Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Shape of Things

I came in tonight expecting to blow the dust off and chat with my last remaining subscriber, so I'm rather touched and gratified that there is still a little huddle of you patiently waiting for me to breeze in at my leisure.

Leisure is, in fact, in short supply 'round my casa at present as the changes I have been alluding to for a while have become my reality.

Uni has started, and I am coming to grips with the site and the learning materials; it's certainly a challenge doing it externally, as I don't have the comfort of routine and structure already created for me, but must make my own. I began by devoting 2 days of my working week (Thursday and Friday) to my readings, coursework and online lectures.

The other 3 days were meant to be devoted to my fledgling freelance business (but more about that in a moment), and (trying) to write and market my own ventures, including a shiny new blog.

Now, before I go any further, I've been thinking long and hard about a few things to do with identity and online privacy and all that razzmatazz. This blog has been filled with so much of my lint-filled navel gazing, and is rather personal in nature; especially in its infancy, when I was still married, I trod a very delicate line between revealing my true feelings and maintaining a degree of discretion I felt I owed my then-husband and little boy. And so, because I was showing pictures of us, and talking about personal things, I maintained a certain level of anonymity.

In my new work, I am going the opposite way, and am consciously setting out to be known for who I am, and what I think and do. In my new blog, I am also blogging about being a single mother, but this time I am talking from the perspective of a specialist, if you like - I shy from the word "expert" because I am far from expert, but I want to initiate a conversation for and with and particularly relevant to single mothers, so it's less about me as a person as such, and more about me as an entity, a brand, for want of a better word.

With all of that in mind, my initial impulse was to avoid drawing the line between this blog and my new one, to maintain my relative anonymity here. However, so much of my learning in the last few months has dwelt on the power of communities; what counts, in the social media/marketing/business world is what we women have long known - that relationships count, and making genuine connections with people is the only meaningful way to build a business in the long term. I have nothing to hide here - what I have shared I have done with sensitivity and respect for the other people involved, and it will ever be so. If my ex comes off looking like a shit sometimes, well, that's because he is. ;)

Mainly, I kept thinking about all of you, wonderful people that you are, who have cheered, uplifted and supported me through the highs and lows of the last few years, and how it made perfect sense to share with you the next part of my journey. This is not about business - nothing in my new blog is monetized yet, and when it is, I have absolutely no expectations that you are going to race over there and buy anything (though should you choose to, that'll be lovely, of course ;) ). It's about sharing the next exciting stage of my life with my friends. You have my back-story; now, you might like to get to know me on a different level. Or not. Your choice.

But, if you do want to come check out what I'm up to these days, drop over to The Successful Single Mama and say "Hi!". I'm still struggling to learn more about Wordpress and make the blog look and work the way I envision, so treat it as a work-in-progress - there will be changes to come, and I've got lots of content and ideas to implement yet. I'd love to see you there, and hear your thoughts. :)

Oh, and regarding the freelancing? It was working too well - trying to meet client's deadlines meant I was putting my uni work behind, and my own work even further back(like these blogs). It was lovely to know that I could do it; that people liked my work and were willing to pay for it, but it was coming at too high a price. Most importantly, it was really unfair on the little man, who had a grumpy, frenetic stress-bag for a mother.

In the last couple of weeks, I have decided to put freelancing on the back-burner, and focus on my studies and my own writing for now, until I can reach a comfortable place where I think I can do more. I've beat myself up a bit over this, as I know lots of people who seem to manage to juggle far more. However, I've begun to think we've sold ourselves a real lemon with this whole 'multi-tasking' thing. I suspect it makes us less productive, at least in terms of the quality of our output. And so, I'm being kinder to myself, and chunking things down - when the time is right, I know that I will be able to integrate freelancing into my workload, but that time is not now.

And so, here I am, revealed to you at last. You can still keep up with me here - I'd like to continue to share the more everyday, personal side of my life here, and chuck out the odd recipe and P&C exploit - yes, we've moved on from the preschool committee. Oh, and a word about the little man; I think he has outgrown 'the wee man', don't you? You'll hear about him, here and elsewhere, as 'the boyo' these days. :)

My name is Tracy Rudd, and I am a writer and blogger. Forget the 12 step program - I like how I am. Read about me here, or at, or find me @ruddygood on Twitter and chivvy me back to my studies or writing. :) xxx

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