Writing as a Lifeline


Luna and Sasha

My last post was on December 12, 2015. I’ve missed major holidays and events. “Happy holidays,” “happy new year,” and “happy St. Valentine’s Day,” by the way. I missed my blogaversary. As of February 4, I’ve been blogging for five years—I can’t believe it.

And while this isn’t the longest break, it’s the first time I’ve seriously considered stopping. Blogging. Not writing. I’ve been doing plenty of writing. No. That’s not completely true. I’ve been writing. I kind of have been on a hiatus from fiction writing, too. For a while I had a technical writing contract, but that’s not why. I’ve also felt too distracted to write.

Why? A lot of life changes. Big and small. Now, the potential for a move to a new state. Away from Maine. Away from Maine? Where I raised two children. Said good-bye to two dogs. Owned two houses. Have lived the majority of my married life. Have taken hundreds upon thousands of photos and videos. Written millions (yes, I’ve calculated), millions of words.

It’s not definite. And if it does happen, it won’t be for a year (or so). But the writing is on the wall. Funny, that particular expression coming to mind. The fact is I can write anywhere—I know because right now I’m writing from a garrison in Newton, Massachusetts, overlooking not a tiny New England town but busy traffic on Walnut Street.

Right now it’s like I’ve stepped into another life—because in essence I have. I’m living with and caring for two dogs while their owners are on the other side of the world for the month. When I walk the dogs, I see first familiarity then confusion on the faces of neighbors. Who is this woman? Not the neighbor they expected. The dogs are the same, the person not. If they look carefully enough they’ll see reflected confusion in my eyes. There are times I feel like I’m not myself. Different house, different dogs (my own sweet dog gone over a year ago), different neighborhood, different people.

I miss my friends, I miss my life and routines. I know that if I moved to this area permanently, I’d meet new friends, I’d develop new routines, I might even get a new dog. This situation is temporary. The problem is that everything in my life feels pretty temporary right now, and it has for a little while.

But here’s what I’ve come to this morning. One thing hasn’t changed: my writing mind. My ideas, my thoughts. My writing. My blogging. Which brings me back full circle to why I will not close down my blog. The opposite. I’ll be blogging more. My goal is weekly (we’ll see).

Writing. It anchors me. It’s my lifeline. It’s what keeps me, me.




  1. As you know, I am selfishly hopeful for a move closer down this way. That said, I do understand what it must be like to move away from a place you’ve called home for so long. There are many stages of letting go…but there is also the holding on, to new and old. If you need an extra set of hands, you know where to reach me. But mostly I just want to say I am happy, SO happy, to see you here back in this space again. xo

    • Your comment means more than you’ll know, Kristen — in so many ways — thank you. You said everything I needed to hear. When I was a Brownie (yes, I’m going to reach that far back), we used to sing a song with the lyrics “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold,” and that’s what I think I need to embrace. Thank you for being another lifeline.

  2. It’s comforting to have that constancy, isn’t it? Particularly when other things are in flux. It’s hard to imagine you anywhere but Maine. When Maine comes to mind, I think of my one trip there first, then you and your beautiful pictures, which help keep my lovely memories of it fresh.

    Have fun with the pups! Wishing you stability and peace and happy writing. Anchors aweigh, Julia!

  3. I so hear this. So many things in my life are in flux too, at the moment, and writing is a lifeline. Though I’ve been neglecting it because everything just feels so hard.

    We must schedule that tea date! xo

    • Glad you understand, thank you! “Though I’ve been neglecting it because everything just feels so hard.” << yes, I definitely feel this way as well. When things are unsettled, unsure... how to get out of my own way? I'm hoping blogging will do that for me. Tea is definitely on the horizon! xox

  4. Shirley Hobson says:

    Julia, I am happy to find your blog again. Your words paint pictures in my mind of places I may never see. Many things change in this time of our lives, the ebb and flow of life, I guess. However, if this move does take place, I suspect you will carry with you that which is important, separating the wheat from the chaff. I am glad you will continue the blog. I enjoy it a great deal. 🙂

    • Oh, Shirley, I cannot thank you enough for these kind words and encouragement. Yes, things in life ebb and flow, but I need to remind myself of the people who care…about me and my writing. It makes things lighter and easier. Thank you for that, my friend!

  5. Wow, that is a lot of uncertainty and change. It’s hard for me to imagine you leaving Maine! But you know, sometimes the biggest, scariest changes turn out to be the best ones. Who knows what connections you might make, what story ideas you might gain, what new inspiration and friends, etc. It could be wonderful! I’m glad you’re finding solace in writing. That really is beautiful. It reminds me of what my meditation teacher told me, years ago: we can always come back. We can make it a regular part of our life, but if we stray or drift or stop, we can always come back. It’s always here, waiting for us. I think that’s true for writing, too. And I’m glad you decided to keep blogging. I always love hearing from you.

    • I love that… “we can always come back.” I think that’s a really wise and helpful way to view much in life. Thank you for your kind and supportive words, Annie, so very appreciated. xox

  6. Micky Wolf says:

    Julia, so good to see your post in my inbox a few minutes ago. 🙂 I’m wondering if (potential) change and being in a state of flux is a common denominator for many of us these days? Sure is here…

    Glad to know all is well–with you, and especially, with the writing. And certainly your blog.

    Happy puppy walks!

    Peace and many blessings as the days unfold. 🙂

  7. Hi Julia,
    I consider change highly overrated, so I am bound to be sympathetic about what you’re going through. Just a word of advice, based on narrow but deep experience: get another dog. For those of us who no longer live with small children (the medium of exchange when younger people are out walking), a dog is the next best thing. Because I take my dog on short walks several times a day, I am a familiar sight. Most other people out walking are often quick to strike up a conversation with someone they know not at all. If you do move, a dog will reveal to others how simpatico your Writer Unboxed community knows you to be. True, if you plan on traveling, a dog can complicate things. But very few things worth doing or having come free.
    As for those who don’t care for dogs, they can be quickly dismissed. I imagine Vaughn would agree.

    • Thank you, Barry, so much for your very kind words — they mean more than you might know. I’m in the process of deciding about another dog, losing Abby was quite hard, she was the best. Boy is this true: “very few things worth doing or having come free,” something that (although I agree change is highly overrated), does seem to be the hardest thing for me to realize about most things, including change. Thanks again!

  8. Christine M Grote says:

    You sound like you are right where I am with the blogging. Maybe it’s just the time to rethink and recommit. I started with a blog-a-day and it was energizing for a while. About 10 days, and then I decided I didn’t want to be posting drivel just to get something up every day. Now I’m back to catch ad catch can. Maybe setting a more reasonable goal, like once a week, is the ticket. I’ll think on it.

    I hope you life settles out in a good place. So far I’m not crazy about the things coming my way during these midlife years. Except for the grandchildren. They are great.

    • It’s definitely a challenge and a work in progress, this blogging business, these days. Life these days. You have your new book to write about, so that’s awesome! And the grandchildren! Have fun!

  9. Hi Julia,
    I had the same inclinations about closing my blog. I enjoyed interacting with all of you, but it was becoming a bit tedious.That was a big reason I shook things up a bit on the blog. I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in the new format, but I had to try. Speaking of shaking things up, it can be scary. And sometimes that is a good thing. It gets you looking at your life and the world in a new way. That’s true of these adorable dog companions or a move to a new state (though I would always think of you as a Mainer!)

    Enjoy your time with Luna and Sasha, and keep us posted.

    • Yes, shaking things up can be scary (but if your blog is any indication, I shouldn’t be scared — I like it!). I do think I need to shake things up a little and look at life in new ways. Sheesh, I’m shaken up by dogs….I definitely need to shake other things up! Thank you for your support and encouragement, Jackie!

  10. Cynthia Robertson says:

    Change can be fun. It’s stimulating. But it’s also scary, and can create a lot of confusion; something that always worries me when the hubs and I talk about moving anywhere else. You don’t say – where are you considering moving to? It’s hard to imagine you separated from Maine. But it’s good to see you back blogging!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words and empathy, Cynthia! The move would be to Massachusetts — only two hours so that’s pretty short but I’ve moved short distances before and sometimes that can be harder in a way, because it seems like you’re close enough to keep the same ties…. As you say, scary and confusing, but we’ll work it out!

  11. Lisa Ahn says:

    So much of this resonates for me. I’m not particularly fond of change. Books, stories and writing have always been my life-line. Also, pets. We are up to 1 dog, 3 cats, and 5 glow in the dark fish. Not kidding. It helps. Sending you lots of love, lisa

    • Lisa, thank you for your empathy. Change, even positive, has always been a challenge for me. Your pets sound charming! And I’ll have to seriously think about another one as I go through these transitions. Hugs, Julia

  12. Nina says:

    I like that idea if you move, even temporarily, you will still have this consistent space, even if you just post once in a while. So your surroundings “in real life” will be different, but we, your online friends, will be coming along with you!

  13. Cherry says:

    Hello hello my friend Julia I have missed you . Look at those sweeties you have been lucky enough to look after give them a munch for me .
    Thinking of moving…why not . We lived in our last house in England for 25 years …moved to West Wales 18 months ago … Love it . Yes it can get bleak in the winter but it pushes you to get out and do things which helps make new friends . I really wish you would blog weekly that would be great .
    I have been contemplating starting a blog since god knows when …this week I have some time this weekend … might give it a go

    • Thank you for the encouraging support, Cherry! I hope you will give blogging a go, I’d love to read it. I’ve missed all my blogging friends, too — another reason to blog more. I’ve given the pups a munch for you xo

  14. Jamie says:

    I read this a few times and every time I started to leave a comment — I got an interruption. Sounds like you have been contemplating lots of changes. I’m not the best one for change. Changing things that are comfortable, things that I like. But often, it’s what I needed to move forward. (to give me that push.) Those puppies look sweet. Hope you enjoyed your visit to the city. I truly wish we weren’t so far apart. I need to just rent a car (because mine now wouldn’t make it) and road trip to Maine for a few days write-fest. How fun would that be.

    • Moving forward is not often my easiest thing (in times of stress particularly), so I’m happy to report that it’s looking like we’ll be staying in Maine for now, yay! I truly wish we weren’t so far apart, too — I’d love it if you rented a car and came up here! I was thinking the same thing about a southern trip… (And I too would need to rent a car, haha). Thanks for the understanding and empathy, Jamie!

  15. I never thought I’d move away from Miami—after moving so much as a child, and having so much of my life be shaped by an urge to go BACK to Miami, I found myself leaving again at 26. I don’t regret finding a new home in Texas (I think it’s good for life to surprise us sometimes) but I can understand the hesitation to move from Maine! It’s different for everyone.

    As for the blogging, I too have wanted to blog more, and told myself I would, but it’s hard to realize that we do change, and so do our priorities. I was looking through old posts the other day and found myself marveling at how much I had to say just a few years ago…where did I find all that energy? And all those ideas? It made me worry that maybe I’m losing my touch…but on the other hand, I’ve kept writing, just not blogging, which is different. And the blog is always there when the inspiration strikes (as will be your readers 🙂