About seven years ago I came up with the idea that the phrase “spill some ink” would be a good choice for a name for the loosely knit group of writers surrounding me… usually my daughters (Susan and Paula), a few of my sisters (Gerry, Ginnie, and Sharon), our late mother (Helen), and my late father-in-law (Denny). Eventually it grew to include my dear friend, Sherie. We did not get together as often as we wanted, but as often as we were able; some sessions were planned, some were on-the-spot, and even more were long distance since Sharon is in Oregon, Ginnie and Mom were in Nevada (although they were sometimes here for visits, and other times “commuted” over the internet). No matter the means, we did find ways to stay connected with our creative endeavors, whether through emails, snail-mail, or over the phone… each method served us well as valuable ways to share our artistic ideas and current writing projects.
One of the fun things we did during an “ink-spilling” get-together or our general family gathering was to drop a one-liner or an incomplete line, or even a seed-idea on the group to jump-start a writing spree and then allow a set time (often anywhere from 5-10 minutes to as much as half an hour) for free-writing whatever came into our heads. Afterwards, we would go around the room (occasionally sharing with someone over the phone ) and then read out loud what we came up with… and sometimes we would share through emails for the ones who were far away. No matter when we got together (frequently or few-and-far-between), or how we came up with the writing prompt, it was a blast. We generally took turns at leading the group with the writing prompt of the moment and no two prompts were ever alike, and neither were the results. These sessions gave us a chance to explore writing, even for the ones who thought they couldn’t write.
The resulting pieces of writings were always a joy to hear and read: some were serious, many were silly; but they always ended up generating a fun way to think fast and to get creative and share without fear. We tried to make sure our writers’ insecurities were checked at the door since sharing personal thoughts on paper has a tendency to make a lot of people feel insecure. We would also use the time to share our other projects we had been working on so that we could work on giving and receiving honest feedback. Personally, I believe one of the biggest challenges was not in the sharing, but in us giving ourselves permission to be honest with each other and with ourselves about the work before us, especially when the group is made up of family and friends.
After a few of these sessions, I thought it would be fun to create a writing work-shop web page for us to share with one another, even when we couldn’t actually get together. It was to be my first attempt at setting up a web page; I figured if my daughters could do it, so could I. Well, it sounded good in theory, anyways! On a positive note, I did come up with the name “Spill Some Ink” after multiple attempts at creating something catchy, but not too cutesy; simple, yet potent and easy to remember… yet not so easy a dozen variations didn’t already exist in the “.com” world of domain names. I was excited that “Spill Some Ink” and “Spill Some Ink Today” were both available and approved of by the group. I started out registering the name “spillsomeink.com” but then didn’t have much luck trying to figure out where to go from there (crazy events-of-life circumstances put it in the back-seat for a while). Then, when that first year was up and I couldn’t afford the renewal fee, Paula jumped in and paid it so we wouldn’t lose out on it. When that new year was up, I took another turn and renewed it again, and have kept it ever since.
It wasn’t so much that we were anxious to build that original web page for public viewing, since it was mostly for our personal use, with the side-benefit that we were able to keep the “Ink” names in the family to use as we saw fit. We figured some day we could do a public web page… but that seemed a long way off for a group who barely knew what a blog was or how to go about having one… or even knew why anyone would want one. Well, at least the older generation felt that way. On the other hand, my daughters knew and understood a lot more than I did about such things and tried to help explain to the rest of us now and then. We never made it to the web-building process, but we had fun.
Now, flash forward another few years to when I had attended Fort Hayes State University’s online program and one of my classes was an art and creativity course. That art class had a requirement where each student had to create a blog and the various assignments had us using a mixture of photography and writing to express who we are and how we see the world. Mine was (and still is) bettielippincott.wordpress.com. The other aspect of the assignments was to then read at least three of our classmates blogs and respond to them (on their blog), and then to follow-up with a short essay for the instructor’s eyes only on what we thought we learned from each project. What I started out dreading turned into one of my biggest joys from that semester… enough so that I couldn’t bring myself to delete my blog; instead, I created another couple of blogs on other topics when the class ended.
More life-events followed me around and I did not spend time nurturing my blogs; but I did keep them (I was filled with the wide-eyed notion of revisiting them and turning them into something meaningful some day. Now, flash forward again to a few days ago when I got a bee in my bonnet to dust off my blogs and see where they would take me… or lead me. Right away I noticed a new item in the side bar that sounded interesting: NaBloPoMo. As I read through the article and the links, it sounded like just what I needed to twist my arm into writing again, but I discovered I barely had 48 hours to decide if I should sign up and then to figure out which blog to use. I decided Spill Some Ink Today was the prefect one to launch myself back into writing and could occasionally serve as a link to my other blogs. Now, here I am, back at the end of my beginning as a blogger. Thank you for joining me on my writer’s journey.