I have been converted to the digital diary world! (And, I finally gave in to writing my daily musings in English instead of Dutch.) No more restrictions of “a page a day” and… no more evaporating ink. Only now, it takes me even longer every day to document my active, and not-so-active days, especially with one hand! Once I start writing…

My diary app "Day One" on my iPad

My diary app “Day One” on my iPad

While we sailed our boat Irie for eight years, I took up article writing. It offered me a great opportunity to practice my writing skills and to share our experiences and tips with the world. I like to inspire people to live a life less ordinary and, ideally, I like to make some money with my writing. I was fortunate (or skilled :-)) enough to get most of my articles published in the major sailing magazines of the US, Europe and the Caribbean. I still have a whole lot of ideas for future articles, but there never seems to be enough time for all the writing I want to do.

Also, since being on Irie, I have been occupied with writing blogs. Initially to keep friends and family up-to-date about our adventures and whereabouts, instead of bombarding inboxes with long emails. With the blog, people who were interested in our stories and photos could just hop over and have a look into our lives. Over the years, the readership built a little bit with fellow cruisers, armchair cruisers and future cruisers interested in aspects and tips about the lifestyle. Once we sold Irie, however, there was no reason to post sailing stories anymore. Mark and I are keeping the It’s Irie website, but because we are happily committed to another lifestyle right now (house and pet sitting throughout the US and possibly internationally), I started this blog in November 2015.

Irie blog (www.itsirie.com)

Irie blog (www.itsirie.com)

“How about that other thing you are writing?” some of my die-hard fans might wonder. Yeah, yeah… the book thing. I blatantly announced, many months ago now, that I am writing a book about our sailing and relationship experiences while on Irie, more a behind-the-scenes account of life aboard. And, I still intend to do this. As a matter of fact, besides all the notes I took over the years, the diaries I filled, the blog posts I created and the articles I produced, I have actually started to write my book. I have a 90,000 word outline, about three chapters written (of the intended 22) and a hundred thousand thoughts and ideas. But, here’s the thing, I have many excuses to focus on other things than on writing my book. Like this month’s A-Z Blogging Challenge for example. It is seriously taking up most of my time. At least I am still writing. And then, there are these excuses of…

…moving from house sit to house sit

…dealing with my Greencard procedures (more about that in the near future)

…visiting family at our home base for ten days

…getting settled in this new place (which I will write about in May)

…feeling the need to read books for a while, to be inspired to write (still waiting for the inspiration!)

…not being happy with my book progress and being bummed about it

…focusing on the fact that I don’t have a common thread or theme yet and wasting time trying to figure this out

…assisting Mark with Wirie related topics

…researching writing outlets and writing tips

…realizing what a beautiful day it is, and going for a walk rather than sit behind a computer

…reading other people’s blogs and leaving comments

…bugging editors to get my work published as promised

…being motivated to start on a book proposal and pausing that idea after some weeks of composing

…catching up with emails to friends and family

…exciting stuff happening on Facebook (I try to be stern with myself here and only check when some work has been achieved)

…applying for online jobs, but never hearing back

…thinking that I need to change my whole idea around and start over again (I am convinced of this and will take action in June)

…my upcoming trip to Belgium (I can’t use my precious time there to write!)

Writing chapter 1

Writing chapter 1 in Kent, CT

As I wrote before, I am still hoping and planning to write this book, and I am trying my hardest to not have anything more exciting interrupt the process or cause distractions, but… soon it will be summer and there are so many amazing things to do around here!

Are you easily distracted from your tasks? What are your hobbies? Do you find enough time for them? Have you been able to turn your hobby into your job?

Only a few more days to go during this A-Z Challenge. Thank you for visiting and being engaged. My previous A-Z 2016 posts can be found here. Tomorrow, I will be back with “X is for Xenophilia”, your word of the day! 🙂

 

26 Comments

  1. I love the sounds of your nomadic life. It sounds very adventurous visit many places. Glad to have found your blog.

  2. I’m very easily distracted and can relate to some of the items on your list of excuses. Reading is one of my favorite excuses – it’s research isn’t it? I’m very impressed that you have a 90,000 word outline – that’s a book right there! Can’t wait to read the finished product 🙂

    • I think reading is research, for sure! 🙂 It does help with the writing, or the thinking about the writing (Now, try to enjoy the reading and not always feel like you have to learn something while reading, Liesbet!). Someone on a writing forum replied to me “A 90,000 word outline, I don’t know whether to be appalled or impressed!” 🙂 Problem is… those words are all describing what I want in and with the book and not much is actual content. I’d like to think it all helps towards a finished product, one day…

  3. Reading other people’s blogs is so much easier, more fun and more distracting than writing my own. Then there’s paddle boarding, and reading books, and staring at the neighbors. I try and reward myself – just think, when you have finished this blog post, you can go paddle boarding. Now, what am I going to do with my time when the A-Z is over?!

    • I can totally relate, Lucy! 🙂 Except for the paddle boarding distraction. I could stare at the anchorage for hours on end and it would be more entertaining than writing blogs! What will you do with all that time? Keep up your funny posts! You got good practice and I’m sure you are chock-full of ideas and stories! As for me, I am off to Belgium for a few weeks to see family and friends.

  4. randommusings29

    April 27, 2016 at 10:51

    I’ve never really been into journaling, I don’t do anything interesting enough to bother lol. Your book sound fascinating, I love a good memoir!
    Debbie

    • I regret writing too much about what I do every day and not enough about what I feel or think about. Since you enjoy musings, a diary might provide a great way to collect them. But, reading is much easier than writing! 🙂

  5. Have you seen the Disney movie “Up”? I’m the dog that shouts “squirrel” mid-sentence and runs off. The more I have to do, the less I seem to accomplish. Making lists helps focus my attention, but I’m still out there chasing squirrels.

    Good luck with the book. I will absolutely be reading your blog after the A to Z Challenge and am looking forward to “roaming about” with you!

    Cheers, Stephanie

    • Thanks for the support, Stephanie! I did not see the movie “Up”. I’ll put it on the list. 🙂 I find lists really help as well, but, they are demotivating sometimes, because I ALWAYS make the mistake of putting too many items on them and trying to accomplish too much in one day. I need to reduce the distractions. It is one of the reasons we have been house sitting in very remote areas, in the middle of the woods.

  6. Include me in the group that thinks a 90,000-word outline **is** the book. Just needs a few transition sentences and details. But then, I always found writing the first draft easy, it’s cleaning up those pesky details that are the work. And those are the very things my personality type is bad at — my “W” was also on writing! http://lifeafloatarchives.blogspot.com/2016/04/blogging-from-to-z-w-is-for-writing.html

    • I wished the outline is the book. But, unfortunately, it isn’t even a first draft, just a lot of ideas, concepts, descriptions of what I want to do and what I want to achieve. They are like chapter summaries, written in a very dry and overview-ish manner. Checking out your blog now, Jaye!

  7. Always a good ideal to write too much, remembering where it all is, well! and how well it was save! What an interesting live. Great, information – wordpress – http://www.BobbieKinkead.com, and twitter, @BobbieTales, my blog on writing is BlobBlobandBloging, http://www.blobblobandblogging.net/
    atozchallenge, The Story Realm, http://bobbiekinkeadtales.blogspot.com/.

    • The uncontrolled writing part is quite easy and I do love to write it all down. Turning it into a comprehensive and interesting work of art, is a bit harder… 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Bobbie!

  8. I am never distracted, ever. I always stay on task, never get frustrated or discouraged, never doubt my ideas or my story, never leave my desk for another cup of coffee, just so I won’t have to write, never write grammatically incorrect run-on sentences…

    Is that a squirrel?

  9. Wow! Well done on the published articles! Sounds like you are making good progress with your book too. Particularly given all those other things that also require attention 🙂

    • The book progress sounds impressive, but I barely have anything “really” written yet. Such a big project to tackle and without a deadline there are, indeed, always more important things that require attention! 🙂

  10. I have enjoyed getting to know you through your posts about sailing and the nomadic life. As for the writing, that’s something else entirely. Other commitments, even pleasurable ones, will always be a distraction. But I believe that one day, you will make time to write that book, one hour at a time, one day at a time. Truly, if you can say, “I need one hour a day to work on ‘my book’,” you may surprise yourself by the progress you make. Even if you say, “I need 30 minutes each morning . . . ” Persevere!

    • Wise words, Beth. I do think that making a schedule or commitment every day is the way to go. A few days this month, I decided to spend the morning on my book and wait with the A-Z challenge (writing, reading, commenting) until the afternoon. I felt better those days, but then other things took over again. When I return from Belgium, I plan to give it priority again, I promise! And, you are a great example in this! 🙂

  11. Hi Liesbet, Came across your blog and I am glad i did. I am late but better late than never. Love the way you have maintained your journals even with the fading ink and yellowing pages.

    All the best on your book. I am sure it would turn out to be great. Being an adventure and travel junkie myself, I love reading travel blogs.

    I will make sure I read all your posts on A – Z. That’s a task indeed but that would give me chance to read more which I have been ignoring since a while.

    Enjoy your stay in Belgium. 🙂

    Dipanwita
    Cocktails, Mocktails And Life

    • Thanks for stopping by Dipanwita, and reading my “two cents” about the nomadic life, my nomadic life anyway. It is nice to meet other travel junkies and connect! Your poems are very unique and touching, by the way.

  12. blkbtslonglegs

    April 28, 2016 at 21:41

    Unfortunately, I am far too easily distracted! Sometimes by Facebook or Twitter, but more often looking at forums or reading blogs 🙂 I used to do quite a bit of knitting, but haven’t in a year or two. But I enjoying making silver beads when I find the time, which I don’t seem to find enough time for 🙂

    Tracy (Black Boots, Long Legs)

  13. Interesting. Will be it a fiction or a memoire of sorts? I am sure you will write it some day. I live in a country where turning a hobby into a job is impossible as a matter of fact keeping a job is a challenge in itself, but honestly I have thought about it many times and came to a conclusion that I didn’t want my hobbies to become a job. It would ruin them for me. 😉 It takes courage to do what you did, to leave your job and just sail for years. 🙂

    • Hi Paula and welcome! Your home country is still a mystery to me? I’d like to make a guess, but I don’t want to “upset” you. Some people are insulted when their guessed heritage is wrong. Somewhere in Eastern Europe???

      My book in progress will be a memoir of sorts. Still struggling heavily with an apt theme and with the intended flow of the book. In the meantime, I have decided to just “scribble” away with my first idea in mind. Or, more accurately, not much is happening on the book front these weeks. 🙁 I have not gotten very far, but an update on the blog is in order one of these weeks. I am trying to make some money writing articles, another tough prospect. I should probably find a real job, now that I have a greencard for the US, but my main approach is to not spend much money and count on our business to provide enough for us to sustain…

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