Writing: Beyond The Challenges

2012 is shaping up to be a busy year. In the last five months, I have taken an emergency trip to South Africa, run three races, and had my website revamped. I have also participated in two consecutive month-long blogging challenges, ending yesterday.

Today I am publishing a post for the 62nd day in a row. While I have thoroughly enjoyed these opportunities to indulge my passion for writing, I am ready to change the pace for a brief period of time. Blogging every day in addition to holding down a full-time job, parenting two young kids, and training for a half-marathon – well, it can be tiring.

I’m not planning on fading away into the sunset (particularly today, since it’s raining and there will be no sunset). Instead, I am going to work on other parts of my website that I have not had the time to get to yet.

I will be putting together a blogroll (if you would like your blog to be included, send me an email). I will be creating resources pages for the autism and running communities, and once I have made up my mind about the rest of the racing season, I will be updating my list of races.

My actual blogging will take a backseat for the next week or two, but I have lined up some guest writers to take care of that. I am truly excited to bring you some great stories from different walks of life, starting on Monday.

Before I quietly slip out through the side door to get more coffee, I will leave you with some highlights of the last two months of blogging. The posts mentioned below are the ones that have attracted the most views.

Highlights of the Health Activist Writers Month Challenge in April:

In Week 1, I described a conversation I had with my younger son about his understanding of his brother’s autism.

In Week 2, I wrote a letter to my 16-year-old self offering some words of hard-earned wisdom – not that she would listen to an old fogie like me.

Do you ever get stressed out about little things that really don’t matter? In Week 3, I gave myself a bit of advice, the gist of which was to just chill out.

I ran my second race of the season in Week 4, and wrote about how I found the zone.

Highlights of the 2012 Wordcount Blogathon in May:

I keep hearing people talk about how kids with autism are incapable of affection or empathy. In Week 1 of the Blogathon, I decided to try and bust that myth.

In Week 2, my younger son lost his first tooth, in more ways than one. We had to get the tooth fairy to come, even though we didn’t have the actual tooth.

May was Mental Health Awareness Month, and during Week 3 of the Blogathon, there was a Mental Health Blog Party. I wrote about postpartum depression, in hopes that sharing my experiences would help someone.

In Week 4 I wrote about the most precious of gems: those little moments with my family that make me feel like the richest person in the world.

I was feeling introspective for much of Week 5, and wrote about how I made peace with a decision that parents all over the world wrestle with.

The blogging challenges are done – at least for now. But the writing continues, because I will never run out of words.


A New Look

I am participating in the 2012 Wordcount Blogathon, which means one post every day for the month of May.

When I first started this blog, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a vague notion that I wanted to write, but I didn’t know how to put a blog together. I had a bit of a dilemma: I wanted my blog to be visually appealing and inviting, but I have the design skills of a praying mantis – a dead praying mantis.

Fortunately, I had some templates to choose from. I experimented with a few of them, and settled on one that looked nice but was impossible to read. Small white text on a black background – what was I thinking?

People started emailing me telling me that I was ruining their eyes. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s failed eyesight, so I knew a change was necessary. I went back to the templates and picked out a new one. Black text, light background, bigger font – all-round easier to read. The new design looked a lot nicer too. It looked calmer somehow, less austere and cold.

When I launched the new design, everyone loved it. People thanked me for saving them from a trip to the optometrist. I myself was immensely proud of the new improved Running For Autism.

After about a year, though, something started to happen…

I started to realize that I was actually taking this blogging thing very seriously. I liked to write, and I wanted  to write. And I wanted a more professional, unique site on which to showcase my offerings.

Again, I have the design skills of a dead praying mantis. This might be a problem.

Just then, a fellow blogger launched her new site and I loved it. It looked clean and sleek, professional yet fun. I got in touch with the blogger and asked her who had designed her site.

That is how I got in touch with Courtney.

A few short months later, I have a new website that is so beautiful I could cry.

Courtney has been fantastic to work with. She has been fast and professional, receptive to my ideas and forthcoming with her own suggestions. When I had technical trouble with my domain name, she patiently put up with my frantic email harassment and helped me get sorted out. She has always been there to answer questions and calm my fraying nerves.

And look at the website she made me. I mean, look at it! I wouldn’t have been able to come up with this in a million years.

Now I begin the task of bullying harassing nagging sweetly asking my subscribers to move their subscriptions from my old site to my new one.

I am excited to launch this website, which heralds a new phase in my writing. I hope you will all stay with me for the ride!

(Photo credit: This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)


Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

If you are reading this…

Cripes, that sounds like the opening line in one of those videos where a guy has been murdered and is now telling his family, via videotape retrieved from a safety deposit box using a previously hidden key, whodunnit.


If you are reading this, then you will have already noticed that my site looks different. I’ve gotten rid of the oppressive black background and the small font that you needed a magnifying glass to read (why did I ever like that theme, anyway?). I’ve gone to something light and airy, kind of like you do when you move from a small shoebox apartment to a large open-concept house.

I’ve added pages! The About page tells you a little bit about myself – it’s riveting stuff, really – and tells you how you can get in touch with me. Go to My Family to learn about – well, my family, the key players in the drama of my life. And Upcoming Races will tell you about – you guessed it – the races I am registered to participate in. More pages will be added soon – some about autism, some about running.

I have a blogroll! My favourite blogs are now listed in the sidebar. If you’re not listed and you’d like to be, send me a link, and as long as your blog isn’t about something totally inappropriate, like Justin Bieber, I’ll add you to the list.

I even have – drumroll, please – a Facebook page for my blog! Check it out, and “like” me – because, you know, everyone wants to be liked.