New Year, New Directions: A Blog About Travel, Writing... and Motherhood

(Yes I know it doesn't make sense to have a photo of Amsterdam in autumn for this post but there's something about those golden leaves falling off the trees that makes me think about fresh starts - more so than even spring's blossom - so I'm going to roll with it.)

Happy New Year!

Unlike pretty much every year I can remember, I've not made any new year's resolutions for 2016. Other than "keep on, keeping on". I think that covers the key things I need to be mindful of this year, and heck, every year.

Nonetheless a new year is a good time for change so that's what this post is about; what's going to change for As the Bird flies, but first I want to explain why this small change of direction is going to take place.

No resolutions for 2016, only a word.

While there may not be any resolutions, what I have done is give myself a word for this year. Consider it a two-syllable instruction, inspiration and encouragement. A word I can turn to when I feel down. A word I can rely on when things feel tough. A word I can celebrate with when I have reason to. A word to keep me company throughout 2016. This year's word is "embrace".

One of the key reasons embrace is my word is because I spent much of 2015 subconsciously resisting a number of changes in my life, becoming a mother being the biggest one of them. As stupid as this may sound after one's been (very happily!) pregnant for nine months, the shock of motherhood sent me reeling into a downward spiral as I tried to maintain much of my old lifestyle (writing every day, posting regular blog posts, going to bed after 10pm (Ha! That was the dumbest of all!)) but it just kept clashing with my new responsibilities and my new "bae", a sprightly baby boy with serious sleep issues and an insatiable appetite for nursing, cuddling and attention. I'll blog about what happened next some time soon - though it's not difficult to fill in the gaps if you have been following my motherhood diaries - but it took me a long time to realise that fighting these changes was only going to make my struggle bigger and tougher. 

A month or so ago I was messaging with a friend back in London and after pushing the send button I read back what I'd sent and saw that I'd spelt almost every other word wrong. 

"Gosh, I'm a mess," I typed in a follow-up message. "I can't think or write straight. Sleep deprivation's a bitch. I feel like I'm going crazy."

"Embrace the madness." She replied simply, with a small army of kissing emojis.

Until that moment I hadn't even considered this. I hadn't considered putting down my "I must strive for more sleep and more normalcy and more control etc." attitude and letting the madness unfurl by itself. I hadn't considered that rather than try and dilute the impact of being a mother on my "old life", I could let my new status as a parent guide my new life, one that still included all the things I loved to do most, like blogging and writing.

So, that's what I'm doing. I'm embracing the fact I'm a mother the best way I know how; by writing about it. Hence the change in direction for this blog.

As the Bird flies... A blog about travel, writing and motherhood.

Before you groan, roll those eyes and delete me from your chosen feed reader, let me quickly say that this is not going to become a "mummy blog". Babies will not be the only thing I write about and some posts - many, I hope - will continue to be about the same things I've been writing about for years; travel, writing, location-independence, indie publishing, the weird and wonderful doors of Amsterdam. But to not write about the biggest thing that's happened to me, err.... ever, well that would make this blog somehow more contrived and less honest by omission. So the motherhood diaries will continue and the travel stories I share will more often than not feature baby-friendly destinations and experiences.

The other thing I'm going to be blogging about more is my writing journey. Again, this is in line with my chosen word. I need to embrace the highs and lows of writing and publishing more, rather than gloss over them or ignore what I learn.* Accountability is definitely my biggest motivator when it comes to moving myself forwards as a writer and business woman, so I plan on sharing some writing goals soon and hopefully honouring them this year, all the while documenting stages of the journey on this here blog. In doing so I hope to also share some advice, tips or at the very least "what not to do" personal experience stories. And yes, I'll continue to share words from my stories here too.

As for travel, I'll share what I can when I do embark on journeys. We're already planning a few getaways this year but I'm not going to rush into anything like the same amount of travel I did pre-Baby Bird, for work or otherwise. It therefore follows that there will continue to be a steady flow of Amsterdam content appearing on the blog.

I hope you'll continue to stick around to see where this new direction takes us, and as always if you have any feedback or comments on this or anything else, I'd love to hear from you. I'd also like to encourage you to sign up to the newsletter if you haven't already as I'm working on a very special email (spoiler: FREE BOOK ALERT!) to send out later this month.

Thank you, as always, for popping by. I really do wish you nothing but good things for 2016. 

(*If you're a newsletter subscriber and are wondering what exactly happened to the final stories and publication of Twelve, you're soon going to find out.... and receive your free book, very soon.  I hope it's worth the too long wait.)

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

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